While conducting a pheasant hunting patrol at Black River WMA
in Morris County, Deputy Hosty observed a hunter place two pheasants
in his vehicle. A short time later, CO Williamson encountered
the same hunter in the field in possession of another pheasant.
A complaint was signed for the over-limit violation.
COs Applegate and Kuechler and Lieutenant Cole investigated a
possible Earn-A-Buck violation reported by a deer check station
in Hunterdon County. The un-gutted 11-point buck was presented
for registration a short time after the hunter had purchased an
Extended-Bow Permit. Examination of the deer by the officers determined
that the deer had been shot in the chest with a .22 caliber rifle
and the arrow wound was made post-mortem. Confronted with the
information, the hunter admitted to finding the deer dead along
the road and purchasing the permit after the fact and presenting
the deer as an animal he had killed. The hunter and two accomplices
were charged with possession of an unregistered deer, registering
a deer under false information and interference. The buck had
been entered in a local sport shop’s Big Buck Contest, but
was disqualified due to the circumstances.
Lieutenant Fletcher and CO Paul attended a training class at the
Somerset County Police Training Center focusing on the dusting
and lifting of latent fingerprints.
CO Applegate assisted Lebanon Township Police with a pedestrian/motor
vehicle accident investigation at Ken Lockwood Gorge WMA in Hunterdon
County. Three individuals who had been drinking heavily were the
cause of the incident. One of the individuals struck the other
two with his motor vehicle in an attempt to leave the area. The
driver was charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.
Co Applegate also charged all three individuals with WMA charges
for after hours, alcohol and littering.
A Sussex County Court recently decided a case of placing a substance
for the purpose of attracting black bears by an Andover Township
Resident. The individual who was issued three summonses for the
violations, which occurred in July, was observed by a neighbor
placing what was thought to be candy on his head and allowing
a sow and her two cubs to take it. Neighbors upset by the over
abundance of bears attracted to the area had complained to the
Northern Region Office. The investigating officer, CO Samona was
able to arrange a plea agreement and the defendant was fined $350.00
and the complaints were merged.
On opening day of Pheasant Season, Lieutenant Fletcher and Deputy
Schaublin responded to an OGT complaint alleging a QDM violation
in Vernon Township in Sussex County. An eyewitness had watched
the hunter shoot the deer and drag it to his home. The officers
confronted the individual and he admitted to killing the deer
and hiding it in his shed. Complaints were signed for the QDM
violation, hunt without license, hunt without permit and failure
to tag deer.
CO Applegate, CO Panico and Lieutenant Cole investigated a shooting
complaint in Readington Township in Hunterdon County. Inspection
of the property involved, revealed several dead deer, one of which,
was found to have been shot by a .22 caliber bullet. In addition,
several spent .22-caliber shell casings were found outside the
suspect residence. When interviewed, the suspect admitted to shooting
the deer because of shrub damage, although no steps had been taken
to protect them other than the shooting. Complaints were signed
for hunting without license, killing deer with rifle, illegal
missiles and careless discharge.
CO Kuechler attended the Essex County Federation of Sportsman’s
CO Paul assisted the Franklin Township Police Department with
an illegal deer complaint at an Amish Market in Somerset County.
A partially cut-up deer was found in a walk-in cooler. A bow hunter
had killed the deer the previous evening, but the hide and head
could not be produced. The shooter was issued summonses for hunt
without license, failure to tag and mutilation of game.
CO Panico apprehended a bow hunter returning to his vehicle with
an antlered deer in Harmony Township in Warren County. The individual
failed to possess a hunting license or bow permit and was in violation
of the Earn-A-Buck requirement. The appropriate complaints were
CO Paul apprehended three bow hunters returning to their vehicle
in Bernards Township in Somerset County. Two of the individuals
did not possess an extended season permit and the third was out
of zone. Each hunter was issued the appropriate summons.
