Officers Holmes and Wren were patrolling the
Rockport Wildlife Management Area, in the area of the pheasant farm, on a
weekday during the Six Day Firearm Deer season because of multiple complaints
over the past years of illegal hunting in that area. The officers observed a
group of hunters conducting a deer drive in the area and were able to apprehend
one individual with a loaded firearm in the safety zone of a residence. The
officers, upon further investigation, were also able to determine that the
hunters had two deer that had been shot earlier in the day and had not yet been
properly tagged. Summonses were issued for possession of a loaded firearm in a
safety zone and possession of untagged deer.
Officer Ziegler was contacted by a farmer in Andover
Township, Sussex County, on the Saturday morning of Six Day Firearm Deer Season,
because he heard a shot near his pasture, and then found a very large antlered
deer dead in the pasture. Officers Ziegler and Petruccelli responded to the
farm, and began conducting an investigation. Officer Ziegler recalled having
complaints of a local resident hunting with the aid of his vehicle in that area
in the past, and the officers went to his residence to question him. The
suspect denied any involvement initially, but after being made aware of some
inconsistencies in his story, he admitted to shooting the deer out of his truck
window earlier in the morning. Summonses for uncased and loaded firearm in a
motor vehicle, shooting from the road and hunting with the aid of a motor
vehicle were issued.
An anonymous complaint of a deer shot with a rifle
lead Officers Ziegler and Petruccelli to a butcher shop, and ultimately a
residence in Montague Township, Sussex County. The deer in question had an
obvious rifle hole in it, and had been tagged with a NY deer tag. After
questioning the suspect about the deer and the anonymous complaint, the suspect
admitted to shooting the deer with a .32 Winchester Special Lever-Action Rifle
out of the window of his residence and tagging it with his NY Firearm Hunting
License. The suspect was issued summonses for killing a deer with a rifle,
using an illegal missile to kill a deer, failure to properly tag a deer and
failure to properly register a deer.
Conservation Officers Martiak and Riviello responded
to a residence in Perth Amboy after receiving information regarding illegal
deer hunting. The resident was completely cooperative and quickly admitted to
taking an 8 point antlered deer with his bow when he did not possess a bow
permit or a buck permit for bow. The suspect turned over the buck head as well
as the butchered meat from the illegal deer. Charges of illegal possession and
taking a deer without a permit were issued to the man.
Conservation Officers Martiak, Mascio and Riviello
conducted a wildlife check point on the Assunpink WMA on Thanksgiving morning.
After approximately ten vehicles had been checked, the officers stopped a
vehicle with two male occupants. When the officers approached the vehicle,
they smelled a pungent odor consistent with burning marijuana coming from the
truck. The two men were ordered out of the vehicle and read their Miranda
rights and admitted to the use of marijuana. They gave consent to search the
vehicle and two uncased shotguns were subsequently recovered. An additional
check of their hunting privileges showed that the driver was revoked and should
not be hunting. The two men were charged with uncased firearms, possession of
CDS, operating a motor vehicle in possession of CDS and hunting while revoked.
The following day when they contacted the regional office to pick up their
shotguns, it was determined that the driver was also a convicted felon who was
not allowed to possess a firearm. The man was arrested when he came to the
office to pick up his gun and transported to the Hamilton State Police barracks
where he was processed and charged.
Conservation Officers Mascio and Riviello were
conducting field inspections of bow hunters in Hopewell when they checked a
hunter who had fresh blood in the bed of his pickup truck. The hunter denied having
killed a deer. Upon further questioning, the hunter admitted that the blood
belonged to a buck deer taken by another hunter. That hunter had already taken
a buck during the permit bow season. The officers then met with the other
hunter, who upon questioning, admitted that he had taken a second buck and used
a tag belonging to another hunter to check in the deer. A total of five
summonses were issued to the two men including: over the limit bucks, fail to
tag, illegal possession, registering a deer not personally killed, and loaning
of a permit.
Conservation Officers Martiak and Riviello
investigated a NTI in Ewing Township, after receiving a call from a resident
whose vehicle had been struck by an arrow. The resident had parked her
three-week-old Cadillac in her apartment building parking lot one afternoon.
