October 2006

NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Monthly Highlights
Bureau of Law Enforcement

Northern Region Highlights

CO Kuechler and CO Williamson have been working on the ATV problem at Wildcat Ridge WMA. CO Kuechler apprehended two individuals using ATVs to access an area in which they were bow hunting, unfortunately for the two hunters that area was not open to hunting at the time. Complaints were signed for hunting deer closed season and operating off road vehicles on a WMA. In an unrelated incident, CO Williamson apprehended five individuals riding ATVs and motorcycles on the WMA. Two complaints were signed against two adults and three warnings were issued to juveniles.

CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole attended the Hunterdon County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs meeting.

CO Nestel apprehended four individuals for over the limit violations on trout at the Flatbrook Fly-fishing area in Sussex County.

CO Williamson attended the Morris County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs meeting.

CO Panico apprehended an individual bow hunting within 450 feet of a school in Lebanon Township in Hunterdon County. An inspection of the hunter’s equipment revealed blood on one of the arrows. After questioning, the hunter admitted to killing a deer a few days earlier and not tagging or registering it. Complaints were signed for the 450 violation, as well as failure to register deer.
Senior Communications Operator Colao received a call from an individual at the NRO regarding deer violations and other issues which were reported in Oakland in Bergen County. After spending a great deal of time with the caller on the telephone, she convinced him to leave a telephone number in order for officers to call him if they had additional questions. A substantial amount of supportive information was obtained by Senior Comm. Operator Colao using the Division database, and the call was turned over for investigation to Lieutenant Fletcher and CO Hutchinson. Based on information supplied by the caller during several telephone conversations, the officers were able to locate the kill sight and contact the suspect. Blood evidence was found in the suspect’s vehicle and an admission was obtained from the individual. The investigation determined that the deer was falsely reported for a zone with no earn-a-buck requirement. A complaint was signed for bow hunting within 450 feet of a school. Complaints for improper tagging of a deer and failure to meet the earn-a-buck requirement are pending.

CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole interviewed an individual in Delaware Township in Hunterdon County at the request of authorities from the state of Colorado. The interview involved the illegal killing of several mule deer, which were documented on videotape seized during the execution of a search warrant by Colorado Officers. The interview was transcribed and forwarded to investigators for the filing of charges.

COs Nestel and Williamson, assisted by Deputy Schleifer and Lieutenant Fletcher, patrolled the Hyper Humus Area of Paulinskill River WMA on opening day of the waterfowl season. Two individuals were apprehended for hunting ducks after hours and failing to procure a HIP number.

CO Williamson and Lieutenant Cole apprehended seven individuals riding ATVs on Pequest WMA. Both adults and juveniles were involved and the appropriate complaints and warnings were signed.

CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole responded to a call to assist Police in Readington Township in Hunterdon County regarding a night hunting incident at 1 am. The police, using an Infrared Scope, had located three individuals involved, hidden in a nearby wooded area. An eight-point buck, killed with an arrow, was located a short distance away. Complaints were filed for hunting during hours of darkness, hunting with aid of a light, hunting with aid of a motor vehicle, bow hunting within 450 feet of dwelling, trespass and earn-a-buck violations.

CO Samona investigated an incident of trash being dumped on the Silver Lake WMA in Sussex County. Several mailing labels for a local resident were located in the trash and the officer was able to obtain an admission from the resident of dumping. The appropriate complaint was signed.

A large fifteen-point buck, which escaped from a Kingwood Township Hunterdon County Preserve two years ago, was killed shortly thereafter by a local bow-hunter. Recently, COs Applegate and Martiak received information that the deer had been presented for registration by a second bow-hunter to circumvent the earn-a-buck requirement for the area. An investigation uncovered additional information regarding the incident and CO Applegate was able to confront the hunter and obtain an admission of guilt. Complaints were signed for improper tagging and the earn-a-buck violations. The mounted head of the deer will be displayed at the Pequest Hatchery and Natural Resource Center.

An OGT complaint regarding an earn-a-buck violation was investigated by CO Williamson. During the course of the investigation the officer was able to gain a confession from the hunter. Complaints were signed for improperly tagging a deer and the earn-a-buck violation.

Captain Cussen attended the Sussex County and Warren County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs Meetings.

Central Region Highlights

After being remanded from Ocean County Superior Court to Jackson Twp. Municipal Court, Officer Fresco successfully convicted three individuals who eluded apprehension while riding ATV’s on the Colliers Mills WMA. Officer Fresco was almost struck by an ATV as these individuals were fleeing the scene. Officers Fresco and Falzon were able to later apprehend the culprits, who were found hiding at the residence of one of the suspects. The three defendants were fined two thousand dollars each, totaling six thousand dollars in penalties.
Officer Mutone arrived on the scene of an ATV accident in the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area, along with Lacey Twp. Emergency Services. They were tending to an ATV rider who was injured in an accident. The operator involved in the accident sustained a serious back injury and was transported to the area hospital. At this location, a group of six individuals were apprehended for the illegal operation of ATV’s and off-road vehicles. Two ATV’s were impounded and a total of six wildlife management and motor vehicle summonses were issued.

