DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Feb. 2-8
Reminder for the week: Be cautious when boating icy waters or walking on frozen ponds
DOVER (Feb. 13, 2015) – 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 Feb. 2-8 made 603 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including six vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 23 complaints and issued 11 citations, one of which was related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Enforcement presence.
Incidents of particular note were:
· On Feb. 2, Fish & Wildlife Enforcement officers cited Brendon Armstrong, 19, of Lincoln, and William Hopkins, 18, of Milford, for one count each of discharging a firearm from a public roadway and possession of unlawfully-taken game birds (snow geese) near Milford. Both were assessed fines totaling $330 and released.
· On Feb. 2, Fish & Wildlife Enforcement officers cited four Sussex residents after shotgun shot that originated from a goose pit struck a home in Lewes. Jordan J. Dill, 20, of Ellendale, Zackary L. Jackson, 20, of Milton, Brandon L. Jackson, 18, of Milton, and Robert W. Smith, 47, of Ellendale, were each cited for striking an occupied dwelling with shot discharged from a firearm. Each was assessed fines totaling $167 and released.
· On Feb. 4, Fish & Wildlife Enforcement officers arrested John C. Wilson, 56, of Millsboro, for dumping on a state wildlife area near Millsboro. He pled guilty in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown, and was fined $121 and ordered to pick up the trash.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a state wildlife area (1), New Castle County; Possession of unlawfully taken game (2), dumping on a state wildlife area (1), and hunting with a shotgun during muzzleloader season (1), Sussex County.
Public Safety: Discharging a firearm from a public roadway (2), and striking an occupied dwelling with shot discharged from a firearm (4), Sussex County.
Fish & Wildlife Enforcement News and Training
· AFC Chelsea Allen, Sr. Cpl. Mari Grehofsky, AFC Josh Hudson, Cpl. Shea Lindale and Cpl. Brian Pollock attended a weeklong training course Feb. 2-6 in Benton, Ky., on waterfowl identification and enforcement techniques. The course was offered by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
· On Feb. 6, Officer Brooke Africa graduated from the Delaware State Police Academy and was formally sworn in as a full-time Fish & Wildlife Enforcement officer, after serving as a seasonal officer. At her graduation, Officer Africa received the State Police Academy’s Law Enforcement Core Values Award.
Are you AWARE?
With more cold weather in the forecast, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds anglers, hunters and winter outdoor enthusiasts of the potential hazards of ice and being outdoors in winter weather, and offers these tips for winter outdoors enthusiasts:
· Waterfowlers using a boat while hunting should watch ice conditions and currents carefully to avoid becoming locked in by ice. Drifting ice in tidal marshes and waterways also can complicate rescue efforts.
· Anglers, skaters and outdoor enthusiasts should exercise extreme caution when venturing out onto ice, and should always take a buddy who could provide or summon help in an emergency situation.
· Examine ice carefully. For walking or skating on it, freshwater ice should be a minimum of 2 to 3 inches thick, clear and sound, with no thin spots caused by springs or currents. Be wary of snow on the ice, which can hide weak spots. For ice fishing, ice should be at least 4 inches thick.
· Driving ATVs, snowmobiles and passenger vehicles on ice is strongly discouraged. To support the weight of a vehicle, ice must be at least 7 to 10 inches thick. Without an extended period of extreme cold, ice is unlikely to reach this thickness in Delaware.
“With cold winter temperatures, a mishap that would otherwise be an inconvenience can instantly become a life-threatening situation,” said Cpl. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement. “Falling out of a boat or through ice into cold water can lead to hypothermia and death in minutes. When in doubt, it’s best to stay off the ice – and always wear a life jacket when boating.”
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.