The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Division of Law Enforcement Weekly Report from Nov. 24 - Nov. 30 includes incidents in the Lake Okeechobee area. This report represents some events the FWC handled over specified weeks; however, it does not include all actions taken by the Division of Law Enforcement.
• Officer Ciprich was on patrol, checking several anglers in the Harney Pond area of Lake Okeechobee. In this area, crappie must be a minimum of 10 inches to be legal. During one inspection, he encountered an individual who was in possession of multiple crappie under the 10-inch minimum requirement. The subject was educated on the size requirements and was given a warning for the violation. The following day, Officer Ciprich observed the same individual fishing in the same area. The subject was again found to be in possession of multiple crappie under the minimum 10-inch requirement. The subject was issued a notice to appear for the violation.
• Senior Officer Stone was patrolling STA 1 West Waterfowl Public Small Game Hunting Area and checking exiting waterfowl hunters. After the time had passed for all the hunters to exit the area, the check station operator reported to the officer that one individual was overdue and did not check out. The officer drove to the hunter’s assigned parking spot and found his truck but no sign of the hunter. At this time, it was dark and the hunter was assumed to be lost in the marsh. Additional support and assets were requested and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office helicopter was dispatched to search for the individual. The helicopter located the lost hunter and helped direct the hunter to where officers were staged on the levee. The hunter was provided a ride back to his vehicle
Officer Watson has participated in multiple educational outreach events over the past weeks.
• He attended the Florida Trail Association event, where he brought an airboat for people to see and had a booth set up where he was able to interact and answer questions from the public.
• He also attended the Public Safety Day in Clewiston and brought a swamp buggy for the public to see. He and members of other public safety agencies interacted with the public. Officer Watson provide safety information and answer questions related to hunting and fishing.
• He also gave presentations to approximately 60 to 70 campers at the Fisheating Creek Campground and to elementary school children at LaBelle Elementary during their career day.