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 Aug. 29-Sept. 5
Reminder for the week: Hunters should consider surroundings before firing
DOVER (Sept. 7, 2012) – 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents responded to 120 complaints and issued 83 citations between Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, with most handled during Labor Day weekend.
On Sept. 1, agents arrested three men in separate incidents for operating under the influence (OUI):
· Jeffrey D. Hawkins, 50, of Wilmington, was arrested and charged with OUI in connection with an incident on the C&D Canal. Mr. Hawkins was taken to Delaware State Police Troop 9 in Odessa and issued a summons to appear in Justice of the Peace Court 9 in Middletown on Sept. 12.
· Robert J. O’Neill, 59, of Sharon Hill, Pa., was arrested and charged with OUI in connection with an incident on Rehoboth Bay. Mr. O’Neill was taken to Delaware State Police Troop 7 in Lewes and issued a summons to appear in Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown on the OUI charge and an additional charge of operating a motor vessel without a fire extinguisher.
· Jay M. Stevens, 49, of Milford, was arrested and charged with OUI in connection with an incident on Indian River. Mr. Stevens was taken to Delaware State Police Troop 7 and issued a summons to appear in Justice of the Peace Court 14 on Sept. 14 on the OUI charge and an additional charge of operating a motor vessel without navigation lights.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Recreational Fisheries Conservation: Fishing without a license (14), New Castle and Sussex counties; possession of undersized blue crabs (5), possession of undersized Atlantic croaker (6), Kent and Sussex counties; over recreational limit for blue crabs (2), New Castle County; failure to release protected shark species unharmed (1), Kent County; over limit of recreational crab pots (2), possession of undersized black sea bass (2), possession of undersized summer flounder (1), improperly marked recreational crab pot (1), trespassing to fish (3), over limit possession of hard clams (3), and unlicensed take of oysters from natural bed (1), Sussex County.
Wildlife Conservation: Over limit of mourning dove (2), Kent County; operating a motor vehicle off established roadways in a state wildlife area (2), and wildlife area map violation* (1), New Castle County. (*NOTE: This violation applies to the shooting hours of a specific wildlife area, which vary. Hunters are encouraged to check the rules for each wildlife area they plan to hunt.)
Boating Safety: OUI - operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (3), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets aboard (9), New Castle, Sussex counties; operating a vessel without navigation lights (1), New Castle County; unregistered motor vessel (1), Kent County; no life jackets on children age 12 or younger as required by law (4), excessive vessel speed/slow no wake violation (7), no boating safety certificate (2), no boat ramp certificate (3), operating a vessel without a fire extinguisher (1), towing a water skier without an observer (1), and jet ski equipment violation (3), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Unsafe passing (1) and failure to stop at stop sign (1), Kent County.
Are you AWARE?
With fall hunting seasons that opened Sept. 1, the Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section has already received reports of shotgun pellets hitting buildings, and cautions hunters to become familiar with state, county and local regulations before choosing their hunting spots.
“Hunters should always consider their surroundings and how far the shot (pellets) they are using can travel,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, noting that it is illegal in Delaware for anyone other than the owner or occupant, or a person with permission from the owner or occupant, to discharge a firearm so that a shotgun pellet, slug or bullet lands upon any occupied building.
Anyone except the owner or occupant is prohibited from discharging a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied dwelling, house or residence, or any related barn, stable or other outbuilding, while hunting or trapping wild birds or animals of any kind. The statewide safety zone for in-season archery deer hunting is 50 yards. Within this safety zone, it is illegal for anyone other than the owner or occupant to hunt, trap, pursue, disturb or otherwise chase any wild animal or bird without advance permission of the owner or occupant.
Discharging a firearm while on or within 15 yards of a public road or right-of-way is also illegal in Delaware, unless it is an area controlled by DNREC, the Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of the Interior and designated as an area open to hunting or trapping. Shooting at a wild bird or wild animal in a public roadway or firing across a public roadway is also prohibited.
Upstate hunters should also note that New Castle County has its own ordinances, including a 200-yard safety zone from homes, structures and camps.
For more information on hunting safety, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/huntered/pages/huntered.aspx.
Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580.
Vol. 42, No. 347