NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Law Enforcement
CO’s Kuechler and Paul responded to a call from the Westfield
Police Department in Union County, concerning an alligator in
Gregory’s Pond. CO Kuechler, wading into the pond with
a surf fishing rod and treble hook, was able to capture the
alligator. The 3-foot alligator was observed for several weeks
by local residents and will be placed with an out-of-state cooperator.
CO Williamson and Nestel investigated a complaint of a fawn
being held in captivity at a horse farm in Stillwater Township
in Sussex County. The farmer claimed to have found the fawn
after its mother had been killed by a car. The fawn was removed
and placed with a wildlife rehabilitator.
In Franklin Township Court, COs Paul and Martiak settled their
case involving a Somerset County Seafood Market. A total of
$ 1,750 in penalties was collected for sale of largemouth bass,
sale of sub-legal marine fish, possession and sale of turtles
and discharging a pollutant into a waterway.
Investigating an on-going OGT complaint from 2005, CO’s
Panico and Applegate apprehended an individual in Allamuchy
Township in Warren County, who was shooting deer from his vehicle.
CO Panico, while on foot, stopped the individual after he shot
at and missed a deer with a .17 caliber rifle. The individual
was charged with an uncased firearm in a vehicle, a loaded firearm
in a vehicle, hunting deer with a rifle, hunting deer with a
firearm closed season, firearm capable of holding more than
3 rounds and hunting by use of a motor vehicle.
COs Kuechler and Hutchinson patrolled the Hudson and Hackensack
River areas and issued summonses for sub-legal sized crabs,
and crabbing in prohibited waters. A total of 10 complaints
and 11 written warnings were issued.
CO Hutchinson responded to a call from the Nortvale Police Department
concerning the possession of deer antlers. The Officer, responding
to a complaint of a foul odor coming from a residential garage,
found hundreds of fresh antlers upon entering. CO Hutchinson
arrived and was able to identify the antlers as elk. The homeowner
was contacted and explained the elk antlers were used in herbal
medicines. CO Hutchinson was able to determine the antlers were
purchased from an out-of state source and possessed legally.
Northern Region Conservation Officers conducted boat patrols
on Round Valley, Spruce Run and Monksville Reservoirs, Greenwood
Lake and Lake Hopatcong during the report period.
Northern Region Conservation Officers conducted ATV patrols
at Wildcat Ridge and Pequest River WMAs during the report period.
Captain Cussen and COs Williamson, Hutchinson and Nestel attended
the Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Hunterton County Federation
Captain Cussen assisted the Hunter Education staff with remedial
Northern Region Conservation Officers conducted Black Bear Feeding
Enforcement Sweeps in the White Meadow Lake area of Morris County
and Oxford Boro in Warren County during the report period. A
total of 116 households were contacted and 4 verbal warnings
Captain Cussen and CO Panico attended a meeting with the NJ
State Park Police. The main topic of discussion was on how to
further mutual assistance between the two agencies.
On two separate occasions, while attempting to curtail the illegal
operation of ATV’s on the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management
Area, Officer Tonnesen recovered two stolen motorcycles. On the
first occasion, Officer Tonnesen stopped several individuals and
issued five summonses for the illegal operation of ATV’s
on wildlife management property. While recording serial numbers,
he noticed that the vehicle identification number on one of the
motorcycles was defaced. The vehicle was subsequently impounded
and the subject appropriately charged. A few days later, the motorcycle
in question was stolen from the impound yard late in the evening.
Lacey Twp. Police tried to apprehend the suspect as he fled from
the scene on the stolen motorcycle, but unfortunately, the operator
was able to elude police because he was traveling at a high rate
of speed and operating the motorcycle without lights. On the second
occasion, Officer Tonnesen stopped to inspect an unregistered
truck that had transported a quad and motorcycle into the Greenwood
Forest Wildlife Management Area. During questioning, the officer
recorded the vehicle identification numbers on all three vehicles
and ran them through Trenton Dispatch. He was subsequently notified
that the 2005 motorcycle was recently reported stolen from Toms
River. The appropriate action was taken.
On the Sunday prior to Labor Day, Officer Mutone working alone,
encountered a large group of individuals illegally operating ATV’s
on the Greenwood Forest Wildlife Management Area. When the officer
attempted to stop them, they drove their vehicles recklessly around
her patrol vehicle and fled the scene. Being familiar with the
area, Officer Mutone was able locate a number of riders back at
their transport vehicles. In all, a total of nineteen individuals
were apprehended for wildlife management infractions.
Lt. Sich apprehended an individual fishing at Osborn Lake in Wall
Township, who was in possession of six short and four striped
bass over the legal limit. The officer found the fish hidden beneath
a mesh bag inside the subjects’ creel. When first inspected,
the fisherman was very cooperative and removed a mesh bag containing
blue gills and crappie from a five-gallon bucket for inspection.