The following afternoon, she went to her car and found a hole in the rear
passenger door. Under the car she located an arrow, which turned out to be a
crossbow bolt. Ewing Township Police Department investigated but did not
contact our office. CO's Martiak and Riviello went to the scene and determined
that the bolt most likely had been shot from an adjoining road, 48 yards away.
Between the road and the parking lot is a narrow strip of grass and woods and a
chain link fence. The cars in the lot were completely visible from the road. The
investigation is continuing.
Prior to the legal start of hunting, on the opening
day of the Six-Day Firearm Season, Conservation Officer Riviello and Captain
Leonard set up the deer decoy in a blueberry field in Pemberton Township.
Around 6am, they had a vehicle come by, light up the decoy and shoot. The
vehicle then sped down the road. As the officers stopped the vehicle, a shotgun
was thrown out of the window. A total of 15 summonses were issued to the two
men, including hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, loaded firearm in a
vehicle, uncased firearm, hunting deer out of season, legal hours for hunting,
spotlight with a weapon in the vehicle, interference and shooting from a road.
Conservation Officers McManus and Szulecki focused
their attention on firearm safety with pheasant hunters in Colliers Mills WMA.
Both Officers had several hunters shoot across a publicly traveled roadway and
cited them for doing so. In particular, Officer Szulecki had a hunter shoot at
a quail that was flying head-high, thereby covering another hunter. Officer
Szulecki was very quick to respond to what he observed. The hunter that got
covered was extremely upset. He gave Officer Szulecki a written statement as
to the shooter's failure to follow the cardinal rules of firearm safety.
Officer Szulecki interviewed the shooter, who admitted to discharging his
weapon in a careless manner without due caution or circumspection. Officer
Szulecki cited the hunter for taking a quail during the closed season and careless
discharge of a weapon.
Officers Szulecki and McManus, in late November,
observed pheasant hunters hunting near the roadway. They observed one hunter
raise his firearm and track a bird across a roadway, covering both Officers in
the process. The hunter did not shoot at the bird; however, he did fire at
another bird parallel to the roadway. Officers McManus and Szulecki inspected
the hunter and advised him to be muzzle conscious and advised the hunter about
shooting across the roadway. The hunter became verbally combative, insisting
he did nothing wrong and demanding to know why he was being checked. A few
weeks later, Officer McManus observed the same hunter, in the same general
location, fire his weapon across the road. Officer McManus seized the hunter's
weapon and issued him a summons for discharging his firearm across the
roadway. The hunter was extremely irate with Officer McManus. Officer McManus
had to contact Jackson P.D., who sent three officers to keep the hunter calm
while Officer McManus processed the scene.
Conservation Officer Szulecki and Lieutenant
O'Rourke, while working during six-day firearm season, located a hunter in the
early evening hours unloading his firearm upon their approach. Officer
Szulecki conducted an inspection of the hunter and found the hunter was not in
possession of a firearm hunting license. To make matters worse, he admitted to
harvesting a buck deer. Officer Szulecki questioned the hunter as to why, once
he realized he had left his firearm license at home, he continued to hunt. The
hunter couldn't answer the question. Officer Szulecki issued the hunter a
summons for failure to properly tag deer immediately upon killing.
Conservation Officer Szulecki responded to a
non-targeted impact in the area of Colts Neck Township. He was joined by Chief
Chicketano, Captain Herrighty and Conservation Officer McManus. The scene
involved a dozen hunters and an extensive amount of evidence was gathered. A
total of 25 GPS coordinates where obtained. 39 photographs were taken and a
dozen hunters were interviewed regarding the incident. Officer Szulecki, with
the assistance of his fellow officers, was able to pin point where the shooter
was at the time of the incident. The following charges were issued to the
shooter: three counts of careless discharge of a firearm while hunting, one
count of possessing a loaded firearm within 450 feet of an occupied building,
one count of causing damage to property while hunting.
