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