May 2007

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

Northern Region Highlights

CO Paul apprehended an individual in possession of three trout over the daily limit on the Passaic River in Bernards Township Somerset County.

CO Williamson conducted a Black Bear Feeding Enforcement Sweep at Kemah Lake in Sussex County. COs Nestel and Sutton and Deputies Hosty and Kahn assisted with the effort during which 105 households were contacted.

CO Panico and Lt. Cole took part in the Warren County Law Enforcement Day at the Phillipsburg Mall. The officers informed the public of the roll of Conservation Officers in Natural Resource Management.

CO Hutchinson issued written warnings for improper storage of trash to two stores in a national donut chain in West Milford in Passaic County. One of the stores was subsequently issued a summons for failure to properly store trash after failing to address the problem over a ten-day period.

CO Applegate apprehended six individuals for fishing license violations on a recent boat patrol of Spruce Run Reservoir. Deputy Pitts assisted with the operation.

Northern Region Conservation Officers investigated eight complaints alleging violations of the black bear feeding statute during the report period.

After interviewing a resident of Readington Township in Hunterdon County, CO Paul was not convinced that the man no longer possessed two baby raccoons. Subsequent follow up investigation several weeks later turned up the two animals in a large wooden cage outside the residence. Complaints were signed for two counts of possession and one count of interference.

CO Hutchinson apprehended two individuals in possession of six trout each over the daily limit at the Clinton Reservoir in West Milford Passaic County. Additionally, three other individuals were apprehended in possession of one trout each over the daily limit on the Ramapo and Wanaque Rivers.

CO Panico signed complaints for possession of parts of untagged wild turkey and interference following the completion of an investigation in Harmony Township in Warren County.

CO Applegate signed four complaints and two written warnings for possession of undersized striped bass on a recent patrol of the Delaware River in Hunterdon County.

Lieutenant Fletcher provided boat transportation for DEP Commissioner Lisa Jackson on a fact-finding tour of the lower Passaic River in the area of Newark. The purpose of the trip was to promote dredging and cleanup of the river in that location.

CO Paul investigated a turkey-hunting incident reported by the Greenbrook Police Department in Somerset County. The investigation resulted in the apprehension of an individual for hunting without a turkey permit.

Northern Region Conservation Officers contacted fourteen resident summer camps in Sussex, Morris, Passaic, Bergen and Hunterdon Counties during the report period with information and advice to minimize problems resulting from black bear visits.

Central Region Highlights

CO McManus had a very busy weekend in June. Saturday began with an active warrant for an unlicensed fisherman on the Delaware River in Trenton. He then inspected a group of five individuals at Dam Site 5 on the Assunpink WMA. Two summonses were issued for fishing without licenses, one for littering and one for two undersize largemouth bass. Another inspection of a fisherman at the Peddie Lake in Hightstown turned up another summons for possession of an undersize largemouth bass. Working the Assunpink WMA that night he came across three horseback riders at 9:15pm who had been lost since 5:30pm. He assisted them back to their trailers. A check of the Colliers Mills WMA later that night finished off his Saturday, with an after hours summons and a motor vehicle violation. Sunday afternoon he issued four summonses for fishing without a license on the Delaware River in Trenton. While checking fishermen at the boat ramp at Assunpink Lake, he heard a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed down the newly graded road toward the ramp. The truck continued on past the ramp on the dirt road and CO McManus interrupted his inspection to follow the vehicle. It took him over a mile to catch up with the truck. He charged the driver with careless driving and failure to wear a seatbelt. The 20 year old driver commented after receiving his summonses that he liked the new graded road because he could “really fly down it now”. That evening he checked several small groups of fishermen along the dam on Assunpink Lake. The first group of two fishermen were fishing without licenses. The second group of two, one didn’t have a license. The third group of four individuals had undersize bass and crappie in their possession. CO McManus had not been able to observe one of the men fishing. Upon inspection, the man stated that he had tried to get a license, but that the computer would not allow him to purchase one because he was on the revocation list. It was nice to know the system is working. The appropriate summonses were issued to all the other fishermen.

