DNREC Natural Resources Police Make Arrests in Wildlife Animal Cruelty Case

Richard Bunting

DNREC Fish and Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Richard Bunting, 20, of Frankford on July 9 and two juveniles on July 13 and charged them with multiple deer poaching and with felony charges, following an investigation into a reported wildlife animal cruelty incident that occurred July 8 in the Hudson Road area near Gumboro.

The incident allegedly involved Bunting and two juveniles video recording themselves intentionally hitting a deer with a motor vehicle and continuing to perform cruel acts on the deer, which ultimately resulted in its death. Bunting and the two juveniles were charged with one count each of felony cruelty to animals, felony conspiracy second degree, hunting deer during a closed season, possessing or transporting an unlawfully killed antlerless deer, unlicensed hunting and underage possession of alcohol.

Bunting was arraigned via video with Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and released on his own recognizance pending future court appearances in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas. The two juveniles were released to their parents and are awaiting arraignment with Family Court in Georgetown.

Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

The public is encouraged to report fish, wildlife and boating violations to the Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580 or through the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free of charge by searching “DENRP Tip” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to http://de.gov/ogt or using the DENRP Tip app; Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, brooke.mitchell@delaware.gov

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Delaware Hunting Licenses and Conservation Access Passes Now Easier to Purchase Online

Hunters and trappers can now use a new, user-friendly online system to access license sales, License Exempt Numbers (LEN), harvest registration, hunting permit and hunter education. Made available from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, the hunting and trapping license and Conservation Access Pass sales system is fully integrated with the hunter and trapper registration system and hunter education records.

Single-sourcing purchases of licenses, permits, and hunter and trapper education materials are the latest update to DNREC’s ePermitting system, which allows customers to establish a user profile to access a variety of licensing and permitting functions. Recreational fishing license sales were made available earlier this year on the ePermitting system.

The online system enhancements include a more modern look and feel using an improved customer interface and a familiar shopping cart approach, with full compatibility for a variety of desktop and mobile devices.

While the ePermitting system offers a new way to purchase, recreational hunting and trapping licenses and Conservation Access Passes can also be purchased and free License Exempt Numbers obtained at license agents statewide. These services also will be available in the future at the licensing office in DNREC’s Richardson and Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, where sales and transactions are currently suspended during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

For additional information and questions regarding Delaware hunting and trapping licenses, Conservation Access Passes, recreational fishing licenses, and other related services, call the Division of Fish and Wildlife recreational licensing program at 302-739-9918 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Joanna Wilson, Joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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DNREC Announces Killens Pond State Park Water Park to Open Saturday

Safety Measures, Including Limited Capacity and Hours, in Effect Until Further Notice

 The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will reopen the Killens Pond State Park Water Park on Saturday, July 11, with measures in effect to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Water Park will limit its hours and offer two sessions per day, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and will be closed Wednesdays and Thursdays. Visitor capacity at the water park will be reduced to 30%. Guests must reserve a session online prior to visiting the water park. Tickets will not be available for purchase at the park.

As part of our continued commitment to help our community in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the following protocols and procedures will also be in effect until further notice:

  • Masks or other cloth face coverings are required for entry into the water park, while in line, in concession areas and restrooms, and when social distancing of at least 6 feet between those of other households cannot be maintained.
  • Face coverings may be removed once on the pool deck, but must continue to be worn when social distancing is not possible.
  • Face coverings are not required while in the water. Any face coverings visitors choose to wear while in the water must be made of swimsuit-type material (man-made fibers). Standard face coverings made from cotton may make it difficult to breathe when wet.
  • Guests must continue to social distance when in the water.
  • Bathrooms and slide handrails will be sanitized every hour, and all other touch points will be sanitized between sessions.
  • All other COVID-19-related rules, regulations and recommendations from the Division of Public Health apply.
  • All other Water Park rules and regulations apply.

Water park entrance fees are $6 for those under 48 inches and $8 for those 48 inches and taller. Entry is free for children ages 2 and younger. The water park features attractions for all ages and abilities, including a main pool, baby pool, slides, fountains and a variety of other fun water features.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Parks and Recreation oversees more than 26,000 acres in 17 state parks and the Brandywine Zoo. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Shauna McVey, shauna.mcvey@delaware.gov or Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov.

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Delaware’s 2019-20 Deer Harvest Sets Record High; Wild Turkey Harvest State’s 4th Highest Total

White-tailed doe/US Fish and Wildlife Service photo

Harvests from two of Delaware’s most popular hunting seasons – deer and wild turkey – reflect continued conservation management by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control in making the state a successful destination for deer and turkey hunters. A record 16,969 deer harvested for the 2019/20 hunting season helps move management of the deer population to a level that provides quality hunting opportunities while also reducing deer conflicts with humans. The 643 wild turkeys harvested during the spring turkey season from April 11 to May 9 and during the April 4 youth/non-ambulatory disabled hunt produced the fourth-highest recorded harvest for the state.

