Contact: Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-6102, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Dec. 3-9
Reminder for the week: Deer hunters should plan ahead for winter weather conditions
DOVER (Dec. 13, 2013) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents between Dec. 3-9 made 651 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 59 vessel boardings for boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 28 complaints and issued 27 citations, four of which were associated with increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area (formerly the C&D Canal Wildlife Area) and the associated recreational trail currently under construction.
An incident of particular note was:
· On Dec. 3, Fish and Wildlife agents arrested Walter A. Bunting Jr., 32, of Dagsboro, for hunting violations on private lands near the town. He was charged with one count each of hunting without a license, possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer, failure to attach tag to antlered deer, failure to retain tag on an antlered deer, failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period, and removing antlered deer parts before checking. Bunting pled guilty to all charges in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and paid a total of $6,124 in fines and court costs.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off established roadways in a state wildlife area (1)*, and damaging state property (1)*, New Castle County; Possession of prohibited lead shot while hunting migratory waterfowl (1), Kent County; Hunting without a license (1), hunting license misrepresentation/tagging another hunter’s deer (1), trespassing in a state wildlife area after hours (1), possession of unlawfully taken game/white-tailed deer (1), possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer (1), failure to attach tag to antlered deer (1), failure to retain tag on an antlered deer (1), failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period (1), and removing antlered deer parts before checking (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (3), Kent and Sussex counties; Possession of undersized flounder (1), Sussex County.
Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets aboard (1), and no fire extinguisher on board/required safety equipment (1), Kent County; Inattentive operation of vessel (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Failure to stop at stop sign (1), allowing unlawful use of motor vehicle (1)*, and unlicensed driving (1)*, New Castle County; Lewdness (2), indecent exposure (1), and disorderly conduct (2), Kent County.
* These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds hunters that they may hunt deer with archery equipment, muzzleloaders and shotguns during the special seven-day antlerless deer season, which runs Saturday, Dec. 14 through Saturday, Dec. 21. Only antlerless deer or deer with both antlers measuring 3 inches or less may be taken; archery hunters may not take antlered bucks during these season dates.
With winter weather having brought the season’s first snow and ice, hunters are encouraged to take the following precautions:
· When hunting on state wildlife areas, use parking areas rather than parking along roadsides, especially if roads are snow-covered.
· Driving motor vehicles off established roadways and operation of ATVs are prohibited on state wildlife areas.
· Keep in mind that wildlife area roads may not be cleared, and tow services may have difficulty locating and/or reaching hunters whose vehicles are stuck in remote areas.
· Pack emergency gear along with your hunting bag – blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, fully charged cell phone, drinking water, non-perishable food, shovel, sand or salt, jumper cables, and matches or other means of starting a fire.
Other items to remember before going afield to hunt deer:
· Antlerless deer hunters are reminded to check hunting coats and bags for shot that they’ve used to hunt other types of game. Possession of shot smaller than buckshot is prohibited for deer hunting. For deer hunting, shotguns must be plugged to hold only three shells and must be no smaller than 20 gauge using rifled slug, pumpkin ball or buckshot; muzzleloaders must be no smaller than .42 caliber.
· A Delaware hunting license is required for residents age 16 through 64; a Delaware junior license is required for ages 13 through 15. Some license requirements differ for non-resident hunters. Delaware hunting licenses are sold online at Delaware Licenses, at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide.
· Deer must be tagged immediately after harvest, and tags must remain attached until the deer is processed. Delaware hunting licenses come with two antlerless deer tags and two doe tags. Additional antlerless deer tags may be purchased online or from license agents for $10. Hunter’s Choice tags, which cost $10, may be used on antlered or antlerless deer.
· Hunters must register their deer within 24 hours of harvest, and the registration number must be attached to the deer when it is dropped off to be processed. Hunters with online access are encouraged register their deer through DNREC’s new mobile-friendly website, which can be easily accessed from smartphones, tablets or PCs by clicking Deer Registration. To alternately access the phone registration system, call 1-855-335-4868 (1-855-DELHUNT).
· Successful hunters who harvest a deer and already have enough venison may donate their deer to the Delaware Sportsmen Against Hunger Program. All donated deer will be processed free of charge to the hunter, and the meat will be distributed to participating charitable groups. For more information, including donation locations and participating butcher shops, click Sportsmen Against Hunger.
With mourning dove season reopening Friday, Dec. 13 and other small game seasons also still open, hunters are reminded that during any firearm deer season, any person hunting any wildlife except waterfowl is required to wear no less than a total of 400 square inches of hunter orange material on their heads, chests and backs. Deer hunters concealed inside ground-level blinds also must place 400 square inches of hunter orange within 10 feet outside of the blind and at least 3 feet off the ground.
For more information on hunting in Delaware, hunters should consult the 2013-2014 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide, along with state wildlife area maps if they plan to hunt on wildlife areas. Copies of the guide and hunting maps are available at DNREC’s licensing desk at 89 Kings Highway in Dover and at license agents statewide; both are available online at 2013 Hunting Guide and State Wildlife Area Maps.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.
Vol. 43, No. 467