Saturday, January 19, 2019

T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park Reopens

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CONTACT: DEP Press Office, 850.245.2112,

T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park Reopens 

~Following significant damage from Hurricane Michael, the park is now open for day use~

PORT ST. JOE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Florida Park Service has reopened portions of T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park for day use following the impacts of Hurricane Michael, including the marina and boat ramp area, the park's south-end trail, as well as limited beach access. 
The park experienced significant damage from Hurricane Michael, including downed trees and debris, facility, boardwalk, road and trail damage. Following weeks of clean-up and repair, the park was partially reopened today. However, the park's cabin and campground area remain closed.
“Thanks to the hard work of park staff and volunteers, visitors can once again enjoy T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park," said Florida State Parks Director Eric Draper. "Parks bring people happiness, and I look forward to my next visit to St. Joe."
Visitor safety remains paramount as response efforts continue. Florida State Parks staff continue to work as quickly as possible to finish remaining clean-up and repairs at impacted parks. Amenities and access to certain areas of the parks, including the campground and trails, may be limited until the work is completed. 
Of the 31 state parks impacted by the storm, only two parks remain closed. Find a Florida State Park near you and plan your next visit.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Franklin County commissioners have agreed to increase the salary for Weems CEO HD Cannington.

 Franklin County commissioners have agreed to increase the salary for Weems CEO HD Cannington.

Cannington has been serving as the interim CEO since last May - In return for the increased pay, Mr. Cannington will become the permanent CEO at the hospital.

The board agreed to a 15 thousand dollar a month increase, which will bring Mr. Cannington's salary to 165 thousand dollars with no benefits or pay-out clause..

They also agreed to provide 2000 dollars a month for three months to help Mr. Cannington find housing in the county as the house he is living in is being sold.

The deal was recommended by the Weems Board of Directors who will perform a review of Mr. Cannington’s performance in 6 to 9 months,to make sure he is meeting pre-set goals, benchmarks and expectations.

At that time they may enter into negotiations for a longer contract, possibly with a reduced salary offset by benefits.

Governor DeSantis pledges more state money for Hurricane clean up

 Newly elected Governor Ron DeSantis and Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long visited communities in the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday that were heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael.

It was his second trip to the area; The Governor visited Panama City, Mexico Beach and Port St. Joe.
The Governor also received a full briefing on recovery efforts at the Calhoun County Emergency Operations Center.

During the visit, the governor announced that the state is providing $2.8 million in matching funds for debris removal in Mexico Beach.

He said “Mexico Beach is ground zero for hurricane recovery and we will never stop fighting for Floridians that need our support.”

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Franklin County Commissioners have agreed to hold a public hearing to consider a zoning and land use change for property on the Carrabelle River

Franklin County Commissioners have agreed to hold a public hearing to consider a zoning and land use change for property on the Carrabelle River.

The 24 acres at 780 Hickory Hammock Road is currently zoned agricultural which allows one home to be built on the property.

The owners are seeking to change the zoning to R-6 rural residential which allows one home per 10 acres, which would allow 2 homes on the property.

The commission will hold the public hearing during a future commission meeting.

Franklin County has extended the permit fee waiver for anyone doing Hurricane Michael repairs to their homes

Franklin County has extended the permit fee waiver for anyone doing Hurricane Michael repairs to their homes.

The fee waiver was put in place after Hurricane Michael hit the area in October and was supposed to end at the end of December.

The waiver is now in effect until January 31, 2019.

County coordinator Michael Moron said the waiver was extended to allow homeowners the opportunity to get a better understanding of the FEMA 50% substantial damage rule and decide on a path forward regarding their damaged homes.

The Triumph Gulf Coast Board met in Port St. Joe on Monday and agreed to some projects in Franklin and Gulf Counties.

The Triumph Gulf Coast Board met in Port St. Joe on Monday and agreed to some projects in Franklin and Gulf Counties.

The Triumph board voted to approve an agreement with the Gulf County School District that will train students in subject areas pertaining to unmanned aircraft systems.

The $750,00 award will cover a little over half of the costs over a 5-year period.

A minimum of 200 students will obtain certifications through the program.

In Franklin County, the Triumph Board voted to approve over 2.3 million dollars to provide additional Science, technology, engineering and math education for Kindergarten through 8th grade.