After responding to a call regarding lost hunters on the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area, Officers Mutone and McManus encountered a large group of unruly individuals that were illegally camping on the management area. The officers observed the destruction of vegetation, litter, alcohol and illegal campfires. The majority of persons were intoxicated and officers made arrangements for a number of subjects to find alternative transportation home. At the completion of this investigation, a total of forty summonses were issued.
Officer Mutone had been notified by Manchester Police that a local resident was trying to obtain a deer road kill permit for a dead bear he found in Dover Twp. Officer Mutone and a Manchester Patrolman met up with the subject who had the bear in the back of his pickup truck. After a short interview, the bear was confiscated and a summons for the illegal possession of a bear was issued. The bear was a victim of a motor vehicle incident.

CO McManus apprehended a fisherman on the Delaware River in Trenton fishing without a license. Upon verification of the man’s identity it was determined that there was an outstanding warrant on the individual. Based on a visible tattoo on the individual’s forearm, CO McManus believed he had a local gang member. Trenton P.D. was contacted for backup and the individual was turned over to them.

CO Martiak continued to find a number of violations along the Morgan Creek in Sayreville during this monthly period. While watching two men fishing, Officer Martiak observed them putting fish into a bag that was hidden in the weeds. Upon inspection, the fishermen claimed they hadn’t caught any fish. Officer Martiak then pulled the bag from the weeds. The fishermen claimed they didn’t know whose fish they were. As Officer Martiak walked the fishermen out to their car, he asked them if they had any porgies in their car. They stated no, however upon inspection, more sub-legal fish were located. As Officer Martiak was conducting the inspection, he noticed a female quickly attempting to get into her car. Officer Martiak stopped the woman and asked if she had any fish. She stated she didn’t however, upon inspection 12 sub-legal porgies hidden in the vehicle. While all this was going on, Officer Martiak also observed another man throwing garbage into the river while he was fishing. In all, 2 interference, 1 littering and 5 sub-legal fish summonses were issued.

CO’s Martiak and Szalaj were on night patrol in the Colliers Mills WMA when they came across an abandoned jeep, which had been crashed into a tree. The vehicle had a military sticker on the windshield, so Officer Martiak contacted the MP’s at Fort Dix for assistance. The MP’s were able to locate the owner of the vehicle who then returned to the WMA to meet with the officers. During questioning, the owner stated that he had been driving around the WMA and had purposely hit several other trees before hitting the last tree and disabling the vehicle. He was charged with careless driving, after hours and driving off the established roadway.CO Martiak was on patrol on the Assunpink WMA when he passed a motor vehicle at a slow rate of speed. Both Officer Martiak’s driver’s side window and the other vehicle’s driver’s side window were down. As the vehicles passed, Officer Martiak smelled what he knew, through his training and experience, to be marijuana coming from the other vehicle. Officer Martiak turned around and pulled the vehicle over. In the course of stopping the vehicle, Officer Martiak found that the vehicle’s registration was expired. Upon questioning the driver admitted that he had been smoking marijuana but that he threw it into the bushes. He also stated he did not have insurance. The driver gave permission to search the vehicle and Officer Martiak located a partially smoked marijuana cigarette under the driver’s seat. The individual was arrested and his vehicle was towed. The appropriate charges were filed.

Southern Region Highlights

In response to complaints of people taking over their limit of fish Officer Stites apprehended two men from Philadelphia at Mannington Causeway, Mannington Township, Salem County. They had 30 Crappie over the limit, and a stinkpot turtle. The men were using a cast net in addition to rods & reels to fish. The appropriate summonses were issued.

CO. Stites responded to a complaint in Elsinboro Township, Salem County for unlawful possession of live deer. The man in possession of the deer had taken the two young fawns from the wild and put them on a chain leash in his backyard. The deer were released and the man was charged accordingly.

CO Kille attended the FBI investigator school. He learned new tactics and techniques and made many new contacts.

Conservation Officer Massey prosecuted a hunting accident from last January in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County. The case, involving several members of a hunting party, was being contested until the attorney involved read all of the discoverable material that was provided by CO Massey. On the trial date the subject, with the advisement of his attorney, plead guilty to negligent discharge of a weapon and agreed to surrender his hunting license and privileges for the next five years.

