Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
During waterfowl season, State Wildlife Officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, received a complaint concerning goose hunters who were shooting geese on a property without permission. Officer Coffman arrived at the location and watched two men shoot geese on the property. When Officer Coffman contacted the men, they admitted to hunting without permission and poaching geese. In court, the two men were found guilty and ordered to pay over $200 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
During the 2018 early teal season in September, State Wildlife Officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Wood County, was observing waterfowl hunters at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area. Officer VonAlmen had entered the marsh well before legal shooting time, which began at sunrise for the early season. Several groups of hunters were present in the marsh. Twenty-five minutes before sunrise, a group of three hunters began shooting. While Officer VonAlmen was in route to contact the group, another group of individuals also began shooting. Both groups were contacted and it was discovered that the second group had not only shot early but had also harvested a wood duck out of season. Summonses were issued to both groups for shooting early and to the second group for taking a wood duck during a closed season. Two teal and the wood duck were seized as evidence.
One November evening, State Wildlife Officer Nathan West, assigned to Wyandot County, received a report of hunting without permission in Wyandot County, but did not initially have a suspect. The next morning, Officer West received a call from the Turn In A Poacher (TIP) hotline about vehicles parked along a roadway, whose occupants might be hunting without permission. Officer West went to the location and observed six individuals hunting waterfowl. He contacted the individuals after their hunt and they admitted they did not have permission to be on the property. Five individuals were charged with hunting without permission. Two individuals were also charged for hunting without plugged shotguns and hunting without Federal Migratory Bird stamps. One individual was a juvenile and was given a warning. All five adults pleaded guilty to seven offenses. The hunters paid $1,649 in fines and court costs, and received a 30-day jail sentence suspended on condition of no future wildlife violations for one year. All five individuals also had their hunting privileges revoked for one year.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
Prior to the spring turkey season, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received information that an individual was going to hunt turkeys over bait in Medina County. On opening day, Officer Brown and State Wildlife Officer Marino Pellegrini, assigned to Portage County, entered the woods before sunrise and worked their way to the area that they suspected was being baited. Shortly after legal shooting light, the officers heard what sounded like a game feeder dispensing bait on the suspect’s property. Several minutes after the feeder had shut off, officers heard a shot come from the same direction. They quickly headed across a field and contacted two men, one of whom had harvested a turkey over the bait the feeder had just spread. The individual was charged with hunting turkey over a baited area and the bird was seized as evidence. The man appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay over $150 in fines and court costs. The turkey was forfeited to the state and the meat was donated.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
State Wildlife Officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, received a call from the Turn In A Poacher (TIP) hotline. A suspect had been seen hunting deer with a shotgun during the archery season. Officer Lemle responded to the call and was able to locate the subject, who was found to have harvested a 7-point buck with a 12-gauge shotgun. The deer and firearm were seized as evidence and the individual was cited for taking a deer by unlawful means. The individual was found guilty in Cambridge Municipal Court and was ordered to pay $265 in fines and court costs and received a 1-year hunting license suspension. The deer was forfeited to the state.
This past July, State Wildlife Officer Wes Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, was patrolling Monroe Lake Wildlife Area when he noticed a vehicle parked close to the lake. Officer Feldner found two individuals fishing on the shore of the lake. Both individuals admitted to catching fish but neither possessed a valid fishing license. Officer Feldner explained to both individuals that Monroe Lake is a public fishing area and a fishing license is required by anyone over 16 years old. Both individuals were issued a summons for fishing without a license and both posted the $125 bond amount in the Monroe County Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
State Wildlife Officer Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, received complaints from multiple sources who were concerned about a group of individuals who were hunting deer on a leased property in Brown County. As Officer Lamb investigated the complaints, he discovered possible tagging violations and suspects. As the investigation progressed, Officer Lamb enlisted the aid of State Wildlife Officers Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, and Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County. Multiple deer violations were subsequently discovered, and the officers learned that deer were being harvested on the lease property and checked in under landowner status using other people’s names. Two of the suspects were using their mother and stepfather’s information to check the deer in under “landowner” status. At the conclusion of the investigation, three individuals were charged with a total of seven violations. The three men paid a total of $1,280 in fines and court costs.