DOVER (Jan. 6, 2017) – 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. 26-Jan. 1 made 676 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 22 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 16 citations. Officers responded to 37 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
Incident of note:
- On Dec. 28, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested Edward L. Snipe (53) of Lewes for two counts of importation of endangered species or hides, parts of articles made therefrom. Officers conducted an investigation after learning that Snipe was offering two smalltooth sawfish rostrums (bills) for sale. Smalltooth sawfish are found in coastal waters of Florida and were added to the federal Endangered Species list in 2003. Under Delaware law, the importation, transportation, possession or sale of any endangered species of fish or wildlife, or hides or other parts thereof, or the sale or possession with intent to sell any article made in whole or in part from the skin, hide or other parts of any endangered species of fish or wildlife is prohibited, except under license or permit from the Division of Fish & Wildlife. Snipe was arraigned at Sussex County Justice of the Peace Court 3 and was released on a $200 unsecured bond to appear in Sussex County Court of Common Pleas at a later date.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Possession of prohibited lead shot/shot size while hunting migratory waterfowl (1), hunting with an unplugged shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (1), hunting migratory waterfowl without required federal waterfowl stamp (1), hunting migratory waterfowl without required HIP number (2), area map violation – hunting migratory waterfowl in a closed area (1), and importation of endangered species or hides, parts of articles made therefrom (2).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), and no boating safety education certificate (1).
Other: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (2)*, operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a state wildlife area (1)*, driving faster than the regulated speed of 20 mph/speeding on a state wildlife area (1)*, and damage of state property on a wildlife area (1).
* One citation for each of these charges was issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind hunters and anglers of upcoming and ongoing hunting and fishing season dates:
- Striped bass – Recreational season open all year in tidal waters within three miles of shore; catch-and-release only in Nanticoke and Delaware rivers and the C&D Canal and their tributaries from April 1-May 31 during spawning season. The taking, possession and targeting of striped bass in federal waters, which begin three miles off the Atlantic coast, are prohibited.
- Handgun deer season – Saturday, Jan. 7-Saturday Jan. 14, south of the C&D Canal on private lands and many state wildlife areas; consult state wildlife area maps for area-specific rules and regulations
- Shotgun deer season – Saturday, Jan. 14-Saturday, Jan. 21, including Sunday Jan. 15
- Muzzleloader deer season – Monday, Jan. 23-Saturday, Jan. 28
- Archery/crossbow deer season – open through Tuesday, Jan. 31
- Migratory duck season – open through Saturday, Jan. 28
- Migratory Canada goose and snow goose season – open through Saturday, Feb. 4
- Snow goose conservation order split seasons – Monday, Feb. 6-Friday, Feb. 10 and Monday Feb. 13-Friday Apr. 7
- Small game hunting seasons – gray squirrel and pheasant open through Saturday, Feb. 4 and rabbit open through Tuesday, Feb. 28*
*NOTE: Small game hunters are required to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange during all firearms deer seasons; archery hunters also are required to wear at least 400 square inches of hunter orange during all firearms deer seasons, including those afield north of the C&D Canal during handgun deer season.
Hunters and anglers also are reminded to be well-prepared for winter weather, which of late has included extreme fluctuations in temperature. “With this winter’s hard-to-predict weather, it is especially important for hunters and anglers to make sure they leave a plan of where they will be and anticipated time of return with a responsible friend or family member,” said Sgt. John McDerby of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police.
Other tips include:
- Check the latest weather forecast before heading out and dress appropriately in layers.
- Anticipate changes such as rain, snow or temperature drop, and pack extra weatherproof and/or dry clothing as needed
- Pack and carry a small survival kit that includes a fully charged cell phone, flashlight with fresh batteries, GPS or compass, water, snacks and an emergency blanket
- When accessing hunting and fishing areas, park your vehicle in a designated parking area adjoining a roadway, if available, and preferably on high, firm ground
For more information on hunting and fishing in Delaware, click on 2016/17 Delaware Hunting & Trapping Guide or 2016 Fishing Guide. Both guides also are available in printed form at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, and from license agents statewide. State wildlife area hunting maps are available in hard copy at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk and online at Wildlife & Hunting Area Maps.