NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Law Enforcement
Late one evening, Lt. Applegate and CO Sutton responded to a
complaint of an individual shooting a turkey within 300 feet
of a baited area. The officers began the investigation and turned
it over to CO Hutchinson the following morning. After a lengthy
interview, the individual led CO Hutchinson into his garage
where he surrendered the turkey he killed over bait without
a permit, parts from 2 deer he had killed unlawfully during
the 2007 season and 97 leg hold traps. All the appropriate summonses
CO Paul assisted the Bureau of Emergency Response and the Manville
Police Department with a 900-gallon oil spill on the Raritan
River near Manville, Somerset County. Emergency Response Chief
Sweeney commended the officer’s knowledge of the area
and ability to coordinate between agencies.
CO’s from the Northern and Central Regions conducted Bear
Enforcement Sweeps at Crandon Lakes and Culvers Lake .A total
of 534 homes were visited with a total 251 bear feeding surveys
Law Enforcement personnel from the Northern Region, NJ Park
Police and technicians from the DEP Bureau of Solid Waste received
a NJ Public Service Achievement Award for the work done during
the 2007 Bear Enforcement Sweeps. Lt. Panico also received an
Exceptional Service Award for an apprehension he made during
the 2007 deer season. The apprehension was the conclusion of
a three year investigation.
Patrolling the Hudson River area with FTO Kuechler, CO Sutton
issued six summonses for Striped Bass violations and one for
possessing summer flounder during the closed season.
Early one morning, as they were on their way to an awards ceremony
in Trenton for Exceptional Service, Lt. Panico and CO Williamson
observed a vehicle driving slowly through a farm field. Both
officers knew the vehicle belonged to an individual who they
had received numerous complaints on. The officers approached
the vehicle and instructed the individual to shut the vehicle
off. The individual did not comply at first but was quickly
convinced to do so. The officers observed a loaded, uncased
shotgun on the seat next to the driver. The individual admitted
to be hunting turkeys and did not have a permit. All the appropriate
summonses were issued.
CO Paul responded to a call for assistance from the Raritan
Valley Community College security officers. The nature of the
call involved an individual who was chasing geese on the campus
grounds and possibly putting goslings in his backpack. The officer
interviewed the individual who admitted to chasing the adult
geese away so he could catch the goslings and put them in his
pack. The individual claimed he was just trying to protect the
goslings from the other geese. The appropriate summonses were
CO Kuechler responded to a complaint of an individual smashing
Canada goose eggs. The officer interviewed an individual who
admitted to chasing a mated pair of geese away from their nest
with firecrackers and then smashing five eggs. The appropriate
summonses were issued.
Lt. Applegate and CO Paul responded to a call of a wild turkey
trapped in a bedroom on the second floor of a residence. The
hen had flown threw a glass window and became trapped inside.
A second window was broken as the bird struggled to get out.
The officers were able to catch the bird with a blanket and
release it unharmed. Unfortunately, there was a considerable
mess and damage to the room.
Lt. Applegate responded to a call of a deer being trapped inside
the Linen –N- Things store. The deer ran threw a glass
window and was running around the store bleeding severely. A
customer was able to wrestle the deer to the ground and tie
its legs together. Lt. Applegate, assisted by the local PD,
was able to remove the deer from the building and to a safe
location. The deer was severely injured and bleeding profusely
so it had to be destroyed.
Lt. Applegate apprehended an individual for turkey hunting within
300 feet of a baited area at Alexauken Creek WMA.
Northern Region CO’s were extremely busy during trout
season issuing numerous summonses for fishing without a valid
license, possessing trout during the in-season closure and possessing
trout over the daily limit.
Northern Region CO’s investigated many bear feeding complaints
and continued to assist the Wildlife Control Unit with bear
CO’s Kuechler and Sutton responded to a complaint of a
resident trapping and possessing songbirds unlawfully. Two Cardinals
were seized from the residence and transferred to The Raptor
Trust for rehabilitation. The appropriate summonses were issued.
CO Martiak was patrolling the Assunpink WMA when he observed a
motor vehicle stopped in the middle of one of the secluded dirt
roads. Thinking that the operator was possibly getting ready to
dump garbage, CO Martiak approached the vehicle. The operator
was sitting in the driver’s seat with numerous empty and
full containers of alcohol in the vehicle. The driver admitted
that he had been drinking and that he had thrown several cans
out of the window as he drove through the management area. Summonses
for failing to wear a seatbelt, consumption of alcohol in a motor
vehicle, open container in a vehicle, littering from a vehicle,
alcohol on a WMA and blocking a roadway were issued to the driver.
