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Illegal hunting and fishing activities foiled

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Jan 3, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Here are field reports from Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife officers:

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

While checking the deer harvest database, State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, noticed some discrepancies regarding a deer that had been killed in Franklin County. Officer Kiger noticed that the hunter’s deer harvest history only included deer killed in Muskingum County, so he contacted the hunter. The hunter stated that he had harvested a deer on private property in Franklin County and he had used an antlerless deer permit. When questioned about the exact location where the deer was killed, the hunter admitted he had harvested the doe in Muskingum County, purchased an antlerless deer permit after the deer was killed, and checked the deer as a Franklin County harvest. State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, then contacted the hunter and issued him a citation for providing false information to the deer harvest database. The hunter was found guilty in Muskingum County Court and ordered to pay $425 in fines and court costs.

In November, State Wildlife Officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, and State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, were driving through Mt. Vernon when Officer Levering observed two bucks located in the bed of a truck with Virginia plates parked at a restaurant. While waiting for the owner of the vehicle to exit the restaurant, Levering and Eldred used the online deer harvest database to learn the vehicle’s owner possessed a hunting license and an either-sex deer permit, but no harvests had been reported for the current hunting season. After some time, officers Levering and Eldred observed three men walk out of the restaurant to the truck. Upon contacting the men, two of them stated the deer were harvested earlier in the day in northwestern Knox County. After requesting to look at the deer, the officers discovered that the heads of the bucks had been cut off and the animals had been quartered and placed in black trash bags. Both deer had temporary game tags attached to the antlers but neither deer had been tagged with a permanent 18-digit confirmation number. Both suspects were issued summons for skinning and removing the head from a deer prior to game checking the animal. The hunters were ordered to pay $225 each in fines and court costs in the Mount Vernon Municipal Court.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

During the open waterfowl season in October, State Wildlife Officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Kevin Newsome responded to a call from the Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline. Several duck hunters had witnessed a group of hunters illegally shoot and kill a trumpeter swan at Mallard Club Wildlife Area. Officers Ohlrich and Newsome contacted the suspects, who were cooperative and surrendered the swan. As the officers talked with the suspects, they also discovered several other violations. In the end, the hunters were issued summonses for unlawfully taking a trumpeter swan, waterfowl hunting without an Ohio wetlands habitat stamp, and waterfowl hunting without a federal migratory bird stamp. Along with fines and court costs, the individuals paid $1,000 in restitution for the trumpeter swan.

State Wildlife Officers Josh Zientek, assigned to Fulton County, and Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, were working the opening morning of early goose and teal season at Mallard Club Wildlife Area, when they heard several shots directly in front of them well before legal shooting hours. Officers Zientek and Ohlrich began making their way through the marsh to contact the hunters when two more shots rang out and just in front of the two officers. Once the officers contacted the hunters, the appropriate summonses were issued for hunting before hours. Later that morning, the officers were checking another group of hunters and discovered one of the hunters was in possession of a wood duck. The officers seized the wood duck as evidence and issued the hunter a summons for taking a wood duck in the closed season. The suspects were all found guilty in Oregon Municipal court for the violations.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

During the youth gun season, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, was on patrol when he discovered a vehicle parked near a wood lot. Officer Brown ran the plates, comparing the information to the game check system and determined the man was likely deer hunting. Using binoculars, Officer Brown attempted to locate the individual but did not see anyone. After Brown set his binoculars down, he observed an individual putting on an orange vest in the woodlot. Brown spoke with the individual in his tree stand, who was aware that it was youth gun season and was required to wear hunter orange. The individual was issued a summons for failing to wear hunter orange and paid $138 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

During deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, and State Wildlife Investigator Travis Abele were patrolling Wayne National Forest. Officer Lane noticed a vehicle parked on a Wayne National Forest access road and determined that the trailer had unloaded two ATVs. Officer Lane and Officer Abele were unable to locate or hear any ATVs after walking into the forest. Officer Lane and Officer Abele left the area and continued their patrol. When they returned to the area they decided to wait near the vehicle and were able to contact four individuals on two ATVs. The officers showed the operators the sign that they drove by that stated “No motor vehicles beyond this sign,” and issued each operator a summons for operating a motor vehicle on a non-designated area. The operators paid $250 each for the violation.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

During the 2017-2018 deer season, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, noticed a hunter had checked in a deer and had reported that it was taken with a muzzleloader on January 4, two days before muzzleloader season opened on January 6. Officer Schock interviewed the suspect who admitted to shooting the deer with a muzzleloader on January 4, believing it was opening day for muzzleloader season. The suspect was issued a summons to appear in Hamilton County Municipal Court, for hunting with a muzzleloader during the closed season. The charge was dismissed by the court.

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