Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
During the 2018 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, received a complaint about out-of-state hunters crossing property they did not have permission to be on to gain easier access to property where they had permission to hunt. After speaking with the complainant, it was clear that the hunters were no longer on the property. The next morning, Officer Kaufmann received information from the same complainant that the hunters had again crossed his property. Officer Kaufmann arrived at the complainant’s property and located two sets of boot tracks in the fresh snow that had fallen overnight. Officer Kaufmann followed the tracks to a tree stand where he contacted one hunter. A second hunter soon arrived in the same location, and both were issued a summons for hunting without permission. Each hunter appeared in court and paid $175 in fines and court costs.
During the 2019 deer muzzleloader season, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, was patrolling Willard Marsh Wildlife Area when he saw a vehicle drive down the road and stop in a parking area. Several individuals exited the vehicle. After watching and listening for a few minutes, Officer Kaufmann began to hear shots fired from the same parking area. Officer Kaufmann had previously received numerous complaints about individuals target shooting at this location. When Officer Kaufmann arrived at the parking area, one individual had a firearm. After speaking to the group, one summons was issued for target shooting on state-owned property at an undesignated shooting range. The individual was later found guilty and ordered to pay $185 in fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Investigator Brian Bury, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, received information of a person hunting without permission in Ottawa County. After further investigation, it was discovered that a man had shot at least one deer and not checked it in. It was also discovered that the man was hunting under a hunting license revocation. He was contacted about the violations but refused to turn over the deer. Investigator Bury continued to monitor the case and discovered the suspect had tried to dispose of the illegally-taken deer into the Little Portage River. He was charged with five wildlife violations and paid more than $1,500 in fines, court costs, and restitution. In addition, he spent 33 days in jail, forfeited his crossbow, and had his hunting license revoked for an additional three years.
While conducting sport fish enforcement on Middle Bass Island in Lake Erie, state wildlife officers observed a group of nine men cleaning a limit of walleye after a morning fishing trip. The officers later observed five members of this same group return to the lake to go fishing. When the group returned from the second trip, they were contacted by State Wildlife Investigator Kelsey Brockman, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit. Further investigation revealed that they had caught a limit of walleye in the morning, and they were in possession of an additional 24 walleye from the second trip. Each individual was cited for exceeding the daily bag limit and received a one-year fishing license suspension, $150 fine, and 10 days of jail suspended. A total of $1,200 in restitution for the extra walleye was also collected.
During Labor Day weekend, State Wildlife Investigators Kevin Good and Brian Bury, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were working on Lake Erie and saw a single man trolling more than two rods from his boat. The officers contacted the man and Investigator Good recognized him as an individual that had been charged multiple times for being over the limit of walleye. When the investigators looked in the man’s cooler, they could see that there were more than six walleye. Investigator Good found that the man was in possession of nine whole walleye and an additional five walleye caught that day that the man had already filleted, for a total of 14 walleye, eight over the daily bag limit. The man also admitted to littering, disposing of the filleted walleye carcasses in Lake Erie. The man was charged with being over the daily bag limit of walleye, trolling more than two rods, possession of fillets on Lake Erie, and littering. The man’s fish, boat, and fishing tackle were all seized. He was found guilty of all charges and paid significant fines and restitution. All the items seized were ordered forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
In November 2018, State Wildlife Investigators Matthew Fisher and Jason Hadsell, both assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were contacting waterfowl hunters when a boat with four people on board approached the ramp. Investigators Hadsell and Fisher asked to see the hunters’ licenses, state and federal waterfowl stamps, and proof of HIP survey. While the four occupants were getting out of the boat, Investigator Hadsell saw a dead grebe laying on the floor. He asked who had shot the bird and one hunter indicated that he had, and it was only bird killed that day. Investigator Hadsell asked if he knew what kind of bird it was, and the man said it was a merganser. He informed the man that it was a grebe and was not legal to hunt in Ohio. Investigator Fisher searched the Ohio license system and found that one of the other hunters did not possess a valid federal duck stamp which is required to be carried while hunting waterfowl. That hunter was charged with hunting without having a federal stamp in his possession, and the other hunter was charged with killing a non-game bird for shooting the grebe. The hunter that had shot the grebe pleaded guilty to the charge in Conneaut Municipal Court and paid $345 in fines and court costs. The case is still pending for the hunter that did not have his federal waterfowl stamp.
