Each issue we share Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Reports for Northwest Florida
This article originally appeared in our May/June 2018 issue.
FOX TROT – FWC dispatch received multiple complaints re- garding a subject who shot a gray fox. Several officers began working the case and gathering information including Officers Mullins, Hoomes, Roberson and Jones. Officer Mullins contacted the subject and met with him about the fox. The subject admitted to Officers Mullins and Jones that he shot the fox. The officers went back with the subject to where the carcass had been dis- carded and located the fox, as well as the spent buckshot casing. After reviewing the evidence, charges were filed on the subject by Mullins for killing a gray fox.
NOT TOO BRIGHT – Investigator Molnar was working night hunting activity on a county maintained road which passed through Eglin Reservation. A pickup truck slowed down while the passenger displayed a LED light into an open field in a manner capable of dis- closing the presence of deer. Molnar followed the vehicle for about half a mile and conducted a traffic stop. A pump action 12-gauge shotgun was located between the passenger side door and the seat, along with five 00 buck shotgun shells. An LED flashlight was also located in the center console and there was dried deer blood and hair in the bed of the truck. After speaking with the subjects, it was determined they were attempting to take deer with a gun and light. Appropriate citations were issued. Eglin Range Patrol also cited the subjects restricting them from using the reservation for three years.
KIDDIE POOL – Officer Corbin conducting boating safety inspections near the entrance to Destin Harbor and observed two kayaks, each occupied with an adult and a small child. An inspection of the children’s life jackets showed they were U.S. Coast Guard rated for individuals 90 pounds and above. Both children were under 65 pounds. Both kayaks were rented. Due to rough seas and a strong current, Corbin assisted both kayaks in getting back to the dock. The owners of the rental company met Corbin and the renters at the dock. The owners admitted they did not have youth size life jackets for the children. The officer conducted a livery inspection and de- termined the business was in violation of several statutes and rules. The owner was issued a notice to appear citation for renting a vessel without the proper safety equipment, person providing pre-rental/ pre-ride instructions has not completed approved safety course, and boating safety information not properly displayed at livery.
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS – Officers Maltais and Rockwell taught the law portion of a Hunter Education class. There were 39 students with several parents in attendance for the spring class. Sev- eral related questions were answered. Maltais served as a firearm in- structor for the follow-on skills evaluation portion of the class.
FREE TO FLEE – Officer Jarvis and Lieutenant Clark assisted the park staff and Gulfarium staff at Henderson Beach State Park with the release of two loggerhead turtles and three green turtles. Four of the sea turtles were rescued during the recent cold snap. The other had a fish hook removed. Approximately 400 to 500 people attended. The officers provided security and traffic control.
FISHY MATH – Officer Pifer was conducting fisheries inspec- tions on the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier when he contacted an individual who was actively engaged in fishing. A resource inspection re- vealed a total of 67 Spanish mackerel, six of which were undersized. The individual was fishing alone and claimed some of the fish were given to him by other individuals. State law prohibits the possession of more than 15 Spanish mackerel while on a pier. The individual was cited for possessing over the bag limit and possession of under- sized Spanish mackerel.
SANTA ROSA COUNTY
UP TO SNUFF – Officers Ramos, Lugg, Wilkerson, Clark, Long, Cushing and Land participated in targeted enforcement of pompa- no regulations along Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia County beaches. They checked more than 200 anglers in a two-week span, totaling five citations and 12 warnings for various violations.
FISH DON’T MEASURE UP – Officer Ramos observed two men return from a fishing trip and followed them to a local boat ramp. The vessel was pushing a wake in an idle speed zone until they saw the officer approach. After a boating safety inspection, Officer Ramos asked if the men had caught any fish. The men showed him 10 gray snapper and several unregulated fish in a cooler. Upon mea- suring the snapper, seven of the 10 were undersized. The captain of the vessel admitted he should have measured the fish and took responsibility for the seven undersized fish. The fish were seized and the man was cited for the undersized fish and issued a warning for violating the idle speed zone.
CHARGES PENDING – Officer Jones issued a citation to a subject for the charges of entering a closed area and attempting to take deer over bait on a management area on the Eglin Wildlife Man- agement Area. Lieutenant Berryman and Officer Mullins assisted Officer Jones in the investigation which led to the charges.
LICENSE AND REGISTRATION, PLEASE – While on vessel patrol in Escambia Bay, Officer Ramos saw a vessel operating in a restricted military zone. After conducting a vessel stop, he found the vessel to be lacking required safety equipment. A resource inspection was conducted and Ramos determined that the two occupants had been commercial fishing, but only one man had the required salt- water products license (SPL). While inspecting the cooler of fish, a commercial quantity of mullet was found, in addition to a concealed undersized black drum measuring 10.5 inches, under the required 14- to 24-inch slot limit. The captain was issued warnings for oper- ating in a restricted zone, missing safety equipment and not having his SPL license available for review. He was issued a citation for the undersized black drum. The second man was issued a citation for engaging in commercial fishing without a saltwater products license.
GOBBLE-GOBBLE – Officer White located two subjects turkey hunting in a closed portion of Eglin Wildlife Management Area. The subjects had previously been told at an Eglin check station that the area they were in was closed for the day due to an active military mission. They were charged for entering the closed area and Eglin Security Forces personnel issued a suspension from Eglin property.
– Courtesy of FWC Division of Law Enforcement: Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, and Walton counties