Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 7, 2022

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1 

On the opening weekend of early waterfowl hunting season, state wildlife officers Adam Smith and Houston Wireman, assigned to Logan and Champaign counties respectively, were contacting waterfowl hunters on Indian Lake when they observed a small vessel heading into a nearby channel with two individuals on board. The individual on the front of the boat was holding a shotgun. The two subjects appeared to be running the small vessel through the marsh in hopes of jump shooting ducks. The officers conducted a vessel stop on the two subjects for a hunting license check and possible loaded firearms on a moving vessel. Upon stopping the subjects, the officers noticed the vessel did not have visible Ohio registration numbers, and both subjects had a loaded shotgun on board. A summons was issued for having a loaded firearm on a moving vessel.

Several state wildlife officers in central Ohio have assisted wildlife management staff with ring-necked pheasant releases. Pheasants are released on five different dates on specific public hunting areas throughout Ohio to provide additional hunting opportunities. Just before Thanksgiving, Delaware Area Career Center students joined the officers on a pheasant release at Delaware Wildlife Area. Students discussed education and career opportunities with Division of Wildlife staff, as well as learned about the history of the ring-necked pheasant in Ohio. The event was a great opportunity for the students to get hands-on training and network with wildlife professionals, while increasing hunting opportunity ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

State wildlife officer Charles McMullen, assigned to Sandusky County, and state wildlife investigator Brian Bury, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were patrolling on Lake Erie conducting sport fish enforcement. The yellow perch bite was hot, and hundreds of boats were anchored in pursuit of the popular fish. Officer McMullen and investigator Bury were contacting anglers to check for fishing licenses and bag limit compliance when they saw one vessel make a hard turn and appeared to be looking for something. A closer inspection revealed that one of the gentlemen had lost his ball cap in the wind. Because of the chop on the water, the anglers were struggling to retrieve the cap. Investigator Bury quickly maneuvered the patrol vessel into place and officer McMullen netted the cap. The anglers thanked the officers for their assistance and continued to enjoy their day fishing.

This fall, state wildlife officer Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, was working at Pipe Creek Wildlife Area during the early teal and goose hunting season. As she was observing several groups of hunters, she heard shots from one of the groups but was unable to see if they harvested any waterfowl. Officer Butler contacted the group at the end of their hunt. After speaking to the hunters, it was discovered that one had shot a pintail duck, which was out of season at the time. Officer Butler seized the duck as evidence and a summons was issued for harvesting a duck out of season.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

State wildlife officers Zach Hillman and Jason Warren, assigned to Cuyahoga and Ashtabula counties respectively, received information from the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) hotline about an individual possibly shooting ducks in the North Zone during the closed season in Geauga County. Officers arrived on scene and soon spotted a kayaker quickly paddling past the boat launch. Officers noticed duck decoys and a cased shotgun sitting in the front of the vessel. The officers identified themselves and requested the hunter paddle to shore. The individual admitted that he had taken several shots at ducks earlier in the morning. He was issued a summons for hunting waterfowl during the closed season, found guilty in court, and was ordered to pay $274 in fines and court costs. Call 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) to anonymously report wildlife crimes.

While patrolling New Lyme Lake in Ashtabula County, state wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, encountered a concerned angler who believed someone to be illegally camping on one of the lake’s islands. Officer Warren returned to the lake with a boat to further investigate. Although an illegal camp was unoccupied, officer Warren did remove a large amount of trash from the island.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

While out on patrol, state wildlife officer Darin Abbott observed two new bald eagle nests in Lawrence County. One was located on County Road 8 near the County Road 5 junction, and one on U.S. Route 52 near the Ironton to Ashland, Ky., bridges. Winter weather conditions provide exceptional opportunities to view bald eagles, and nesting behavior is also apparent. It is illegal to disturb bald eagles, so remember to respect the bird’s space and stay at least 100 yards away from the bird or nest. You can report sightings of eagle nests, and other specific wildlife species, at wildohio.gov.

During the 2021 spring wild turkey hunting season, state wildlife officer Jared Abele received a complaint from a landowner in Vinton County. The landowner stated he was turkey hunting on his property and was calling to a group of turkeys near a roadway along the edge of his property. The landowner heard two shots from the area near where the turkeys were gobbling, then a few minutes later he heard a vehicle start and observed it leave on the roadway. The landowner observed truck tracks in the ditch and fresh turkey feathers. Officer Abele arrived on scene and met with the landowner and was able to determine a turkey had been killed on the adjacent property. The landowner provided a detailed description of the vehicle. A short time later, officer Abele located the suspect vehicle with a dead turkey in the bed of the truck. Officer Abele contacted two suspects, who admitted to killing the turkey at the location. Both individuals were charged with hunting without permission.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

In December, the Mercer County chapter of Pheasants Forever held a youth pheasant hunt. A safety talk was presented by state wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County. The weather was windy but that didn’t deter 61 youth hunters and 40 volunteers from enjoying a day in the field. Many of the young hunters harvested a bird. The Mercer County chapter was also recently nationally recognized as the nation’s National Education and Outreach Chapter. 

State wildlife officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Adams County, and wildlife officer supervisor Eric Lamb recently presented a private citizen with an Ohio Division of Wildlife Certificate of Recognition thanking her for continually picking up litter at East Fork Wildlife Area in Clermont County. This concerned citizen has picked up litter for more than five years, making a valuable contribution of her time and dedication to conservation, to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and the people of Ohio.

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