During the 2018-2019 deer season, State Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, received information of a person poaching deer. Officer Van Cleve searched the deer check records and noticed that the suspect did not have valid a hunting license or deer permit, and no deer harvest was reported. Officer Van Cleve contacted the suspect at his residence. The suspect stated that he had not killed a deer during the season. Furthermore, he was on probation and not allowed to have a firearm. Officer Van Cleve asked the suspect if he could look around his barn. The suspect agreed and told Officer Van Cleve he had several deer parts from road-killed deer. In the barn, Officer Van Cleve found four buck heads. Officer Van Cleve asked to see the documentation for the deer, and the suspect stated he only had one deer carcass receipt for a road-killed deer, and that was for a doe. The suspect admitted to killing two of the antlered deer and stated that one was given to him by a friend. Officer Van Cleve issued the man five citations and seized the deer heads as evidence. The suspect paid $1,316 in fines and court costs and his hunting license was suspended for four years.
During the 2018 deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Matt Smith, assigned to Defiance County, responded to a complaint of hunting without permission. Officer Smith was informed by the landowner that she had witnessed three individuals hunting on an adjoining property. The individuals shot a deer on her property and then quickly dragged it back to where they had permission to hunt. After looking at the scene, Officer Smith could clearly see where the deer had been killed, moved onto the adjoining property, and then field dressed. Officer Smith contacted the involved parties and all individuals were cited for hunting without permission. The shooter was also charged with failing to immediately tag the deer where it fell.
During the 2018 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, received a complaint of someone hunting without permission. The complainant was hunting on property where he had permission and had come across another hunter who did not have permission to hunt the property. Officer Kennedy responded to the call and located the suspect, issuing the man a citation for hunting without permission. He pleaded guilty and paid a $250 fine plus court costs.
During the 2018 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Wood County, responded to a hunting without permission complaint. When Officer VonAlmen arrived at the location, two hunters were waiting for him. One of the hunters explained that he had shot and injured a deer on property he had permission to hunt, but the deer had run onto an adjacent property. The second hunter, who was the other hunter’s grandfather, knew the property owner and believed he had permission to hunt there. The hunters had entered the property to retrieve the injured deer. After hearing the hunter’s story, Officer VonAlmen spoke with the landowner who stated he did know the grandfather but did not want anyone hunting on his property. The landowner did not want to press charges and allowed the hunters to take the deer. After Officer VonAlmen departed, he checked the deer harvest database for that morning and noticed the grandfather had checked in a buck. Officer VonAlmen contacted the grandfather, who admitted to checking in the buck for his grandson so he could continue to hunt. The buck was seized and forfeited to the state. The grandson was issued a summons for providing false information during a game check and paid $190 in fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Williams County, was conducting enforcement activity at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in February when he observed a vehicle with two occupants stopped along a roadway. He observed them cutting firewood from state property and loading it into their vehicle. After contacting the two individuals, Officer Dickinson discovered the bed of their truck was filled with firewood taken from the wildlife area. Officer Dickinson issued both individuals a summons for the violation, and had the firewood returned to the area. Both individuals were found guilty and paid more than $250 in fines and court costs.
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, contacted two men who were filming a web video along a creek. The two men were trespassing on private property. They were drinking bottles of beer and assured their viewers they would pick up their trash when they left. The men finished their recording and threw their bottles into the creek. Officer Coffman contacted the men after he observed them littering. Each was issued a summons for stream litter which carries a possible fine of $500.
Just prior to the 2018 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, was contacted about a social media post. The caller said that the post included a picture of a young lady posing with a dead deer and a shotgun. Officer Grote checked harvest records and found that she had not checked in a deer. He contacted the young lady and her father who both admitted that they had gone out together and each had shot at the deer that was harvested. The daughter had a hunting license, but she did not have a deer permit. Her father had both a hunting license and a deer permit. Instead of checking in the deer accurately and contacting a state wildlife officer about the mistake of harvesting a deer with a firearm before the start of the season, the pair butchered the deer and did not check it in. They then disposed of the carcass in a small stream. Officer Grote issued each of them summonses for their violations, and both were found guilty in the Marion Municipal Court. They paid $326 in fines and court cost and were sentenced to 10 days of jail which were suspended.
