DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: April 16-23; Reminder for the week: As season starts, crabbers need be attentive to regs and rigs

DOVER (April 26, 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 16-23 made 597 contacts with hunters, anglers and boaters, and other members of the public, including 57 boardings for boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 33 complaints and issued 22 citations for violations of fish, game, traffic and criminal regulations. Of particular interest were: 

  • The arrest of a Townsend man for trespass and theft on the Cedar Swamp Wildlife Area. A Fish & Wildlife agent investigating vandalism and illegal entry into buildings on the wildlife area noticed a man attempting to remove a lightning rod from the roof of a barn behind a DNREC-owned 19th century property known as the Chabbott House. Charles J. Bachman, 70, was cited for one count of trespass and one count of theft under $1,500.
     
  • Agents charged two Seaford men with illegal possession of river herring during a closed season. One of them, Brice M. Smart, 54, was hit with a third charge of illegal possession since a ban on river herring went into effect last year in Delaware. Smart was transported to Justice of the Peace Court #3 and arraigned on one count of unlawful possession of river herring and one count of failing to produce a fishing license. He was released on $150 unsecured bond with the special condition that he not fish in Delaware waters until the case is adjudicated. Michael J. Schaffers, 25, was cited at the same time for illegal possession of river herring.
  • Increased Fish & Wildlife enforcement presence on the new C&D Canal Trail under construction resulted in six of the citations mentioned above: two for illegal dumping, three for fishing without a license, and one for driving without a license.

    Also on the C&D Canal Wildlife Area, an enforcement agent checking a complaint of illegal hunting near the new trail was approached by citizens who reported four pit bull dogs running loose in the area. The agent contacted the SPCA for assistance, and SPCA officers located and captured the dogs, then took them to a shelter.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Hunting wild turkey over bait, Sussex County (1).

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Illegal possession of river herring, Sussex County (2); Fishing without a license, New Castle County (3), Sussex (1).

Public Safety: Illegal dumping, New Castle (2), Kent (1) and Sussex (1) Counties; Operating a motor vehicle without a license, New Castle (1); Trespassing on state property, New Castle (1); Theft of state property less than $1,500 in value, New Castle (1).

 Inside Enforcement: 

  • Agents throughout the state are continuing to prepare patrol boats stored over the winter for the start of the upcoming spring boating season. 
     
  • Half of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents have completed spring firearms training and recertification.  All are expected to be recertified by the end of May.  
     
  • Agents noted an increase in complaints related to nuisance/injured wildlife; on April 22, Fish & Wildlife Dispatch documented seven calls related to foxes alone.

 Are you AWARE?

The Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds recreational crabbers who are setting up for the season about state regulations for catching blue crabs:

  • A Delaware recreational fishing license is required for crabbing.
  • Recreational crabbers may not use, place, set or tend more than two crab pots.
  • Recreational crab pots must be tended by the owner at least once every 72 hours and must be marked with white buoys with the owner’s name and permanent mailing address.
  • A turtle by-catch reduction device is required to be attached in the funnel entrance of recreational crab pots to reduce the possibility of diamondback terrapins entering the pots and drowning. The device is a rigid rectangular frame made of metal or plastic that measures 1.75 inches by 4.75 inches. By-catch devices are available at local tackle shops or may be handmade of heavy wire.
  • Recreational crabbers may use any number of hand lines or traps.
  • Minimum “keeper” size for male blue crabs and immature female crabs with the V-shaped apron is 5 inches, measured across the shell from point to point.
  • Mature female crabs, identified by the U-shaped apron, are exempt from the minimum size of 5” because many females reach maturity at a smaller size. 
  • Mature female blue crabs bearing eggs, known as sponge crabs and recognizable by the orange eggs visible under the apron, may not be taken and should be returned to the water immediately.
  • The recreational daily limit on blue crabs is one bushel per person.

Recreational anglers and crabbers also are reminded that fishing or crabbing off of courtesy docks at state-owned boat ramps is prohibited. Anglers and crabbers also should remember that these areas are “carry in, carry out,” and gather up leftover bait, bait containers, crab lines and other trash for proper disposal; those who do not can be cited for littering. “When left behind, crabbing lines are not only an eyesore for other anglers, crabbers and area visitors, they present a danger of entanglement to wildlife attracted to leftover bait,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. This reminder also serves recreational notice to crabbers and anglers, as the Division of Fish & Wildlife has in the past restricted access to areas where littering and dumping become a constant problem, and will do so again if warranted.

With spring finally warming our waterways, anglers also are reminded that using any type of net to catch fish within 300 feet below a dam or spillway is illegal, with the exception of using a landing net on a fish caught with hook and line.

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 Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 43, No.172

 

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Warm weather is returning, and so are Delaware’s bats; DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife seeks volunteer bat spotters

DOVER (April 19, 2013) – Delaware is home to eight species of bats, several of which have begun their annual move from winter hibernation sites to summer maternity colonies. Female bats return pregnant to the colonies where they congregate to give birth and raise their pups. In Delaware, these colonies can often take up residence in barns, garages, attics and homes.  

In Delaware, bats feed at night on insects, many of which are pest species like mosquitoes. Some eat moths and beetles that damage our crops. “They’re providing us with a valuable and free service, so it’s to our benefit to have them around,” said Wildlife Biologist Holly Niederriter of DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife.

A study published in Science magazine’s Policy Forum suggests that bats could be one of the most economically-valuable groups of wildlife to North American farmers, saving farmers at least $3.7 million annually by reducing the amount of pesticides needed.

