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 Oct. 24-30 made 2,009 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 72 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 57 complaints received from the public regarding possible violations of laws and regulations. An increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
An incident of note:
· On Oct. 30, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Cliff Peterson, 28, of Dover, and charged him with unlicensed hunting, harvesting antlered deer without purchasing an antlered deer tag, failure to tag antlered deer, transportation of unlawfully taken antlered deer and unlawful possession of a game animal/antlered deer in connection with an Oct. 29 incident near Dover. Peterson pled guilty to unlicensed hunting and unlawful possession of a game animal in Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover and was fined $250, including court costs.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed hunting (1), trespassing to hunt (3), hunting with an unplugged shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (5), harvesting antlered deer without purchasing an antlered deer tag, (1), failure to tag antlered deer (1), unlawful possession of a game animal/antlered deer (1), transportation of unlawfully taken antlered deer (1), hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal waterfowl stamp (1), and trespassing in a closed area of a state wildlife area (1).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Possession of undersized blue crabs (1), possession of undersized tautog (12), and possession of tautog over the limit (2).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (4), operating a motor vessel with an expired registration (1)*, operating an unregistered vessel (1), and no boating education certificate (1).
Public Safety: Failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (1).
*Citation issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area, as were citations for hunting with an unplugged shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (2), and operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1).
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community
· On Oct. 27 and 30, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Kent County officers attended hunter safety courses at the Little Creek Hunter Education Center near Dover, presenting the legal requirements portion of the courses and answering questions about Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers.
· On Oct. 25, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police New Castle County officers attended a hunter safety course hosted by the Wilmington Trap Shooters Club in Newark, presenting the legal requirements portion of the course and answering questions about Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind firearm and archery deer hunters and small game hunters that they are required to wear no less than a total of 400 square inches of hunter orange on their heads, chests and backs during all firearms deer seasons, with the exception of those hunting migratory birds. Deer hunters concealed inside ground-level blinds also must place 400 square inches of hunter orange within 10 feet outside of the blind and at least 3 feet off the ground.
Deer hunters also are reminded that transporting a loaded firearm in any motor vehicle, including ATVs, is prohibited. In the case of a muzzleloader rifle, loaded means that the powder and ball, bullet or shot is loaded in the bore. To be considered unloaded, a muzzleloader rifle must have the cap, primer, or priming powder (in a flintlock) removed. In addition, the striking mechanism used to ignite the cap, primer or priming powder must be removed or rendered inoperable, or the muzzleloader rifle must be enclosed in a case.
“During Delaware’s fall hunting seasons, it’s not unusual to have more than one type of game being hunted and more than one type of weapon being used in the same area. For example, during the coming week, before shotgun deer season opens, you may have deer hunters using crossbows and archery gear in the same woods as squirrel hunters with firearms,” said Sgt. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “With these activities occurring concurrently, visibility is vital, and in the interest of everyone’s safety, we urge hunters to observe the hunter orange requirement. Also, before you fire your weapon, be aware of your surroundings, know your target – and what lies beyond it.”
Current hunting seasons include:
· Archery and crossbow deer season, thru Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017
· Squirrel season, thru Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017; closed during November deer shotgun season Friday, Nov. 11-Sunday, Nov. 20 (no Sunday squirrel hunting allowed during squirrel season)
· Snow goose season, thru Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017
Upcoming deer seasons and dates include:
· Youth/non-ambulatory disabled hunt – Saturday, Nov. 5
· Shotgun – Friday, Nov. 11-Sunday, Nov. 20, including Sunday, Nov. 13 and Sunday, Nov. 13
· Special antlerless – Saturday, Dec. 10-Saturday, Dec. 17, including Sunday, Dec. 11
· Handgun – Saturday, Jan. 7-Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 (no Sunday hunting allowed during handgun season)
· Shotgun – Saturday, Jan. 14-Saturday, Jan. 21, including Sunday, Jan. 15
· Muzzleloader – Monday, Jan. 23-Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017
For more information on hunting in Delaware, click on 2016-2017 Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide. Wildlife area maps with area-specific regulations are available online at Delaware Wildlife Area Maps. Printed copies of the Delaware Hunting and Trapping Guide and the wildlife area maps are also available at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, or by calling the Wildlife Section office at 302-739-9912. The printed guide also is available from license agents throughout the state.