While on patrol prior to the deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Bill Bullard received a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) report regarding a deer that had been killed the day before. The person believed to be responsible for killing the animal denied he had killed it. However, pictures had been taken showing the suspect with the deer the day prior. The man was issued a summons for possessing a dead deer without properly tagging it and paid $256 in fines and court costs.
On opening day of the 2018 deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received information about people potentially hunting deer without wearing the required hunter orange clothing. Officer Smith responded to the area and requested assistance from State Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, and Wildlife Investigator Justus Nethero when it was discovered that the hunters had fled the woodlot. During the investigation, Officer Smith located a shotgun that had been left in the woods along with an untagged deer. The officers located the group of hunters hiding in the barn loft on the property. Three subjects were found guilty in the Bellefontaine Municipal Court and paid a total of $1,380 in fines and court costs, and each received a one-year hunting license revocation. A Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) reward was given to the caller for taking the time to report the violation. Readers are reminded to call 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) if you have information about a wildlife violation. You can remain confidential and you may receive a cash reward for the information you provide.
While on patrol during the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, contacted a group of hunters returning to their vehicles after a deer drive. After checking licenses and deer permits, Officer Zerkle observed an untagged deer in the bed of a truck and asked who had shot the deer. One of the men admitted the deer had been loaded into the truck and driven from Licking County to Fairfield County without a temporary tag. The hunter was issued one summons for transporting the deer without having a tag filled out or attached. He was found guilty in the Fairfield County Municipal Court and paid $275 in fines and court costs.
During the 2018 deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, and Law Enforcement Supervisor Leighland Arehart were on patrol when they observed a subject sitting in a tree stand not wearing hunter orange clothing. Both Officer Elster and Supervisor Arehart contacted the subject and advised him of the safety requirements for hunting deer with a gun. As the subject got down from the stand, Officer Elster asked to see his hunting license and deer permit. The subject had a valid license, but no deer permit. A check of the subject’s gun revealed it was loaded with more than three rounds. The subject was issued a citation for hunting deer without a valid permit. A verbal warning was issued for hunting deer with a firearm loaded with more than three rounds and for not wearing a hunter orange during the deer gun season. The subject was ordered to pay $110 in fines and court costs in the Circleville Municipal Court.
After the deer season, State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was examining Madison County landowner harvest records in the harvest database. Officer Teders was able to identify several individuals who had harvested deer and game checked animals as landowner harvest but were not listed as property owners within the county. Officer Teders conducted multiple interviews, and it was determined that several of the individuals interviewed during the course of the investigation had harvested deer and checked the animal as a landowner harvest, but did not meet the definition of landowner or landowner’s child. These individuals were educated on the landowner’s regulations. In several of these interviews, secondary violations were discovered, and charges are pending in Madison County Municipal Court.
