New York Cuffs & Collars – December 28th, 2012

Northern District highlights

Irresistible fish
(Jefferson County)

While on patrol, ECO Steven Bartoszewski decided to check the Black River in the village of Dexter for any illegal nighttime fishing. The Black River is closed to angling upstream from the NYS Route 180 bridge after dark due to the annual salmon run. Bartoszewski pulled his patrol vehicle into an area on the south side of the river to check the area near the fish ladder on the north bank of the river. As the officer pulled in and shut his vehicle’s headlights off, he observed an individual duck into a shadowed area near the fish ladder. Bartoszewski quickly patrolled to the north side of the river and was able to locate three individuals trying to hide in the bushes near the fish ladder. The officer called the individuals out, at which point they stirred and slowly proceeded out to the officer. After a short interview, the three individuals were issued tickets for fishing during other than legal hours and fishing within 100 feet of a fish control device. When asked why they had come to Dexter at night to fish in the closed area, the individuals stated that they wanted to catch a salmon. The individuals were also warned about trespassing on the power company’s property as well as using illegal tackle. All charges were pending in the Dexter village court.  

Bear baiting
(Lewis County)

On Sept. 17 while working a bear baiting tip, ECOs Eric Roderick and Shana Hutton were working in the town of Lyonsdale. Right at dusk, a shot was heard in the area that both ECOs believed to be baited for bears. Roderick and Hutton waited at the hunter’s truck. About 10 minutes later, they observed two subjects carrying a black bear out from the woods. The subjects were separated and interviewed by the officers. During their investigation, the officers found corn and molasses within a close vicinity to where the bear was killed. Both individuals were charged for illegally taking a bear, hunting over bait, failure to tag a black bear and unlawful possession of marijuana.

Read the sign
(Broome County)

On Sept. 3, ECOs Andy McCormick and Eric Templeton were patrolling on River Road in the town of Union, checking for fishing and ATV activity along the Susquehanna River. They quickly spotted a couple of vehicles parked along a riverfront property that was heavily posted. The owner had years of trespass issues, often involving fishing or ATVs where new trails would be cut, trash would be left behind and signs would be torn down. The ECOs followed the fresh footprints along the muddy ATV trail down to the bank overlooking three individuals fishing below. After watching them for awhile and seeing one of them catch a good-sized channel catfish, the ECOs checked their licenses and informed them of the trespass issues on the property. The fish was released and the individuals packed up their belongings and even picked up some trash left along the bank before meeting the ECOs back at the road. The property owner who lived just down the road had spoken to the ECOs in passing just prior to them issuing all three individuals trespass tickets, and was advised of the situation. She mentioned the ongoing problems with people trespassing on her property, which often went unreported by her, but said that it became frustrating when the individuals would be disrespectful or argumentive with her about posting the property. The individuals ticketed were asked if they had noticed the posted signs that were right next to where they had parked. They stated they did not, with one of them later asking if she had the right to post the property and restrict access to the river in the same spot where he had fished years ago. The answer…yes, she does.

Goose hunting
(Cayuga County)

On the morning of Sept. 15, ECO Mark Colesante stopped to watch some goose hunters on Owasco Lake. Through a spotting scope, Colesante watched the hunters leave their decoys and motor north in their duck boat to Emerson Park on the northern end of the lake. Colesante drove to Emerson Park to see what the hunters were going to do next. The ECO arrived at the park just in time to watch the boat drive under power into a flock of geese, pushing them toward the shoreline. The two hunters had their guns at the high ready position, but didn’t shoot at the geese when they got up to fly. Colesante ran down to the water and instructed the hunters to come to shore. It was too shallow for the hunters to get to shore, so Colesante watched the hunter in the front of the boat with binoculars as he unloaded his shotgun. The ECO then ordered the men to meet him at the boat launch. When the two hunters made it back to the launch, Colesante interviewed them separately. Both men alleged that they were planning to motor into the flock of geese, shut off the engine, wait for the forward momentum to stop and then shoot. They also stated that they wanted to move the geese toward their decoys. Colesante explained that environmental conservation law allows waterfowl hunters who are legally hunting waterfowl to possess a loaded firearm in a motorboat, but stressed that they must be legally hunting waterfowl. Waterfowl hunters may possess a loaded firearm in a boat if they are sitting in a boat with decoys out or shooting at a cripple on the water. He advised them that they couldn’t use the motorboat to their advantage to “rally” a flock of geese to shoot or even to drive the geese out of an area. Both hunters were issued tickets for possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and the operator was issued a ticket for possessing a shotgun capable of holding more than three rounds.

Pre-season deer hunt
(Oswego County)

On Sept. 16, ECOs Anthony Panipinto and Mark Colesante responded to the town of Redfield to investigate a complaint of a deer taken out of season. According to the caller, he heard two gunshots and then saw a yellow car leaving the area along the roadway during the latter part of the daylight hours. The caller soon found a recently killed deer lying in a nearby field. While the ECOs were responding, the caller believed he observed a red Jeep return to the field where the deer was shot. The caller relayed this new information to the ECOs via phone. While the officers were responding they observed a yellow car and a red Jeep parked in a driveway of a nearby residence. The ECOs stopped and began to speak with the owners of the two vehicles. The men, brothers, initially denied any involvement in any deer take. As the interview progressed their stories soon led them to describe how they had both shot two deer out of season from inside their yellow car while parked on the road. The two men then returned later after dark to retrieve the deer. The subjects were each charged with taking two deer during the closed season and with the aid of a motor vehicle, and the firearm discharge offenses of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle and discharging a firearm across a public highway. They both were also charged with hunting without a license. All of the venison was seized except for two backstraps that had already been consumed five minutes before the ECOs had knocked on the brothers’ door. The charges were pending in Redfield Town Court.

