Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 23, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
In January, state wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, was contacted by the Delaware Wildlife Area Shooting Range because someone had found a firearm that was left behind by a range user. Officer Grote tracked down the owner on the phone. The person had not shot the gun, but had brought it down with several others he planned to shoot at the range. After a brief conversation, the person was able to describe it in detail. The thankful owner was reunited with his firearm thanks to officer Grote and the range staff.
In late December, state wildlife officers Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, and Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, received a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) call about a man who reportedly killed a deer in a subdivision with a shotgun during the archery-only hunting season. Officers contacted the man, who admitted to killing the buck in his backyard. The shotgun and deer were seized as evidence. The man was ordered to pay $714 in fines, restitution, and court costs through Delaware Municipal Court. Report wildlife crimes by phone or text through the TIP line at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
State wildlife officers often work closely with the licensed wildlife rehabilitators in their counties. Recently, state wildlife officers Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, and Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, were recognized by Back to the Wild for going above and beyond to help native wildlife in need. Back to the Wild, in Castalia, takes in thousands of animals each year, and with limited staff they are not always able to secure the animals on their own. Officers Butler and Van Cleve frequently help to catch and transport all types of animals, from ducks to bald eagles, and deliver them safely to the rehabilitation facility. Thank you, officers Butler and Van Cleve, for helping numerous animals get the rehabilitation care they needed to be released safely back to the wild. For more information on wildlife rehabilitation, visit wildohio.gov.
During the early teal hunting season, state wildlife officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, was on patrol at Mallard Club Marsh Wildlife Area when he observed four individuals hunting common snipe. As he approached the hunters, he heard them shoot several times. Officer Williamson contacted the hunters and one stated that he shot a snipe. Officer Williamson confirmed the bird was a snipe, and then asked about the other shots he had heard. A second hunter had a greater yellowlegs, a shorebird which is protected through the Migratory Bird Treaty Act with no open hunting season. The individual was issued a summons for taking a migratory game bird during the closed season and paid $150 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
In early January, state wildlife officer Zach Hillman, assigned to northeast Ohio, received a call from a Summit County resident reporting an injured hawk in his driveway. Upon Hillman’s arrival, it was determined that a red-tailed hawk had been struck by a car and could not fly. Officer Hillman safely captured the hawk and transported it to the Medina Raptor Center for rehabilitation.
During the 2021 deer-muzzleloader season, state wildlife officers Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, and Zach Hillman, assigned to northeast Ohio, were patrolling Holmes County when they spotted hunters in the woods. The officers immediately noticed that one of the individuals was not wearing the required hunter orange clothing. The officers approached and the individuals attempted to leave the area. The officers quickly found the hunters and determined that another individual did not possess a valid Ohio deer hunting permit. One misdemeanor summons was issued for failing to wear the proper amount of required hunter orange clothing. While hunting any wild animal (except waterfowl) from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset during Ohio’s deer-gun seasons, hunters are required to wear a vest, coat, jacket, or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage orange. An additional summons was issued to for failure to purchase an Ohio deer permit. The hunter without proper hunter orange clothing was convicted and paid $174 in fines and court costs. The hunter without a valid Ohio deer permit paid $224 in fines and court costs and lost hunting privileges for one year.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
State wildlife officers Darin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, and Cole Tilton, assigned to Scioto County, were working spotlighting enforcement on the Wayne National Forest just prior to the start of the 2020 deer-gun hunting season. While waiting, the officers observed eight UTVs come out of the woods. The officers stopped the group, and all the drivers were issued summonses for driving while under the influence and operating a motor vehicle in a nondesignated area. Each individual paid $155 in bond in Ironton Municipal Court.
State wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, received several calls about spotlighting complaints in the fall of 2020. One caller observed a truck spotlighting deer and was able to provide a license plate number. Officer Gilkey contacted the truck owner, who advised he loaned the truck to his son. Officer Gilkey obtained consent to search the truck and located deer hair and blood in the seats and in the bed. He then contacted the individual, who was in possession of a deer. The individual admitted that he had harvested the deer illegally. Officer Gilkey also discovered several other individuals were involved in the poaching incident. With the help of state wildlife investigator Kirk Kiefer, three additional suspects were contacted. Several deer and two firearms were seized as evidence, and a total of 19 summonses were issued. The four suspects appeared in the Meigs County Court and pleaded guilty to all 19 charges. They were issued a total of $3,500 in fines, court costs, and restitution, and received five years of hunting license revocations.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
Wildlife District Five staff recently repaired and stabilized a fishing pier at Grant Lake in Brown County. The pier was damaged and a portion was underwater. A crew of wildlife management staff, fish management staff, and several wildlife officers spent a day completing the project for anglers to enjoy during the 2021 fishing season. The damaged portion was removed and completely replaced with new wood rails and decking. Officers kept the equipment area free of vehicles and answered questions from the public while management staff repaired and placed the pier. Once the repairs were complete, the pier was anchored to the shoreline. The pier is now open for the public to enjoy.
Just after arriving home from a patrol, state wildlife officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, received a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) call about a group of individuals using a cast net to catch game fish at the East Fork spillway. Officer Kiebel arrived at the area and witnessed an individual with the cast net. As officer Kiebel approached, the individual hid the net out of sight. Officer Kiebel discovered a cooler full of game fish and forage fish, along with the net. The cast net and 41 dead fish were seized. Live fish were released. The individual paid $285 in Clermont Court for fishing without a license, cast netting game fish, and cast netting in a restricted area. Report wildlife crimes by phone or text through the TIP line at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).