The owner of the vehicle, who was also the driver’s employer,
was called to drive the intoxicated driver home.
CO’s Martiak and Szulecki were on patrol in Colliers Mills
WMA when they came across a vehicle that had driven off the road
and crashed into some trees. A DMV lookup on the driver showed
that he had a suspended driver’s license. Summonses for
careless driving and driving while suspended were issued.
CO Martiak was in route to his station when he observed an individual
trying to put out a mattress that was on fire in front of a house.
CO Martiak stopped to assist and sprayed the mattress with his
fire extinguisher. The man told him that he had pulled the mattress
out of the bedroom and that he was afraid that the room may be
on fire. He also said that his girlfriend was still in the room.
CO Martiak ran upstairs and encountered the woman who didn’t
want to leave the house because she wasn’t dressed. CO Martiak
threw a blanket around the woman, escorted her from the house
and called the fire department and police.
CO Martiak conducted CPR training classes for the Central and
CO’s Martiak and O’Rourke participated in a Career
Day program at the Westhampton Middle School (Burlington Co.).
CO O’Rourke presented Conservation Officer programs at the
Palmyra Public Safety Day and the Vincentown Day events.
Lt. Lacroix received a phone call from an informant at 2100 hours
on one of her scheduled RDOs reporting a large group of people
with a bonfire at the Prospertown WMA. She responded and found
25 people, several small fires and large amounts of food spread
around the parking lot. All of them admitted that they had spent
the day at Great Adventure and were having a barbecue before heading
back home to New York. Lt. Lacroix noticed numerous beer bottles
lying on the beach area along with a smoking grill. Everyone denied
that it was theirs. She then noticed a purse lying in the sand.
One of the women finally admitted that it was her purse. Only
one individual was over 21. Summonses for after hours on a WMA
and possession of alcoholic beverages on a WMA were issued. After
leaving Prospertown, Lt. Lacroix decided to take a ride through
the Assunpink WMA before heading back to her station. She observed
a vehicle leave the boat ramp area of Assunpink Lake and head
north. She followed the vehicle which then pulled into the parking
lot at Rising Sun Lake. She waited a short time and then drove
into the parking lot. Two men were just setting up their fishing
equipment. As she approached one of the men, she could smell alcohol
on his breath. The men admitted that they had been fishing at
Assunpink Lake and had consumed several beers. Numerous empty
and full cans of beer were found in their vehicle. One of the
men did not have a fishing license. Summonses for fishing without
a license and possession of alcoholic beverages were issued.
Lt. Lacroix has been patrolling the Delaware River area in Trenton
during the herring run and Striped Bass closure. She has issued
6 summonses for fishing without a license, 7 summonses for fishing
with more than 3 hooks, 2 summonses for littering, 2 for interference
and 1 summons for 29 herring over the limit.
Officers from both District 3 and 4 conducted a joint boat patrol
on the Delaware River during the herring run and Striped Bass
closure. Approximately 100 fishermen were checked on the river
that day. During the operation, Officers Martiak and Szulecki
who were on boat patrol observed a subject fishing along the riverbank
in Trenton. As they approached, the subject hastily left the area
on a bicycle leaving behind trash and empty beer cans. Officer
Szulecki quickly gave a detailed description of the subject to
Officer Mutone who was on patrol in the area. Officer Mutone was
able to locate the subject approximately a quarter mile from the
scene. The subject readily admitted that he was fishing and had
left behind the trash, but continued to give conflicting information
about his true identity. After piecing together bits of the truth,
the subject was finally identified with the help of Trenton Dispatch
and summonses for fish no license and littering was issued.
During that same operation Officer McManus had been watching two
individuals who were taking turns fishing and passing a license
back and forth. When Officer McManus made the inspection only
one person had a license and the other subject vehemently denied
fishing that day. Officer McManus had remembered their names from
a past encounter and realized that one of the subjects was revoked.
It was later revealed that the person who was revoked would use
his friend’s license to avoid being caught. Summonses for
fishing without a license, fishing while revoked and loaning a
license was issued. In addition, one fisherman on a boat was found
in violation of procuring a resident license wrongfully.
After receiving complaints from fishermen stating that fishing
access at the North Branch of the Metedeconk River was posted
prohibiting trespass, Officer Tonnesen was assigned to investigate.
