CO Panico returned to duty after recuperating from a knee injury
received during training in December 2005. His return is welcomed.
Conservation Officers of the Northern Region did a commendable
job in covering this open area as well as an adjoining area during
As the result of a trespass complaint in Mansfield Township, Warren
County, CO Applegate apprehended two local hunters for violations
of the Spring Turkey Regulations. Complaints were signed for Trespass
for purpose of hunting (two counts), hunt turkey wrong zone, registering
turkey with false information and failing to properly tag turkey.
On a closed waters stocking date along the Ramapo River in Bergen
County, CO Hutchinson apprehended six individuals for fishing
without the proper license. The apprehensions were found while
patrolling from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
CO Kuechler investigated a complaint of illegal songbirds in captivity
in Belleville, Essex County. Three Cardinals and four Mourning
Doves were seized and turned over to a rehabilitator due to the
poor condition of the birds. Complaints were signed for each of
CO Williamson and Deputy Schleifer found a suspicious vehicle
parked in Washington Township in Morris County. Though the occupants
were obviously turkey hunters, a feed bag was observed in the
vehicle. A foot patrol of the area found two hunters with decoys
out calling turkeys in an area baited with corn within thirty
feet of their position. Another empty feed bag was also found
at that location. Appropriate complaints were signed for hunt
turkey in a manner prohibited by State Game Code.
CO Hutchinson has been conducting inspections of fish markets
in the Bergen County area in an attempt to monitor illegal sales
of marine finfish.
On a recent patrol of the Pequest River, Lieutenant Cole observed
four individuals fishing near the outflow of the Pequest Hatchery.
Three of the anglers had licenses displayed; the fourth was found
to have no license. Of the three displayed licenses examined,
two were found to have been loaned. The appropriate complaints
Lieutenant Fletcher attended a class at the Somerset County Police
Academy regarding preparation of Search Warrants.
CO Paul attended a class at the Somerset County Police Academy
on Basic Fingerprinting Techniques.
CO Hutchinson is conducting a joint investigation with Police
of a New Milford, Bergen County resident, found in possession
of a live Western Diamondback Rattlesnake. The snake was remanded
to a rehabilitator by personnel of the Non-Game Section.
Lieutenant Cole made several apprehensions for over the limit
trout during the spring. In one instance he found an individual
on the South Branch with five trout on a stringer and an additional
six hidden in his automobile. He conducted a plainclothes surveillance
of an individual on the Musconetcong River, following him to four
different locations including the home of a friend to drop off
the first limit. After four hours, Lieutenant Cole apprehended
his target with four trout over the daily limit. In a separate
incident CO Applegate assisted in the apprehension of an individual
on the D&R Canal found with four trout on his person and an
additional seven in his vehicle. The appropriate complaints were
signed in each case.
COs Paul and Samona attended a meeting at the CRO regarding Bog
Lieutenant's Brown and Fletcher conducted a power point presentation
on Wildlife Law Enforcement at the Somerset County Police Academy.
The training focused on cooperation between Police Departments
and the Division’s Bureau of Law Enforcement.
CO Kuechler and Lieutenant Cole apprehended an individual in Bayonne,
Hudson County in possession of three undersized striped bass.
The same individual had been apprehended in the past for possession
of undersized stripers. Complaints were signed for the three fish
as well as possession of striped bass in excess of the daily limit.
The Sussex County Federation of Sportsman Club Meeting was attended
by Captain Cussen.
Central Region Highlights
CO Mutone assisted a local Toms River resident when she observed
smoke coming from the subject’s backyard. When she went
to investigate CO Mutone encountered a woman carrying a small
child as they exited from their residence. The subject informed
the officer that hot ashes from a trash fire on a neighboring
construction site had blown onto to the fence causing the fence
and then her shed to catch on fire. The fire department was notified
and Officer Mutone used her fire extinguisher to prevent the flames
from progressing to other structures until the local police and
fire department arrived. No injuries were reported.
When CO Szulecki stopped to inspect a group of six fishermen at
the Prospertown Lake in Jackson Twp he noticed that two of them
were fishing without licenses. While trying to obtain subject
information the two men became uncooperative and belligerent.