Deer jacking
(Cortland County)

On Sept. 20, ECO Jamie Powers received a complaint from an individual regarding the unlawful taking of a deer. He responded and met the complainant, along with ECO Brett Armstrong, who had been contacted for K-9 assistance. Both officers responded to the location and, with the assistance of K-9 Nitro, collected evidence at the scene off of Phalen Road in the town of Freetown. The ECOs proceeded to the residence of the perpetrators and conducted an interview with the subjects involved. They initially stated that they had picked up a road-killed deer and were processing it. When confronted with the evidence of the empty shotgun shell, along with blood and hair obtained at the scene, they admitted to their wrongdoing. One individual stated that he had shot the 8-point buck with the aid of a spotlight at approximately 1:30 a.m. while the deer was standing in the middle of the road. He then went back to retrieve it later that day with assistance from a friend. They removed the head from the animal and the carcass was dumped in a ditch on a back road away from the scene. Both parties were issued numerous tickets for the unlawful killing of the deer and firearms offenses, as well as a ticket for the unlawful disposal of the carcass. Tickets were pending in the Freetown town Court.

Not how to do it
(Chenango County)

On Sept. 30, ECOs Brett Armstrong and Jamie Powers responded to a deer feeding/baiting complaint in the town of Guilford, a location Armstrong had received information about during the 2011 deer season. The officers arrived at the seasonal camp shortly before sunset to find a truck parked in the driveway. In the back of the truck were two bags of corn and a bag of deer feed. Conditions at the camp suggested the camp was vacant and the vehicle may have been a “camp vehicle,” a common mode of transportation at camps in that area. As the officers walked in on the property, they quickly located an individual in his treestand, dressed in full camouflage, with bow in hand, complete with broadhead-tipped arrows. The treestand was overlooking a fresh corn pile in the woods. The property owner, obviously surprised to see the officers the night before the bow season opener, was adamant that he wasn't going to shoot any deer. He claimed that he just wanted to watch them. When asked about the bow, he said that he "just wanted to bring it out." He said he was very embarrassed and knew that he was wrong. He further added that he had started baiting his property the previous year at the suggestion of a local friend who told him that "that's the way we do it around here." The officers charged the man with the appropriate citations returnable in Guilford town court.

Quite a scrap
(Jefferson County)

On Sept. 4, ECO John Murphy was on patrol when he was contacted by ECO Tom Wensley on a possible scrap metal theft from a stream. A complainant had called the county’s 911 dispatch concerning two men in Felts Mills Creek, town of Rutland, allegedly stealing scrap metal. A previous complaint involving scrap removal in the creek was investigated by ECO Tim Worden and resulted in a written warning. Murphy was quite a distance away but started in the direction of the complaint. The office received a call from Trooper Pacola, who had answered the initial 911 call. He stated that two men were in the creek with a saws-all and a generator, removing a large metal pipe buried in the creekbed. He stated that a person who has interest in the property told him that the two men were not given permission. He was going to hold the men until the ECO’s arrival. Murphy called Worden to ask him about the previous complaint. He stated that there was a valid permit to remove the scrap but by non-mechanical means only. He had issued a subject a written warning for working in the creek without a permit since he did not have permission. The ECO arrived at the scene and Pacola had three subjects detained, one being a minor. Murphy interviewed the female witness and she stated that they had told one of the men to "stay out of the creek" and "not to scrap." The officer asked her if she had the permit and she said that the owner was on his way over with it. The ECO went and spoke to the subjects. One subject – the same individual warned by Warden – claimed that the landowners had called him and asked him to scrap again. The witness did not deny this but denied they had recently, again, told him to stay out. They both claimed that each owed the other money. Pacola and Murphy explained that it was a civil matter. The two officers could not determine who told who, what, and when. At this time, the owner arrived with the permit, which distinctly said no power tools could be used in the creek. Pacola witnessed both subjects in the creek with the mechanical devices. It could not be determined if they were legally working under the permit, but if they were they violated the conditions of the permit, thus voiding the permit. Both men were issued a summons for working in a protected stream without a permit. Charges were pending in Rutland town court.

Wetland violation
(Chemung County)

In September, ECO Toni Dragotta and Steve Miller of the DEC Bureau of Habitat investigated a complaint that an American Legion post had placed fill in a regulated wetland on its property. Years ago when the Legion originally bought the property, the department delineated the wetland. Over the years, the Legion conducted several activities in the wetland and its adjacent area without obtaining a permit, culminating in the placing of a large volume of earthen fill and a major expansion of their paved parking lot into the wetland. Lt. Peter Barton began negotiations with the club officers to find a resolution agreeable to both the Legion Post and DEC. Some of the reason for the violations was a lack of continuity and information as club officials changed over the years. Although a major violation, removal of the material and tearing up the paved parking lot was impractical. The Legion post agreed to settle the violation of conducting a regulated activity in a wetland by Order on Consent with a $1,000 penalty, a $1,000 donation to the “Wounded Warrior Assistance Fund” and by constructing a fence on the property boundary to limit further expansion into the wetland.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *