Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 16, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
In June, state wildlife officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, received a call about a possible injured peregrine falcon in downtown Columbus. Falcons have nested in the area for several years, and this year’s young birds recently fledged. This pair is popular and well-known by the Columbus downtown community. Three birds were hatched in the nest this year. When officer Kiger arrived, the caller only saw two birds. One was found along the building among some cars, and the second was found on a fire escape. Officer Kiger safely captured the falcon on the ground, but when he attempted to capture the second one it flew off. It was determined by talking to building employees that two of the falcons were flying, but the third was not ready and needed more time to grow. This was the bird captured by officer Kiger. With the assistance of building management, the captured bird was safely returned to the nest. The parents were nearby and returned to care for the fledging. The bird finished developing its feathers and built enough strength to fly the next week.
In May, state wildlife officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, was conducting routine hunting enforcement during the spring wild turkey hunting season when he noticed a wild turkey tail fan in the bed of a truck in front of him. Officer Levering contacted two individuals in the vehicle after they stopped at a nearby residence. Officer Levering discovered a shotgun and other turkey hunting equipment in the cab of the truck. After further investigation, it was determined the driver of the truck killed the turkey earlier that morning. Officer Levering then determined the man did not possess a valid spring turkey permit or a hunting license. A summons was issued for possessing a wild turkey without a valid permit. He paid $305 in fines and court costs in Mt. Vernon Municipal Court, and the turkey was forfeited to the state.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
In May, state wildlife officer Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, was patrolling Milan Wildlife Area when she contacted two turkey hunters in the parking area. They had been unsuccessful in calling in a turkey that morning and were unsure of where to go next. Officer Butler spoke with the hunters and recommended a section of Milan Wildlife Area that turkeys often pass through and wished them luck. Later that afternoon, officer Butler noticed that one of the hunters had game checked a turkey. She later spoke with the hunter who had an exciting afternoon hunt at the wildlife area and was able to harvest a tom. He was thankful for the suggestions and officer Butler was happy to see the hunter have a successful season.
In March, state wildlife investigator Jason Hadsell was working sport fish enforcement in one of the Lake Erie tributaries when he observed a man and a juvenile fishing for steelhead trout. The man was seen catching and placing three trout on his stringer before gathering his gear to leave. The man and the juvenile both walked to a parked car where a woman was waiting and began loading their equipment. Investigator Hadsell contacted the group and asked the man about the three fish he had on the stinger. The man claimed the third trout had been caught by the woman earlier in the day, but later admitted that he had caught and kept all three trout. The daily bag limit for trout in Lake Erie and its tributaries during this time of year is two fish per person. Investigator Hadsell explained that each individual could catch and keep two trout each day. The man was issued a summons for taking over the limit on trout and paid $296 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, received a report of a white-tailed deer fawn that was separated from its mother. For several hours, the concerned caller heard and saw the two animals in distress and realized that the fawn had squeezed through a small gap in a fenced enclosure but couldn’t find its way out. The fence was 6 feet tall with barbed wire stretched across the top, so the doe couldn’t jump the fence. Officer White immediately responded to the scene and started making phone calls to contact the power company that owns the property. Even though it was after hours, officer White managed to connect with someone who opened the gate. The fawn was encouraged out of the enclosure and subsequently reunited with its mother.
While patrolling Harrison County during the white-tailed deer archery hunting season, state wildlife officer Nick Turner contacted a deer hunter who had just exited the woods near his vehicle. During the conversation, officer Turner noticed blood on the hunter’s boot and pants, which led him to a small buck on the ground behind the hunter’s vehicle. Further investigation revealed the deer was killed with a rifle that morning. The hunter was issued a summons for taking a deer with a firearm during the archery season. The deer and rifle were seized as evidence. The hunter appeared in Harrison County Court and paid more than $800 in fines, restitution, and court costs. The deer and rifle were forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In April, state wildlife officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, was on patrol at Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area when he located a large pile of dead fish in one of the parking lots. The dead fish were carp and suckers, and appeared to have been harvested with bowfishing gear. The next day, officer Witham received additional information about this littering case through the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) hotline. As he was attempting to contact the suspect, he received a phone call from state wildlife officer Jared Abele, assigned to Vinton County. Officer Abele had responded to the parking lot where the fish had been dumped and had just talked to the suspect. Officer Witham joined them at the parking lot and spoke to the suspect, who admitted to dumping the fish that were harvested with his bow several nights earlier. He had returned to pick up the fish because he heard that officer Witham was looking for him. The suspect was issued a citation for littering on state property. He appeared in Jackson County Municipal Court and pleaded guilty to the offense. He was found guilty and ordered to pay $385 in fines and court costs. The court also imposed 40 hours of community service to be completed.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
During the spring, state wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, received a call from a teacher at a local high school. The teacher informed officer Schemmel that a hen mallard duck had recently nested inside the school’s courtyard, which was surrounded by the building on all sides. The hen duck was able to fly out of the area to feed and seek water, but her recently hatched ducklings were trapped inside. Officer Schemmel responded to the school and assisted the teacher with safely capturing the ducklings. They were then transferred out of the courtyard to the waiting hen. She quickly marched them to a nearby pond.
During the spring wild turkey hunting season, state wildlife officer Houston Wireman, assigned to Adams County, and state wildlife officer Mathew Bourne, assigned to Clark County, contacted a man hunting over bait. He had serval piles of shelled corn located on different areas of a property in Highland County. The officers observed the man walk to a hunting blind and place turkey decoys in the bait pile. He then got into the blind and called and hunted over the bait. The officers contacted the man and issued one summons for hunting turkeys over a baited area. The man pleaded guilty and paid $314 in court cost and fines.