During the 2018 two-day deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received a phone call from a landowner. The landowner was calling about hunters who were on an adjacent property. Officer Smith later met with the hunters on the adjacent property after they finished their evening hunt. The hunters informed Officer Smith that the neighboring landowner had fired two shots from a gun while they were hunting, and was also running a chainsaw. The group of hunters thought that the man was doing this to make noise to scare away deer and interfere with the hunt. Officer Smith met with the initial caller, who confessed to firing two shots from a rifle onto his property to scare any deer away from the hunters on the adjacent property. The man was found guilty in the Bellefontaine Municipal Court on a charge of hunter harassment and paid $210 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, was on patrol when he contacted a group of hunters at a deer camp. Officer Janosik spoke to the men and asked to see their licenses and permits. All of the individuals produced Ohio resident hunting licenses and deer permits. As Officer Janosik was leaving, he observed a licensed truck from Indiana that was hidden behind the other vehicles in the camp. Further investigation revealed that one of the hunters was a nonresident who provided false information to obtain a resident hunting license and deer permit. He was issued summonses for both violations and ordered to appear in court. He was convicted and ordered to pay $385 in fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, State Wildlife Officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, and K-9 Officer Finn responded to a complaint of hunting without permission during the deer season. K-9 Officer Finn led the officers to deer parts, a blood-covered arrow, and a trail camera. This evidence was later used to prove the suspect had killed a deer on property where he did not have permission. The man was contacted and the deer was seized as evidence. He was charged and convicted in Oberlin Municipal Court where he paid $350 in fines and costs. In addition, the deer was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
One evening during the fall, State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, and State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, were conducting surveillance along a rural road where they had received several reports of deer being shot. While sitting at their location, they observed a truck travelling toward them while casting three spotlights from three different windows. The officers initiated a traffic stop on the truck, which had West Virginia license plates. An inspection of the vehicle uncovered a loaded rifle, several spotlights, and knives covered in deer hair and blood. All items were seized as evidence. During the investigation, the officers determined that the men were responsible for a deer killed on that road within the previous week. Officer Turner contacted the West Virginia DNR, who sent officers to the suspect’s home. The West Virginia officers recovered 17 deer heads that had been killed illegally within the past two weeks, including a large antlered deer. The suspects were issued several summonses and ordered to appear in court. After the men were convicted, they were ordered to pay a total of $3,000 in fines and court costs and $9,784.86 in restitution for the large antlered deer. The men also spent 10 days in jail and had their hunting privileges suspended for 10 years. The spotlights, knives, deer parts, and rifle were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Additional cases are pending in West Virginia.
During the deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, received information from a caller who observed an individual dump a deer carcass at an old oil wellsite. The caller provided a vehicle description and a license plate number. Officer Frank traveled to the site and located the deer carcass. He discovered evidence leading him to believe that the deer had been killed by a firearm instead of legal archery equipment. Officer Frank contacted the suspect later that day. The investigation revealed in addition to dumping the deer carcass, the deer had been shot at night with a firearm and was not game checked. The deer meat was seized, and the suspect charged. The man appeared in court, was convicted, and paid more than $330 in fines and costs. He also was ordered to complete eight hours of community service and his hunting privileges were suspended for one year. The deer meat was forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
During the opening weekend of the early goose and teal hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, responded to a complaint of individuals shooting from a boat on Tappan Lake. He contacted the hunters and asked to see the birds they had harvested. One of the men reached into the live well and retrieved two Canada geese and four hen mallards. Mallards are not legal game during the early waterfowl season. The men were issued several summonses for taking waterfowl in the closed season and ordered to appear in court. They were convicted and paid $1,510 in fines, court costs, and restitution.
State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, and State Wildlife Investigator Brian Keyser were on patrol when they observed a vehicle lose traction in the snow and become stranded on railroad tracks. The officers then heard a train whistle in the distance. The two officers ran to the car and noticed that the car’s tires were resting in deep groves that had been cut in the snowpack by train traffic. Officer Warren was able to quickly contact the Conneaut Police and the railroad company about the situation, and the train was stopped before the crossing. Another driver with a truck approached the crossing and pulled the vehicle free of the tracks. The driver of the vehicle thanked the officers for their assistance as they drove away.
In the evening following the last day of the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, was on patrol in an area of suspected spotlighting activity. After dark, he observed a truck on the opposite ridge spotlight several fields. As the truck approached his position, Officer Turner could see the spotlight was being cast from the driver’s side of the truck. He performed a traffic stop and uncovered multiple violations. Two Pennsylvania residents in the truck were in possession of a loaded rifle and an untagged deer. They also admitted to hunting deer all week without a non-resident hunting license or deer tag. Both individuals were charged and ordered to appear in court. Both men were convicted and ordered to pay a total of $2,750 in fines, court costs, and restitution. In addition, their hunting privileges were revoked for six years, and the rifle, spotlight, and deer were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
While following up on a tip, State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, had heard about a large 26-point buck that had been killed by a man in Holmes County. Officer Turner knew that the buck had lived near the Coshocton/Tuscarawas county line because he had seen several trail camera photographs of the unique animal. Based on photographs of the animal posted online, Officer Turner and State Wildlife Officer Michael Budd, assigned to Knox County, were able to determine where the individual had taken the 26-point deer to be mounted. They arrived at the taxidermist’s shop and obtained the deer harvest confirmation number. Using the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s deer harvest database, they discovered that the deer was checked in as an 8-point buck. Later that day, they met with the suspect. The results of the investigation revealed that the man had harvested an 8-point buck in the morning and then killed the 26-point buck later that afternoon. The man then used the confirmation number for the 8-point to attach to the 26-point to make it appear legal. A few days later, the man checked in a “phantom” doe to obtain a confirmation number to attach to the 8-point deer. With the help of additional information gathered by State Wildlife Officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, the man was issued several summonses and ordered to appear in court. He was convicted and paid $837 in fines and court costs, as well as $27,904.46 in restitution for the 26-point buck that scored 228 7/8”. In addition, the man’s hunting privileges were revoked for one year.
