New York Cuffs & Collars – February 7th, 2013
Southern District highlights
Deer shot over bait
On Oct. 8, ECO Aaron Gordon received a call from an individual who stated he was out stacking firewood and heard a single rifle shot in the woods near his house. The complainant stated that he observed a man exit the woods approximately 15 minutes later. The hunter apparently had just shot a big 8-point buck. The caller did not see a rifle with the hunter nor did he see a bow. The same hunter returned a short while later pulling a trailer into his property. Since this occurred around sunset, Gordon arrived at the location well after dark and the hunter was already gone. With flashlight in hand, Gordon followed fresh drag marks approximately 300 yards into the woods. A steaming gut pile was discovered in front of a treestand and, much to the officer’s surprise, a large pile of apples as well. Officer Keith Manners was the Region 3 officer assigned to the evening shift and he responded to assist Gordon. Together the two officers patrolled to the residence of the name listed on the posted signs for the property and a truck with a trailer was parked in the driveway. The two officers approached the house and observed blood on the empty trailer and two large boxes of apples. The individual was interviewed and admitted to Manners that he had shot the deer with his wife’s rifle. He also admitted to knowing about the apples at the treestand. The deer and rifle were seized and a field arrest was made after a written statement was given from the subject. A total of four tickets were issued and a court date in the Wallkill tow court was set.
On Oct. 11, ECO Brian Canzeri conducted a late-night deer jacking detail along County Route 115 in the town of Schaghticoke. Canzeri stopped one spotlighter who was in possession of a compound bow. Canzeri found some dry blood on one of the arrows, which led to a tagging violation. Canzeri stopped a second vehicle during the evening for spotlighting within 500 feet of dwellings. Three tickets were issued that evening.
On Oct. 13, several Region 4 ECOs, along with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents, patrolled the waters of the Hudson River in Greene and Columbia counties. It was opening day of the 2012 waterfowl season. Officers were in unmarked and marked boats. Ten violations were written during the detail. The violations included no migratory waterfowl stamp, using an unplugged gun, no HIP number and having an unsigned/unattached waterfowl stamp.
Injured hawk found
On Oct. 21, ECO Bev Whalen and Lt. David Clayton received a call from ECO John Helmeyer, who reported that he just had a call from three hunters posting a property along the Taconic State Parkway in the town of Pleasant Valley. They had found an injured red-tailed hawk about 15 yards off the Taconic. Whalen and Clayton responded and took the injured bird to the Trevor Zoo for rehabilitation.
In August, ECO Alan Brassard was conducting recreational marine fishing checks in Staten Island. While patrolling to a regular fishing spot he noticed three men fishing and stopped to ask if they had caught any fish, to which they replied, “No fish yet.” While Brassard met with the men, one of them asked, “Are blackfish in season?” Brassard then informed the fishermen that the blackfish season was closed. Brassard decided to inspect the area a little more and he found that the men had a bag of fish hidden out of sight inside an abandoned well. As Brassard found the bag of fish, the men put their heads down, knowing that they had been caught. The bag did contain blackfish and Brassard issued the men summonses for possession of out of season blackfish and undersized toadfish.
Fishing Enforcement at Coney Island
On Sept. 2, ECOs David Thomas, Jennifer Okonuk and Alan Brassard responded to a complaint of numerous individuals keeping undersized fish at the Coney Island Pier. Thomas was the first to arrive at the pier and, due to the high level of activity, decided to wait for the other ECOs. Upon their arrival Okonuk, dressed in plain clothes, walked onto the pier to perform surveillance, followed several minutes later by Thomas and Brassard. As soon as the uniformed officers arrived on the pier, the violations immediately became apparent and after a thorough check of everyone involved, the ECOs seized nearly 100 illegal fish. Tickets were issued to seven different subjects for ECL violations that included fishing without a marine registration, undersized scup, undersized black sea bass, over the limit of scup, over the limit black sea bass, and dumping upon signal to stop.
Full cooler of fish
On Sept. 7, ECO Brent Wilson was conducting recreational fishing checks on multiple piers that extend out into the Hudson River. While conducting these checks, there was a lone fisherman on the Canal Street Pier. When Wilson initiated conversation, the fisherman claimed to have had no luck that day. As Wilson was looking at his bait and gear, the fisherman picked up a small blue cooler and put it in his pull cart. Wilson then decided to investigate further to see what he might have on ice. Upon opening the cooler, Wilson discovered that the fisherman had stuffed 31 bluefish, seven black sea bass, three striped bass and two blackfish into this tiny cooler. Wilson issued the subject appearance tickets for possessing undersized bluefish, striped bass and black sea bass, as well as possessing two blackfish out of season. After issuing the violations to the fisherman, Wilson gave the gentleman a copy of the New York state recreational marine fishing regulations sheet for future reference.
