Contact: Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-6102, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Feb. 4-10
Reminder for the week: After-hours entry, off-roading in wildlife areas is unlawful
DOVER (Feb. 14, 2014) – 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 Feb. 4-10 made 400 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 14 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 13 complaints and issued 24 citations. This week, with an expanded Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence continuing to be deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail currently under construction.
Incidents of particular note were:
· On Feb. 10, Fish and Wildlife Agents arrested Richard C. Nixon, 53, of Frankford, and charged him with possession of an antlered deer that was unlawfully taken in Maryland and brought into Delaware. Nixon pled guilty to the charge at Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and was fined $640 including court costs.
· On Feb. 8, Fish and Wildlife Agents concluded an investigation into illegal deer hunting near Georgetown with the arrests of three Sussex County men. Ronald J. Cross Jr., 44, of Georgetown, was arrested and charged with removing antlered deer parts prior to checking, failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period, and failure to attach the required tag to an antlered deer; Cross Jr. was fined $1,242 including court costs, and released. Ronald J. Cross 3rd, 19, of Georgetown, was arrested and charged with two counts of failure to wear required hunter orange, two counts of failure to check antlerless deer within the required 24-hour period, two counts of failure to attach the required tag to an antlerless deer, and one count of trespassing to hunt; Cross 3rd was fined $624 including court costs, and released. Gregory L. Reed Jr., 31, of Seaford, was arrested and charged with two counts of failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period, and two counts of failure to attach the required tag to an antlered deer; Reed was fined $1,242 including court costs, and released. All three men were arraigned and assessed fines at Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown.
· On Feb. 7, following an investigation, Fish and Wildlife agents cited Charles B. Dougherty, 36, of Magnolia, for one count of killing/possession of protected wildlife for shooting a protected tundra swan near Magnolia. Dougherty faces a fine for the violation.
· On Feb. 5, Fish and Wildlife agents cited two adults from Greensboro, Md., and two juveniles from Denton, Md. and Goldsboro, Md., for one count each of hunting from a motor vehicle and trespassing to hunt after the four fired from their truck into a field and collected about 30 downed snow geese near Felton without permission of the landowner. All four are facing fines.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Killing/possession of protected wildlife/tundra swan (1), Kent County; Trespassing to hunt (5), Kent and Sussex counties; Possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer (1), removing antlered deer parts prior to checking (1), failure to check antlered deer within the required 24-hour period (3), and failure to attach the required tag to an antlered deer (3), failure to wear required hunter orange during a firearm deer season (2), failure to check antlerless deer within the required 24-hour period (2), and failure to attach the required tag to an antlerless deer (2), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Hunting from a motor vehicle (4), Kent County.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds visitors to state wildlife areas, fishing piers and boat launching facilities that these areas are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise unless actively and lawfully engaged in fishing or hunting in accordance with state regulations and individual wildlife area rules. Individuals not meeting these requirements found in state wildlife areas between sunset and sunrise will be cited for trespassing after hours.
Wildlife area visitors also are reminded that it is illegal to operate motor vehicles – including motorcycles, cars, trucks and SUVs – off established roadways in state wildlife areas. Violators risk being cited for operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway and also for destruction of state property. In addition, operating a motor vehicle that is not licensed for use on established public roadways – including ATVs – is prohibited both on and off-road on state wildlife areas.
“With this winter’s temperature extremes, rain and snow, freezing and thawing, the ground is especially vulnerable to severe damage from vehicles operating off-road,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “Doing ‘donuts’ or four-wheeling in wildlife areas is irresponsible and illegal behavior that damages essential wildlife habitat, as well as generating unnecessary work and expense to repair the damage.”
Other general wildlife area rules and regulations include:
· Camping, swimming, target shooting (including paintball), dumping and littering, and fires are prohibited in state wildlife areas.
· Dog training is permitted only within established dog training areas or during open hunting seasons for the game animals that the dog is being trained to hunt.
· Hunting is permitted only in specified areas and only when in season.
· Firearms are prohibited on state wildlife areas from March 1 to Aug. 31, except during legal hunting seasons or as authorized by the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
· All state wildlife areas are designated carry-in, carry-out for trash.
For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each one, wildlife area visitors are encouraged to check out Delaware wildlife area maps. These maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.
Enforcement also reminds the public that late winter is a good time to visit the Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center and Public Shooting Range to sharpen hunting skills and check equipment off-season. The range is open year round for public use for a small fee from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. The range includes 25 and 50-meter rifle and pistol ranges, skeet and trap fields and a practice archery field. Dedicated to providing Delaware hunters with required hunter education courses and training opportunities, Ommelanden is located at 1205 River Road, New Castle. For more information, call the Ommelanden Center on weekdays at 302-323-5334 or 302-323-5333 on weekends, or visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/HunterEd/Pages/HunterEd.aspx.
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. 44, No. 39