During the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Scott Denamen, assigned to Geauga County, received information involving misuse of a deer permit. Officer Denamen arrived at the suspect’s residence and discovered a button buck that had been game checked by an individual who had not killed it. The man was issued a summons and the deer was seized as evidence. The man appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay $230 in fines and court costs. The deer was forfeited to the state and donated to a charitable organization.
While patrolling Lorain County during the statewide deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dave Shinko received a request for assistance from the Oberlin Police Department. Officers were attempting to assist hunters track an injured deer that had run into the city limits. During the interaction with the hunters, Officer Shinko noticed fresh blood on the ground and questioned the men. The investigation revealed that one of the hunters had killed a deer earlier in the day, had not properly tagged it, and was continuing to hunt without a valid deer permit. The man was issued summonses for the offenses and paid $200 in fines and costs in Oberlin Municipal Court.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In January, State Wildlife Officer Bob Nelson, assigned to Ross County, responded to a complaint about spotlighting and shooting deer from the road in Scioto County. A landowner reported hearing a shot after seeing a vehicle spotlighting deer. The landowner recognized the truck and confronted two suspects who had just killed a deer. Officer Nelson collected evidence from the scene and contacted the two suspects. The driver admitted that he had been driving the vehicle while his friend had shot the deer from the passenger side of the truck. Officer Nelson and State Wildlife Officer Darin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, contacted the second suspect, who admitted to shooting the deer from the truck. The driver of the vehicle was charged with spotlighting and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. He was found guilty and assessed with court costs and received 10 hours of community service. The passenger was charged with hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and shooting from a roadway. He was found guilty, ordered to pay $500 plus court costs, was placed on probation for two years, and was ordered to serve 60 days in jail, suspended. He also lost his hunting privileges for two years. All items seized as evidence, including a shotgun, were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
In September 2018, State Wildlife Officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, received several complaints about someone digging ginseng illegally. Officer Allison, with help from the Coshocton County Sheriff’s Office, found a vehicle parked along a township road in the area of the complaints and set up surveillance. Two suspects soon exited the woods and went to the vehicle. Officer Allison and a sheriff’s deputy contacted the individuals and found they had been digging ginseng. Neither individual could provide permission to access the property. The ginseng they harvested was seized, and each individual was issued a summons for digging ginseng without permission. Officers later determined that both individuals had been digging ginseng on other properties in the area without permission. A search warrant was obtained for the residence, where officers discovered 7 pounds of dried ginseng, ginseng digging tools, and ginseng berries. The ginseng had been harvested in June, before the legal season opened on Sept. 1. Both individuals were charged with several counts of digging ginseng during a closed season, digging without permission, and failure to keep accurate records. The sheriff’s office issued additional charges for criminal trespass and theft. Both suspects appeared in Coshocton Municipal Court and were found guilty. They were ordered to pay fines and court costs, as well as to pay restitution to four landowners whose ginseng they had illegally harvested.
In September 2018, State Wildlife Officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, received a report of a woman digging ginseng without permission. The landowner was able to provide valuable information which allowed Officer St. Clair to identify the woman. Officer St. Clair then contacted the woman, who admitted to digging ginseng without permission on the landowner’s property. In addition, Officer St. Clair discovered the woman had dug ginseng several times that month and failed to keep records as required by law. She was issued citations for digging ginseng without permission and failing to keep accurate and complete records. The woman appeared in the Noble County Court and the Cambridge Municipal Court where she was found guilty. She was ordered to pay a total of $644 in fines and court costs.
