NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Bureau of Law Enforcement
Lt. Panico and CO Nestel assisted the NJ State Police with apprehending
and charging 3 individuals who were spotlighting with a loaded
firearm in their vehicle. Late one evening, a state trooper
observed a vehicle spotlighting a farm field in Wantage Township
in Sussex County. The vehicle suddenly stopped and turned around
when the NJSP vehicle came into view. The trooper initiated
a motor vehicle stop and interviewed the 3 passengers who claimed
to be spotlighting without any firearms. The individuals were
released and the trooper decided to search along the roadside.
After a short time, the trooper located a loaded 12 gauge shotgun
along the road. The trooper re-interviewed the driver at his
residence who admitted to owning the shotgun. He said one of
the passengers threw it out the window when they observed his
vehicle. Lt. Panico met all 3 individuals at the NJSP Barracks
where they admitted they were attempting to locate a deer to
shoot. CO Nestel completed the investigation by charging the
individuals with all the appropriate “night deer”
While patrolling Sussex County for night deer activity one evening,
Lt. Panico and CO Sutton observed 2 individuals dressed in camouflage
standing outside a pick up truck. The officers stopped to speak
to the individuals as to why they were out so late. Both individuals
claimed they had been bow hunting earlier in the day and had
just gotten back to the truck. CO Sutton asked if they had any
success and both said no. The officer looked in the bed of the
truck and observed an untagged 4 point buck. The officer examined
the deer and found what appeared to be a slug wound in its chest.
When confronted with the information, both individuals admitted
to hunting with and shooting the deer with shotguns. The appropriate
complaints were signed.
While investigating a bear feeding complaint of improper trash
storage at a local Elks Lodge, CO Hutchinson observed a deer
with the skullcap removed in the dumpster and upon closer examination,
he observed a possession seal attached to its leg. The officer
proceeded to the nearest check station and determined that the
seal was registered to a doe. He interviewed the hunter at his
residence who admitted to killing a 6 point buck and registering
it as a doe. He said he didn’t want to use his buck tag.
He told the officer the check station attendants do not go outside
to inspect the deer. The officer issued the appropriate summonses
and returned to the check station to discuss the situation with
Northern and Central Region COs conducted a Bear Feeding Enforcement
Sweep of the Milton area of Jefferson Township in Morris County.
COs from the Northern Region conducted a Bear Feeding Sweep
of commercial establishments of the Sussex, Morris and Warren
Lt. Panico and CO Sutton were patrolling an area of Wantage
Township known for night deer activity when they observed a
vehicle stop and spotlight a field. The officers initiated a
motor vehicle stop and found 3 individuals in possession of
an uncased, loaded firearm. All 3 individuals were in possession
of open containers of alcoholic beverages and one individual
had a $2,500.00 warrant for his arrest. The NJSP were called
for assistance who took custody of the individual with the outstanding
warrant. CO Sutton charged the 3 individuals with all the appropriate
CO Hutchinson completed an investigation of an individual possessing
potentially dangerous and exotic species without the required
permits. The individual, who was wearing a T-shirt with skull
and crossed snake hooks and the address for a venomous reptile
website, was interviewed at his residence. Initially, the individual
denied being in possession of any reptiles but eventually admitted
to having them. The individual led the CO to a locked room that
contained 3 venomous snakes, a Gila monster, a northern pine
snake and several other snakes and tortoises. The individual
did not have permits for possessing any of the animals. The
potentially dangerous and endangered species were seized and
transferred to a zoo and nature center. Summonses for possessing
the animals without the proper permits were issued.
Martiak and Mascio assisted Hamilton Twp. police with an illegal
hunting case. The officers were notified that Hamilton P.D.
had located an individual hunting in one of their township parks.
COs Martiak and Mascio found blood and hair in the back of the
hunter’s vehicle. They questioned the hunter who admitted
to killing a deer earlier in the week and never tagging it.