Officers McManus and Martiak were called to the scene of a motor vehicle accident that occurred on the Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area. Apparently a group of three individuals were out four-wheeling in their 2006 Tacoma pickup truck and while intentionally trying to put it into a spin, lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle rolled over causing severe damage to the vehicle and breaking the leg of the rear seat passenger. The driver of the vehicle never called the police or medics and abandoned the vehicle hoping to come back the following day and remove it before the authorities found out. A friend, who witnessed the accident, transported the victim to the hospital. Officer Martiak made contact with the owner of the vehicle, who originally stated that he let an unknown stranger drive his vehicle. He stated that the unknown person crashed the truck and then drove away without saying anything. After some creative detective work, Officer Martiak was able to obtain a cell phone video clip of the accident and a taped statement from the driver implicating him in the accident. The following charges were filed: driving while suspended; failure to report an accident; leaving the scene of an accident; and driving off the established roadway.

Officer Martiak responded to an incident in Middletown Twp. which involved a five year old male who was attacked by a Coyote and sustained severe lacerations to the back of his head and neck. Wildlife Control Officers with the help of Officer Martiak set traps and later answered questions from the Press.

Officers Martiak, Tonnesen, Szulaj, McManus, Szulecki, O’Rourke, Mutone, Capt. Herrighty and Lt. Sich patrolled the Greenwood Forest and Forked River Wildlife Management Area on Sunday of the Memorial Day weekend. Officers inspected numerous patrons and issued 42 wildlife management and motor vehicle summonses. A total of eight all-terrain vehicles were towed from the management area and impounded for various infractions. Officer Tonnesen also worked alone in the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area on Memorial Day and encountered sixty individuals and issued 10 WMA summonses.

CO Szulecki encountered two individuals fishing without licenses at the Manasquan Reservoir. When questioned, one individual became nervous and had a hard time remembering his date of birth. He finally gave the officer the information requested, but when the officer returned to his patrol vehicle to issue the summonses, a check with Trenton Dispatch revealed that some of the identifiers from the license check didn’t match the subject. With this information in hand, the officer re-interviewed the subject, who finally admitted to giving the officer false information. It turns out, that the subject gave the officer his brother’s information to avoid receiving a summons. In addition to the fishing without a license, he was also cited for interference.

CO Szulecki received information from an informant regarding a fisherman at the Shark River Inlet who was keeping illegal fluke during the closed season hidden under his chair. Officer Szulecki contacted the subject and asked if he had caught any fish. The fisherman became very defensive and repeatedly told the officer that he had no fish. When CO Szulecki moved the subject’s chair, he located the illegal fluke buried in the sand. The same type of scenario occurred in Perth Amboy when CO Szulecki found a short striped bass hidden under the chair of another fisherman who claimed that he hadn’t caught any fish. Both individuals were issued the appropriate summonses.

While at the Prospertown Wildlife Management Area, CO Szulecki stopped to help a fisherman who had inadvertently caught a water snake on his fishing line. After removing the snake, the subject was very thankful but appeared a little nervous. Sensing the subject’s apprehension the officer decided to check the subjects fishing bucket. Inside were two illegal large mouth bass. A summons for the possession of bass during the closed season was issued.

CO Mutone had received numerous complaints about an individual who had been keeping undersized large mouth bass during the closed season, even after being warned by other fishermen that it was illegal. While on patrol at Lake Riviera located in Brick Township, she spotted the subject’s vehicle parked on a secluded trail that separates the lake. When Officer Mutone made contact with the subject, he was in possession of nine sub-legal sized large mouth bass during the closed season. The officer was also able to apprehend his friend, who was in possession of one large mouth bass during the closed season. CO Mutone marked the subjects summons “court mandatory”. When the case was heard in municipal court, the judge assessed a penalty of five hundred dollars.

Southern Region Highlights

Conservation Officer Stites attended the annual fishing derby at Parvin State Park in Salem County. The event hosted over 100 children.

A report of an alligator sighting at Hopkins Pond, a county park, in Haddonfield Township, Camden County caused a big interest. Conservation Officers Scott Risher and Todd Vazquez responded along with biologists from the permit section and wildlife control. Several weeks of surveillance of the lake and patrols on foot and in the water did not reveal any proof that the alligator exists. The lake was initially shut down but has since reopened.

