CO's Mascio and Martiak were on boat patrol on the Delaware River in the area of Trenton when they observed a vessel operating without navigational lights. As they approached to make an inspection, the boat and two occupants began moving away from them and the officers observed a plastic bag floating away from the boat. They scooped up the bag and found two river herring inside. They instructed the operator to bring the boat to shore for inspection. The operator and boat were familiar to the officers from prior violations. Once onshore, the officers ran a lookup on the operator and found that he was wanted on outstanding warrants. Before they could even inform the subject, he became agitated and tried to flee from the officers. The officers were finally able to get the man into custody. Summonses were issued for Navigational Rules of the Road violations, littering, wanton waste of fish, interference with a State Conservation Officer, and possession of herring during the emergency closure as well as two criminal violations of fleeing and obstruction. Trenton City and Morrisville, Pennsylvania Police Department assisted. The case was heard the following week in Trenton City Municipal Court. The two men paid over $1000 in fines and court costs.
CO Mascio, with assistance from CO Martiak and Lt. Lacroix, has been very busy patrolling the Delaware River for the emergency closure of river herring as well as the seasonal striped bass closure. He was able to apprehend and charge eleven individuals for taking/possessing river herring during the closure and one individual for taking a short striped bass during the closure.
Lt. Lacroix apprehended two turkey hunters in Upper Freehold Twp. after locating lightly sprinkled corn kernels in a tilled field. The hunters were concealed in a blind made from cut trees and branches within feet of the bait. One of the hunters claimed he was woodchuck hunting, but his gun was loaded with a turkey load and he was in possession of two turkey calls. He was charged with hunting without the proper permit and both were charged with hunting over bait.
CO Szulecki was working trout waters on the Mingamahone Brook in the early afternoon. He observed one angler catch his limit and then leave. Later that same day, CO Szulecki noticed the same individual fishing the Manasquan River. CO Szulecki, who was working undercover in plain clothes, started to fish next to the individual and observed the angler take an additional five trout. He called CO McManus in to assist. CO McManus brought the angler back to his vehicle where he adamantly denied going over the limit. CO Szulecki identified himself to the angler, pulled out his notepad and started to read off the times that he caught each trout at the Mingamahone Brook. The angler advised CO Szulecki that he would never want to play cards with him, and said he had a "stone cold poker face" and, "you got me good". The angler commended CO Szulecki on catching him. The appropriate enforcement action was taken. While working undercover on the Manasquan River, CO Szulecki also apprehended another trout angler for going over the possession limit.
CO Szulecki concentrated on spawning largemouth bass and has made multiple apprehensions for anglers keeping largemouth bass during the closure and undersize.
CO McManus was patrolling Colliers Mills WMA near Success Lake where he found eight people sleeping in their vehicles. The surrounding area looked like the people were partying all night. He observed beer cans scattered around a fire and the individuals sleeping in their vehicles appeared like they had been swimming earlier. CO McManus activated his siren to wake the individuals. The individuals did not respond to the siren. CO McManus had to bang on the window to wake the individuals up. The eight individuals cleaned up the surrounding area and the appropriate enforcement action was taken.
CO McManus was patrolling a pond in Maple Lake Campground, Jackson Township, when he observed a family fishing. The female angler stated she had a license, but had left it at home. At 3:40PM, CO McManus observed the boyfriend at their vehicle. CO McManus did a license lookup on the female angler at 3:41PM and saw she had not purchased a fishing license. When CO McManus walked back to the family, the female angler provided CO McManus with a CID Number. He ran the number through the system and found that it had been issued at 3:43PM that day. CO McManus believes that the boyfriend went to the vehicle to get a credit card, and while he was running the female anglers information, she purchased a fishing license with her smartphone. The appropriate enforcement action was taken.
CO McManus was patrolling Colliers Mills WMA and inspected two horseback riders. The one rider showed Officer McManus a permit from the previous year and stated she had only come out 3 or 4 times this year. She became extremely belligerent, telling CO McManus that she pays $10,000 dollars a year in property taxes. She tried ripping the permit from CO McManus's hand. The rider was issued a summons for riding a horse on the WMA without a bridle permit.
Conservation Officer Stites was patrolling Pennsville Township in Salem County when he encountered a turkey hunter afield. Upon inspection, the hunter did not have a valid turkey permit while hunting, possessed an untagged turkey, and was hunting with illegal ammunition. The appropriate summonses were issued.
Conservation Officer Toppin responded to a call from the Monroe Township Police Department in Gloucester County. They received a 911 call about an all-terrain vehicle accident at the Cedar Lake Wildlife Management Area. CO Toppin interviewed one of the riders at the Police Department and he admitted to unlawfully riding on the State Wildlife Management Area. He also admitted to hiding the ATV and alcohol to avoid getting into further trouble. CO Toppin issued both riders multiple summonses for unlawfully operating an ATV and possession of alcohol on a State Wildlife Management Area.
