Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, received multiple complaints about spotlighting during the fall and early winter of 2015. Most of the incidents occurred between 11:30 p.m. and 3:30 a.m. One landowner called to make Officer Tipton aware of as many as six incidents. Officer Tipton shared his information with Champaign County Deputy Sheriff Joshua Welty. One night in December, Deputy Welty was dispatched to the complaint area with a report of someone spotlighting fields. The deputy observed the passenger of a car shining a light into a field. Deputy Welty stopped the vehicle and found a spotlight in the back of the car. Deputy Welty then relayed this information to Officer Tipton, who contacted the man at a later date. Further investigation revealed the man was using the light to look for deer. Shining a light from a motor vehicle into a field, woods, or forest for the purpose of locating a wild animal or while in possession of a hunting device is unlawful in Ohio. The man was charged with jacklighting. He was found guilty in Champaign County Municipal Court and was sentenced to pay $250 in fines and court costs, received 10 days in jail with 10 days suspended provided he have no further violations, was placed on community control, and lost his hunting privileges for one year.
State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger noticed a car parked on a dead-end road in an industrial area of Franklin County. Officer Kiger found a subject in the car. The subject stated that he was waiting for some people who were duck hunting in a marsh behind the building. Officer Kiger went to contact the duck hunters and noticed that the subject in the car got on the phone right away. Officer Kiger met one subject heading toward the car. Officer Kiger took his contact information and then went to find two other subjects who were hunting. While checking the hunters, Officer Kiger noticed that a gun was disassembled and a broken stick was beside it. The third hunter came back to the marsh. While checking hunting licenses and stamps, it was discovered that one subject did not have an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp. Officer Kiger then asked about the gun and stick. Further investigation revealed the hunter was going to put the stick in the gun as a plug. Two hunters were issued a ticket. One ticket was for an unplugged shotgun, for which the hunter had to pay $188 in fines and court costs. The hunter who did not have an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp paid $122 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, was collecting road-killed white-tailed deer as part of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Chronic-wasting Disease monitoring program. Officer Kaufmann stopped to check a deer when a truck pulled in behind his patrol vehicle. The man told Officer Kaufmann about the area where he hunts deer. He informed Officer Kaufmann that another person and his children hunted in the same area, and they did not have hunting licenses. The man heard a lot of gunfire in the area and was concerned about safety. Officer Kaufmann told the man to call him if he saw them out hunting. Several months later, Officer Kaufmann received a call from the man saying the other hunter, who reportedly did not have a valid hunting license, was out at the same property. Officer Kaufmann and another officer traveled to the location. The officers arrived, located a vehicle, and walked into the woods. Officer Kaufmann located one of the man’s children while the other officer located the father and other children. Further investigation revealed the man did not have a hunting license. He received two summonses, one for hunting without a license and one for failure to wear hunter orange. One of the children had taken a hunter education course; however, two others had not. The man purchased apprentice licenses so they could continue to hunt.
In August, state wildlife officers in northwest Ohio were attending a law enforcement meeting at the District Two office in Findlay. The meeting focused on the upcoming hunting season with discussion about updated laws and enforcement projects. On their way home from the meeting, State Wildlife Officers Mike Ohlrich and Josh Zientek patrolled several fishing spots along the Maumee River. The officers observed three men at one location fishing along the water’s edge. None of the men had a fishing license. The officers issued them each a summons.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
While on patrol during the deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, observed a hunter in an open field. He parked and exited his patrol vehicle. As Officer Moore walked toward the man, he observed a buck walk out of the woodlot and within range of the hunter. The man fired and the deer ran a short distance before it crashed to the ground. Officer Moore identified himself as he approached the hunter, congratulated him, and then asked if he could inspect his hunting license and deer permit. The man stated that he had not purchased a license or a deer permit because he was hunting on his grandparents’ property. Officer Moore explained that state law allows a hunter under the age of 18 to hunt on their grandparents’ land without the need to purchase a hunting license, but still requires the hunter to purchase a deer permit. The man was issued a summons for hunting deer without first obtaining a valid deer permit, and the deer was seized as evidence. The hunter appeared in court, was convicted, and paid $163 in fines and court costs. The deer was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
State Wildlife Officers Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, and Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, were patrolling during the early teal season when they received information that three hunters were shooting wood ducks and geese during the closed season. The officers observed the individuals shoot at multiple wood ducks. One individual also shot a red-winged blackbird. The officers contacted the men. Two of the men were issued summonses for hunting with unplugged shotguns, and a third individual was charged with hunting waterfowl without an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp. All three individuals were also issued summonses for attempting to take wood ducks in the closed season. The men appeared in the Wayne County Municipal Court, were convicted, and ordered to pay fines totaling more than $640.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
During the 2015-2016 deer season, State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, received anonymous information through the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) hotline about a suspicious vehicle on the AEP ReCreation Area. The caller provided a detailed description of the vehicle and the license plate number. Approximately one week later, Officer Berry received a complaint from a landowner that someone had illegally killed a deer on private property. The caller’s neighbor saw a suspicious vehicle several times during the hunting season, and the description matched that of the earlier information from the TIP call. Officer Berry located the vehicle and the owner. Two deer were seized and 10 citations were issued to three individuals who appeared in Muskingum County Court. All three individuals pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay more than $1,200 in fines and restitution and will serve 100 hours of community service. One individual was also ordered to serve 20 days in jail.
State Wildlife Officer Matt VanCleve was contacted by a hunter after the end of the 2015-2016 deer season. The caller said that he had several photographs of people hunting his property in Scioto County without permission. The caller sent photographs from his trail camera to Officer VanCleve, who recognized one of the hunters from an ongoing investigation. Officer VanCleve contacted the suspect, and further investigation revealed the hunter was on the property without written permission. Officer VanCleve issued the hunter a summons in the Pike County Court for hunting without permission. The suspect is awaiting his court date.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
State Wildlife Officer Aaron Ireland, assigned to Butler County, drove past a gas station and noticed a small bait tank in front of the business. Officer Ireland stopped at the business and found the tank contained bait fish. Officer Ireland went inside the store and spoke with a clerk, who confirmed that the gas station sold minnows. Officer Ireland knew that this particular business did not have a valid bait dealer permit from the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Officer Ireland spoke with the owner of the business. Further investigation revealed the owner had not purchased and did not possess a bait dealer permit. Officer Ireland informed the owner of all the laws pertaining to selling live minnows and bait fish, and issued him a summons for selling bait without a valid bait dealer permit. The man was found guilty and paid $131 in fines. After the contact with Officer Ireland, the store owner applied for and received a bait dealer permit from the ODNR Division of Wildlife so that he could continue to sell bait fish at his business.