Conservation Officer Szulecki responded to a hunting
incident in Colliers Mills WMA. Apparently, a hunter shot at a pheasant from
the wood line into an open grassy field, striking another pheasant hunter in
his right arm and hand. Lieutenants Lacroix and O'Rourke assisted Officer
Szulecki with the incident, and the shooter was issued a summons for negligent
use of a firearm while hunting.
During the permit muzzleloader season, Officer
Szulecki received some complaints from residents in the Howell Township area
about hunters too close to homes. Officer Szulecki found a muzzleloader hunter
walking among five homes and upon closer inspection he was able to determine
the hunter still had a cap on his muzzle-loading rifle. The hunter was issued
a summons for having a loaded firearm within 450 feet of an occupied building.
While patrolling Stafford Forge WMA, Lieutenant
O'Rourke observed a pheasant hunter working along the water's edge towards the
entrance to the WMA. He made contact with the hunter because the hunter was
surrounded by roadways. Lt. O'Rourke asked the hunter, "If you flushed a bird,
where would you shoot?" The hunter pointed across Forge Rd. Lt. O'Rourke
advised the hunter of the law with regard to shooting on or across roadways.
One week later, Lt. O'Rourke observed a hunter fire his weapon twice across
Forge Rd. then run across the road to get his pheasant. Upon inspecting the
hunter, Lt. O'Rourke immediately recognized the hunter from the week before and
asked him why he shot across the roadway. The hunter stated he was extremely
tired and that was the reason for shooting across the roadway and he apologized
for his actions. Lt. O'Rourke issued the hunter a summons for shooting across
Conservation Officer McManus was flagged down by
pheasant hunters in Colliers Mills WMA and told about a pair of hunters that
appeared to be intoxicated in the field. Officer McManus canvassed the area
and located two men that matched the description provided by the other hunters.
CO Szulecki and the New Jersey State Police arrived on scene to assist.
During the field sobriety tests, the hunter had slurred speech and had
difficulty completing the tests. At one point in the balance test, the
officers noticed a white powder in the nose of the intoxicated hunter. The
hunter dismissed their concerns and shoved both his index fingers into his
nostrils. During the interaction, a Trooper asked the hunter if he had any
other weapons on him. The hunter reached into his pocket and handed his wallet
over to the Trooper. The Trooper noticed two little plastic bags with white
powder in them in the wallet. The hunter was taken into custody and arrested
for hunting with a gun while under the influence of a drug, possession of a
controlled dangerous substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Conservation Officer Kille was on a
routine patrol in Logan Township, Gloucester County when he observed a truck
parked along Birch Creek. After inspecting the vehicle it was evident that the
occupants were waterfowl hunting. Considering it was mid-day CO Kille
decided that he would return later to inspect the hunters. CO Kille
returned later as planned and the hunters had already departed. The next
morning a Greenwich Township resident called CO Kille reporting that his
decoys had been stolen. The man described that he routinely leaves his decoys
in the water out of convenience. He returned to his hunting spot on Birch Creek
that morning and noticed his decoys were gone. Suspecting that the hunters from
the day before had something to do with the disappearance of the equipment
CO Kille went to the hunter's residence in Pennsville, Salem County. Upon
arrival CO Kille observed, in plain view, the victim's decoys within a
boat in the driveway. An interview was conducted with the suspect and later
with an additional involved person. Subsequently admissions of guilt were
obtained and the victim's property was recovered. The two men were charged with
receiving stolen property and hunter harassment. Additionally, as they were
leaving the property they had been trespassing on the two individuals located a
dead buck and removed the antlers. The untagged antlers were also in
plain view when CO Kille arrived at the residence and both individuals
admitted to possessing them unlawfully during the interview. Both
individuals were also charged for possessing unregistered deer parts.
Conservation Officers Kille and Fox investigated a
complaint of illegal deer hunting initially reported to Elk Township Police
Department in Gloucester County. The complainant reported having heard shots
from what was believed to be from a shotgun during a muzzleloader only season
and subsequently observing two men loading a deer in the bed of a white
pickup. A name was supplied to CO's Kille and Fox as one of the suspected
hunters. They located where the suspect lived and responded to the residence.
