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DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter

On Feb. 1, three men were arrested in two separate incidents following a Fish & Wildlife Enforcement operation that targeted illegal after-hours deer hunting. Mark C. Couchman, 51, of Lewes, was arrested on an assortment of charges after a motor vehicle stop near Harbeson led to a search warrant that yielded as evidence illegal possessions of a firearm and ammunition by a person prohibited, two illegally taken antlerless deer, and one count of hunting with a shotgun during muzzleloader deer season. Couchman was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court 1 in Frankford Monday where he was released on $3,000 unsecured bond pending a preliminary hearing on February 7th.

· In the second incident, William D. Wells, 19, of Frankford, and Ryan M. Hamilton, 18, of Dagsboro were each charged with one count of spotlighting deer along Little Hill Road in Laurel. Two shotguns were seized as evidence in the case.

· Wesley P. Masten, 55, of Harrington, was charged Feb. 2 with possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle in Taber State Forest in southern Kent County on the last day of muzzleloader deer season. Masten admitted to having the weapon charged and primed while riding in a pickup truck.

Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:

Wildlife conservation:
Illegal possession of antlerless deer (1), Sussex County; Hunting with a shotgun during muzzleloader season (1), Sussex; Unlicensed hunting (4), Sussex); Failure to tag antlerless deer (3), Sussex; Possession of unlawfully taken waterfowl (1), Sussex; Spotlighting deer (2), Sussex; Trespassing to trap (2), New Castle County; Illegal possession of a live raccoon (1), Kent County; Illegal camping in a state wildlife area (1), New Castle.

Other:

Felonious possession of a firearm by a person prohibited (1), Sussex; Felonious possession of ammunition by a person prohibited (1), Sussex; Loaded weapon in a motor vehicle (1), Kent; Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (3), New Castle; Driving with a suspended or revoked license (1), New Castle; Operating an uninsured motor vehicle (1), New Castle.

Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580.