Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
This past spring, State Wildlife Officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, and State Wildlife Officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, were on patrol at Indian Lake. While most anglers the officers checked were fishing legally, one fisherman was found to be fishing without a valid fishing license. The fisherman later failed to appear in court for the offense, prompting the Bellefontaine Municipal Court to issue a statewide bench warrant for the man’s arrest. In October, the man was arrested for his outstanding warrant in Cincinnati. He was later transported to Logan County to address his fishing without a license offense. The man pleaded guilty to the fishing offense and paid $250 in fines and court costs, and was sentenced to 10 days of suspended jail time.
During the first week of waterfowl season, State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was on patrol at Madison Lake State Park when he observed a vehicle driving in circles in a grassy area of the park. This prompted Officer Teders to initiate a traffic stop. When asked why he was doing the doughnuts, the driver stated that he was having issues with his traction control and was checking to make sure it worked. Further investigation by Officer Teders revealed that the vehicle had expired license plates that were not registered to the new owner. The vehicle was impounded and charges are pending.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
While working in the Lake Erie marshes during the early teal season, Lake Erie Investigator Cody Klima saw a group of hunters shoot and kill an American widgeon. While retrieving the widgeon, another hunter in the group shot and killed a bird that Investigator Klima could not see. Investigator Klima contacted the group in the field. After further investigation, Officer Klima was able to determine that the other bird was a wood duck, which the hunter intentionally did not retrieve. Both hunters were cited for taking ducks during the closed season.
In September 2017, State Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, was on patrol when he observed two fishermen cleaning yellow perch in a hotel parking lot. Officer Van Cleve made contact with both fishermen and asked about their catch. After speaking to both men, it was determined that the men had caught more than their limit of yellow perch the day before, making multiple trips on Lake Erie to do so. Officer Van Cleve counted the fish and found that the men were eighty yellow perch over their limit from the day before. Officer Van Cleve issued both fishermen a citation and seized eighty yellow perch. The men were arraigned into the Ottawa County Municipal Court where they were found guilty and ordered to pay a total of $2,016 in fines and court costs. Both men lost their fishing license for one year.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, and State Wildlife Officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, were investigating individuals who were destroying farm fields and engaging in off-road activity at Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area. During one of their evening patrols, Officers Brown and Carter contacted two individuals, one driving a black Jeep and another in a Dodge truck, who were illegally off of designed vehicle areas. The Jeep owner was charged with operating a vehicle off-road. The Dodge truck had become buried in the field and a tow company was called to free the vehicle. The man was charged with criminal damaging and operating a vehicle off-road. This was the individual’s fourth criminal damaging charge. Both men appeared in court and were convicted. The owner of the Jeep was ordered to pay $138 in fines and court costs. The owner of the Dodge truck was ordered to pay $266 in fines and costs, and an additional $500 in restitution to repair the damaged property.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In September, State Wildlife Officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, received a call about a suspicious vehicle parked on Woodbury Wildlife Area property. Officer Allison checked the area and located the vehicle, which he recognized as a vehicle previously identified in illegal ginseng harvest complaints. Officer Allison set up surveillance on the vehicle and a short time later watched two men exit the woods with digging tools in their hands. As Officer Allison approached the men, he asked what they were doing. Both men stated that they were looking for ginseng. Officer Allison asked if they had dug any root, and both men produced a small amount of ginseng that they said they had dug there. Officer Allison explained to both men that it was illegal to harvest ginseng on ODNR property and issued both men summons for the offence. One man was found guilty and paid $375 in fines and court costs. The other man had prior ginseng convictions in the Coshocton County Municipal Court. He was found guilty, paid $297 in fines and court costs, and was ordered to serve three days in jail.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
State Wildlife Investigator Joel Buddelmeyer received a call from State Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, requesting assistance with interviewing an individual about a deer that had been checked in. Investigator Buddelmeyer spoke with a woman about the deer at her residence. She stated that she had shot the animal somewhere in the backyard but wasn’t sure on the exact location. After further questioning, the woman became agitated but insisted that she had shot the deer. Investigator Buddelmeyer then asked the woman’s husband to show him where she had killed the deer. As the men walked to an area behind the house, the husband admitted that he shot the deer. The man said that he thought it was a doe when he shot, but soon realized that it was a buck with the left angler broken off. He told Investigator Buddelmeyer that he had put his temporary tag on it, and filled it out with his wife’s name. He was subsequently cited for the violation. The man appeared in the Clermont County Municipal Court and pleaded guilty. He paid $175 in fines and court costs, and the deer was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.