Oyster and Waterfowl Poachers Caught by Natural Resources Police
Illegal goose hunting and oyster poaching were among the cases handled recently by the Maryland Natural Resources Police.
Three Charles County men were charged with multiple hunting violations on Wednesday after officers found them with 24 geese over the limit.
Reid Nathaniel Franklin and Eric Matthew Robertson, both 22 of Newburg, were charged with exceeding the daily bag limit for geese and received written warnings or hunting without written permission. Franklin also was charged with hunting without a license. John Timothy Darbie, 18, of Port Tobacco, was charged with failing to have a migratory game stamp and received a written warning for hunting without written permission.
Acting on a phone tip, officers checked an area off Mount Victoria Road in Newburg and found the poachers, who admitted they shot too many birds.
The geese were seized and donated to charity.
The three men are due in Charles District Court on April 20. The maximum fine for exceeding the daily bag limit and hunting without a license is $1,500. Failing to obtain a migratory bird stamp carries a fine of $250.
Three Wicomico County men were charged Saturday with hunting under the influence of marijuana.
Austin Wayne Hurley, 28, of Delmar, Dennis Alton Hughes, 36, of Hebron, and Reuben Daniel Calder, 33, of Mardela Springs, each received a citation, which mandates a court appearance. Hughes and Hurley also received civil citations for possession.
Officers checking waterfowl hunters saw activity on Barren Creek Pond off U.S. 50 and stopped to check the blind. As they approached, the officers smelled burning marijuana.
The three hunters acknowledged they had been smoking and officers found a black film canister containing 1.6 grams of marijuana on Hurley. Hughes said he had marijuana but threw it in the water before officers arrived.
The three men are scheduled to appear in Wicomico District Court on April 5. The maximum penalty for hunting while under the influence of marijuana is up to one year in prison and a $1,500 fine. The penalty for possession is a pre-payable fine of $50.
A Dorchester County waterman received 11 citations totaling $5,055 in fines Thursday after officers caught him with 13 bushels of undersized oysters.
Jeremy Vincent Shockley, 42, of Toddville, was charged with harvesting undersized oysters, ranging from 7 percent to 37 percent below the 3-inch state minimum.
While patrolling the area around the Wingate county dock shortly after noon, officers saw a vessel, “Ka-Kee,” docking and approached Shockley. The waterman told the officers that he had dumped his catch into a container that already held oysters. However, the buyer contradicted Shockley’s account and showed documentation of the purchase.
Officers returned the undersized oysters to state waters.
Shockley was found guilty in 2000, 2007, 2009 and 2012 of oyster poaching charges. He is scheduled to appear in Dorchester District Court on the latest charges on April 20.
Eight watermen are due in Talbot District Court on March 17 on charges that they stole oysters from protected state waters.
Charged with harvesting oysters from a sanctuary were: William E. Gannon Jr., 61, of Cambridge; David Lewis Jones, 47, of Nanticoke; Jason Christopher Lewis, 38, of Mardela Springs; Marvin Daniel Richardson, 58, of Toddville; Robert Jeffrey Robinson Sr., 51, of Crapo; Harold Mark Wanex, 58, of Beulah; and William H. Winsor Jr., 56, of Woolford.
Officers conducting surveillance on the Howell Point Sanctuary on the Choptank River on Jan. 12 saw the men on four commercial boats hand tonging for oysters.
If found guilty of the charge, each man faces a maximum fine of $3,000 and a possible license suspension.
Two waterfowl hunters were charged with illegal hunting in Cecil County by officers on patrol.
John Wilson Dixon, 29, of Earlville, and Larry McAllister, 70, of Dover, Del., were each issued citations for hunting with the aid of bait and received written warnings for feeding waterfowl during hunting season.
Officers saw a group of hunters in a blind at 112 Cassidy Wharf Road in Earlville. McAllister, the property owner, and Dixon, the property manager, said they were hunting with four guests.
Officers noticed shelled corn at several locations on the property being hunted, which under Maryland law constitutes baiting waterfowl.
The four guest hunters were issued warnings.
Dixon and McAllister are scheduled to appear in Cecil District Court on March 16. The violation carries a maximum fine of $1,500.