NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Law Enforcement
During an inspection at a taxidermy shop, CO Hutchinson and
DCO Hutchinson discovered that an individual had brought in
four large deer heads to be mounted. All four heads had tags
and possession seals from other hunters as well as other states
including Wyoming. After an extensive investigation, which involved
officers from New York, Pennsylvania, Kansas and Wyoming, CO
Hutchinson determined the individual shot the deer locally and
used his friend’s tags and seals to cover him for possession
at the taxidermist. CO’s Hutchinson, Kuechler and DCO
Struble apprehended the individual at the taxidermy shop when
he came to pick up the mounts. The individual, a person unauthorized
to possess a weapon, admitted to shooting the deer and using
tags and seals he borrowed from two friends. The individual,
who has numerous arrests, including robbery, burglary and eluding
arrest has served six years in state prison. The individual
admitted to having a firearm, a .22 Black Hawk Rifle with a
crossbow bolt-barrel attachment in his vehicle. A spent .22
cartridge was also recovered from the floor of the vehicle.
The individual was charged at the scene with numerous Title
23 violations and released. An arrest for possessing the firearm
is pending upon a review of the case by the Morris County Prosecutor’s
Office. CO Hutchinson charged the two other hunters with loaning
a tag and one will be charged with similar offenses by the states
of NY and Wyoming.
CO’s Kuehler and Williamson, continuing an investigation
that began 2 years ago, apprehended two individuals for numerous
deer violations during the six-day firearm season. The individuals,
hunting from a boat on the Passaic River, would shoot deer they
observed on the small islands in the river and along the riverbanks.
CO Williamson observed the individuals, who were not wearing
hunters orange; hide three untagged bucks upstream from the
boat launch in the afternoon and continue to hunt. After dark,
CO Kuechler observed the individuals spotlighting the riverbanks
as they approached the boat launch. CO Kuechler apprehended
the individuals at the launch and found them to be in possession
of another untagged deer and a loaded firearm. The appropriate
summonses were issued.
CO Panico responded to a call for assistance from the Blairstown
Police Department involving an individual shooting a buck in
the roadway during the six-day firearm season. Six witnesses
watched the individual block the roadway with his vehicle, take
out a shotgun, use the hood of the vehicle as a rest and shot
the buck across Rt. 94. CO Panico interviewed the individual
at his residence who claimed he killed the deer because it was
already injured. The appropriate summonses were issued.
CO Applegate investigated a complaint of an eight- point buck
being shot from the road with a muzzleloader before legal hunting
hours in Delaware Township. CO Applegate interviewed the witness
who claimed he was sitting in his tree stand as he watched a
van drive up the road, shine a light into the woods and shot
out of the window before driving away. The witness said the
van returned an hour later and he watched two men recover the
deer. The witness was able to give the officer the license plate
number of the van that was registered to a Pennsylvania resident.
CO Applegate, who was accompanied by two PA Game Commission
Deputies, interviewed the owner of the van who admitted to shooting
the deer as the witness described. All the appropriate summonses
On December 6th, CO Steven Sutton successfully completed the
20-week Police Class and graduated from the Morris County Police
Academy. Upon completion of the Field Training Program, CO Sutton
will be assigned to the Northern Warren County area.
During the archery season, CO Hutchinson received a call from
a hunter who said he witnessed two individuals on an ATV shoot
at two bears with a firearm. The hunter said that neither individual
was wearing hunter orange as they rode passed his tree stand.
CO’s Hutchinson and Williamson responded to the scene
the following morning and located a dead bear cub. The officers
also tracked and observed a second, larger, injured bear. The
bear cub was recovered and examined by Dr. Roscoe who determined
the cub had been shot and killed by a small caliber projectile.
On the last day of the six-day firearm season, CO Hutchinson
received a call from the same hunter who said the individuals
on the ATV were back in the area and just shot at a deer. Capt.
Fletcher and DCO Struble also responded to the area and the
two individuals were apprehended after they fled the area on
the ATV. One individual admitted to shooting an antlerless deer
during the closed season, not wearing hunter orange and having
a loaded, uncased firearm on the ATV. The second individual
was apprehended with an uncased, loaded firearm on the ATV.
Both individuals had blood stained knives in their possession
and both claimed it was blood from deer they shot during the
2006 muzzleloader season. CO Hutchinson read both individuals
their Miranda Rights and interviewed them concerning the dead
and injured bears. Both denied any involvement although they
said they had heard about the incident. The antlerless deer
was recovered from the scene. A records check the following
week determined that neither individual registered any deer
during the 2006 season or had a valid 2006 muzzleloader permit.
