Reminder for the week: After-hours entry, off-roading and target shooting in wildlife areas are unlawful
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, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between Jan. 2-8 made 1026 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 31 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 34 citations. Officers responded to 26 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. An increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions
Incidents of note:
• On Jan. 3, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited a juvenile for multiple hunting violations involving shooting from a vehicle at Canada geese with a .22 rifle near Townsend. Charges included unlicensed hunting, hunting from a motorized vehicle, having a loaded firearm in/on a motor vehicle and possession of prohibited lead shot/shot size while hunting migratory waterfowl. The juvenile was released to their parent pending future appearance in New Castle County Family Court.
• On Jan. 4, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited four individuals for migratory waterfowl hunting violations near Georgetown. Each person was cited for one count of hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait and each fined $165, including court costs.
• On Jan. 6, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited four individuals for migratory waterfowl hunting violations near New Castle. Each person was cited for one count of hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait and each fined $165, including court costs.
• On Jan. 6, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited three individuals for migratory waterfowl hunting violations near Milford. Two of the individuals were each cited for one count of hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait and each fined $165, including court costs. The third individual was cited for hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait, possession of unlawfully taken waterfowl, no navigation lights/required safety equipment and operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets, and fined $544, including court costs.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (1), possession of unlawfully taken waterfowl (1), hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait (11), and possession of prohibited lead shot/shot size while hunting migratory waterfowl (1).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), and no navigation lights/required safety equipment (1).
Public Safety: Failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (1), possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle (1), hunting from a motor vehicle (1), driving with a suspended or revoked license (1)*, operating a motor vehicle without insurance (1)*, and possession of marijuana (1).
Other: Littering upon the highway (1), damaging state property on a wildlife area (5)*, and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (6)*.
*Includes citations issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area
Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind visitors to state wildlife areas, fishing piers and boat launching facilities that these areas are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise unless a person is actively and lawfully engaged in fishing or hunting in accordance with state regulations and individual wildlife area rules. Individuals not meeting these requirements who are found in state wildlife areas between sunset and sunrise face fines up to $100 for trespassing after hours.
Wildlife area visitors also are reminded that it is illegal to operate motor vehicles – including motorcycles, cars, trucks and SUVs – off established roadways in state wildlife areas. Violators found to have caused damage also will be cited for destruction of state property. In addition, operating a motor vehicle that is not licensed for use on established public roadways – including ATVs – is prohibited both on and off-road on state wildlife areas.
“With recent snow and changing temperatures, the ground is especially vulnerable to damage from vehicles operating off-road,” said Sgt. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Doing ‘donuts’ or four-wheeling in wildlife areas is irresponsible and illegal behavior that damages essential wildlife habitat, that also causes unnecessary work and expense to repair the damage.”
Other noteworthy general wildlife area rules and regulations to remember include:
• Camping, fires, target shooting (including paintball or airsoft) and dumping or littering are prohibited in state wildlife areas.
• Dog training is permitted only within established dog training areas or during open hunting seasons for the game animals that the dog is being trained to hunt.
• Hunting is permitted only in specified areas and only during designated hunting seasons.
• Firearms are prohibited on state wildlife areas from March 1 to Aug. 31, except during legal hunting seasons or as authorized by the Division of Fish & Wildlife.
• All state wildlife areas are designated carry-in, carry-out for trash.
For more information on individual wildlife areas, including the rules and regulations specific to each wildlife area, wildlife area visitors are encouraged to view Delaware wildlife area maps. These maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.
For more information on hunting and fishing in Delaware, click on 2016/17 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or 2016 Fishing Guide. Both guides also are available in printed form at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and from license agents statewide.
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, 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 http://de.gov/ogt.
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Media contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386.
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