Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
While on patrol, State Wildlife Officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, was dispatch to Hargus Lake on a complaint that someone was trolling with six fishing poles. As Officer Elster arrived, he could see an individual near the middle of the lake trolling with four fishing poles. While Officer Elster was observing the individual, Natural Resource Officer Chris Eyman arrived to offer assistance. After a short period of time, Officer Eyman and Officer Elster boarded a boat and made their way to the individual. As the officers approached, the individual reeled in all the fishing lines, rebaited two of them, and only casted two back out. Officer Elster contacted the individual and asked to see his fishing license. While the individual looked for his license, Officer Elster asked how many lines the individual had in the water. The individual stated he only had two lines in the water the whole time. Officer Elster advised the individual he and Officer Eyman both observed him using four fishing poles. After further discussion, the individual admitted he had been trolling with six lines but didn’t see why it was a big deal as long as he did not keep any fish. Officer Elster explained to him that it was not fair to everyone else who is fishing legally. The individual was issued a summons for using more than two lines in the water while fishing and ordered to pay $110 in fines and court costs to the Circleville Municipal Court.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, and State Wildlife Investigator Kevin Good were conducting sport fishing enforcement patrol on Lake Erie when they contacted two individuals at one of the Toledo channel marker buoys. Only one of the individuals was fishing, and Officers Kaufmann and Good asked to see his fishing license. He provided the officers with a Michigan fishing license, and the officers advised they needed to see his Ohio fishing license. The fisherman said he did not have an Ohio fishing license and thought he was in Michigan. The officers informed him that he was not in Michigan, but well within Ohio waters, and he needed to have an Ohio fishing license. The individual was issued a summons for fishing without a non-resident fishing license and paid $152 in fines and court costs.
On opening day of early goose season in 2017, State Wildlife Investigator Jeremy Payne was at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area when he heard several shots nearby and went to investigate. As Investigator Payne approached the area, he observed two geese fly into the wetland. Two shots followed and one bird flew away. Then, about 30 geese flew in and landed around the hunter’s decoys. Soon after landing, two shots rang out and the geese departed. The hunter came out of his hiding location and collected the dead geese and his decoys. Investigator Payne contacted State Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, to check the hunter when he came out of the wetland. As the hunter left, Investigator Payne went into the area where the hunter was set up and found another dead goose. Upon contacting the hunter, the officers confirmed that he had five geese in his possession, and Investigator Payne was holding his sixth goose. Officer Kennedy wrote the hunter a citation for harvesting more than his daily bag limit.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
While on patrol at Shreve Lake, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, observed two individuals fishing from shore. After a short time, both individuals put fish on two separate stringers. Officer Brown noted that the fish looked like largemouth bass and appeared smaller than the 12-inch minimum size limit. As Officer Brown entered the parking area, two anglers approached him and expressed concern that the individuals he had been observing were keeping numerous undersized bass. He thanked the men and proceeded to check the individuals with the fish. Both men were properly licensed, but five of the fish on the stringers were undersized, with the smallest being seven inches. Both individuals were issued a summons for possession of undersized bass. The men appeared in court, were convicted, and paid fines and costs totaling $276. The fish which were held as evidence were later donated to a local wildlife rehabilitator.
While working litter enforcement along the Lake Erie shoreline, State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dave Shinko observed a couple eating and drinking on a secluded section of beach. Prior to leaving, the man neatly collected all of the beer cans and other trash, put it into a bag, and threw it into the weeds nearly hitting Officer White. Shortly thereafter, the couple was contacted by Officer Shinko as they approached their vehicle. The man was identified and issued a summons for litter. He was later convicted in court and paid over $150 in fines and costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
On opening day of the 2017 deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, received a call about a man hunting without permission. Officer Gilkey responded to the call and made contact with a bow hunter who did not have a deer permit with him, but stated he had permission to hunt the farm. Officer Gilkey then asked the hunter to show him the tree stand he was hunting from. The hunter quickly recanted his story and asked the officer to just write him a ticket for not having his deer permit so he could go home. Officer Gilkey thought it was odd he was so eager to get a ticket, so he insisted on seeing the location of the deer stand. The hunter then confessed to sneaking onto the property. The hunter had seven prior wildlife violations including a previous hunting without permission conviction. The suspect appeared in court and was found guilty on two charges. The suspect lost his hunting privileges for three years and was ordered to pay a stiff fine.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
During a cold and snowy winter night, State Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, was fueling his patrol vehicle in preparation for nighttime spotlighting enforcement patrol when he observed a large truck with a distinct decal in the rear window drive slowly past the gas station. Officer Schemmel noted that it was one of the only vehicles traveling the roads at that hour and in those weather conditions. Shortly thereafter, Officer Schemmel traveled across the county to a known complaint area, where he began to conduct surveillance for wildlife violations. Later, Officer Schemmel observed the glow from approaching headlights slowly illuminate the road. As the vehicle came into sight, Officer Schemmel saw a large truck stop in the roadway while someone inside shined a bright, hand-held spotlight out into the nearby field. The truck eventually traveled past Officer Schemmel, and a law enforcement stop was made. Officer Schemmel recognized the vehicle as the same truck from earlier that evening. Officer Schemmel spoke with the two occupants who admitted to spotlighting for deer. Both individuals were more than forty miles from their homes, which spurred Officer Schemmel to ask what brought them all the way across the county to spotlight deer. One occupant stated that he saw the officer fueling his vehicle on one side of the county and figured they would be less likely to get caught on the other side of the county. Both individuals were cited for jacklighting, and were found guilty in the Auglaize County Municipal Court.