Poachers Recently Convicted of White-Tailed Deer Violations


Staff Report



Union County Wildlife Officer Josh Shields with the forfeited items.


COLUMBUS – Two individuals were recently convicted of multiple wildlife violations following a poaching investigation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In early November 2015 State Wildlife Officer assigned to Union County, Josh Shields, began receiving complaints associated with deer hunting violations in Dover Township, Union County, Ohio. An investigation was initiated revealing Randy Smith Jr. as the main suspect. Multiple complaints had been received from numerous concerned landowners and witnesses. In December 2015 R. Smith Jr. was arrested after being served with multiple warrants. Additional charges were filed in March of 2016 in the Marysville Municipal Court. Also charged, was R. Smith Jr’s. brother Jason Welsh of Mechanicsburg, OH.

A special thanks to local landowners, witnesses, Marysville Police Department, and the Union County Prosecutors Office for their assistance in this case.

Defendants, charges, and sentences in the case are:

Randy Smith Jr.,38, Marysville, OH was convicted of violations involving hunting without permission (his second offense), leaving an untagged deer with another person, failing to immediately tag a deer, failing to game check a deer by noon the day following harvest, possessing deer parts taken illegally, removing the head, or hide of a deer prior to game check, taking more than one antlered deer in a season, jacklighting (spotlighting), and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. He was ordered to pay $2,400 in fines with $1,550 in fines suspended, $592 in court costs, and $3,893.30 in restitution. He also received a hunting license revocation for 3 years, he cannot possess deer or parts of deer during that time, and was ordered to serve 590 days in jail, all of which was suspended. Two white-tailed deer, two shotguns and three crossbows were also forfeited to the State of Ohio.

R. Smith Jr. was also convicted of possessing a firearm while under disability, a felony of the third degree due to a prior felony conviction. On October 18, 2016 in the Union County Common Pleas Court R. Smith Jr. was sentenced to serve a maximum of 180 days at West Central Community Correctional Facility in Marysville, OH, placed on community control for 5 years, and ordered to serve 36 months in prison that was suspended pending his compliance with community control.

Jason Welsh, 45, Mechanicsburg, OH was convicted of tagging a deer taken by another person, removing head, or hide of a deer prior to game check, failing to game check a deer by noon the day following harvest, and providing false information to game check (all misdemeanors of the third degree). He was found guilty on all charges and was ordered to pay $600 in fines, $164 in court costs, and received 20 days of suspended jail time.

Ohio Hunters Harvest more than 182,000 Deer during 2016-2017 Season

Hunters checked 182,169 white-tailed deer throughout Ohio’s 2016-2017 deer season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Last year, 188,329 deer were checked during the 2015-2016 season.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.

Deer hunting regulations over the past two seasons have been designed to allow for moderate herd growth throughout most of the state. Herd growth is achieved by reducing harvest and protecting female deer.

Hunting Popularity

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2016-2017 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov.

A list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the 2016-2017 deer season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest number for the 2016-2017 season, and the 2015-2016 season number is in parentheses.

Adams: 3,272 (4,157); Allen: 1,039 (1,102); Ashland: 2,954 (3,026); Ashtabula: 5,040 (4,844); Athens: 3,646 (3,979); Auglaize: 751 (828); Belmont: 3,236 (3,205); Brown: 2,448 (2,754); Butler: 1,231 (1,382); Carroll: 3,586 (3,557); Champaign: 1,118 (1,242); Clark: 661 (759); Clermont: 2,343 (2,821); Clinton: 719 (789); Columbiana: 3,189 (3,299); Coshocton: 5,929 (5,700); Crawford: 1,113 (1,165); Cuyahoga: 1,124 (814); Darke: 679 (738); Defiance: 1,675 (1,767); Delaware: 1,527 (1,684); Erie: 868 (750); Fairfield: 1,800 (1,955); Fayette: 312 (310); Franklin: 837 (817); Fulton: 826 (802); Gallia: 2,720 (2,914); Geauga: 1,871 (1,886); Greene: 816 (835); Guernsey: 4,565 (4,435); Hamilton: 1,589 (2,007); Hancock: 1,179 (1,185); Hardin: 1,220 (1,270); Harrison: 3,763 (3,787); Henry: 708 (684); Highland: 2,587 (2,919); Hocking: 3,275 (3,727); Holmes: 3,731 (3,717); Huron: 2,279 (2,204); Jackson: 2,870 (3,194); Jefferson: 2,800 (2,663); Knox: 4,495 (4,465); Lake: 961 (908); Lawrence: 1,942 (2,113); Licking: 4,971 (5,364); Logan: 1,919 (2,071); Lorain: 2,511 (2,458); Lucas: 755 (759); Madison: 482 (497); Mahoning: 1,933 (1,835); Marion: 886 (892); Medina: 2,109 (1,872); Meigs: 3,476 (3,592); Mercer: 661 (603); Miami: 774 (833); Monroe: 2,571 (2,598); Montgomery: 591 (684); Morgan: 2,992 (3,096); Morrow: 1,486 (1,437); Muskingum: 5,118 (4,966); Noble: 2,855 (2,970); Ottawa: 450 (424); Paulding: 954 (1,064); Perry: 2,787 (2,867); Pickaway: 724 (803); Pike: 2,083 (2,382); Portage: 2,211 (2,178); Preble: 847 (965); Putnam: 709 (704); Richland: 3,246 (3,189); Ross: 3,029 (3,425); Sandusky: 862 (874); Scioto: 2,479 (3,034); Seneca: 1,842 (1,785); Shelby: 961 (1,050); Stark: 2,778 (2,760); Summit: 1,572 (1,487); Trumbull: 3,699 (3,293); Tuscarawas: 5,039 (4,921); Union: 842 (932); Van Wert: 458 (492); Vinton: 2,668 (3,059); Warren: 1,095 (1,266); Washington: 3,402 (3,526); Wayne: 2,020 (1,971); Williams: 1,687 (1,836); Wood: 857 (841); Wyandot: 1,484 (1,515). Total: 182,169 (188,329).

Union County Wildlife Officer Josh Shields with the forfeited items.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2017/03/web1_shields-smith-case-10-2016.jpgUnion County Wildlife Officer Josh Shields with the forfeited items.

Staff Report

ODNR Division of Wildlife encourages anyone who is aware of a possible violation of wildlife laws to call the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) line at 1-800-POACHER or to submit information online at wildohio.gov. All information received by the TIP program will remain confidential.

ODNR Division of Wildlife encourages anyone who is aware of a possible violation of wildlife laws to call the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) line at 1-800-POACHER or to submit information online at wildohio.gov. All information received by the TIP program will remain confidential.