‘Pinched’ for undersized lobsters
On Sept. 8, Lt. Bruce Hummel and ECO Matthew Baker responded to a Brooklyn site to conduct an inspection of a wholesaler who had been the subject of several repeat violations within the past six months. Upon inspecting the site, 190 undersized lobsters were found to be under the minimum carapace size of 3 3⁄8 inches. The total weight of the undersized lobsters was 191.8 pounds. All lobsters were measured, photographed, and then donated to the Bowery Mission in Manhattan to help feed the homeless.
Crooked activities at Crooked Pond
On Oct. 3, ECO Don Damrath received a complaint from town of Southampton code enforcement officers regarding a petroleum spill coming from a house on Crooked Pond, a freshwater wetland. Damrath met with a code enforcement officer at the house and observed an oil spill, used oil filters and a leaky engine block within 20 feet of Crooked Pond. The investigation revealed the responsible parties used to repair cars behind the house but had recently moved out of the location. Fortunately for Damrath, the polluters moved only four houses up the street. Damrath made contact with both the landlord and the previous tenants, issued a citations for disposing of noxious/offensive/poisonous substance in public waters, and ordered them to properly clean up the sight.
A Westchester County man submitted certification renewals and course certificates in an attempt to assume the pesticide applicator certification of his father. He was arraigned and processed on three counts of offering a false instrument for filing, as a surrender arrest on June 21, 2012 at the New Castle Town Justice Court. On Oct. 18, he pleaded guilty to one count of offering a false instrument and paid a $1,000 maximum fine, $205 surcharge allocated during sentencing, and was given a conditional discharge upon surrendering his illegally-obtained pesticide applicators certification. ECI Robert McDermott was lead investigator with ECI Cindy Harcher, Kevin Gilmartin and ECO James Davey assisting. Assistant Attorney General Hugh McLean prosecuted the case.
Northern District highlights
Something for nothing
On Oct. 16, ECO George LaPoint was sitting in a field in the town of Chester on deer jacking patrol when he overheard a complaint at 10:45 p.m. on the county radio frequency stating there were two males shooting in a field. The caller could see a flashlight shining and heard two males talking. LaPoint responded and had two troopers and one Warren County sheriff’s deputy arrive to look for the poachers. Without locating the males in the field, all officers patrolled to the suspect’s residence. LaPoint noticed an 8-point buck’s head laying off the side of the driveway and a skinned deer carcass in the backyard. After an hour of waiting, the two suspects arrived back home. By the end of the investigation, a Horicon man was issued multiple tickets: three for hunting without a license, two for illegal deer, one of which was shot with a .22 magnum rifle, and five for trapping violations. He appeared in the Horicon town court and agreed to a civil compromise of $1,000 for his violations.
Radio talk leads to citations
On Oct. 27, ECO Scott Pierce received a complaint from a hunter who heard a conversation on his portable radio. The hunter stated that while he was sitting on top of Pine Mountain in the town of Wells, he heard several hunters talking on the radio about killing a bear. The hunters talked about how small the bear was they took and conversed about whether anyone wanted the bear. The hunters then decided to not keep and take the bear, so they left the bear where it lay. The complainant remembered very specific details of the conversations on the radio that day and all the names and call signs the hunters used. The complainant had never seen the hunters before, he did not know who they were. But he had heard the same hunters several times over the years on the same radio channel. On Nov. 3, Pierce decided to patrol the area and interview some party hunters in this area. After one interview with a random hunter, the hunter stated he had heard some of the same names mentioned across his radio on the same radio channel. This hunter stated he knew where this group of hunters hunts. Pierce and Manns patrolled the area and found the hunters in question. The hunters were talking on the radio using the same call signs as were heard before. The ECOs knew this because as they patrolled by the hunters in question, they sent out an alert on the radio that “EnCon” was in the area. The ECOs interviewed the hunters and after some denial about the plight of the bear cub, the hunters discovered how much detail the ECOs actually knew about the conversations at the incident in question. Several of the hunters pleaded guilty to a variety of hunting charges. After a short conversation in private among the hunters, one man confessed to taking and leaving the bear cub in question. He was charged with failure to tag bear as required and failing to report the taking of a bear within seven days.
On Oct. 30, ECO Nathaniel Mead received a call from the Fulton County sheriff’s dispatch center that a subject shot a turkey from the road across the street from a residence in the town of Northampton. Mead and Trooper Kruel responded. The officers received an updated vehicle description indicating the shooter was driving a “maroon, older model import.” Mead and Kruel left the scene and awaited the arrival of the shooter to pick up the turkey. After about 25 minutes, the ECO and trooper where informed by dispatch that the vehicle had arrived and drove into the driveway, where the turkey had been loaded into the suspect’s trunk. Mead and Kruel responded to the location and placed the subject under arrest. The firearm, the turkey, and the spent shell casing were recovered from the vehicle. The subject was transported to the Mayfield state police barracks for processing. Eight summonses were issued to the subject. The charges included shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling, having a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public highway, hunting without a small game license, taking turkey out of season, taking wildlife from a public highway, trespassing, and driving with a suspended license. The subject is facing a maximum fine of $4,050 and/or three years in jail.
