Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 22, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
In August, state wildlife officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, received information that one of several mallard ducklings at Apple Valley Lake had fishing line wrapped around its leg and it could not walk or move effectively. Officer Levering arrived and discovered a large group of mallard ducks behind a residence. He met with the property owners who showed him the juvenile mallard duck with the fishing line wrapped around its leg. Using a net, officer Levering swiftly captured the duck. Braided fishing line was wrapped around the duck’s entire body. With the help of the property owners, officer Levering carefully cut and removed the line using small scissors. The duck was safely released unharmed and quickly swam away. Please remember to always clean up litter to keep Ohio’s wildlife safe.
State wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, was working the early waterfowl season at Big Island Wildlife Area Officer when he heard shooting in the marsh before legal hunting hours. He located two subjects and contacted them before sunrise. They were hunting for teal 25 minutes before legal shooting hours and shot more than 15 times. Multiple violations were found, including camping on the wildlife area, hunting before shooting hours, hunting with an unplugged shotgun, and driving a vehicle on the wildlife area. Both suspects were issued a summons for hunting before legal shooting hours and given multiple warnings for the other violations. Officer Grote then contacted another individual hunting on the area. This individual possessed three blue wing teal and three wood ducks. Officer Grote issued a summons for taking wood ducks out of season. All three individuals appeared in Marion Municipal Court and were found guilty of their violations, paying a combined $414 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
State wildlife officers Austin Dickinson, assigned to Defiance County, and Nathan Robinson, assigned to Van Wert County, recently attended the annual Summer Fest at Independence Dam State Park in Defiance. The goal of the event is to promote awareness of the state park and introduce the public to the facilities and new activities available to them. The officers set up and ran the archery trailer and inflatable BB gun range, allowing many people, especially youth, to try shooting a bow and arrow and BB gun for the first time. These events are vital in developing and maintaining active constituents with the Ohio Division of Wildlife for years to come.
In September, state wildlife officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, was patrolling Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County. Officer Williamson observed several individuals hunting doves in one of the posted dove fields and approached the hunters to check for licenses, bag limits, and firearm compliance. Officer Williamson checked one individual whose shotgun was capable of holding more than three shells. The individual was issued one summons and paid $150 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
In April, State wildlife officers Zach Hillman, assigned to Cuyahoga County, and Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, were on patrol in Harrison County during the spring turkey hunting season. They were observing an area that was known to be baited with bird food. As daylight broke, they observed an individual setting out two turkey decoys near a large feeder. The officers contacted the individual and asked to see a hunting license and permit. Both were presented. One misdemeanor summons was issued for hunting wild turkeys over bait. The hunter was in possession of a loaded rifle as well as a shotgun. Both firearms were seized as evidence. The individual was found guilty of hunting turkeys over bait and ordered to pay $290 in fines and court costs, plus serve 10 days in jail. The shotgun, rifle, and two turkey decoys were also forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
State wildlife officers Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, and Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, recently participated in an event at a local high school in Wayne County. They described the role of wildlife officers as well as the equipment used during their duties. Additionally, officer Carter spoke about the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s K-9 program, which included a demonstration with his K-9 partner, Finn. Officer Carter demonstrated Finn’s ability to assist with investigations by locating certain items.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In July, state wildlife officer Cole Tilton, assigned to Scioto County, received a call from a Wayne National Forest ranger about a vehicle parked along the side of the road and people nearby potentially digging for ginseng. Officer Tilton and wildlife officer supervisor Lee Van Allen met at the location. The officers contacted two men with valid digging permits for Wayne National Forest. The men possessed yellow root and blood root, but no ginseng. After the men left, the officers walked up the trail and found two bags of freshly dug ginseng. The officers then contacted the men at their residence. Both men admitted they dug the ginseng, and they had additional ginseng at their house. The men were issued citations for digging out of season. They both pleaded guilty to the charges in Ironton Municipal Court and paid $205 in fines and court costs. The ginseng was forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
In the spring, state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, was contacted by a Kansas game warden about a person buying resident hunting licenses and permits in Kansas and Ohio. Most recently, the individual had purchased a 10-year resident hunting license in Ohio after claiming to be a Kansas resident for two years. With the help of the Kansas officer, the individual was issued a citation for obtaining a hunting license by fraud, deceit, or deception. The individual pleaded guilty in Cambridge Municipal Court and paid $170 in fines and court costs. The 10-year hunting license the suspect had purchased in Ohio was voided.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
State wildlife officer Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, observed two individuals cast netting on the Great Miami River near the Monument Street dam. They worked for more than an hour getting bait from the middle of the river. Officer Weaver approached the pair when they exited the river. The individuals showed officer Weaver their catch. Both men had purchased a fishing license, with one of the men holding a three-year license. Forage fish and minnows may be taken with cast nets in Ohio in areas where it is legal to do so.
Officers and investigators in southwest Ohio worked for several years on a timber theft case that occurred on Spring Valley Wildlife Area in Greene and Warren counties. A large black walnut tree was illegally harvested and sold at a local sawmill for more than $1,600. After the first sale, the timber thieves returned and attempted to steal another tree. This time, the pair were stopped by sheriff’s deputies and wildlife officers. Further investigation revealed that the men had stolen trees in Montgomery and Miami counties as well. One of the men ended up spending several months in prison because of his unusual crime spree. Numerous items of evidence were collected in this case and forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Items included saws, chains, cables, and trees. The logs from the trees were transported to the Division of Forestry’s sawmill for storage. The logs were milled into usable lumber, which was distributed to schools across southwest Ohio. The schools used the milled boards for class instruction. In all, approximately 570 board feet of material were distributed.