November - December 2013
NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife
Monthly Highlights
Bureau of Law Enforcement

Northern Region

CO Driscoll and Lt. Sutton were patrolling Lewis Morris County Park in Harding Twp. during the antlerless only permit shotgun season, when they observed a deer laying next to a truck in a parking lot. The deer appeared to have had the antlers removed. The Officers then located a second truck in the same parking lot that had a deer in it with antlers that had been removed and a third truck that had fresh blood in the bed. A check in ALS showed that the registered owners of two (2) of the trucks had registered "does" and the third had not registered anything. While waiting for the hunters to return to their vehicles, they received a tip that a third hunter had killed a spike buck earlier in the day and had taken it to a friend's house to hide it. When the hunters returned to the lot, two (2) of them possessed uncased firearms in the vehicle they were riding in. Subsequent interviews led to confessions from all three hunters. Summonses included "Did take an antlered deer during the closed season", "Did take an antlered deer with less than 3 points on one side in an APR Zone", "Did fail to properly fill out harvest report tag immediately upon killing" and "Did possess an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle."

CO Ocampo and Lt. Sutton were patrolling in Sparta Twp. during the early muzzleloader season, when they located a truck parked in a wooded area. As they exited the vehicle, they heard a shot nearby. They waited for the hunter to exit the woods and checked ALS to see if he had the proper permits or if he had registered any deer. When the hunter returned to the truck, he advised that he had killed an 8 point buck and that it was the first deer he had killed in 3 years. The prior records check showed that the hunter had registered a 6 point buck during permit archery season. During the subsequent interview, the hunter admitted that his son had killed the six point buck and he had registered it for him. He advised that it was the only day his son was going to hunt and he did not want to buy a license for one day. The investigation also revealed that the man did not have a case for his firearm and that he had "just thrown it in the backseat" because he was close to home. Summonses were issued for "Did possess an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle", "Did register a deer he himself did not kill", "Did hunt without a valid license" and "Did hunt deer during permit archery season without a valid permit."

While off duty, CO Ziegler received information regarding a hunter who had recently killed a deer while his privileges are currently revoked. He passed this information along to CO Ocampo, who responded to the suspect's residence. An interview of the suspect led to a confession from the man that he had shot a doe in his backyard with his crossbow. He turned over the remaining venison that he had in his freezer. The man was charged with "Did hunt while privileges are revoked", "Did hunt without a valid hunting license", "Did hunt deer during permit archery season without a valid permit" and "Did possess parts of an unregistered deer."

Officer Holmes, Captain Panico and Lieutenant Applegate investigated a non-target impact that happened in Readington Township, Hunterdon County, on the Sunday before the opening day of early muzzleloader deer season. The victim heard the muzzleloader bullet enter the house through a rear door and travel across the living room at 1100 AM. The victim contacted the Readington Township Police, and also called the tenant on the farm where the shot came from. The officers were able to determine that the shot was fired from a tree stand, and the tenant was the main suspect. When contact was made with the suspect via phone, he admitted that he had fired the muzzleloader, and then hid it in the woods on the farm after being called by the victim. The suspect refused to return to the scene because he has multiple outstanding warrants, including over $113,000 in child support warrants. The officers recovered the gun, along with five (5) recently killed, severed, antlered deer heads, four (4) antlered deer skulls, and an entire antlerless deer with a bullet wound that had been recently killed. The suspect does not have a firearm hunting license or any permits, but did purchase an archery license and fishing license this year, while in arrears for child support. In total, twenty-two (22) summonses were issued for careless discharge, causing damage while hunting, no license, no rifle permit, out of season, hunting on Sunday, interference, failure to complete harvest report immediately upon killing, possession of unregistered deer parts and providing false information to a license agent. Readington Township Police are also filing criminal charges against the suspect, who subsequently turned himself in to the Hunterdon County Sherriff's Office.

