During muzzle loading gun season, Lieutenant Allen and Officer Forehand received a complaint from a landowner who stated that earlier in the morning a hunter came to his residence to ask for permission to track a wounded deer that he had shot on the adjacent property and run onto the landowner’s property. The landowner denied the request and told the officers that he heard the shot and that it did not sound like a muzzleloader. The officers located the hunter at his residence and conducted an interview. The hunter admitted to shooting the deer with a .270 rifle. He produced the rifle and the officers located a spent .270 shell casing. The officers also located fresh deer blood where the hunter shot the deer. The hunter was charged with taking deer by an illegal method.
NORTH CENTRAL REGION
Officer Crane got a complaint of people hunting “monkey squirrels.” Officer Crane located two subjects who were hunting and had killed a fox squirrel. The subject was cited appropriately.
Officer Cheshire inspected a vessel for boating safety violations and attempted to issue a boating citation when the subject became combative and had to be taken to the ground. The subject was taken to jail for refusal to sign the citation and resisting arrest without violence.
Officers Creel and Wells were on water patrol when they received a complaint of a subject on a vessel using a net to catch mullet. The officers located the vessel and two seine nets that were tied together. The subjects were charged with several felonies and the net and fish were seized.
Officer Sweat observed a suspicious vehicle on Crawford Road and watched as the vehicle drove down the dirt road a couple hundred feet, stop and then move on a few more feet. The emergency flashers would also come on for few seconds and then turn off. When asked if he needed assistance, the operator advised that he was looking for his deer dogs that had run onto other hunt club property. The passenger stated he was just riding along and was not hunting. After checking the driver’s hunting license, an inspection of his cooler produced several cans of beer. Both young men were under twenty-one years of age. The two subjects were issued warnings for possession of alcoholic beverages underage. The passenger was issued a citation for litter less than fifteen pounds and the driver was issued a notice to appear for not being in possession of deer dog registration papers.
Officer Bertolami inspected a subject in the Holly Hill area and discovered that the man had been using a cast net to harvest and possess tarpon, snook and mangrove snapper. Snook and tarpon may never be harvested with a cast net, and the snook were not within the required slot size limit. The fish were seized and the man was issued a criminal notice to appear for the violations.
Officer North was on night patrol when he observed a truck stopped in the middle of the road in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Officer North maintained visual contact and followed the truck through the refuge into Brevard County. The driver and passenger were both observed shining a spotlight out of the vehicle into the woods. The truck stopped as the driver held the light out of his window and the passenger fired a rifle out of the driver’s window at a wild hog. Officer North stopped the vehicle and secured both the passenger and driver. A subsequent search of the vehicle revealed two .22 caliber rifles, drug paraphernalia and a small amount of cannabis. Both subjects were charged with taking wildlife with a gun and light, taking wildlife from a state maintained roadway, possession of cannabis and possession of paraphernalia, as well as federal violations by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Officer Thornton was on patrol off Highbanks Road in Debary when he observed a vehicle on Duke Energy Property. He conducted a traffic stop for trespassing. From initial contact, the driver of the vehicle was suspected of driving under the influence (DUI). The passenger also appeared to be impaired. During the DUI investigation, the passenger became non-compliant and interfered with Officer Thornton’s investigation. The driver of the vehicle was arrested for DUI, open container, and issued a trespass warning. The passenger was arrested for interfering with the investigation and charged with open container. A trespass warning was also issued to the passenger.
Officer Balfour located a suspicious vehicle parked alongside Croom Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Further investigation revealed hunting equipment in the vehicle. During surveillance, Officer Balfour contacted two individuals wearing hunter orange. An inspection was conducted which revealed several violations. Officer Pulaski and Officer Sehl arrived to assist. Several citations were issued for violations including hunting out of season. The hunting equipment was seized as evidence.
