New York Cuffs & Collars – November 29th, 2012

Northern District highlights

‘Legal’ burning
(St. Lawrence County)

On Aug. 30, ECO Troy Basford received a complaint from an individual in the Township of Lawrence. The complainant stated that his neighbor was burning garbage and the smoke was going right into his household. Basford responded to the location and spoke with the suspect. The suspect explained that he bought a stove that was made to burn garbage and it was legal. Basford explained that it was not only illegal to burn garbage, but it was also illegal to use the stove as an incinerator without proper permits from the DEC. The suspect was issued a ticket for unlawful open burning of garbage.

Illegal Burning
(St. Lawrence County)

On Sept. 6, ECO Jonathan Ryan received a call from a "concerned citizen" from the town of Hopkinton regarding what was described as an illegal fire that was burning construction and demolition material. The complainant said the smoke was blowing directly into the town area so thick you couldn’t see through it. Ryan responded to the scene. Upon his arrival there was no one on site. The pile was still burning, but had been moved with a bulldozer or tractor. Ryan took several photographs. As he was about to leave, the property owner arrived. A brief conversation ensued. Ryan was informed the local fire department had conducted a "training fire" then left it unattended overnight. Ryan then began to track down the local fire chief for more details. He met with the fire chief several hours later. During the course of the conversation, the unattended fire and the no burning permit for fire town was addressed. Ryan pointed out that the fire departments call for law enforcement action when both of the above activities occur in the public. The question was posed to the chief, “What are we to do about this?” The chief and Ryan agreed to an citation for the unattended fire and a written warning for burning in a town without a permit.

Leaking waste lagoon
(Steuben County)

In September, the Division of Materials Management received a complaint of strong odors and possible leaking of material from a waste lagoon from Baucher Hill Road in the town of Woodhull. ECO Steve Farrand patrolled to the location and confirmed the odor problem and determined material was being land-spread from the lagoon to local farm fields. There was no sign of leaking or spilled material. He then spoke to an individual who indicated that he operates the lagoon for the owner/operator of a cheese company. He is also the truck driver for the business and the waste handling activity is permitted. At the cheese plant, Farrand interviewed the owner, her son and the truck driver. Farrand advised them they could not spread waste on the two farms until they had their permit modified. They agreed to a meeting on Sept. 26 with a representative of the Division of Materials Management. The permit, the fields registered for land spreading and the annual reporting requirements were reviewed. DMM agreed to re-evaluate the operation after the annual report is submitted in March of 2013. Although no violations were documented, all agreed the waste handling process and administration could be improved and all will work together to correct and improve the process. The complainant was satisfied with the department’s response.

Twice burned
(Erie County)

While on patrol, Officer Chuck Wilson received a call from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department regarding the open burning of construction and demolition debris in the town of North Collins. The officer learned that the debris pile was from a residential house fire in the same town. The entire home was hauled off site to a separate location to be processed, burned and buried behind a commercial business. Upon his arrival, a majority of the fire was already extinguished. The officer spoke with the business owner, later obtaining contact information for the person responsible for hauling in the material. Wilson issued appearance tickets for unlawful disposal of waste, unlawful open burning and operating a solid waste management facility. All three summonses were answerable in the town of North Collins court.

Chemical waste management
(Niagara County)

On Sept. 5, ECO James Rogers received a complaint that two leaking hazardous waste transporter trucks arrived at a landfill in the town of Porter. Rogers responded to the landfill and on arrival found that the two trucks belonged to the same company. Rogers arranged for settlement of the violations by consent order with a $2,000 penalty for each truck.

