Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 29, 2022

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1 

State wildlife officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, received information that a suspect had failed to game check a harvested white-tailed deer. After talking with the suspect, the individual was found in violation of harvesting a buck without properly game checking the harvest. The suspect was issued a summons for possessing a deer without a valid permit, tag, seal, certificate, or game check confirmation number. Officer Levering also took time to explain to the individual the laws regarding how to harvest a deer ethically and legally in Ohio. The suspect was ordered to pay $355 in court costs and fines in Mt. Vernon Municipal Court and the deer was forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

In March, Ohio Division of Wildlife staff, including multiple officers, attended the Ohio Open Season Sportsman’s Expo in Columbus. They enjoyed talking with outdoorsmen and women about a variety of topics as well as answering questions about hunting in Ohio. Several children showed their excitement about hunting wild turkey for the first time this spring. They were eager to share their preparations for the upcoming season and thanked staff for sharing additional tips.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

State wildlife investigator Brian Bury, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, received information from a caller who wished to report an unlicensed fishing guide operating on Lake Erie. Investigator Bury’s initial investigation led him to several other anglers who had booked trips with this individual and he was able to speak to them by phone. He also found that the individual was using a social media account to advertise for his unlicensed charter service and through this investigator Bury discovered an additional 12 victims. The individual was found to have never had a U.S. Coast Guard captain’s license or a Lake Erie Fishing Guide license from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, as required. The unlicensed captain received 14 summonses for serving as a fishing guide on Lake Erie without the proper licenses. The individual pleaded no contest and was found guilty on several charges. He was sentenced to pay $1,300 in fines and court costs, 30 days in jail were suspended, and his fishing license was suspended for one year.

Recently, state wildlife officer Josh Zientek, assigned to Fulton County, was on patrol when he received a call about an injured bald eagle in Wood County. Officer Zientek responded to the area and after a short search located the eagle. He quickly noticed the eagle was injured and unable to fly. With the help of three concerned citizens, officer Zientek caught the eagle. Once the eagle was safely secured in a carrying crate, officer Zientek saw that the eagle had a severe injury to one of its wings. He reached out to Nature’s Nursery, a wildlife rehabilitation center in Lucas County, and transported the eagle to the facility a short time later where it was treated for its injuries.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

In March while conducting follow-up interviews in Stark County, state wildlife officers Scott Cartwright and Jesse Janosik, assigned to Carroll and Columbiana counties, respectively, observed a man in a motorized wheelchair waving at motorists. The officers circled back and contacted the man. He stated that his wheelchair was stuck in the snow. He had tried to get help for some time, but no one had stopped. The officers pushed the man through the snow on the sidewalk. Once he was past the deep snow, he gratefully resumed his travels.

State wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, received information that an individual had shot and killed a river otter. Officer Warren arrived at the residence and discovered the individual skinning the otter in the backyard. Officer Warren issued summonses for shooting a river otter, taking a river otter in the closed season, and hunting without permission. The Ashtabula Western County Court found the individual guilty on all counts and ordered him to pay $345 in fines and costs and forfeit the shotgun used in the crime. Additionally, his hunting license was revoked for one year and he was sentenced to three days in jail, which were suspended under the condition that he has no ODNR-related violations for two years.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

State wildlife officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, was on patrol on opening day of the 2022 white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season when he received a call about someone hunting without permission. A concerned hunter had just arrived at a property he was leasing and found fresh footprints in the snow. A dead buck was hidden along a trail. Officer Witham arrived a short time later and he and the hunter located the dead buck. Officer Witham then received a phone call from the man who harvested the deer. The individual had shot the buck the day before with a crossbow, and it ran onto the leased property. The man and his brother pursued the deer onto the leased property without permission. The man and his brother both pleaded guilty in Jackson County Municipal Court to hunting without permission. They were both found guilty and paid associated fines and court costs.

While following up on investigations from the white-tailed deer gun hunting season, state wildlife officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Perry County, and state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, contacted an individual who admitted to hunting without a valid either-sex deer permit. The hunter was also in possession of several deer heads with antlers that did not have proper wildlife receipts. The individual was charged in Perry County Court and paid $150 for each violation plus court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

State wildlife officer Brad Buening, assigned to Mercer County, recently attended the 2022 Student Wildlife Research Symposium at Hueston Woods State Park. The event showcased middle and high school-aged students projects research related to native Ohio wildlife and their habitats. Officer Buening spoke with students about the duties of a wildlife officer and careers with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

During the 2021-22 white-tailed deer hunting season, state wildlife officers Matt Roberts, Jim Carnes, and Gus Kiebel were working a spotlighting complaint in Adams County. The officers observed an individual spotlighting deer from a vehicle. The officers stopped the vehicle, and the driver was issued a summons for the violation. He was found guilty and paid $250 in fines and court cost.about fishing laws, tackle, and locations to fish in Ohio.

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