Officer Price observed men fishing near a secluded area at night and stopped to see what was happening. After a brief time, he observed one man catch a snook. A few moments later, the man left the area and came back with a bag of ice. He grabbed the snook and placed it against the ice and began walking to a nearby neighborhood. Officer Price followed the man and stopped him around the corner. The fish was measured and found to be 24 inches long. The man was issued a misdemeanor for possession of snook out of season. He was also issued warnings for the undersized snook and for not possessing a valid fishing license.
Officers Furbay and Stapleton responded to assist Officer Price at Bunche Beach. Officer Price noticed several resource violations while fishing with individuals on the beach. Officers Furbay and Stapleton made contact when the fishermen were leaving at sunset. The resource inspection revealed seven undersized sheepshead, two undersized mangrove snapper, multiple oysters taken from unclassified waters and fishing without a saltwater license. Appropriate citations were issued.
Officer Gonzales was on land patrol around Coquina Boat Ramp on Anna Maria Island and performed a fisheries inspection on a subject fishing from a jetty that extends off the beach into the Gulf. Upon completion of his inspection, he found that the subject was in possession of one undersized snook out of season. The subject was given two criminal citations for possession of undersized snook and possession of snook out of season. The subject will have to appear in court for his violations.
While on land patrol near the Walshingham Bridge, Officer Martinez observed a man fishing from a vessel underneath the bridge. Officer Martinez approached the water’s edge and asked the man if he had any fish. The subject advised the officer he only had sheepshead. Officer Martinez asked the subject if he could check the fish, and again the subject insisted all he had was sheepshead. After being told where to find the sheepshead on the vessel, Officer Martinez found numerous undersized fish and no sheepshead. In the subject’s live well there were three gag grouper all under 12 inches, two undersized black drum and one undersized mangrove snapper. The subject was cited for numerous violations to include undersized gag grouper, possession of over the daily bag limit of gag grouper and warned on numerous other violations.
Officer Bibler was at the Maximo Boat Ramp when he observed a vessel that had just returned from fishing. Officer Bibler discovered it was a paid charter and that the customers let the captain of the charter keep the fish. He found the captain at the fish fillet table and witnessed him starting to fillet a snook. Before the snook could be completely filleted, Officer Bibler measured the snook which was under the minimum size of 28 inches. Officer Bibler cited the captain for possession of undersized snook and educated him on charter crews keeping bag limits of snook.
While on patrol near the Dick Meisner Bridge, Officer Martinez observed two men fishing and approached so he could perform a resource inspection. After talking to the men and inspecting their catch, it was discovered both men had each caught an undersized gag grouper. Both gag groupers were approximately 12 inches, well under the 24-inch minimum. Both men were cited accordingly for their violations.
Officer Davidson was on land patrol in Myakka State Park and received a call from the park rangers that there was an individual harassing the patrons. When Officer Davidson arrived on scene, he located the subject driving around inside the park. After speaking with the man, it became quite clear that the subject was intoxicated. After performing an investigation into possible DUI, the subject was arrested and taken to the county jail.
Lieutenant Hinds IV was on land patrol around Bayfront Park on Longboat Key and performed a fisheries inspection on a kayaker that had just returned from fishing. During the inspection, Lieutenant Hinds found that the man had caught and kept two spotted seatrout over 20 inches. The fish measured 26 inches and 22 inches. The subject was cited criminally for possession of more than one spotted seatrout over 20 inches and will have to appear in court.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officers Maldonado and Collazo performed an outreach event in Lovers Key State Park. The name of the event was Great Outdoor Adventure Day. Approximately 150 people attended the event. Officer Collazo brought one 10-inch hatchling alligator for the presentation. Officer Maldonado brought fishing and hunting regulation pamphlets, as well as coloring books. The officers spoke about the importance of not feeding alligators and discussed fishing and hunting opportunities.