Upon arrival it was very apparent that the entire area along Bennetts
Mills road was posted. After photographing and identifying the
individual responsible, Officer Tonnesen made contact with the
land owner. While on the subjects property the officer noticed
a hose coming from a septic tank that led down to the trout stocked
waters of the Metedeconk River. It was also evident that a large
quantity of asphalt and concrete debris was recently deposited
in his back yard to fill in the wet lands. After confronting the
land owner and checking tax maps it was determined that the subject
did not own all the property that was posted and had no permits
to fill in the wet lands. New Jersey State Coastal Enforcement
Officers were notified and are now investigating the illegal landfill.
Officer Tonnesen has charged the subject with illegally posting
the lands of another and pumping a deleterious substance into
the river. The signs have since been removed.
Officer Mutone has been very busy this month. During a three day
period she apprehended sixteen individuals for fishing without
licenses. The heightened enforcement efforts within the central
region could be one of the factors that may have led to the recent
increase in license sales.
As Officer Tonnesen walked along the shore of Lake Pohatcong located
in Tuckerton he observed a fishermen catch a trout and then put
it in a plastic bag that was on the ground. The officer in an
undercover role engaged the subject in conversation and asked
how the fishing was. With that said the subject nervously looked
around, reached down and pulled up a concealed stringer which
held an additional nine trout and with a smile said, “It’s
great”. Between the fish in the bag and the ones on his
stringer the subject was in possession of nineteen trout. Needless
to say, the fisherman wasn’t very happy when Officer Tonnesen
identified himself as a Conservation Officer. The appropriate
summons was issued.
On one recent Sunday morning within a three hour time period Officers
McManus and Mutone issued a total of thirty one summonses for
the illegal operation of ATV’s on the Forked River Wildlife
Management Area. Lt. Sich who was on scene signaled another group
of five riders to stop and was not surprised when they ignored
his instructions and fled the area. One ATV rider drove through
the brush in an attempt to escape but became wedged between two
trees. After a lengthy interview the subject eventually identified
the other riders and Officer Tonnesen was able to apprehend them
at their transport vehicle.
CO Ely was contacted by Belleplain Forest Park Police regarding
a turkey that was shot from the road just outside the park. The
park police had witnessed two suspects, an adult and a juvenile
shoot a large male turkey from their vehicle. CO Ely conducted
an investigation and with the cooperation of the park police charged
both occupants multiple fish and wildlife charges.
CO Ely is conducting two investigations regarding the killing
of several large “tom” turkeys by suspects that shot
from their vehicle and killed the birds in the yard of rural homes.
In one case two occupants of a black SUV shot and killed two “tom”
turkeys in the front yard of a home. The resident, an elderly
woman, ran out of her house yelling at the individuals that were
trying to retrieve the gobblers. The suspects grabbed the largest
bird and ran back to the car and drove off. The second case had
a driver of a silver SUV shoot a turkey in the side yard of a
home, run over, pick the bird up and flee. The home owner observed
the suspect but remained hidden in the home. Both investigations
CO Batten with CO Vazquez utilized a new turkey decoy, obtained
from the West Jersey Chapter of the Turkey Federation. The decoy
was delivered to the Southern Region on Thursday and successfully
used on Saturday. Set up in the fields of the Bevans WMA, the
decoy was shot at from a vehicle by the driver, the lone occupant
of the vehicle. Appropriate summonses were issued.
CO Vazquez conducted a routine patrol of various Atlantic County
WMAs. During this patrol CO Vazquez apprehended 8 individuals
riding ATV’s on the grounds of the Great Egg Harbor River
WMA (Hamilton Section). Seven summonses were issued for operation
of ATV’s and having unregistered vehicles on Fish and Wildlife
CO Ely was contacted by a private hunting preserve regarding an
individual trespassing and killing a turkey on their posted ground.
CO Ely conducted an investigation that identified the hunter and
showed that he did not possess the proper license or permits.
Upon interviewing the suspect CO Ely obtained a confession regarding
the illegal hunting and killing of a turkey on the private preserve.
Numerous summonses have been issued.
District 5 officers had a variety of turkey hunting violations
In the first case Lt. Honachefsky, with CO’s Risher and
Toppin set up on a baited turkey blind, in Pittsgrove Twp., Salem
County. The hunters arrived but did not utilize the blind and
instead set up about 300 ft. away from the blind and bait. The
hunters were inspected, and denied that the bait was theirs. One
hunter was found to be hunting without a valid permit.
CO Stites utilized the newly donated turkey decoy with CO’s
Risher and Toppin, in an attempt to apprehend road hunters in
Lower Alloway Creek, Salem County. The officers soon had a hunter
approach the turkey decoy, and fire at the decoy from the roadway.
