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: Nov. 26-Dec. 2
Reminder of the week: Avoiding hypothermia – and what to do if you fall into cold water
DOVER (Dec. 6, 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 Nov. 26-Dec. 2 made 640 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 62 vessel boardings for boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 45 complaints and issued 70 citations, 10 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, including one incident not listed last week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, were:
· On Nov. 23, Fish and Wildlife Agents cited butcher shop owner Mark S. Perry, 54, of New Castle, with illegally selling deer meat and possession of an untagged antlered deer. Perry faces a fine of $1,569, with the option of requesting a trial.
· Following an investigation into illegal waterfowl hunting at Barkers Landing, Fish and Wildlife Agents arrested Alec F. Gebhart, 23, of Dover, on Nov. 30 and charged him with felony possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, felony possession of ammunition by a person prohibited, hunting migratory waterfowl with the aid of illegal bait, hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal stamp, and hunting license fraud/using another person’s license. Two companions were cited for unlicensed hunting, use of prohibited size of shot, hunting license fraud/using another person’s license, and one count each of hunting migratory waterfowl with the aid of illegal bait. Gebhart was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover on the two felony charges and was released on $5,000 unsecured bond pending trial at a later date.
· On Nov. 30, Fish and Wildlife Agents arrested Gerry E. Wink, 59, of Greenwood, and charged him with hunting deer during a closed season and two counts of using an unlawful weapon (rifle and handgun) to hunt deer near Greenwood. Wink was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and released on $750 unsecured bond pending trial at a later date.
· On Dec. 1, following an investigation into trespassing on private industrial property near Delaware City, Fish & Wildlife Agents arrested three Middletown men and charged them with numerous violations of wildlife and criminal regulations. Jacob F. Stoner, 18, was charged with two counts each of third degree conspiracy, trespassing to hunt, and failure to wear hunter orange during a firearms deer season; he pled guilty to one count each of failure to wear hunter orange and trespassing to hunt, and paid $219 in fines and court costs in Justice of the Peace Court 11 in Middletown. Jacob H. Stoner, 54, was charged with two counts of third degree conspiracy; he pled guilty to one count of third degree conspiracy and paid $375 in fines and court costs. Robert Summerhill, 25, was charged with two counts each of third degree conspiracy, trespassing to hunt, and failure to wear hunter orange during a firearms deer season, and unlicensed hunting; he pled guilty to one count each of failure to wear hunter orange and trespassing to hunt, and paid $219 in fines and court costs.
· Fish and Wildlife Agents cited Richard P. Griner III, 19, of Wilmington on Dec. 1 for reckless driving, aggressive driving, exhibition of excessive speed, failure to report a motor vehicle accident, and damaging state property. No one was injured in the accident in which a truck was overturned. Griner was given a mandatory court appearance at a later date.
· On Dec. 1, Fish and Wildlife Agents arrested Paul Brown, 48, of Smyrna, and charged him with possession of a schedule II drug, possession of drug paraphernalia, and obstructing access to trail/ramp/roadway. Brown was given a mandatory court appearance at a later date.
· On Dec. 2, following an investigation, Fish and Wildlife Agents arrested Christopher M. Culpo, 19, of Georgetown, and charged him with carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, third degree conspiracy, hunting from a motor vehicle, shooting across a public roadway, shooting from a public roadway, failure to tag antlerless deer, failure to check antlerless deer within the required 24-hour period, removing antlerless deer parts before checking, and hunting deer during a closed season in the Millsboro area. Culpo was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 3 and released on $1,800 unsecured bond pending trial at a later date.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (4), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Use of prohibited size of shot (5), and hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal stamp (5), New Castle and Kent counties; Obstructing access to trail/ramp/roadway (1)*, damaging state property (1)*, hunting with unplugged gun (1), trespassing to hunt (4), failure to wear hunter orange during a firearms deer season (4), and unpermitted cutting of firewood on state wildlife area (1)*, New Castle County; Operating a motor vehicle off established roadways in a state wildlife area (1), hunting license fraud/using another person’s license (2), hunting on a state wildlife area without required permit (5), failure to sign federal migratory waterfowl stamp prior to hunting (1), and hunting migratory waterfowl with the aid of illegal bait (3), Kent County; Use of an unlawful weapon to hunt deer/rifle and handgun (2), hunting license misrepresentation/ tagging another hunter’s deer (1), failure to tag antlerless deer (1), failure to check antlerless deer within the required 24-hour period (1), removing antlerless deer parts before checking (1), hunting deer during a closed season (2), and use of a leg hold trap for fox out of season (1), Sussex County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (1), Sussex County.