The project includes building a new Franklin Environmental, Career and Technical Center to offer courses in welding as well as health related fields, environmental fields, and manufacturing.

A curriculum will also be introduced in Franklin schools that focuses on attributes of the regional seafood industry.

The Triumph Board also moved forward a proposal from the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory in St. Teresa for nearly 8 million dollars to facilitate the recovery of the Apalachicola Bay.

The Apalachicola Bay System Initiative will partner with residents as well as government, academic and non-governmental organizations to study the extent and the underlying causes of deterioration of the oyster reef system which will hopefully provide plan of action for recovery of the oyster reefs and the health of the Bay.

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Seeks New Fishery Biologist

For Immediate Release
January 17, 2019

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council Seeks 
New Fishery Biologist
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council is currently accepting applications for the position of Fishery Biologist.

The Fishery Biologist will be under the direct supervision of the Deputy Executive Director.  The primary responsibility of this position is marine policy and includes the development of fishery management plans and amendments to those plans, environmental impact statements, framework actions, scoping documents, presentations, newsletters, and other public information materials as assigned.

Other responsibilities include identifying and characterizing relevant biological and fishery data useful for analyzing management actions in fisheries management plans through available sources, such as National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), state and university laboratories, and other agencies or institutions.

The complete recruitment announcement can be found at:

Application Deadline: Applications will be accepted through 5:00 pm EST, Monday, February 11, 2019.

How to apply:  Send a cover letter, a resume or curriculum vitae, professional writing sample, contact information for three references, and relevant certifications to:

By regular mail send to:                                              By email send to:
Dr. Carrie Simmons                                             
Executive Director
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
4107 West Spruce Street, Suite 200
Tampa, Florida 33607

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf Names New VP of Nursing

PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (Jan. 17, 2019) – Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf (SHHG) is pleased to announce that Robin M. Godwin has been named Vice President of Nursing for Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf in Port St. Joe.

Godwin brings 21 years of experience in the medical field to her new position. Godwin previously served in a southwest Georgia health system in a variety of roles including emergency department (ED) staff RN, clinical coordinator, assistant director – ED, and director of nursing for critical care, respiratory & clinical education. She will be responsible for leading and directing nursing and ancillary services.

“Robin brings a wealth of experience to her leadership role. She has demonstrated a commitment to our mission of providing compassionate, personalized care to all persons, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable,” said Roger Hall, president of Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf. “Our hospital has been recognized as one of the best hospitals in the nation for patient satisfaction, and we’re confident Robin will help us to continue that high standard of care.”

Sacred Heart is part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system. Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf is a 19-bed community hospital serving residents of Gulf and Franklin counties.

Godwin earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing from Valdosta State University. Married to her husband Matt for 18 years and mom to three boys, Max, Eli & Finn, their family recently relocated to Port St. Joe from Georgia. The Godwin family enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, kayaking and sporting events, and look forward to becoming a part of the PSJ community.

The Florida Freshwater Angler Issue 13

Issue 13
January - March 2019
Florida Freshwater Angler

Our Purpose: To identify excellent Florida freshwater fishing opportunities and to provide anglers with relevant information that will enhance the quality of their outdoor experience.

If you reached this newsletter through a website link instead of receiving it by email, you can subscribe free at the Subscription Topics page under "Freshwater Fishing".
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In this issue:

TrophyCatch Tracker

TrophyCatch logo
The FWC's TrophyCatch citizen-science program is now well underway with its seventh season! Milestones since TrophyCatch's start in 2012 include:
  • 26,556 registrants
  • 8,136 approved submissions
  • 55 documented Hall of Fame size bass 13 pounds or larger.
If you're new to TrophyCatch, the program is a direct response to FWC’s Black Bass Management Plan, which placed an emphasis on establishing trophy bass fishing opportunities throughout the state. TrophyCatch was established to collect data on trophy bass while promoting bass conservation by rewarding catch-and-release fishing. Various industry partners have teamed up with FWC to make this program not only fun, but rewarding. Just by registering, you are automatically entered into a free drawing for a Phoenix bass boat, and you don't have to submit a fish to win! The primary submission requirement is a photo showing the entire bass on a scale, with the weight reading clearly visible. Our biggest tip to new participants is to not cut off the tail in the photo—the entire fish must be visible.
TrophyCatch Submission Photo
Syl Sims Hall of Fame bass

