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Lewes, Delaware
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February 24, 2006     Cape Gazette
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February 24, 2006

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114 - CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, Feb. 24 - Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 m SHOT IN TIlE FOOT - Last week we wrote about the need for hunters and fishermen to always obey the law and maintain a good public image. We mentioned the fiasco over the vice president shooting a lawyer and how good hunter safety would have prevent- ed that accident. Of course, if everyone practiced good hunter safety we would have no hunting accidents. Then we read about a group of Delaware hunters arrested in Texas for numerous hunting vio- lations. Texas authorities have handled that case, but it still casts a dark shadow on all hunters. On Tuesday morning I picked up the News Journal and was greeted by a photo of 184 water- fowl lying along the dirt road that goes through the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal Wildlife Area in New Castle County. The accom- panying story by Molly Murray Eric Burnley Delaware's Hunting Heritage" will be the theme at the Delaware Branch Quality Deer Management Association's second annual ban- quet on Saturday, Feb. 25 at Dover's Modern Maturity Center on Forest Avenue in Dover. Guests will be admitted to the East Wing Ballroom beginning at 5 p.m. with the center's all-you- can-eat legendary steamship carved round of beef and baked chicken buffet dinner served at 6:30 p.m. Several items of rare Delaware hunting heritage memorabilia will be available for bidding. OUTDOORS explained that the birds were dis- covered on Jan. 31, well after hunting seasons closed in both Delaware and Maryland. I hunted waterfowl for many years and to make a kill like that takes some special circumstances. Assuming the birds were killed in Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse will once again serve as the celebrity auctioneer for the live auction portion of the evening. A 50-item silent auction, ladies antique jeweled ring, a 15- item ladies raffle package and a 100-package sportsmen and sportswomen raffle will be includ- ed in the program. A world class collection of 15 to 20 sporting arms, art work, wildlife and nature prints, and bronze art also will be available for bidding. Several original and one-of-a-kind items will be part of the program, including a Sussex the same place on the same day you would need excellent hunting conditions, like low visibility, and something to attract and hold the birds in one location, like corn bait. The types of birds killed are also interesting. There were 68 scaup, 38 bufflehead and 78 Canada geese. This would lead me to believe that the birds were killed over water since the ducks are divers that do not spend a lot of time in grain fields. I would also suspect the criminals put out a lot of decoys or a lot of corn. If it were corn, the baiting would have to be done over a period of time to get the birds used to the free food. You can't dump a load of corn on the morning you plan to hunt and expect this type of result. I would also suspect the poach- ers were using layout boats and v- boards. Layout boats are very County handmade wildlife themed afghan, hand crafted Sika stag call and a Pennington Seed, half-acre installed food plot. Live auction items will include a Dover Downs NASCAR pack- age, a Wilhelm Goebel artist in residence remarqued print and a NASCAR "Ride" from Dover Downs. A Celebrity Luncheon, deer hunts and a waterfowl hunt will be included in the 25-item live auction. For information on attendance, underwriting and tickets, call Chip West at 238-0137, or E. J. Chalabala at 228-8954. narrow and shallow craft that are placed right in or very close to the decoy spread. V-boards have sev- eral silhouette decoys mounted on boards that are easier to carry on a boat than full body decoys. It is unlikely that one or two guns accomplished this much car- nage. This is a good thing since the more people that are involved the better chance that someone will talk. Right now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is handling the case and they have offered a $1,000 reward for information on the people who did this. The big question for me is why did the poachers dump the birds? Poachers almost always have a financial reason for committing this type of crime. Either they have a market for the meat or peo- ple who want to kill as much as possible are paying them. In either case, the final purchaser is well off financially and may even have some political clout. I once asked a Virginia Marine Resources Police Officer why he did not follow a pound netter who had 7,000 pounds of illegal stripers to the final point of sale where he could have arrested the buyer as well. His response was they had the case made on the net- ter and if they had followed him to thefinal point of sale they could have lost both cases for many rea- sons. Not the least of which was the buyer would have more money to hire better lawyers as well as some political clout and could have gotten both offenders off. One in the hand is better than two in the bush. I do not envy the federal and state officers charged with solving this case. I am sure they have sus- pects if only because there are not that many people with the resources to make this type of kill. Believe me, this was not the first time these boys had shot water- fowl. The problem is finding some- one to put the poachers in the boats on the day the birds were killed and only someone who was there can do that. Poachers are criminals and they behave like what they are. Anyone who would give them up is risking his safety and the safety of his family. Considerirtg that poachers do not consider waterfowl anything more than a means to an end, it is unlikely anyone who was there is going to come forward and jeopardize himself and his family for the sake of 184 birds. Eric Burnley is a fuUtime out- doors writer who lives between Milton and Lewes. He can be reached at Eburnle @aol. com. The Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife will open its spring 2006 trout season Saturday, April 1, with the stocking of two ponds, Tidbury Pond near Dover and Blockhouse Pond in Lewes behind Beebe Medical Center. "The trout season in these ponds begins the moment the fish hit the water," said Fisheries Program Manager Craig Shirey, noting the program is "put and take," meaning fishermen are expected to take the fish soon after they are put in the water, because trout are cold water fish and will not survive after normal summer water temperatures exceed the trout's temperature limit. Each pond will be stocked with approximately 550 rainbow trout, with an average size of 11 inches and weighing about one-half pound each. Some trophy-sized rainbows or brown trout weighing two pounds and measuring well over 14 inches also will be includ- ed. Stocking will be repeated March 16 with the same number of fish in each pond. Blockhouse Pond was again chosen as this year's Sussex on any complete Carrier, Goodman and Rheem systems. Guaranteed lowest prices in all of Sussex County! County alternate site to the no longer available Gravel Hill Pond in Georgetown. Anglers wishing to try their luck are reminded that in addition to the normal freshwater fishing license requirements, they also must purchase a trout stamp, which costs $4.20 for ages 16 and older but not over 65, or a youth stamp, which costs $2.10 for boys and girls ages 12 to 15. Higher stamp and license prices apply to nonresident anglers. Over 18 Years Experience Alan Barden Millsboro DE 19966 : : ( ~'I ~.":O. |