On two separate occasions during the six day firearm deer season, officers contacted hunters in the field who were obviously under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Officers Wren and Petruccelli were patrolling Hillsborough Township, Somerset County at 9:00 AM and saw a hunter in a tree stand without the required fluorescent orange visible. When they contacted the hunter, he had a strong odor of alcohol on is breath. When questioned, he produced an empty plastic bottle with wine residue in it that he claimed he had consumed while in the tree stand. The man was charged with failure to wear required orange and gunning under the influence of alcohol. On the other occasion, Officer Paey was patrolling in Readington Township, Hunterdon County, and entered a hunting club property to check for compliance. While inspecting a hunter who had just returned to his vehicle, Officer Paey smelled a strong odor of burnt marijuana. The man admitted to smoking marijuana before going out for the afternoon hunt, and produced a container of marijuana and rolling papers from his pocket. The man was issued a summons for gunning under the influence of marijuana and was turned over to the Readington Township Police. In both cases, the firearms were seized as evidence.



Central Region

Officers from District 3 continued to make an enforcement presence on the Assunpink WMA during the small game season. A total of 15 summonses and one written warning were issued to hunters during this monthly reporting period. Summonses were issued for the following violations: hunting early, loaded firearm and discharging a firearm within a safety zone, shooting across a road, uncased firearm in a motor vehicle, procuring a resident license wrongfully and hunting pheasant without a pheasant stamp.

CO Mascio worked in an undercover capacity, posing as a hunter, on the Assunpink WMA on Thanksgiving. While walking down the road, he observed a hunter shoot at a pheasant in a tree. The pellets from the shot rained down on Officer Mascio across the road. Officer Mascio approached the hunter and identified himself. Lt. Lacroix responded to assist. The hunter's spent shell was located 58.5 feet from the road. The tree where the pheasant had been sitting was 40 feet from the road. The hunter was issued summonses for shooting across a road and careless discharge of a firearm. This hunter has been previously convicted of shooting across a road and discharging a firearm within a safety zone.

Lt. Lacroix charged three individuals with hunting geese after hours in Mansfield, Burlington County after watching them continue to call in geese and shoot nine minutes after sunset.

Lt. Lacroix observed three individuals goose hunting in Southampton, Burlington County on the last day of the Canada goose season. She watched as the hunters continued to call in geese after sunset. Upon inspection, the hunters, one adult and two juveniles, were still loaded at 14 minutes after legal hunting hours. One summons and two written warnings were issued to the three hunters for hunting geese after legal hours. Two days later, Lt. Lacroix received a complaint of three individuals hunting geese out of season at the same location. She responded and watched the hunters until they unloaded at sunset. Upon inspection, she found that it was two of the hunters from the previous Saturday and one additional juvenile. One summons and two written warnings were issued for hunting Canada geese out of season.

CO Martiak received a complaint from one of his confidential informants regarding a blue substance in the wetlands adjacent to the U.S. Plastic Sales, LLC on Metuchen Road in South Plainfield, Middlesex County. CO Martiak responded to the scene and observed a blue color in the stream as well as bits of a blue plastic material in the water and on the surrounding embankment. CO Martiak located a white PVC pipe coming from the warehouse toward the stream and observed a blue discharge from the pipe. Inspection of the facility also showed a large elevated tank that was overflowing with liquid and spilling onto the ground. According to the company, the discharge was a result of their operation which grinds down food grade plastics. CO Martiak contacted NJ DEP Water Compliance regarding the incident. They informed Officer Martiak that they had issued a warning to this company in 2009 for discharge violations. Water Compliance will be issuing a NOV for violations found after their recent inspection. After consultation with DAG Magnus, Officer Martiak will be issuing a NOV for the discharge he observed.

CO Mascio came across the same gun club twice on the opening day of the six-day firearm season in Hamilton Township, Mercer County. Inspections were made near the Hamilton Train Station and the AMC Movie Theater. During both inspections, several of their members were found to have loaded firearms within 450 feet of a building. A total of three summonses were issued for safety zone violations.

CO Mascio was patrolling the Hopewell Township area during the six-day firearm season when he observed a hunter's vehicle parked along the edge of a field. Since it was near ending time, he decided to sit and watch till the hunter came out of the woods. At 1720, 17 minutes after legal hunting hours had ended, Officer Mascio observed a hunter stalking along the edge of the tree line looking out into the field. Upon inspection, the hunter was found with a loaded shotgun. A summons was issued for hunting deer after legal hours.

