CO Paul gave a presentation to approximately sixty people attending
the Somerset County 4H Fair. The focus of the program was the
career of Conservation Officer. The presentation was well received.
Additionally, CO Paul gave instructions regarding Hunter Safety
at a mandatory program for hunters requesting permits to hunt
in Hillsborough Township.
CO Hutchinson, investigating a complaint of a baited blind within
450 feet of a residence in Sparta in Sussex County, apprehended
an adult and two juveniles bow hunting on the early season opener
in a zone closed to hunting. A complaint was signed for trespass
for the purpose of hunting as well as written warnings for hunting
within 450 of a dwelling and hunting deer closed season.
During a Saturday patrol of the South Branch of the Raritan River
in Hunterdon County, CO Applegate apprehended seven individuals
fishing without licenses. In addition, one of the individuals
was using a cast net and was in possession of three undersized
small-mouth bass while another individual also possessed three
undersized small-mouth bass and more than one daily limit of bait-fish.
A total of eleven complaints were signed.
Lieutenant Fletcher returned to duty from his shoulder injury.
CO Paul apprehended an individual in possession of two musk turtles
taken from the Delaware Raritan Canal in Franklin Township, Somerset
County. A complaint was signed for possession of the regulated
CO Williamson and Captain Cussen attended the Morris County Federation
of Sportsmen’s Clubs Meeting.
CO Kuechler, assisted by Deputy Toth and Lieutenant Cole, continued
his patrols for crabbing in the condemned waters of the Newark
Bay Complex. A total of sixty-one individuals were apprehended
with charges filed for twenty-nine undersized and thirty-five
crabbing in condemned waters. Written and verbal warnings were
issued when appropriate.
CO Paul apprehended an individual in possession of eleven undersized
small-mouth bass and nine pan fish over the daily limit during
a patrol of the Raritan River in Bridgewater Township in Somerset
County. The appropriate complaints were signed.
During the evening before opening day of the early fall bow season,
CO Williamson observed a vehicle spotlighting fields in Washington
Township in Morris County. The officer stopped the vehicle when
it came out of the fields and found an uncased hunting bow with
arrows in the front seat of the passenger compartment. A complaint
was signed for spotlighting for deer with a weapon in possession.
CO Paul and Lieutenant Cole apprehended a group of eight individuals
fishing without licenses during a Sunday patrol in Somerset County.
In addition, an individual was charged with using a cast net in
trout stocked waters and another found concealing fourteen undersized
small-mouth bass. The appropriate complaints were signed.
CO Williamson responded to a call from Chester Township Police
Department on the opening day of the early bow season. An observant
police officer had found an individual at Black River WMA in possession
of an untagged antlered deer. In addition, the hunter had yet
to harvest an antlerless deer. The CO signed the appropriate complaints.
CO Hutchinson attended scoped rifle training conducted by the
During a recent patrol, CO Paul observed excessive amounts of
silt entering the Lamington River in Bedminster Township in Somerset
County. The source of the silt was traced to the property of the
Trump Golf Course. Contact was made with the Somerset County Soil
Conservation Department and a Notice of Violation was issued through
Lieutenant Fletcher and CO Nestel are investigating the shooting
of a black bear by a bow-hunter in Montville in Morris County.
The bow-hunter stated that the bear had physically pushed him
away from the deer he was in the process of field dressing. The
shot was taken after the bear had reportedly lunged at the hunter
at least twice.
Central Region Highlights
CO’s Mutone and Szalaj were patrolling the Greenwood Forest
Wildlife Management Area when they came upon two vehicles illegally
parked in the middle of Webbs Mill road after hours. As the officers
approached, they noticed the occupants throwing beer cans into
the woods. After exiting their patrol vehicle to investigate,
they encountered a large group of belligerent individuals. Lacey
Police were notified and provided backup. It was finally determined
that the first vehicle had broken its drive shaft by driving over
one of the barricades that kept vehicles from entering a restricted
area of the management area. Two individuals in the group were
arrested by the Lacey Police, one for the illegal possession of
“Brass Knuckles”, and the other on warrants. A total
of eighteen summonses were issued for the following violations:
littering; after hours; possession of alcohol; and operating off
the established roadway.
