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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DNREC reminds hunters to take advantage of Snow Goose Conservation Order starting Feb. 6

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife is again implementing a federal Snow Goose Conservation Order, an Atlantic Flyway-wide effort to use hunting as a management tool to reduce and stabilize the population of greater snow geese. First issued in 2009, the order continues due to snow goose numbers reaching population levels that cause extensive damage to their breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, as well as to wetlands and agricultural areas where the birds overwinter in the Mid-Atlantic region, including Delaware. 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.*

The conservation order applies only to snow geese and goes into effect after Delaware’s regular waterfowl hunting seasons close. During the conservation order, hunters can pursue snow geese every day except Sunday, with no daily bag and possession limits. Hunters also can use unplugged shotguns and electronic calls during the conservation order, with legal shooting hours of a half-hour before sunrise to an extended half-hour after sunset. All other federal and state hunting regulations apply.

All state wildlife areas will be open to snow goose harvest during the conservation order. Hunting will be allowed on a first-come, first-served basis with no registration required. Hunters can hunt at any location within these wildlife areas, except for posted refuges and safety zones. Bombay Hook and Prime Hook national wildlife refuges are not participating in the conservation order.

To participate, hunters must obtain a free Snow Goose Conservation Order permit number by registering at the Delaware Hunter and Trapper Registration website at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt, and must keep the permit number in their possession while hunting. For assistance in obtaining the permit number, call 302-735-3600 during business hours Monday through Friday.

Participants must have a valid Delaware hunting license or a license exempt number (LEN), or a Maryland resident hunting license. Also required are a 2016/17 Delaware waterfowl stamp and a federal Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number, with the LEN and HIP available at the website above. A federal waterfowl stamp is not required during the conservation order.

Hunters are required to report their hunting activity and success to the Division of Fish & Wildlife by Monday, May 1 online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt; hunters may also report by phone at 302-735-3600 during business hours.

*NOTE: The conservation order will be closed Saturday, Feb. 11 with the statewide one-day reopening of the regular snow goose hunting season. On this day, snow goose hunters cannot use the special harvest methods allowed under the conservation order and must comply with the regular-season legal shooting hours of a half-hour before sunrise to sunset and the daily bag limit of 25 snow geese. Feb. 11 is also the second of two special youth waterfowl hunting days for ages 10 through 15 provided by the Division of Fish & Wildlife during the 2016/17 hunting season, and offers the opportunity for youth to hunt a variety of waterfowl.

For more information, visit http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Pages/DFW-Portal.aspxor call 302-739-9912.

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

Vol. 47, No. 28

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Youth waterfowl hunting day designated Feb. 11

Snow Goose Conservation Order closed for youth hunt

DOVER – To promote and provide additional hunting opportunities for youth hunters, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife has designated Saturday, Feb. 11 as the second of two special youth waterfowl hunting days for ages 10 through 15 to be held on both public and private lands during the 2016/17 hunting season.*

“These special youth hunting days are an excellent opportunity for experienced adult hunters to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation, thereby continuing one of Delaware’s great conservation and outdoor recreation traditions,” said David Saveikis, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Director. “Hunting is an exciting outdoor activity for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy.”

Normal daily waterfowl bag limits and hunting regulations apply on youth waterfowl hunting days for the harvest of ducks, snow geese and Canada geese. On state wildlife areas, a lottery drawing for waterfowl blinds will be held 1.5 hours before legal shooting time at Augustine, Cedar Swamp, Woodland Beach, Ted Harvey and Assawoman wildlife areas; the lottery will be held two hours before legal shooting time at the Little Creek Wildlife Area. Hunters should plan to arrive in time to sign up for the drawing. All other state wildlife areas that do not have lotteries but allow waterfowl hunting are also open on youth waterfowl hunting day. Hunters also should check each wildlife area’s rules before hunting. To promote youth hunting, the Division is waiving blind fees for youth hunters on state wildlife areas on youth hunting days. Blind fees apply at all other times.

Youth hunters must be of sufficient physical size and strength to safely handle a firearm, and must be accompanied by a licensed or license-exempt adult hunter age 21 or older who cannot possess a firearm during the youth waterfowl hunt. Youth hunters age 13 through 15 must have completed a hunter education course, obtained a hunter education certification card and purchased a Delaware junior hunting license, which costs $5. Youth hunters age 10 through 12 must possess a License Exempt Number (LEN) and may take a hunter education course. Youth waterfowl hunters under the age of 16 must also have a federally-required Delaware Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. No state or federal waterfowl stamps are required for youth hunters.

Delaware hunting 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. LEN and HIP numbers can be obtained through the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s Hunter and Trapper Registration System (HTR). This free, easy-to-use system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To use the HTR system, please visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. If you prefer to talk to a live customer service representative, please call 855-DELHUNT (855-335-4868).

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

*Reminder: The Snow Goose Conservation Order will be closed Feb. 11 on the youth waterfowl hunt day due to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service restrictions not allowing the Snow Goose Conservation Order to be open during waterfowl hunting seasons. The Conservation Order will be in effect Monday, Feb. 6 through Friday, Feb. 10 and Monday, Feb. 13 through Friday, April 7.

This program is part of Delaware’s Children in Nature Initiative, a statewide effort to improve environmental literacy in Delaware, create opportunities for children to participate in enriching outdoor experiences, combat childhood obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Delaware’s multi-agency initiative, which partners state and federal agencies with community organizations, is part of the national No Child Left Inside program.

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

Vol. 47, No. 26

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DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife reminds hunters to remove temporary deer stands from state wildlife areas

DOVER – With the 2016/17 deer hunting seasons closing Tuesday, Jan. 31, hunters who have placed portable deer stands on state wildlife areas are reminded that all stands must be removed no later than 48 hours after the season ends. Any stands that remain on wildlife areas after Thursday, Feb. 2 will become the property of the Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife.

Wildlife area rules were changed for the 2016/17 hunting season to provide hunters with additional opportunities by allowing temporary placement of portable deer stands on certain wildlife areas for the duration of the season. Previously, portable deer stands had to be carried in and out of wildlife areas daily.

“State wildlife areas are available for the use and enjoyment of everyone,” said Craig Rhoads, Habitat Conservation and Management program manager, Division of Fish & Wildlife. “To ensure the safety of wildlife area users to avoid impeding wildlife management activities and for hunters to avoid loss of their property, it is important that all temporary deer stands are removed promptly,” Rhoads said.

Under the revised rules for use of temporary, portable deer stands on state wildlife areas, no parts of these stands can be nailed or bolted to a tree. Hunters also are prohibited from cutting any vegetation or branches in order to hang a stand or to clear shooting paths. Hunters may set up their stands any time after Aug. 25. Placement of a stand on a wildlife area does not give the stand owner any exclusive rights to hunting a particular location.

For more information, contact the Division of Fish & Wildlife at 302-739-9912.

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

Vol. 47, No. 24

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