CO Hutchinson requested to meet the individuals at their residences
to serve them with their summonses. Upon arriving at the one
residence, CO Hutchinson advised the individual that he was
still under Miranda and asked why there was no record of him
registering any deer the previous year. The individual admitted
to killing and not registering two deer the previous year. Upon
arriving at the second residence, CO Hutchinson advised the
second individual that he was also still under Miranda and that
a records check showed he didn’t register any deer the
previous year. CO Hutchinson then noticed a six-point buck head,
a spike buck head, fresh blood and parts from three other deer
in plain view in the garage. The individual and his brother,
who was also present, admitted to killing and not registering
the deer. CO Hutchinson continued to interview the brothers
who admitted to shooting the bears. The one brother said he
was overwhelmed with guilt and needed to clear his conscience.
He told the officer they shot the bears with a .22 Magnum Winchester
rifle. They said the rifle was hidden at the auto repair shop
they owned but they would surrender it for testing. At the conclusion
of the investigation, the additional charges will be issued.
On the first day of the six-day firearm season, CO Kuechler
apprehended two individuals who made and used farmer tags on
two bucks they attempted to register. Both tags were made out
to female members of the farmer’s family who weren’t
present at the check station. Both women were contacted and
offered little information concerning the deer they allegedly
killed. One of the women, who is 70 years old, said she was
home cooking all day. Both hunters admitted to killing the deer
and making the tags so they didn’t have to use their buck
stubs on the first day. The appropriate summonses were issued.
In Vernon Township Court, a plea agreement was reached with
the individual who was arrested in July 2007 for tampering with
a bear trap by spreading human urine around it. The individual
pled guilty to resisting arrest, obstruction and interference
with a Conservation Officer. He was sentenced to serve 30 days
at the Sussex County Jail ordered to pay $ 2,400.00 in fines
and was placed on probation for one year.
Officer Tonnesen observed three individuals on the Great Bay Wildlife
Management Area who were actively shooting at a flock of small
birds that were flying over their hunting party. After seeing
a number of the birds fall to the ground and no attempts made
by the hunters to retrieve them, Officer Tonnesen went to investigate.
After retrieving as many of the birds as possible, he made contact
with the hunters. It was their assertion that they were hunting
snipe, but upon further identification, they were informed that
they had killed over 38 Dunlin shore birds. When their weapons
were inspected, the officer noticed that they were also hunting
with lead shot. The appropriate summonses were issued.
Officer Tonnesen set up on two individuals who were hunting the
sedges on the Great Bay Wildlife Management Area. After a short
while, the officer observed one of the hunters jump into their
boat and intentionally drive through a raft of waterfowl, guiding
them to his partner, who then shot and harvested a number of birds.
When the group returned back at the marina, Officer Tonnesen made
an inspection and found that their guns were still loaded. When
confronted with his observations, the two hunters admitted to
the violation of rallying birds in addition to having a loaded
firearm within 450 ft of an occupied dwelling.
Officer Mutone and Deputy Altieri responded to a complaint of
individuals hunting to close to a senior residential complex located
in Manchester Township. When the officers arrived on scene, they
were able to locate and apprehend one subject who was thoughtlessly
hunting within 450 ft of the complex while in plain view of the
Lt. Sich apprehended two individuals who were trespassing on posted
property in Upper Freehold Township. The first subject encountered
was wearing a Ghillie suit with no hunter’s orange visible.
When confronted, the subject initially ignored the officer’s
commands to stop and attempted to run from the officer. Prior
to being apprehended, the subject was able to inform his friend
by radio to leave the area. With the assistance of Deputy Sprague
the second suspect was tracked and located approximately 400 yards
from the tree stand he was hunting from. During the interview,
the second subject admitted to the fact that he knew he was trespassing
and that he had been warned by his friend to run. Trespassing,
no orange and interference summonses were issued.
Lt. Sich and Deputy Sprague apprehended a subject who was hunting
without hunter’s orange in Lacey Township. While being interviewed,
officers noticed that there were inconsistencies with the information
obtained from the subject and what was printed on his license.
After checking records, it was determined that the subject was
a Florida resident who had given false information to a license
agent in order to obtain a New Jersey resident hunting license.
After receiving a complaint of hunters trespassing on posted land
in Jackson Township, Lt. Sich went to investigate. Although the
hunters in question weren’t trespassing, they were subsequently
issued citations for hunting without hunters orange, no valid
deer permit and using slugs in a firearm without iron sights.
Officer Szulecki working on information received was able to locate
and apprehend a hunter who had harvested a deer in the wrong deer
management zone and failed to bring it to a deer check station
in an attempt to conceal the violation from law enforcement. When
confronted, the subject hesitated, but finally admitted to the
violation and cooperated with the investigation.