Repeat offenders
(Washington County)

On Sept. 1, ECOs George LaPoint and Steve Gonyeau were checking fishermen along South Bay on Lake Champlain when they observed two men walking along State Route 22 with fishing rods and tackle boxes. Both men admitted they were fishing but could not produce fishing licenses. Without seeing the men fish, the officers gave the fishermen a warning and advised them to get fishing licenses before fishing again. When asked if they were with anyone else, one of the men stated he was with his mother, who was fishing at the end of the John A. Brooks Memorial Fishing Pier (named for retired conservation officer John Brooks). When checking her for a fishing license, she stated she did not have one but was planning on getting one in the morning because Honey’s in Whitehall was closed when they all got into town. Fast forward three hours and LaPoint and Gonyeau were checking fishermen along the Champlain Canal and observed the same three fishermen fishing. When asked if they had licenses, the female responded they had planned on getting them, but Honey’s was closed and they were planning on getting a license in the morning. When she realized the two officers were the same ones from the earlier check, all three of the fishermen admitted their wrongdoings and accepted the tickets for fishing without a license.

Nuisance permit abuse
(Saratoga County)

On Sept. 16, ECO Steve Shaw responded to a shots fired complaint at the Bowman Orchard in the town of Malta. The ECO was aware the individual shooting was in possession of a valid nuisance permit to take antlerless deer only, but the subject had violated the terms and conditions of two previous nuisance permits by taking antlered deer and discharging within 500 feet of a residence. Upon arrival at the residence, Shaw witnessed fresh blood and hair in the back of a pickup truck and began interviewing the individual, who denied taking any deer the previous evening. After approximately an hour of questioning, Shaw stated he would be contacting the K-9 handler who would assist him with locating the deer. The individual finally admitted to shooting an 8-point buck the previous night with a spotlight and walked Shaw to where it was hidden in his apple orchard. The subject was issued three tickets for taking big game out of season, hunting big game with the aid of a spotlight, and violating the terms and conditions of his permit. All charges were pending in the town of Malta Court.

Illegal coyote hunting
(Franklin County)

On Sept. 29, ECO Kevin Riggs received a complaint that a subject was hunting big game (deer) without an archery license. The individual was interviewed and stated that he was hunting coyotes with his bow without realizing that the season was closed. He was charged with hunting small game (coyote) during the closed season. He was issued an appearance ticket for the town of Malone Court and faces maximum penalties of $250 in fines and up to 15 days in jail.

Illegal deer
(Clinton County)

ECO Dan Malone received a report of a good-sized buck being taken before the opening of the 2012 deer season. The person reporting the story wanted to remain anonymous, if possible, but was annoyed the buck had been taken well before the season. With this very limited information, Malone located the subject’s residence and parked outside the house. The subject, seeing the ECO’s marked vehicle, came out of his house and asked if there was something wrong. Malone replied that he wanted to discuss something with him. The man replied “You mean about the carrots?” pointing to the 20 or so bags of carrots being offered for sale outside in the front yard at $5 per bag. Malone told the man that a person could not use them to feed deer or hunt over carrots, apples, corn, etc. Malone took a shot at what an interview with the reported shooter would reveal. At first, the subject denied any involvement in the incident and stated he would never do something like that. He also wanted to know who would have provided Malone with that information. Malone said that the complainant wanted to remain anonymous but was upset about the incident. Malone went on to explain that if further information came forth from the complainant or other persons, it could lead to his being charged with misdemeanors involving the illegal killing of deer before the season. With misdemeanor convictions, possible jail time and significant fines could result. Malone advised that nobody is perfect and people make mistakes, but that he had a job to do and was after the truth in this investigation. After a few seconds of silence, the subject mumbled something and made a gesture. The subject admitted to killing the deer in his backyard, showed him the rifle used and how it was done. He provided Malone with a written statement and was charged with taking big game out of season. The extent of the defendant’s cooperation will be taken into consideration when the case comes before the local town court.

