Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – February 4, 2022
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, recently attended an annual youth event conducted by the Waldo Sportsman’s Club. Many families attended, and youth and adults alike were able to try many different disciplines of shooting sports. Some of the younger attendees greeted officer Grote, who they remembered from their hunter education class earlier that week. One student excitedly announced he had passed the course, missing only one question. After a safety talk, attendees tried shooting shotguns, rifles, muzzleloaders, and archery. There was also a class to teach the basics of knife sharpening and wood carving. Many events like this are held throughout the state by fish and game clubs. For more information on upcoming events and hunter education courses, visit odnr.gov/events.
In early 2020, state wildlife officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, received a Turn In a Poacher call at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) indicating that a Morrow County resident had harvested two antlered white-tailed deer during the 2019-20 hunting season. A lengthy investigation ensued. In November 2021, officer Eldred, state wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, and state wildlife officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, contacted multiple suspects. The officers determined that the primary suspect had harvested two antlered deer in 2019-20 as well as 2021-22. A second suspect fraudulently game-checked the additional antlered deer. Two antlered deer were seized along with the crossbow used during the violations. The suspects were found guilty in Morrow County Municipal Court and ordered to pay more than $500 in fines and court costs. The primary suspect was ordered to pay $3,600 in restitution, forfeit the crossbow and deer to the state, and serve 12 months on probation. He was also ordered 30 days in jail, which was suspended. If you suspect illegal activity, you can submit information anonymously online at wildohio.gov or by calling 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
During the summer of 2021, state wildlife officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Wood County, received a call from a resident about an owl in their yard. The owl had been on the ground for several hours and was unable to fly. When officer VonAlmen arrived at the location he found a juvenile great horned owl on the ground and in poor condition. The owl was captured and transported to Nature’s Nursery Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Lucas County. The rehabilitators determined the owl was infected with West Nile Virus, which is commonly spread among birds by mosquitoes. Staff treated the owl and brought it back to full strength. The owl was then released back into the wild near the area where it was captured. Thanks to concerned citizens and licensed wildlife rehabilitators, important wildlife species can receive assistance to recover from illness and injury.
In December 2020, state wildlife officer Ethan Bingham, assigned to Williams County, received a complaint about an individual who had harvested five deer, including a second antlered deer, in Williams County. Officer Bingham and state wildlife officer Josh Zientek, assigned to Fulton County, spoke with the individual, who admitted to harvesting a second antlered deer and an antlerless deer on the opening day of the 2020 Ohio deer gun season. The hunter had a friend check in the antlered deer for him, and the antlerless deer was never checked in. In total, four summonses were issued, and the individuals paid $1,049 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
The 2021 Lake and Trails Outdoor Education Fall Camp was held in Carroll County. This annual event teaches hunting skills to children ages 10 to 17. One class focuses on the butchering process for white-tailed deer. State wildlife officers reached out to a local company for help. The owner allowed the use of his company’s equipment to cool and preserve several whole deer leading up to the class. This community partnership between the local business, Lake and Trails Organization, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife enabled the next generation of hunters to successfully take their harvest from the field to the freezer.
State wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned Ashtabula County, was watching a field along a seldom-traveled road when he observed a truck back into an oil well lane. The headlights shined into the field on the other side of the road. The driver then traveled down the road and turned sideways, again shining headlights into the field. Officer Warren stopped the vehicle and found an uncased rifle inside the cab with ammunition sitting nearby. A summons for jacklighting was issued. In Ashtabula Eastern County Court, the individual was found guilty and ordered to pay $345 in fines and courts costs. The rifle was ordered returned to its original owner.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In early November 2021, state wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, and his K-9 partner Mattis were working a complaint area where people had been spotlighting deer. A pickup truck slowed down and shined a light into a harvested corn field. Officer Gilkey pulled out and caught up with the truck as it was still shining a light out the window. Officer Gilkey stopped the truck and ordered the driver out of the vehicle, and then discovered two additional men in the truck. Officer Gilkey called for backup, but the closest units were 30 minutes away. Feeling uneasy about the situation, officer Gilkey deployed K-9 Mattis as backup to make sure the three suspects were taken into custody without resistance. Officer Gilkey safely and confidently put all three suspects into handcuffs. When backup officers arrived, they searched the vehicle and found illegal drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcohol, multiple spotlights, and a loaded rifle. Nine summonses were issued to the three suspects. Each suspect paid $960 in fines and court costs, lost their hunting rights for three years, and were placed on probation for 30 days. The rifle was forfeited to the state.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
Wildlife officer Brad Buening, assigned to Mercer County, received several calls pertaining to late night shooting and spotlighting along the St. Marys River. Officer Buening worked the area and one evening observed a slow-moving vehicle shining a spotlight from the passenger window. A traffic stop was made, and a loaded rifle was discovered in the vehicle. The passenger of the vehicle was then charged for jacklighting from the motor vehicle. The individual was arraigned into Celina Municipal Court and was subsequently found guilty of the violation. The rifle and a handheld spotlight were both forfeited to the state. The total fines and costs were $349, with a one-year hunting license revocation imposed.
In December 2021, state wildlife officers Gus Kiebel, assigned to Adams County, and Matt Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, along with wildlife officer supervisor David Warner participated in the Adams County Shop with a Cop event. The officers rotated shifts so they could assist with the entire event as well as patrol during the weekend white-tailed deer gun season. The officers helped three young Adams County residents shop for Christmas gifts and spent time visiting with them and attendees at the event. Santa made an appearance too, and supervisor Warner was able to visit with him and get a photo.and the officer.