Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: May 2-8

Reminder for the week: Tautog season closed through July 16; possession prohibited

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, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 2-8 made 1,219 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 21 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 28 complaints and issued 28 citations, two of which were related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence.

Incidents of note:

  • On May 6, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Christopher H. Stock, 25, of Elberon, N.J, for negligent operation of a vessel and no boating safety certificate after the vessel he was operating struck the Reedy Island Jetty near Augustine Beach and sank. Following a 911 call, Stock, two passengers and a Great Dane dog were rescued uninjured by first responders. Stock was issued a $214 fine, including court costs. The vessel has not been recovered and the accident remains under investigation.
  • On May 5, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested George W. Marquess Sr., 72, of Harrington and charged him with two counts of possession of over-the-limit for wild turkeys and one count of failure to check a wild turkey. Marquess pled guilty to one count of possession of over-the-limit for wild turkeys in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover, and was fined $157, including court costs.
  • On May 5, following a joint investigation with the New Jersey Fish & Wildlife Bureau of Land Management, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Barry A. Gilbert, 53, of Cape May, N.J., and charged him with two counts of failure to tag antlered deer and one count each of failure to retain an antlered deer tag and transporting unlawfully-taken deer in connection with an incident near Laurel during Delaware’s November 2015 shotgun deer season. Gilbert was arraigned in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and released on $1,500 unsecured bond pending trial in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Possession of over-the-limit wild turkeys (2), failure to check a wild turkey (1), Failure to tag antlered deer (2), failure to retain antlered deer tag (1), transporting unlawfully-taken deer (1), and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (9).

Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (8)*, and possession of undersized white perch (2).

Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation of a vessel (1), and no boating safety certificate (1).

* Two citations for unlicensed fishing were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind anglers that landing and possession of tautog in Delaware is prohibited from May 12 through July 16 and again from Sept. 1 – 28, regardless of where the fish was caught – Delaware waters, another state’s waters or federal waters.

Tautog typically spawn in offshore waters in late spring to early summer. Due to their slow reproduction and growth, the species is vulnerable to overfishing, and Delaware’s regulations are based on management guidelines issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to protect stocks from overfishing. Regulations include:

  • A tautog size minimum of 15 inches for all seasons;
  • A possession limit of five fish from Jan. 1 through March 31, July 17 through Aug. 31 and Sept. 29 through Dec. 31; and
  • A possession limit of three fish from April 1 through May 11.

For a complete anglers’ guide to fishing in Delaware, click Delaware fish species; for specific information on tautog, click here.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2016 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk in the Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and from license agents throughout the state.

Anglers, be AWARE:
The Division of Fish & Wildlife has received a number of calls recently from anglers who thought they were buying a Delaware fishing license from the website fishinglicense.org when they made a purchase from that site. The private, unaffiliated website does NOT sell licenses, but sells information about fishing and how to obtain fishing licenses for $19.99 – the same information that is readily available for free on the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s website. Delaware fishing licenses, meanwhile, are sold online ONLY on the Division of Fish & Wildlife website, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and by authorized license agents statewide. ONLY the Division of Fish & Wildlife’s website is authorized to sell Delaware fishing and hunting licenses online.

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

Vol. 46, No. 171


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: May 18-24

Reminder for week: Tautog season closed through July 16, possession prohibited

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, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 18-24 made 2,784 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 667 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 108 complaints and issued 94 citations, six of which were related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence.

Incidents of particular note were:

  • On May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Dean Millard, 57, of Birdsboro, Pa., and charged him with operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (OUI) at Massey’s Landing. Millard was taken to the Millsboro Police station for a breathalyzer test and released pending a later court date at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown.
  • On May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested David W. Jones, 24, of Harrington, and charged him with OUI on Rehoboth Bay near Love Creek. Jones was taken to the Millsboro Police station for a breathalyzer test and released pending a later court date at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown.
  • On May 23 and 24, and concurrent with National Safe Boating Week (May 16-24), Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers concentrated boating safety patrols on Delaware’s waterways to ensure public safety over the holiday weekend. The officers spent 227.5 hours underway on patrol vessels, conducted 570 vessel boardings, contacted 2,036 members of the public and responded to 74 complaints including two search-and-rescues. Statewide, 82 citations were issued, including two OUI arrests.
  • On May 18, following an investigation near Felton, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Joshua Nuewiller, 38, of Greensboro, Md., and charged him with one count of guiding a turkey hunt in Delaware without a valid Delaware guide license. Nuewiller pled guilty in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and was fined $107, including court costs.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1)*, and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (6), New Castle County; No valid guide license for hunting (1), Kent County.

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (29), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Possession of undersized white perch (1)*, and trespassing to fish (3), New Castle County; Possession of undersized blue crab (9), possession of sponge crab (1), and improperly marked recreational crab pots (2), Sussex County.

Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (9), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (6), operating a motor vessel with an expired registration/operating an unregistered vessel (6), New Castle and Sussex counties; Failure to observe slow/no wake zone (3), Kent and Sussex counties; No valid boat ramp certificate (1), Kent County; Operating a motor vessel under the influence of alcohol (2), negligent operation of a vessel (3), no boating safety certificate (5), use of non-complying vessel (1), no fire extinguisher on board/required safety equipment (1), and no sound-producing device on board/required safety equipment (1), Sussex County.

Public Safety: Failure to carry helmet on motorcycle (2), and no motorcycle endorsement (1), Kent County.

* These citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area. In addition, the following citations not marked with an asterisk also were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area: Fishing without a license (1), and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (3).

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach

  • On May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer and spoke to the public about hunting, fishing and boating safety at the Millsboro VFW Boating and Fishing Expo, that included a fundraiser for an offshore fishing trip for wounded warriors.

Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind anglers that from May 12 through July 16 and again from Sept. 1 through Sept. 28, landing and possession of tautog in Delaware is prohibited, regardless of where the fish was caught – Delaware waters, another state’s waters or federal waters.

Tautog typically spawn in offshore waters in late spring to early summer. Due to their slow reproduction and growth, the species is vulnerable to overfishing, and Delaware’s regulations are based on management guidelines issued by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to protect stocks from overfishing. Regulations include:

  • A tautog size minimum of 15 inches for all seasons;
  • A possession limit of five fish from Jan. 1 through March 31, July 17 through Aug. 31 and Sept. 29 through Dec. 31; and
  • A possession limit of three fish from April 1 through May 11.

A complete listing of tautog regulations can be found here.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2015 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 and 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 www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.

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

Vol. 45, No. 172


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: March 30-April 5

Reminder for the week: Public encouraged to report fishing, hunting, boating violations

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, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between March 30-April 5 made 1,048 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 32 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 43 complaints and issued 40 citations. This week, with an expanded Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.

Kaitlyn M. Hearn and James I. Taylor
Kaitlyn M. Hearn and James I. Taylor

Incidents of particular note were:

  • On April 3, Natural Resources Police officers arrested James I. Taylor, 36, of Laurel, and Kaitlyn M. Hearn, 20, of Seaford, in the Craigs Pond parking lot near Seaford, and charged them with two counts each of felony endangering the welfare of a child, one count each of possession of a controlled substance/heroin, and two counts each possession of drug paraphernalia. Both were arraigned and released on $5,000 unsecured bond each, pending trial at a later date. Two young children left in Taylor and Hearn’s care and found in their vehicle were turned over to their parents.
  • On April 1, Natural Resources Police officers cited Robert J. Hudson, 64, of Frankford, on one count of a food fish equipment permit violation for not having a recreational gillnet license in connection with a March 18 incident in which he had been charged with three net marking violations on Little Assawoman Bay. Hudson pled guilty to all four charges in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown and was fined $423 including court costs. Also cited in the case on March 18 was John E. Pittman, 60, of Ocean View, who was charged with three counts of net marking violations and one count of net setting restriction violation/obstructing navigation. His case is still pending.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (2), trespassing to hunt (1), hunting rabbits out of season (1), hunting rabbits using illegal method of take/weapon (1), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on state forest lands (1), hunting white-tailed deer during closed season (1)*, hunting with unlawful weapon during archery season (1)*, failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (1)*, possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer (1)*, failure to retain deer tag (1)*, failure to tag antlerless deer (1)*, and failure to check antlerless deer within 24 hours (2)*, Sussex County.

*For more on this case, see this previously-issued press release: Sussex man caught on camera, arrested and fined for multiple deer hunting violations.

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (11), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Trespassing to fish (3), New Castle County; no food fish equipment permit/no recreational gill net license (1), Sussex County.

Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1), Sussex County.

Public Safety: Felony endangering the welfare of a child (4), possession of a controlled substance/heroin (2), and possession of drug paraphernalia (4), Sussex County.

Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police encourages residents and visitors to report violations of fishing, hunting and boating regulations by calling 302-739-4580, and shares some tips on information needed to investigate and make a case based on such reports.

“Since it is not possible for Fish & Wildlife officers to be everywhere 24/7, we encourage compliant anglers, hunters and boaters as well as the general public to report possible fish, wildlife and boating regulation violations to us for investigation,” said Cpl. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “A timely call with good information helps Enforcement to better protect more of our resources, by enforcing Delaware’s regulations and educating the public.”

To ensure accurate, complete reports, callers are encouraged to take written notes when they witness what they believe to be a violation. The following information will assist agents in their investigation:

  • Time of day/night, date and location of the alleged violation
  • Descriptions of the alleged violators including any details on clothing and physical appearance; names if known
  • Descriptions of any vehicles or vessels involved; license plate numbers or boat registration numbers if known
  • Descriptions of any weapons involved
  • Descriptions of any fish, wildlife or other resources involved
  • Any other details about the incident witnessed, including possible human victims

“Just one word of caution to ethical anglers, boaters, hunters and others who witness illegal activity: for your own safety, do not try to confront suspected violators yourself,” Cpl. McDerby added. “Leave that to trained natural resources police officers.”

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 and 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 www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.

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

Vol. 45, No. 103