When the officer requested to see what else was in the bucket,
the suspect blocked the officers’ view, proceeded to close
the lid and said there were only sunfish inside. The illegal striped
bass were located hidden in the bottom of the bucket. When questioned,
the subject admitted that he caught the fish earlier in the day
while fishing on the Navasink River.
CO O'Rourke located a large pile of debris consisting of tree
cuttings and other landscaping debris in the parking lot of Stone
Tavern Lake at the Assunpink WMA. While patrolling the area, he
noticed a homeowner in the vicinity in the process of cutting
some trees. The homeowner denied dumping on the WMA, but stated
they had seen vehicles going into the property loaded with branches.
Two days later, the homeowner contacted the Central Region Office
to let the officer know that a pickup truck loaded with tree branches
had just entered onto the management area. CO O'Rourke responded
to the scene and apprehended two individuals after they had just
emptied their truck. The two men admitted that they had been dumping
their yard debris at the location. They were issued summonses
for dumping on a wildlife management area and Title 13 violations.
CO O'Rourke was on patrol at the Assunpink WMA during a heavy
rainstorm when he found two men swimming at Stone Tavern Lake.
When he approached the swimmers, he observed two men with fishing
poles hiding in the bushes nearby. The men claimed they didn't
speak English and produced no identification. After some prompting
from the officer, the men began speaking fluent English and admitted
that they did not have fishing licenses. Several beer cans as
well as a bottle of Cuervo were found lying in the bushes nearby
and two largemouth bass, one of which was of sub-legal size were
also found hidden nearby. The appropriate summonses were issued.
CO Martiak and DCO Wren were patrolling the Greenwood Forest WMA
along with CO Szalaj and DCO Simons when they stopped a vehicle
for an after hours violation. DCO Wren ordered the four occupants
of the vehicle to put their hands up in view and CO Martiak observed
the front seat passenger holding an open beer can. CO Martiak
asked him to exit the vehicle and asked him if he had any weapons
on him before beginning to pat him down. The passenger stated
that he had a marijuana joint in his pocket, which the officer
then located and secured. The passenger stated that there was
another joint in the ashtray, which could not be found on subsequent
search. The passenger finally admitted that he had eaten the joint
as they were being pulled over. A search of the vehicle also produced
more open containers of alcohol under the back seat. The appropriate
summons were issued to the four individuals. The individual with
the drugs was arrested and transported to Lacey P.D. for processing.
Conservation Officer Risher conducted a foot patrol along Muddy
Run located in Parvin State Park, Pittsgrove Township, Salem County.
He encountered a group of clammers from two different families
that reside in the same area of Philadelphia as past violators.
Conservation Officer Risher with the assistance of Park Police
Officer’s Drawdy and Graham seized 3,600 clams and equipment
as evidence. They were charged with clamming in prohibited waters
and clamming without commercial clam licenses. A September court
date has been scheduled.
Conservation Officer Ely prosecuted a case in Wildwood, Cape May
County involving an individual who had been selling regulated
wildlife without a permit from his storefront at the Seaport Aquarium
on the boardwalk. Some of the regulated species included alligators,
turtles and snakes which were purchased by undercover personnel.
The undercover purchases culminated with the execution of a search
warrant and information gathered from the search warrant was used
to present the case. Additional information was obtained from
an individual who had been attacked by his pet alligator purchased
at the Seaport Aquarium. The defendant pled guilty and settled
the case with CO Ely prior to a trial and agreed to pay $12,000
District Six Conservation Officers have performed concentrated
patrols in the Menatico Ponds Wildlife Management Area and the
surrounding Nature Conservancy and Atlantic Electric Property
adjacent to the WMA. During the report period CO’s have
performed over 85 hours of patrol and issued over 40 fish and
wildlife and criminal complaints in the area of the WMA.
Southern Region Conservation Officers have completed the last
of their scheduled patrols of Champagne Island which is located
in Cape May County and includes property in Stone Harbor, North
Wildwood and Middle Township’s. The island is home to numerous
nesting birds and the surrounding habitat is considered vital
to their nesting success. Conservation Officers enforced a total
moratorium on dogs on the island and ensured that people didn’t
enter an area excluding the most critical habitat. Most individuals
were receptive to the CO’s, however some individuals were
upset that they had to remove their dogs from the island.
On August 18th Conservation Officer Risher assisted the Salem
County Sportsman federation in making the 8th annual Youth Outdoor
day a success. Over 142 children were given the opportunity to
try canoeing, kayaking, fishing, fly tying and shooting various
Officer Risher attended Franklin Township, Gloucester County National
Night Out Festivities. He set up a display and answered questions
in regard to the law enforcement that the Division of Fish and
Officer Vazquez is investigating a 17 foot fiberglass boat that
was dumped on White Oak WMA in Monroe Township, Gloucester County.
Also at White Oak WMA Officer Risher apprehended a man who was
driving through the lake in his sports utility vehicle. The man
had modified his vehicle with a snorkel so that the engine could
operate when submerged under water. What he hadn’t taken
into account was that the lake was formed in an old sand pit and
he got stuck in a clay hole. While he awaited the tow truck CO
Risher gave him the appropriate summonses.