Hall of Fame (HOF) bass weighing 13 pounds or more are extremely rare nationwide and are one of the factors that make Florida the Bass Fishing Capital of the World! Each of these giants submitted to TrophyCatch would be the state record in over half the United States! Several TrophyCatch participants have made the incredible accomplishment of catching not one, but two or more of these once-in-a-lifetime fish that they have submitted to the program. In fact, participant Syl Sims (left) used the Enigma rod he received for submitting one HOF bass to catch this one!
Stay up to date on TrophyCatch, partner promotions, special events and our top producing anglers by liking our TrophyCatch Facebook page and subscribing to the TrophyCatch YouTube Channel. Who knows—you might see your trophy bass photo featured here soon!
TrophyCatch Facebook Page

Featured Fish: Florida gar

Florida gar
Size: The Big Catch minimum qualifying sizes are 4 pounds or 28 inches for adults, and 3 pounds or 21 inches for youth ( The State Record is 9.44 pounds.
Florida and Longnose gar
Identification and similar species: The Florida gar is a long fish with a narrow, toothed mouth and bony scales that form a hard armor. Irregular round spots occur on top of the head, all over the body and fins. A number of "new" State Records that have been reported to FWC have turned out to be longnose gar, which can be distinguished from the Florida gar by a longer and narrower mouth and the presence of small bony plates on the underside of the head.
Angling qualities: Gar receive a "bad rap" among anglers because they steal shiners and can scratch up lures intended for bass. However, they are a natural part of Florida's freshwater ecology and often surprise anglers with a sporting fight. Gar can be caught with minnows, bacon, artificial lures or frayed nylon cord that entangles the gar’s teeth. Food value, however, is considered poor.
Where to catch them: Florida gar are found in the Ochlockonee River and waters east and south into peninsular Florida where they inhabit streams, canals and lakes with mud or sand bottoms near underwater vegetation. They are common to abundant throughout central and peninsular Florida. They will often stack up like the proverbial cordwood near culverts or other areas with an outflow.
Interesting facts: Gar use an airbladder to breathe air in low-oxygen water. Spawning occurs in late winter and early spring when both sexes congregate in shallow weedy waters where the females lay adhesive eggs. Newly hatched young possess an adhesive organ on the end of their snout and stay attached to vegetation until 3/4-inch long. Adults primarily feed on fish, shrimp and crayfish.
Gar illustration by Duane Raver, Jr; head images FWC illustration.

Featured Locales: Harris Chain of Lakes

Harris Chain of Lakes
Size: 75,976 acres in total. Comprised of eight lakes larger than 1,000 acres each, including Lake Apopka which is the fourth largest lake in Florida.
Location: Lake and Orange Counties.
Description: The Harris Chain of Lakes is one of the five largest chain of lakes in central Florida. The lakes alone, not including the numerous canals and creeks connecting the chain, total 76,000 acres of fishing paradise. The chain supports abundant and diverse vegetation that provides excellent opportunities for fishing bass to bluegill. Since the start of Florida’s TrophyCatch Program, the Harris Chain has accumulated 250 approved TrophyCatch fish through May 2018. Of those catches, 216 are Lunker Club (8-9.9 lbs.) and 34 are Trophy Club (10-12.9 lbs.). Lake Harris is the highest contributor with 80 approved catches followed closely by Lake Griffin with 76 catches. Recently Field & Stream listed the Harris Chain as the best fishing spot in Florida. Also, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) has recommended the Harris Chain as one of the top 10 fishing destinations in Florida. The FWC has constructed 35 artificial fish attractor areas located in Lake Griffin (18), Lake Harris (7) and Lake Dora (10) to enhance fishing opportunities. Another favorite sportfish is the sunshine bass stocked annually into Lake Harris, with over 200,000 stocked in 2018. The Harris Chain of Lakes also received great recognition during 2018 in hosting several very successful major tournaments: FLW, B.A.S.S., Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Tour and just recently the BassMaster Team Championship. Whether you are a pro or a “weekend warrior,” the Harris Chain is worth a trip!