Little Egg Harbor Police notified the Central Region office that
they had encountered approximately fifty snakes in the bedroom
of a house they entered during a domestic violence complaint.
Officer’s Mutone, O’Rourke and Linda Buono from the
Non-game Dept. conducted an inspection of the home a few days
later. The owner of the snakes was very cooperative and answered
all the officers questions. The suspect was well aware that permits
were required and even admitted that he hadn’t renewed his
permit in three years. The investigation is continuing in order
to determine whether the subject was running a commercial pet
facility from the residence. Summonses are pending.
CO McManus who patrolled the Assunpink WMA over the Labor Day
weekend located an abandoned vehicle stuck in one of the farm
fields located within the management area. When he ran the vehicle
information through Trenton Dispatch they notified him that the
vehicle was unregistered and that the plates were fictitious.
After towing the vehicle and some good detective work, the officer
finally made contact with the owner who gave a written statement
implicating him in a number of wildlife management & motor
Officer Szulecki responded to a complaint of illegal fishing on
the beach located in Asbury Park. When he arrived on scene, he
noticed an individual that matched the description given by the
complainant. He was putting fish in a cooler and then loading
the cooler into his vehicle. As the subject attempted to leave,
CO Szulecki initiated a motor vehicle stop and conducted an inspection.
When the officer requested the subjects credentials, it was determined
that the vehicle was unregistered. When the cooler was inspected,
it contained four short fluke. As the officer finished his paperwork,
the driver informed him that there were others on the jetty who
also were in violation. The officer then proceeded to a construction
site located on the beach where he observed these subjects. He
was unsure how to cross the long stretch of beach without being
seen. That problem was solved when a heavy equipment operator
offered to drive him over to the jetty in a large construction
excavator. Needless to say, the fisherman was caught totally off
guard and unable to discard the fish when the officer stepped
out of the excavator and apprehended him while in possession of
undersized fluke. The appropriate summonses were issued.
While conducting surveillance at Morgan Creek in Sayreville, Officer
Martiak observed a fisherman carrying a large plastic bag full
of fish. When the fisherman realized that the officer was watching
him, he pretended to stumble and fall to the ground. As the subject
fell he threw the bag of fish into the water. Officer Martiak
directed the fisherman to stand up and retrieve the bag of fish.
The subject complied, but immediately began to dump fish back
into the water. Once again, the officer directed the fisherman
to stop dumping fish. The subject was trying to conceal the fact
that he had a large quantity of illegal undersized porgies in
his possession. Because the subject became agitated and failed
to comply with the officer’s instructions, he was handcuffed
for safety reasons. Once the fisherman calmed down he began to
apologize for his actions. When questioned as to the location
of his vehicle, he stated that his wife had dropped him off and
that she was going to return later to pick him up. With that said,
Officer Martiak noticed a set of car keys in his possession and
after a brief interview it was determined that the subjects vehicle
was parked nearby and that it contained additional illegal fish
inside. Summonses were issued for interference, littering, wanton
waste, and possession of undersized porgies.
Officer Martiak made another apprehension at Morgan Creek when
he observed a group of fishermen who were returning to their vehicle
after a day of fishing. What caught his attention was the fact
that the subject who was carrying a large bucket made an abrupt
turn into the woods as the rest of his friends continued back
to their vehicle. The officer sensing that something was wrong,
proceeded to follow and then finally locate the fisherman in possession
of a bucket full of undersized crabs and fish. When confronted,
the fishermen admitted that he knew the crabs and fish were illegal
to possess. That’s why he was waiting for his friends to
pick him up. He did not want to risk being caught as he crossed
the beach. It turns out, he was being cautious because he was
apprehended the week prior for the same thing and was fearful
of getting caught again. Summonses were issued for undersized
crabs, tautog, and striped bass.
One late morning, a homeowner in Shamong Twp., Burlington County
was watching a flock of turkeys feeding in his backyard. The flock
slowly wandered into his neighbor's yard. He then heard two shotgun
blasts. The homeowner then called the Central Region Office. CO
O'Rourke responded to the complaint. He went to the house where
the shots came from. While knocking on the front door, he could
view through the windows a young man in the backyard. The officer
went to the backyard and identified himself to the man. The officer
immediately saw two plucked turkeys lying on the patio. Knowing
he was “had”, the young violator admitted to shooting
the turkeys. He explained to the officer that he was recently
accepted to a prestigious culinary arts school. He said that he
had always wanted to prepare a wild turkey dish, but never had
an opportunity. When the flock entered his yard, he saw his opportunity.