CO Applegate gave a presentation at the Whitehouse Rotary Club
in Hunterdon County. The topic of the program was the Division
of Fish & Wildlife and duties of a Conservation Officer.
CO Paul gave a presentation at the Central Jersey Law Enforcement
Officers Meeting on Hunting Accidents and Non-Target Impacts.
CO Applegate and Lieutenant Cole investigated an Earn-A-Buck complaint
in Alexandria Township in Hunterdon County. The officers found
that the individual’s address was no longer valid and Senior
Communications Operator Colao was able to locate an address for
the subject in Pennsylvania. The officers interviewed the individual
at his residence in Pennsylvania and determined that the violation
had occurred and that the hunter had been purchasing resident
licenses wrongfully for the last three years. Complaints were
signed for the deer violation and two years of wrongful procurement
of resident licenses.
CO Hutchinson attended the Passaic County Federation of Sportsman’s
Central Region Highlights
CO McManus responded to an anonymous on-going complaint regarding
people butchering deer behind the Days Inn in East Windsor. CO
McManus located the individuals behind the hotel. Upon investigation,
it was determined that the individuals were living temporarily
at the hotel and working in the area. Their employer told them
to pick up road kill deer and butcher them. The employer and the
butcher were both charged with possession of road kill deer without
CO McManus has been routinely checking the area around the empty
state house on the Van Ness property in Mercer Co. On a recent
Sunday morning, he found a homeless Trenton man living in the
house. It appeared that the man had been living in the house for
a couple of weeks. It also appeared that other individuals had
been inside the house as well. The man stated that he had been
living in a halfway house in Trenton, but had left because of
the rampant drug use at the facility.
CO McManus responded to a complaint made by a Middlesex Co. check
station regarding a hunter who had come in with a doe that had
an ear cut. When the check station owner confronted the hunter,
the hunter stated that it wasn't his deer and tried to leave.
The owner already had the hunter's info and relayed that to the
officer. CO McManus met with the hunter at his residence where
the hunter admitted that he had tried to check a friend's deer
that had already been checked in. The appropriate summons was
CO O'Rourke assisted with the Remedial Sportsmen's Education Class
that was conducted at the Central Region Office.
CO O'Rourke assisted CO Risher and the Southern Region with a
hunting accident investigation. CO O'Rourke has assisted several
officers recently with GIS mapping of hunting accident scenes.
CO Szalaj recently completed a dumping complaint on the Pemberton
WMA. The dump contained car parts, oil cans, tires and trash that
appeared to come from an auto repair facility. He located the
auto repair shop and spoke with the owner who told him that a
former employee had been responsible. CO Szalaj had a difficult
time locating the employee until he found out that he was incarcerated
at the Burlington Co. jail. The employee admitted to dumping the
trash, however, he told the officer that his boss had paid him
to find a place to dump it. Charges have been filed against the
employee and additional charges may be filed against the owner.
On the opening day of “North Zone Ducks” in Manchester
Twp, Officer Mutone watched as four duck hunters continued to
hunt after legal hunting hours. Even though it was too dark to
identify their game, the hunters continued to shoot until they
finally ran out of ammunition. CO Mutone then overheard one of
the hunter’s say that it wasn’t worth his time or
effort to retrieve anything that was shot out on the marsh. In
fact the hunters had no means of retrieving anything they shot.
The hunters were issued summonses for hunting after hours.
CO Mutone located approximately three cubic yards of discarded
household trash on the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area.
After searching through the debris and locating a number of identifiers,
she confronted the homeowner with the evidence collected. She
was informed by the homeowner that he had hired an individual
to remove the debris and provided a canceled check to prove his
story. When CO Mutone interviewed this subject, he initially denied
any involvement, but when confronted with the canceled check and
the homeowner’s statement, Officer Mutone obtained an admission
of guilt. The subject is now responsible for the cost of cleanup
and any penalties.
