This past December, investigators from the Lake Erie Unit were working waterfowl enforcement on Lake Erie. The investigators watched as a group of duck hunters failed to retrieve several mergansers they had shot. The investigators contacted the group of hunters at the nearby ramp as they finished hunting for the day. The boat driver was issued a summons for wanton waste. While accessing the man’s information in the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s database, the investigators discovered the system showed he had checked in a deer that morning and had killed it at 7:30 a.m., even though he had been duck hunting all morning. It was eventually determined that he had given his deer tag to a friend who had used it. Both men were cited and paid a total of $814 in fines, court costs, and restitution for the deer.
During the 2018 January waterfowl season, State Wildlife Officer, Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, was informed of a waterfowl hunter who had fallen into the Scioto River. With the air temperatures in the single digits Officer Elster knew it could be a time sensitive situation. Officer Elster contacted one of the hunting groups in the area and informed them of the situation and where the hunter had last been seen. The group of hunters made their way to the location while Officer Elster was in route. A short time later, Officer Elster arrived at the parking area and met with the Pickaway County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and local emergency services. Officer Elster drove his vehicle to the opposite side of the river and began driving down a field edge to locate the hunter. Several hundred yards down the field edge, Officer Elster located someone hunkered down along the tree line. After speaking with the individual, Officer Elster confirmed he was the person who had fallen into the water. The individual was cold and wet but otherwise unharmed. With the assistance of the hunters in the boat, the individual was taken to a waiting ambulance for treatment and released at the scene.
State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, received a complaint from a homeowner who informed him of some safety concerns about goose hunters who were set up in a field adjacent to the residence. Officer Warren went to the area and observed the hunters who were positioned to shoot toward the road and multiple residences. Officer Warren contacted the two men who appeared to be seasoned waterfowl hunters. He was astonished when the hunters indicated they were planning on shooting toward the road. One of the hunters stated that he had forgotten his hunting license and required stamps at home. Officer Warren was able to verify that the hunter had purchased a hunting license and Ohio wetlands habitat stamp but failed to show proof that he had purchased a Federal migratory bird hunting stamp. Officer Warren spoke to the hunters about the safety concerns and then issued a summons to the man for violating a migratory waterfowl regulation. The man was convicted in Ashtabula Western County Court and fined $120.
During the statewide muzzleloader season, State Wildlife Officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, received a call from a landowner who had found drag marks and foot prints in the snow on his property. Officer Janosik arrived on scene and was able to follow the tracks back to a house where the deer had been taken. Officer Janosik contacted the hunter and located the untagged deer. The individual was issued a summons for the deer violation and ordered to appear in East Liverpool Municipal Court. The man was convicted and ordered to pay $182 in fines and court costs.
In late March, a fishing enforcement project was conducted at Caldwell Lake at the Scioto Trail State Park during a scheduled trout release. State Wildlife Officer Bob Nelson, assigned to Ross County, and Natural Resource Officer Trent Scott were contacted about two men who were fishing but had already caught their daily limit of trout earlier that day. Once the two men left the area, Officer Nelson and Officer Scott initiated a traffic stop. The officers immediately recognized the two men from a contact earlier in the day when each angler had taken a limit of trout. Both men were charged with taking over their limit of trout and pleaded guilty in Chillicothe Municipal Court.
During the 2017-2018 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Donnelly, assigned to Washington County, was driving along a road when he saw an individual notice his truck and duck into a barn. Officer Donnelly parked his truck, and while walking up to the barn, observed an eight-point buck laying in the back of a UTV. Officer Donnelly knocked on the barn door and was invited inside. He noticed the individual he had seen earlier was frantically attempting to fill out a deer permit. Officer Donnelly asked the individual to step outside, so they could look at the deer. There was no temporary tag on the deer, and the individual still didn’t have his deer permit filled out. He was issued a summons for failing to temporarily tag the deer upon harvest and paid $250 in fines and court costs.
One Fourth of July, State Wildlife Officer Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, was patrolling Spring Valley Wildlife Area. When Officer Hunt drove by the shooting range, he discovered a vehicle parked at the main gate. The range was closed that day due to the holiday. Officer Hunt parked at the gate and started walking around the complex. After a few minutes, he found a man at the archery range shooting a bow. When contacted, the archer stated that he knew the range was closed, but since he had driven so far, he decided to take a few shots. The man was issued a summons into Xenia Municipal Court where he pleaded guilty.