Officer Szulecki responded to an O.G.T. report alleging that two
individuals were deer hunting in Howell Township in a closed deer
management zone. When he arrived on scene it was too dark to enter
the woods and instead set up on their vehicle. At approximately
20 minutes after legal hunting time the two hunters were confronted
as they exited the wooded area. Both hunters’ guns were
still loaded and their shotgun permits were for a different zone.
Summonses for hunting after hours and closed season were issued.
While on boat patrol, Officer Tonnesen stopped to inspect a duck
hunter who was returning home from a day of hunting on the Barnegat
Bay. During the inspection he found the hunter to be in possession
of thirteen Brant. Just a few birds over the legal two bird daily
bag limit. The subject tried to claim that someone else had given
him the birds, unfortunately they were not tagged as required
by law. The appropriate summons was issued.
CO Kille was on patrol in Pilesgrove Twp., in Salem County when
he found a deer hunting club that had just killed a deer on a
drive. It appeared that the deer had been shot by a stander who
was on a public roadway. The hunters denied shooting from the
road. CO Stites arrived and assisted in the investigation. The
officers located 3 fresh shotgun shell wads lying in the roadway.
It appeared that the shooter had fired down the roadway twice,
and across the roadway to finally kill the deer. The hunter was
subsequently charged with careless discharge of a weapon. While
this investigation was occurring the officers received a trespass
complaint in Mannington, they responded to the second location
with Capt. Eisenhuth. The officers did not encounter a trespassing
hunter but did find hunters with uncased guns, an improperly tagged
deer, and the driver of a vehicle was cited for driving while
DCOs Bowen and Shivers were in plainclothes patrolling near Pennsville,
Salem County when late in the day they encountered 2 deer hunters.
One of the deer hunters told the deputy that he had killed an
8 pointer and a 6 pointer. The hunter went on to tell the officer
that he was planning on hunting again the next morning. The DCO’s
suspected that the hunter claiming the kills would not tag his
deer and eliminate himself from the rest of the season. CO Stites
and Honachefsky decided to proceed to the nearby check station
while DCO Shivers would go to the 2nd nearby check station. DCO
Bowen was left at the scene. The CO’s made their way to
the check stations in a heavy snow storm. Stites and Honachefsky
encountered the hunters at their check station; where as suspected
they found that the hunter claiming the kill had not registered
the deer. An extensive interview followed. The person who claimed
the kills maintained that he did not kill the 8 pointer as he
earlier told Deputy Bowen. His partner continued to claim the
8 pointer and said he knew nothing about the 6 pointer. The officers
inspected the subjects’ cell phones where both hunters were
posed with the two deer. In these photos the 6 pointer was actually
a 4 pointer. At this point one hunter said that he had killed
the 4 pointer, and illegally registered it in a non antler restriction
zone. Both hunters face illegal possession charges. The 4 pointer
was confiscated. Two hours later a very chilly snow covered Deputy
Bowen was dismissed from the original scene where the case had
CO Kille received a trespass complaint in East Greenwich Township,
Gloucester County. A landowner told Kille that when he went into
his deer stand he found an unknown bow hunter in the stand. Kille
found the hunter’s personal information from the automated
system. He called the alleged trespasser, and inquired about the
complaint made. Kille also had asked the alleged trespasser whether
he had an extended season bow permit for that zone. The hunter
called Kille back and told him that he did not need an extended
permit for deer, since he was actually hunting squirrels on that
day. CO Kille next interviewed the hunter at his home. Kille determined
that the hunter had only broad head arrows with him on the day
the complaint was made. Next Kille told the hunter that there
was a fairly fresh pile of deer entrails near the deer stand.
The hunter initially said he had no knowledge of the origin of
the entrails. The interview continued and the alleged trespasser
admitted he was trespassing, hunting deer without a permit, and
had in fact killed a button buck, which he failed to register.
The accused was issued the appropriate complaints including a
charge for interference.
CO’s Kille, Stites, and Honachefsky, along with DCO Bowen
responded to a 450 foot violation made in Woolwich Township Gloucester
County. On arrival the CO’s found one hunter from the club
in violation of the 450 foot restriction. The club members told
the officers that they had killed 4 bucks the day before. Two
of the deer were killed on this property and the other 2 bucks
came from some “other spot”. The two deer from the
“other spot” became the focus of an extended interview
by CO Kille. One hunter in the group finally admitted that he
killed both deer, and both were deer that were sub legal with
less than 3 points on one side. He stated that he tagged one of
the animals falsifying the data sheet, and then took the second
buck to his uncle’s house who tagged the animal in as his
kill. Both the deer were confiscated. Seven complaints were signed
against the hunters for deer act violations.
