Latest field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife Officers highlight need to obey hunting regulations

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote recently attended a hunter education class in Marion County. While at the class he went outside to retrieve prizes for students who answered questions correctly. He noticed a vehicle that was suspected of driving off-road at Delaware Wildlife Area. After checking photographs Officer Grote confirmed it was the same vehicle. After further investigation it was determined the person was illegally driving off-road at Delaware Wildlife Area. He was issued a summons and was found guilty in Delaware Municipal court. He paid $160 in fines and court costs.

State Wildlife Officers Michael Budd and Adam Smith received a TIP complaint of a possible deer shot with an illegal rifle. The two officers interviewed the property owner where the incident occurred. Through further investigation it was determined the landowner committed multiple violations. He killed a doe in January 2014 with a rifle, which the nephew checked as a bow kill, and the landowner also killed another deer two years ago with a rifle and did not check it in. The landowner was asked if he had killed a buck during the 2014-2015 season with his rifle, which he denied. Evidence revealed the doe he checked during the bow season was actually a buck. The rifle used in shooting the deer and the improperly checked buck were seized as evidence. The landowner was issued a summons for taking a deer out of season with a rifle, and a summons for providing false information when game checking a deer. The nephew was issued a summons for providing false information when game checking a deer, and a summons for permanently game checking a deer killed by another person.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann received a call from concerned citizens about a wild turkey that was hanging around their offices in Wyandot County. The citizens were worried something might be wrong with the turkey. It had been in the area for two days and was harassing people as they walked by. Officer Kaufmann was able to locate the turkey, but was unable to capture it alone. State Wildlife Officer Jason Parr, assigned to Crawford County, arrived to assist. The officers proceeded to try to capture the turkey with a net and crate. They followed the turkey down a sidewalk and behind some houses, but lost sight of it soon after. Officer Parr noticed that the turkey had left a blood trail, and they tracked it into a nearby garage. After receiving permission to enter the garage from the owner, Officer Kaufmann was finally able to capture the turkey. Officer Parr had the crate ready and the turkey was transferred inside. The officers discovered that the turkey had previously sustained an injury, and it was transported to a nearby wildlife rehabilitator for evaluation.

During the 2014 deer-gun season, State Wildlife Officers Cody Klima and Anthony Lemle were patrolling Wood County when they noticed a group of hunters finishing up a deer drive. The officers contacted the hunters near the road to check for licenses and permits. As they checked the first few hunters, the officers noticed that the last two hunters began walking away from their location. Officer Klima caught up with the two hunters. One of the men handed Officer Klima a youth hunting license. The hunter did not have a deer permit with him. During the course of the investigation, the officers discovered that the man was using his younger brother’s license and permits to avoid paying nonresident fees. The younger brother’s permits were also used to check in a buck earlier that week. The two men were charged with five wildlife violations and paid a combined $983 in fines and court costs. Meat from two deer and a set of antlers were also forfeited to the state. The nonresident also received a one-year hunting license revocation.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

On Thanksgiving Day in 2014, State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, and Wildlife Investigator Matt Fisher had contacted numerous waterfowl hunters. While inspecting bag limits Investigator Fisher discovered a horned grebe hidden in one of the boats. The hunter shot the bird and was unable to identify it. He was issued a summons for taking a nongame bird, convicted in Ashtabula Municipal Court, and paid a $285 fine.

While patrolling during the 2014 deer-gun season, State Wildlife Officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, observed an individual carrying a shotgun dressed in camouflage clothing and a red vest. Officer Earick turned his patrol vehicle around but was unable to locate the man. He patrolled the area on foot and soon located the hunter. The man was asked why he was not wearing the required hunter orange clothing. Further investigation revealed the man knew hunter orange clothing was required, and he moved farther into the woodlot when he saw the patrol vehicle. Shortly thereafter Officer Earick located three additional hunters also wearing red vests. The four men were charged with the violation, convicted in court, and each ordered to pay $135 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

During the 2014-2015 hunting season, the antlerless deer permit was only valid in specific counties. State Wildlife Officer Eric Bear is assigned to Washington County, where the antlerless deer permit was not valid. Officer Bear conducted several investigations into the abuse of the antlerless permits in the county. One of these investigations centered on three individuals from Florida who had all used the permit. Officer Bear investigated and discovered one individual harvested two deer, even though he only checked in one. Further investigation revealed that one of the other subjects checked in the deer for him. All used the antlerless permit in a closed county and were issued a summons. All three subjects pleaded guilty, and they paid $1,000 in fines and court costs.

In April 2015, State Wildlife Officer Bob Nelson was on patrol at Ross Lake Wildlife Area and located a group of three individuals on a fishing pier. One of the individuals was fishing while the other two sat around a fire burning illegally on the fishing access area. Officer Nelson observed all three men smoking what appeared to be marijuana from a pipe. He also observed two of the men drinking alcohol. When the group left the area, trash was left behind and the fire was not completely extinguished. Officer Nelson conducted a traffic stop and determined who built the illegal fire on the wildlife area, as well as who was in possession of the marijuana and pipe. Three summonses were issued for littering, one for building a fire on a wildlife area, one for possession of marijuana, and one for possession of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, one of the men had a previous arrest warrant for an open container violation he received in 2014, also at Ross Lake. The man was transported to the Ross County jail and the other two men were released.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

Several state wildlife officers conducted a stream litter enforcement project along the Mad River in Clark County. The focus of this project was to ensure compliance of state litter laws with an emphasis on canoers and those using individual floating devices such as tubes and kayaks. State Wildlife Officer Byron Rice, assigned to Clark County, was working with Wildlife Field Supervisor Matt Hoehn when they received a call from officers up the river that a person sank a beer can while floating along in a kayak. Officers Rice and Hoehn stopped him when he reached their location. The man had no identification with him and was reluctant to identify himself to the officers or to discuss the violation. Further investigation revealed he littered. The man was later found guilty of the violation in Clark County Municipal Court and was ordered to pay a $160 fine. In addition, three other individuals were given litter violations, and others were warned for minor violations.

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