Fisheries Biology: Keeping Your Catch Alive

Releasing a bass
TrophyCatch program participant AJ Jackson successfully releases a healthy trophy largemouth bass.
Unless fishing for the frying pan, an angler has a vested interest in keeping his catch lively, whether he is planning to release it immediately, or to keep it aboard for that tournament weigh-in. The same applies to anyone trying to keep baitfish perky throughout a day-long outing. Understanding a fish’s basic needs and taking some small precautions will go a long way toward improving the survival of any fish.

Scuba tank for oxygen

  • Oxygen — A fish’s most immediate need (beyond water) is oxygen. When photographing or de-hooking your fish, keep it out of the water as little as possible. Place tournament fish in an oxygenated livewell quickly. Dissolved oxygen should be provided by an aeration or circulation system. Water holds less oxygen as its temperature rises, so be especially attentive to your fish on hot days. Also, having bigger fish in your livewell, or a large number of fish, will consume oxygen more rapidly. Shad in particular are sensitive to low oxygen levels, so provide this bait with plenty of aeration!

  • Temperature — A fish can experience temperature shock if there is too large a difference between the water it was just removed from and that in your livewell. Circulate new water into your livewell in order to keep it within about 3 degrees F of the water you are fishing in. However, on the hottest days you can increase the longevity of fish by keeping them in cooler water. When you are moving fish between waters of different temperatures, “temper” the water the fish is being transferred into by mixing in some water from the original source first.
  • Handle fish carefully and as little as possible. Always wet your hands before touching a fish to reduce the amount of slime removed from the fish’s body during contact. A fish’s slime covering protects it from various fungal, viral and bacterial diseases. A BogaGrip or similar fish-safe holding device can reduce the amount of hand contact required. Otherwise, handle fish such as bass by the lower jaw. Never grab fish behind the gill plates as this will cause contact with the fragile gills. Use a non-abrasive, “fish-friendly” landing net with a soft basket such as molded rubber, since cheaper and more readily-available nets with knotted nylon bags can scrape the fish.
  • Don’t place fish you intend to release on a stringer. Stringers are for frying-pan fish only! Many anglers prefer instead to place their “eating fish” on ice immediately.
  • Play and land a fish as quickly as possible. Light tackle anglers in particular should be cautious not to excessively tire fish in the name of sport or challenge. Revive an exhausted fish by gently moving it back and forth in the water to increase the flow of water and oxygen over its gills. Release the fish when it seems ready to swim off under its own power.
Fish hook
  • Use barbless hooks to minimize the amount of time a fish must be kept out of the water during hook removal. Use forceps, pliers, or other de-hooking tools. Anglers might also consider replacing treble hooks on lures with single hooks to make releasing fish easier. Set the hook quickly when a fish strikes to reduce the chance of swallowing, especially when using bait. If a fish does swallow the hook, cut the line as close to the hook as possible but do not try to remove the hook itself. Circle hooks have become popular with bait anglers because they not only have a higher percentage of solid hookups, but because they usually hook the fish in the mouth and are seldom swallowed.
  • Choose fine-wire hooks (such as the popular Aberdeen style) when using fish as live bait. The light weight of the wire will allow the bait to swim more freely. Hook baitfish through the lips or just under the dorsal fin, avoiding the backbone.
  • If you have room install a round or oval livewell in your boat for baitfish like shad that swim continuously. This will eliminate square corners in the baitwell and make it easier for tank residents to avoid bumping into the sides.

These tips should help you keep your bass or your bait lively for a successful trip!

Come out and help raise some money for the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department this weekend at the ninth annual oyster cookoff

Come out and help raise some money for the Apalachicola Volunteer Fire Department this weekend at the ninth annual oyster cookoff.

The event raises money for the Apalachicola fire Department by allowing some of the best oyster cooks in the area to compete for trophies and recognition.

In just 8 years it has raised tens of thousands of dollars to help the fire department.

The event kicks off Friday night from 6 till 8 with a art auction preview and oyster tasting at the Apalachicola Center for History, Culture and Art on Water Street in Apalachicola.

The main event is Saturday from noon to 5 at Riverfront Park.