He said he shot two small hens, because he thought they would
be the most tender ones in the flock. Dinner was seized and the
appropriate summonses were issued.
Southern Region Highlights
Conservation Officers Risher and Stites apprehended three freshwater
clammers at Parvin State Park. The accused had collected over
500 pounds of Asian clams from Muddy Run. These prohibited shellfish
were most likely destined for the Philadelphia markets. Two of
the suspects were fined $1000. The third individual didn’t
show for court and the court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Deputy Conservation Officer Shivers was hunting in Hopewell Twp.,
Cumberland County during the early goose season when he heard
a lot of shooting. Since there were no geese flying, he contacted
officer Risher. CO Risher apprehended three individuals who had
killed several seagulls and cormorants. They were also using lead
shot. The appropriate summonses were issued.
After a five and a half hour trial with testimony from CO’s
Kille, Leonard and Division pathologist Dr. Roscoe a Franklin
Twp. man was convicted of several deer violations from an act
he committed last bow season. The court decided that although
the state couldn’t determine exactly how the deer died it
wasn’t killed by a bow as claimed by the defendant. Therefore,
the accused was found guilty of registering (checking in) a deer
that he didn’t lawfully take. He was also found guilty of
unlawful possession of the 15 point buck.
CO Risher helped coordinate the 7th annual Youth Outdoor Day at
the Salem County Sportsman Club. There is always a good turnout
at this event and this year was no different. One hundred and
sixty seven children were given opportunities to try fishing,
kayaking, fly tying, archery, and shooting clay and paper targets.
Several Girl Scout groups were among those in attendance.
CO Risher also represented the Division of Fish & Wildlife
at Parvin State Park’s 75th anniversary. He passed out a
lot of the Division’s publications and answered questions
concerning the difference between Conservation Officers and Park
At the request from the State of Kansas Parks & Wildlife Conservation
Officers conducted seven interviews of New Jersey residents who
hunted illegally in Kansas. Six trophy deer mounts were seized
and the hunters are facing state and federal charges.
CO Vazquez has had to make some court appearances recently. A
man who had purposefully driven his pickup truck into Cains Mill
Pond on the Winslow WMA in Winslow Twp., Camden County paid $1,500
for polluting the water. A man who’d dumped 9 tree stumps
on the Cedar Lake WMA was fined $1,150 and had to remove the stumps.
A man who was fleeing from Deputy Chiusolo on his dirt bike and
collided with the State ATV recently paid $1,200 which included
restitution for the damage. Four others paid $1,100 for basic
WMA area violations related to riding their ATVs on the Winslow
Conservation Officer Batten and Deputy Conservation Officer Mullins
were conducting a routine patrol in the Clarks Pond Wildlife Management
Area in Fairton, Cumberland County when they observed three individuals
in a motor vehicle after legal hours. The CO's conducted a motor
vehicle stop and observed open containers of alcohol and suspected
CDS (marijuana) in the vehicle. During an interview CO Batten
asked the driver if there was anything else in the vehicle that
he should know about and the driver stated that there was a handgun
in the glove compartment. The CO's obtained consent to search
the vehicle and recovered the handgun, which was a small .22 caliber
revolver, and ammunition. All of the occupants, including a juvenile,
were charged with the WMA violations and possession of marijuana
under 50 grams. The driver of the vehicle was charged criminally
for possessing a weapon for an unlawful purpose. After the charges
were filed the New Jersey State Police contacted the Division
and stated that they have an interest in the handgun because it
may have been used in a homicide. The handgun and the CDS have
been turned over to the State Police lab for testing.
Conservation Officer Massey responded to a complaint about a large
safe that had been dumped in the spillway at Cedar Lake Wildlife
Management Area, Buena Vista Township, Atlantic County. Conservation
Officer Massey was able to locate several pieces of personal information
in the safe, which had the door removed. The information about
the safe and its recovery was turned over to the State Police
who determined that the safe was related to a recent burglary.
