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Published: Friday, 2/23/2007

Toledoan pays hefty penalty for killing deer at Side Cut

A 41-year-old Toledo man has been convicted in Maumee Municipal Court in connection with poaching a large eight-point buck in Side Cut Metropark.

David Kanouff, of 4127 Patmore Court, was sentenced by Judge Gary Byers to 180 days of jail time, with 170 days suspended provided he incurs no additional violations during three years' probation. He is to serve 10 days of electronic in-home monitoring. He also was ordered to pay $400 to the state in restitution for the deer and he incurred fines and court courts totaling more than $700, according to Steve Thomson, an investigator for the Ohio Wildlife District 2.

A crossbow and equipment belonging to Kanouff were forfeited to the state along with the deer. The man's hunting license privileges were suspended for a year, and he must complete 30 hours of community service. The sentencing came late last week. Thomson gave this account of the case:

On Oct. 29 Toledo Metroparks ranger Brad Navarre was on patrol at Side Cut about 9:30 p.m. when he noticed an unattended pickup truck on the side of the road. The ranger noticed a crossbow and arrows and hunting-type clothing in the truck.

All of which alerted the ranger, inasmuch as several deer had been poached in the area in recent years. A passerby presently told the ranger of a man dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying a large knife, trying to hitch a ride a distance down the road.

Another ranger, Devin Connolly, joined Navarre in the investigation and they eventually came upon Kanouff. During questioning they were able to determine that he had shot at a deer from the road using his truck's headlights and that he had thrown out a pop bottle to mark the spot.

Rangers found the dead deer, an eight point buck, about 150 yards away the next day, and they called in Thomson and Kevin Newsome, state wildlife officer assigned to Lucas County.

The suspect admitted in writing, during an interview with the wildlife officers, that he had shot the deer. "But he claimed he did it only because he needed the meat," Thomson said. The investigator said that a record-check showed that Kanouff had two prior wildlife convictions, one for taking two deer in a one-deer zone and one for spotlighting deer.

Faced with numerous wildlife and Metroparks charges, he later agreed to a "plea deal" on three charges, Thomson said. The court record shows that one charge, falsification, was dropped at the request of the prosecutor's office, and that Kanouff pleaded no contest and was found guilty of littering and a park curfew violation.

Gale-force winds yesterday on western Lake Erie ice began shoving ice, piling it up, and opening some cracks along shoreline areas and off South Bass Island, throwing into doubt the prospects for ice fishing for walleye today and this weekend.

"Open water can be seen in spots between South Bass and Green islands," said John Hageman, an ice guide at Put-in-Bay, yesterday afternoon. "So far things are OK between South Bass and Rattlesnake Island."

Even with the wind, walleye were abundant and cooperative for those fishermen who were out. But Hageman stressed that continuing heavy winds into today could change everything, and leading to cancellation of any guided fishing.

In short, call ahead to your guides if you are headed to the islands. Temperatures are not of immediate concern, Hageman said. "But if it rains heavily on Sunday we will be done sooner than if the rain is lighter," he added.

Yesterday the ice away from cracks or open water was plenty thick, 11 to 13 inches, but the weather remained the big quetion mark.

Hageman and fellow guides Pat Chrysler and Bud Gehring held council earlier yesterday and initially thought the ice, which appeared to extend back to West Sister Island to the west and beyond, would hold.

But by midday the situation had changed. Two unoccupied shanties were crushed in shove-ice as plates ran up over pressure ridges, and a truck parked across a crack ended up in the bottom of the lake, Hageman said. Some of the shove-ice was piled as high as the cliff-face on the west side of South Bass.

"I heard they were scrambling off Catawba, too," Hageman said. Up until this blow, "fishing has been fantastic. It's as good as it gets." Activity began in earnest with an arctic blast and a deep freeze two weeks ago.

Action also was excellent off the mainland off Crane Creek and Camp Perry, four miles out, and one to three miles off Catawba Island State Park. But the winds may have finished fishing off the mainland.

"It's breaking up," said Mikle Tetzlaf of the state's Lake Erie wildlife law enforcement unit at Sandusky. "I'm afraid it's pretty much going to be all over. I think they'll be looking at plenty of open water off Crane Creek Saturday morning."

Elsewhere it appeared that inland ponds and lakes, such as those at the state's Lake La Su An chain in Williams County, were more sheltered and had weathered the winds. The La Su An check-station was planning to fish Sunday by reservation and planned to take reservations for next Thursday and Sunday. Call 419-636-6189 Monday morning from 9 to noon.

In any case extreme caution is advised. No life is worth a walleye.

The annual wild game dinner of the Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association is set for tomorrow at St. Clement's Community Hall, 2990 Tremainsville Rd. Doors opoen at 5 p.m., dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or call John Ragland 419-726-7519.



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