It is interesting that this hunter had been apprehended by CO
Risher last year while road hunting for deer. Appropriate complaints
were signed in both of these cases.
An anonymous complaint was made to the Southern Region that alleged
that 2 hunters had killed multiple turkeys in Gloucester County
and failed to tag the birds. The complainant could not give a
specific hunting location where the hunters might be found, so
Lt. Honachefsky and CO Kille set up on each hunter’s homes
in hopes of following the hunters to their intended hunting spot.
The hunters met at the residence that Lt. Honachefsky had under
surveillance. The hunters drove to a farm field and commenced
their hunt. CO Kille was dropped off in the field to watch the
hunt. After about 2 hours in the field, Honachefsky, and Kille,
along with CO Toppin decided to inspect the hunters. The inspection
was completed and the 2 hunters were found to have the proper
permits. The hunters were next interviewed in regard to the alleged
complaint. Both hunters initially denied killing and failing to
tag any turkeys, but eventually admitted that they had indeed
killed birds and failed to tag them. One of these two hunters
was not named by the anonymous complainant, so the officers asked
about the person who was not present. They soon admitted that
that hunter had also failed to tag a bird. The 3rd hunter was
contacted and asked to meet the officers in the field. In the
end all 3 hunters admitted to killing 3 turkeys in the wrong zone
and failing to tag the birds. The appropriate complaints were
issued and the hunters forfeited the parts of the illegally killed
Jones received information from New York State Environmental Conservation
Officers in reference to four New Jersey Depuration clammers working
in New York State waters. The New York ECOs apprehended these
clammers approximately 0.5 mile inside New York. New Jersey depurators
are required to work in New Jersey and in areas approved by NJDEP,
Bureau of Water Monitoring. This is a violation of their depuration
permit along with a complete disregard of a letter originally
sent with their permits from Captain Chicketano. CO Jones issued
each clammer a summons for clamming outside of approved areas
while in the depuration program. If convicted each clammer faces
a fine of $0-500, 0-30 days in jail and a three-year permit suspension.
Additionally, the New York ECOs issued these clammers a total
of 14 summonses which included; taking shellfish in New York waters
without a permit, taking shellfish from uncertified waters and
possessing untagged clams.
CO Dravis has received several complaints regarding an individual
taking summer flounder from a rental boat in the Shark River during
the closed recreational season. After several attempts CO Dravis
apprehended the individual, who happened to be a juvenile, along
with an adult partner with four summer flounder possessed out
of season. The juvenile was issued a written warning, and the
adult was issued a summons for the four fluke.
On May 4th CO Petruccelli received a complaint in reference to
an individual who was illegally retaining tautog during the recreational
closed season on Nummy Island in Middle Twp, Cape May County.
Upon arrival CO Petruccelli observed the fisherman catch and retain
two tautog. CO Petruccelli made contact with the individual on
the bridge and discovered the man’s wife was waiting at
the base of the bridge in their car. CO Petruccelli directed the
man to meet him at his car. There CO Petruccelli recovered an
additional five tautog which were also taken in violation of the
closure. Five of the seven fish measured less than the legal size
limit of 14”. CO Petruccelli issued the appropriate summons
for the possession of tautog during the closed season and possession
of undersized tautog. A check of summons track revealed that this
same individual had been apprehended, charged and convicted with
the same violations in May 2000 in Egg Harbor Twp. by Lt Canale.
Lt. Canale attended a Cooperative Enforcement Program Meeting
hosted by NOAA NMFS Office for Law Enforcement in San Diego, CA.
The two-day meeting was a national meeting attended by all participating
states involved in the Joint Enforcement Agreement (JEA) Program.
The meeting is a semi-annual event to coordinate the direction
of the program and discuss the effectiveness of its administration.
Training Unit Highlights
The spring session of the bureau’s quarterly firearms qualifications
and training was concluded during this report period. This session
consisted of tactical training with both handgun and shotgun in
and around vehicles as well as other obstacles. Several Regional
Firearms Instructors assisted with the training.
The Spring Precision Rifle Qualifications has been conducted during
this time with both the Bureau’s Law Enforcement Scoped
Rifle Shooters as well as the Wildlife Control Representatives.
Captain Brown assisted with the Northeast Wildlife Conference
held recently at the Sea View Resort in Galloway.
Captain Brown conducted a course in Basic Firearms for Wildlife
Control Representatives. This training is mandated by law and
enables the Wildlife Control Representatives to utilize the various
firearms needed to perform their job functions.