At Pembryn Lake WMA in Winslow Township, Camden County Officers
Kille, Massey and Vazquez arrested two men for drugs and motor
vehicle charges. Both men were sitting in an unregistered and
uninsured vehicle smoking marijuana and using prescription pain
medication. One of the men also had a warrant out for his arrest.
8/22/07, Conservation Officers Jones and Soell were patrolling
Shark River at approximately 2200 hrs. when they inspected a bait
seiner returning to the dock. When the fisherman’s truck
was inspected, 7 sublegal striped bass were discovered having
been caught by the netter earlier in the day. The individual received
a summons for 7 sublegal striped bass. Also, at this time, the
individual was advised to have running lights installed on his
boat. The next evening, this individual was inspected again and
unfortunately did not heed CO Jones’ warning from the previous
night. Therefore, the individual received a summons at this time
for operating a power vessel during the hours of darkness without
On 8/25/07, Conservation Officer Shannon Martiak assisted the
Marine Region by working in plain clothes at various select violation
hotspots along the Arthur Kill and Raritan bayshore. Fishing at
the Carteret Public Dock, Morgan Creek and then Pews Creek, CO
Martiak made five apprehensions for persons harvesting in excess
of 15 bluefish. These apprehensions, and the persons apprehended,
could not have been caught through traditional observance methods
due to their savvy and the locations where they were fishing.
After documenting the violations, CO Martiak contacted Lt. Chicketano
and Conservation Officer Szulecki to issue the appropriate summonses.
In total, 5 persons received summonses for exceeding the limit
on bluefish. One of these 5 persons also received a summons for
Interference for hiding the bluefish as they were caught in nearby
On 8/26/07, Conservation Officer Dravis and Lt. Chicketano were
on boat patrol in the Atlantic Ocean 2 miles off of Deal when
they stopped to inspect 3 individuals who were fishing for black
sea bass. As the officers approached, the owner of the vessel
could be seen shuffling something around with his feet along the
starboard side of the boat. Upon boarding, CO Dravis discovered
14 sublegal black sea bass which had been kicked to the side of
the boat contained in a plastic bag. Additionally, 3 shredded
fluke were discovered in the vessel’s cooler. The owner
was issued a summons for 14 sublegal black sea bass, 3 “parts”
of fluke, and for interference.
On 8/29/07 Conservation Officers Petruccelli and Trembly responded
to a complaint concerning Schellenger’s Restaurant in Wildwood
illegally purchasing sea scallops. When the officers arrived at
the restaurant they met with the owner who provided them access
to the walk in freezers. In the freezer were several packages
of sea scallops as well as filleted summer flounder. The owner
provided accurate records for the summer flounder but could not
produce records for the sea scallops. The scallops were weighed
and there was a total of 370 pounds of sea scallops in the freezer.
Further interviewing the owner it was revealed that the scallops
were purchased directly from fishermen for $5.00 per pound. Summons
will be issued to the owner and restaurant for inaccurate record
keeping which carries a maximum penalty of $3,000.
On 8/29/07, CO Jones and Soell were patrolling at night in the
Point Pleasant Area. At approximately 2000 hrs., they apprehended
the commercial trawler Lydia J as it docked at the Point Pleasant
Co-Op. The vessel was in possession of 118 pounds of monkfish
over their landing limit. This case will be prosecuted under National
Marine Fisheries Service guidelines. Later in the evening, both
officers also apprehended an individual fishing beneath the Route
35 Bridge in Point Pleasant Beach with a 16” Striped Bass.
On Thursday 8/30/07 Lt. Yunghans, CO Canle and DCO Gabries inspected
the F/V Knot Easy in Atlantic City. The F/V Knot Easy is a general
category scallop permit holder which is allowed a daily harvest
of 400 pounds of shucked sea scallops. On board the F/V Knot Easy
was 8 bags of shucked sea scallops. Lt. Yunghans located another
38 pounds hidden under ice and groceries. Officer Canale then
weighed the 8 bags which had a total weight of 434 pounds. The
combined weight was 472 pounds which resulted in a federal violation
and full seizure of all 472 pounds. The 472 pounds of sea scallops
was sold to the highest bidder. The F/V Knot Easy logbook was
also inaccurate which was resulted additional federal changes.
During the weekend before and of Labor Day, District 7 personnel
together with Conservation Officer Martiak, have apprehended 15
persons illegally harvesting shellfish from the Special Restricted
waters of Sandy Hook Bay. All of these individuals were issued
summonses for harvesting shellfish from restricted waters and
clamming without licenses.
On 9/2/07, Conservation Officers Jones and Martiak received a
tip concerning Shop-Rite in Aberdeen Township selling sublegal
lobsters. Upon inspection, 19 American lobsters were found to
be in violation of New Jersey’s size possession law, having
originated from the State of Maine which has a smaller possession
size limit. The officers issued a summons to the corporation for
a reduced quantity of lobsters and educated the store’s
seafood management concerning New Jersey’s larger size limit.