CO Mascio and Lt. Lacroix conducted surveillance on a group of hunters during the six-day firearm season. The group is known to hunt illegally and take over the bag limit of bucks during the firearm seasons. The officers followed the hunters as they hunted one morning and made a stop on their vehicle after they loaded up the deer they had killed. While following the vehicle, Lt. Lacroix checked the Automated Harvest Report System and found that one of the hunters had checked in a deer as they were being followed. During the stop, that hunter was found in possession of two antlered deer. A summons was issued for taking two antlered deer before registering the first. A summons was issued the following day to another hunter after it was determined that a buck the officers had inspected at the stop was never reported in the Automated Report System. Subsequent investigation into members of this group led to two additional charges of possession of deer that were not reported. Other possible violations are under investigation.

CO Riviello received a call from a former Deputy Conservation Officer reporting that duck hunters in Little Egg Harbor were rallying ducks and shooting over the legal limit. Lt. Szulecki arrived at the location and joined CO Riviello in the surveillance of the group of hunters. They observed the hunters for almost two hours. The hunters were takings turns sitting in anchored duck boats as two other hunters drove a transport vessel around the harbor, rallying ducks as they sat on the water. CO Riviello videoed the event as Lt. Szulecki watched with binoculars and narrated as the hunters in the vessel drove directly towards the ducks. They chased the ducks to the hunters in the layout boats, who were shooting at them as they flew towards them. When the hunters finished their hunt for the morning, CO Riviello and Lt. Szulecki inspected them as they arrived at the dock. The hunters did a lot of shooting that morning, but they only had 6 birds in their possession. The operator of the vessel was issued a summons for rallying waterfowl, as well as one for an unsigned Federal Waterfowl Stamp. One of the other hunters was also issued a warning for failing to have a NJ hunting license and NJ Waterfowl Stamp in his possession.

CO McManus responded to a call for assistance from Holmdel Township Police. The PD was attempting to locate three bow hunters at the Garden State Arts Center who had parked in the parking area. Before CO McManus had arrived, the police spotted the hunters and tried calling them to come out of the woods, but they ran off. Officers armed with AR-15s rifles went looking for and apprehended them. Upon CO McManus' arrival, the hunters were interviewed and he convinced them to retrieve a deer and their hidden crossbows. The property was not posted and the hunters were given permission by a State Trooper to park in the Art Center lot; however, they had failed to mention why they wanted to park there. The police didn't have any charges and asked CO McManus to issue whatever appropriate charges he could. After CO McManus spoke to Lt. Szulecki the next day, he learned that these hunters had prior Title 23 violations. The hunters were issued the following summonses: one received a summons for hunting within 150 feet of a building and his crossbow was seized, another was written for failing to immediately fill out his Harvest Report Stub and his crossbow was seized, and a third was issued for failing to exhibit a hunting license.

During the six-day firearm deer season, CO Riviello and Lt. Szulecki were patrolling Greenwood Forest WMA when they came upon a large group of hunters parked along the road who had just finished a deer drive. As CO Riviello and Lt. Szulecki inspected the group, they found three bucks lying in the bed of a pickup truck. When CO Riviello asked some of the hunters who each deer belonged to and if they had filled out their Buck Tags, he was told that the hunters were still out on the drive. As this was going on, Lt. Szulecki noticed that one hunter started to walk back into the woods on a trail that some of the other hunters in the group were coming out on. As this hunter walked back in, he was talking to the hunters coming out. Lt. Szulecki quickly followed this hunter and began to interview the remaining hunters who were returning from the deer drive. CO Riviello remained with the bucks and hunters at their vehicle. All three of the hunters whose bucks were in the rear of the pickup truck were located and identified. The hunters did not fill out their Antlered Harvest Report Stub immediately upon killing their bucks. They were issued summonses for failing to fill out their Antlered Harvest Report.

Two years ago Lt. Szulecki was informed by a former CO of a hunter who was hunting with a firearm without wearing his fluorescent hunters orange. During the six-day firearm season, CO Mutone and Lt. Szulecki were patrolling together and visited the location where this violation took place. As they arrived, they noticed a vehicle parked along the road in the same location as where this hunter has parked in the past. While driving along a dirt driveway in the rear of the property, the two were confronted by a homeowner who advised them that she has had issues with the hunter who they were looking for. At that time, they heard two sets of gunshots ring out from the rear of the property. CO Mutone remained set up as a lookout as Lt. Szulecki conducted a foot patrol in search of the hunters. After a short patrol the hunter in question was located, dressed in full camouflage just as the past CO had informed. The hunter had his son hunting with him that day a short distance away, but by the time Lt. Szulecki inspected him he had already put an orange cap on his head. Both hunters said that they had missed the 8 point buck that they were shooting at. The father was issued a summons for failing to wear fluorescent hunter orange while hunting deer with a firearm.

