Cuffs and Collars
Field reports from Ohio
Division of Wildlife Officers
Central Ohio: Wildlife District One
Wildlife Officer Josh Elster and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Bill Bullard worked the first weekend of September at Deer Creek Wildlife Area with an emphasis on contacting migratory game bird and migratory waterfowl hunters on opening day.
A large number of hunters were observed on all of the food plot fields that were planted by the Division of Wildlife, but the doves were less plentiful this year than they have been in past years. Hunters that were contacted that day were all in compliance with state and federal laws with regard to bag limits, plugged shotguns, HIP certification, and hunting licenses.
Hunters in any food plot fields are reminded that safety and etiquette dictate that no dove should be shot at unless it is well above head high and there are no hunters downrange where they could have shot pellets rained on them after a shot.
A suggested shot size for dove hunting is 7 ½ shot with an improved cylinder choke. The most popular shotguns are in .12 and .20 gauges.
During the last week of August, Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger responded to several calls of subjects possessing fawns taken from the wild. All the calls were located around the city of Whitehall in Franklin County. One subject had picked up a fawn along the road and was keeping it in his second story apartment.
Two other subjects had fawns contained in their fenced backyard. Another had a fawn going in and out of their house with the dogs. All the subjects turned over the deer without any problems.
One of the deer was in such bad condition that it was only half the size that it should have been if found in the wild. Just because a doe cannot be seen does not mean she is not close by or that she has abandoned the fawn.
Many species of animals are raised by one adult that may temporarily leave its offspring in search of the next meal. Wildlife parents care for their young and rarely abandon them. The best thing for a fawn thought to be orphaned is to leave it alone; it should never be picked up.
Under Ohio law it is illegal to take a deer from the wild. Usually after being removed from the wild the deer has to be euthanized. Having a deer fawn from the wild is punishable with a possible $250 fine and 30 days in jail.
Late in the 2011–2012 hunting season, Champaign County Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton received a complaint from the Turn In a Poacher or TIP hotline.
The information was that someone had found a trail camera on family property. On the SD card in the trail camera was video of a man explaining how he shot multiple buck deer. Officer Tipton worked through the video frame by frame and spent quite a bit of time noting each violation. Tipton then used the online game check system to look up information and was able to determine that the man had broken 15 or more laws involving the taking of whitetail deer.
The officer took all of the information that he gathered and applied for a search warrant for the man’s residence. Before the search warrant was served, Officer Tipton went to the house for further investigation. The man denied the charges, and Officer Tipton asked “Where do you think I got this information?” Tipton played the video, and the suspect then admitted to the violations he saw himself admit on camera.
The officers, with the help of German Township Police Department, served the search warrant on the residence. Evidence proving the case was recovered, including two large buck deer, and the man was charged with multiple violations. He appeared and was found guilty in the Champaign County Municipal Court. He was sentenced to pay about $500 in court costs and fines, received 60 days in jail that were suspended on the condition that he have no same or similar offenses for two years, and he lost his hunting privileges for one year. He also lost both buck deer and is subject to pay restitution on both deer, one of which was about 140 gross inches; the other was over 160 gross inches. The collective restitution value of these deer is estimated at $7,000.
Wildlife District Two
Van Wert County Wildlife Officer Brad Buening was working a sport fishing assignment at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in May. Lake La Su An has been managed for trophy sunfish and has very specific bag limits and regulations.
Officer Buening was checking anglers at the boat ramp for fishing license compliance and measuring sunfish for length limits. While he was at the boat ramp, Buening spoke to two anglers launching their boat. Officer Buening asked if they had any questions about the regulations before they started fishing. The anglers were in too big of a hurry to talk and probably figured it was not important, so they headed out to fish.
Several hours later Officer Buening contacted the two anglers after they had pulled out their boat. The officer counted and measured the two anglers’ sunfish. Officer Buening informed the anglers that they were several sunfish over their daily bag limit and over their limit of eight-inch sunfish. The two anglers were issued summons to the Bryan Municipal Court and found guilty of their violations. Each angler paid $125 in court costs and fines.
It was a slow day watching fishermen at the Maumee River walleye run so Wildlife Officers Craig Barr and Ryan Kennedy decided to move to a new spot on the other side of the river.
