DOVER – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between Dec. 12-18 made 1,025 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 38 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 23 citations. Officers responded to 29 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. An increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions
Incidents of note:
On Dec. 17, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited five individuals for migratory waterfowl hunting violations near New Castle. Each person was cited for one count each of possession of unlawfully taken waterfowl – Canada Geese and hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait – corn. Fines for each individual were $330, including court costs.
On Dec. 17, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested a Smyrna man for multiple deer hunting violations near Woodland Beach. The individual was cited for failure to tag an antlerless deer, failure to retain antlerless deer tag, failure to check antlerless deer within 24 hours, removing antlerless deer parts prior to checking and possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer. The subject was arraigned at Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 where he pled guilty to one count each of failure to tag an antlerless deer and failure to check an antlerless deer within 24 hours. Fines totaled $258, including court costs.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing to hunt (2), possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer (1), failure to tag antlerless deer (1), failure to retain antlerless deer tag (1), removing antlerless deer parts prior to checking (1), failure to check antlerless deer within 24 hours (1), possession of unlawfully taken antlerless deer (1), hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal waterfowl stamp (1), hunting migratory waterfowl without required HIP number (1), hunting migratory waterfowl before/after established shooting hours (1), hunting migratory waterfowl over illegal bait (5), possession of unlawfully taken migratory waterfowl – Canada Geese (5), and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1).
Public Safety: Failure to stop at a red light (1).
Are you AWARE?
With the holidays come days off from work and school, and Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind wildlife area visitors – especially those with brand-new ATVs or dirt bikes – of restrictions on driving motor vehicles on state wildlife areas and public roads.
Registered motor vehicle use in state wildlife areas is limited to designated roadways. Unregistered motor vehicles, such as ATVs and dirt bikes, are totally prohibited in state wildlife areas, both off-road and on established roadways, and are also illegal to operate on any state or county public roadway in Delaware.
“Off-roading is very destructive to areas reserved for wildlife conservation and harmful to some of our more fragile species. In addition, Division staff have to replant vegetation, repair ruts and clean up after these activities,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Driving ATVs on public roads is a safety hazard to the rider and motorists. If you want to take that new ATV out for a ride, it’s best to do so on your own property or on private property with the owner’s prior permission.”
Hunters who find new firearms under the tree are reminded that target practice is prohibited on state wildlife areas. However, the state-owned Ommelanden Hunter Education Training Center and Public Shooting Range, located at 1205 River Road, New Castle, is an excellent place to try them out. Operated by DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, the Ommelanden Center also provides Delaware hunters with required hunter education courses and training opportunities.
Ommelanden’s range is open year round for public use on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The facility is closed on state holidays, including Christmas and New Year’s Day. The range includes 25- and 50-meter rifle and pistol ranges, skeet and trap fields and a practice archery field. For more information, call 302-323-5333 or visit Ommelanden Range.
Those unwrapping new shotguns can also try them out at Owens Station Shooting Sports & Hunter Education Center, located at 12613 Hunters Cove Road, Greenwood, DE 19950. Downstate Delaware’s first and only state-owned public shooting sports range, the Division of Fish & Wildlife property is operated as a public-private partnership and features a circular 60-station sporting clays course, a trap shooting range and “five-stand” warmup range. For more information, click Owens Station Sporting Clays or call 302-349-4334.