CO Vazquez was on patrol in Winslow Township, Camden County. He
found a parked pick-up truck with fresh blood in the bed. CO Vazquez
then inspected the records of all nearby check station and found
that the registered owner of the truck did not register any deer
kills. An interview was conducted at the hunter’s home.
During the interview CO Vazquez found that the hunter had killed
a doe, and had not registered the animal. The appropriate complaints
CO Vazquez and CO Massey responded to trespass complaint at the
Lakeland County complex in Gloucester Township, Camden County.
They encountered two deer hunters on the property both without
orange, trespassing and one without a hunting license. Five complaints
CO Vazquez was responding to a 450 foot violation complaint in
Camden County. On his way to that complaint he observed a car
on fire on the AC Expressway. He was the first responder at the
scene. The 3 occupants in the vehicle were out of the vehicle.
CO Vazquez fought the car fire with his extinguisher until a fire
fighting unit arrived on the scene. Not to be deterred from his
initial complaint he continued. The hunter was on the opposite
side of a deep stream, so Vazquez had a short but refreshing swim
in full uniform, in order to make the apprehension. The hunter,
who was charged for a 450 foot violation, was startled to see
a soaking wet CO appear under his deer stand.
Conservation Officer Massey responded to a trespassing complaint
from Egg Harbor Township Police Department in Atlantic County
on the Thursday of the six day firearms deer season. When CO Massey
arrived a patrolman had eight individuals in custody that he had
observed exiting a parcel of municipal property that was posted
against trespassing and hunting. The parcel of property was located
at the end of a cul-de-sac in a large development and several
residents called the complaint in. All of the individuals were
conducting a deer drive and possessed firearms when they were
observed exiting the parcel of property. Conservation Officer
Massey issued the appropriate fish and wildlife summonses.
During a routine patrol on Thanksgiving, Conservation Officers
Massey and Vazquez encountered several small game hunters in Hammonton,
Atlantic County, that were hunting adjacent to several residential
and commercial dwellings. An inspection of three hunters yielded
loaded firearms. Conservation Officer Ely responded and used a
certified laser rangefinder to calculate the distances and they
were all well within 450 feet. When Conservation Officer Massey
informed the hunters that they were going to be issued summonses
one hunter abruptly told CO Massey that he hopes that he chokes
and dies on a turkey bone. The appropriate summonses have been
Conservation Officer Batten and Deputy Conservation Officer Mullins
were conducting a routine evening patrol during the six day firearms
season on the Dix Wildlife Management Area in Fairfield Township,
Cumberland County when they observed a vehicle spotlighting. As
they performed a subsequent motor vehicle stop they observed the
three occupants in the vehicle hastily moving in the cab of the
truck. When they approached the vehicle there were two uncased
firearms in the cab of the truck and rounds of buckshot loose
on the seat and the floor. During an interview the individuals
stated that they initially started shooting on a shoot to kill
permit and wandered off the permit on to the WMA. The appropriate
fish and wildlife summonses have been issued.
Conservation Officer Vazquez responded to a complaint about an
individual who allegedly possessed ‘illegal game’
in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County. When CO Vazquez arrived
at the residence there were two deer and a turkey hanging in the
backyard. The homeowner was located at a small hunting clubhouse
adjacent to the area where the deer and turkey were hanging and
agreed to allow CO Vazquez to inspect them. None of the animals
had tags affixed. CO Vazquez conducted a short interview. The
homeowner said that he hunts, but he hadn’t killed any of
the animals and gave CO Vazquez the names of the two individuals
who were responsible for killing the deer and the turkey. Conservation
Officer Vazquez, with the assistance of CO Massey, conducted interviews
the following day and got confessions from both hunters. All three
animals were killed during the early muzzleloader season. The
appropriate summonses were issued and the hunter responsible for
killing the spike forfeited his muzzleloader buck stub.
Conservation Officer Batten received a complaint about trappers
starting early on the Dix Wildlife Management Area property in
Fairfield Township, Cumberland County. With the assistance of
CO Trembley and DCO Mullins, CO Batten was able to conduct surveillance
of the area and apprehend three trappers tending over 100 muskrat
sets and snares. The appropriate summonses have been issued.
While on a routine patrol on Seabreeze Road in Fairfield Township,
Cumberland County Conservation Officer Batten observed a van moving
slowly down the road. During a subsequent inspection CO Batten
observed an uncased firearm in the vehicle and when he asked the
driver of the vehicle if the weapon was loaded he responded that
it was. During a short interview the driver admitted to hunting
and the appropriate summonses were issued.