CO Martiak responded to an illegal night deer hunting complaint
that occurred in Marlboro Twp. where two individuals were apprehended
for shooting at deer in the front yard of a local resident. Working
in conjunction with the Marlboro PD a .22 cal rifle was recovered.
During the interview Officer Martiak obtained admissions from
the two subjects implicating them in the illegal activity. On
the following day, Officer Martiak and Lt. Sich met with the two
individuals at the home of the subject responsible for shooting
the deer. Based on written admissions and in addition to the violations
from the previous night, the following illegal items were voluntarily
turned over to the officers: a frozen fawn, fourteen deer scull
mounts, three frozen deer heads and a full deer head mount. The
following charges were issued: hunt with the aid of lights; shooting
from the roadway; hunt deer after hours; hunt with an illegal
weapon; discharge of a weapon within 450ft of a residence and
the illegal possession of deer. This will be the second violation
for illegal hunting by the driver of the vehicle and if convicted
will result in the suspension of his hunting privileges.
CO Martiak investigated a complaint of illegal deer hunting in
Middletown Twp. The information received stated that an individual
living in a residential neighborhood shot a deer in his backyard
within 450 ft of other homes. Allegedly the deer was shot from
inside the house with a crossbow. When the officer arrived on
scene no one was at home but he noticed a deer covered with a
tarp lying in the backyard. Officer Martiak finally made contact
with the subject and arranged to meet him later that day. The
subject left work early in order to check the deer in before the
officer returned. Unfortunately for him, the officer knew the
deer was untagged. When the two met at the prearranged time the
subject presented the necessary documents and tagged deer for
inspection. When the officer questioned him and pointed out discrepancies
in his story, the subject finally admitted to illegally shooting
the deer with a crossbow and checking it in using his brother’s
license and tag. The following charges were issued: hunt with
the use of an illegal weapon; hunt after hours; providing false
information to a check in station; interference; 450 ft violation
and the illegal possession of a deer.
On the opening day of “Small Game Season” hunters
on the Stafford Forge and Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management
Areas were totally caught off guard when they were interrupted
by approximately three to four hundred motorcycles traveling through
the wildlife management property. They were participating in a
two day nationally sponsored event that used the management areas
as part of their course. After receiving numerous complaints,
Conservation Officers Tonnesen, Szalaj and Mutone were diverted
from their regular duties to investigate. Officer Szalaj was able
to identify and later spoke with the sponsor of the event. The
CO’s inspected riders that were participating and a number
of warnings were given for various motor vehicle violations. The
sponsor of the event was issued a summons for not obtaining the
Southern Region Highlights
CO Risher apprehended a duck hunter with no license, stamps or
HIP number in Hopewell Township, Cumberland County. CO Risher
caught the youth in violation before but because he was a juvenile
he was given warnings. Since he recently turned 18 CO Risher issued
several summonses. Also on opening day CO’s Kille and Stites
apprehended a convicted felon who was not allowed to possess a
weapon in Oldmans Township, Salem County. He was hunting with
two other men who didn’t have any waterfowl stamps. Additionally,
the men attempted to hide a shotgun that was loaded with lead
shot. The felon was arrested and his hunting companions were issued
the appropriate fish & wildlife summonses.
Monroe Township Police in Gloucester County contacted CO Vazquez
in regards to ATV’s in Cedar Lake WMA. They had three stopped
and others had fled. CO Vazquez and Risher responded. They recognized
one individual as a repeat offender. Multiple fish and wildlife
as well as motor vehicle summonses were issued.
CO Risher and Honachefsky responded to a complaint that someone
killed a flock of seagulls with their car at the Cumberland Mall
in Vineland. The officers spoke to several witnesses who were
willing to testify that the suspect deliberately drove into the
flock killing ten birds. The suspect then lost control of his
car and drove over the curbing damaging his tires. Provided with
a vehicle description and license plate number the officers proceeded
to canvass the area in an attempt to locate the man. He was located
just south of the mall where he caused an accident by rear ending
another vehicle. The officers obtained a videotaped confession
from the suspect. He not only is facing ten charges of unlawfully
killing non game species but he has also been charged with reckless
driving, leaving the scene of an accident, careless driving and
animal cruelty charges.