While patrolling Bass River State Forest, CO Riviello located a tree stand which had fresh drag marks leading away from it. CO Riviello returned to the location at a later date and found a hunter getting ready to go out hunting in that area. When the hunter was questioned about the tree stand he said that it belonged to him. CO Riviello conducted an inspection of the hunter and his vehicle and noticed deer blood and hair in the bed of the vehicle. After a short interview, the hunter admitted to harvesting a deer on the day that CO Riviello found the drag marks and not filling out the Harvest Report Stub or registering it. The hunter was charged with failing to register his deer.

On November 12, 2013, Conservation Officers McManus, Riviello, Lt. Szulecki, Captain Herrighty, and Chief Mark Chicketano responded to a report of a hunting accident at the Jackson Township Day School located along Toms River Road in Jackson. Upon arrival, it was observed that a full load of 9 pellet 00 buckshot had entered a classroom through an exterior rear window. The pellets, after entering the school classroom, struck a computer monitor and a blackboard. After collecting pellet and wad evidence and reconstructing the event, it was determined by the Bureau of Law Enforcement that this event in fact was NOT a hunting accident but an act of vandalism. The case is still under investigation by Jackson Township police as such.



Southern Region

CO Kille had been investigating a trespass complaint on multiple properties in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County for over a year. CO Kille believed that the same hunter was responsible for trespassing on these properties which were all within mile from one another. The hunter would remove the bottom steps to his portable stand and insert twigs into the holes. After checking on the locations multiple times over the past two hunting seasons, CO's Kille and Trembley finally made apprehensions during the extended archery season. The CO's checked both seats only to discover no one was there. An unforeseen delay occurred keeping the CO's in the vicinity of the seats only to have one of the two trespassers run right into them. Shortly thereafter an additional trespasser was apprehended. They were charged with trespass on both properties in addition to a summons being issued to one of the hunters for being without an extended archery permit.

CO Kille received information of a large buck that had been harvested in Woolwich Township, Gloucester County during the extended archery season. The information indicated that the deer was harvested by a hunter in his mid-30s. Utilizing the ALS system CO Kille discovered that the only big deer harvested in Woolwich Township was an 11 point buck checked in by a man in his 50's. Believing this could be the deer, CO Kille questioned local hunters about it. A Woolwich police officer who hunts in the area told CO Kille that he had a conversation with the son of the man who checked that deer in. The son who is in his mid-30's told the officer he had killed an 11 point buck and even showed him pictures. However, research revealed that the son didn't even have a hunting license or an extended archery permit. A day later the officer called CO Kille informing him that the son is currently hunting and gave the CO his location. CO Kille checked the ALS system once again and discovered he was still without a license and permit. A foot patrol was conducted and CO Kille apprehended the man without a license and permit. During questioning the man told CO Kille it was his first hunt of the season and he hadn't harvested anything this year. A plan had been previously devised whereby an orchestrated call for assistance to Woolwich PD would take place once the man was apprehended following the CO's foot patrol. CO Kille then called for assistance from Woolwich PD and the same officer whom the hunter had a conversation with the day prior surprisingly arrived on scene. CO Kille once again asked the hunter if he had killed anything this year while the Woolwich officer was standing there. The hunter finally admitted to having killed the 11 point buck and that he had his father check it in. The deer was seized from a local taxidermist and summonses were issued for hunting without a license and a permit on the day that he had killed the 11 point buck in addition to hunting without a license and a permit on the day he was apprehended. The hunter was also charged with failing to tag/register the deer properly.