True sportsmen
(St. Lawrence County)

On opening day of bow season, ECO Canary was approached at his residential headquarters by an avid bowhunter named Bob Fountaine. He was looking for assistance in tracking and dragging out a beautiful 10-point buck off the Upper and Lower Lakes WMA. Canary was glad to assist. Once on scene, the deer was quickly located as Fountaine had a good idea of where the buck ended up, only 50 yards from his bow stand. Upon reaching the deer, night had set in and the men could see headlamps from another hunting party coming over to the location. The other hunters questioned what was going on and Fountaine replied that he had located his deer and was preparing to dress it out. The other hunter came over with his tracking partner and introduced himself as Darin Freeman. Freeman then stated that the deer on the ground was his, having shot it three hours ago, and had been tracking it ever since. Canary then inspected the deer and sure enough, there were two bow strikes on the deer. It was discovered that the first bow shot made by Freeman was high into the ribcage, where it followed down through the deer’s stomach area exiting out the other side…making for not an immediate kill. The second shot came when the buck walked by Fountaine’s stand two hours later at approximately 6:15 p.m., where his bow shot struck the upper shoulder, traveling through the deer’s vital area and lodging in the shoulder bone of the opposite side. Freeman stated that this was his first bow kill and was deeply upset. Canary was left to decide who was then to get the deer, knowing someone would go home unhappy. In the past with such circumstances, Canary gives the deer in dispute to the hunter making the kill shot. With a seasoned bowhunter having placed a clean shot and a young bowhunter having taken his first deer (and a beauty at that), it was a difficult decision. The men, seeing Canary was having a tough decision, thought it best to leave the decision to chance, asking the ECO to flip a coin. The penny landed on heads, which was Fountaine’s call, and the decision was made. The young hunter was obviously disappointed, but was a true sportsman about it, throwing his hand out to be shaken in congratulations. Not only that, but Freeman helped drag the deer out to Fountaine’s truck. While doing so, Fountaine said he would have felt better about the outcome if Freeman wasn’t so cordial about the whole thing…and both men laughed. It was nice to see real sportsmen in the field at their very best. The deer dressed at 153 pounds.

Crazy like a fox
(St. Lawrence County)

On Sept. 1, a man was sitting in his living room when he observed a fox in the field across the street from his residence in the town of Lisbon. While he was watching the fox, a truck pulled up along the shoulder of the road. As the man watched, he saw a rifle come out the side window of the vehicle and heard a shot. The truck then quickly drove off. The man got dressed and went outside to see what happened to the fox. While exiting his residence, the man observed the same truck coming back down the road. He quickly got into his vehicle and followed the subjects. Once on the road, he was reaching high speeds in order to get close enough to the vehicle to obtain a license plate or talk to the individuals. However, the men were not looking to get caught. Luckily, the man did get to read the license plate and backed off. A call was made to the state police with the information and a complaint was filed. Interviews were conducted by the state police on the owner of the suspect’s truck seen that day. The owner admitted it was he and a friend who were there that day, but that he had used his cell phone to take a picture of the fox, and not a gun. When asked about the shot heard, the suspect claimed it was the car door slamming when they got back into the vehicle after taking the picture. State police then decided it would be best for ECO Bret Canary to take over the case for followup. Additional interviews were conducted by Canary and, after a while, the men involved decided it was best to tell the truth. They admitted to the exact scenario originally reported by the witness. The two men involved were issued tickets for misdemeanor offenses of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and shooting from a public highway, and violations for taking fox out of season and using a motor vehicle as an aid in hunting.

Behind every tree
(St. Lawrence County)

While on patrol of the Upper and Lower Lakes WMA in the town of Canton, ECO Bret Canary observed a car parked at an access point for goose hunting. After a period of time, the ECO could see a boat returning to shore. As the hunters came in, cormorants were flying off their perches over the boat. The ECO could see as the men loaded their guns and, sure enough, one decided to shoot a cormorant as it flew overhead, killing it. The men made no attempt to retrieve the bird and proceeded to their car. Canary surprised them as they arrived on shore and asked them how the hunt was. They replied with the fact it wasn’t good and they didn’t even get a shot off. Canary then showed the men his binoculars and explained what he observed. With that, the men admitted to taking the cormorant. A compliance check was conducted and other violations were found, including no Harvest Information Program numbers, Duck Stamp violations and two of the three men (including the driver who brought the men to the location) had suspended driver’s licenses for DWIs. The only person able to drive the hunting party home was a permit-only licensee. The men were all ticketed for their offenses and released.