Upon arrival they observed a white pickup with a small amount of blood on the
bumper. An interview was conducted and the man eventually admitted to having
hunted the day before with a shotgun despite it not being in season, but
indicated that his friend had harvested the deer. Shortly thereafter his
friend was interviewed who admitted to harvesting an eight-point buck with a
shotgun. The deer, which already had been butchered, was seized as evidence
along with the shotguns that were used. The men were charged with shotgun
hunting for deer during a closed season, possessing illegal weapons and
missiles for the purpose of deer hunting, unlawful possession of a deer,
failure to tag a deer, failure to register a deer and for harvesting a buck
without a buck permit.
Conservation Officer Kille had received a call early
in the archery season from a man who was interested in going hunting again
after approximately 20 years away from the sport. CO Kille suggested a
wildlife management area located in East Greenwich, Gloucester County that a
lot of people hadn't yet discovered for its deer hunting potential. Knowing
that the wildlife management area was frequented by the general public, CO
Kille and members of Bureau of Lands Management posted signs restricting
vehicle access to the small amount of woods on the management area. The man
couldn't have been happier and called CO Kille in late November to thank him
for assisting him. During the opening morning of the second duck season CO
Kille noticed two trucks in the "parking lot" of this wildlife management area while
in route to a complaint. Later that day, the man who Officer Kille assisted
earlier called him reporting that a vehicle was parked in the rear of the
wildlife management area and the signs restricting access were no longer
there. CO Kille responded and discovered that the vehicle was the one of the
same trucks he observed that morning when the signs were still there. After a
short interview the man admitted to having removed the signs because he didn't
feel like walking in like he had to that morning. He was charged with damaging
state property and operating a motor vehicle in a restricted area.
On the opening day of six-day firearm season
Conservation Officer Kille was patrolling in Greenwich Township, Gloucester
County. The majority of the property along the Delaware River in this town is
privately owned and very appealing to hunters because of the abundance of
deer. CO Kille checked an area owned by the Valero Refining Company because he
had success in apprehending a man there on the opening day of six-day firearm
in 2011. After a short foot patrol CO Kille apprehended the same man, hunting
the same tree as he did in 2011. He was "again" charged accordingly with
trespass for the purpose of hunting and hunting without orange.
Conservation Officers Kille and Stites responded to
Elk Township, Gloucester County during the six-day firearm season after
receiving a phone call about a group of hunters currently hunting who have
historically shot antlerless deer in that area before. After a couple hours of
surveillance, CO's Kille and Stites confronted the hunters and one of the
hunters exited the woods without a gun claiming that he was not hunting. The
man told the CO's Kille and Stites that he owed $22,000 in child support and
that's why he wasn't hunting. During an interview the man revealed he had
served three years in prison and didn't want to get into any more trouble.
After the man was advised of his options he escorted CO Kille to the location
where he had hid his gun. He was charged with hunting without a license and
for interference with the duties of Conservation Officer.
During six-day firearm deer season Conservation
Officer Toppin patrolled near the Ancora State Hospital in Winslow Township,
Camden County. He had received complaints of hunting late during deer season.
He apprehended two hunters hunting 45 minutes after legal shooting time. He
issued the two hunters summonses for hunting after legal shooting time.
Conservation Officer Toppin was contacted by a
hunter and investigated an ongoing hunter harassment complaint in Winslow
Township, Camden County. While out on foot patrol, CO Toppin observed an
individual in the complainant's deer stand. CO Toppin identified himself and
observed the individual smoking marijuana. CO Toppin arrested the individual
without incident. He was charged for the possession of less than 50 grams of
marijuana and for the possession of drug paraphernalia.
Conservation Officers Stites and Toppin responded to
a hunting accident in Mantua Township, Gloucester County during the six-day firearm
deer season. A local group of deer hunters were involved in driving deer when
the accident occurred. The investigation led them to one single hunter that
shot in an unsafe direction and struck the other hunter with two pellets in the
thigh and foot. Based on evidence collected at the scene and witness
statements, CO Toppin filed complaints for negligent discharge and careless
discharge of a weapon through the Superior Court of Gloucester County.