CO Kille received information from a local trapper about untagged snares in Mantua Township, Gloucester County. The CO found the snares in the dark on property he believed the trapper did not have permission to be on. After 3 hours of sitting on the snares the trapper arrived. The CO observed him tend to all of his snares and was then able to make an apprehension. The trapper had four untagged snares, was trespassing, had uncovered bait within 30 feet of a set and was without his snare education card. He was charged with utilizing untagged snares and trespass.

CO's Kille and Trembley responded to a phone call from an archery hunter advising him of another hunter he had believed to have just killed a deer with a firearm on the Saturday before buck week in Pittsgrove Township, Salem County. The complainant and accused had a verbal confrontation that ended in the complainant being physically assaulted. An interview with the accused yielded a full confession of him having harvesting an 8 point buck with a muzzleloader. The hunter's gun and deer were seized as evidence. He was charged with hunting deer in a manner other than prescribed in the game code, hunt without the required orange, use of an illegal missile to take deer and hunting deer during the closed muzzleloader season.

CO Kille was patrolling the Buckshutem WMA in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County on the opening day of six-day firearm season. CO Kille encountered a man and younger woman who had just begun to walk away from their vehicle to go hunting. The man was observed without his required hunter's orange and stopped for an inspection. Because the man was no more than 30 yards from his vehicle and believed to have honestly forgot to put his orange on a verbal warning was administered. Shortly after the inspection CO Kille consulted with other CO's that frequent the area and was quickly advised that the man was a repeat offender. It was also brought to the CO's attention that despite having just received a warning he had probably removed his orange following the inspection. CO's Kille and James decided to discover whether this was the case and conducted a foot patrol in the area the man was observed heading towards. Shortly thereafter the man was observed without his required orange yet again. He was issued a summons for not wearing his orange and will subsequently be revoked if convicted.

On Tuesday of the six-day firearm season CO's Kille and Hausamann were patrolling Monroe Township, Gloucester County. While traveling down a road they observed a man butchering a deer behind a house. An inspection was performed that resulted in the hunter being charged for harvesting the deer without a license and neglecting to complete a tag or register it. Later that same day the CO's inspected a club known to hunt too close to houses. Although none of the hunters were within 450' of a home the CO's did apprehend one of the club members for not wearing his required hunter's orange and he was charged accordingly.

CO's Kille and Hausamann conducted a lengthy foot patrol during the six-day firearm season in Franklin Township, Gloucester County on a large property that does not allow hunting. During the permit archery season CO's Vazquez and Kille walked approximately 6 miles within this property and discovered areas that hunters had been visiting. Having knowledge of where illegal hunters might be discovered, CO Kille apprehended a hunter that accessed the property unlawfully on an ATV. The man was charged with trespass for the purpose of hunting.

While patrolling Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, CO's Trembley and Kille observed an unoccupied vehicle parked on the shoulder of a road. Despite being approximately an hour before legal shooting time the CO's suspected the man was currently hunting. A foot patrol resulted in apprehending the hunter whose shotgun was loaded about a half an hour before legal time. The hunter was charged with hunting deer before legal hours.

CO Kille had received information from a concerned hunter in South Harrison Township, Gloucester County during the fall archery season that a man he believed was not able to possess a weapon was hunting. CO Kille frequented the property the man was allegedly hunting without success during the archery seasons. On the third day of six-day firearm season the complainant informed CO Kille that the man had harvested a deer late that day. The very next day CO Kille walked the property and found where the man had shot the deer, a gut pile and the location of where the deer was removed via a truck. A single round of a spent 12 gauge slug was also recovered from the hunter's stand. A CCH was performed indicating that the man was indicted on a charge that would preclude him from possessing a weapon, however, he was not yet found guilty. An interview with the hunter was then conducted by CO Kille in Deepwater, Salem County. The man admitted to having shot a sublegal deer (APR violation) and failed to tag/register it. The deer was then seized as evidence from his friend's residence in Alloway Township, Salem County by CO's Kille and Stites. He was charged for harvesting a deer without the required antler points (APR violation) and failing to tag and register the deer.

CO Toppin patrolled Pine Hill Borough in Camden County during the permit archery season when he observed a hunter's blind behind his house. The hunter's home is in deer zone 49 however, he only has a permit for zone 25. A records check of the harvest data showed that the hunter harvested a deer in zone 25. During the interview at the residence, the hunter admitted to hunting in zone 49 with his zone 25 permit and harvesting a doe. CO Toppin issued the hunter a summons for not having a valid archery permit.

