Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 19, 2021
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
Last spring, state wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, received a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) report of a possible wild turkey hunting violation. The caller advised he heard a gunshot and then saw a man run into his neighbor’s field, grab a turkey, and run back into the woods. The caller explained that he was a longtime turkey hunter, and he was suspicious of the individual because this was not normal turkey hunting behavior. Officer Zerkle responded and discovered the location where the turkey was shot, as well as additional evidence. After a search in the turkey harvest database, officer Zerkle discovered a turkey that was checked in as a landowner harvest at the same time and area of the reported violation. Officer Zerkle contacted the suspect, and the suspect admitted to harvesting the turkey on the neighbor’s property. Officer Zerkle issued the suspect one summons for providing false information when game checking a turkey. He paid $200 in fines and court costs. Call the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) to report wildlife crimes.
In September, state wildlife officer Houston Wireman, assigned to Champaign County, assisted a bicyclist who had hit a bump along the road and fallen on his side. Officer Wireman helped the individual back to his bicycle, and his wife took him to the hospital where he later underwent surgery for his injuries. The individual was grateful and emphasized the importance of well-trained, caring, and empathetic wildlife officers.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
One of a wildlife officer’s many duties is to educate the public about Ohio’s wildlife. Recently, state wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, spoke to a local garden club about nuisance wildlife. Officer Kennedy discussed how homeowners can handle conflicts with wildlife: being proactive by sealing cracks and holes in foundations, inspecting chimneys, and removing food sources from near the home. Wild animals tend to seek shelter during the winter, and the fall is a good time for homeowners to make any needed updates to avoid wildlife conflicts.
In May, state wildlife investigators Matt Fisher and Kevin Good, both assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were patrolling on Lake Erie when they saw an individual fishing from a boat using four rods. A maximum of three lines are permitted in the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District. As the investigators approached the boat, the individual reeled in one of the rods. After contacting the angler and verifying he had a valid Ohio fishing license, investigator Fisher explained that he observed the man fishing with four rods. The man was issued a summons for actively using more than three rods while fishing in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
While contacting steelhead anglers in Conneaut, state wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, noticed that one angler was fishing with the spoon end of a tablespoon. Curious, officer Warren inquired about the lure and the angler advised that he fashions his own spoons out of various sized table and teaspoons, which he buys at thrift stores. He cuts off the handles adding holes, split rings, treble hooks, paint, and reflective tape. The angler showed officer Warren a very nice collection of his homemade fishing spoons and claimed that they work better than store-bought lures. Officer Warren wished the man luck and continued contacting anglers.
A concerned sportsperson contacted the Turn In a Poacher program (TIP) to report that several bags of trash were dumped in a ditch at Dorset Wildlife Area in Ashtabula County. State wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, responded. He examined the contents of one box and eight bags of household trash and found some personal information. Officer Warren contacted the individual. Officer Warren issued a summons to the person for littering, and the individual was found guilty in Ashtabula Eastern County Court. The person was fined $150 plus $95 in court costs. Call the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) to report wildlife crimes.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In October, the Noble County Sheriff’s Office contacted state wildlife officer Brad St. Clair to let him know about several wildlife violations deputies discovered while executing a search warrant. The violations included the possession of an untagged deer, possession of untagged deer parts, and possession of Ohio Division of Wildlife signs, which were unlawfully removed from a wildlife area. Officer St. Clair and state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, contacted two suspects. The individuals each admitted to hunting without a deer permit during the archery season. One of the individuals admitted to shooting the deer found during the search warrant and failing to game check it. The suspects were issued summonses for hunting without a deer permit, failure to game check a deer, and possessing wildlife area signs. They were found guilty of the violations and paid a total of $617 in fines and court costs. The untagged deer parts were forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the signs were returned to the wildlife area.
On Labor Day, state wildlife officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Perry County, and wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko contacted two men fishing at Tecumseh Lake. One of the men did not have a valid fishing license. The other provided an expired fishing license. Both men were issued a summons for fishing without a license and each paid fines and court costs of $155.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
The Western Ohio Coon Hunters Association hosted the American Coon Hunters-Big Game Association’s World Hunt in early October. Hunters participated in hunts, field trials, a water race, a drag race, coon treeing, and bench contests. The Darke County Fish and Game Association offered its clubhouse and kitchen in support of the event. The Boy Scouts of America Troop 96 staffed the kitchen. State wildlife officer Jeff Wenning, assigned to Darke County, answered questions from the crowd. Visitors to the event included Darke County residents and hunters from around the country. Forty-seven dogs were entered for the hunts and another 49 participated in bench shows and water field trials.
In the spring, state wildlife officers Houston Wireman, assigned to Champaign County, and Mathew Bourne, assigned to Clark County, contacted a man who was turkey hunting over bait in Highland County. The man had serval piles of shelled corn located on different areas of the property. The wildlife officers observed the man walk to a blind on the property and place turkey decoys in the bait pile. 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.