Field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife officers


Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote was on patrol last fall at Delaware Wildlife Area in Marion County. Officer Grote located a large amount of animal parts and other food products dumped in one of the area’s parking lots. The pile included the remains of a market pig. Officer Grote inspected the remains and found two identifying markings. With the help of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, he found the owner of the pig. Officer Grote and State Wildlife Investigator Justus Nethero spoke with the suspect at his residence, which was a mile from the dump site. Further investigation revealed the man butchered the animal at his house and then dumped it on the wildlife area. He was issued a summons for litter. He was found guilty and was sentenced to pay $188 in fines and court costs.

State Wildlife Officer Michael Budd, assigned to Knox County, received a call last fall regarding an individual who had been shot with a crossbow. Officer Budd contacted the hunting party as the ambulance was leaving with the victim. The investigation revealed that three hunters were bowhunting on private property in different stands. The hunters were headed out of the woods at the end of shooting light. One hunter was walking down a path and saw what he thought was a buck in front of him. All he could see was what he thought was the white rack of a buck. The hunter pulled up his bow and fired, sending an arrow through both legs of his family member. It was later discovered that the victim was carrying a crossbow with light limbs, which the shooter perceived as antlers. The victim was able to make a full recovery thanks to the speedy response of EMS. The shooter was charged with negligent hunting, a misdemeanor of the first degree, and paid $770 in fines.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

State Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, was checking anglers returning from Lake Erie in December 2015. Officer Van Cleve had only been at the dock a few minutes when he observed a boat coming in. He noticed the boat did not come right in, but instead ran past the entrance to the harbor and returned a few minutes later. Officer Van Cleve stepped out to greet three fishermen on the boat as they neared his location. Officer Van Cleve noticed nervous behavior from the group. Officer Van Cleve identified himself and asked to see their fishing licenses and to count their fish. He opened the live well and discovered the group had 26 walleye, eight over their limits. Officer Van Cleve looked up their prior wildlife convictions, and two of the men had five violations between them. The three fishermen were issued citations for their violations and paid $414.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

State Wildlife Officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, received information from a local police department regarding an individual who had been hunting without permission. Officer Moore advised the agency of the hunting without permission law and the man was charged with the violation. Several weeks later, he was caught again by the same police agency for hunting without permission. The hunter’s crossbow was seized as evidence and transferred to Officer Moore. He later contacted the man and issued him a summons for the violation. The hunter was convicted in court and ordered to pay $482 for the first hunting without permission violation, and $910 for the second. His fines and costs totaled $1,392. The crossbow was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, was patrolling Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area during the winter in a location where the roads were closed because of poor conditions. Officer Brown observed a vehicle off the roadway with the front end of the vehicle stuck in the swamp. A man exited the driver’s side of the vehicle as Officer Brown approached. An investigation revealed that the man was not a valid driver. He was issued summonses for reckless operation and driving under suspension. The man currently has an active warrant for his arrest.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

On opening morning of the 2015 deer-gun season, State Wildlife Officer Chris Dodge received a hunting without permission complaint in Hocking County. A landowner located a large amount of blood and deer hair, and then followed drag marks off his property and onto a neighboring property. From the nearest roadway, a dead deer was visible and hanging in a tree in the neighbor’s yard. Upon inspecting the carcass, Officer Dodge noted that it was cold and not harvested that morning. In addition, the deer was untagged and a slug was located under its hide. Shortly thereafter, a hunter came out of the woods wearing only an orange hat and had a shotgun loaded with five slugs, both violations. However, this was not the person who harvested the deer. Eventually, the person who shot the deer was located. Further investigation revealed the man shot the deer with a muzzleloader on the day before gun season came in, and neglected to put a tag on the deer before moving it. In total, four summonses were issued to the two men for the violations, and the deer and muzzleloader were seized as evidence. It was later discovered that the deer poacher is a convicted felon, and is now facing indictment for possessing a firearm while under disability.

State Wildlife Officer Todd Stewart received several complaints last fall of spotlighting in Morgan County. One caller also mentioned finding skulls of three deer in the area that were all missing the skull caps. During a night project, Officer Stewart observed a truck drive by the area he was watching and shine the field with a spotlight. He was able to stop the truck and found a rifle and a longbow in the vehicle. The driver and passenger were both cited for jacklighting while in possession of a hunting device. They each paid $390 in fines and court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

While conducting sport fishing enforcement on the Great Miami River, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, contacted multiple anglers in a popular fishing spot. Officer Schock made multiple contacts and everyone who was actively fishing had a valid license. Officer Schock then contacted two men sitting in lawn chairs with fishing poles who were not actively fishing at the time. He offered to check their licenses so that he would not have to come back later. The two men stated that they were not going to fish because they did not have fishing licenses. Officer Schock explained the law that requires a person to have a license in order to fish in waters of the state, and then left the area. Approximately 15 minutes later, Officer Schock returned to the area where the two men stated that they were not going to fish. Officer Schock observed the men both actively fishing. Officer Schock contacted the men again. Both men were cited for fishing without a valid license.

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