Acting on a tip that a bow hunter in Stow Creek, Salem County
had not checked in a buck he killed, CO Stites inspected the hunter
the next day that he was observed hunting. After a successful
field interview the man admitted to CO Stites that he had a six
point buck at his house that wasn't tagged. CO Stites recovered
the deer and the unused buck stub and charged the hunter with
failing to tag and register his deer.
Conservation Officer Batten taught an ATV class to the Monroe
Township Police. Two officers are now certified to operate their
department issued ATV's.
Lt. Cianciulli and Conservation Officer Ely responded to a complaint
about shots being fired on the Egg Harbor River in Hamilton Township,
Atlantic County during the closed waterfowl season. A short search
yielded a vehicle with an empty trailer and a sneak-box lid in
the bed. After an hour wait, two individuals returned to the boat
ramp and were inspected. The two individuals were quite surprised
when the CO's advised them why they were there. In addition to
hunting during the closed season, both individuals were in possession
of unsigned duck stamps and did not possess HIP numbers. The appropriate
summonses have been issued.
Conservation Officer Ely and Lt. Cianciulli conducted a boat patrol
to inspect waterfowl hunters in the area of Stone Harbor, Cape
May County. The first group that they inspected had one individual
without a license or stamps. The individual insisted that he had
purchased them so the CO's returned to the subject's vehicle with
him and a subsequent search of the vehicle failed to yield the
license or the stamps. The appropriate summonses have been issued.
Another group had an individual with a duck stamp receipt and
no stamp, while his hunting partner had an unsigned stamp without
a receipt. A computer search showed that the individual with just
the stamp had purchased a hip number at a Wal-Mart like he had
said but did not show the stamp purchase at the same time like
the subject had advised. A summons for possessing an unsigned
duck stamp was issued.
Conservation Officer Honachefsky received information that the
owner of a sporting goods store in Vineland, Cumberland County,
had shot over his limit of bucks. With little information to work
with CO Honachefsky decided that he would just interview the owner
and confront him with the allegation. A short interview resulted
in a confession and the individual telling CO Honachefsky that
he just got greedy. The appropriate summonses have been issued.
For several years Conservation Officers in District Six have been
working a baited waterfowl blind in Fortesque, Cumberland County.
Every year the blind is baited and there's evidence that someone
is hunting it, but no one could apprehend the responsible party.
This year Conservation Officer Honachefsky, with the assistance
of CO Batten and DCO Mullins, apprehended two parties hunting
from the blind. The first individual was a guest of the blinds'
owner and said that he saw the corn in and around the blind but
stated that he hadn't placed it there. The subject stated that
the owner of the blind was responsible for the bait, but he hadn't
seen the owner place the bait around the blind. An attempt was
made to contact the owner of the blind, but that only resulted
in a telephone call to CO Honachefsky's house from his attorney.
The attorney stated that his client would not speak to CO Honachefsky
and wished CO Honachefsky luck in prosecuting his client for the
federal conspiracy to bait waterfowl. At this point CO Honachefsky
referred the case to Special Agent Manera of the Fish and Wildlife
service. Ten days later CO Honachefsky conducted another inspection
of the blind and apprehended two more individuals hunting from
it who were in possession of unsigned duck stamps and over the
limit on waterfowl. Because notice was given to the owner of the
blind that it was baited through his attorney CO Honachefsky and
SA Manera now plan to charge the owner with conspiracy to bait
waterfowl because he knowingly allowed the second party to hunt
the baited area. Charges are pending.
Conservation Officer Massey received information that a Galloway
Township, Atlantic County, man was in possession of venomous snakes.
After a lengthy investigation CO Massey was able to obtain a search
warrant for the individual’s home. With the assistance of
the Galloway Township Police Department entry team the warrant
was served and four individuals in the home were taken into custody.
