Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 9, 2021

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1 

State wildlife officers annually collect road-killed deer for testing. State wildlife officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, noticed that the antlers from the road-killed deer could go to a good use instead of being thrown away. The Ohio Division of Wildlife is always looking for ways to benefit wildlife, people, and organizations. The agency has always had a good relationship with the Columbus Zoo and the education of Ohio’s wildlife. Officer Kiger reached out to the zoo to see if it would be interested in the antlers, and zoo staff was excited about the idea. Antlers are a great source of minerals such as calcium and phosphorus and can be consumed by many animals, as well as an added enrichment. Antlers were gathered from road-killed deer located by wildlife management staff and other wildlife officers in central Ohio. Officer Kiger then coordinated and donated antlers for use by the zoo. The antlers are given as a treat to many animals, including a Komodo dragon named Sapo, and are being enjoyed by all.

State wildlife officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, was contacted at night by a neighbor who heard coonhounds running and several shots from a nearby property that did not allow hunting. Officer Tipton immediately responded to the area and found two trucks with dog boxes in the back. Officer Tipton saw lights in a nearby woods, so he started to walk down the hill to approach the alleged poachers. The group was alerted to his presence and they took off running. Officer Tipton ran after them, identified himself, and ordered them to stop, which they did. He could see two men, a woman, and at least one dog. One of the men had a rifle and the other man had a pistol. Officer Tipton ordered them to place the firearms on the ground, identified all three people, seized their firearms, and told them to return to their trucks. All three were hunting without permission. The two men had not purchased a fur taker permit for the current season, which is required to hunt raccoons. The two men were issued citations for hunting without permission and for hunting raccoons without a fur taker permit. The woman, who had her fur taker permit, was issued a citation for hunting without permission. They all paid more than $800 in fines through the Champaign County Municipal Court.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

In February 2020, Lake Erie froze and provided a small window for anglers to ice fish. During one of these days, State Wildlife Officer Matt D. Smith, assigned to Henry County, was contacting anglers as they came back to shore to verify catches and to check for fishing licenses. Officer Smith contacted two men from Wisconsin who had several walleyes shorter than the 15-inch minimum length. The men were issued the appropriate citations.

In December, state wildlife investigator Matthew Fisher, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, was on patrol when he received word of a disabled vessel on Lake Erie. High winds caused the waves to reach 5 feet high and did not allow another boat on site to reach the disabled boat. The U.S. Coast Guard was called to help tow the boat to safety. Investigator Fisher monitored the location of the disabled boat through binoculars as the Coast Guard responded. When the Coast Guard arrived at the dock, the water levels were too low to launch their boat, so they had to move to another location. During this time, investigator Fisher continued to monitor the boat, which was drifting farther out into the lake because of the high winds. Investigator Fisher relayed the boat’s location to the Coast Guard to assist them in locating the vessel. Once the boat was safely at the dock, it was discovered that the boaters had been waterfowl hunting when some of their duck blind material became entangled in the motor. When one of the hunters went to cut it free, he accidentally stepped on the fuel line connector and broke it, rendering the motor inoperable and setting the boat adrift.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

Conservation projects are as much a part of a state wildlife officer’s responsibilities as law enforcement-related tasks. Each year when winter temperatures dip low enough and several inches of ice forms, wildlife officers venture on foot into wetlands to tend wood duck nest boxes, preparing them for the spring season. State wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, checks and cleans approximately 70 boxes each year when weather allows. In the past several decades, conservation efforts involving wood duck nest boxes have contributed greatly to the recovery of this species. To learn more about placing nest boxes for wood ducks as well as other cavity nesting species, visit wildohio.gov.

During the 2020 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, was patrolling an area where hunters are known to trespass. Officer Frank observed that hunting was taking place on the property. State wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, was nearby and assisted with patrol on his ATV. The combined effort led to an individual who was hunting without a valid hunting license, was not wearing the required hunter orange clothing, and did not have written permission to be on the property. Summonses were issued and the defendant was found guilty, subsequently paying $495 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

While on patrol in Gallia County in February, state wildlife officer Roy Rucker spoke with U.S. National Guard personnel who were assisting with brush cleanup from a recent ice storm. In situations that involve public safety, wildlife areas sometimes serve as temporary holding spaces to help other agencies complete their mission. In this instance, Crown City Wildlife Area was used as a staging site for brush that was removed from local roadways. The two individuals with the National Guard were using a backhoe to compact the pile as dump trucks came into the area to unload the brush. Access to the wildlife area was not disrupted, and the brush was removed when it was safe to do so.

During the 2020 two-day white-tailed gun hunting season, State wildlife officers Wes Feldner and Logan Ambrister were patrolling in Belmont County when they received information about a road hunting incident. The officers responded to the area and met with the person who reported the violation. He had contacted an individual loading a deer into the back of a small truck. The officers examined the area and found evidence that the deer was shot from the roadway. The property where the violations took place was leased for hunting, and the suspects did not have written permission to hunt there. The officers were able to identify two suspects. Both individuals admitted to committing several violations, including hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, shooting from a roadway, hunting without written permission, and failure to complete the game check process. The suspects were issued several summonses, and the firearm and the deer were both seized as evidence. Both individuals were found guilty in the Belmont County Western Court and paid $870 in fines and court costs. The suspect who shot the deer was given a one-year hunting license suspension. The deer was ordered forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife and was later processed by a local facility and the venison was donated to a food pantry.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

Last summer, state wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, was contacting anglers along the Miami-Erie Canal. At one popular fishing location, officer Schemmel was contacted by a mother while her family fished beneath a bridge. One of her children had scraped and cut his head underneath the bridge and required immediate attention. Officer Schemmel quickly responded with a first-aid kit and provided water and bandages to properly dress the wound. The boy quickly calmed down and was later transported to a nearby medical facility. Prior to the young angler departing, officer Schemmel gave him a new Spider-Man youth fishing pole for his strength and patience. The fishing pole was graciously donated by a local conservation club to be handed out in situations such as this one. After checking in with the family later that day, the boy received a few stitches, but was eager to get back out and use his new rod and reel.

Near the end of the south zone waterfowl hunting season, state wildlife officers Matthew Hunt and Mathew Bourne were contacting groups floating on the Mad River. After contacting a few hunters along the river, the officers heard multiple shots near their location. The officers investigated and found three individuals hunting from a blind over a private pond. The hunters were new to waterfowl hunting. One of the hunters had not obtained the required state and federal hunting stamps. Two of the firearms were not properly plugged. The individuals received two verbal warnings for the unplugged firearms. One citation was issued to the individual who did not purchase the required stamps.

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