Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
During the 2016 deer gun season State Wildlife Officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received a complaint from a landowner regarding someone hunting without permission. The landowner was new to the area, but noticed a hunting blind had recently been placed on his property. Further investigation revealed two suspects who were identified to have illegally taken deer. During the course of the investigation, both suspects admitted to taking deer without the written permission of the landowner. The two hunters were charged with hunting on the lands of another without first obtaining written permission. Both were found guilty in the Marysville Municipal Court and were ordered to pay $300 in fines and court costs. Hunters are reminded to annually check with property owners and lease agreements, and always get permission before hunting.
State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, received information from the Morrow County Sheriff’s Office that a vehicle had discarded processed deer parts in a ditch near a stream. A partial plate was retrieved from the suspect’s vehicle, but neither the suspect nor the vehicle could be located for several weeks. One day, Officer Eldred was contacted by a deputy who had obtained a valid address for the suspect. Officer Eldred was able to make contact with the suspect at his residence, and further investigation revealed that not only were the deer parts illegally dumped, but neither of the two deer had been properly checked in. Two individuals were found guilty of multiple violations and paid nearly $700 in fines and court costs.
In early October State Wildlife Officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received a complaint from the Union County Sheriff’s Office about several deer carcasses that had been dumped near the road. Officer Shields and State Wildlife Officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, investigated the site and identified a suspect. Further investigation revealed the suspect dumped the deer along the road. He was convicted of littering and paid fines and costs of $160 in the Marysville Municipal Court.
During Ohio’s deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, noticed a deer had been checked in using an antlerless tag. For the 2016- 2017 season, the use of antlerless tags is limited to 10 counties and controlled hunts, and Madison County is not included on that list. Further investigation revealed that the hunter had a valid either-sex tag at the time the doe was harvested. Not wanting to use that tag, the hunter purchased an antlerless tag to check the deer. The hunter was issued a citation for using an antlerless tag in a closed county.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
During deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Brad Buening, assigned to Van Wert County, investigated a deer poaching case started by an anonymous tip to the Turn In a Poacher (TIP) hotline which alleged a hunter was shooting at deer with a firearm during the archery season. Officer Buening investigated the scene and discovered several items which helped identify a suspect. Further investigation revealed the individual had shot a doe with a shotgun and tried to hide the carcass from officers. Officer Buening issued four citations to the individual for hunting without a license, hunting without a valid deer permit, hunting with an unlawful implement, and failing to check the deer. The individual was subsequently found guilty on all charges in Van Wert Municipal Court, and was ordered to pay $900 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the fall of 2016 State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, State Wildlife Officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dave Shinko were working a project targeting hunters who have been hunting pheasants using illegal methods. At one location where officers had been receiving complaints, Officer White observed two people walking down a roadway carrying guns and dressed in hunter orange. The duo spotted a pheasant and shot it multiple times from the roadway. One of the suspects ran onto the complainant’s property to retrieve the pheasant. As the other officers arrived on scene, the hunter immediately threw his loaded shotgun into the weeds. The two men were issued four summonses and released. Less than one hour later, Officer White observed a suspect driving down the road until the suspect spotted a pheasant. The man quickly parked his truck, retrieved his shotgun, and fired one shot from the road. The suspect looked around, observed an officer’s truck approaching, and quickly trotted off into the woods. Officer Earick and Officer Shinko caught up to the suspect and issued him two summonses. All three individuals appeared in court, were convicted, and paid over $750 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
While on patrol during the statewide extra deer gun weekend, State Wildlife Officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dan Perko observed three men dressed in hunter orange riding on a UTV. As the men approached a county road, the officers made contact. The men were from West Virginia, and one of the men had a loaded shotgun on the UTV. Another member of the hunting party claimed that he was just the driver and was not hunting. Officer Perko eventually located a shotgun hidden by the suspect who claimed he wasn’t hunting. Further investigation also revealed the man was hunting without a valid license or deer permit and using a shotgun loaded with five slugs. Only one of the three men was in compliance with Ohio hunting laws. One man was issued a summons for possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and another was issued summonses for hunting without a license, hunting without a deer permit, and hunting with a shotgun loaded with more than three slugs. The men paid a combined $632 in fines and court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
Over a two-day period, state wildlife officers worked to investigate pollution that resulted in a fish kill in Mercer County. The officers, responding to a complaint from a local citizen, located several miles of dead fish in the Little Beaver Creek. The water was dark brown and there appeared to be manure entering the creek. Officers followed the trail of dead fish to a field. Further investigation revealed that the source of the pollution was coming from a nearby business that worked with livestock. During the course of the investigation, officers discovered manure waste water was draining into a creek that joined with Little Beaver Creek. As officers were walking upstream counting dead fish, they noticed another possible source of pollution, which was coming from a nearby dairy farm. An investigation determined that manure and wastewater treated with bleach was flowing from a barn into a grass waterway and eventually into a second waterway called Little Bear Creek. State wildlife officers counted 10,203 wild animals killed because of the pollution. The two responsible parties paid $4,388.70 to the ODNR Division of Wildlife for restitution of wild animals killed and associated investigative costs.