Conservation Officer Batten received information that an individual
currently on the revocation list was hunting in the Belleplain
area of Cumberland County. During his patrol CO Batten encountered
the repeat offender who was in possession of a muzzleloader. The
individual informed CO Batten that he was only carrying the muzzleloader
for his friend, however the friend didn’t possess caps for
the muzzleloader and the revoked hunter did. The appropriate fish
and wildlife summonses have been issued.
As Conservation Officer Batten was clearing a stop with an individual
on the revocation list in Belleplain, Cumberland County, he observed
a vehicle drive by with a deer in the bed of the truck. When CO
Batten stopped the vehicle to inspect the deer an individual exited
the vehicle with a pen and attempted to fill out the tag. The
hunter was with a club that was in the process of conducting a
drive. The hunter initially stated that he had just killed the
deer and didn’t have a pen; however CO Batten quickly noted
that the deer was very stiff and started to interview the hunter.
The hunter eventually admitted that the deer had been killed on
a prior drive. While the club continued its drive two tagged,
but not properly checked, deer were located in the back of another
vehicle. Those hunters were located as the drive finished and
admitted to continuing to hunt without properly checking their
deer. The appropriate summonses have been issued.
Conservation Officer Batten was conducting a routine patrol in
Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, when he observed a tagged
but unchecked deer in the back of a truck without a hunter present.
Believing that the hunter was unlawfully continuing to hunt in
an ongoing deer drive because the tag on the deer was his second
tag, CO Batten entered the drive in an attempt to locate the hunter.
The head woodsman in the club stated that the hunter, who was
from Alabama, left with someone to go to Atlantic City after he
killed the deer. Not believing the story CO Batten continued to
interview hunters and was eventually told that the hunter from
Alabama was never present during the six day firearms season and
that the head woodsman retained his license after they had turkey
hunted together in the spring. The head woodsman eventually admitted
to using the tags unlawfully and was issued the appropriate summonses.
Acting on a tip that an individual possessed an untagged deer
in Commercial Township, Cumberland County, Conservation Officers
Batten and Honachefsky started an investigation. Conservation
Officer Honachefsky was able to locate blood and drag marks in
a wooded area behind the alleged subject’s home leading
to a barn. The CO’s waited for the subject to return to
the residence and conducted an interview. When asked, the homeowner
took them to his barn and showed them a large nine point whitetail
deer that he admittedly harvested unlawfully. During the confession
the subject stated that he had observed the large deer for two
days and when he attempted to purchase a buck stub he was advised
that the system had locked him out because he already possessed
a muzzleloader permit. The subject stated that when he observed
the deer for the third day in a row he decided to shoot anyway.
The appropriate fish and wildlife summonses have been issued.
Conservation Officer Batten, with the assistance of Captain Eisenhuth,
Lieutenant Cianciulli and Special Agent Manera, was able to apprehend
three individuals exiting a wooded area with an untagged deer.
Conservation Officer Batten conducted an interview and was able
to get the three hunters to admit to hunting on posted property
owned by the Nature Conservancy. The hunter who had harvested
the deer said that he didn’t have a pen to complete the
tag, however the officers were able to provide him with a pen
located on dashboard of the vehicle that he had just exited. Conservation
Officer Batten has had numerous complaints about this group of
hunters not tagging bucks that they harvest. The appropriate fish
and wildlife summonses have been issued.
Sunday 12/2/07, the captain and owner of the charter boat “Barb
Gail IV” which fishes exclusively out of Brielle, NJ, was
apprehended at the Seville Diner located in East Brunswick, NJ.
Clint Dunham who resides in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ is being
charged with selling 93 striped bass fillets or 47 whole striped
bass to the diner. He is also being charged with filleting striped
bass other than immediately prior to preparation or being served
as food, and possession of 45 striped bass in excess of the legal
possession limit of 2 striped bass. All of the striped bass fillets
were less than 28 inches in length. The sale of striped bass in
the State of NJ carries a penalty of $300-$3,000 for a first offense.
Filleting of striped bass other than immediately prior to preparation
or being served as food, possession of striped bass in excess
of the possession limit and possession of striped bass less than
28 inches, all carry a penalty of $100 per fish. Minimum penalties
for these violations total $14,200 plus court costs with a maximum
potential penalty of $16,900 plus court costs.
The Seville Diner had in addition to the previously mentioned
striped bass fillets an additional 110 frozen striped bass fillets
or 55 whole striped bass on the premises. The diner is being charged
with selling striped bass in the State of NJ. This violation carries
a penalty of $300-$3,000 plus court costs.