The hunter also admitted that he had taken the deer to his friend
for butchering. Summonses were issued to the hunter for failing
to tag a deer, unregistered deer and interference. The friend
was also charged with illegal possession.
CO Martiak taught a First Responder class for the Monmouth County
Police Academy recruit class.
On the opening day of coastal duck season, Officers Tonnesen
and Mutone conducted a boat patrol of the Barnegat Bay. Throughout
the day, numerous inspections were made and a total of eight
summonses were issued for various duck hunting infractions.
The highlight of the day occurred when Officer Tonnesen inspected
a sportsman who was hunting after legal hours. The subject was
also in possession of a non-game species (Black Bellied Plover),
in addition to the rest of his daily bag limit. The appropriate
summonses were issued.
Officer Tonnesen recently investigated and issued summonses
to two individuals that were illegally hunting ducks on Sunday,
within 450 ft of homes, over bait and using a high powered pellet
gun. At the time of the incident, only one individual had a
valid hunting license, but not the required stamps. The appropriate
complaints were signed.
Officers McManus and Mutone recently concluded the investigation
of an illegal dumping case which occurred on the Turkey Swamp
Wildlife Management Area. The incident involved a large quantity
of home and building trash. The investigation involved a number
of potential leads and interviews. The officers were finally
able to locate the transport vehicle, which contained the same
kind of material found at the dump site. Apparently, when the
guilty party realized that the officers were looking for him,
he went back to the scene in an attempt to clean it up. With
information received from an informant, the officers caught
the subject at the scene. Officer McManus was able to obtain
a written admission from the subject and the appropriate summonses
Working on information received from the previous year, Officer
Szulecki with the assistance of Officer Martiak was able to
apprehend two individuals illegally hunting ducks over a baited
irrigation pond in Howell Township. During the field inspection
the officers also located the parts of two deer in the bed of
their pickup truck. The deer parts were not labeled and they
gave no plausible explanation for being in possession of the
deer. The deer parts were seized and summonses were issued.
On the opening day of Southern Duck Season, Lt. Massey assisted
COs Batten and Ciraolo for the evening hunt. Lt. Massey was watching
a hunter that continued to hunt past the legal hours. When the
hunter returned to his vehicle Lt. Massey conducted an inspection
and interview. The interview established that the hunter had continued
to hunt after the legal time. The inspection located 17 rounds
of lead shot. Two of which were found in the still loaded shotgun.
Appropriate summonses were issued.
While on routine patrol during the opening day of Coastal Duck
season COs Ely and Ciraolo located hunters during the closing
hours of the day. The officer’s maintained surveillance
on the hunters and determined that they were hunting after hours.
The officers conducted an interview upon the hunters’ return
to their vehicle at the boat ramp. The hunters admitted that they
had continued to hunt after the legal quitting time and a subsequent
inspection determined that the hunters were over their limit for
Brant, had unsigned waterfowl stamps, and were using lead shot.
Appropriate summonses were issued.
During a routine check of a check station CO Ely was approached
by the stores’ owner with a complaint about a hunter. CO
Ely was told that a hunter had come in to check in a deer that
he had tagged as a button buck. When the store clerk told him
that they needed to see the deer the hunter became extremely angry.
While the hunter yelled and cursed at the store owner the clerk
went outside and found a large buck in the hunter’s truck
with a towel covering an obviously large rack. When the clerk
approached the hunter again, he renewed his abuse and demanded
that they check in the deer. CO Ely was told that the hunter was
not welcome in the check station any more. CO Ely investigated
the complaint and discovered that the hunter had killed a nine
point buck on Federal property and while legal to do so had tagged
the deer as a button buck and not used his buck tag as required.
Appropriate summonses were issued.
CO Kille received information that a Pennsylvania resident who
regularly hunted waterfowl in New Jersey was a convicted felon.
