Northern Region Conservation Officers helped man the Division
booth at the Suffern Outdoor Show. The officers answered questions
from the hunting and fishing public. Lieutenant Fletcher and COs
Hutchinson, Kuechler and Nestel participated.
CO Kuechler attended the Essex County Federation of Sportsman
CO Hutchinson investigated a fish kill in a pond at Bergen County
Community College. The cause of the die-off was attributed to
CO Williamson apprehended two individuals operating ATV's at Wildcat
Ridge WMA in Morris County. The appropriate complaints were signed.
Northern Region Officers have been monitoring a Bald Eagle nest
at Little Swartswood Lake in Sussex County. To date the birds
seem to be adapting to the ice fishing activities common in the
area in late winter.
CO Williamson assisted with a Bear Awareness Seminar conducted
by the Division in Mendham Township in Morris County. The purpose
of the seminar was to teach residents to co-exist with black bears.
Senior Communications Officer Colao detected the misdirection
of $2,071.00 in penalties by various courts during the report
period. Information she directed to the appropriate Conservation
Officers was instrumental in the recovery of the misdirected funds.
Northern Region Conservation Officers have been busy interviewing
34 residents who obtained turtles from an Arkansas Dealer, at
the request of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Central Region Highlights
Lt.’s Lacroix and Sich attended the Burlington County Detectives
meeting as well as the Tri-State Investigator’s meeting.
CO’s Mutone and Szalaj and Lt. Lacroix conducted a night
patrol at the Colliers Mills WMA during one of the recent warm
spells. During the previous weeks, several new “party spots”
had been located with significant damage done to the property.
During their patrol, they located a group of 15 individuals at
11:45pm with a large bonfire and copious amounts of alcohol. It
was apparent from the pile of unburned wood and unopened cases
of alcoholic beverages that the group had just recently arrived.
In all 18 summonses were issued for after hours, alcohol, and
several motor vehicle violations.
During one warm weekend, Lt. Lacroix patrolled the Colliers Mills
WMA due to increased ATV and off-road activity. Numerous ATV's
and dirt bikes were observed riding on the property. She was able
to stop and make inspections of 11 individuals and issued 6 Title
23 violations and 8 Title 39 violations. One group of three riders
fled from her after she attempted to stop them. She was able to
locate their transport vehicle parked outside the WMA and waited
for them to return. Upon their return an inspection was conducted
and it was determined that one of the dirt bikes was reported
stolen from a bike shop in East Windsor two days earlier. The
rider, a 16 year old, was arrested and transported to Jackson
Police Department. Lt. Lacroix charged the juvenile with receiving
stolen property and was released to his parents. East Windsor
after interviewing the juvenile, charged him with burglary and
CO Mutone was on patrol in Colliers Mills WMA when she observed
4 individuals on ATV's. Lt. Lacroix arrived to assist. While they
were busy writing summonses, they observed two motor vehicles
driving through the woods on a small trail that ended at a pond.
The vehicles, undeterred by the water, drove right through the
pond and came out right in front of the officers. Both drivers
were stopped and issued summonses.
Lt. Lacroix and Captain Herrighty assisted NJ State Police after
receiving a call late one Friday night regarding two ice fishermen
who had not returned home after fishing at the Assunpink. Their
open vehicle was found near the western shore of Lake Assunpink.
Their tip-ups were set up just off shore. A suspicious hole was
observed not far from their fishing equipment. Hope Fire Department
and First Aid from Allentown responded, but recovery of the bodies
was put off until daylight. State Police divers were able to recover
both bodies the next morning.
Officer Tonnesen apprehended a group of individuals carrying a
shotgun, handguns and a switchblade while walking through the
Stafford Forge Wildlife Management Area located in Warren Grove.
Even though the three subjects stated that they were just target
practicing, no targets were located. Fish and Wildlife summonses
were issued for target shooting at an unauthorized range and criminal
charges are pending for the illegal possession of a handgun without
the proper permits.
CO Mutone apprehended an individual collecting a variety of fish
and aquatic plants while in the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management
Area. The subject tried to conceal the fact that he was illegally
collecting by telling the officer that he had just purchased the
fish and plants at a local store, but could not provide a receipt
or remember the place of purchase. The fact that the subject was
using the net when the officer caught him and that the species
were indigenous to New Jersey resulted in the Ohio resident receiving
summonses for fishing without a license and removing vegetation
from a wildlife management area.
Officer’s Mutone and Szulecki were recently called out to
assist the Jackson Township. Police in locating an individual
who was lost and stuck somewhere within the Colliers Mills Wildlife
Management Area. Ocean County Dispatch received the 911 call and
explained that they were concerned for the subjects safety because
the caller sounded intoxicated and disorientated while on the
phone. The subject was finally located stuck in a mud hole in
a remote section of the wildlife management area. After all was
said and done, one of the occupants in the vehicle was arrested
by State Police on a warrant.