Boating Safety: Carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vessel while under way (2), New Castle County.
Public Safety: Third degree conspiracy (7), New Castle and Sussex counties; Possession of schedule II drug (1)*, possession of drug paraphernalia (1)*, exhibition of excessive speed (1)*, aggressive driving (1)*, carrying passengers in a truck bed (1)*, failure to report a motor vehicle accident (1)*, and reckless driving (1)*, New Castle County; Felony possession of a firearm by a person prohibited (1), and felony possession of ammunition by a person prohibited (1), Kent County; Carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (1), hunting from a motor vehicle (1), shooting across a public roadway (1), and shooting from a public roadway (1), Sussex 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, anglers and cold weather boaters that cooler air and water temperatures put those who hunt, fish or cruise our waterways at risk from hypothermia if they fall overboard.
“Boating in colder weather provides some great fishing, hunting and recreational opportunities, but to stay safe in the event of a mishap, it’s all about choosing and using the right gear,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes of the Delaware Office of Boating Safety and Education. “Keep in mind that falling overboard or getting excessively chilled or wet on deck can put you at risk for hypothermia, so dress and outfit yourself appropriately.”
Immersion in cool water can lead to hypothermia very quickly, in which the body instinctively protects its core by shutting down blood flow to limbs first. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends wearing layers for protection and warmth, including gloves and a hat. Recommended gear also includes three types of protective clothing to reduce risk: flotation coats, which double as life jackets but may not prevent hypothermia if you fall overboard; immersion or survival suits, which can increase survival time in cold water; or a dry suit, worn for intentional entry into cold water to keep water out and, with thermal layers beneath, keep warmth in.
Other recommended safety items include:
· Life jackets, strongly recommended to be worn by everyone on board in all seasons, especially non-swimmers, and required by law for children age 12 and younger;
· Blankets, to stay warm on board while awaiting rescue;
· Multiple means of communication – a fully-charged cell phone and a marine radio; and
· Items to attract the attention of rescuers: a whistle, a personal position locator beacon (PLB), a personal emergency locator light and/or flares, kept in immersion suit pockets, secured with a lanyard.
Boat operators should also plan to spend a little extra time on vessel preparations and maintenance to help prevent breakdowns on the water, including checking fuel levels before heading out. “An equipment failure that would be a minor inconvenience in warmer weather can be life-threatening in the winter,” Sgt. Rhodes said.
Sgt. Rhodes also offered these tips:
· Check your vessel’s capacity plate for maximum weight to avoid overloading, which can lead to possible capsizing; hunting parties are reminded to take the weight of their gear into account.
· Keep your cell phone in a secure pocket and sealed in a plastic bag.
· If you fall overboard or capsize, stay with your boat for a better chance of being found sooner.
· As the weather gets colder, be prepared for ice, which can clog open water in streams and marshes at tide changes, making it difficult or impossible to return to a ramp in a duck boat.
“Filing a float plan is always a good idea, because unforeseen circumstances can hit boaters in any season at any time, including a storm, engine problems, swamping, and injuries or other health issues,” Sgt. Rhodes added. “With your plans in hand, a friend or family member can call for help if you’re overdue and tell searchers where to begin looking for you, saving precious time.”
For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including an easy-to-use float plan form, please click Delaware Boating Safety.
Enforcement also reminds hunters and anglers of upcoming and ongoing hunting season dates:
· Striped bass – popular with winter anglers in tidal waters, season open all year
· Duck season – Thursday, Dec. 12-Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014
· Migratory Canada goose season – Thursday, Dec. 12-Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
· Snow goose season – open now through Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
· Special antlerless deer season – Saturday, Dec. 14-Saturday, Dec. 21, with archery, muzzleloader and shotgun permitted*
· Small game hunting seasons – mourning dove (open Friday, Dec. 13-Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014), quail (open now through Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014), gray squirrel and pheasant (open now through Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014), and rabbit (open now through Friday, Feb. 28, 2014)*
*Note: Small game hunters are required to wear hunter orange during all firearms deer seasons.
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. 459