Conservation Officer Toppin attended the Mantua Elementary School to give a short Fish and Wildlife presentation to the 3rd Grade Class.
Conservation Officer Toppin was on patrol in Mannington Township, Salem County when he observed two hunters parked at a residence as he drove by. He returned to the driveway as one of the hunters came back from behind the house. CO Toppin conducted a field interview and the hunter admitted to hiding an untagged turkey behind the house. The hunter hid the bird because he failed to tag and check it. The appropriate summonses were issued.
Conservation Officer Toppin conducted a foot patrol in Winslow Township, Camden County where he located two turkey hunters afield. CO Toppin located an untagged turkey behind the blind the hunters utilized. One hunter admitted that he killed the bird earlier in the day and waited to tag it because he wanted to kill a much larger turkey. The appropriate summonses were issued.
Conservation Officer Toppin patrolled Virginia Lake in Winslow Township, Camden County where he observed several fishermen. As he watched the fishermen for a short period of time they placed fish in their respective buckets. Upon inspection of the fishermen he found them to be in possession of large-mouth bass during the closed season. The bass were also less than 12 inches in length. Oddly enough, one of the fishermen was a repeat offender. CO Toppin apprehended the same fisherman at the same location for exactly the same violations and the fisherman had warrants outstanding for those violations. The appropriate summonses were issued.
Lt. Risher conducted a foot patrol prior to opening day of the turkey season in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County and located a blind within 300' of bait. On opening day, Lt. Risher apprehended the lone turkey hunter in his blind. The hunter was charged with hunting over bait.
Lt. Ely received a call from a wildlife rehabilitator who indicated that someone in Upper Township, Cape May County was trying to sell raccoons online. She gave Lt. Ely the phone number and when he called, was told that the kits were hand raised and completely disease free. The seller insisted that they make fine pets. Lt. Ely changed into plainclothes and contacted CO Tomlin for assistance. Lt. Ely arrived at the seller's house and immediately recognized the residents as a hunter that he has previously checked and the previous owner of a sporting goods store in the area. The seller didn't appear to recognize Lt. Ely so they made a deal for $100 for the raccoon. CO Tomlin was called in for backup and Lt. Ely identified himself. The seller then admitted that Lt. Ely looked familiar but couldn't place him. He also admitted that the kits were taken from the woods and there was no "hand raising" involved. There was an additional raccoon in the house that the subject was going to keep. Both kits were transferred to the initial rehabilitator and the subject was charged appropriately.
While preparing for his daily patrol, Conservation Officer James heard what sounded like a rifle shot from a wooded area across the street from his home in Cape May County. He suited up and went over to find his neighbor coming out of a turkey blind with a shotgun. Inside the blind was a loaded .22 rifle with a scope and a mounted laser sight. In front of the blind he also found a large amount of corn. The hunter acknowledged that he was hunting for turkey and did not have a permit. CO James asked the hunter if he knew his neighbor is a Conservation Officer and the hunter replied "yes". The appropriate summonses were issued.
Conservation Officer James concluded a case in which he was a first responder to an ATV accident. He rendered first aid to the injured ATV rider until EMS arrived. The state police also responded and charged the ATV operator with DUI. In court on CO James' testimony, the rider was sentenced to 6 months in jail as this was his 3rd DUI.
Conservation Officer Vazquez was patrolling with CO Toppin when he got a call for assistance from Lt. Ely and responded to his location. Lt. Ely had been listening to two hunters calling turkeys in a field in Port Norris, Cumberland County. At about 20 minutes before the end of legal hunting hours, Lt. Ely heard three shots about one or two minutes apart and then the hunters talking. He crept up to the hunters' vehicle and saw two hunters put a turkey into a black plastic bag and then into the vehicle. He also heard one of them say they were not going to bother to fill out the tag right now and he laughed as he said it. After they packed up their vehicle and began to drive away, CO's Vazquez and Toppin left their hiding spot and made the motor vehicle stop. The hunters had in fact shot two turkeys and failed to tag either of them. They claimed that it was the last day of the permit week and they would have no disadvantage for not tagging the birds. It was explained that part of their responsibility as sportsmen is to help collect important harvest data to help with the turkey management plan. The appropriate summonses were issued.
During a routine patrol Conservation Officer Vazquez made a turkey case in Bevans Wildlife Management Area in Cumberland County. CO Vazquez observed three hunters exiting a field with a turkey. After they had packed all of their gear away, he approached them to do an inspection. Only one of the hunters possessed a proper permit and he had harvested a turkey. He had failed to properly tag the turkey before placing it in his vehicle. He was issued a summons for failing to tag his turkey.
Conservation Officer Vazquez attended the Atlantic County Federation of Sportsmen's meeting and Lt. Ely and CO James attended the Cumberland County Federation of Sportsmen's meeting. The members were pleased to have the CO's in attendance and asked questions regarding new regulations.