Conservation Officer Toppin received information about
a stolen deer stand in Alloway Township, Salem County. An individual had left
notes on a legal hunter's deer stand that "Federal Game Wardens" were watching
him and going to cite him for trespass if he did not move his stand. A few
days after the notes were left, the stand was stolen. CO Toppin interviewed the
suspect, who is a hunter as well. CO Toppin got a full confession and written
statement outlining his illegal activities. CO Toppin issued a summons for
hunter harassment and a written warning for impersonating a Conservation
Lieutenant Risher and Captain Cianciulli received
information that a hunter was trespassing while wearing orange on posted
private property during the six-day firearm deer season in Franklin Township,
Gloucester County. They conducted a foot patrol and located a single hunter
that had fallen asleep with very little hunter orange on in a deer stand. The
hunter finally woke-up and saw the officers at the base of his stand. There
was fresh blood at the base of the tree and on the hunter's boot. During the
interview the hunter stated that he had not killed anything that day. Lt.
Risher continued with the field interview as Capt. Cianciulli followed the
blood trail away from the stand. Lt. Risher asked to see the hunter's buck
knife which he stated was in his backpack along with the orange vest that he
wore into the woods but not in the stand. Lt. Risher observed fresh deer blood
on the knife and the hunter finally admitted to killing a four pointer and that
he did not tag or register the deer. The hunter took them back to the
residence where the illegal deer was located. Lt. Risher charged him with
hunting without the required amount of hunter orange and for failing to tag or
register a deer as required by law. There were questions as to whether or not
the hunter, a Florida resident, could legally be on the property in question so
the trespassing charges weren't filed.
On the Saturday of six-day firearm season,
Conservation Officers Toppin and Vazquez responded to a non-target impact in
Winslow Township, Camden County. Lt. Risher assisted with the investigation.
Based on information provided by the Winslow Police Department, the CO's were
able to interview all the parties involved in the deer drive that led to the
house being shot by a juvenile hunter. It was determined based on witness
statements and evidence collected at the scene that the juvenile hunter
accidently shot the house and caused damage. The juvenile hunter entered into
a station house agreement that he voluntarily accepts a revocation for a two
year period and must complete a remedial hunter education class. The family
has agreed to make restitution to the victim for the damages caused to the
home. Furthermore, the investigation also determined that one of the adult
hunters also violated state law. The adult hunter was a non-resident and deer
hunted with a resident license, harvested a doe without a valid permit shotgun
season permit, failed to tag or registered the deer he killed and shot twice in
a careless manner in the direction of the juvenile hunter. Lt. Risher filed
the charges for the wrongful procurement of a license, not having a valid
shotgun permit, failing to tag or register a deer, and the two counts of
careless discharge of a firearm.
Lt. Risher received a complaint from Captain Leonard
in reference to illegal hunting along the power-lines in the Union Lake
Wildlife Management Area in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County. Lt. Risher
contacted the original complainant and responded to the area. While en-route,
the complainant called Lt. Risher to report that he observed a pick-up truck
enter the management area with a large reclining sofa chair and that the same
truck left a short time later without the chair. The complainant stopped the
driver and had the person remain at the location until Lt. Risher arrived. Lt.
Risher interviewed the suspect and he admitted to throwing the recliner out
because he did not get to the Cumberland County Landfill before it closed. Lt.
Risher charged the illegal dumper with dumping refuse on a wildlife management
area. The investigation regarding illegal deer hunting at the WMA continues.
Conservation Officer Vazquez has had repeated
complaints from a homeowner in Buena, Atlantic County of gun clubs who drive
deer past his home well within the 450 foot safety zone. This year, CO Vazquez
was contacted by the complainant on the opening day of six-day firearm season
and was in a position to respond quickly with Lt. Ely. The officers were able
to get ahead of the drive and apprehend four hunters who were driving almost in
a backyard and within 200 feet of the house. They were charged with being
within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling with a loaded firearm. Members of the
same club have unsuccessfully tried to take out restraining orders against CO's
Vazquez and Toppin.