In November 2018, State Wildlife Officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, received a phone call about hunting violations that had occurred on the second day of the youth deer gun season. Officer Witham responded to the area and was able to speak with both the caller and a landowner. The caller had seen someone wearing camouflage walk onto the landowner’s property while carrying a shotgun. A short time later, the caller had heard a gunshot and then witnessed the suspect drive a truck back to the woods and load up the deer. The landowner had not given anyone permission to hunt on his property. Officer Witham was able to locate the suspect, who admitted to killing a doe on the property with a shotgun. The suspect was found guilty of hunting without permission, hunting without a deer permit, taking a deer with a firearm during the youth only firearm season, and failing to game check the deer. He was ordered to pay $610 in fines, restitution, and court costs, lost his hunting privileges for one year, and forfeited the shotgun used in the crime.
While on patrol, State Wildlife Officer Roy Rucker, assigned to Gallia County, contacted several anglers at the R.C. Byrd Dam fishing access on the Ohio River. The group was from out of state and produced their nonresident fishing licenses. The proud anglers began telling stories and showed the officer the sauger that they had caught earlier that morning. The group was properly licensed and within their legal daily bag limits. They were pleased with their success and thanked Officer Rucker and all ODNR Division of Wildlife employees for the work that they do. Officer Rucker departed after congratulating the happy anglers.
During the 2018 deer season, State Wildlife Officer Wes Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, was working an area known for spotlighting activity. Long after dark, Officer Feldner noticed a vehicle turning sideways in the road several times. Officer Feldner conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and the driver admitted to looking for deer in the field. A rifle was found inside the vehicle. The driver was cited for spotlighting and ordered to appear in the Monroe County Court. The individual pleaded guilty to the violations and was ordered to pay $355 in fines and court costs. They were also sentenced to 30 days in jail, suspended, and had their hunting license suspended for one year.
State Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, and his K-9 partner Mattis were called to Muskingum County to assist with a ginseng case in the summer of 2018. Officer Gilkey and K-9 Mattis joined State Wildlife Officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, to track the suspects from their last known location. The officers discovered several pieces of evidence, including an energy drink that K-9 Mattis indicated on. The officers tracked the suspects back to a road where it was later determined the individuals had been picked up by an accomplice. State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, was able to use the energy drink can to identify a suspect from a surveillance video at a local gas station. The suspects were located and confessed, resulting in multiple charges.
During the 2018-2019 deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Brian Baker, assigned to Belmont County, contacted two individuals on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV). The individuals stated they were coming from their deer camp and were heading out to hunt. While Officer Baker checked their licenses and permits, the men stated they had a deer back at their camp. Officer Baker asked both men to return to the deer camp so he could inspect the deer. Officer Baker found four deer at the camp, three of which were untagged. All three men at the camp were issued a summons for not properly tagging their deer and each paid $195 in fines and court costs. Officer Baker was able to determine that the fourth deer was tagged incorrectly, and was also killed by one of the men at the deer camp. That man was issued additional summonses for taking a deer without possessing a valid deer permit, providing false information when game checking a deer, and attaching a falsified deer permit. He paid an additional $1,605 in fines and court costs, was sentenced to 180 days in jail suspended, was placed on two years of probation, and had his hunting license suspended for two years.
During the fall of 2018, State Wildlife Investigator Travis Abele and Natural Resources Officer Trent Scott used surveillance equipment to identify individuals operating motor vehicles off-road at Tar Hollow State Forest. During a six-week period, eight individuals were identified operating vehicles on the area and causing extensive erosion damage. The officers located the suspects and issued summonses to each for operating a motor vehicle on a non-designated area. The suspects paid more than $1,600 in fines and court costs.