CO Mutone stopped a motorcycle rider on the Pole Brook section
of the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area after noticing
that the vehicle had no license plate visible. When confronted,
the subject had no driver's license, insurance or registration
for the motorcycle. The officer then checked the vehicle identification
number on the motorcycle and noticed that it had been defaced.
The subject was issued motor vehicle summonses and the motorcycle
was towed to a garage where the New Jersey State Police Auto Theft
Unit will try to identify the legal owner. Additional criminal
charges are pending for the possession of a vehicle with an altered
or defaced vehicle identification number.
Southern Region Highlights
Conservation Officers Tracy Stites and Wesley Kille gave a talk
on New Jersey Fish & Wildlife Laws at South Harrison Police
Department in Gloucester County. Three State Police barracks and
three local police departments sent officers to learn more about
how they can assist conservation officers in enforcing wildlife
A taxidermist in Pennsauken, Camden County was charged with unlawful
possession of deer as a result of the search warrant issued on
his place of business last month by district 5 officers. Further
investigation into his records revealed 18 discrepancies between
his paperwork and state check station forms. Officer’s Kille,
Vazquez and Leonard investigated these discrepancies further.
As a result of the investigation, three people were charged with
unlawful possession of deer. Each individual was in possession
of a buck that they didn’t register at a check station.
CO Risher gave a talk to Boy Scout Troop 38 in Pittsgrove, Salem
CO Kille successfully prosecuted two men for unlawful possession
of deer in East Greenwich, Gloucester County. They had left the
remains of the deer that they killed hanging in trees. The men
agreed to pay $2000 in fines.
CO Risher apprehended a trapper in Stow Creek who had set two
snares without tags or the proper loop stops. Additionally, the
trapper had never taken a snare course. The man was charged and
is currently enrolled for a trapper education course.
A convicted felon who was apprehended by Officers Stites and Kille
this past fall was recently convicted and sentenced to two years
CO Risher attended the annual fisherman’s flea market in
Vineland, Cumberland County. He entertained the public with his
responses to their various questions regarding the Division of
Fish & Wildlife.
CO Kille investigated a Franklin Township, Gloucester County man
regarding a complaint that he had stolen someone's deer. The investigation
uncovered three deer that went to a taxidermist that had not been
properly registered. With this information officers from District
5 executed a search warrant on the mans home and seized 77 sets
of antlers that were not labeled. The suspect didn’t have
possession seals or the numbers for all his deer and said that
at least 50 of them were given to him. He was charged with unlawful
Captain Eisenhuth addressed residents and the town council of
Gloucester Township, Camden County at a recent public meeting.
Township residents have prompted local officials there to propose
a law, which would effectively prohibit hunting in the township.
Captain Eisenhuth attended the South Jersey Bald Eagle Conference
again this year and fielded questions from Division eagle volunteer
After 12 years as a Deputy Conservation Officer, Chuck Fee is
retiring from the program.
Since February of 2003, Bureau staff has spent time compiling
information, writing text and taking photos to create a non-lethal
force-training manual. COs Applegate, Canale, Fresco, Mutone,
Sennick and Szulecki, Lt.'s Brown, and Fletcher, and Captains
Boyle and Eisenhuth all contributed to the manual, which was just
recently finalized. Each Region will be issued a color copy.
Conservation Officer Batten investigated a dumping complaint on
the Peaslee Wildlife Management Area in Maurice River Township,
Cumberland County. The pile of trash contained a mattress and
numerous other household items in addition to a pile of hay. Conservation
Officer Batten was able to recover several items with addresses
on them that led him to a physical address. The home was occupied
by several young men and run like a fraternity house. Two individuals
admitted to dumping the trash in a spot where they used to party.
The appropriate summonses have been issued.
Conservation Officers Batten and Ely responded to a hunting accident
reported by the New Jersey State Police on the Bevans Wildlife
Management Area in Commercial Township, Cumberland County. The
incident occurred on the final day of the coyote season and the
victim had been transported to a hospital before the CO’s
arrived. The victim told the State Police that he had been hunting
and his firearm became entangled in brush and accidentally discharged
striking him in the shoulder. As he tried to exit the area he
had an accident and totaled his vehicle. When the CO’s arrived
they noticed numerous freshly killed swans and black ducks in
the bed of the truck and the investigating trooper told them that
there were more snow geese and a turkey just down the road. There
were still five firearms in the vehicle, including the shotgun
involved in the incident. Conservation Officer Batten was looking
for additional evidence involving the wildlife violations when
he observed several buckshot pellet strikes on the roof of vehicle.
The path of the pellets was from the interior front passenger
seat of the vehicle. There were several other pellet strikes in
the vehicle’s headliner in addition to blood and tissue
fragments. At this point in the investigation the incident was
determined to be a suicide attempt and the case was turned over
to the state police. Summonses for possible wildlife violations
are pending an interview when the subject is released from the
Marine Enforcement Highlights
F/V Emily A: On December 11, 2006, CO Sennick inspected the vessel
Emily A as it docked and offloaded at the Point Pleasant Co-Op.