Officers from the central region were sent to assist. When the
situation was under control it was determined that one of the
subjects was wanted for assault charges. That individual was taken
into custody and transported to the Trenton Police Department
by CO Martiak. Summonses for fishing without a license and interference
During a recent field operation, officers from the central region
patrolled inland ponds and lakes in the late afternoon and then
the region wildlife management areas during the evening. Lt.’s
Lacroix, Sich, CO’s Martiak, McManus, Szalaj, Mutone and
Tonnesen made thirty apprehensions for various fishing, littering,
wildlife management and motor vehicle violations.
Officer Tonnesen was recently called out to assist the Barnegat
and Lacey Twp Police Department’s in locating a father and
son who were lost somewhere on the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management
Area which consists of approximately thirty thousand acres of
desolate forest. The father had called the police on his cell
phone because he had become disorientated and unable to find his
way out. He was concerned for his young son because it was getting
dark and the temperature was dropping. With the subjects vague
description of the surrounding land marks, Officer Tonnesen was
able locate and guide the weary travelers back to their starting
point where they where greeted by family members who had gathered
to wait for their safe return.
While patrolling Lester Lake in Dover Twp, CO Mutone stopped to
inspect a group of anglers who were not displaying their licenses.
During the field inspection one individual was in violation for
fishing without a valid fishing license. During communication
with Trenton Dispatch it was determined that the subject had three
warrants out of Little Egg Harbor for his arrest. Officer Mutone
placed the subject under arrest and Dover Twp Police assisted
in transporting the subject back to their headquarters. A summons
for fish no license was issued.
Officers from the Central Region participated in a coordinated
boat and land patrol of the Delaware River in response to a number
of recent complaints of fishing violations. Within a seven-hour
period Officers Tonnesen, Szulecki, O’Rourke, McManus, Mutone
and Szalaj apprehended seventeen individuals for various infractions
including fishing without licenses and littering. Officer’s
Tonnesen and O’Rourke also arrested an individual who was
fishing without a license at Crystal Lake in Willingboro Twp when
they were informed by Trenton Dispatch that he had three active
warrants. A summons for fish no license was issued.
CO O’Rourke received a complaint about two people camping
on the Assunpink WMA. After encountering the individuals, CO O’Rourke
determined that they had spent the night on the WMA and had been
fishing. Neither individual had a fishing license. One of the
individuals had no identification on him and provided false information
to the officer. After questioning the man for approximately a
half-hour CO O’Rourke was able to ascertain his true identity
which revealed multiple warrants out of several jurisdictions,
including a fugitive warrant from Pennsylvania. Title 23 summonses
were issued and the man was transported to Trenton City P.D. on
CO O’Rourke was on patrol on a Saturday evening when he
received a report of a woman screaming for help near Assunpink
Lake on the Assunpink WMA. CO O’Rourke responded and met
with State Police who had also been notified. The officers found
a vehicle in the area and found a 14-year old girl sitting in
the vehicle that seemed very upset and had a black eye and numerous
scratches and bruising on her neck and shoulders. They then noticed
a 17-year old male approaching on foot who also seemed upset.
The girl denied being hurt by her boyfriend and stated that they
had just been arguing. During a pat down of the male, the Trooper
located what appeared to be marijuana. He also smelled alcohol
on the subject. Both individuals admitted to having had beer,
but stated they had thrown the cans into the woods. Both individuals
were transported to the State Police Barracks in Hamilton.
Southern Region Highlights
Two individuals were convicted in Egg Harbor Township,
Atlantic County for their involvement in an illegal wildlife rehabilitation
operation. CO Massey's case centered on the unlawful possession
of many regulated wildlife species, including an endangered red-shouldered
hawk and four red-tailed hawks, which were improperly housed and
not being cared for properly. Another licensed rehabilitator took
possession of the animals and attempted to rehabilitate them properly,
but most of the animals, including the red-shouldered hawk, had
to be destroyed. One individual who was convicted had attempted
to get her rehabilitators' license but quit shortly after entering
the lengthy intern program because she disagreed with methodology
and the techniques being taught. During the sentencing phase of
the trial the judge described her as a person who believes that
she is above the law. That subject was fined over $7000.00 for
her involvement in the illegal operation and the property owner
where the illegal aviary was located was fined just over $5000.00
for his involvement.
Conservation Officer Honachefsky and Special Agent Manera have
filed civil and criminal charges against an Absecon, Atlantic
County man for harassing and attempting to take or kill yellow-crowned
night herons. Yellow-crowned night herons are listed as a threatened
species in the state of New Jersey. The individual had been given
several warnings to stop shooting a paintball gun at the birds
and the nests that were in his yard and a neighbor’s yard.
