Natural Resources Police Put Spotlight on Illegal Hunting Practices
Maryland Natural Resources Police recently charged individuals throughout the state for illegally using spotlights for hunting — known as “jacklighting” — along with bear-baiting and other outlawed practices.
Four Frederick men face up to $3,500 in fines after police say they admitted to jacklighting. Officers say they observed two vehicles slowing to a stop along Hoffman Seachrist Nov. 11, after which one of the passengers of the vehicle shone a spotlight across the field into a wooded area. Police searched the vehicles and found at 300,000-candlepower spotlight, a 16-gauge shotgun, a single-shot shotgun, and a hunting knife. Officers say when they spoke with the two men they admitted to looking for deer. Jeremiah Baer, 21; Devin Boon; 18; Brandon Toms,19; Robert Toms, 20; and Cameron Tyeryar, 19; were each charged with casting rays with implement and hunting a game mammal at nighttime. All men are scheduled to appear in court at a later date.
Four Delaware men were charged with jacklighting and illegal hunting in Cecil County. Police say that while in the area of Grove Neck Road Nov. 1, they saw two men in a vehicle with a handheld spotlight and two more men coming from a nearby wooded area. According to police, the men went into the woods and attempted to hide a rifle that was in the vehicle. Kevin Knotts, 30, Eric Kelly, 31, Brandon Paulson, 23, and Theodore Price, 61, each received hunting citations after admitting to hunting a deer with spotlights while in their vehicle. A trial date has not been set. If convicted of all charges, each man could be fined as much as $3,250.
A Mount Savage man was charged with jacklighting on a private field. Police say they observed a vehicle come to a stop in the middle of the road and its headlights casting rays on a private field in Mount Savage on Oct. 25. Police say the driver, Timothy Burkett, 42, also had a bow and loaded muzzleloader within easy reach of the driver.
Officers charged a Thurmont man with illegally baiting a bear on his property Oct. 21, the first day of Maryland’s annual black bear hunt. Police observed Brandt See, 31, in a treestand, armed with a crossbow about 24 yards from a mechanical feeder. See was also charged with not wearing daylight fluorescent clothing while hunting, as required by law. Maryland prohibits using bait for bear hunting; any potential bait must be removed at least 10 days prior to the hunt.
A Myersville man was charged with hunting black bear without a permit and several other offenses. Officers on patrol Oct. 21 observed Michael Marker, 68, hunting adjacent to a black bear bait operation in the area of Stottlemyer Road in Myersville. Though Marker claimed he was hunting doe, he was armed with a .444 Caliber lever action rifle — currently, Maryland deer hunting is limited to using a muzzleloader. Marker also did not possess any daylight fluorescent clothing. Marker was charged with a total of 10 hunting citations.
Police charged a Thurmont man with hunting black bears with the aid of bait and failing to wear daylight fluorescent clothing. Police say Jeremy Bales, 26, was hunting Oct. 13 about 44 yards away from a baited area containing sweet feed pellets, corn, sunflower seeds, and peanut butter.
Two Accident men were charged with shooting deer from their vehicle. On Oct. 17, police responded to a report of shots fired along Marlin Savage Road and encountered Collin Fratz, 20 and Travis Patton, 33. Police allege both men had shot the deer from their vehicle with their rifle, which is illegal without a special permit. Both men were also charged with possession of a deer during a closed season, which carries a $500 fine. Police also say the men falsified information on their harvest records and deer tags, which resulted in a warning.
An Edgemere man was issued 10 citations for hunting offenses, including hunting without a license. Police say that they responded to a report of shots fired in the area of Little Orleans on Oct.12. According to police, Donald Tawney, 47, harvested a deer with a pump action rifle, did not possess a hunting license, and refused to disclose to police where he kept the head and carcass of the harvested deer — which were later found in freezers. Charges against Tawney also include obstructing and hindering a police officer and possessing a game mammal during closed season. If found guilty, Tawney could face $15,000 in fines.
Police charged a Mechanicsville man and seized his firearm for illegally harvesting a 19-point antlered deer in early November. Police investigated a report of illegal hunting activity on a property in the Accokeek. A deer management permit on the property stipulated that only antlerless deer were to be harvested, only shotguns could be used, and all hunters must wear fluorescent clothing. Police charged Charles Knaggs, 36, with violating each of those rules. If found guilty, Knaggs faces up to $6,000 in fines if convicted.
Five Anne Arundel County men were charged with hiding more than 80 undersized striped bass under a car. Officers on patrol Oct. 29 say they observed the men and received consent to search the vehicle, finding 87 undersized striped bass hidden in a compartment on the car’s underside. Police charged Edgewater residents Lucio Hernandez, 49; Renan Maja, 35; Simon Portillo, 37; Wilfredo Portillo, 36; and Annapolis resident Oscar Reyes-Gomez, 51, with recreational possession of striped bass over the daily limit and under legal size.
Two commercial fishermen were charged with harvesting oysters in an area that is unsafe for human consumption. Police charged George Fish, 59, of Ridge and Benjamin Goddard, 75, of Piney Point for harvesting oysters in a restricted area near the Naval Air Station Patuxent River wastewater treatment facility, which had been closed by the Maryland Department of Environment. Police seized 20 bushels of oysters that were caught. If convicted, Fish and Goddard each face up to $1,000 in fines.