The State Police dive team was dispatched and they were able to
recover additional stolen items including jewelry.
A vehicle belonging to the Endangered and Nongame Species Program
was vandalized at Stone Harbor, Cape May County. Conservation
Officer Snellbaker received information that an individual that
CO Ely had arrested for shooting deer at night with a rifle was
bragging that he got back at the Division by vandalizing a vehicle.
Conservation Officers Ely and Batten have attempted to interview
the suspect and the investigation is ongoing.
Captain Eisenhuth met with the Cumberland and Gloucester County
Prosecutor’s offices and discussed issues of mutual interest.
Marine Enforcement Highlights
During the months of July and August Conservation Officers have
been focusing some of their enforcement efforts towards federal
regulations concerning Highly Migratory Species (Tuna, Sharks,
and Billfish). Approximately 100 fishing vessels using hook and
line gear were inspected in Atlantic and Cape May counties. A
warning was issued for an undersized sharks (<54”) and
2 Enforcement Action Reports were issued for retaining tuna without
a HMS permit. In addition 8 vessels were inspected that were actively
fishing for tuna but did not catch or retain any tuna. Verbal
warnings were given to these vessels. In previous years filleting
and retaining over the bag limit violations were found. Enforcement
efforts will continue into the fall.
On August 12th, 2006 Conservation Officers Snellbaker and James
received a complaint from a local bait and tackle shop that several
undersized tautog were being retained on the 8th Street Jetty
in Avalon, NJ. Officer’s James and Snellbaker inspected
three fishermen believed to be involved and found 39 sub-legal
tautog. All three fishermen were issued summonses for undersized
and over the bag limit violations.
On August 24, 2006 Lt. Yunghans assisted Special Agents Mayeski,
Woodruff and Soper in an undercover operation involving the illegal
sale of shucked sea scallops. Special Agents posing as scallop
fishermen entered the Four Season’s Diner located in Rio
Grande and sold approximately 100 pounds of sea scallops. Once
the transaction was complete Special Agent Mayeski and Lt. Yunghans
arrived at the diner and informed the manager and owner that they
were in violation of purchasing sea scallops without a Dealers
Permit. The sea scallops were seized and the Diner and owner were
issued an Enforcement Action Report for the violation.
On September 8, 2006, Conservation Officer Dravis was on routine
patrol in the town of Point Pleasant Beach in the vicinity of
Laurelton Welding. Driving down a dead end street, he observed
an individual carrying a bucket full of an unknown substance and
dump it into the Manasquan River. Interviewing the subject, the
individual stated that he had dumped a bucket of soapy water into
the waterway. When CO Dravis asked why he had done that, he replied
“To help break up the oil slick”. CO Dravis asked
“What oil”, at which time the subject stated that
their crane was leaking hydraulic fluid into the water. Upon inspecting
the aforementioned crane, CO Dravis observed a large volume of
oil leaking from the gear box of the crane onto the ground and
then into the Manasquan River. CO Dravis is pursuing pollution
charges against the company and immediately ordered the individuals
on scene to place speedy dry onto the ground to mitigate and control
any further leakage from the crane. Lt. Chicketano assisted.
On September 12, 2006, Conservation Officer Fittin received information
concerning the taking of illegal striped bass from the Manasquan
River in the vicinity of the Brielle Railroad Bridge. On the evening
of September 12, 2006, Conservation Officers Fittin and Dravis
set up a surveillance and observed several individuals fishing
in the vicinity of the railroad bridge. The officers maintained
the surveillance throughout the evening until the early morning
hours of September 13, 2006 at which time they apprehended three
individuals with 4, 3, and 2 sublegal striped bass respectively.
Summonses were issued to all three individuals for the offense.
Conservation Officers attended a class on document fraud held
at the CRO.
Recruits from the Burlington County Police Academy participated
in 2 days of training at Colliers Mills. Captain Boyle provided
instruction in handgun skills.
Captain Boyle presented a block of instruction on low light threat
management to a class of firearms instructor candidates at the
Division of Criminal Justice Academy range in Ft. Dix.