DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife announces 2016/17 hunting photo contest winners

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife today announced the winning entries in the 2016/17 Delaware Hunting Photo Contest. First place was awarded to Bo Wilkinson of Dagsboro for “Couples Retreat,” featuring his friend Morgan Anton after a successful waterfowl hunt on the Indian River. The second place winner was “Opening Day Calls,” taken by H. Joe Gannon III of Felton, showing his son Quade in a pond near Harrington.

First place 2016/17 Hunting Photo Contest winner, “Couples Retreat,” taken by Bo Wilkinson of Dagsboro, featuring his friend Morgan Anton after a successful waterfowl hunt on the Indian River.
First place 2016/17 Hunting Photo Contest winner, “Couples Retreat,” taken by Bo Wilkinson of Dagsboro, featuring his friend Morgan Anton after a successful waterfowl hunt on the Indian River.

Entries receiving honorable mention were:

  • “Waiting Patiently,” by Barbara Greer of Middletown, featuring her yellow Labrador retriever Riley in
  • “Catching Zs,” by Mari-Carmen Rupp of Dover, featuring her son Xander in the Little Creek Wildlife Area
  • “Best Friends,” by David Laux of Laurel, featuring his son Owen and Maggie the Golden retriever in the Nanticoke Wildlife Area.

The winning photo will appear on the cover or inside the 2017/2018 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide. The hunting guide will be available in July 2017 online, at the DNREC license desk in Dover and from hunting license agents statewide.

Three judges – Division of Fish & Wildlife Director David Saveikis, and local photographers Craig Rhoads and Freda Barrett, both DNREC employees – reviewed all the entries and narrowed them to the top five.

“The Division’s annual hunting photo contest provides a great opportunity for hunters to capture and share their hunting experiences with other hunters,” said Director Saveikis.

For more information about future Division of Fish & Wildlife photo contests, please visit de.gov/fwphotos, or contact Jennifer Childears at 302-739-9910, or email jennifer.childears@delaware.gov.

Media contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 47, No. 43

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Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: Feb. 13-19

Reminder for week: Wildlife, fishing, boating area visitors asked to respect natural resources

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 Feb. 13-19 made 1,840 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 18 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 10 citations. Officers responded to 21 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.DE F&W Natural Resources Police logo

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community

• On Feb. 17, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers attended a POW/MIA dedication ceremony at the Cabela’s store in Newark.

• On Feb. 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on what to expect when checked by an officer in the field to students attending a Basic Hunter Education Course at Ommelanden Hunter Education and Training Center.

• On Feb. 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on obtaining wildlife rehabilitator permits, endangered and threatened species and Natural Resources Police’s role in wildlife rehabilitation at the Delaware Council of Wildlife Rehabilitators & Educators basic training at the Department of Agriculture in Dover.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

Incidents of note:

• On Feb. 13, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Ian R. Collision, 34, of Bear, for one count each of theft under $1500 and conspiracy 3rd degree to aid other in misdemeanor. The arrest was made following an investigation into the theft of copper pipes and tools from a state-owned house that was under renovation in Kent County. Collision was arraigned at Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 and released on $600 unsecured bond and ordered to appear at the Court of Common Please at a later date.

• On Feb. 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Christopher Huhn, 23, of Bear, for one count each of failure to attach deer tag to an antlered deer, failure to check antlered deer within 24 hours, failure to retain tag on antlered deer and unlawful to remove antlered deer parts prior to examining by the division. The arrest was made following an investigation into deer hunting violations that occurred near Milford. Huhn was arraigned at Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 and released with an order to appear in the Court of Common Please at a later date.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: Failure to attach deer tag to an antlered deer (1), failure to check antlered deer within 24 hours (1), failure to retain tag on antlered deer (1), and unlawful to remove antlered deer parts prior to examining by division (1).

Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), obstructing use of a public boat ramp (2), and no tidal boat ramp certificate (1).

Public Safety: Theft under $1500 (1), and conspiracy 3rd degree to aid other in misdemeanor (1).

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, hunting or boating in accordance with state regulations and individual wildlife area rules. Individuals not meeting these requirements who are found in these 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 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, as well as generating unnecessary work and expense to repair the damage.”

