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Ohio Men Sentenced for Illegal Hunting Guide Operation

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January 23, 2013

Ohio Men Sentenced for Illegal Hunting Guide Operation

By Chad Love

Three Ohio men are headed for prison after being convicted of running an illegal hunting guide service on thousands of acres of land they didn't own or lease.

From this story in the Columbus (OH) Dispatch:
Scott Walsh advertised himself as a hunting guide and sold multiday hunts costing $250 to $1,200. He said he owned or had permission to hunt on 1,600 acres of deer-hunting property in the New Albany area. He actually owned no property and had permission to hunt on only 15 acres of land, according to an Ohio Department of Natural Resources investigation. Walsh, 55, his son Justin Walsh, 23, and Steve Clemons, 48, made about $10,000 from the illegal tours. Most of the properties where the hunts took place were adjacent to woods, said Bethany McCorkle, a spokeswoman for ODNR.

According to the story, the Walshes and Clemons guided at least 20 hunters from Ohio, Vermont, Texas, Michigan and New Hampshire on dozens of properties they didn't own or have permission to hunt. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources began conducted a two-year investigation into the ring after receiving numerous complaints, culminating in prison sentences of 12 months for two of the men and 15 months for the other.

Thoughts? Anyone ever been duped by a fake or illegal outfitter?

Comments (3)

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from JohnR wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

What constitutes third degree misdemeanor improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle?

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from buckhunter wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

There are a lot of big bucks near New Albany OH and this is not the first poaching ring to be caught in the area. A lot of the area is owned by large land companies or developers making it difficult to patrol.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

Actual prison time, huh? I'm thinking those boys already had a healthy rap sheet. I don't hunt with guides but I have known numerous ones over the years. The good guy to bad guy ratio I have encountered was about fifty-fifty.

One particular bad example comes to mind. Two years ago in a donut shop in a remote Northern Montana town I ran into an outfitter named Brown as I recall. He had a client from Virgina. The dude was a nice older gent and his so-called guide was an anatomic male-member whose family owned a ranch near the Rocky Mountain front. They were looking for a whitetail buck. I had seen a certifiable B&C monster up close and personal while bird hunting two days earlier but it was on private land that even I couldn't hunt (and I wasn't deer hunting anyway). Nevertheless the guide demanded that I tell him where it was. "Hell, that stuff doesn't make any difference out here! No one could ever catch us." I smiled and said I was sure the deer had moved off anyway (though I was quite sure they hadn't). After listening to that jerk spout off his filthy-mouthed right-wing ranting about everything from Hillary Clinton's beautician (who clearly does deserve some criticism) to gay people needing to be shot, I finally had to excuse myself and go to the john. To my surprise, the Virginia dude shortly follows me in there. It was a surprise because the shop's facility was obviously a single crapper unit. I was a bit unnerved at first but the guy immediately apologized. "That ____g ___s___le! I think we have already been hunting on land that we shouldn't be. Help me out here, please! Can you take me hunting? I'll pay whatever you want and I don't care if we see anything to shoot at, I just want to be rid of this p___k." Couldn't even consider helping him because I was tied up with a sick dog that had been bit by a rattler and really was unsure how much more hunting I'd be available for. Sadly, I also couldn't make any recommendations for the fella either. I knew the two local "outfitters" were probably worse jerks than the one he was stuck with (and I encouraged him to discreetly seek confirmation of that fact from the people who ran the coffee shop). Even more sadly, it probably would have done no good for him to report his concerns to the outfitting licensing authorities. Montana landowners are entitled to run guiding operations without a license.

While on that subject, one must be careful about volunteering to take non-residents hunting. In most jurisdictions if you do you better not take ANY remuneration whatsoever. Even a free meal might get you in trouble. It can be quite a gray area. I have taken countless "dudes" hunting or fishing with me over the years but have never charged a thing. I have let some folks put gas in my truck/boat but was even nervous about that. Anyway, if I take someone hunting I do it for the company not the money. Curiously, I don't seem to get many return customers. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. ;-)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

Actual prison time, huh? I'm thinking those boys already had a healthy rap sheet. I don't hunt with guides but I have known numerous ones over the years. The good guy to bad guy ratio I have encountered was about fifty-fifty.

One particular bad example comes to mind. Two years ago in a donut shop in a remote Northern Montana town I ran into an outfitter named Brown as I recall. He had a client from Virgina. The dude was a nice older gent and his so-called guide was an anatomic male-member whose family owned a ranch near the Rocky Mountain front. They were looking for a whitetail buck. I had seen a certifiable B&C monster up close and personal while bird hunting two days earlier but it was on private land that even I couldn't hunt (and I wasn't deer hunting anyway). Nevertheless the guide demanded that I tell him where it was. "Hell, that stuff doesn't make any difference out here! No one could ever catch us." I smiled and said I was sure the deer had moved off anyway (though I was quite sure they hadn't). After listening to that jerk spout off his filthy-mouthed right-wing ranting about everything from Hillary Clinton's beautician (who clearly does deserve some criticism) to gay people needing to be shot, I finally had to excuse myself and go to the john. To my surprise, the Virginia dude shortly follows me in there. It was a surprise because the shop's facility was obviously a single crapper unit. I was a bit unnerved at first but the guy immediately apologized. "That ____g ___s___le! I think we have already been hunting on land that we shouldn't be. Help me out here, please! Can you take me hunting? I'll pay whatever you want and I don't care if we see anything to shoot at, I just want to be rid of this p___k." Couldn't even consider helping him because I was tied up with a sick dog that had been bit by a rattler and really was unsure how much more hunting I'd be available for. Sadly, I also couldn't make any recommendations for the fella either. I knew the two local "outfitters" were probably worse jerks than the one he was stuck with (and I encouraged him to discreetly seek confirmation of that fact from the people who ran the coffee shop). Even more sadly, it probably would have done no good for him to report his concerns to the outfitting licensing authorities. Montana landowners are entitled to run guiding operations without a license.

While on that subject, one must be careful about volunteering to take non-residents hunting. In most jurisdictions if you do you better not take ANY remuneration whatsoever. Even a free meal might get you in trouble. It can be quite a gray area. I have taken countless "dudes" hunting or fishing with me over the years but have never charged a thing. I have let some folks put gas in my truck/boat but was even nervous about that. Anyway, if I take someone hunting I do it for the company not the money. Curiously, I don't seem to get many return customers. I'm sure it's just a coincidence. ;-)

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

What constitutes third degree misdemeanor improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 1 year 12 weeks ago

There are a lot of big bucks near New Albany OH and this is not the first poaching ring to be caught in the area. A lot of the area is owned by large land companies or developers making it difficult to patrol.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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