Division of Law Enforcement
March 17, 2017 through March 23, 2017
This report represents some events the FWC handled over the past week; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
Patrol, Protect, Preserve
Officers Forehand and Hayes located two turkey blinds with cracked corn and millet seeds scattered within 30 yards of the blinds prior to turkey season. On opening morning, they witnessed two hunters actively calling and hunting for turkeys from the baited blinds. Both hunters were cited for taking or attempting to take turkeys over bait.
While patrolling in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Lieutenant Marlow and Officers Boyd and Nelson located a vessel in the south end of the Middle Grounds Habitat Area of Particular Concern, 95 nautical miles south of Carrabelle. While approaching the vessel, the captain of the vessel ran from the port side to the starboard side and began throwing fish into the water. The fish were recovered and the officers found the occupants to be in possession of reef fish not landed in whole condition (fillets), undersized gag grouper, gag grouper during closed season, over the bag limit of vermillion snapper, along with the use of “J” hooks with natural bait and the violation of throwing fish overboard as law enforcement approached. The occupants admitted to the violations and were issued the appropriate citations and warnings for the violations.
Officer M. Webb was on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico when he conducted a federal marine fisheries inspection on a vessel 11.5 nautical miles offshore. The captain of the vessel was actively fishing and had in his possession six gray triggerfish. A federal resource citation was issued for possession of gray triggerfish during closed season.
Officer H. Webb responded to a complaint of anglers harvesting over the daily bag limit and possession of undersized red and black drum under the Highland View Bridge. He arrived at the location and saw a man loading a stringer of what appeared to be undersized black drum into the back of his truck. Officer Webb conducted a fisheries inspection on the man and discovered that he was in possession of eight undersized black drum. A citation was issued for the violation. Following that stop, Officer Webb saw more anglers on the shoreline with a large stringer of fish. He conducted a fisheries inspection on the group and discovered that they were in possession of several black and red drum. Two of the red drum and one of the black drum were undersized. A citation was issued to the responsible party for possession of undersized red drum and a written warning was issued for possession of undersized black drum.
Officer Boyd was working the area of Mashes Sands when he saw a vessel inbound with two occupants. After conducting boating safety and resource inspections, Officer Boyd located three red snapper in a cooler. A citation was issued for possession of red snapper during closed season.
On opening morning of spring turkey season, Officers Nelson and Mandrick located a blind that was approximately 15 yards from and overlooking corn that had recently been distributed. The officers saw a shotgun barrel protruding from an opening in the blind. The officers approached the blind and made contact with the individual inside. When asked about the bait present in front of the blind, the individual denied having any knowledge of the bait present in the location he was hunting, even though the bait was clearly visible from the blind. After conducting a short interview, the individual admitted to knowing the bait was present and that he was hunting turkeys over bait. The appropriate action was taken in regards to the violation.
DIRECTED CONSERVATION PATROLS
Officers Manning and Allgood concentrated their efforts on offshore fisheries inspections in the Gulf of Mexico. Four vessel operators were found in possession of undersized greater amberjack. Notice to appear citations were issued for these violations. Later that day as they approached another vessel, they noticed the operator throw some fish into the water. As Officer Allgood boarded the vessel, Officer Manning retrieved two gray triggerfish that were still floating. Officer Allgood questioned the operator of the vessel about the triggerfish and he admitted to throwing them. During his inspection, a strong odor of marijuana was present. One of the passengers admitted to having a small amount of marijuana and a pipe. The pipe and marijuana were seized and notice to appear citations were issued for possession of undersized gray triggerfish, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Greene attended a Hunter Safety class at Hard Labor Creek Plantation, where he taught the law portion of the class to approximately 12 individuals. Numerous questions relating to legal aspects of hunting were answered.