Other noteworthy general rules and regulations to remember include:
• Camping, swimming, fires, target shooting (including paintball) 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 check out Delaware wildlife area maps. These maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.

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.

Media contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386.

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Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: Feb. 6-12

Reminder for the week: Anglers need a fishing license, trout stamp, FIN number for trout season

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 Feb. 6-12 made 1,311 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 11 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 46 citations. Officers responded to 29 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.DE F&W Natural Resources Police logo

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community
• On Feb. 10, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers attended a career fair at Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, where they presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers and discussed summer seasonal officer employment opportunities.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

Incident of note:
• On Feb. 9, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited a juvenile with multiple traffic violations after being observed operating a vehicle in an agricultural field near Townsend. Citations included malicious mischief by a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle without a valid license, failure to have insurance identification in possession, possession of a fictitious or cancelled registration card and operation of an unregistered motor vehicle. The juvenile was released to parents pending a future court date in New Castle County Family Court.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: No snow goose conservation order permit (1), and possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer (2)*.

Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (4), and possession of undersized largemouth bass (1).

Public Safety: Malicious mischief by a motor vehicle (1), operating a motor vehicle without a license (1), failure to have insurance identification in possession (1), possession of a fictitious or cancelled registration card (1), operation of an unregistered motor vehicle (1), possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited (30)*, and possession of ammunition by a person prohibited (1)*.

Other: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (2).

* See related press release: Harrington man arrested by Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police for multiple deer hunting and firearm violations

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind anglers that with trout season opening downstate at 7 a.m. Saturday, March 4 and other spring fishing opportunities coming up soon, they need to purchase their 2017 Delaware fishing license and, if trout fishing, a state trout stamp.

Trout will be stocked in Tidbury Pond near Dover in Kent County and Newton Pond near Greenwood in Sussex County. Both ponds are closed to all fishing from Saturday, Feb. 18 until opening day March 4. Upstate, trout will be stocked in six streams in northern New Castle County: White Clay Creek, Christina Creek, Pike Creek, Beaver Run, Wilson Run and Mill Creek where the season opens at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 1. The six trout streams are closed to all fishing from Saturday, March 18 until opening day on April 1.

A resident annual Delaware recreational fishing license, which covers fresh and tidal waters as well as crabbing and clamming, costs $8.50 for ages 16 through 64. Persons under the age of 16 and residents age 65 and older are not required to purchase fishing licenses in Delaware, although exempt persons may purchase fishing licenses and trout stamps if they so choose to help support fisheries management and trout stocking efforts. For non-resident anglers age 16 and older, a Delaware fishing license costs $20.

Both resident and non-resident anglers age 16 and older also are required to obtain a Delaware Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number. The free number is included as part of a Delaware fishing license purchase. License-exempt anglers, including Delaware residents 65 and older, may visit www.delaware-fin.com or call 800-432-9228 toll-free to obtain their free FIN number.

Most trout anglers also must purchase a Delaware Trout Stamp, with the exception of anglers younger than age 12 and resident anglers age 65 and older. For residents age 16 through 64, a trout stamp costs $4.20. For residents age 12 through 15, a young angler trout stamp costs $2.10. For non-residents, a trout stamp is required for all anglers age 12 and older and costs $6.20.

Delaware fishing licenses are sold online, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and by license agents statewide. To find a participating agent, or to purchase a license online, visit Delaware Licenses. For additional information on Delaware fishing licenses, call 302-739-9918.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2017 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.

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.

Like Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Media contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386.

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Harrington man arrested by F&W Natural Resources Police for multiple deer hunting and firearm violations

DE F&W Natural Resources Police logoDOVER – Following an investigation, DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested a Harrington man Feb. 6 for deer hunting violations and multiple charges related to possession of firearms and ammunition by a person prohibited.

Randy T. Combs, 37, was charged with two counts of possession of an unlawfully-taken antlerless deer, 30 counts of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited and one count of possession of ammunition by a person prohibited.

Firearms and ammunition cache from execution of NRP search warrant against Randy T. Combs
Firearms and ammunition cache from execution of NRP search warrant against Randy T. Combs

During execution of a search warrant, officers located and seized as evidence 29 firearms (two AR-15s, one AK-47, seven shotguns, eight rifles, one muzzleloader and 10 handguns), a compound bow and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Combs was arraigned in Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and released on $3,300 unsecured bond pending a court appearance at a later date.

