Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 1, 2021

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1 

State wildlife officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, received a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) call at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) stating that a deer was killed by his neighbor and was hanging in his backyard. The caller stated that he saw the deer several days earlier, and it was now gone. The neighbor was concerned that the deer was harvested in the city neighborhood. Officer Kiger checked the computerized system and no deer were checked in by the homeowner. Officer Kiger stopped by the person’s residence and spoke to the hunter. Further investigation revealed the deer was harvested in Delaware County, but it was not checked as required by law. A summons was issued for not checking in the deer by noon the following day, and the man was ordered to pay $188.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

In June, state wildlife investigator Kevin Good, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, was working sport fish enforcement in Ottawa County. He encountered two men unloading their walleyes from a trailered boat and could see that both had caught their limit for the day. Later that evening, investigator Good noticed the same truck and trailer back at the boat ramp, so he decided to wait for the owners to return. While he waited, he talked with two different anglers who appeared nervous and would not answer basic questions about their fishing trip. Upon further investigation, investigator Good found out that this pair of anglers had gone out fishing twice that day and caught their limit of walleyes both times. A short while later, the first boat came back to the dock and investigator Good determined that they had also taken two trips that day and harvested walleye limits both times. All four men received a summons for overbagging on walleyes. Each paid $250 in fines, $300 in restitution for the illegally caught walleyes, and had their fishing licenses suspended for two years.

While on patrol during the fall, state wildlife officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, came across a man waving his hands running across a soybean field. Officer Williamson initiated his overhead emergency lights and pulled over along the side of the road. The man informed him that a combine had caught fire while the farmer was cutting beans. Officer Williamson grabbed his fire extinguisher and was able to control the fire until another bystander brought another fire extinguisher. The fire reignited and officer Williamson used the second fire extinguisher to keep the fire under control until the Scipio Township Volunteer Fire Department arrived. The combine was saved with minor damage.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

State wildlife officer Marino Pellegrini, assigned to Portage County, responded to a report of a wild turkey inside a home near West Branch State Park. When officer Pellegrini arrived, he saw a large hole in the front window where the turkey had flown through, shattering the glass. The resident of the home stated the bird flew through the window and ran to the bathroom. The homeowners promptly closed the door and trapped the bird inside. Officer Pellegrini opened the bathroom door to find a turkey frantically flapping its wings, trying to escape through a closed window. He was able to safely corral the bird and release it unharmed in the nearby woods.

State wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, was working in Summit County and contacting people about fishing and litter enforcement. It was reported to officer Moore by another officer that an angler wadded up some fishing line and proceeded to throw it on the bank. It was also reported that the same person crushed a beverage container and tossed it on the bank before packing up his gear to go. Officer Moore contacted the person as he was leaving. The individual admitted to leaving the fishing line and beverage container behind and was issued a summons for litter. He was convicted and paid $149 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

In early September, state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, was assisting a team of wildlife officers executing a search warrant at a ginseng dealer’s business. While there, a truck pulled into the business with no license plates. The driver of the vehicle informed officer Dodge that he wanted to sell some ginseng and produced the roots for officer Dodge to see. The person had dug the roots over several days and did not maintain harvest records. Officer Dodge noticed that several of the roots were extremely small, and the suspect admitted to harvesting undersized plants with less than three prongs. When asked for identification, the suspect did not have a driver’s license. The suspect was issued a summons for failing to keep ginseng harvest records, and issued a warning for harvesting ginseng with less than three prongs. The suspect had to leave the vehicle on the property and get a ride home because he did not have driving privileges, and the vehicle was not registered. The suspect pleaded not guilty and later failed to show up for his scheduled pre-trial. A warrant for the suspect’s arrest has been issued and the case is still pending in Hocking County Municipal Court.

State wildlife officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, was on patrol during the deer-gun hunting season when he saw several people fishing below the Lake White spillway. Officer VanCleve noticed several anglers catching saugeyes. Some of the best fishing of the year happens during the fall and winter months for cool-water species such as saugeyes and muskies. Saugeye are stocked annually in Lake White, and more than 100,000 fingerlings have been stocked since 2017 after the dam renovations were complete.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

During the Memorial Day weekend, state wildlife officers Houston Wireman and Eric Lamb, and state wildlife investigator Kevin Behr worked a sport fish and litter enforcement project in Clermont County around Stone Lick State Park. Nineteen anglers were contacted, with one summons issued for fishing without a license. The individual paid $135 in fines and court costs in Clermont County Municipal Court. 

Sometimes the Ohio Division of Wildlife has extra quantities of wild game or fish, and staff members do their best to make sure the meat goes to food pantries or other good causes. Recently, nearly 700 pounds of venison was donated to shelters and food pantries in southwest Ohio. Wildlife officers made the donations at the FISH Pantry in Xenia and Kings Food Pantry in South Lebanon. In instances where the meat cannot be used for human consumption, staff looks for other ways to put it to good use. This was the case when 200 pounds of venison and wild turkey were donated to the Brukner Nature Center after the items were forfeited to the state following illegal harvests by wildlife poachers. The wild game helps feed animals in the care of the center.

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