The individual had been apprehended in New Jersey about 5 years
ago with 68 snow geese over the limit. This year, COs Kille, Toppin
and Stites set up surveillance on one of the major routes of travel
between NJ and Pennsylvania, and observed the subjects’
truck enter this State. They then proceeded to follow the subject
to a location in Cumberland County where he was arrested and charged
criminally for unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted
felon. The subject commented that he knew this day would come.
CO Stites was on patrol in Lower Alloway Creek Township in Salem
County when he observed a vehicle parked in a farm field. He believed
that the vehicle was associated with a person whose hunting privileges
were revoked. CO Stites set up surveillance on the vehicle with
a night vision scope. After dark a hunter was seen sneaking up
to the truck. The hunter was extremely cautious in his approach.
When the hunter arrived at the truck CO Stites confronted the
man and found him to be actively deer hunting without a license,
permit, and while his privileges were revoked. The hunters bow
was seized and the appropriate complaints filed.
CO Risher was at home when he received a complaint of shots fired
near a residence in the Rosenhayn section of Cumberland County.
In this case a hunter stepped out into his yard where he fired
at an overhead flight of geese. Unfortunately the shooters’
neighbor was an off duty Cumberland County Sherriff’s officer,
who immediately confronted the hunter who had fired the weapon.
The NJ State Police also responded to the scene. On his arrival
CO Risher interviewed the shooter, who admitted that he had attempted
to kill geese. CO Risher further investigated the scene recovering
the spent ammunition, and shotgun shell wads. CO Risher’s
thorough investigation, interview, and evidence collection led
to 7 complaints against the hunter, including careless discharge
of a weapon.
patrolling Atlantic City, CO Snellbaker received a citizen complaint
that a person fishing on the Madison Ave jetty was wrapping up
tautog, hiding them in his jacket, and placing them in a van parked
nearby. CO Snellbaker watched for an hour and observed two males
going to and from the van several times. He thought the suspects
might be using the van as shelter from the wind and cold. During
his observations, CO Snellbaker saw one male discard a plastic
bag into the nearby bushes. At one point both men were seen attempting
to re-enter the van; it appeared they had inadvertently locked
the keys inside the van. CO Snellbaker continued his observations
as panic swept over the individuals in their unsuccessful attempts
to regain access. In the fervor, one male pried a window open
and the other ran back to the jetty to get his fishing rod. Smoke
from a camp stove locked inside the van began to billow out the
open window. The second male used his fishing rod to retrieve
the van keys through the pried open window. After the man unlocked
his van CO Snellbaker inspected the fishermen. One legal size
tautog was located inside the van along with fillets of another
tautog left cooking on the portable camp stove inside the van.
Upon recovery of the discarded plastic bag, CO Snellbaker found
the rack of the sub-legal tautog being prepared inside the van.
CO Snellbaker issued a summons for one undersized tautog.
Quarterly Scoped Rifle qualifications were recently conducted
for all Division certified Precision Rifle shooters.
The Training Unit, assisted by Region Firearms Instructor’s,
conducted Basic Firearms Training for the two newly hired recruit
Conservation Officers, Jordan Holmes and Brian Tomlin.
The Training Unit continued its 9 week Basic Conservation Officer
training for Conservation Officers Jennifer Ciraolo, Keith Fox,
Jordan Holmes, Bryan Mascio, Brett Nicklow, Brian Scott, Thomas
Swift, Brian Tomlin and Kyle Zeigler. Topics of training included:
All State and Federal Fish and Wildlife Law, extensive instruction
in evidence collection procedures, Bureau Policies and Procedures,
field inspection procedures and techniques, handling of non-game
and exotic species. The Officers were also given an overview of
all Division related programs, presented by the various Bureau
or Unit personnel.
Conservation Officer Tim Williamson conducted a training class
at Morris County Police Academy on Black Bear Incident Response
for Law Enforcement Officers. This was the 26th training class
on this subject with a total of 35 officers from various Municipalities,
State and Federal Agencies attending.