DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: March 30-April 5

Reminder for the week: Public encouraged to report fishing, hunting, boating violations

DOVER – 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 Natural Resources Police officers between March 30-April 5 made 1,048 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 32 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 43 complaints and issued 40 citations. This week, with an expanded Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.

Kaitlyn M. Hearn and James I. Taylor
Kaitlyn M. Hearn and James I. Taylor

Incidents of particular note were:

  • On April 3, Natural Resources Police officers arrested James I. Taylor, 36, of Laurel, and Kaitlyn M. Hearn, 20, of Seaford, in the Craigs Pond parking lot near Seaford, and charged them with two counts each of felony endangering the welfare of a child, one count each of possession of a controlled substance/heroin, and two counts each possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were arraigned and released on $5,000 unsecured bond each, pending trial at a later date. Two young children left in Taylor and Hearn’s care and found in their vehicle were turned over to their parents.
  • On April 1, Natural Resources Police officers cited Robert J. Hudson, 64, of Frankford, on one count of a food fish equipment permit violation for not having a recreational gillnet license in connection with a March 18 incident in which he had been charged with three net marking violations on Little Assawoman Bay. Hudson pled guilty to all four charges in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and was fined $423 including court costs. Also cited in the case on March 18 was John E. Pittman, 60, of Ocean View, who was charged with three counts of net marking violations and one count of net setting restriction violation/obstructing navigation. His case is still pending.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (2), trespassing to hunt (1), hunting rabbits out of season (1), hunting rabbits using illegal method of take/weapon (1), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on state forest lands (1), hunting white-tailed deer during closed season (1)*, hunting with unlawful weapon during archery season (1)*, failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (1)*, possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer (1)*, failure to retain deer tag (1)*, failure to tag antlerless deer (1)*, and failure to check antlerless deer within 24 hours (2)*, Sussex County.

*For more on this case, see this previously-issued press release: Sussex man caught on camera, arrested and fined for multiple deer hunting violations.

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (11), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Trespassing to fish (3), New Castle County; no food fish equipment permit/no recreational gill net license (1), Sussex County.

Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), Sussex County.

Public Safety: Felony endangering the welfare of a child (4), possession of a controlled substance/heroin (2), and possession of drug paraphernalia (4), Sussex County.

Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police encourages residents and visitors to report violations of fishing, hunting and boating regulations by calling 302-739-4580, and shares some tips on information needed to investigate and make a case based on such reports.

“Since it is not possible for Fish & Wildlife officers to be everywhere 24/7, we encourage compliant anglers, hunters and boaters as well as the general public to report possible fish, wildlife and boating regulation violations to us for investigation,” said Cpl. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “A timely call with good information helps Enforcement to better protect more of our resources, by enforcing Delaware’s regulations and educating the public.”

To ensure accurate, complete reports, callers are encouraged to take written notes when they witness what they believe to be a violation. The following information will assist agents in their investigation:

  • Time of day/night, date and location of the alleged violation
  • Descriptions of the alleged violators including any details on clothing and physical appearance; names if known
  • Descriptions of any vehicles or vessels involved; license plate numbers or boat registration numbers if known
  • Descriptions of any weapons involved
  • Descriptions of any fish, wildlife or other resources involved
  • Any other details about the incident witnessed, including possible human victims

“Just one word of caution to ethical anglers, boaters, hunters and others who witness illegal activity: for your own safety, do not try to confront suspected violators yourself,” Cpl. McDerby added. “Leave that to trained natural resources police officers.”

DNREC’s 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 Natural Resources Police 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.

Media Contacts: Cpl. John McDerby, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 45, No. 103