Besides the oyster cook-off there will also be plenty of other activities including a 5K run at 8 o’clock Saturday morning starting at Riverfront Park.

There will be live music from the John Sutton Band and a show from the Pam Nobles Dancers and every year the fire department does a special dance.

The event also features a silent auction and kids’ activities.

And even if you don’t like oysters there are still plenty of reasons to come out.

They serve up other great food like smoked mullet, fresh shrimp , hot dogs, hamburgers, and locally brewed beer.

You can get more information about the cook-off and see a full list of events on-line at

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Franklin County taking bids to grind up Hurricane yard waste

 Nearly 25 thousand cubic yards of yard waste was taken to the Franklin County landfill in the weeks after Hurricane Michael and now that debris needs to be ground up.

The Solid Waste Department’s has a tub grinder for the job but it is currently broken.

Solid waste director Fonda Davis said fixing the tub grinder would cost more than bringing in someone to do the work.

The commission agreed to allow the solid waste department to put the job up for bid.

Agenda for January 17th Carrabelle Planning and Zoning board Meeting

Carrabelle Planning & Zoning Board Meeting
January 17, 2019
4:30 p.m.  
Carrabelle City Complex
for information:  850-697-3618

Franklin County says it will use donated money to purchase three mobile homes to help families that were left homeless by the Eastpoint wildfire last Summer

Franklin County says it will use donated money to purchase three mobile homes to help families that were left homeless by the Eastpoint wildfire last Summer.
On June 24th, the Eastpoint Wildfire damaged or destroyed more than 35 homes in Eastpoint.
Many of the families were assisted through a Community Development Block Grant that funded the replacement of 30 homes that were destroyed and repairs to 16 more that were damaged in the fire.
The Emergency Management Office said that there were 3 families who did not qualify for the CDBG grant because they didn't meet the income requirements.
The 3 homes will be purchased using donated funds collected the Franklin's Promise group after the fire.

The Emergency Management Office is currently researching prices for the mobile homes.

FWC Law Enforcement Weekly Report December 14, 2018 through January 3, 2018

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report
FWC logo and law enforcement badge
Patrol, Protect, Preserve

December 14, 2018 through January 3, 2018

This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past two weeks;
however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.




Officer Land was conducting resource inspections on the Escambia River. He encountered a group of subjects who were duck hunting. Officer Land began checking each subject’s firearm to ensure it was only capable of holding three shells. One of the subjects informed Officer Land that his shotgun did not have a plug in it. Officer Land inspected the firearm and found that it could hold more than three shells. It is not legal to use a firearm capable of holding more than three shells to take migratory birds. The appropriate action was taken for the violation.

Officers Allgood and Jackson located a baited site on Escambia River Wildlife Management area. Officer Allgood continued to monitor the baited site for several days. Officers Allgood and Hutchinson along with K9 Zara saw a boat parked near the baited stand. The officers approached the subject and after a short interview, the subject admitted to placing food attractant in the management area. The subject was issued a resource citation for placing bait in the Wildlife Management Area.

Officer Allgood was on water patrol working duck hunting on the Escambia River. He saw a group of duck hunters and conducted a resource inspection after the hunt was over. During the inspection, Officer Allgood found one of the subject’s shotgun was unplugged and could hold more than three shells. Officer Allgood issued the group several citations to include hunting waterfowl with a shotgun capable of holding more than three rounds and multiple license violations.

Officer Allgood was on water patrol on the Escambia River working duck hunting. He conducted a resource inspection on a group of duck hunters. The inspection revealed that a subject had taken four wood ducks using lead shot. Officer Allgood issued a resource citation to the subject for taking ducks with lead shot.

Officer Allgood checked a mullet harvester underneath the Highway 90 Bridge in Milton. During his inspection of his fish and fishing license, Officer Allgood smelled a strong odor of cannabis coming from the subject’s bag located next to him. The officer explained he smelled cannabis and asked the man where it was. The man admitted to having cannabis in the bag. During the inspection of the bag, Officer Allgood found cannabis, methamphetamine, a metal pipe with residue in it, another metal pipe and a small digital scale. The subject was placed under arrest and transported and booked in the Santa Rosa Jail.