SOUTH REGION A
Officers Brevik and Carroll were conducting land patrol at night around Allapattah Flats Wildlife Environmental Area (WEA) and observed a suspicious vehicle parked along the fence line of the WEA. Moments later, officers observed two subjects illegally exiting the WEA. After investigation, Officer Brevik charged both subjects with misdemeanors for illegally entering/exiting a WEA.
Officers Carroll, Rogers and Brevik were conducting land patrol in the Dupuis WEA, approached two subjects and, through investigation, discovered a bag of corn placed in the woods next to the vehicle. The officers interviewed the subjects and discovered that they had placed the corn to bait hogs. The subjects were cited accordingly for the violations.
Officer Brodbeck was conducting boating safety and resource inspections along the Kissimmee River due to the substantial number of fish that were being caught. While conducting surveillance at the Scott Driver Boat Ramp, the officer observed a vessel with three occupants and fishing equipment consistent with fishing for black crappie approaching the dock. Officer Brodbeck identified himself and asked the captain of the vessel for consent to inspect their catch. The captain agreed and, upon inspection, multiple black crappie were located that were well short of the 10-inch size limit. Officer Brodbeck also observed a measuring device used specifically for back crappie in plain view aboard the vessel. Each occupant was issued a citation for the violations and a total of 12 black crappie were seized as evidence.
COMMUNITY ORIENTED POLICING
Officer Brodbeck was dispatched to a complaint regarding an aggressive alligator located at the Fisheating Creek Campground. Upon the officer’s arrival, several alligators were observed, but none matched the description provided. Officer Brodbeck informed the campers that he would wait to see if the alligator would return. Approximately an hour later, while one of the campers was fishing, a large alligator appeared near the shoreline. Officer Brodbeck estimated the alligator at over 8 feet, and it did not display any fear of humans. A licensed nuisance alligator trapper was called and agreed that the alligator needed to be removed. With the assistance of Officer Brodbeck, the trapper captured the alligator, which measured 10 feet in length. Many of the occupants of nearby campsites came over and expressed thanks to the trapper and for responding and removing a potentially dangerous animal.
SOUTH REGION B
Captive Wildlife Investigator Corteguera concluded an investigation in response to complaints of an escaped silver fox that had been seen roaming a residential neighborhood. He identified the owner, who confirmed it was his fox and that it had escaped. Further investigation revealed the fox had been kept in an improper enclosure, which led to three escapes within a week. The caging has been brought into compliance. Two criminal citations were issued for the escape and for the improper enclosure. Three warnings were also issued for related violations. The fox was returned to his owner. Officer Banks assisted on this incident.
Officer Arbogast was on water patrol with an Everglades National Park Ranger in a park service vessel. The officers were pulling away from the dock when they observed a 14’ jon boat idling towards the boat ramp with several fishing rods hanging out the sides. During a resource inspection, several indicators of impairment were observed. When asked how much he had to drink. He replied “a few, 3 to 4.” The operator consented to Seated Field Sobriety Tests which he performed poorly. Officer Arbogast placed the operator under arrest for BUI. The operator refused to provide a breath sample and was booked into the county jail.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
Two officers were on water patrol together, concentrating their efforts inside of Key Biscayne Special Management Zone. The officers stopped one commercial vessel that had the captain, first mate and five paying customers onboard. After completing safety and fisheries inspections, the captain was cited for possession of undersized yellowtail snapper, operating a vessel for commercial purposes that was not registered for commercial use and two other equipment safety violations.
Officers on water patrol encountered and stopped an inbound vessel in Biscayne Channel. A fisheries inspection was conducted and three oversized barracuda were found amongst the catch. The captain of the vessel was cited for the violation.
Officers Oldsen, Amuso, Araujo and Kleis responded to Marine Emergency Response Team (MERT) call regarding two missing boaters in a remote part of the Ten Thousand Islands. The local Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit and a National Park Service Vessel also responded to the call. The missing boaters were found by Officers Kleis and Amuso, and aside from being scared and lost, they were unharmed. The officers escorted them back to the boat ramp.