CO Toppin patrolled the Big Timber Creek in West Deptford Township, Gloucester County near State Route 295. He located several hunters that parked along the highway in an area used by State DOT employees. He conducted an inspection of the hunters and determined that they were within 450' of a building. CO Toppin issued four written warnings to the waterfowl hunters for hunting within 450' of an occupied building.

CO Toppin received complaints from hunters about loud disturbances at Penbryn Lake Wildlife Management Area in Winslow Township, Camden County. CO Toppin inspected two people that were canoeing in the management area. During the field interview, the people admitted to drinking alcohol and throwing away the empty beer cans. The same individuals also parked and operated their vehicle in a closed area. CO Toppin issued two summonses for littering on a wildlife management area and operation of a vehicle in a closed area. Prior to leaving, CO Toppin was able to stop an all-terrain vehicle in the same area. CO Toppin issued a summons to the illegal rider for operation of an ATV on a wildlife management area.

CO Toppin received an Operation Game Thief complaint detailing a business that was dumping blue claw crabs in the Newton Creek in Camden City, Camden County. CO Toppin interviewed the owners of two establishments and one admitted dumping the blue claw crabs into Newton Creek. CO Toppin issued a warning for the dumping of deleterious substances into a waterway.

CO Toppin inspected a group of waterfowl hunters along the Big Timber Creek in Bellmawr Borough, Camden County. He issued 4 warnings for unsigned waterfowl stamps and for no current boat registration.

CO Toppin received information about a hunter that killed a deer while trespassing on DuPont's property in Greenwich Township, Gloucester County. CO Toppin located the hunter at his home and was successful in obtaining a confession. The hunter admitted to unlawfully hunting with a muzzleloading rifle during a closed season, hunting without his required amount of hunter's orange and attempting to harvest deer with a muzzleloading rifle during the permit archery season. CO Toppin issued a summons for each of the three violations and a verbal warning for trespass for the purpose of hunting.

Lt. Risher attended the Salem County Federation of Sportsmen meeting held at the Salem County Sportsmen Club.

Lt. Risher received information about late hunting in an area known as "Elephant Swamp" recreational area in Upper Pittsgrove Township, Salem County. Lt. Risher located a hunter hunting deer a half hour after legal hunting and not having the correct muzzleloader zone permit. Lt. Risher issued a summons for hunting deer without valid muzzleloader permit.

Lt. Risher patrolled Malaga Lake in Franklin Township, Gloucester County for late waterfowl hunters. He set up surveillance on two hunters at the head of the lake. Sunset was about 4:30 pm and Lt. Risher watched them hunt, call ducks and geese until 5:10 pm when they unloaded their firearms. Lt. Risher conducted an inspection back at their vehicle and the boat ramp. Lt. Risher issued each hunter a summons for hunting waterfowl after legal hours.

Lt. Risher patrolled a section of Fairfield Township in Cumberland County during the six day firearm season. Lt. Risher located one hunter on a deer drive within 450' of a residence but, the gun was cased and unloaded. However, the hunter was known to Lt. Risher through previous investigations and issuance of summonses throughout his 20 year career. Lt. Risher was recently made aware of a felony conviction which prohibits this hunter from possessing a firearm. Lt. Risher arrested the hunter and charged him with three criminal complaints for possession of a firearm by felon, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of marijuana less than 50 grams.

CO Stites investigated a person for possession of leg hold traps in Elsinboro Township, Salem County. During the interview the person admitted to unlawfully possessing them and setting them in his back yard which resulted in a wild turkey being killed. CO Stites issued a summons for the unlawful possession of leg-holds and attempting to take wildlife with a leg-hold.

While patrolling an area within the Great Egg Harbor River WMA (Folsom section) that CO Vazquez had previously heard gun shots in during the permit bow season, CO Vazquez noticed a parked vehicle with an empty shotgun case and two closed bow cases in the back of the vehicle.  CO Vazquez waited for the hunters to return.  Four hunters emerged from the woods well after dark.  When confronted, one hunter admitted to bow hunting and the other three said they were just observing.  During a thorough inspection, CO Vazquez discovered two shotguns hidden under the vehicle.  Two additional hunters admitted to hunting with a shotgun during closed season.  Summonses were issued for using illegal missiles, the use of the illegal firearm, interference with the duties of a Conservation Officer and hunting deer with a firearm during a closed season.

