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 Nov. 7-13 made 1,624 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 40 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 79 citations. Officers responded to 102 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 Nov. 10, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Kent County officers displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer during an event at the Farmington Volunteer Fire Company. The trailer is used to educate visitors about illegally harvested game and includes a display of confiscated weapons used in wildlife crimes as well as information about Natural Resources Police careers. Officers interacted with about 70 visitors.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions
Incidents of note:
- On Nov. 11, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Ronald Degano, 20, of Dover, for deer hunting and traffic violations following a traffic stop near Felton. Degano was charged with one count each of failure to tag antlered deer, failure to retain antlered deer tag, failure to register antlered deer within 24 hours, butchering antlered deer prior to registration, possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer and operating an off-road vehicle on a public roadway. He was taken to Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover, where he pled guilty to failure to tag antlered deer and was fined $1,241, including court costs, and released.
- On Nov. 13, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited a Pennsylvania man and a Middletown man for operating unregistered off-road vehicles on the C&D Canal Conservation Area. Both were fined $225 each, including court costs.
- On Nov. 12, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited a New Castle man for operating a motor vehicle without insurance, following a motor vehicle too closely and making an improper lane change near Stanton. He was released pending a mandatory court appearance at a later date.
- On Nov. 12, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited three men from Gordonsville, Pa. for hunting-related violations while trespassing to hunt on private property near Hockessin. Two of the men were charged with trespassing to hunt and possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer; both were fined $330 each, including court costs. The third was charged with trespassing to hunt, two counts of possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer and hunting deer with an unplugged shotgun capable of holding more than three shells; he was fined $660, including court costs.
- On Nov. 11, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited a Seaford man for hunting deer over bait on a state refuge, possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area near Seaford. He was fined $1,441, including court costs.
- On Nov. 11, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited a Wilmington man for deer hunting-related violations on New Castle County-owned property near Wilmington. He was charged with one count each of hunting on a refuge, hunting deer over bait on a refuge and failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season. He was fined $379, including court costs.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (4), trespassing to hunt (6), hunting on a refuge (1), hunting deer over bait on a refuge (2), hunting deer over bait on a state wildlife area (1), harvesting an antlered deer without purchasing an antlered deer tag (1), failure to retain antlered deer tag (1), possession of unlawfully taken antlered deer (3), possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer (4), failure to tag antlerless deer (2), failure to tag antlered deer (3), failure to register antlerless deer within 24 hours (1), failure to register antlered deer within 24 hours (1), butchering antlerless deer prior to registration (1), hunting with an unplugged shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (7), no daily waterfowl permit (2), hunting in a restricted area of a state wildlife area (1), damaging state property on a wildlife area (1), operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1), and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (5).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (1), possession of undersized black sea bass (1), possession of undersized striped bass (4), and possession of undersized conch (1).
Public Safety: Carrying a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle (2), hunting deer during a closed season/nighttime (2), third degree conspiracy (2), hunting from a motor vehicle (2), shooting on or across a public roadway (1), shooting within 15 yards of a public roadway (1), failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (7), operating a motor vehicle without insurance (1), following a motor vehicle too closely (1), making an improper lane change (1), operating an off-road vehicle on a public roadway (2), and operating an unregistered off-road vehicle/ATV (2)*.
*Citations issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
A press release was issued related to this week’s citations: DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrest two Maryland men for multiple nighttime deer poaching violations.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind hunters participating in waterfowl hunting season Monday, Nov. 21 through Saturday, Nov. 26 that hunting from a vessel within 1,500 feet of an established waterfowl blind without permission is prohibited.
Waterfowl hunters also are reminded to “get the lead out” by removing from their firearms, hunting bags, coats and vests any leftover lead shot from shotgun deer season or from small game hunting, including buckshot, deer slugs and shotgun shells. Only non-toxic shot, as approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, may be used in Delaware to hunt waterfowl, including ducks, geese and coots. For a list of approved non-toxic shot, click USFWS non-toxic shot.
Also, hunting game on private property without permission of the owner and/or residents is considered trespassing to hunt and is a hunting violation. Tracking or recovering game on another’s property, shooting on another’s property or crossing another’s private property to reach a hunting area are examples of trespassing to hunt. Those cited for trespassing to hunt face potential fines up to $100 plus court costs.
Other rules and general hunting information:
- Shotgun deer season opens again Saturday, Jan. 14 through Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, including Sunday, Jan. 15. Archery deer season remains open through Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017.
- Upcoming or ongoing small game hunting seasons are: gray squirrel (through Saturday, Feb. 4), quail (Monday, Nov. 21 through Saturday, Jan. 7), pheasant (Monday, Nov. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 4) and rabbit (Monday, Nov. 21 through Tuesday, Feb. 28).
- Hunters should check daily bag limits and possession limits, as well as types of arms and ammunition permitted for the game they are planning to hunt.
- If hunting on public wildlife areas, hunters should review wildlife area maps and rules, including hunting times, specific rules for each wildlife area and any permits they may need. Wildlife area maps and rules are available in DNREC’s Dover licensing desk or online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps.
- Small game hunters, particularly squirrel hunters, need to be aware that they may be sharing their hunting spots with camouflaged archery deer hunters in tree stands.
- Waterfowl hunters should make sure they have their hunting licenses, state and federal stamps and Harvest Information Program number (HIP) before they head for their blinds. To conveniently obtain your free HIP number online from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop, click www.dnrec.delaware.gov/delhunt. Hunters also may call 1-855-335-4868 (1-855-DELHUNT) toll-free.
- Successful waterfowl hunters who plan to leave their birds with another person or somewhere other than in their possession are required to tag them with their name, address, the total number and species of birds taken and the date taken; tags may be made by the hunter or obtained from a picking house or taxidermist. Without tagging, hunters are not permitted to leave birds in the custody of another person for any reason, including picking, cleaning, storage, transportation or taxidermy.
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. For additional information on Delaware hunting licenses, call 302-739-9918.
For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on 2016-2017 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.
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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