Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – December 18, 2020
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
Ohio’s state wildlife officers are often involved with fish management projects, wildlife management projects, and information and education duties. One of those wildlife management duties is collecting samples from road-killed deer so that they can be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). While on patrol, officers find deer that have been killed along the state’s roads and take a sample. The samples are then sent to a lab and are tested for the presence of the disease. This duty is extremely important to help our wildlife management professionals monitor for the presence of CWD in Ohio. CWD has never been found in Ohio’s wild deer herd.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
While patrolling along Lake Erie, state wildlife officer Matt Smith, assigned to Henry County, saw a man and a woman in the parking lot of the Bayshore fishing access walking around a new boat. Officer Smith contacted the couple and discovered that it was their first boating experience. They asked officer Smith dozens of questions about the best way to launch and trailer a boat. Officer Smith offered to help them through their first time launching their new boat. After about 30 minutes and several more questions, the boat was tied to the dock and ready for its first voyage. The couple thanked officer Smith several times and then headed out to the lake.
State wildlife officer Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, was patrolling Resthaven Wildlife Area on the opening day of the 2020 dove hunting season when she saw two hunters sit down at the edge of one of the dove fields. Shortly after, one of the hunters shot a dove and it fell into the woods behind him. The hunters continued to dove hunt without attempting to recover the bird that was harvested. Officer Butler contacted the hunters after they had packed up their belongings and moved to a different location. The hunter who shot the dove did not try to retrieve it. Officer Butler explained to the hunter that it wasteful and unethical to fail to search for harvested game. The hunter was issued a citation for wanton waste and paid $250 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officer Matt Madgar, assigned to Cuyahoga County, received a call asking for assistance with a white-tailed buck deer that was tangled in netting. The caller stated that the deer had what appeared to be a soccer net tangled in its antlers and wrapped around its face. Upon arrival, officer Madgar located the deer in a flower bed next to the caller’s home. The deer quickly jumped up and ran across the street, where it became tangled in a fence. Officer Madgar was able to cut the deer free from the fence unharmed.
State wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, received a call from the Medina Police Department. They detained a man who was walking through the city limits with a shotgun, dressed in full camouflage, and carrying a dead wild turkey. Officer Moore responded right away. The man was cooperating when officer Moore arrived, but had tried to hide the dead wild turkey from authorities upon first contact. Officer Moore discovered there was no tag on the bird, and asked the hunter where he was hunting. The person stated that he had permission to hunt the property where he harvested the bird, however he trespassed across multiple properties to access his hunting area. He forgot his turkey tag, and therefore he tried to hide the bird when police officers spotted him. Officer Moore explained the violations, including needing permission to access all private property. The wild turkey was seized, and the hunter was charged with failing to tag a turkey. He pleaded guilty and paid $232 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In September, state wildlife officer Jeff Berry was patrolling Blue Rock State Forest in Muskingum County. Officer Berry stopped to check a parked vehicle, which was registered to an individual who did not have a current Ohio hunting license. Squirrel season had just opened, so he walked back an access trail into the woods and soon found the individual. During their conversation, officer Berry found fresh ginseng roots on the individual. The individual was issued a summons for harvesting ginseng on state property. The individual pleaded guilty in Muskingum County Court, received 200 hours of community service, and lost medicinal root harvesting privileges for two years.
In August, state wildlife officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Athens County, received a call from an excited resident requesting help releasing a gray fox from a dog-proof raccoon trap. Officer Basinger met with the landowner a short time later and used a catch pole to release the young female gray fox from the trap. The uninjured fox quickly bounded to the sanctuary of a large bush. The landowner was thankful for the help and said the gray fox family had been enjoying that area of the property for the last few months. Officer Basinger explained that while gray foxes are canines, they have very flexible wrists and longer cat-like claws than dogs and other foxes, which allows them to do things like climb trees and retrieve items from smaller spaces, including the trap.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
On the last day of the 2019-2020 deer-archery hunting season, state wildlife officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, received a call about an individual deer hunting without permission. Officer Keller and K-9 Scout responded to the area and found a vehicle parked near the property. Officer Keller used K-9 Scout to track the individual across a field, where they found the individual deer hunting. The individual was issued a summons for hunting without permission. This was the second time in five years the individual had been caught hunting without permission. The defendant was found guilty in Franklin Municipal Court and paid $792 in fines and court costs.
State wildlife investigator Kevin Behr received a call concerning an injured hawk. A concerned person called after he and several neighbors noticed that the bird had an injured wing. The bird was perching off the ground and continuing to hunt, according to the caller. Investigator Behr advised them to keep watching it and if the bird was not able to fly or feed, to call him. The next day the man called and said he noticed the bird on the ground, and he was able to catch it and put it into a pet carrier. Investigator Behr met with the caller and determined that the injured bird was a Cooper’s hawk and that it needed professional care. The hawk was transported to RAPTORS Inc. for evaluation and to determine whether it might be returned to the wild.