Conservation Officer Vazquez had a case in Mullica
Township, Atlantic County, where a deer hunter attempted to check in a spike
buck from an antler point restricted zone. Another hunter saw the man dragging
out a spike buck in the APR zone and was able to identify the man's truck. The
witness called CO Vazquez with the information. CO Vazquez looked up the hunter
in the automated license system and found that the man did have a permit for
zone 26 (non APR zone) and that is where he checked in his deer. Upon
questioning by CO Vazquez, the man admitted that he had taken the deer in zone
28 and then checked it in zone 26. He was issued summonses for failure to
properly tag a deer, failure to properly check in a deer and for taking a deer without
three points on one antler.
Conservation Officer James investigated a possible
non-target impact (NTI) on the Bevans Wildlife Management Area in Millville,
Cumberland County. He received a call that a hunter had shot at a pheasant in
the middle of Ackley Road and his pellets struck a car, chipping the
windshield. CO James arrived and began to collect evidence. There were five
separate hunters who witnessed the shot and they had identical stories. They
said that the shooter pushed the pheasant out onto Ackley Road, which is
heavily traveled by other hunters and the public, when the driver of a white
truck saw the bird and had to stop. When the truck stopped to avoid hitting the
pheasant, the hunter shot the pheasant which was standing in the middle of the
road. Although the original complaint was that the pellets had struck and
damaged a parked vehicle's windshield, the evidence collected and interpreted
by CO James did not support this. The shooter was charged for the careless
discharge of a weapon and for discharging his firearm across a road.
During the six-day firearm season, District 6
Conservation Officers issued eight summonses for individuals that were within
450 feet of an occupied dwelling with a loaded firearm and four summonses to
individuals who trespassed for the purpose of hunting. Although these two
violations are frequently reported complaints, they are often difficult to make
apprehensions on due to the fleeting nature of the violators and the shortness
of the season. Officers concentrated their efforts this year and were able to
apprehend a number of subjects belonging to groups that they had received
complaints about in previous seasons.
On 12/4/12 Lt. Snellbaker, CO's Nicklow, Tomlin, and
Swift inspected a party fishing vessel in Sea Isle City, Cape May County
carrying thirty members and guests of a Philadelphia - based fishing club.
Although many of the patrons were compliant, five summonses were issued to
individuals for filleting undersize tautog at sea. Based on information
provided to the officers and multiple containers of soy sauce containers found
during the inspection, the officers suspected that many undersized tautog were
filleted by the patrons and then consumed at sea.
On 12/16/12 CO's Nicklow, Tomlin, and Harp inspected
two party fishing vessels in Atlantic City. The first vessel came in with ten
patrons on board and had no violations. As the officers wrapped up the first
inspection, the second vessel with twenty-five patrons on board backed down
into an adjacent slip. Before the officers could board the vessel, CO Nicklow
observed one patron start to discard illegal fish. CO Nicklow shined his
flashlight on the individual and made a loud clear order not to discard fish
overboard. The individual failed to adhere to CO Nicklow's verbal direction
and threw a plastic bag over the rail. Unfortunately for the noncompliant
fisherman the plastic bag did not sink. CO Tomlin retrieved a large treble
hook from CO Nicklow's patrol vehicle and recovered the discarded plastic bag
and its contents before it floated away. The individual was issued summonses
for five undersized tautog, three over the limit tautog, one undersized black
sea bass, littering, and interference with the duties of a Conservation Officer.
Five other patrons were issued additional summonses for undersized tautog.
Marine region officers assisted the northern region
during the 2012, 6-day firearm deer/bear season. On Monday and Saturday,
several marine CO's provided security at the bear check stations located at the
Whittingham and Wildcat Ridge WMA's. Marine CO's also accompanied northern
region CO's for field patrols throughout the week.