Bear cubs rescued
Environmental conservation officers responded to the city of Glens Falls, where they were able to help save a small, starving bear cub that was treed in the middle of the city. ECO Steve de la Rosa received the call and responded to meet with members of the Glens Falls Police Department across from Sen. Betty Little’s office just off Church Street. Staff from North Country Wild Care responded with a catchpole and small animal carrier. Armed with a ladder provided by the Glens Falls Department of Public Works, Lt. Chris Ruckert and Daniel Larrow of North Country Wild Care climbed the ladder, secured the 20-pound cub and transported it to Upstate Animal Medical Center in Saratoga. The cub was examined by Dr. Joy Lucas and found to be malnourished but in otherwise good physical condition. It will be nursed backed to health and will eventually be transported to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in the rehabilitation of black bear cubs in a method conducive to their safe release back to the wild.
On Nov. 11 a second bear cub was rescued by de la Rosa after he received a call regarding a call from the Glens Falls Fire Department. They requested his presence to evaluate the safety of using their bucket truck for a bear cub rescue. North Country Animal Rescue and Queensbury's animal control officer were already on site. The fire department was contacted and advised that there did not seem to be any safety issues with the use of the bucket truck. With catchpole in the bucket and two on the ground the cub was finally captured safely and placed in an animal crate for transport to the Saratoga veterinarian. This was the third bear cub caught and transported from this area in just two weeks.
Shooting near homes
On Oct. 31, ECO Vernon Fonda received a phone call that someone shot at a deer within 500 feet of four different homes in the town of Camden. After interviewing multiple people, a name finally surfaced as to who might have been the shooter. Fonda and the suspect spoke on the telephone and then met in person. The suspect brought Fonda to the place he shot at the deer. After the homes were pointed out to him, he immediately understood why the phone call was placed with law enforcement. He was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and failing to have a valid DMP. Both charges were answerable in the Camden town court.
On Oct. 22, ECOs John Murphy and Mark Malone were on a salmon enforcement detail in the Village of Dexter. As the officers were turning onto a road that led to a good observation point in response to a complaint of illegal tackle use, they observed a fisherman in a concrete sluiceway. The sluice way was approximately six inches deep and four feet wide and is a choke point for migrating salmon. The man had a fishing pole and a large landing net. The officers were in an unmarked vehicle and watched as he attempted to net fish as they swam past his feet. The man was trying to be discreet but it was painfully obvious what he was up to. As the officers pulled around to a parking area, Malone received a call from a “concerned citizen” that a man was netting fish in the sluiceway. As the ECOs exited the vehicle, the man came out of the sluiceway with a large king salmon. He walked over to a bench where two other salmon were laying. Murphy approached the man and asked for his fishing license. The man stared at the officer and began to speak in very broken English. After a few minutes, it was established that the man’s license was in his vehicle. When the officer started to explain he was getting a ticket, the man seemed to understand less and less English. Malone joined the interview and the international words of “jail” and “handcuffs” were introduced. The man suddenly understood what the officers were saying and went to get his license. He was issued a summons for fishing by means other than angling and was happy to not have to go to jail.
On Oct. 13, dispatch received a call from an individual who had gone to Eighteen Mile Creek at Burt Dam in the town of Newfane in the pre-dawn hours to secure his fishing spot for the upcoming day. When he approached the creek, two men ran off carrying buckets. They left behind 30 dead salmon with the bellies cut and eggs missing. ECO Jason Powers investigated the incident, but no leads were developed. A detail was set up where ECOs would patrol the area overnight on random nights throughout the remainder of the salmon run.
On the night of Oct. 26, ECOs Robert Peinkofer and Roger Thompson were assigned to the detail. At approximately 11:15 p.m. the officers descended the bank of the creek to find two men with headlamps netting fish in the creek. They watched the men work for a short time and when one of the men left the creek and began moving down the bank the ECOs approached. The men had illegally taken 17 salmon up to that point and were cutting and stripping the eggs. Both men were charged with fishing by means other than angling (17 counts), taking over the legal limit (11 counts) and fishing during closed hours. One subject was also charged with fishing without a license. Both men were arraigned in the Newfane town court and remanded to the Niagara County jail in lieu of $1,700 bail each. Both men claimed the fish and eggs were for personal use.