April 29, 2014
Following are details of four cases, illustrating the investigative work Division officers perform on a regular basis:
The NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife has announced that Conservation Officer Wesley Kille was presented with the National Wild Turkey Federation Conservation Officer of the Year Award for 2012. This prestigious award was presented by Lou Gambale, President of the NWTF's Tri-County Longbeards Chapter at the April Fish and Game Council Meeting.
CO Wesley Kille has been an officer with the Bureau of Law Enforcement since 2002. He is a graduate of Rowan University and the Cape May County Police Academy. His assigned patrol area is Gloucester County working out of the Southern Region Office.
During the spring of 2012 CO Kille spent a considerable amount of time scouting his patrol area on foot looking for potential turkey hunting violations. His diligence paid off and resulted in the apprehension of 13 illegal turkey hunters.
Seven hunters were charged and convicted for hunting turkeys with the aid of bait, three for hunting without the proper turkey permits, two for possession of untagged or unregistered birds, one for possessing a firearm within 450' of a residence and trespassing for the purpose of hunting.
Three weeks prior to the opening day of spring turkey season, CO Kille discovered a blind baited with black sunflower seeds in Monroe Township (it is illegal to hunt within 300 feet of bait). On the opening day of the season CO Kille went to the location and observed a parked vehicle. An inspection of the vehicle revealed two gun cases and a few kernels of corn in the bed of the truck.
He went to the first blind and apprehended a hunter illegally hunting over bird food and sunflower seeds; not corn. After a brief conversation the hunter revealed that he was hunting with a friend, who was also apprehended for hunting with the aid of bait. There wasn't any corn located at the second location so CO Kille asked where the hunters had parked and what type of vehicle they were driving. When the vehicle didn't match the description from the first vehicle he observed, CO Kille realized that there was a second group of hunters in the area.
After concluding the first apprehensions he went back into the woods and located a second group of hunters over bait. Additionally, one of the hunters was hunting without a permit or a hunting license and the second hunter didn't have a turkey permit.
On the second day of the season CO Kille was patrolling Logan Township when he observed two out-of-state vehicles parked at a home that hadn't been occupied in some time. Curious as to whether or not the occupants were hunting, CO Kille performed a search in the license database. He believed they were hunting so he subsequently went out on foot. Three hunters were located and inspected, and one was hunting without a license.
Just prior to the first Saturday of the season CO Kille stopped to talk to s complainant who reported a tree stand illegally placed on his property. While investigating that complaint he discovered two baited blinds. He collected five shotgun wads within the baited area at one of the blinds. Two hunters were apprehended hunting over bait at this blind on the first Saturday of the season. An interview revealed that one hunter had hunted the baited blind during the first week of the season without a valid permit.
An inspection of the second blind resulted in another apprehension for a single hunter using bait. During the initial inspections he heard numerous shots coming from an adjacent farm so he continued to that area in order to conduct additional inspections.
He was able to locate two additional hunters returning to the farm and both were observed exiting a truck with untagged turkeys. Charges were filed against both hunters for possessing the untagged turkeys.
On Monday of the B segment CO Kille responded to a call for assistance from the Deptford Township Police Department. A Deptford officer initially responded to a 911 call of a hunter walking down a residential street with a shotgun. Upon arrival CO Kille inspected the hunter whose gun was still loaded and within 450' of many houses. It was also determined that the man was trespassing where he was hunting; charges were filed for both violations.