Velvet buck
(Herkimer County)

On Sept. 4, ECO Corey Schoonover received a call from ECO Scott Pierce about a photograph he had received which showed a 10-point buck in velvet with a person posing with the deer. Schoonover met with Pierce and looked at the photograph of the deer. Schoonover recognized the subject in the photo, as he had arrested him in the past for taking an illegal deer. After some brief interviews, Schoonover and Pierce, along with help from ECO Shane Manns located the barn that the deer was hanging in, located in the town of Salisbury, Herkimer County. Consent to search the property was given in writing from the homeowner and deer hair and hide parts were located in the barn. After interviewing the suspect, it was found that the deer was shot a few days earlier on Zoller Road in Salisbury. The deer was shot by the suspect’s friend while he was driving the truck. The pair were both charged with taking a deer out of season and other firearm charges. The case was pending in the town of Manheim court.

I’d rather be lucky
(Lewis County)

On Sept. 10, while working as the Region 6 duty coverage officer, ECO Tim Worden was patrolling the town of New Bremen for deer jacking activity when he was contacted by central dispatch at 11:55 p.m. regarding a shots fired complaint in the town of Croghan. Worden responded to the Old State Road location and manned a stationary patrol of the area until 1:40 a.m. At that point, Worden noted a white 1997 Chevrolet Lumina traveling east on the Old State Road. The car stopped and shined its headlights into a field on the north side of the road and then began travelling east again. The car then shined its headlights into the field on the south side of the road and then again continued in an easterly direction past Worden's location. Worden pulled out of his hiding spot and followed the car in an easterly direction until the car turned around at the Pate Road intersection. He stopped the vehicle on the Old State Road approximately 100 yards west of the Pate Road intersection. Upon approaching the vehicle, Worden found that the rear seat passenger behind the driver had a loaded Marlin .22 caliber semi-automatic rifle in his lap, which was found to be loaded with two rounds jammed in the action of the rifle and thee rounds in the tubular magazine. Five individuals were placed into custody for operating artificial lights from a motor vehicle on lands inhabited by deer while in possession of a firearm, and possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. State troopers Morgia and Countryman from state police at Carthage assisted in the transportation of the individuals to the Carthage station for questioning and processing. Worden and Morgia interviewed and took statements from all of the subjects except one who refused to speak or give a statement. The four remaining individuals admitted to one subject having fired the .22 long rifle a few times at a deer in a field located on the Rohr Road in the town of Croghan approximately 10 minutes before being stopped by Worden. All five subjects were also charged with the taking of a deer at night with the aid of an artificial light. The firearm was seized as evidence. One suspect was arraigned in New Bremen town court on Sept. 10 due to his plan to return to military service in California. He accepted a civil compromise in the amount of $607.50 ($500 for deer at night, $50 for each loaded gun and light plus $7.50 surcharge). All other subjects were to appear in Croghan town court for arraignment.

A not-so-happy birthday
(St. Lawrence County)

On Sept. 29, ECO Scott Atwood was on patrol in the town of Edwards checking baited treestands for hunters when he located a freshly baited area with a hunting blind and a climbing treestand in the immediate vicinity. The area was heavily baited with corn and apples. Atwood checked the hunting blind, but no one was present. Due to the recent placement of the bait, Atwood believed the area would be utilized for the evening hunt. He left the area and returned later to re-check the blind and climbing stand for hunters. Atwood patrolled on foot to the area and observed no one was in the climbing stand. He was unable to see if anyone was in the hunting blind due to the limited daylight. As Atwood approached the hunting blind, he heard a loud ruckus inside and observed an individual appear from out of the tent exclaiming, “You got me.” The hunter admitted to hunting bear over bait and was also found to be hunting without having his hunting license or tags in his possession. The hunter had in his possession a new crossbow which the hunter claimed was a new birthday present from his wife and today just happened to be his birthday. Unfortunately, the ECO had two presents for him as well, both in the form of tickets for hunting bear with the aid of a pre-established bait pile and failure to carry his hunting license and tags.

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