Conservation Officers Honachefsky, Batten and Ely checked several bow hunters in Fairfield and Commercial Townships in Cumberland County one evening and uncovered numerous tagging violations. During a routine inspection earlier in the week CO Honachefsky checked an individual who suspected that another hunter close-by had harvested several deer already and was continuing to hunt. That hunter was located in Commercial Township and after a brief interview the hunter admitted to harvesting two bucks and utilizing his fathers tag on the second deer. The second buck was located at a butchers shop and seized as evidence. During another inspection the same evening a hunter in Fairfield Township who had already harvested two deer was found hunting without a valid possession tag. The appropriate summonses have been issued.

Captain Eisenhuth met with Kathy Clark, Larissa Smith and volunteer eagle observer Elmer Clegg of the non game and endangered species program to discuss access to observe eagle nests. As more mature eagles return to NJ to breed, access will become an increasingly sensitive issue. While fish and game law authorizes Division employees to access properties, it is the goal of the Division to gain partnerships with private landowners and the endangered species program. Non game, with input from law enforcement, has developed a brochure entitled “Eagles, Landowners and Land Managers” that explains our goals as they relate to the bald eagle program.

Marine Enforcement Highlights

On Sunday, September 24, 2006, while sitting on the Point Pleasant Beach side of the Manasquan Inlet, CO Fittin observed a snorkeler shooting tautog among the rocks along the Manasquan side of the inlet and then passing these fish to anglers standing on the rocks. A total of 5 tautog were taken and disposed of in this fashion. The possession of tautog at this time of the year is 1 fish. CO Fittin & CO Sennick confronted this individual on the Manasquan side of the inlet at which time CO Fittin realized that the individual had previously been issued spearfishing violations from CO Dravis. The subject's spear gun was seized as evidence along with his tautog. A summons was issued to the individual for taking 5 tautog in excess of the daily bag limit of tautog. Ironically, about an hour later, this apprehended individual, who was given CO Fittin's State Cell Phone, called him and gave him information concerning several individuals fishing on the Manasquan jetty who were retaining short tautog and fluke. Responding back to the area, CO Fittin began a surveillance of fishermen along the jetty. Eventually, several Asian males exited the jetty, but only after having sent a "sentinel" out ahead to scout the parking lot presumably for our presence. CO Fittin observed one of the fishermen on the jetty receive a cell phone call at which time all of the group quickly proceeded off of the jetty and into the parking area. Of this group of fishermen, the following violations were documented: One individual with 2 tautog less than 14" in length and 1 tautog over the daily bag limit. Another individual with 6 tautog less than 14" in length and 5 tautog over the daily bag limit. After processing these patrons, CO Fittin advised CO Sennick that there were probably additional violations occurring out on the rocky jetty. CO Sennick donned a "cover" jacket and pants and grabbed a back pack and proceeded to walk out on the jetty during which time he was able to document additional violations which resulted in the following apprehensions: One individual with 3 tautog over the limit and 2 tautog less than 14" in length, along with one mutilated summer flounder; another individual with 3 tautog less than 14" in length.

While assisting CO Fittin at the Manasquan Inlet, CO Sennick received a phone call from a confidential informant that a male at the Shark River Inlet in Belmar was retaining numerous sublegal tautog. While enroute to this complaint, CO Sennick ran across another violation which prevented him from responding directly to the original complaint. In an effort to assist, Lt. Chicketano covered the complaint for CO Sennick and apprehended a man with 10 tautog which were sublegal and over the limit. During the processing of this violation, the individual provided Lt. Chicketano with a New Jersey Driver's License, which was determined by Lt. Chicketano to be fictitious. The individual was subsequently arrested and charged with the criminal violation of NJS 2C:21-2.1d, providing fictitious ID to a law enforcement officer as well as possession of 10 sublegal tautog less than 14" in length, possession of 10 tautog over the daily bag limit, and possession of 4 sublegal scup.

On Tuesday, September 26th Conservation Officer Snellbaker responded to a complaint about illegal crabbing in the Cohansey River. When Officer Snellbaker arrived in the area he spotted a small aluminum boat head up into a small tributary off of the Cohansey River. Officer Snellbaker called CO Risher for additional backup surveillance. For over an hour the officers observed the individual tend at least 8 crab pots and possibly several more which were out of their line of sight. When the individual returned to the dock the officers boarded the vessel and found a bushel of crabs. The crabber produced 4 recreational crab pot licenses from various family members. Officer Snellbaker interviewed the crabber and went back out into the tributary with the crabber and found additional crab pots. Summonses were issued to the crabber for fishing more than 2 crab pots on a recreational license, no gear ID number and no biodegradable panels. Warnings were also issued for closed area, no terrapin excluders and failure to tend every 72 hours.

Training Highlights

Fall firearms training commenced during this period. Refreshers on domestic violence and motor vehicle pursuits were also presented.

Captain Boyle assisted with basic firearms training of recruits at the Division of Criminal Justice Academy at Sea Girt.

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Last Update April 17, 2007