Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 15, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officers Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, and Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, met with officials from a local community to discuss deer management. This community is largely wooded, and the residents are having issues with an overpopulation of deer. The officers spoke for about an hour about deer health, human-wildlife conflicts, and population management techniques. The officers presented community representatives with several safe options to manage the deer population. Officials are looking forward to working with the Ohio Division of Wildlife on a solution in the future. Resolving human-wildlife conflict can be difficult and requires extensive cooperation among stakeholders.
State wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received a call from a concerned person about a red-tailed hawk that was dangling by its right wing about 40 feet up in a tree. Officer Smith arrived at the location and discovered that the hawk had a piece of kite string attached to his right wing. The bird was dangling in midair, unable to get free. Officer Smith used his issued shotgun and fired at the kite string. Officer Smith was able to break the kite string with one of the BBs fired from the shotgun and the hawk sailed to the ground. The hawk was transferred to Crow’s Hollow Wildlife Care in Union County for examination, and the hawk was later released back into the wild. Ohio wildlife officers are frequently requested to handle unique calls that require an officer to be creative in order to resolve situations.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
While working waterfowl hunting enforcement on the opening day at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Ethan Bingham, assigned to Williams County, was approached by two hunters whom he had already checked. The hunters advised they found a bucket and a gun case with a shotgun inside at the Lake La Su An parking lot. The hunters looked around for the owner of the items but were unable to locate anyone. The items were turned over to officer Bingham, who returned to the boat ramp to locate the hunter. Officer Bingham was then approached by a gentleman who advised his friend had misplaced the gun. The hunter confirmed that it was his friend’s shotgun. Officer Bingham returned the belongings to the grateful and relieved hunters.
State wildlife officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, responded to a complaint at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area of a waterfowl hunter shooting at a cormorant. As officer Ohlrich worked his way through the marsh to approach the hunter, two trumpeter swans flew overhead. The hunter shouldered his shotgun and began shooting at the swans. Officer Ohlrich yelled at him to stop shooting. The hunter was a juvenile hunting by himself and was unable to properly identify waterfowl. Officer Ohlrich escorted him out of the marsh and later discussed this situation with his parents. No charges were filed, but officer Ohlrich suggested the young hunter complete a hunter education course, study duck identification, and find a mentor to teach him to hunt waterfowl. Since this incident, officer Ohlrich has had several encounters with this young hunter, who now has a hunting mentor and has become an avid waterfowl hunter.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officer Evan Huegel, assigned to Ashland County, received information about a buck that had been illegally harvested in September 2020. Officer Huegel spoke to the individual who harvested the buck. The results of the investigation revealed that he harvested the deer, purchased his deer permit later that evening, and then delivered the buck to a taxidermist. The man was issued a summons for hunting without first obtaining a valid deer permit and ordered to appear in Ashland Municipal Court. He was convicted and ordered to pay $1,437 in fines, court costs, and restitution. His hunting privileges were revoked for one year.
State wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, responded to a report of a landowner who had inadvertently caught a bobcat in a box trap while targeting raccoons. Sometimes bobcats are unintentionally caught in foothold traps, but this was the first time officer Porter had experienced one caught in a box trap. Officer Porter was able to successfully and safely release the feline.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
During Ohio’s deer-archery hunting season in November, state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, received information from the 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) hotline. A concerned hunter called to report hearing multiple gunshots and he believed someone was poaching deer nearby. Officer Lemle and state wildlife officer Logan Ambrister, assigned to Belmont County, responded to the property in question and located a buck and a doe hanging at a deer camp. Both deer had been shot with a rifle. The suspect arrived back at the camp a short time later with another buck strapped to the back of his ATV. That deer had also been shot by a rifle. The suspect admitted to killing all three deer with a rifle. The suspect was a convicted felon and was not allowed to possess a firearm. The rifle, ammunition, and the three deer were all seized as evidence. The suspect was cited into Cambridge Municipal Court for the illegal taking of three deer, and for killing a second buck. He pleaded guilty and was found guilty of all charges. He paid $1,203 in fines and court costs, and lost his hunting privileges for three years. The deer and the rifle were forfeited to the state. The deer were commercially processed to be donated to a local food bank.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
On a recent fall morning, state wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, received a call from a concerned landowner regarding an injured bird. Upon arriving at the landowner’s residence, officer Schemmel identified the injured bird as a great egret. The bird was unable to fly, and once captured it was examined for injuries. It appeared the egret suffered from a canine attack, with two distinct and shallow puncture wounds. The egret was later transported to a nearby wildlife rehabilitation facility for additional care.
While working at Rush Run Wildlife Area in Preble County, state wildlife officer Brad Turner noticed three men fishing and eating pizza across the lake. When they finished, one of the men gathered up their trash and put it in a bag as they headed back to the parking lot. Officer Turner met them at the parking lot and asked to see their fishing licenses. Two of the men showed their licenses, and the third said he had not been fishing. Officer Turner explained that he had observed them all fish, and the man admitted to fishing without a license. The men were not carrying the trash, and further investigation revealed the same person threw it into the woods on the way back to the parking lot. The man was issued summonses for fishing without a license and for litter. He paid $310 in fines and court costs.