Officer Cushing was working the Escambia River WMA at location known to be frequented by duck hunters. After legal shooting hours expired, he heard 18 shotgun shots from a group of subjects. Officer Cushing waited until they returned to land and questioned the two subjects about legal waterfowl shooting hours. Both subjects admitted to shooting after hours. In addition, one of the subjects was using an unplugged shotgun. The appropriate state citations were issued.

Officers Cushing and Clark conducted a fisheries inspection of a recreational fishing vessel returning through the Pensacola Pass. Officer Clark discovered several closed season gray triggerfish in the vessel’s cooler. Officer Clark documented the state violations accordingly.


Officers Cushing and Clark were on patrol aboard the NW FINCAT in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. During one inspection, Officer Clark discovered two one-gallon bags of reef fish fillets on ice with some skin still attached. Individuals onboard indicated that they were vermillion snapper, grouper and greater amberjack. Reef fish must be landed in whole condition and greater amberjack is currently closed to harvest. The appropriate federal violations were issued.


Officer Hayes was working night hunting when he saw an SUV driving slowly with a spotlight being shined out of the passenger window illuminating a farm field. He conducted a traffic stop and found two subjects in possession of two .22 caliber rifles. The rear portion of the SUV was also lined with a tarp. Both subjects admitted that they were looking for deer. Both subjects were cited for night hunting and both rifles were seized as evidence.

Officers Hayes, Baber and Gerber were working night hunting when a truck drove by shining a farm field. The officers stopped the truck and found two subjects in possession of a 30-06 rifle. Both subjects were cited for night hunting and the rifle and light were seized as evidence.

Officer Baber was conducting surveillance of farm fields at night when he saw a truck drive slowly by with a light being displayed over the farm field. He conducted a traffic stop and found the truck to be occupied by three subjects. Inside the truck he located two loaded rifles. All three subjects admitted to trying to kill deer. All three were cited for night hunting. Both rifles and the spotlight were seized as evidence.


Officer Scott was on patrol along a county road when he saw a truck backed up along the side of the roadway. He turned around as the truck pulled away and saw three deer carcasses dumped where the truck had been parked. He initiated a traffic stop and the driver admitted to dumping the carcasses. The subject was cited for dumping in an amount exceeding 15 pounds.


Officers Kossey and Travis were working night hunting in the Tate’s Hell Wildlife Management Area. They saw a subject shining a light into the woods. They stopped the subject and found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in the passenger seat. The subject was cited, and the gun and light seized as evidence.

Officers Swindell and Sauls responded to a complaint of subjects duck hunting in St. George Island State Park. They arrived on scene and watched the subjects shoot multiple times. They contacted the subjects and issued citations for hunting in the State Park and multiple warnings.


Officers Korade and Pekerol were on water patrol in Leon County on Lake Iamonia working opening of waterfowl season. They observed three subjects hunting from a permanent blind and contacted them as they were leaving the area. After conducting the investigation, Officers Korade and Pekerol cited all three subjects for hunting from a permanent duck blind on Lake Iamonia.


Officer Richardson was on land patrol in Liberty County when he received a call to assist Major Duval with a hunting violation Off Highway 67 in Liberty County. While enroute Officer Richardson heard radio communications between Major Duval and the Tallahassee Regional Communication Center and learned that a subject had taken an illegal deer. Officer Richardson arrived and saw a group of subjects standing in front of Major Duval’s vehicle and a deer in the back of the Major’s truck. Major Duval told Officer Richardson that he was holding the subjects until he arrived. Officer Richardson examined the deer and confirmed it was an illegal deer. The deer had two main beams that did not have any forks or splits. Officer Richardson issued the appropriate citation to the subject.


Officer Land witnessed a pickup truck transporting a large quantity of used tires on the highway. The vehicle was not displaying the proper decal to transport more than 25 waste tires. Officer Land conducted a traffic stop to address the violation. There were three individuals in the vehicle. The driver did not possess the required permit to haul more than 25 waste tires, he was driving with a suspended driver’s license and he was in possession of drug paraphernalia. The two passengers both had warrants out of Okaloosa County. The appropriate actions were taken to address the violations.

