In May, court documents revealed that Jacob Runyan and Chase Comnisky, accused of cheating during the Lake Erie Walleye Trail fishing tournament September 2022, were sentenced to jail time as part of an agreement reached in March of 2023. They pleaded guilty to charges of cheating and unlawful ownership of wild animals, resulting in the dismissal of additional charges of attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools.
Under the terms of their sentencing, both Runyan and Cominsky served 10 days in jail and a six-month probation period. Additionally, they were required to forfeit their boat and trailer to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. This punishment follows the discovery of lead weights and fish fillets inside their catch during the tournament, which raised suspicions of cheating.
Furthermore, both individuals were required to pay a $2,500 fine, with the court offering the possibility of suspending half of the amount if Runyan and Cominsky opt to make a $1,250 charitable contribution to a non-profit organization. In addition to the fines, the judge has also imposed a three-year suspension on their state fishing licenses.
Currently, in a complaint filed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission Northwest Office, a connection was established on November 25, 2022, after a person familiar with Cominsky reached out to the authorities in light of the international attention garnered by his walleye cheating scandal. Subsequent to an investigation conducted at his residence, Wardens unearthed a collection of five mounted bucks that had been tagged under someone else’s name and/or hunted during nighttime hours, out of season, or without the appropriate licenses. The confirmation of this wrongdoing stems from Cominsky’s prior game law violations, leading to the revocation of his hunting privileges in Pennsylvania in 2008.
As of Monday, October 23, 2023, Cominsky faced a range of charges, as detailed in court records filed with Mercer County. These include two counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game, three counts of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife, two counts of unlawful acts concerning licenses, and one count of violation in tagging and reporting big game kills.
Cominsky is currently facing charges related to multiple instances of deer poaching that occurred between 2013 and 2021.