Conservation officer Kille received a tip that someone had shot a goose along Oldmans Creek in Logan Township, Gloucester County. When he arrived on scene there were many people fishing. After conducting some interviews CO Kille obtained a confession from one man and the appropriate summonses were issued.

As a result of Scott Risher receiving the Conservation Officer of the Year Award, several newspaper articles have been written about him. This has brought about a renewed interest in the media regarding freshwater shellfish enforcement. As an additional accolade, Congressman Frank LoBiondo wrote Scott an official letter congratulating him on his award and thanking him for a job well done.

Conservation Officer Massey responded to a trespassing complaint at the FAA Technical Center which is part of the Atlantic City International Airport in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County. The complaint involved four individuals that entered a gated facility protected by homeland security in order to fish in an impoundment. The security guards on the property made the initial apprehension but failed to gather all the necessary information to charge the four fishermen. Conservation Officer Massey conducted several interviews and got confessions from the individuals entering the facility for the purpose of fishing. The appropriate summonses will be issued.

Captain Eisenhuth met with Atlantic City Electric about shared ATV problems in Cumberland County. A large contiguous tract of land is shared by the power company, NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, and the Nature Conservancy. As a result of the meeting, state law enforcement officers have the authority to enforce laws on behalf of the owner on the property, and locked gates and tree stumps are being deployed to restrict access. An operation covering the entire area is planned for the near future.

An investigation over several years regarding illegal possession and sale of alligators by a boardwalk business at the shore has resulted in charges being filed recently by CO Ely. Following attempts to analyze the business’ hard drive by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, CO Ely completed the investigation and contacted Florida Fish and Wildlife’s permit section. Alligators sold at the NJ business came from a farm in Florida. Florida will investigate the transactions on their end for potential violations.

Marine Enforcement Highlights

CO Jones was patrolling the Pews Creek Inlet in Port Monmouth, N.J. He began watching an individual who was fishing and observed this individual catch and hide what appeared to be a sublegal striped bass in the jetty rocks. When approached, the individual denied having caught any fish. When advised that CO Jones personally observed him catch a fish and hide it, the individual feigned cooperation, only to then attempt dumping the fish when he went to retrieve it at CO Jones’ request. CO Jones prevented the individual from destroying the evidence and subsequently issued the individual a summons for two sublegal striped bass.

CO Jones apprehended two brothers who hid a total of 8 sublegal striped bass in a backpack while fishing at Morgan Creek, Sayreville Boro. Both individuals denied possessing any fish until advised that they had been observed hiding them. Each was issued one summons for possessing four sublegal striped bass. All of these fish were between 15” and 19”.

CO Jones was again patrolling Pews Creek Inlet, Port Monmouth, when he observed an individual hide what appeared to be a sublegal striped bass between two garbage bags. The individual then loaded the top bag with clam meats. When approached, the individual denied having caught any fish and then subsequently, at CO Jones’ insistence, opened the top “decoy” bag revealing only clam meats. After taking the bags from the individual, the short bass was found between the two bags. CO Jones issued this individual a summons for possession of a sublegal striped bass.

On 5/24/07, the MRO received a complaint from the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Marina that several subjects in a boat had returned with fluke during the closed season and were showing them off. CO Jones and Martiak responded and apprehended the individuals with 4 fluke all of which were over 17” in length. The captain of the vessel was issued a summons for possessing 4 fluke during the closed season.

On June 16, 2007, while on routine vehicle patrol, CO Dravis began watching vessels fishing off of the coast of Long Branch through his 60X spotting scope. One vessel in particular, the “Seven Seize”, was filleting fluke as they were caught and then using the parts for bait. At this time, CO Dravis contacted Lt. Chicketano and together they proceeded to the area aboard the Marine Region’s Sea Ox from the Manasquan Inlet. Arriving on scene an hour and a half later, a brief search found the violator’s vessel in approximately the same area as when it was observed. CO Dravis boarded the vessel and found no fillets or strips aboard until each individual aboard was told to retrieve their lines. At this time, each rod was found to be baited with fluke parts in violation of regulation. A summons was issued to the captain of the vessel for possession of marine fish parts.






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Last Update August 6, 2007