This vessel was permitted to possess a total of 1,494 pounds of
whole monkfish. The inspection resulted in the vessel being 243
pounds of whole monkfish over the daily possession limit. The
value of this overage was seized and CO Sennick is pursuing federal
fisheries charges against the vessel.
F/V Francis Anne: On February 2, 2007, Conservation Officer Dominick
Fresco inspected the monkfish boat Francis Anne after docking
at the Lighthouse Marina in Barnegat Light, N.J. At approximately
3PM, CO Fresco contacted the captain and crewmen and began his
inspection. Pursuant to the vessel's "Category B" federal
monkfish permit, combined with the time at sea poundage allocation,
the vessel would have been permitted to land a total of 1,494
pounds of whole monkfish. Additionally, the vessel also would
have been permitted to land a total of 10 % of that weight in
monkfish livers or 149 pounds. After inspecting the vessel, CO
Fresco found that 2,998 pounds of whole monkfish were aboard together
with 314 pounds of monkfish livers. After documenting the violation,
CO Fresco seized, pursuant to federal law, the value of the catch
which was set at approximately $5000.00. CO Fresco, over the next
several weeks, then prepared the federal case package for prosecution
of the vessel by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
F/V Miss Emma: On February 11, 2007, Conservation Officer Adam
T. Sennick inspected the F/V Miss Emma at the Point Pleasant Co-Op.
The F/V Miss Emma has a "Category D" monkfish permit
which allows the vessel to land, given his time at sea allocation,
a total of 1,494 pounds of whole monkfish. Initially, the vessel
offloaded 1,268 pounds of whole monkfish and 130 pounds of monkfish
tails. Federal law allows for the conversion of monkfish tails
to whole monkfish via a mathematical formula which results in
the 130 pounds of monkfish tails becoming equivalent to an additional
431 pounds of whole monkfish. This quantity of 431 pounds when
added to the 1,268 pounds of whole fish equaled 1699 pounds of
whole monkfish, or 205 pounds over the vessel's possession limit.
During the entire offloading, CO Sennick observed that the Captain
of the vessel seemed nervous and uneasy. After the offloading
was complete, CO Sennick asked the Captain if there were anymore
fish aboard the F/V Miss Emma to which the captain replied "no".
At this time, CO Sennick asked the captain to open a fish tote
along the port side of the vessel which he (CO Sennick) had been
unable to see into prior to this moment. At this time, the captain
uttered "this is what I was not being honest about".
Upon inspecting this tote, CO Sennick discovered an additional
199 pounds of whole monkfish, thus making the F/V Miss Emma a
total of 404 pounds over the federal possession limit of whole
monkfish. CO Sennick seized the value of the entire catch of monkfish
and over the course of the next several weeks, completed the federal
case package necessary to prosecute the vessel under federal law.
On February 27th Officer Snellbaker and Lt. Yunghans were patrolling
Cape May Harbor for recreational vessels returning from offshore
black sea bass fishing trips. At approximate 4:45 p.m. the charter
vessel Clean Sweep docked at Hinches Marina with 8 persons on
board. The Captain originally indicated to Officer Snellbaker
that he had his limit of 200 black sea bass. As Officer Snellbaker
and Lt. Yunghans began to count the black sea bass located in
several different coolers and holds the Captain indicated that
he might be a few fish over the daily limit of 25 per man. A final
count revealed a total of 221 black sea bass which was 21 fish
over the limit. The captain was issued a summons for possessing
21 fish over the bag limit. In addition, any charter vessel that
carries passengers for hire in Federal waters targeting any regulated
species must obtain a Federal Charter and Party Boat Permit. The
F/V Clean Sweep did not have this permit as well as 5 other charter
and party boat vessels that were inspected. Federal warnings were
issued to these particular vessels.
On the evening of March 25th, Conservation Officers Fittin and
Sennick apprehended an individual illegally harvesting hard clams
under the cover of darkness from the polluted waters of the Shark
River. The individual, an owner of a seafood business, was apprehended
on his way back to his refrigerated van with approximately 50
hard clams contained in an onion skin bag. The individual was
charged with harvesting and possessing shellfish from a prohibited
area, clamming without a license, clamming on Sunday and clamming
between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
During March 1st through March 15th the Elephants Trunk access
area was open to General Category vessels for harvesting Atlantic
sea scallops. There was a total allotment of 865 general category
trips coast wide, which allowed for the daily harvest of 400 pounds
of shucked sea scallops per day. Approximately 50 inspections
were made from Atlantic City to Cape May by District 8 officers.
A total of two violations were found involving logbook and overharvest
infractions. Federal summary settlement charges were filed against
these two vessels.