It was not long before the action started to pick up. Shortly after their move, the officers watched a man unhook a snagged walleye and place it on his stringer. At the same time, they were also watching several fishermen who had left items of litter on the bank, waiting to see if the anglers would pick up their trash or leave without it.
A short time later, the man with the snagged fish began to leave.Officer Kennedy left to contact the man while Officer Barr continued to watch for potential litter violations. While Kennedy was issuing the angler his citation for snagging, another man began to leave without picking up a beverage can he had set down. Officer Barr called nearby Wildlife Officer Cody Klima to come and stop the man and his acquaintances until he was able to get there.
While checking the fishing licenses of the group, the officers discovered that one of the anglers did not have a fishing license. He was issued a citation for fishing without a license, and the man who left the can was issued a citation for litter. Both of them paid their fines shortly thereafter in the Maumee Municipal Court.
Lake Erie Investigator Matt Fisher and Jefferson County Wildlife Officer Craig Porter were working a boat patrol on Lake Erie, in Ashtabula County.
The officers were checking anglers for fishing licenses and conducting bag checks on boats. The officers observed a boat trolling for walleyes.
As the officers approached the boat, they observed eight rods in use for fishing. Officer Porter asked the two individuals for their fishing licenses. Both anglers showed Officer Porter their fishing license. Officer Porter then informed the two individuals that they were only allowed to fish with two rods per person. Both of the anglers were issued summons for unlawfully using more than two rods and lines while fishing in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie.
While patrolling the Sandusky River, Wildlife Officers Brian Bury and Troy Reimund observed a man fishing in the middle of the river in downtown Fremont. The officers walked down to the man to check his fishing license and see what he had caught.
When Officer Bury asked the man if he had caught any bass, the man responded “One” and proceeded to pull a 14.5-inch smallmouth bass out of his bucket. While the fish was out of the bucket the officers could see other fish splashing inside of the bucket. The officers decided to wade out through the water and check the bucket for themselves. They found four other smallmouth bass in the bucket, and all four were under the 14-inch size limit. The man was issued a summons in the Fremont Municipal Court for taking smallmouth bass in the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District under 14 inches in length.
Wildlife District Three
While working a litter enforcement project along the Lake Erie shoreline, Lake County Wildlife Officer Jason Keller and Lorain County Wildlife Officer Randy White observed a highly intoxicated female drink an entire bottle of wine while she was sitting along the rock break wall.
The officers watched closely as she placed what appeared to be a business card inside the bottle and then seal the glass container with a cork. She exclaimed, “Message in a bottle!” as she threw the container into Lake Erie. She consumed a second bottle of alcohol a short time later and uttered the same phrase as she hurled it into the water. Geauga County Wildlife Officer Scott Denamen and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dave Shinko contacted her shortly thereafter and charged her with the offense. She was convicted of the stream litter charge and paid over $200 in fines and court costs to the Cleveland Municipal Court.
Wildlife officers working a trout fishing project in Cuyahoga County observed an angler catch one fish over his daily bag limit and meticulously conceal the extra trout inside his tackle box. He collected all of his gear and began to walk toward his vehicle.
Uniformed Wildlife Officer Dave Shinko approached the man as he was loading his fishing equipment into the trunk of his car and asked to see his catch. The man proudly showed Officer Shinko his limit of trout and when asked if he had caught any other fish he replied no.
Further inspection of the man’s tackle box did not reveal the additional fish. Officer Shinko contacted the plain clothes officers and confirmed what they had observed. Shortly thereafter, the man reluctantly reached into the back of vehicle’s trunk under several layers of clothing and removed the extra trout. He was charged with the offense and appeared in the East Cleveland Municipal Court. The man was found guilty and paid over $200.00 in fines and court costs.
Wildlife District Four
During spring turkey season, State Wildlife Officer Eric Lane was patrolling Perry State Forest when he saw a hunter dressed in camouflage walking along the roadway. The hunter dropped what appeared to be a turkey in the weeds along the road. Officer Lane made contact and checked the hunter’s firearm, hunting license, and turkey permit, all of which were in order. Officer Lane picked up the turkey and asked the hunter why he had not temporary tagged it. The hunter told Officer Lane that he did not know if it was legal to shoot a hen turkey with a beard. Officer Lane told him that any bearded turkey is legal. Officer Lane issued a summons for failure to temporary tag the turkey. The hunter posted bond of $125.