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: Oct. 15-21
Reminder for the week: Public encouraged to report fishing, hunting, boating violations
DOVER (Oct. 25, 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 Oct. 15-21 made 743 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 21 vessel boardings for boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 45 complaints and issued 33 citations, six 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.
Incidents of particular note were:
· Following an investigation, Lee A. Miller, 43, of Bear, was arrested on Oct. 15 in connection with a boating accident that occurred on Sept. 9, when a vessel collided with the jetty on the north side of the C&D Canal in the Delaware River. Two of the four persons aboard the vessel at the time sustained injuries. Miller was charged with two counts of second-degree assault with a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, OUI (operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol), operating a vessel at unreasonable speed, and failure to maintain proper lookout. Miller was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released pending trial at a later date in the New Castle Court of Common Pleas.
· On Oct. 19, Enforcement Agents arrested Christopher M. Culpo, 19, of Georgetown, near Milton and charged him with carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting without a license, using a prohibited weapon (a shotgun) to take antlered deer, using a firearm other than a muzzleloader during the season as required, possession of unlawfully taken game (deer), failure to attach a tag to antlered deer, and required deer tag (Hunter’s Choice) not in possession. Culpo pled guilty to carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and failure to attach tag to antlered deer in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and paid $1,364 in fines and court costs. The other charges were dropped.
· On Oct. 19, Enforcement Agents arrested Gary L. Freeman, 53, of Greenwood, near Milton and charged him with hunting without a license, possession of unlawfully taken game (antlered deer), failure to attach a tag to antlered deer, failure to tag antlered deer as required during the correct season, failure to register antlerless deer within 24 hours as required, and required deer tag (Hunter’s Choice) not in possession. Freeman pled guilty to possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and paid $1,242 in fines and court costs. He also lost his hunting privileges in Delaware for one year. The other charges were dropped.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway in a state wildlife area (1)*, operating a motor vehicle at speed over 20 mph in a state wildlife area (1)*, damaging state property (1)*, trespassing to hunt (2), failure to display hunter orange during a firearms deer season (1), and failure to register antlerless deer (1), New Castle County; Failure to attach tag to antlered deer (3), New Castle and Sussex counties; Trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area (2), dumping on state wildlife lands (1), hunting without a license (2), using a prohibited weapon (a shotgun) to take antlered deer, using a firearm other than a muzzleloader during the season as required, possession of unlawfully taken game/antlered deer (2), failure to tag antlered deer as required during the correct season (1), required deer tag (Hunter’s Choice) not in possession (2), and failure to register antlerless deer within 24 hours as required (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (3)*, New Castle County.
Public Safety: Carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (1), Sussex County.
Boating Safety: Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (1), assault with a vessel (2), operating a vessel at unreasonable speed (1), and failure to maintain proper lookout (1), New Castle County; Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), Sussex County.
* These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
With hunting season underway, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section encourages residents and visitors to report violations of fishing, hunting and boating regulations, and shares some tips on information needed to investigate and make a case based on such reports.
“Since it is not possible for Fish and Wildlife Agents to be everywhere 24/7, we encourage compliant anglers, hunters and boaters as well as the general public to report possible fish, wildlife and boating regulation violations to us for investigation,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “A timely call with good information helps Enforcement to better protect more of our resources, enforce Delaware’s regulations and educate the public.”
To ensure accurate, complete reports, callers are encouraged to take written notes when they witness what they believe to be a violation. The following information will assist agents in their investigation:
· Time of day/night, date and location of the alleged violation
· Descriptions of the alleged violators including any details on clothing and physical appearance; names if known
· Descriptions of any vehicles or vessels involved; license plate numbers or boat registration numbers if known
· Descriptions of any weapons involved
· Descriptions of any fish, wildlife or other resources involved
· Any other details about the incident witnessed, including possible human victims
“Just one word of caution to ethical hunters and others who witness illegal activity: for your own safety, do not try to confront suspected violators yourself,” Sgt. Rhodes added. “Leave that to trained natural resources police officers.”
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. 415