Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received a report of a capsized boat on Deer Creek north of Madison Lake. Officer Teders was able to hike into the location and obtain the registration numbers of the vessel. While Officer Teders was unable to locate a phone number for the vessel’s owner, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office performed a welfare check and located the individual. The man stated that he had been fishing the evening before with his daughter when the boat took on water and flipped. Both individuals were unharmed and hiked back to their vehicle and drove home. Officer Teders was able to locate and return several items the fisherman lost, including several fishing poles and four tackle boxes of gear. The water-logged boat was towed to the nearest bridge and returned to a grateful owner.
In March 2018, State Wildlife Officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received a complaint that an unknown person was flying a drone over an eagle’s nest that had recently been built near the city of Marysville. Officer Shields documented the complaint and waited for more information. That summer, Officer Shields received additional information that an individual had posted aerial photos looking down into the eagle’s nest from above. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the photos had been taken from a hot air balloon with a zoom lens from an appropriate distance. The person flying the drone was never identified. It is especially important to give nesting eagles their space while raising young. It is unlawful to disturb an eagle that is nesting, and causing an eagle to leave the nest, especially while it is still cold, could be fatal for young eaglets.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
State Wildlife Officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Williams County, was working at St. Joseph River Wildlife Area when he observed an angler catch several sunfish and place them into a cooler. The possession limit for sunfish at this wildlife area is 10 sunfish per day. When Officer Dickinson contacted the angler, he counted 21 sunfish in the angler’s possession, 11 sunfish over their limit. The angler was issued a summons, found guilty in court, and was ordered to pay $125 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
While on patrol during the fall, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, had parked near an intersection of two seldom traveled roads adjacent to Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area. Officer Brown was compiling information for deer investigations when he observed a vehicle traveling eastbound. As he was looking to the south, Officer Brown observed an object exit the passenger’s side window. He drove to the area and noticed a beverage can in the ditch along the roadway. Officer Brown was able to catch up to the vehicle a few miles down the road and conducted a traffic stop. The driver admitted to throwing the can out of the window. He issued the man a summons for stream litter, a third-degree misdemeanor. The man appeared in court, was convicted, and paid $138 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
State Wildlife Officer Todd Stewart, assigned to Morgan County, received information that an individual was likely digging roots on Wayne National Forest property. Officer Stewart and State Wildlife Investigator Kirk Kiefer contacted the individual who was carrying a five-gallon bucket full of goldenseal, also known as yellow root. Officer Stewart asked the individual if he had a permit to dig goldenseal on Wayne National Forest, and he stated he did not. Digging ginseng and goldenseal is allowed on Wayne National Forest only with a permit. Digging ginseng and goldenseal is not allowed on state wildlife areas. The individual was issued a citation for digging goldenseal without a permit. The goldenseal was forfeited to the state, and the individual paid $125 in fines and court costs.
While patrolling through a section of the Wallace O’Dowd Wildlife Area in Athens County, State Wildlife Officer Mark Basinger and State Wildlife Investigator Travis Abele located a car parked off the road. The officers contacted the male driver and female passenger and discovered that each had warrants for their arrests. During the contact, the officers also discovered the driver was hiding a syringe full of heroin under his leg. The man was arrested and transported to jail. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle in a non-designated area and several drug violations. The officers would like to thank the Athens County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance with transporting the subject to jail and assisting with the drug charges.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
State Wildlife Officer Tim Rourke, assigned to Shelby County, received a call in early January from a concerned citizen regarding a serious hunting violation which had just taken place. The caller informed Officer Rourke that as he was dropping his child off at the babysitter he heard two gunshots close by. The complainant observed a man standing in the middle of a roadway with a shotgun in his hands. The witness stated that he then saw a coyote running across the field. The witness provided Officer Rourke with a very good description of the man and the vehicle, which enabled him to locate the vehicle upon responding. The hunter admitted to shooting from the roadway at a coyote and was charged accordingly. In court, the man received a fine of $355, lost the privilege to hunt, and forfeited his shotgun. Five weeks later, Officer Rourke received another complaint of the same nature. Again, a citizen had been following behind a vehicle when the vehicle suddenly veered into the oncoming lane of traffic, came to a stop, and fired out the driver’s side window. The witness stated that a coyote was the intended target of the shots. Officer Rourke responded immediately, located the violator, and charged him with the offense. The infraction cost the individual $255 in fines and court costs in addition to a shotgun.