CO Vazquez received a picture message of a sportsman posing with a 13 point buck that had just been harvested during the early muzzle loader season. CO Vazquez did a records check of the sportsman in the picture and the deer had not been checked in prior to the 7 pm deadline.  When confronted by CO's Toppin and CO Vazquez, the sportsman lied about when he recovered the deer, despite several opportunities to be truthful.  Further investigation yielded an additional photo of a deer that had been harvested on 12/24/2009 by the accused.  Deer check records indicated that the accused had not checked any deer in 2009.  Summonses for failure to check a deer properly, the unlawful possession of unregistered deer and interference with the duties of a Conservation Officer were issued for the 2013 deer.  Summonses for failure to properly check a deer and the unlawful possession of a deer were issued for the 2009 deer.

On the opening day of six day firearm season, Lt. Ely and CO Vazquez were patrolling Hammonton Creek WMA (Darmstadt Avenue) in Mullica Township, Atlantic County.  CO Vazquez did a motor vehicle look-up on a vehicle parked in a suspicious location and the registration came back to a known poacher whose hunting and fishing privileges are currently revoked.  Lt. Ely and CO Vazquez followed the hunter's footprints in the snow.  After traversing two small swamps, the CO's identified the sportsman in a tree stand without the required orange.  Summonses were issued for hunting without a license, hunting while revoked and hunting without orange.  The individual has been apprehended four times in the last two years for committing fish and wildlife violations.

On the last day of six-day firearm season, while patrolling with CO Toppin, CO Vazquez received a complaint from the region office regarding a sportsman taking over his limit of deer.  CO Toppin and CO Vazquez interviewed the accused sportsman.  During the interview, the accused admitted to taking five bucks during the six-day firearm season in Buena Borough, Atlantic County.  He also indicated that he had his friends check the deer on his behalf.  After further examination of the harvest records, CO Vazquez discovered that there was potentially a sixth illegal deer.  CO Toppin re-interviewed the accused the following day and he subsequently admitted to taking a sixth dear, putting him four bucks over the legal limit.  Summonses were issued for unlawfully possessing all six deer, four summonses were issued for harvesting deer over the legal limit and five summonses were issued for failure to properly tag the deer.

CO's James and Tomlin were on their way to assist CO Vazquez when they spotted a hunter standing with a shotgun in the middle of a street in Estell Manor, Atlantic County. The CO's interrupted the deer drive that was taking place in the small neighborhood to conduct inspections. Five hunters were apprehended and issued summonses for being within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling with a loaded firearm and another was apprehended and issued a summons for possessing an uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.

Last year CO James received a complaint about a hunter who had a deer stolen in Upper Township, Cape May County. He was able to locate a blind and was attempting to identify the individual involved this year. He was on his way to inspect the blind during the six-day firearm season with CO Tomlin when CO Tomlin observed a hunter without orange. CO Tomlin conducted that inspection while CO James continued to the blind. CO James apprehended an individual in the blind who wasn't wearing orange and CO Tomlin apprehended the individual in the treestand, the first individual's girlfriend, without orange. During an interview the male subject admitted to taking the deer the previous year and having his girlfriend tag and check it. The subject also admitted to unlawfully checking a deer with his girlfriend's tag this year and not checking an additional deer. Four summonses were issued for improperly checking and tagging deer in addition to each individual being issued a summons for not wearing orange.

CO James received information about a father and son who had harvested several deer while trespassing on Nature Conservancy property in Maurice River Township, Cumberland County. Both individuals had been warned about trespassing on the same parcel of property during the previous season. Due to the size of the property, which is over 3,500 acres, and the fact he believed the pair were utilizing a different entrance than the previous year, CO James had CO's Vazquez and Toppin assist him in gathering physical evidence. The officers took advantage of the snow and followed foot and ATV tracks for over six miles throughout the tract while they identified hunting location and collected blood evidence. On the Monday following six-day firearms season CO's James and Trembley conducted a patrol in the area and located an ATV with two gun cases. A brother and sister were apprehended for hunting without orange and both gave conflicting stories about the deer that had been harvested in the area the week before. The CO's conducted a second interview at the home of both subjects and when confronted with the physical evidence that was collected earlier, they confessed to trespassing and harvesting deer in the restricted area. They also implicated their father who had been trespassing and unlawfully killed a deer in the area and he confessed in an interview as well. The brother and sister were both charged for muzzleloader hunting without fluorescent orange. The father, brother and sister we all charged with trespassing for the purpose of hunting and improperly registering deer.