In November 2018, State Wildlife Officer Darin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, received a tip that a suspect from North Carolina had taken two deer with a rifle. Officer Abbott received an address in Scottown and was informed that the suspect already had the deer quartered and in 60-quart coolers in the back of his truck. Officer Abbott responded to the address and interviewed the suspect. After speaking with the suspect, Officer Abbott seized two deer carcasses that had not been properly tagged or game checked and issued the suspect two summonses for possession of untagged deer. The defendant paid $530 in fines and court costs, and the deer meat was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
During the 2018-2019 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Donnelly, assigned to Washington County, noticed an individual driving an ATV down the side of a road in Wayne National Forrest. The hunter was wearing a hunter orange coat and had a rifle on a sling on his shoulder. Officer Donnelly watched the hunter from a distance as it appeared he was scanning the hillside as he drove down the road. When the hunter realized Officer Donnelly was behind him, he quickly attempted to unload the gun. The hunter was issued a summons for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. He was found guilty and paid $250 in fines and court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
On the opening day of the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, received a call from a local hunter who informed Officer Keller that someone was hunting without permission on private property close to where he was currently hunting. Officer Keller responded to the area and was speaking with the hunter when he heard an ATV engine start nearby. Officer Keller went into the woods in search of the ATV operator, whom he caught up with about a half mile away. On the ATV were two hunters, one of which was using an illegal rifle to hunt deer. After speaking with the pair, Officer Keller discovered other wildlife violations that had been committed. Both individuals were charged with hunting without permission in addition to numerous other charges. The two defendants pleaded guilty in the Lebanon Municipal Court and paid $1,746 in total fines and court costs. In addition, the hunter who was using the illegal rifle had his hunting privileges revoked for two years.
Earlier this winter, State Wildlife Officer Scott Cartwright, assigned to Carroll County, State Wildlife Investigator Kevin Behr, assigned to southwest Ohio, and ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft Investigator Troy Newman patrolled Brush Creek State Forest to address a Turn In a Poacher (TIP) report of unlawful all-purpose vehicle activity. A total of seven individuals were contacted and multiple violations were documented, such as operating an all-purpose vehicle in a non-designated area, placing bait on a public hunting area, and hunting white-tailed deer with more than one hunting implement. Four summonses were issued, and one handgun was seized. The individuals found guilty paid a total of $940 in fines and court costs.
During the statewide muzzleloader season, State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, was on patrol when he contacted a deer hunter in a ground blind. The hunter was not wearing the required hunter orange and did not have a hunting license or a deer permit. He was also found to be hunting with an illegal rifle. Officer Roberts charged him for hunting deer with an unlawful rifle and for hunting without a license. The hunter was found guilty and paid $848 in fines and court costs.
After receiving information from the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) hotline about a father and son who were hunting without licenses and not checking in deer they were harvesting, State Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, and Investigator Joel Buddelmeyer, assigned to southwest Ohio, located the hunters. One of the individuals did not have a deer permit. After further questioning, it was discovered that the pair had taken multiple deer over several years and neither hunter had game checked a single deer. The officers went to the suspects’ residence and seized all the untagged deer meat and antlers as evidence. The suspects pleaded guilty to hunting without a deer permit, possession of untagged deer parts, and failure to game check a deer. The deer parts were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife and the suspects were ordered to pay $400 in fines and court costs. One of the men lost his hunting privileges for a year.
During the 2018 deer gun season, State Wildlife Investigator Ryan Garrison and State Wildlife Officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, were on patrol and noticed a deer carcass hanging from a tree. They approached the residence and observed a man butchering a deer. The officers asked if the deer had been checked in as required by state law, and the man replied that it was not. The officers noticed it was an antlered deer, and it had been harvested with a rifle not legal for hunting deer in Ohio. While looking in the bed of a nearby truck, they located a second antlered deer and a rifle. That deer hadn’t been checked in, either. The officers then learned that two individuals from Florida were hunting on the property. The officers soon located them. The first was not wearing hunter orange and the second was carrying a rifle that is not legal for hunting deer in Ohio. Neither of the two had a valid nonresident hunting license or deer permit. Further investigation revealed the second hunter had shot the deer in the truck. The three suspects were charged with a combination of hunting without a license and deer permit, taking deer with a rifle, possession of deer without a valid tag, and failing to wear hunter orange. They were found guilty on 12 charges and ordered to pay $3,074 in fines and court costs, $1,000 in restitution, and incurred the loss of hunting privileges. Guns and all deer parts seized were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.