Hunters should think twice before committing a violation

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

With deer gun hunting season a little more than a month away, hunters should think twice before committing wildlife violations. A couple of incidents involving Lima area wildlife officers from last year’s deer seasons shows why.

The one incident involved suspects involved in a jacklighting incident last November.

Allen County Wildlife Officer Craig Barr was assisting the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office with investigating a white-tailed deer that was discovered because of a jacklighting complaint, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW).

In the cab of a pickup truck, Barr discovered multiple rifle casings after finding a bullet wounded on a deer. He did not find the firearm. Nor did any of several wildlife officers that searched 10 miles of road around the scene where the deer was discovered after information was obtained from the suspect the following day on where the rifle was thrown out the truck window.

However, Barr did find a rifle bullet inside the deer with the help of a local meat processor.The bullet matched the caliber of the casings found in the truck.

During the investigation it was also discovered that one of the suspects had used a deer permit in Williams County that was invalid for that county. The suspects were charged with hunting deer with illegal means, no deer permit, and using an invalid tag.

They paid $1,443.12 in fines, court costs, and restitution in the Paulding County Court. Additionally, each suspect was required to complete 20 hours of community service, had their hunting privileges revoked for two years, and had 30 days of jail suspended pending no further wildlife violations. The deer was processed locally and provided to the Caring and Sharing Food Pantry for distribution after the case was completed.

The other incident occurred in Logan County and also involved multiple violations.

Wildlife Officer Adam Smith was discussing deer harvest information of a deer that was reported during the 2018 firearms season with a man. The discussion led to the fact that one of the violations was the fact he used a stolen firearm to harvest the deer. He was issued a summons for the tagging violation and the shotgun he used to take the deer was seized. The man paid $360 in fines and court costs.

The seized firearm was transferred to the agency that reported the firearm as stolen so that it could be returned to the owner.

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A free deer processing workshop where hunters can learn to field dress and butcher a deer will be held Nov. 6 at the Antwerp Conservation Club.

Trained professionals from the DOW and Antwerp Conservation Club will partner to cover topics including field dressing, skinning and butchering at the club located 17814 County Road 53 in Antwerp. The workshop runs from 6-9 p.m.

Since space is limited, preregistration is required by Nov. 5. Interested individuals can register at the following link:

This workshop is hands-on and portions will be held outdoors. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the workshop and for the weather.

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Fishing was so tough a week ago during two T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) regional tournaments that half of the Lima area bassers did not catch a fish.

Weather wreaked havoc on the Potomac River regional. A cold front and significant winds didn’t just cancel the first day of the event, they drastically changed water levels and left anglers scrambling for any semblance of a pattern.

“We had a flood tide at practice then low water during event. Location was key. I didn’t put myself in the right areas,” Kyle Weisenburger, of Columbus Grove, who was among 37 pros never weighed in a fish either day, said. He had qualified for the All-American in 2015 on the same river.

When the storm happened, with winds gusting so hard the river went from flood stages to as low as what even locals had ever seen. Bryan Schmitt, who finished third in the event, guides on the river and said he’d never seen the Potomac change that much so quickly.

“The place was a mud hole,” added winner Bradford Beavers, who never ventured more than five miles from takeoff. “I was afraid I’d get stuck at blastoff because we were kicking up mud. I got to my first spot and it was practically dry. So I went to another spot that was a little deeper. I was fishing around, not catching anything, so I started fishing my way out because it was too shallow.”

Among Lima area anglers, boater Dick Shaffer, of Rockford, caught the most weight while co-angler Jon Angstmann, of St. Marys had the highest pace finish. Shaffer placed 42nd. He caught 9 bass that weighed 16 pounds, 8 ounces. Angstmann placed 20th with 8 bass that weighed 12 pounds, 9 ounces.

Greg Burwell, of North Baltimore, rebounded after a fishless first day and caught 5 bass that weighed 11 pounds, 4 ounces. Cody Seeger, of Lakeview, followed a fishless first day with 1 bass that weighed 1 pounds, 6 ounces and placed 130th. Gary Ginter, of Lakeview, Bob Logan, of Waynesfield, and Jay Ellis, of Celina, did not catch a fish either day.

On the co-angler side Ron Weisenburger caught a pair of bass that weigh 4 pounds, 3 ounces. John Long, of New Bremen, caught 1 bass that weighed 2 pounds, 9 ounces and finished 106th. Carter Mox, of Minster, and Alex Newman, of Celina, did not catch a fish.

At the Kentucky/Barkley Lakes Regional, Wilson Burton and Mike Kokoska, both of Findlay failed to catch a fish at the event in Buchanan, Tennessee.

The complete 2020 T-H Marine BFL schedule, along with details, rules and payouts for the BFL season can be found online at Anglers can register for the 2020 T-H Marine BFL season at the same website or by calling 270-252-1000 on the dates Dec. 9 for the Hoosier and Michigan divisions and on Dec. 11 for the Buckeye Division.

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The Ohio Wildlife Council at its Oct. 9 meeting approved a maximum of three fishing lines on Ohio’s portion of Lake Erie and the Ohio River beginning Jan. 1, 2020.

The new rule not only covers Lake Erie, but also includes areas immediately upstream in creeks, rivers and tributaries, as well as the western and eastern units of Ohio River. Regulations allow a person to fish with up to two lines in the remainder of the state.

By 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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