On 12/07/12, CO Klitz was on patrol in Neptune
Township, Monmouth County. As he approached the Bry's Marina boat ramp he
noted a recreational fishing boat being placed on a trailer at the ramp. He
was speaking with several fishermen while waiting for this boat to be pulled
out so a fisheries inspection could be performed. While CO Klitz was pre-occupied
with the other fishermen, the owner of the vessel at the ramp immediately drove
his boat and trailer away without fully securing the boat to the trailer. CO
Klitz got back in his vehicle to see where the man was taking the boat. While
driving behind the trailer CO Klitz could see the GPS plotter was still on and
running along with other electronics on board the vessel. The driver pulled
into a local gas station and CO Klitz performed a fisheries inspection at the
station. CO Klitz found 12 tautog on board, which is 6 over the daily limit.
A summons was issued for possessing over the daily possession limit of tautog.
On 12/2/12, at approximately 1700 hours, CO Soell
inspected two fishermen at their vehicle outside of Barnegat Light State Park who
possessed legal tautog. CO Soell then proceeded to leave the area and head off
the island. On his way out of town, he saw a man and a woman wearing backpacks
standing by the side of the road. As he passed he noticed the man start to
take his backpack off. CO Soell quickly stopped and backed up to their
location. At this point CO Soell got out of his vehicle and told them not to
get rid of their backpacks. The backpack contained three, undersized tautog.
As CO Soell was measuring these fish, the vehicle that had just been inspected
at Barnegat Light State Park, drove by and slowed down. The vehicle went
around the block and slowed to a stop to possibly wait for the two people that
were currently being inspected. A summons for possessing undersized tautog was
issued to the man with the short fish. CO Soell did confirm the previously
inspected vehicle was in fact waiting for the two individuals with the
On 10/21/12, CO Soell issued two summonses to an
individual at Barnegat Light. One for 26 over the limit tautog and another for
24 undersized tautog. The court date was scheduled for December 3, 2012, the
opening day of six day firearm season. CO Soell called the court a week before
the court date and advised them he was not available for court due to a
reassignment for the deer/bear season. The court clerk advised CO Soell they
would wait to see how the individual would plead on the day of the court. CO
Soell spoke to the court clerk after the court date to ascertain if they had rescheduled
the case to another day. The court clerk advised that the individual had
pleaded guilty to all charges and he was charged the full amount for the
summonses, $1500.00 plus costs.
District 7 COs were vigilant in the enforcement of
the emergency shellfish closure after Super storm Sandy with dozens of
recreational clammers turned away from the seasonal harvest areas in the
Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers in Monmouth County. Hundreds of contaminated
clams were returned to the water.
During the second week of December, CO Scott
attended a one-week Armorer training course in Virginia for the M14 and AR15
rifles. This is a very technical and intensive class. CO Scott is now a
certified armorer for these patrol rifles.
On 11/28/12, Lt. Dravis, COs Moscatiello, Soell,
Scott, and two undercover District 8 COs acted on information that a mate
aboard a party boat vessel located in Monmouth County was filleting undersized
black sea bass for various patrons. An undercover operation was arranged and
while the reported violation did not occur on this trip, a large number of
patrons were found to be in possession of undersized black sea bass during the
inspection. Many of the patrons drove a great distance, some from as far away
as Washington DC, to fish on this boat. Over 30 fish were seized and summonses
for possession of undersized black sea bass were issued to several patrons. It
was also observed by the undercover officers that the vessel fished in federal
waters where the black sea bass season was closed. That information was turned
over to National Marine Fisheries Service agents.
