CONTACT: Cpl. John McDerby, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Oct. 28 - Nov. 3
Reminder for week: When in doubt about species, waterfowlers shouldn't shoot
DOVER (Nov. 8, 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Natural Resources Police officers between Oct. 28-Nov. 3 made 784 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 97 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 35 complaints and issued 14 citations, six of which were related to increased Fish & Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
An incident of particular note was:
- On Nov. 1, following an investigation based on an anonymous tip from a hunter, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement officers documented a pied-billed grebe in the possession of a Kent County man, who was cited for possession of an endangered species. The pied-billed grebe is a non-game, protected species listed as state endangered due to its extremely small breeding population in Delaware.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Damaging state property on a wildlife area (1)*, operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (2)*, possession of a prohibited rifled firearm on a state wildlife area (1)*, hunting migratory waterfowl without required HIP number (1), and possession of prohibited lead shot/shot size while hunting migratory waterfowl (4), New Castle County; Possession of an endangered/protected species (1), Kent County; Hunting white-tailed deer with the aid of illegal bait on a state wildlife area (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Inattentive driving (1)*, and driving with a suspended or revoked license (1)*, New Castle County; Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (1), Sussex County.
* These citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds waterfowl hunters to become familiar with the different species of waterfowl and other birds that might be in their sights when hunting.
“It’s always possible to make a mistake at a distance when hunting,” said Cpl. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement. “However, we strongly encourage waterfowl hunters to familiarize themselves with the different species of birds to help avoid taking a prohibited species – and when in doubt, don’t shoot.”
Cpl. McDerby referred to the Kent County man cited last weekend for possession of a pied-billed grebe as an example. Per federal regulations that govern migratory birds, grebes are not a game species and cannot be hunted in any state, including Delaware. The pied-billed grebe can be recognized by its small size, mostly brown coloring, short neck and short, chicken-like gray bill.
DNREC Wildlife Section Biologist Matthew DiBona recommends the following bird identification references for hunters:
- For waterfowl identification: Ducks at a Distance, free online version available;
- Two mobile apps: Ducks Unlimited app, which includes a section on waterfowl identification; and the Merlin Bird ID app by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, also free, which assists with identification based on general appearance characteristics and the user’s location.
The DNREC Division of Fish & 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 & 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. 390