CO Fox and Lt. Ely were conducting routine deer inspections in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic County when they observed a hunter leaving his vehicle without orange. Further inspection revealed that the hunter had also loaded his firearm and was within 450' of three homes and within 210' from the closest. Summonses for hunting within 450' of an occupied dwelling and not possessing orange while hunting were issued.



Marine Region

Marine Regions CO's recently settled several cases in two municipal courts for gross violations of the recreational tautog regulations. Cases were investigated in Barnegat Light, Ocean County where one individual was issued summonses by CO Swift on October 31st and then again on November 11th by CO Soell. Six individuals plead guilty to the charges and paid penalties and court costs totaling $4760.00. The individual issued by both CO Swift and CO Soell plead not guilty and a trial occurred. The defendant was found guilty on all charges and paid penalties and court costs totaling $1419.00. Another tautog case was recently adjudicated in the municipal court of Point Pleasant Boro, Ocean County. CO Klitz apprehended five subjects taking a large number of illegal tautog on the "canal" in Point Pleasant Boro this past fall. The subjects were charged with possessing sub-legal and over the limit tautog. The men pled guilty to the charges and paid penalties and court costs totaling $3,330.00

On December 2nd while patrolling Sandy Hook Bay, CO Woerner observed a commercial clammer participating in the hard clam depuration program in Monmouth County utilizing a smaller secondary outboard motor to assist in the harvest of hard clams from the bay. While obtaining video footage of the clammer using his motor to aid in the harvesting of hard clams, CO Woerner noticed another clammer in the depuration program harvesting in the same illegal manner. The only difference was that this clammer did not have a secondary motor. This individual was clamming while his main outboard motor was in gear and in reverse. CO Woerner observed both clammers manipulate the throttle control on their motors to create movement of the vessel and then pull on their clam rakes. CO Woerner later met with each clammer and issued the appropriate summonses for the taking of shellfish with the aid of mechanical power. The penalty ranges from $300.00 to $3,000.00 plus costs.

CO Klitz recently investigated a complaint from a concerned citizen about a ShopRite supermarket located in Wall Twp., Monmouth County, selling oversized lobsters. Five American lobsters were found to be over the legal market size of 6.75 inches for the carapace length. A written warning was issued and store management agreed to send the lobsters back to their dealer.

On November 23, 2013 CO Petruccelli boarded the commercial fishing vessel (FV) Captain Ed at the dock of Cold Spring Fish and Supply Company in Lower Twp. Just prior to the boarding, the vessel offloaded 3,000 pounds of summer flounder and a small amount of Scup. An inspection of the cod end of the vessel's otter trawl net revealed a mesh smaller than the minimum five and a half inches stretched diamond mesh allowed to be possessed on a vessel engaged in the directed summer flounder fishery. The small mesh net was not covered and it still contained the cod end closure rope. The captain of the vessel claimed he used a five and a half inch mesh net to catch the summer flounder they landed, but switched to the smaller meshed net to catch squid during the trip even though no squid had been landed. Further inspection of the otter trawl doors used to tow the fishing nets did not contain Coast Guard documentation or state registration numbers as required. Additionally, CO Petruccelli inspected a cold storage bin on the deck of the vessel containing a small amount of ice. CO Petruccelli observed a whole shucked scallop lying on top of the ice in the bin in addition to several small pieces of scallop meat and scallop shells. There were two distinct holes in the ice the same size and shape of a standard fifty pound muslin bag of shucked sea scallops. The captain denied landing scallops and did not declare landing scallops on his recent fishing vessel trip reports. Summonses were issued to the vessel's owner and vessel's captain for possession of a net less than the minimum size for summer flounder and possession of otter trawl doors without documentation or registration number.



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Last Update December 20, 2009