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Natural Resources Police Cite Turkey Hunters for Baiting

Photo of baitSeven men in Washington and Frederick counties were charged this week at the start of spring wild turkey season with illegal hunting with the use of bait.

Maryland Natural Resources Police officers fanned out before the season opened to locate illegal bait – mostly corn – left near hunting blinds. They returned before dawn Wednesday to issue citations to those occupying the sites. The maximum fine for hunting over bait is $1,500.

Larry Erick Kessler, 40, of Clear Spring, and Cameron Patrick Pressman, 28, of Ellerslie, were found at 6 a.m. about 110 yards from a bait pile at Elgert’s Hunt Club in Hancock and about 10 yards from a turkey decoy. Each man was armed with a 12-gauge shotgun pointed in the direction of the bait pile, which measured 20-yards by 20-yards.

About a half-hour later, officers charged David Lorne Pittman, 61, of Hancock, after officers saw him walking with a shotgun toward a baited area. They watched Pittman spread sunflower seeds on the ground next to a feeder, place a turkey decoy next to the bait and then enter a box blind.

All three men are scheduled to appear in Washington County District Court July 10.

At about 7:30 a.m., officers on surveillance near a baited area and pop-up blind in Hancock stopped Jerry Alan Walberg, 39, of Smithsburg. He acknowledged placing cracked corn and decoys at two locations for friends. Walberg received a citation and each friend received a written warning.

Walberg is scheduled to appear in Washington County District Court June 14.

Also at 7:30 a.m., officers charged Robert James Rush, 56, and Robert James Rush Jr., 27, both of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, for hunting a baited area off Winchester Road in Hagerstown. They have a July 10 hearing date in Washington County District Court.

In Frederick County, Paul Edward Eyler, 37, of Emmitsburg, was issued a citation after an officer watched him enter a blind after setting up decoy turkeys over an area previously baited with corn. Eyler is due in Frederick County District Court June 14.

Two Talbot County men are scheduled to appear in district court May 17 on charges that they poached wild turkeys during the 2017 spring season.

An investigation found that April 15, 2017 – Junior Hunt Day – Jesse Aaron Gottleib, 36, of Bozman, accompanied two junior hunters and allowed one of them to attempt to harvest a second turkey. Gottleib failed to report the harvest to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and allowed one of the juveniles to hunt without a license.

On April 20, 2017, William Kenneth Adams III, 35, of St. Michaels, and Gottleib were hunting together when Adams shot two turkeys. Adams reported one and Gottleib falsely reported the other to the department. The investigation found that Adams also failed to report the harvest of a white-tailed deer to the state.

Gottleib is charged with two counts of aiding and abetting the illegal taking of turkeys, aiding and abetting the failure to report a turkey harvest, knowingly reporting false information to the state and aiding and abetting a junior hunter without a license. The maximum fines total $7,500.

Adams is charged with exceeding the daily bag limit of wild turkeys and failing to report the deer harvest. The maximum fines total $3,000.

On Tuesday, a Dorchester County man was ordered to pay $7,000 in restitution to the state and had his hunting privileges suspended for three years after pleading guilty to deer poaching charges.

Jeffery Cherry, 43, of Hurlock, also was sentenced to complete 160 hours of community service and forfeited nine buck antler racks by Talbot County District Judge John Nunn III.

Cherry was charged in January after an investigation found he hunted without a license, did not purchase a bow hunting stamp, failed to report a deer harvest to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and knowingly provided the department with false information.

The judge ordered Cherry to pay $1,000 in fines but suspended an additional $3,000. Cherry was ordered to pay restitution of $5,000 for killing a 10-point buck and $2,000 for killing an 8-point buck. The money will go into the State Wildlife Management and Protection Fund.

Enhanced enforcement of fishing regulations on the Susquehanna River in Harford and Cecil counties last weekend resulted in seven anglers being charged with catching striped bass in a spawning area:

William John Coleman, 28, of Cockeysville; Matthew Corbin Wagner, 21, of Nottingham; Mark Tim Haey, 61, of Joppa; Jeffrey Allen Long, 48, of Essex; Logan Erich Kuhrmann, 19, of Essex; Ivan Koretic, 20, of Dundalk; and James Lance Eveland, 23, of Rising Sun.

Eveland also was charged with failing to obey a police officers and possessing alcohol in a park.

Failure to immediately release striped bass in the catch-and-release area of Susquehanna Flats from March 1 to May 3 is punishable by a $250 pre-payable fine.

Two Washington-area men were charged Sunday in Dorchester County with catching and keeping 13 striped bass out of season.

Officers on overnight surveillance watched Maribel Koga, 55, of Burke, Virginia, and Johnny Etore Koga Sr., 53, of Washington, catch striped bass from Fishing Creek Bridge and hide them in their vehicle. When they were stopped, fish were found in coolers and bags.

Each man faces a maximum fine of $1,500 when they appear in Dorchester County District Court June 27.