Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was investigating a deer checked in as a landowner-harvested animal. During the investigation, Officer Teders could not locate any property in Plain City, where the hunter lived, that was owned by the hunter. Officer Teders interviewed the hunter and determined that the man was hunting on property he did not own and was not a tenant of the property. It was also determined that the deer was harvested in Union County and was not checked in for over a month after the animal had been harvested. The hunter was charged for providing false data to game check and for failure to check the deer by noon the day after harvest. He was ordered to pay $298 in fines and court costs, given a 1-year hunting license revocation, and placed on two years of probation. The antlered deer skull was also ordered forfeited to the State of Ohio.
In early December 2017, State Wildlife Officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received a report concerning multiple dead deer lying in a field that appeared to have been shot with a rifle. Officer Shields and State Wildlife Officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, handled the initial investigation where they discovered four antlerless deer that had been left at the scene. Officers interviewed suspects and witnesses and served multiple search warrants to collect evidence. Two men were charged in Marysville Municipal Court and pleaded guilty to: hunting deer without the written permission; shooting from a roadway; hunting deer by the aid of a motor vehicle; jacklighting; and hunting deer before and after legal hunting hours. Both men collectively lost their hunting privileges for four years, served 10 days in jail, and were ordered to pay $2,714 in fines, court costs, and restitution. A .45-70 caliber rifle was also forfeited to the State of Ohio. This investigation was made possible thanks to several anonymous callers to the 1-800-Poacher Turn In A Poacher (TIP) hotline.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
During the 2017 deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, was summoned to a hunting without permission complaint. Officer Leibengood arrived and found the landowners had blocked in the hunter’s vehicle, who had a dead deer and was trying to drive away. The landowners alleged that the hunter killed the deer on their property. After questioning, Officer Leibengood determined the hunter had actually killed the animal on a nearby public hunting area, but had not tagged his deer. Officer Leibengood issued a summons to the hunter, who later paid a waiver in lieu of a court appearance.
During the first day of the bonus two-day deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Greg Wasilewski, assigned to Richland County, responded to a report from a landowner that a hunter had shot and killed a deer on his property without permission. Unfortunately, before Officer Wasilewski could reach the hunter, the man had fallen from his tree stand and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. After recovering from his accident, the hunter was charged with hunting without permission and pleaded guilty to the changes in court. This man’s misfortune is a good reminder to always have permission to hunt and to use extreme caution when hunting from a tree stand.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
One cold spring day, State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, received a call from a concerned angler who was fishing a Grand River tributary when he observed a large amount of red colored water suddenly flow into the creek from a pipe. The angler stated that he also noticed several dead fish in the water. Officer Warren responded to the area, met with the caller, and contacted the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist with the pollution investigation. Officer Warren began checking storm drains near the site and noticed a puddle of red liquid outside of a nearby fire station. Officer Warren contacted several individuals at the fire station who advised that they had added a nontoxic pink dye to the water in a fire truck to reveal the gender of an expected baby of one of the firefighters and it had washed into a storm drain. Officer Warren inspected the dye container and verified it was nontoxic and wished the expecting couple well.
State Wildlife Officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, was patrolling Highlandtown Lake Wildlife Area when he observed a vehicle make multiple passes around the boat ramp parking area, destroying the grass. He initiated a traffic stop, identified the driver and issued him summonses for driving a vehicle in a non-designated area and damaging state property. He appeared in Columbiana County Municipal Court, was convicted, and ordered to pay $277 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
During the 2018 spring wild turkey season, State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, and State Wildlife Officer Wesley Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, worked with a wildlife investigator on multiple cases of unlawful baiting for wild turkey. The cases involved feed being placed in front of hunting blinds prior to the opening day of turkey season. Three hunters were contacted after hunting over the locations. All three were charged and convicted in court for hunting wild turkey over a baited area.
State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, was on patrol near the Licking River when he noticed two individuals standing by a vehicle at the Dillon Falls Access Area parking lot. He observed one individual drinking a bottle of water while the other individual opened the trunk and got out a fishing pole, small tackle box, and a white bait container. Later, Officer Berry saw one of the individuals throw an empty water bottle into the weeds. He waited until the pair picked up their things, loaded them into the vehicle, and drove away before initiating a traffic stop. The individual was issued a summons for stream litter and later appeared in Muskingum County Court and received 50 hours of community service.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
While patrolling East Fork Lake, State Wildlife Officers Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, and Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, watched a group of men that appeared to be leaving the lake after fishing. One man reeled in two poles while the other pulled up a stringer of fish. The stringer of fish was placed inside of a plastic bag. The officers beached their boat and contacted the two men. Both stated that they didn't catch any fish and the officers determined that neither of the men had a fishing license. The officers were unable to locate the stringer of fish, and when asked, both men stated that they released the fish into the lake while they were still on the stringer and inside the plastic bag. The man who reeled in the poles was cited for fishing without a license and the other was cited for stream litter for throwing the bag of fish into the lake. They paid $230 in fines and court costs.