DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: April 9-16; Reminder for the week: Before turkey hunting, know the regulations

DOVER (April 19, 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents between April 9 and April 16 made 669 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, including 26 boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 38 complaints and issued 24 citations. Incidents of particular note included: 

  • On April 15, following an investigation, agents cited James J. Spence, 39, of Dover, with two counts of illegally offering antlered deer for sale and two counts of commercialization of native wildlife in connection with an online posting to sell mounted deer antlers. Spence has the option of paying the citation or requesting a court date and, if guilty on all four counts, faces a total of $2,607 in fines and court costs.
  • On April 13, opening day of Delaware turkey season, Fish and Wildlife agents made eight arrests involving a total of 11 charges. K-9 Enforcement agent Warden, a 7-year-old Labrador retriever, assisted agents in Sussex County by locating bait and spent shells and tracking suspects. Charges included hunting wild turkey over bait, taking non-bearded (female) wild turkey, no safety certificate, prohibited shot size and unplugged gun. Turkey violations carry a penalty starting at $250, with a mail-in ticket for the minimum offense totaling $342 with court costs.

Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:

Wildlife Conservation: Hunting wild turkey without required safety certificate (1), and hunting wild turkey over bait (6), Kent and Sussex counties; Hunting wild turkey with prohibited shot size (1), hunting wild turkey with unplugged shotgun (1), and illegally taking non-bearded (hen) wild turkey (2), Sussex County; Illegally offering antlered deer parts for sale (2), and commercialization of native wildlife (2), Kent County; Possession of unlawfully taken game/antlered deer (1), and littering on a state wildlife area (2), New Castle County.

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (1), Sussex County; Illegally taking striped bass from spawning area (1), New Castle County.

Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets aboard (1), and no required visual distress signals (1), New Castle County.

Public Safety: Felonious possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited (1), New Castle County. (A press release on this case was issued on April 18, 2013 – click: Bear man charged with weapons, hunting violations.)

Are you AWARE?

With eight arrests on the opening day of Delaware’s 2013 turkey season, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement reminds hunters that they should review Delaware’s turkey regulations before heading out into the field. The season runs through Saturday, May 11. Regulations include:

  • Hunters must carry their hunter education card certifying completion of Delaware’s mandatory one-day turkey hunter education class.
  • Hunting on public lands is by preseason lottery permit only.
  • Hunters must carry their public lands permit while hunting on public lands and may only hunt the designated area and season segment/dates specified in the permit.
  • Bag limit is one bearded bird per year.
  • Birds without beards (hens) may not be taken.
  • Hunting wild turkey over bait is prohibited.
  • Hunting wild turkey with dogs is prohibited.
  • Temporary blinds of vegetation or camouflage are permitted.
  • Artificial turkey decoys are permitted.
  • Non-electric calls are permitted.
  • For safety reasons, hunters should not imitate the male gobbling call.
  • Shotguns in 20, 16, 12 and 10-gauge and smoothbore muzzleloading shotguns -may be used with #4, #5, or #6 steel or lead shot. (See Delaware Hunting Guide for more information.)
  • A longbow, compound bow or crossbow with a minimum broadhead width of 7/8 inches may be used.
  • For safety reasons, wearing any visible garment having red, white or blue is prohibited.
  • Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday.
  • All birds taken must be checked by 2:30 p.m. on the day of the hunt at an authorized turkey check station. For a list of check stations, click Turkey Check Stations.

For more information, pick up a copy of the 2012-2013 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide at your local hunting license dealer, or check it out online at Delaware Hunting Guide .

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 .

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


Vol. 43, No. 161