Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State wildlife officers are often called upon by local law enforcement because of their specialized training and equipment, especially if there is an incident that involves locating a suspect in the outdoors. During the 2017 statewide deer gun weekend, State Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, and Natural Resources Officer Chris King were on patrol when they overheard radio traffic from Deputy Niven Jester who was attempting to locate a young man in the woods behind his house. Officers Tipton and King were close and offered to help locate the young man. When they arrived on scene, Deputy Jester informed the officers that the young man had a warrant for his arrest. Officer Tipton's four-wheel drive patrol vehicle was helpful to drive around soggy fields surrounding the woodlot to attempt to locate the man. After a brief search, the officers were able to take the young man into custody without incident.
During the waterfowl hunting season, State Wildlife Officers Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, and Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, responded to a call about a person hunting along a river and was trespassing on a quarry and other private property in Franklin County. The officers contacted a subject who was walking along the river, heading toward his vehicle. The officers discovered a canoe that had been pulled up along the river’s edge and covered with a camouflaged cloth. The hunter stated that the river was flowing too fast and he had to pull off at that spot for safety reasons. However, after further questioning, the officers discovered that the hunter had been trespassing all week along the river and the quarry property. During the contact the officers learned that the hunter had a warrant out of Delaware County for not having a life jacket. The subject was arrested, taken to Delaware County Jail for the warrant and issued a summons for hunting without permission. The hunter was required to pay $188 in fines and court costs for the hunting without permission in Franklin County and $323 in fines and court costs for the warrant and life jacket violation in Delaware County.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In February 2018, state wildlife investigators from the Lake Erie Enforcement Unit conducted commercial fish inspections in the Cleveland area. Businesses that hold a wholesale fish permit or a transportation fish permit from the ODNR Division of Wildlife were inspected to insure permits were up to date. Investigators also inspected freezers to ensure legal fish species and size requirements of fresh water fish were met, and checked businesses for the illegal sale of invasive species, such as big head and silver carp, which are required to be headless or eviscerated. Investigators conducted a total of 23 inspections and issued three warnings for not having a wholesale permit from the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
During the 2017 deer season, State Wildlife Officer Troy Reimund, assigned to Henry County, was reviewing the deer harvest database for clues of possible violations. Officer Reimund discovered a hunter who had checked in a deer as landowner harvested but owned a property without any suitable deer hunting habitat. Upon interviewing the suspect, it was determined that the deer was actually harvested on public land. Officer Reimund issued a summons but the defendant failed to appear in court, so a warrant was issued for his arrest. The defendant had to pay a $500 bond to the court and was required to pay $371 in fines and court costs. The defendant also will have to serve 10 days in jail if he is convicted of another wildlife violation within the next two years.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the Ohio deer season, State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, and State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received multiple complaints about a group of six individuals who were engaged in numerous illegal deer hunting activities. Over the course of two months, several witnesses came forward, resulting in numerous charges against the men including hunting without a license, hunting without deer permits, taking more than one antlered deer, deterring a state wildlife officer, possession of untagged deer parts, and hunting without permission. All six men were convicted in court and ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling more than $2,500. Deer antlers and firearms seized during the investigation were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Furthermore, three of the men lost their hunting privileges for two years.
During deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, received a hunting without permission complaint from a landowner. He responded to the area and met with the complainant. Officer Warren was able to follow the suspect’s footprints in the snow through woodlots, fields, a wetland, and across a set of railroad tracks to a residence. He contacted the suspect who thought the property was owned by a real estate company and believed that no one would care if he hunted the area. The man was issued a summons for hunting without permission and paid a $245 fine in Ashtabula Municipal Court.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In August 2017, State Wildlife Officer Brian Baker, assigned to Belmont County, received anonymous information concerning a timber theft on Egypt Valley Wildlife Area. Officer Baker and State Wildlife Investigator Kirk Kiefer visited the wildlife area and found where red oak and wild black cherry trees had been cut from an area adjacent to private property. They found dozer tracks coming from the local roads and continuing onto the wildlife area where the dozer had been used to make roads to access the timber that was stolen. Officer Baker was able to get information about a suspect who had recently rented a dozer and sold timber. In September 2017, Officer Baker, State Wildlife Officer Wes Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Bryan Postlethwait visited the area to locate the residual stumps, collect information about the timber that had been taken, and assess the amount of damage caused by the dozer. ODNR Division of Forestry assisted by taking measurements required for estimating the amount of timber removed. Officers were able to determine where the timber had been sold and received information from the lumber yard about how much the suspect had been paid. In October 2017, Officer Baker made contact with the suspect who admitted to cutting and removing trees that were located on state property. The suspect was charged with felony theft of state property, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife is seeking restitution of $5771.40, three times the value of the timber.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
While working in Adams County during deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, contacted two hunters at a camp where a butchered deer was hanging. When Officer Kiebel contacted the hunters, they were grinding and packaging the meat. After some questioning, one hunter admitted that he had killed the deer but did not check it in because it was a small deer. He was issued a summons for failing to game check a deer and another summons for a different deer tagging violation that he had committed in Clermont County earlier in the season. The hunter paid a total of $340 in fines and court costs.