“Deer and turkey hunting are among the most popular outdoor pursuits in our state, and Delaware hunters are benefiting from our management of these two prized game animals,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “The record deer harvest shows progress in managing Delaware’s deer population by providing expanded and sustainable deer hunting opportunities toward lowering deer conflicts with farming and motorists.”

The 16,969 deer harvested during the 2019/20 season exceeded the previous record by 1,665 deer (10.9 percent) compared to 15,304 deer harvested during the 2017/18 hunting season, with this past season representing the seventh consecutive year that more than 14,000 deer were harvested by hunters in Delaware. The 2019/20 deer harvest was highest in Sussex County with 8,996, followed by Kent County with 4,980 and New Castle County with 2,993.

Numerous other deer harvest records occurred during the 2019/20 hunting season, including:

  • 9,423 does, representing 55.5 percent of the total harvest and exceeding the previous record of 8,328 from 2004/05, with harvesting more does than bucks necessary to properly manage the size and quality of the deer population
  • 4,861 antlered adult bucks with antlers three inches or more in length, exceeding the previous record of 4,729 from 2016/17
  • 2,495 deer harvested by crossbow, exceeding the previous record of 1,781 from 2017/18
  • 11 of Delaware’s 18 Wildlife Management Zones experienced record deer harvests, with zones 2, 4, 8, 13, 14 and 15 having substantial increases
  • A record number of 2,221 deer were harvested on Sundays, representing 13.1 percent of the total statewide harvest.

The 2019/20 hunting season was the second consecutive year in which deer hunting occurred on all Sundays during the deer season on private lands and Division of Fish and Wildlife public wildlife areas, providing additional hunting opportunities and management of the deer population.

Wild turkey gobbler/National Wild Turkey Federation photo

The harvest of 643 wild turkeys for 2020 was 78 birds higher than last year’s total. Only turkeys with beards – almost always males – can be harvested in Delaware. Of significance for this year’s wild turkey hunting season was DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s successful implementation of turkey harvest self-check stations established throughout the state in lieu of the traditional in-person check stations due to COVID-19 precautions.

Wild turkeys were harvested from 17 of the state’s 18 wildlife management zones, with 537 turkeys harvested on privately-owned lands and 106 harvested from 20 different public lands to match the previous record number of birds harvested from public lands in 2017. Weekly harvest totals were 270 birds the first week, 133 the second week, 94 the third week, and 116 the fourth week. This year’s total harvest also included 30 birds harvested by youth/non-ambulatory disabled hunters during the special youth/non-ambulatory disabled turkey hunt on April 4, our highest special turkey hunt harvest to date.

Highlights of the 2020 turkey hunting season included the harvest of 16 “non-typical” turkeys, gobblers with more than one beard. Of these birds, 12 had two beards, three had three beards, and one had four beards.

For more information on hunting deer or turkey in Delaware, review Delaware’s Hunting and Trapping Guide or call the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Wildlife Section at 302-739-9912.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities, and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Fish and Wildlife conserves and manages Delaware’s fish and wildlife and their habitats, and provides fishing, hunting, wildlife viewing and boating access on nearly 65,000 acres of public land. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov, or Joanna Wilson, joanna.wilson@delaware.gov

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Delaware Solar Installation Grant Incentive Increased

Delmarva Power Customers Benefit from Green Energy Fund

Solar power installations for Delmarva Power customers in Delaware have become more affordable with grant increases announced this month by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

A program of the DNREC Green Energy Fund, grants for residential solar installations are being increased from $0.50/watt to $0.60/watt, with the maximum grant increased to $5,000. This increase is designed to provide a reasonable incentive for homeowners to optimize the size of rooftop solar for their personal needs.

Grants for commercial solar installations are being set at $0.60/watt up to a maximum grant of $25,000. Commercial grants were previously capped at $3,000 due to limited funding.

The state legislature established the Green Energy Fund in 1999. It is funded by Delmarva Power electric customers, who are then eligible to access the Green Energy Fund for renewable energy projects. Grant amounts are adjusted periodically to respond to changing market conditions.

“Supporting the development of small scale solar has been an essential part of our strategy to promote Delaware’s renewable energy industry and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin.

Since its inception, the Green Energy Fund has supported the installation of 4,764 solar energy systems.

Information on the Green Energy Fund can be found at de.gov/greenenergy or by emailing DNREC_GreenEnergyProgram@delaware.gov.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy uses science, education, policy development and incentives to address Delaware’s climate, energy and coastal challenges. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov, Jim Lee, jamesw.lee@delaware.gov

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