While on patrol during the recent archery season on Eglin WMA, Officer Jones found a baited hunting site. After checking the area for several days without contact with the subject, he seized all hunting equipment at the site as evidence. After an investigation Officer Jones was able to identify the owner of the hunting equipment and was able to file charges for placing bait on a wildlife management area.

Officer Mullins was on water patrol on the Escambia River working duck hunting. He heard several shots that were after the legal hunting hours. The officer located four subjects who admitted to shooting after hours. Upon inspection Officer Mullins discovered one of the subjects with an unplugged shotgun, and another hunting with no valid hunting license. Officer Mullins issued the appropriate citations and warnings.


Officer Hughes was on water patrol near Goose Creek Bay just east of Live Oak Island. He conducted a resource inspection on three subjects sitting in their duck blind with decoys deployed. After completing the inspection, Officer Hughes addressed their location chosen to hunt. The investigation concluded with Officer Hughes citing two of the subjects for hunting waterfowl in an area of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge that prohibits this activity.

Officer Gerber received a trespass complaint for Deseret Cattle and Timber property. Fresh blood was found in the middle of the road and drag sign. A trail camera was also stolen nearby. A subject was established and interviewed at a camp. Officer Gerber located a trail camera in the vehicle that did not belong to the subject and a cooler full of fresh deer meat that could not be explained. The subject had recently washed the back of his rental vehicle, but a small spot of deer hair and blood was located. Blood samples were taken from the vehicle and roadway and submitted to the lab for DNA testing. A few days later, the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office requested assistance with a subject that had been arrested and was in possession of two large bucks in the bed of a rental truck. The subject was interviewed by Officer Gerber and Lieutenant Guy. The subject was the same subject from the earlier investigation. He admitted to night hunting the two bucks while trespassing. The subject got his vehicle stuck on private property while trying to gut the deer. He broke into a nearby home and stole multiple firearms and a tractor to get his truck unstuck. When returning to the home to retrieve a set of keys he dropped, the Sheriff’s Office was waiting on him after he was spotted by the home owner driving his stolen tractor. During his custodial interrogation, he also admitted to trespassing and night hunting on Deseret property from the previous violation and the deer meat from the cooler was in fact the same deer that produced the blood and hair found in the roadway and the bed of his rental truck. Multiple felony and misdemeanor charges were filed in Bay and Gulf County for armed trespass, night hunting, grand theft, armed burglary and taking wildlife with rim-fire rifle. A rifle and headlamp as well as the deer were seized. The subject was booked into the Gulf County Jail.


Officer Corbin was on land patrol when he received a complaint reference an unregistered vessel being docked at a marina without permission. He met with the dock master and was able to confirm the identity of the owner of the vessel. Officer Corbin located the owner in Fort Walton Beach. When asked, the individual stated he had purchased the sailboat 3 years ago but never titled the vessel in his name. The owner located the vessel title and provided it to the officer. The vessel owner was cited and issued a notice to appear citation for failure to transfer vessel title in his name within 30 days of purchase.

Officer Corbin was on land patrol when he received a complaint from United States Coast Guard Station Destin (USCG) of a sailboat that had sank in Boggy Bayou. The officer located the sailboat and confirmed it was 90 percent submerged with only part of the bow sticking out of the water. The portion of the bow sticking out of the water displayed a Florida registration number. By Florida statue, the sailboat is in derelict condition. Also, it is a navigational hazard. Officer Corbin identified the vessel owner. The vessel owner is residing out of state. The officer was able to secure an arrest warrant.


Lieutenant Hollinhead patrolled an area of private property after hearing a rifle shot just after daylight. A subject was later seen at a residence standing at the rear of his truck as if he was preparing to process a deer. The subject acted suspicious when Lieutenant Hollinhead contacted him and stated he had not been hunting although he had deer hair on his coat. When questioned about the deer hair he stated his brother gave him a deer. The deer was in the back of the subject’s truck and was a legal buck. Lieutenant Hollinhead left the residence and tracked the subject’s vehicle tire sign to private property where he drove his vehicle around a locked gate onto posted private property. An area on the private property was later located where the subject had parked, hunted, and killed a deer. Once the subject learned what had been located he admitted to killing the deer on the property without permission. The landowner was later contacted and requested that the subject be cited for trespassing due to ongoing trespass problems he has had in the past. Trespass charges will be direct filed.