Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
This past spring, State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, responded to a call from the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) hotline that indicated a man had shot two goslings off a small pond behind a house in Knox County. Officer Kiger responded to the residence and could not find anyone home. Officer Kiger checked the pond and found two goslings that appeared to have been shot and thrown into the weeds next to the pond. The next day, Officer Kiger returned to the area and contacted a man in the barn. When asked about the geese, the man began complaining about the geese and their waste. The man stated that he had shot his shotgun toward the geese to harass them and ended up hitting them. Officer Kiger explained shotgun patterns and how those geese were goslings and unable to fly away from the area. A summons was issued to the man for taking geese out of season. He was ordered to pay $175 in fines and court costs.
While on patrol at Indian Lake during the early migratory bird season, State Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, was checking dove hunters for licenses, bag limit compliance, and other migratory bird hunting regulations. As Officer Tipton checked one hunter, he found the hunter had his license, but when Officer Tipton checked his shotgun, he found that it was capable of holding more than three shotgun shells. The hunter was embarrassed and said that he had been hunting snow geese in Louisiana when he last used the shotgun and had apparently forgotten to check the gun for a plug. The hunter received a citation for the violation, appeared in the Bellefontaine Municipal Court, and paid a $50 fine plus court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In early May, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, was at the Willard Marsh Wildlife Area and located a discarded couch in one of the parking areas. After searching the couch for evidence, a suspect was identified. Later, the suspect was interviewed and admitted to owning the couch but stated the couch had been given to someone else who must have dumped it on the wildlife area. After asking the suspect for the name of the other individual, the suspect refused to provide any information. One citation was issued for littering on state property. The suspect was found guilty and ordered to pay $425 in court costs, fines, and fees; conduct 20 hours of community service; and remove the couch from the wildlife area.
During September, State Wildlife Officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, was checking teal hunters. As Officer Ohlrich watched one hunter, the individual shot a wood duck. Apparently knowing the season was closed for wood ducks, the individual left the duck in the marsh near the place where he was hunting. Officer Ohlrich recovered the wood duck and collected it as evidence. The individual was issued a summons for taking a wood duck during the closed season.
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 working an evening project to deter off-road activity at Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area when they observed a pick-up truck driving through one of the fields that had previously been severely damaged. Officers Brown and Carter made a stop on the vehicle. It was discovered that the license plates on the vehicle belonged to another vehicle. The driver was charged with fictitious plates and operating a vehicle in a non-designated area. The operator was found guilty in the Wayne County Municipal Court and ordered to pay $998 in fines, court costs, and restitution.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
While on patrol in August, State Wildlife Officer Darin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, observed individuals who appeared to be digging ginseng on Wayne National Forest. Officer Abbott contacted the individuals. Although they were not in possession of ginseng, he did seize cohosh that they had dug on Wayne National Forest property without a permit from the U.S. Forest Service. In addition, he seized drug paraphernalia and methamphetamine from two different suspects. Charges are pending in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.
In February, State Wildlife Officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, received a call about scrap tires that had been dumped along the Wills Creek Reservoir in Muskingum County. Officer Allison visited the site and found nearly 100 tires that had been dumped in the area. He also found a second location where an additional 80 tires had been dumped. With assistance from the Muskingum and Coshocton County Sheriffs’ Offices and citizen reports, three suspects were identified that had been involved in the dumping of these tires. Eventually, a third location with scrape tires was also discovered in a storage unit in Muskingum County. In June, all three suspects were indicted in Muskingum County Court on 11 felony charges that included transportation of scrap tires, open dumping, intimidation, and two misdemeanor charges for attempted dumping. In September, all three suspects pleaded guilty to all charges and are currently awaiting sentencing.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
Last November, State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, received a call from Warren County regarding a landowner who had heard a gunshot and saw a deer die on his property. Officer Roberts responded to the area and found a dead 8-point buck which appeared to have been shot with a rifle during bow season. State Wildlife Officers Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, and Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, also responded to help with the case. The officers interviewed the adjoining property owner, who eventually admitted to shooting the deer with a rifle, hunting without permission, and not having a hunting license or deer permit. Officer Roberts charged the man, and the deer and the rifle were seized as evidence. The subject pleaded guilty in court and was ordered to pay $481 in fines and court costs. The deer and rifle were forfeited to the state.