Conservation Officer Kille had a very successful spring turkey season. After spending a lot of time scouting for potential violations CO Kille subsequently conducted numerous foot patrols throughout Gloucester County that concluded with the apprehension of 13 hunters. CO Kille charged seven hunters for hunting turkey in a baited area, three for hunting without proper permits, two for hunting without the proper licenses, two for possessing untagged turkeys, one for possessing a loaded firearm within 450' of a residence and one with trespass for the purpose of hunting.
Three weeks prior to the opening day of the spring season CO Kille discovered a blind baited with black sunflower seeds in Monroe Township, Gloucester County. On opening day of the season, CO Kille went to the location to begin a foot patrol and discovered a vehicle parked in close proximity to the hunting location. An inspection of the vehicle revealed two shotgun cases and a couple of kernels of corn in the bed of the truck. The CO went to the location of the blind and apprehended one hunter over bait, however, his blind was baited with bird food and sunflower seeds, not corn. After brief questioning the hunter revealed he was hunting with a friend. Shortly thereafter CO Kille apprehended his friend who was similarly hunting over bait, but again not utilizing corn. The CO asked where they had parked and to describe their vehicle. The vehicle and location were different than that of the truck which had corn in its bed. After concluding the first two inspections CO Kille headed back into the woods and apprehended two additional hunters over bait. Additionally, one of the hunters was hunting without a permit or a hunting license and the second was hunting without a permit.
On the second day of the season CO Kille was patrolling Logan Township, Gloucester County when he noticed two out of state vehicles parked at a home that hadn't been occupied in some time. Curious if they were hunting, the CO ran the registrations and looked up the owners of the trucks in the administrative console. It was evident that they were turkey hunting and CO Kille subsequently went out on foot. Three hunters were inspected and one was hunting without a license.
Just prior to the first Saturday of the turkey season CO Kille responded to a complaint in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County where a hunter had been trespassing during deer season. The complainant discovered a tree stand on his property and wanted to bring it to the CO's attention prior to deer season. After handling the initial complaint the CO continued to scout the area which was comprised of many land owners. CO Kille discovered two baited blinds approximately 1/2 mile apart from one another. At one blind CO Kille collected five shotgun wads within the baited area. The CO returned on the first Saturday of the season and apprehended two hunters over bait at the first location. A lengthy interview was conducted and one hunter eventually admitted to having hunted over the bait five days prior during "A" week and without the appropriate permit. After that inspection concluded the CO went to the second blind and apprehended another individual over bait. During these inspections CO Kille heard numerous shots originating from a nearby farm. After returning to his vehicle the CO drove to the vicinity of the shots and waited to see if any hunters returned. Approximately 1/2 hour passed and a truck returned to the farm. Two hunters exited the vehicle and removed two turkeys from the bed of the truck. CO Kille performed an inspection and charged both hunters for possessing untagged turkeys.
On Monday of "B" week, CO Kille responded to a call for assistance from the Deptford Township Police Department, Gloucester County. The Deptford officer initially responded to a 911 call of a hunter walking down a residential street with a shotgun. Upon arrival, CO Kille inspected the hunter whose gun was still loaded on the side of the street and within 450' of many homes. It was also determined that the man was trespassing. The appropriate summonses have been issued in all cases.
On 04/29/12, CO Klitz performed a routine fisheries inspection of a recreational fishing vessel at Bry's Marina in Neptune Township. When the three fishermen onboard were asked if they had caught any fish, all replied that they had not. Upon inspecting the vessel, CO Klitz discovered 18 Black Sea Bass. The recreational Black Sea Bass season opens on May 19. Three summonses for possession of Black Sea Bass during the closed season were issued.
On 4/22/12, CO Klitz performed a routine commercial fishing vessel inspection on the F/V Jaime Mae located at the Fishermen's Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant Beach. During the offload CO Klitz viewed 115 pounds of River Herring being removed from the vessel. Currently there is a closure for river herring. The appropriate summons was issued. On 5/18/12 this case was heard at the Point Pleasant Beach Municipal Court and Jaime Mae Inc. plead guilty and paid $300 plus court costs.
On 5/11/12 CO Klitz conducted a routine inspection of the Ortley Fish Market in Ortley Beach. After reviewing the store's records it was discovered that there were 27 pounds of summer flounder without proper documentation. The owner of the market told CO Klitz that the fish were purchased from the Fishermen's Dock Cooperative in Point Pleasant. After inspecting records at the Cooperative, it was determined that the summer flounder were purchased from a mate on a local commercial fishing vessel. A summons was issued to the Ortley Fish Market for failure to keep accurate records. An investigation concerning the mate of the commercial vessel is ongoing.
On 5/9/12, CO Moscatiello spent the day conducting routine market inspections throughout Monmouth and Middlesex counties. During the course of his inspections he found one market selling undersized tautog and conch. Another market inspection revealed the establishment selling several undersized lobsters. The appropriate summonses were issued.