Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 26, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
In late winter, state wildlife officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, was called about a heavy skunk odor in a homeowner’s crawl space. Officer Coffman arrived at the location and discovered a skunk under the home. Unfortunately, the skunk was trapped and died under the home. Officer Coffman was able to reach the skunk and removed it for the homeowner. As a reminder, skunks become more active as winter comes to an end.
In November 2020, state wildlife officer Jade Heizer was one of several presenters speaking to a local elementary school in Galena for their annual career connections day. Officer Heizer prepared to present virtually from Alum Creek State Park, using the lake as the backdrop. Officer Heizer brought white-tailed deer antlers and a wild turkey fan to show the children as she discussed her profession. Because of technical difficulties, the virtual presentation was adapted to become an audio presentation where officer Heizer discussed the daily role of an Ohio wildlife officer, what led her into the field, and other similar careers in natural resources. The children were excited about listening to officer Heizer’s presentation, and had plenty of questions to ask. School staff thanked officer Heizer for participating in the event.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
In March 2020, state wildlife investigator Brian Baker, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, observed a man fishing for yellow perch in West Harbor. The man had a 5-gallon bucket filled with water, and investigator Baker could see numerous fish in the bucket. The man continued to fish and put perch in the bucket for a while, then loaded his fish into his truck and left. A short while later, investigator Baker noticed the man had returned to the same location and began catching and keeping perch again. Investigator Baker then contacted the man as he was getting his fish filleted in Port Clinton. After talking with the man, he admitted that he had taken 70 yellow perch, 40 over the legal daily bag limit. The man was written a summons for overbagging and the fish were surrendered as evidence.
While recently patrolling near Bresler Reservoir in Allen County, state wildlife officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, noticed an unusual amount of activity near the boat ramp. Further investigation found that the extra activity was bird watchers who were there to see a pomarine jaeger. This species of jaeger breeds in the Arctic and spends its winters at sea. It is uncommon to see it in Ohio and so close to the shore. Birders came from across Ohio and other states, including Michigan and Illinois, to see the rare find. The bird eventually left the reservoir and continued on its journey.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
In late December, state wildlife officer Zach Hillman, assigned to northeast Ohio, received a call from a concerned Wayne County resident about an injured trumpeter swan that would not leave a backyard. Officer Hillman arrived and noticed that the swan had suffered some sort of head trauma. Officer Hillman was able to successfully capture the swan and safely secure it for transport to the Medina Raptor Center for rehabilitation. The swan is currently recovering and there are hopes for its release back to the wild.
State wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, received a call about a butchered white-tailed deer that was dumped into a farmer’s field. Officer Frank responded to the scene and identified tracks, which led him to evidence located on a nearby property. Further investigation revealed an individual who admitted to dumping the untagged deer on the farmer’s property. Officer Frank also obtained trail camera photos, which showed the same individual coyote hunting without a license. Three summonses were issued and the individual was found guilty in court, subsequently paying $545 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
State wildlife officer Ryan Donnelly, assigned to Washington County, took a phone call about a suspicious truck stuck in the mud in a farmer’s field during white-tailed deer gun hunting season. The caller stated that two dead deer were dumped in the woods not far from the truck. When officer Donnelly arrived at the site, the owner of the truck had come back to retrieve the vehicle. The owner of the truck had shot the deer the night before using a spotlight and a rifle. Officer Donnelly issued a summons to the driver. He paid $750 in fines and court costs, and forfeited the rifle to the state of Ohio.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
During the waterfowl hunting season, state wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, received a Turn In a Poacher call from a concerned homeowner regarding nearby waterfowl hunters. The witness explained that he had watched a hunter using a motorboat to drive and concentrate waterfowl out of a no hunting zone into an area of the lake open to hunting. The hunter then later shot and harvested several of the ducks. The witness captured photographs of the individual and the watercraft’s registration. An investigation revealed the person’s identity. When contacted, the individual admitted to using the motorboat to drive and concentrate waterfowl in an attempt to harvest them. The individual was cited for the violation and was found guilty in court, paying $155 in fines and courts costs. Call or text 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) if you witness a wildlife violation.
State wildlife officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, received a phone call from a man inquiring about eagle nest locations. The man explained that his son was excited about eagle nests and had participated in the 2020 statewide survey. Officer Grossnickle told the man about public viewing locations for two additional nests in the county, but advised that the other known nests in the area were on private property and she could not share their locations. Officer Grossnickle and the man talked about being respectful of eagle nest locations and not entering onto private property without permission. Coincidentally, the man called on a day where officer Grossnickle had seen seven juvenile eagles at a public location, and she shared that information with the man. Officer Grossnickle thanked the man and his son for reporting the nest during the survey, and wished them luck on viewing more eagles in the area.