Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
Following the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was assisting State Wildlife Officer Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, with follow-up investigations after the deer gun season. Officer Teders discovered an abnormal tagging history for a hunter from Pennsylvania. During the investigation, it was determined that the hunter was leasing property during peak rut and hunting without a non-resident hunting license and a deer permit. The investigation uncovered that this hunter had been hunting the last two years without the proper permits and tags. The hunter would only purchase the tags after harvesting a deer. Multiple charges were filed in Licking County Municipal Court, which included hunting without a hunting license, hunting without a deer permit, and providing false data to game check. The hunter returned to Licking County and was arraigned by Judge Higgins. The hunter was found guilty and was ordered to serve 10 days in jail and had a 3-year hunting license revocation. He was ordered to pay $1,317 in fines and court costs and forfeited two antlered deer skulls. In addition to the hunting license suspension, the hunter’s name was entered into the Wildlife Violator Compact. Each state in the compact will then review the charges and could possibly revoke his hunting privileges within their state.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In August of 2017, Lake Erie Investigator Kevin Good and State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, were working on Lake Erie. Wildlife Communication Specialist Meredith Gilbert was also on board that day learning about sport fish enforcement on Lake Erie. The officers observed a man casting near one of the channel markers in the Toledo shipping channel. The officers contacted the man and asked to see his Ohio fishing license, to which he responded that he was in Michigan. The officers advised him that he was in Ohio, and he needed to have an Ohio fishing license. He responded by shouting to the officers, “how am I supposed to know I’m in Ohio?” The officers informed him that that the channel marker he was casting near was clearly in Ohio. The angler’s boat was also equipped with two large GPS chart plotters that showed their location. Officer Kaufmann issued the man a summons for fishing without a license.
While working waterfowl enforcement during early teal season, State Wildlife Officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Wood County, observed two men hunting at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area. Both men shot at a pair of large ducks that were not teal, killing one of the birds. Officer VonAlmen contacted the hunters in the marsh and determined that the duck that had been shot was a mallard. The officer also discovered a pied billed grebe in their boat, which the hunters had harvested earlier that morning. Both of the birds were seized as evidence and each hunter received a summons in Oregon Municipal Court. They each paid $142 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
While patrolling along the banks of the Ohio River, State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, and State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, observed numerous individuals fishing. Officer Porter contacted a group and noticed that one of the men appeared very nervous. The man stated that he had left his fishing license at home. After obtaining his driver’s license, Officer Porter quickly realized that he was the brother of an individual who recently had his residence searched by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Officer Porter met with Officer Turner and advised him of the situation. It was also relayed from dispatch that the man did not possess a valid fishing license and had an active warrant out of Jefferson County. He was arrested and escorted back to Officer Porter’s patrol vehicle. The subject was issued a summons for fishing without a license and transported to the Jefferson County Jail. He was later convicted in court of fishing without a license and ordered to pay $200 in fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, received a call from a landowner who had observed lights in a field late at night, and had found entrails from a deer the following day. Officer Janosik arrived on scene and located vehicle tracks leading in the field. As he was leaving the area, he noticed a vehicle in a neighboring driveway with what appeared to be deer blood on the rear bumper. Officer Janosik contacted the homeowner and through the investigation determined that the landowner’s friend had illegally shot a 20-point antlered deer without a deer permit and attempted to game check it in as a landowner harvest. A few weeks later during the deer gun season, Officer Janosik was called to the same area about an individual who had shot across the roadway. When he arrived, he found a dead Cooper’s hawk. The results of the investigation revealed that the homeowner with the truck in the driveway Officer Janosik had contact several weeks earlier had killed the bird. Both men were eventually charged with multiple wildlife offenses and ordered to appear in the Columbiana County Municipal Court. The individual who attempted to cover up his friend’s illegal harvest and shot the Cooper’s hawk was convicted and ordered to pay $370 in fines and court costs. The man who illegally harvested the white-tailed deer was convicted and ordered to pay $685 in fines and court costs. In addition, his hunting privileges were revoked, and he was placed on probation for 1 year. The white-tailed deer was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In December 2016, State Wildlife Officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, investigated a violation involving an individual hunting without permission and shooting a deer from a public roadway. Eyewitnesses provided valuable information about the incident and the identity of the individual. The individual had left the scene and went to his residence in Licking County. Officer St. Clair forwarded the information about the incident to State Wildlife Officers Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, and Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, who contacted the individual at his residence. The individual was issued multiple citations for the violations, and the deer he unlawfully harvested was seized as evidence. The individual later failed to appear in the Noble County Court and a warrant was issued for his arrest. In October 2017, the individual was stopped in Licking County for a traffic violation and was arrested for the warrant. Following his arrest, the individual was transported to Noble County where he appeared in front of the judge. He was found guilty of the wildlife violations and was ordered to pay $592 in fines and in court costs. In addition, his hunting license was suspended for one year. The individual was given credit for the three days he served in jail. The deer was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
In November 2017, State Wildlife Investigator Heath Horn was contacted about an abandoned safe that a Division of Wildlife employee had found on Kinnikinnick Wildlife Area in Ross County. Investigator Horn arrived on site and observed a small safe with a bent key in it. He contacted the Ross County Sheriff’s Office to have their K9 unit respond. Upon arriving, the handler worked the K9 in the area to be sure the item was safe to open. Once the scene was clear, the safe was opened. There was nothing in the safe, but the K9 handler agreed that it was a good idea to use caution with this item. The Ross County Sheriff’s Office took possession of the property to see if it was reported stolen.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In late October, State Wildlife Officers Austin Levering, assigned to Mercer County, and Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, were working on a jacklighting project in southern Adams County. State Wildlife Investigator Joel Buddelmeyer was concurrently conducting surveillance and informed Officers Levering and Keller that he had viewed a spotlight sweeping through the field. He gave the officers a description of the vehicle, which they located. Officers Keller and Levering spoke with both the driver and front seat passenger. The driver stated that he was only driving the van and not using the spotlight. The passenger stated that he had pointed the red light out of the driver’s side window and turned it on to locate white-tailed deer. During their contact with the vehicle’s occupants, the officers located a cocked crossbow in the back of the van. No bolt was present in the track of the crossbow, but several bolts had been removed from the quiver and were resting beside the crossbow. The front passenger claimed ownership of the crossbow and said that he had harvested an 11-point buck earlier that morning. He stated that the deer carcass was back at their camp. State Wildlife Officers James Carnes, assigned to Highland County, and Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, joined Officers Keller and Levering for the investigation at the hunting camp. Once there, the officers located the skull plate and antlers of the buck that the hunter had harvested earlier that morning. Further investigation by the officers revealed that the deer was not checked in before he began to remove the skin, head, or other parts of the deer. After the field investigation, the red tactical light and the crossbow were seized as evidence. The hunter was issued one summons for jack-lighting and one summons for removing the head and skin of a deer before game checking. He appeared in the Adams County Court and was ordered to pay $1,650 in fines and court costs.