Delaware law prohibits persons whose criminal and legal history includes prior felony convictions or misdemeanor convictions associated with violent crimes, drug convictions and mental conditions as defined under the law or court-issued protection from abuse orders from owning or possessing any type of deadly weapon. Deadly weapons consist of all types of firearms, as well as ammunition and any type of bow – compound, recurve or crossbow.

“Any deer taken by a person under this prohibition is considered an illegal take, and that person is subject to arrest, with penalties for violations ranging from probation and fines to jail sentences,” said Sgt. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police.

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.

Like Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

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

Vol. 47, No. 36

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Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: Jan. 23-29

Reminder for the week: Conservation Order allows snow goose harvest

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. 23-29 made 1173 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 40 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 27 citations. Officers responded to 43 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.DE F&W Natural Resources Police logo

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community

• On Jan. 28-29, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers spoke to students attending Turkey Hunter Education Courses at the Fish & Wildlife Hunter Education Center in Little Creek. The students learned about the career and duties of a Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officer and what to expect when checked by an officer when hunting.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

Incidents of note:

• On Jan. 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Brian T. Pitts, 27, of Smyrna, for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, possession of drug paraphernalia, operating a vessel with an insufficient number of life jackets and operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol on the Blackbird River near Townsend. Pitts was processed and released pending a future court appearance.

• On Jan. 26, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Antonio Couto, 64, of Milton for the willful obstruction or impeding of lawful hunting for having intentionally interfered with a deer hunter near Milton. Couto was arraigned at Sussex County Justice of the Peace Court 3, where he pled guilty and was fined $298, including court costs.

• On Jan. 28, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited two individuals from Sussex County for one count each of possession of a loaded firearm in a vessel while underway and hunting from an underway vessel as the result of shooting at migratory waterfowl from their underway vessel near the Indian River Inlet. Fines for each individual total $333, including court costs.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: Willful obstruction or impeding of lawful hunting (1), hunting deer with a shotgun during muzzleloader season (2), hunting migratory waterfowl without required HIP number (1), leaving migratory waterfowl in the custody of another without tagging (2), possession of over the limit Canada goose (2), and hunting from a vessel within 1500’ of an established blind (1).

Boating & Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), and operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (1).

Public Safety: Possession of a loaded firearm in a vessel while underway (3), hunting from an underway vessel (2), disorderly conduct (1), resisting arrest (1), possession of marijuana (1), and possession of drug paraphernalia (1).

Other: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (6), and unlawful to remove firewood from a state wildlife area (1)*.

*Includes citation(s) issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind hunters that the 2017 Conservation Order to harvest snow geese will open Monday, Feb. 6 and run through Friday, Feb. 10, then will reopen Monday, Feb. 13 and run through Friday, April 7.

To participate in the Conservation Order, hunters must obtain and keep in their possession while hunting snow geese a free Snow Goose Conservation Order permit number, available at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. Individuals needing assistance in obtaining the permit number should call 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday.

Participants must also have a valid Delaware hunting license or a License Exempt Number (LEN) or a Maryland resident hunting license, a 2016/17 Delaware waterfowl stamp and a federally-required Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required during the Conservation Order.

The LEN and HIP number are available, and participants in the Conservation Order are required to report their hunting activity and success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Monday, May 1, 2017, at the website above or by calling 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868).

The Snow Goose Conservation Order allows use of unplugged shotguns and electronic calls, with no daily bag and possession limits. Legal shooting hours start a half-hour before sunrise and are extended to a half-hour after sunset. Federal and state hunting regulations otherwise apply.

All state wildlife areas will be open to snow goose harvest during the Conservation Order beginning Monday, Feb. 6. Hunting will be allowed on a first-come, first-served basis with no registration required, and hunters can hunt at any location on these wildlife areas except for posted refuges and safety zones. The federal Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges are not participating in the Conservation Order.

For more information on the Snow Goose Conservation Order, please call 302-739-9912 or visit www.fw.delaware.gov.

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.

Like Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Media contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386.

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