Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – August 27, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, was off duty and pumping gas when he observed a truck pulling a trailer that was missing a wheel and dragging on the axle. Officer Zerkle followed the drag marks of the trailer to see how far the driver had gone. After about a mile, he observed smoke in the side ditch. It appeared that metal shavings from the dragging trailer had started grass fires. Officer Zerkle used a canoe paddle to put out one small fire when he noticed more smoke in the distance. He contacted the Fairfield County Sheriff’s dispatch and requested they alert the fire department. Officer Zerkle continued to put out two more fires with the paddle and was working on another when a landowner and the fire department arrived to assist. All the fires were contained before property was damaged. The landowner was appreciative of the assistance and recognized the efforts of the officer and fire department with a nice Facebook message thanking them. Officer Zerkle continued along the trail of the truck and discovered the trailer had lost its other wheel and was abandoned nearby. He notified the sheriff’s office of its location and a description of the vehicle responsible.
State wildlife officer Brian Motsinger, assigned to Union County, was on patrol in Delaware County when he encountered an individual getting ready to go fishing. Although the individual was not yet fishing, officer Motsinger asked to check his license. The individual did not produce his license and after a database search, officer Motsinger did not find a record of the individual purchasing one. Because the individual was not yet actively fishing, officer Motsinger did not issue a ticket but instead directed him to the HuntFish OH app to purchase his license. A short while later, officer Motsinger was pleased to find the individual had purchased a license. Visit wildohio.gov or download the HuntFish OH app for hunting and fishing license options.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
While on patrol in late July, state wildlife officer Matt D. Smith, assigned to Huron County, received a call from Back to the Wild, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Castalia. The caller stated that someone had reported a white pelican with a fishing lure stuck in both of its feet. Officer Smith arrived at the location and found that the bird was unable to fly but could still swim by kicking like a frog. A bystander grabbed his kayak and paddled offshore toward the pelican, while officer Smith waited onshore with a large fishing net. The kayaker pushed the bird toward the shore and officer Smith jumped into the water to scoop the bird into the net. The pelican was transported to Back to the Wild, where it was examined for injury and the hook was removed. The pelican will stay at Back to the Wild for a short time to be monitored and regain its strength before being released into the wild.
In October 2020, state wildlife investigator Kevin Good, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, was on patrol at Catawba Island State Park when he contacted an angler who had been previously ticketed for several wildlife violations. While talking to investigator Good, the angler admitted that he did not have a valid Ohio fishing license. Investigator Good informed him that he would be receiving a ticket for fishing without a license. When the angler’s information was run through dispatch, state wildlife officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, overheard the radio traffic and contacted investigator Good to inform him that he had issued the same angler a summons for fishing without a license several months earlier. The angler was issued the second fishing without a license ticket and advised to stop violating wildlife laws. The man was found guilty in Ottawa County Municipal Court for both violations, paid significant fines, and had his fishing license suspended for two years.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officers Nick Turner and Scott Traver, assigned to Harrison and Stark counties respectively, were patrolling Tappan Lake in Harrison County when they received a complaint about an angler keeping undersized crappies. The minimum length limit for crappies from Tappan Lake is 9 inches. The officers contacted the individual in question and discovered 16 undersized crappies in his bucket. As a result, a summons was issued for the violation and the angler was subsequently sentenced in Harrison County Court. He was ordered to pay $250 in fines, $320 in restitution, and the fish were forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, along with the Jefferson County Drug Task Force and numerous other law enforcement agencies, hosted an annual Cops and Bobbers event for 7th and 8th grade students from Toronto City Schools. The students fished in a privately-owned pond and caught an abundance of largemouth bass and bluegills. The goal of the event is to showcase the outdoors while using fishing as a tool to connect law enforcement officers with the youngsters in their communities. There is also an emphasis on getting kids hooked on fishing rather than drugs and crime. Learn more at copsandkidsfoundation.org.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
During the spring of 2021, state wildlife officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, was patrolling Woodbury Wildlife Area when he observed a turkey hunter exiting the woods. Officer Allison spoke with the hunter and asked to see his license and spring turkey permit. The hunter showed officer Allison his hunting license but said that he had left his turkey tag at home. Officer Allison checked through his mobile computer to see if the hunter had purchased a spring turkey permit and found that he had not. The hunter then admitted that he bought his hunting license and was not sure if he was going to turkey hunt this year or not, so he didn’t buy a spring turkey permit at the time. The hunter was issued a summons where he paid fines and court cost through Coshocton Municipal Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
Several state wildlife officers from southwest Ohio, including Gus Kiebel, assigned to Adams County, Ben Smith, assigned to Brown County, Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, and wildlife officer supervisor Eric Lamb attended National Night Out in their local communities. The events were hosted by the Pierce and Miami townships police departments in Clermont County, and the Piqua Police Department in Miami County. The events had food, music, games, and prizes. National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police and community partnerships, and neighborhood camaraderie.
State wildlife officer Brad Buening was working at Grand Lake St. Marys in Mercer County when he noticed someone using a cast net. Officer Buening observed the person keeping sport fish as well as forage fish. In Ohio, only forage fish and minnows may be taken with a cast net. Officer Buening inspected the bucket containing the fish and found several crappies, bluegills, and small catfish. The person was summoned into the Celina Municipal Court for the violation and the sport fish were seized.