New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – December 23rd, 2016
(Editor’s note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the state of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.)
Bald eagle rescue
An injured bald eagle rescued in the Hudson River on June 4 by ECOs James Davey and Anthony Glorioso was later released in the town of Germantown. The female bald eagle had spent three-and-a-half months in the care of Triple FFF Wildlife Center in Hunter, where it was being treated for pneumonia and injured flight feathers. Glorioso, Davey and ECO Lucas Palmateer, along with Missy Runyan from the Triple FFF Wildlife Center, released the eagle in the area where she had been injured. DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife staff leg-banded the eagle for future data collection prior to the successful release.
Youth waterfowl hunt
(Niagara and Genesee counties)
ECOs from DEC Regions 8 and 9 teamed up for another successful youth waterfowl hunt. The event began at the Wyoming Valley Rod and Gun Club in the village of Java with waterfowl ID and trap shooting classes. ECO Nathan VerHague and Lt. Joshua VerHague led class instruction, and ECO Roger Ward ensured all participants had a safe and educational time on the trap field. On Oct. 1, 13 young hunters took to the marshes of the Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area, accompanied by the ECOs and several dedicated volunteers. The morning was slightly overcast, windy and rainy, and perfect for duck hunting. ECOs Marshall, Hunt, VerHague, Dougherty, Kroth, Rausher, Wilson, and Jakaub teamed with several experienced volunteer waterfowl hunters to expose the young hunters to one of New York’s most revered hunting traditions. When the calling stopped, 27 ducks had fallen to the sharpshooting of the young hunters. The hunters then watched a demonstration on proper preparation of their harvest and were sent home with plenty of gear and prizes, full stomachs and, hopefully, a new hobby that gives them a greater appreciation of the outdoors and wildlife.
ECOs Geoffrey Younglove and Charles Eyler III, recent graduates of DEC’s 20th Basic School for Uniformed Officers, responded to a call of an injured hawk on Route 100 in the town of Somers. The caller stated he saw the animal hopping across the highway and had stopped to make sure the bird wasn’t in distress. He then realized there was something wrong with the bird and called DEC. The ECOs responded to the location and found that the hawk was lethargic and unable to fly. Eyler captured the raptor. The bird was then transported to a local wildlife rehabilitator, who is nursing the bird back to health for release back into the wild.
Not fair chase
ECO Mike Terrell recently received an anonymous complaint about a person who had allegedly killed a large buck with the aid of illegal bait. After several lengthy foot patrols, Terrell found a remote and well-hidden bait and treestand. On Oct. 1, the opening day of Southern Zone archery season, Terrell and Lt. Tom Harrington hiked in at sunrise during heavy rains, hoping to catch the subject bowhunting over the bait. As the ECOs approached the treestand, a gun shot rang out. Terrell quickly approached the treestand and saw that the hunter was down on the ground and headed down a logging road. Believing the subject was fleeing the area, Terrell identified himself and ordered the subject to stop. After the man was detained, the officer seized a small duffel bag containing a .22-caliber pistol equipped with a high-powered scope. The subject initially claimed that he had shot at a coyote. However, Terrell was able to track and locate a 6-point buck approximately 60 yards from the treestand. The man later admitted to killing the deer with the firearm. The man was charged in the Fulton Town Court for hunting over a pre-established bait pile, possession of a firearm during the special archery season, and the illegal taking of a deer.
First female K-9 handler
On Oct. 1, the Division of Law Enforcement recognized the arrival of its newest member in Region 6, K-9 Officer Handley, a German Shepherd named after the late Lt. Chris Handley, a revered member of the division. The ceremony at DEC’s training facility in Pulaski was attended by Chris’ widow, Debbie, their two children, Eric and Sara, as well as Eric’s wife, Tami, and two grandchildren, Robert and Matthew. Deb Handley was introduced to K-9 Handley and was presented with a framed photo of the dog and his handler, ECO Fay Fuerch. ECO Fuerch is the first female K-9 officer in the 38-year history of DLE’s K-9 program.
Owl returned to the wild
On July 18, ECO Matthew Krug was contacted by a concerned citizen regarding an injured barred owl in the town of Dresden. After a brief search, the officer located the owl down a steep bank off County Route 6. Krug determined that the bird was unable to fly and had likely been injured by an automobile. Krug captured the owl and transported it to a local wildlife rehabilitator, North Country Wild Care. On Oct. 2, the owl was released by Krug back into the wild.
Illegal blackfish dealer
Working on a tip from a concerned citizen on Oct. 5, ECOs Jeffrey Krueger, Waldemar Auguscinski, Chris Macropoulos, and John Gates inspected the facility of a seafood wholesaler in Flushing, Queens. As they entered the facility they immediately noticed numerous large tanks containing blackfish (tautog). The ECOs measured the fish and quickly found a large number were undersized. After hours of sorting and measuring fish, the final count was 175 undersized tautog, weighing approximately 320 pounds. The wholesaler was issued a Notice of Violation and multiple summonses for various offenses related to the illegal possession of fish. The fish were seized and donated to the Bowery Mission in Manhattan.
The family that spotlights together
On Oct. 28, ECO Matthew Krug set up on County Route 11 in the town of Hampton looking for illicit spotlighting after multiple complaints of spotlighting and several deer found dead with gunshot wounds. At 8 p.m. he observed a pickup away and conducted a traffic stop. A husband, wife and son were all ticketed for spotlighting within 500 feet of a dwelling, possessing firearms (two rifles) while spotlighting, and possessing an open container of alcohol. Just a few hours later, the officer observed another vehicle spotlighting roughly a mile away. As a green pickup was exiting a field, ECO Krug stopped the truck and discovered another father and son in possession of a spotlight and an unsecured rifle. The father was issued summons for several violations of the Environmental Conservation Law and an un-inspected motor vehicle. A total of 10 tickets were issued.