Brevard Florida Fish and Wildlife Officers Bust Perps For Illegal Hunting and Fishing
By Space Coast Daily // December 12, 2018
two suspects busted for hunting waterfowl over bait in same location two years in a row
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following report highlights some cases the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission handled in Brevard County over the past week but does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Lieutenant Bonds, Officer Eller and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Officer Bushnell arrested two subjects for hunting waterfowl over bait.
The suspects were arrested during the opening day of waterfowl season last year in the same location by the same officers.
The officers watched from a concealed location as the men entered the area and actively searched for the officers. The officers could hear the men discussing where game wardens could possibly be hiding, and if they would get caught two years in a row.
Both subjects were arrested and their firearms seized.
Officer Mendelson, K9 Officer Hadwin, K9 Blue, and Officer Hocker conducted airboat patrol on Lake Winder.
One resource inspection/license check led to an individual that was duck hunting and not able to produce a Federal Duck Stamp or a migratory bird permit.
The individual was issued a citation for no Federal Duck Stamp and a warning for no migratory bird permit.
Officer Delano saw several men fishing while on patrol at a local causeway.
After approaching to conduct a resource inspection, he noticed several cast nets and coolers in their truck bed. Officer Cybula arrived on scene to assist.
A resource inspection revealed the men were in possession of six stone crabs in whole condition, five undersized stone crab claws, and one egg-bearing stone crab. Additionally, the men were in possession of four undersized sheepshead and one undersized mangrove snapper.
Several citations and warnings were issued for the offenses.
While on foot patrol, Officer Balgo saw a large group of people near the shoreline.
As the officer approached, he saw a cast net and a bucket near a grill. A resource inspection located two undersized gray snapper and one undersized sheepshead being cooked whole on the grill. Officer Balgo also located one undersized gray snapper in the bucket. One of the individuals admitted to catching the fish with the cast net.
The individual was cited accordingly.
Officer Balgo saw a group of individuals fishing along the seawall.
A resource inspection located an undersized red drum in one of the individual’s bucket. The individual was cited accordingly.
While on patrol, Officer Balgo saw two individuals fishing along the rocks.
He located a cooler containing five sheepshead, three of which were undersized. One of the individuals admitted to catching the undersized sheepshead. The individual was cited accordingly.
While on foot patrol in the early morning hours, Officer Rasey located two subjects fishing.
When asked if they had any fish in their cooler, one individual advised there were catfish inside. Upon opening the cooler, a red drum was located along with catfish. When asked about the red drum, the subject who caught it advised it was exactly 27 inches. The red drum measured almost 30 inches.
The individual was cited for the violation.
Officer Marroquin was dispatched to a call reference a Wildlife Alert for a subject in possession of pygmy rattlesnakes.
Possession of venomous reptiles is prohibited unless a subject is properly licensed. The tip included a subject’s name and that the information was on Facebook.
The information displayed a pygmy rattlesnake in a glass tank. Officer Marroquin requested the assistance of Captive Wildlife Investigator Saunders in the investigation. Once the suspect was identified it was determined he was in possession of two pygmy rattlesnakes, which were not properly caged.
The snakes were released to FWC custody and the subject was cited appropriately.
Officer Mendelson, K9 Officer Hadwin, K9 Blue, and Officer Hocker conducted airboat patrol on Lake Winder and later foot patrol into the Upper St. Johns WMA.
K9 Blue led the way into the woods following a scent trail. Resource inspections led to an investigation about several antlerless deer that were harvested earlier that day.
The following day, the subjects met the officers at a local processor where three of the four deer were located. The fourth deer was brought in a cooler to the location. The subjects admitted to taking the deer on the same morning. This information was forwarded to the State Attorney’s office.
Subsequently, the subjects were issued citations for over the bag limit of antlerless deer.
Lieutenant Bonds was contacted by FWC Investigators out of the North Central Region about a trophy class white-tailed deer that was killed illegally in Kansas and brought back to Florida.
Lieutenant Bonds and Officer Eller worked closely with Kansas Game Warden Brook and exchanged information on the case. Lieutenant Bonds and Officer Eller tracked down the suspect who resided in Brevard County.
The officers conducted an interview, obtained information on the illegal harvest, and identified a Kansas outfitter who was also involved. The officers located and seized the illegal trophy rack and cape at a local taxidermist.
The skullcap and cape were not properly cleaned or processed before being transported into Florida. This is a concern because Kansas has been identified as a state in which Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected.
The FWC takes CWD very seriously and is taking an aggressive approach to preventing it from entering Florida. To guard against importing CWD from other states, it is illegal to bring into Florida the whole carcass of any deer, elk, moose, caribou or other cervid from areas where CWD has been detected.
CWD is a contagious, fatal neurological disease that has been found in captive and free-ranging deer, moose and elk in 25 states and 3 Canadian provinces. Due to the size of the deer, the individual is facing several serious penalties from Kansas wildlife officials.
In addition, FWC Division of Law Enforcement is addressing the importation of an unsafe deer specimen from a state where CWD has been detected.
While on patrol near the Highway 192 bridge over the Indian River in Melbourne, Officer DuBose saw three men wading in the water with a cast net.
He conducted a resource inspection and found the men in possession of 50 sheepshead, 42 of them being undersized and 26 over the bag limit. They were also in possession of 2 undersized black drum and 1 undersized mangrove snapper. The mangrove snapper was also harvested by illegal method.
Appropriate citations were issued.
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