The homeowner had numerous tattoos of venomous snakes, but there
were no venomous snakes in the home. The subject told CO's that
he never possessed any venomous snakes and that he had just failed
to renew his permit to possess the 40 other snakes that he had
in his possession. One individual who was in the home when the
warrant was executed was arrested for resisting arrest and taken
to police department. When that individual was released he returned
to the home and told CO's that the homeowner was talking about
other snakes that he had just removed from the home. During an
interview the homeowner stated that he knew that CO Massey had
talked to his ex-girlfriend about his snakes. It's believed that
the subject moved that venomous snakes from his home and CO Massey
is again attempting locate them. The appropriate summonses have
been issued for the remaining snakes. Galloway PD is charging
several individuals for possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia
that was located in the home.
Conservation Officer Massey received information that an individual
in Hammonton, Atlantic County, had shot a white-tailed deer with
a rifle during the archery season. The complainant said that he
and his son were bow hunting when they heard the shot and observed
the individual load a small buck and a rifle into a black vehicle.
Conservation Officer Massey went to the subject's home and observed
a freshly washed black vehicle, but no one would answer the door.
After several attempts, CO Massey and DCO Rocco were able to interview
the subject about the deer. The subject admitted to shooting the
deer with a rifle, which he turned over to CO Massey, and said
that he knew that the CO's were looking for him so he disposed
of the deer. The subject said that he left his home with the intention
of sighting in his rifle prior to going away on a hunt and saw
the deer in the field and he couldn't resist shooting the buck.
The appropriate summonses have been issued.
Marine Enforcement Highlights
On October 16, 2006 Officer Snellbaker boarded the F/V Rufus II
in Sea Isle City, NJ. The F/V Rufus II was targeting black sea
bass using fish pots. In addition to the black sea bass on board
the vessel, Officer Snellbaker found 224 pounds of whole dead
tautog. The commercial season for tautog was closed and did not
open until November 1st. Out of the 224 pounds of a total of 23
fish (37 pounds) were found to be under the minimum size limit
of 14 inches. The 224 pounds of tautog were seized and sold at
fair market value. The investigation is still ongoing based on
information obtained from Fishing Vessel Trip Reports (FVTR’s)
required call-in procedures and Dealer reporting.
On October 19, 2006, Conservation Officers Dravis & Fresco
inspected the party boat Paramount at Bogan's Basin, Brielle,
NJ. Of 30 patrons inspected, 4 summonses were issued for sublegal
scup and black sea bass involving a total of 35 illegal fish.
Of considerable concern was over 90 black sea bass and scup which
were left abandoned aboard the vessel after the officer's inspection.
These fish were found in coolers and various garbage cans aboard
On October 20, 2006 Officer Petruccelli boarded the F/V Star 1
at Cold Spring Fish Company in Cape May, NJ. The F/V Star 1 was
a general scallop permitted vessel that landed 400 pounds of shucked
sea scallops. In addition to the sea scallops, 128 pounds of summer
flounder was also retained along with 5 pounds of filleted summer
flounder. The F/V was cited for exceeding the 10% by-catch rule
(40 pounds) and possessing summer flounder fillets. The 86 pound
overage was seized and sold at fair market value.
During the month of October Conservation Officers focused enforcement
efforts on hook and line tautog fishermen. From Atlantic City
Inlet to Cape May Inlet a total of 23 summonses were issued to
shoreside fishermen for retaining sub-legal tautog and over the
limit tautog. One fisherman was apprehended for 11 sublegal and
11 over the limit tautog.
Firearms training for the fall quarter was completed during this
period. Bureau personnel also received a refresher on domestic
violence and the pursuit policy at this time.
Captain Boyle assisted with instructor training for the Division
of Criminal Justice Academy at Fort Dix.
CO's Mutune and O'Rourke conducted a block of defensive tactics
training for CO's in the Central Region.