On 12/2/12, COs Scott and Moscatiello traveled to
Bergen and Passiac Counties to perform fisheries compliance inspections on
random fish markets and restaurants. Six establishments were inspected and
several violations were uncovered. All possessed several whole lobsters
measuring less than 3 3/8" carapace length which were imported into New Jersey
from Maine, where the legal size is 3 1/4". Based on information gathered from
these inspections, additional businesses were inspected and more violations
were found. In total, several dozen undersized lobsters were seized and
returned to the Maine wholesaler responsible for the initial sale of these
sublegal lobsters to the New Jersey dealers. A small sample of the lobsters was
retained as evidence. Summonses were issued to the businesses for possession of
Earlier this fall, COs Klitz, Moscatiello, and Scott
acted on information given to CO Klitz in regards to four individuals that were
reportedly taking undersized and over limit tautog off the Manasquan Inlet
Jetty. CO Scott set up a surveillance position across the inlet on the Point
Pleasant Beach side while COs Klitz and Moscatiello remained out of sight several
blocks away. CO Scott was able to identify the suspects that were still fishing
on the end of the jetty. About an hour and a half later the suspects began to
pack up and walk off the jetty. As the group got closer to the parking lot they
split into two groups of two men each. The first two men walked slowly towards
the parking lot carrying only a plastic bag that appeared very heavy and one
fishing pole and a tackle box. The second group stopped and watched the parking
lot. As the first two men exited the jetty they placed the plastic bag in the
garbage can and continued walking toward their vehicle. CO Scott relayed this
information to COs Klitz and Moscatiello and they began to slowly respond to
the area. Realizing the coast appeared to be clear; the second group began to
walk off the jetty carrying their cooler and the rest of the fishing gear. As
the second group cleared the jetty, one of the men dug into the garbage can and
retrieved the same plastic bag the first group left in there. CO Scott called
in COs Klitz and Moscatiello, who identified the men immediately and were able
to quickly approach them for a fisheries inspection. The inspection resulted
in a seizure of over a dozen illegal fish and all of their fishing gear.
Furthermore, as the CO's were attending to this group, additional fisherman
were now coming off the jetty and walking directly towards them. CO Scott
assisted with more inspections and a total of ten summonses were issued for
both possession of undersized and over limit tautog.
On 12/18/12, CO Scott apprehended four fishermen in
possession of 16 illegal striped bass in the Sea Bright area of Monmouth
County. The striped bass measured from 14 inches to 19.5 inches total length.
Summonses were issued to all of the fishermen for possession of undersized
On 12/5/12 CO Scott contacted CO Moscatiello with
information he received about undersized stripers being taken in Sea Bright.
CO Moscatiello signed on duty and responded to the area. CO Scott called CO
Moscatiello while he was en route and advised him that one group of fisherman
was leaving. CO Moscatiello contacted the Sea Bright Police Department and was
able to have officers respond and hold the men until he arrived. During the
inspection CO Moscatiello located 13 undersized striped bass in the trunk of
the vehicle. During this inspection, CO Scott contacted CO Moscatiello to
inform him that the men had hidden a bag full of short striped bass under a
stairwell, and had also thrown a bag of stripers on top of the sea wall when
the police turned their backs to the men. The bags were retrieved and a total
of 27 striped bass were located between the hidden bags and the trunk of the
vehicle. One of the Sea Bright officers then stated that he believed a man
still fishing on the other side of the wall had buried fish. CO Moscatiello
looked over the wall and observed two men on the beach one of which was walking
with two heavy bags back to the rock wall. After the man walked back to his
fishing gear CO Moscatiello conducted a routine inspection at the waterline.
The man stated they had no fish, and upon questioning of the bags being carried
to the wall, he had no recollection. The CO was then able to follow the
footprints in the sand back to the wall and located two bags with a total of 10
undersized striped bass. There was a total of 37 undersized striped bass
between the two groups. Three fishermen were issued summonses for both
possession of several undersized and over limit striped bass. The penalty is
$100 per illegally possessed striped bass.
On 12/5/12, CO Moscatiello conducted a follow up
inspection of a dealer that had reportedly sold undersized lobsters (carapace
length measuring less than 3 3/8") to a local restaurant that CO's Scott and
Moscatiello had recently inspected. Upon inspection of the dealer the CO
located 19 undersized lobsters. The dealer was issued a summons for possession
of undersized lobsters.
Between 12/5/12 and 12/14/12, CO Moscatiello
conducted several patrols specifically looking for striped bass violations in
the Sea Bright area. During this time CO Moscatiello inspected twelve striper
fishermen which yielded a total of 16 summonses for undersized and over limit