While local hunters and fishermen may not notice the change, it could lead to greater cooperation between the Natural Resources Police and local police departments, Simmons said.
With his promotion, Simmons is essentially the second in command of the Western Maryland region, responsible for the law enforcement activities and many of the administrative duties of the Natural Resources Police in Washington, Frederick, Allegany and Garrett counties.
Bartles is the supervisor of the four Natural Resources Police officers in Washington County and three in Frederick County.
Simmons joined the Department of Natural Resources in 1971 and was one of the first 10 cadets when the Maryland Natural Resources Police was formed a year later.
Bartles served with the Washington County Sheriff's Department and Hagerstown City Police before joining the Natural Resources Police in 1984.
This is a busy time of year for the Natural Resources Police as they work to make the woods safe for hunters and property owners.
Simmons said that hunting is a safe activity and that incidents are rare considering the large numbers of hunters in the woods.
"The majority of hunters police themselves well," Simmons said. "The woods are filled with hunters. In every corner of Washington County there are hunters and I think hunters are very safe generally."
Simmons said the job of the Natural Resources Police is to make sure the hunters stay safe.
More complaints are received by the Natural Resources Police about hunters trespassing on property or poaching, Simmons said.
The hunters probably are not committing more violations in the past, but rather people are more likely to know where to file a complaint now, Simmons said.
Simmons said more Natural Resources Police officers are needed to keep up with the hunting activities as well as patrolling the Potomac River.
Bartles said the Natural Resources Police officers are stretched two ways - they're kept busy reacting to complaints made by the public while at the same time they try to work pro actively with stake outs to catch poachers and in patrolling the woods.