Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
While on boat patrol on Alum Creek Reservoir in Delaware County, State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, observed three people fishing under the Howard Road Bridge. As the group packed up and walked to their vehicle, Officer Grote contacted them and asked how the fishing was that day. At first, the group stated that they had just arrived and had not been fishing long. However, Officer Grote had been observing the group and knew they had been fishing for a significant length of time. After further questioning, the group admitted that no one had a fishing license, and when they showed Officer Grote what they had caught that day, several of the fish were short of the minimum size limit. The oldest of the group claimed the fish to be his and said he would take the blame. Officer Grote ran the suspects’ information and found that one had a warrant for failure to appear for a previous fishing license violation. All three were issued a summons for fishing without a license and the man with the warrant was also issued a summons for short crappie and taken to jail on his warrant. Two of the suspects appeared in court and paid a total of $320 in fines and court costs. The case against the third suspect is still pending in court.
During the deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, responded to a call regarding an illegally harvested deer taken on property the hunter did not have permission to be on. Upon arrival, the subject was gone but Officer Muldovan was able to get some information from hunters who were legally on the property. After some time, Officer Muldovan was able to identify the subject as a hunter from Michigan. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the hunter did not have a non-resident hunting license or deer permit and that he had falsified information while checking in the deer. He was issued summonses for each violation and after appearing in court, the suspect paid $1,278 in fines and court costs and $3,767 in restitution, along with receiving a three year hunting license revocation.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
This spring, State Wildlife Officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Seneca County, and State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, were in Ottawa County checking anglers for size and bag limit compliance on Lake Erie when they received information about a boat that had potentially “double tripped” that day and exceeded their daily limit of walleye. Upon contacting the anglers, who were from out of state, and going back to their rented residence for the week, it was discovered that there were two freezers full of chunked walleye in the possession of the six anglers. The officers seized the chunked walleye and wrote each angler a summons for possessing walleye in a form other than whole fillets. Each angler was found guilty and paid fines and court costs of $540.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received a call from a local resident regarding hunting from the road. The caller stated that he had a photograph of the suspect’s vehicle, which showed an individual in the bed of a pick-up truck obscuring the view of the license plate as they drove down the road. Officer Brown arrived on scene and retrieved three spent shotgun slug hulls from the roadway. Shortly thereafter, a sergeant from the Wayne County Sheriffs’ Office arrived and looked at the photograph. Both officers were familiar with the owner of the vehicle and drove to his residence. The results of the investigation revealed that two individuals were hunting deer with the aid of a motor vehicle. Both men were issued summonses for shooting from a public roadway, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, and hunting without a license or deer permit. They were convicted and paid fines and court costs totaling $734. Their hunting privileges were also revoked for one year.
During the spring, State Wildlife Officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, was checking anglers for size and bag limit compliance in Portage County. He arrived at the Berlin Lake youth fishing pond and observed two adults fishing next to a “Youth Fishing Area” sign. Numerous families and children were fishing along the shoreline of the pond when Officer Frank approached the couple. He asked them if they were fishing with any children, and the female indicated that her children were at home. She also admitted that it was her decision to fish in that area. The woman later appeared in court, was convicted, and paid $195 in fines and costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In July 2017, State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry was on patrol focusing on sport fishing and litter in Muskingum County. Officer Berry saw several groups of people fishing on the Licking River. While watching a pair of anglers, Officer Berry observed an individual walk up the riverbank to his vehicle and bring back a water bottle for another angler. In a short amount of time, Officer Berry observed the angler dispose of his water bottle and used fishing line along the bank. After leaving his trash behind, the individual gathered up his fishing gear and left the area. Officer Berry conducted a traffic stop and the individual was issued a summons for stream litter and is waiting to appear in court.
Over the Fourth of July weekend, State Wildlife Officers Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, Jared Abele, assigned to Vinton County, and Investigator Travis Abele were patrolling O’Dowd Wildlife Area in Hocking County on ATVs. The officers were targeting vehicles that had been driving illegally on the wildlife area and causing severe damage to the property. Around 7:30 p.m., the officers contacted a husband and wife who were driving a UTV through the area with open containers of alcohol. At the time the officers contacted the couple, the driver hadn’t registered the vehicle and did not have valid license plates. The two were compliant and not intoxicated, so they were asked to dump the alcohol and were issued warnings for open container and for failing to obtain a state registration for the vehicle. The driver of the UTV was issued a summons for operating a motor vehicle in a non-designated part of the wildlife area and paid $205 in fines and court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In July 2017, State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, and State Wildlife Officer Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, received a complaint about an individual shooting doves from a power line in Highland County during the closed season. The officers responded to the location and observed an individual who fit the description of the reported violator. The officers made contact with the individual, who admitted to the officers that he had shot two mourning doves and ate both of them before the officers arrived. The officers then discovered that the individual had an active warrant for his arrest. As the officers were placing handcuffs on the man, he resisted and tried to run away while he still had one handcuff on. Officer Lamb still had a hold on the other handcuff and was able to slow the man down while Officer Roberts then helped Officer Lamb secure the man into custody. The man was transported to jail and was subsequently issued summonses for taking doves during the closed season and for deterring a state wildlife officer. He was found guilty in court on both charges and received probation and a hunting license suspension as part of his sentence.