Even though bats play an important role in our ecosystem, they are often unwanted visitors inside homes, garages and other outbuildings. If you, or a friend or neighbor, has bats roosting in an undesirable location, excluding bats from the building may be warranted.

For a list of permitted nuisance wildlife control operators that can conduct bat exclusions and to review best management practices for excluding bats, as well as more information on the Delaware Bat Program, please visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/bats/. The Delaware Bat program is also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

In the spring, it is crucial that bat exclusions be completed before May 15, when female bats typically settle into their colony sites and begin giving birth. If done after that date, flightless young may be trapped inside buildings and permanently separated from their mothers, without whom they cannot survive.

If you know of non-nuisance bat colonies, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife biologists are seeking volunteer bat spotters to help in locating and counting the state’s bat colonies. The Delaware Bat Count is a statewide research study of bat populations, breeding activity and the overall health of the bats that inhabit our state. The bat program is always looking for reports of new bat colonies.

To report a bat colony, or for more information on volunteering as a bat spotter, or on bat exclusions, please contact Holly Niederriter or Sarah Brownlee-Bouboulis, at 302-735-8674, or by email at  sarah.brownlee@delaware.gov.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902 

Vol. 43, No. 160

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Baby wild animals in your yard? DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends “If you care, leave them there”

DOVER (April 19, 2013) – With spring mowing season underway and having fielded recent calls from people who have found what they believe are “abandoned” baby rabbits, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind well-meaning wildlife watchers not to “rescue” young wild animals. Young Eastern cottontail rabbits, in particular, may appear to be alone, since their mothers often temporarily leave their ground nests to avoid attracting predators, returning only to feed their young.

“Before handling or moving any wildlife species, please contact the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife and speak to a trained wildlife biologist. We can help you determine whether the animal needs help or should be left alone,” said Wildlife Biologist Joe Rogerson, Division of Fish and Wildlife. “This will not only help ensure your safety, but also help to ensure the best possible outcome for the animal.” 

Precautions to take with both juvenile and adult wild animals: 

  • If you see a young animal alone, watch from a distance to see if its mother returns, which could take several hours. 
     
  • Some wild animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, especially if they are in pain. They also can carry parasites or illnesses that can affect you or your pets, such as rabies. If you must handle any wild animal, wear gloves and use extreme care. 
     
  • Remember that it is illegal to raise or keep any wild animal in Delaware.

“In almost every case, wild animals should be left where they are found. The hard truth is, if you take a young animal from the wild, you are almost certainly ensuring its death,” said licensed wildlife rehabilitator Dawn Webb. “While you may see a baby animal alone, what you don’t see is its mother, who is most likely nearby, waiting for you to move on. The bottom line is, if you care, leave them there.”

For more information, please call DNREC’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

 Vol. 43, No. 158

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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

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DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: April 3-9; Reminder for the week: Turkey season opens April 13

DOVER (April 12, 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, between April 3 and April 9 DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents made 1,135 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, including 12 boating safety/fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 36 complaints and issued 41 citations. Incidents of particular note included: 

  • On April 8, following an investigation, agents arrested Howard B. Carter IV, 35, of Middletown and charged him with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, hunting from a roadway, third degree conspiracy, hunting wild turkey without a permit, failure to register wild turkey, illegal possession of wild turkey, hunting wild turkey during a closed season and failure to wear required camouflage while hunting wild turkey. Carter was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 11 in New Castle and released pending a later trial in a higher court. 
  • Agents arrested two local fugitives. On April 4, Lanier L. Bright, 41, of Millsboro, was taken into custody on a Justice of the Peace Court warrant and released after posting bail. Bright was also cited for trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area. On April 8, Sarah King, 40, of Millsboro, was taken into custody on a Justice of the Peace Court 3 warrant and committed to Sussex Correctional Institute in default of bond. King and a companion were also cited for trespassing after hours in a state wildlife area. 
  • On April 5, a 24-year-old Wilmington man was cited for possession of an undersized snapping turtle, which the man had offered for sale online. Agents also issued a warning to the man about two other turtles found in his possession for which he did not have a permit. All three turtles were turned over to Division of Fish and Wildlife’s aquatic education staff. 

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

Wildlife Conservation: Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (1), hunting from a roadway (1), hunting wild turkey without required permit (1), failure to register wild turkey (1), illegal possession of wild turkey (1), hunting wild turkey during a closed season (1), and failure to wear required camouflage while hunting wild turkey (1), and possession of an undersized snapping turtle (1), New Castle County; Trespassing  after hours in a state wildlife area (8), illegally offering antlered deer parts for sale (2), commercialization of native wildlife (1), and an international wildlife trafficking violation for offering for sale a taxidermy-mounted bear (1)*, Sussex County. 

* A press release on the commercialization of wildlife case was issued earlier this week: Milford man charged with illegally selling mounted wildlife .

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (6), fishing in a closed trout stream (3), over limit trout (1), and no trout stamp (1), New Castle County.

Public Safety: Parking violations related to trout season opening day (8), New Castle County.

 Other: Criminal mischief (1), and third degree conspiracy (1), Sussex County.

Are you AWARE?

 The Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds hunters that the 2013 Delaware spring turkey hunting season opens Saturday, April 13, and runs through Saturday, May 11. Hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise until 1 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 

Delaware hunters are reminded that they must have successfully completed a mandatory one-day turkey hunter education class before they can legally hunt wild turkeys in Delaware. Turkey hunters also are required to carry their Hunter Education Card certifying successful completion of the course. Hunting on public lands is by preseason lottery permit only. Hunters must carry their public lands permit while hunting 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 may not be taken. 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. 145

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