Public assists in wildlife violations case

Al Smith - Guest Columnist

When people are caught in wildlife violations, it may be by observations of a wildlife officer or official or help via the general public. All played a role in some people being charged, fined, serving jail time, losing privileges, etc.

A major case occurred in Shelby County where Wildlife Officer Tim Rourke utilized the public’s help investigating some questionable hunting tactics. The investigation took two months and Rourke also used the help of state wildlife investigator Ryan Garrison.

A plethora of evidence led to the arrest of a subject who was convicted of six wildlife violations. The convictions entailed sentences containing $1,005 in fines, 18 days in jail, 282 additional days in jail suspended, loss of the defendant’s hunting privileges for a period of three years, two years of probation, 120 hours of community service, completion of a counseling program, and all evidence being forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW). In addition, the judge ordered that the defendant cannot be in the presence of any hunting activity for the duration of his probation, and that his dogs cannot be used in any hunting activity.

Among the multiple citations were: hunting without permission, shooting at a deer from the roadway, illegal possession of a white-tailed deer, and illegal method of taking a wild animal.

Evidence in the case included public tips, statements, pictures, and videos from multiple sources.

According to the DOW, the investigation revealed videos of live raccoons and coyotes with leads around their muzzles, and the suspect’s hunting dogs viciously attacking and killing them. Pictures were obtained of multiple dead deer, some displaying gruesome injuries, along with evidence of a vehicle, hammer, club, or baseball bat being involved. The subject admitted to several wildlife violations during an interview conducted by both officers.

When Rourke visited the suspect’s residence, he recovered two butchered deer, as well as the wooden club used in the killing of several wild animals.

In another incident, Putnam County Wildlife Officer Jason Porinchok discovered a dove hunter had scattered bird seed in front of his dove decoys around his hunting spot to attract doves at the Lake La Su. An Wildlife Area in Williams County during the opening day of the 2017 dove season. Porinchok was one of several wildlife officers working dove fields on the area that day.

The hunter was issued a citation for hunting doves over a baited area and paid fines and court costs in the Bryan Municipal Court that same day.

In a third incident, another Limaland wildlife officer was working out of the area when he was on Lake Erie this spring. Allen County Wildlife Officer Craig Barr was patrolling western Lake Erie with Lake Erie Investigator Brian Bury.

According to the DOW, the officers noticed a boat with four occupants was trolling eight fishing rods. As they approached the boat, the officers also noticed that the down riggers were deployed but none of the rods being used appeared to be associated with them. The officers contacted the fishermen and found they were all properly licensed but had two walleye shorter than the 15-inch minimum length limit. The officers then observed lures on the downriggers, which made the total number of units of rod and reel to be 10, two more than the legal limit for the four fishermen. The captain was issued summonses for fishing with more than two rod and reels per person, and possession of two short walleyes. He paid $180 in fines and court costs to the Ottawa County Municipal Court

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An interesting exhibit on harvesting ice on Lake Erie opens on Friday, Nov. 3 and runs through Feb. 25, 2018 at the at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums in Fremont.

By providing cheap and abundant ice, this industry changed the way Americans lived.

Kevin Moore, associate curator of artifacts, said people are connected to this topic, and don’t even know it.

“Why is beef a staple of the American diet today?” he asked. “Ice-refrigerated train cars allowed a massive meat packing industry to develop. There is much of our modern culture, particularly as it relates to food and drink, that owes its existence to the ice harvesting industry.”

The special exhibit, “‘Ice for Everybody:’ Lake Erie and America’s Ice Harvesting Industry,” explains the story of how the Sandusky area became the center of a century-long mammoth industry that changed the way Americans lived.

The impact on the ice industry from Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay are shown through historic photos from the museum’s Charles E. Frohman collection and artifacts. Among the artifacts are an icebox and tools used in the trade.

“Ice harvesting is the nation’s forgotten industry,” Moore said. “It employed tens of thousands of farmhands, laborers and railway workers through the winter when they would otherwise be desperate for work. At the industry’s peak, these icemen annually harvested 25 million tons of ice from the country’s waterways. That’s significant.”

For information, call 419-332-2081, or visit Like HPLM on Facebook at and follow on Twitter at @rbhayespres and Instagram at rbhayespres.

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Fun fact: Lake Huron has the longest shoreline of all the Great Lakes because you can count the shoreline of its 30,000 islands.

Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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