The paintball gun and other physical evidence were collected at
the scene. Statements from two individuals regarding the illegal
activity and warnings that were given have been taken and members
of the community are willing to testify in court.
During the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s sanctioned Greenbriar
Enduro motorcycle race, participants are required to sign a release
form stating that they haven’t been convicted of a state
wildlife management area violation before being allowed to enter
the race. Three participants ignored the form and entered the
race. Conservation Officer Honachefsky has charged those individuals
with the appropriate summonses.
Conservation Officer Ely responded to a dumping complaint on the
Beaver Swamp Wildlife Management Area, Middle Township, Cape May
County. Apparently an individual was given a free trailer and
had mechanical problems trying to remove it. When he couldn’t
get the trailer home he decided to leave it on our WMA. Conservation
Officer Ely was able to locate the original owner from paperwork
left in the trailer. The owner was able to provide information
for the individual that had just removed the trailer from the
park. An interview led to a confession and the appropriate charges
Officer Risher responded to a complaint about turkey hunters in
Deerfield Twp. Cumberland County. His investigation discovered
two juvenile turkey hunters who had violated several Fish &
Game laws in their harvesting of two turkeys. The hunters, ages
17 & 15, killed the bird’s 427 feet from a residence
and then recovered the birds on property where they didn’t
have permission to be. In addition, one of the hunters didn’t
have a permit for the correct zone. Officer Risher met with the
juveniles, their parents and the complainant. In an amicable resolution
to all parties the young men apologized, are temporarily suspended
of their license privileges and will be taking the remedial sportsman
In Pittsgrove Twp. Salem County CO Risher apprehended a man on
opening day with an untagged turkey and #2 shot. He received the
CO Stites investigated a complaint about a couple in Greenwich
Twp., Salem County for possession of a bobcat. It seems that the
couple obtained the animal from a breeder in Montana and had it
before it recently escaped. The cat that goes by the name “Peeps”
has been sited in the area. The investigation is ongoing.
CO Risher attended a venomous/dangerous animal handling meeting
where he learned the proper procedure for capturing and transporting
dangerous exotic species.
CO’s Trembley and Risher apprehended two Maryland residents
who took over their limits of turkeys in Fairfield Twp. Cumberland
County. The men killed five turkeys. Neither individual had a
permit or plug in their guns. One of the men didn’t have
a license. They were given numerous summonses.
CO's Stites and Trembley apprehended a dozen youths partying at
DOD Ponds in Oldmans Twp. Salem County. The youngsters drove over
from Pennsylvania to drink, and build bonfires on the management
area after hours. The appropriate summonses were issued.
A recent superior court hearing resulted in the denials of defense
motions to dismiss charges against a consultant and a development
company for a violation of the Non Game and Endangered Species
Act. The 2-year-old case involves the development of Petty's Island
on the Delaware River in Pennsauken and the presence of a bald
eagles' nest. Attorneys for the defendants and Deputies Attorney
General argued various points during the 2-hour hearing. The judge
found for the State, which allows the case to move toward trial.
Marine Enforcement Highlights
On May 5, 2006, Lt. Chicketano did an undercover
patrol in an unmarked Boston Whaler in Raritan Bay. The patrol
was in response to received information that certain depuration
clammers were using unpermitted and unlicensed individuals aboard
their vessels to harvest clams from the deep waters of Areas 12
& 14. While Conservation Officers Dravis and Jones waited
on shore and prepared to conduct boardings, Lt. Chicketano continued
his observations of the area, anchoring the whaler 400 to 500
yards from the clammers and pretending to fish. Watching through
12X binoculars, Lt. Chicketano was able to document two separate
vessels using illegal manpower to harvest the clams. Also observed
were two properly licensed individuals aboard one vessel harvesting
with only one depuration identification sign displayed. After
relaying all of the applicable information to CO’s Dravis
and Jones, dockside boardings were conducted and summonses issued.
Lt. Brown taught a class on wildlife resource law
at the Somerset County Police Academy.
The Bureau hosted a 2-day Regional Training Conference sponsored
by the International Association of Law Enforcement and Firearms
Instructors. Instructors from as far away as Maine and Florida
Spring firearms qualification and training was conducted for CO's
and Deputy CO's during this period. CO's and wildlife control
agents that are issued centerfire rifles for bear control also