New York Cuffs & Collars – March 8th, 2013
Northern District highlights
Coyote from the road
(St. Lawrence County)
On Oct. 12, a DEC wildlife technician in the Watertown regional office received a phone call from an individual concerned that a coyote was going to kill the neighborhood pets. The wildlife technician explained to the individual what he can and cannot do regarding nuisance wildlife. Concerned that this individual was going to do something stupid, the wildlife technician emailed ECOs Scott Atwood and Joe Munn stating his concerns and asked to have one of them call the individual before something happens. On Oct. 13, Atwood called the worried individual and again explained what he can and cannot do. The information Atwood told the individual clearly did not sink in. A week later Munn received a complaint that somebody had shot a coyote in the road and within 500 feet of multiple dwellings. Munn arrived on scene and spoke to complainant. At no time did the complainant give this individual permission to shoot within 500 feet of their house. Munn then interviewed the suspect, who admitted to shooting the coyote from the road. Munn issued the individual two tickets – one for shooting with 500 feet of a dwelling and the other for discharging a firearm from a public highway.
New rifle works
(St. Lawrence County)
On Oct. 10 at approximately 5 p.m., ECO Joel Schneller received a call from a complainant who stated he had just witnessed a subject shoot from his vehicle into his field and take off. The complainant was able to obtain a good description and license plate of the vehicle. Schneller ran the license plate of the vehicle and was able to get a name and address of the suspect. He then responded to the suspect’s residence and interviewed two young men who stated they just got home. Schneller asked the suspects what they had been doing and if they knew why he was at their residence. One of the suspects stated they had been driving around and throwing fireworks out the window of the vehicle. Schneller did not believe this story and the young men were split up and interviewed separately. After having the individuals separated the real story finally came out. They were traveling down the road and suspect number 2 decided he wanted to test out his new rifle. They rounded the next corner when they saw a flock of geese on the side of the road. Suspect number 2 decided, “what better time than now to test his new rifle on the flock of geese?” so he shot one goose from the passenger side window. Schneller outlined the many environmental conservation law crimes the individuals had committed, including discharging a loaded firearm from a highway, possessing a load gun in a motor vehicle, taking geese out of season and without a hunting licenses.
Malone and Murphy
On Oct. 17, ECOs Mark Malone and John Murphy were working in the village of Dexter looking for salmon fishing violations when Malone received a call from an individual who stated he had some hunting equipment stolen. Malone spoke with the complainant and was advised that two treestands and a portable hunting blind had been stolen off the property the hunter had been hunting on. Malone and Murphy responded to the location of the complainant in the town of Watertown to speak with him about the gear that was taken.
Upon arrival, the complainant was with another individual who actually owned the gear and was looking to have it returned. In the time that had passed prior to the ECOs arriving on scene, the complainant had received a phone call from an individual who would only identify himself as “John” who said he had taken the hunting gear from the individuals. “John” stated that he took the hunting gear because he believed the two hunters were hunting over bait and were hunting illegally. Malone advised the complainant that if he supplied him with the cell phone number of “John,” he could trace the number and question him about the stolen hunting gear at a later time. In the meantime, Malone and Murphy had the two hunters take them back to the location where the gear was stolen.
The two hunters brought the ECOs out to where the hunting gear had been stolen and admitted that they had harvested two deer from that location within the previous three weeks. The hunters stated they had killed a buck and a doe from where the treestands were before they were stolen. While Malone was questioning the two hunters about the treestands, Murphy was searching around the area for any evidence that may exist. While looking around, Murphy found some corn on the ground. When questioned, the hunters quickly denied knowing anything about corn being placed. Malone and Murphy also noticed a very strong smell of apples in the area but were unable to find any apple piles. The questioning began to intensify, with the two hunters backpedaling and trying to piece together a fictitious story about all the evidence that was being found. After about 20-30 minutes of interviewing, Malone and Murphy eventually got a full confession from both hunters about what really had occurred.
Hunter No. 1 had a piece of property behind his home he had permission to hunt on the year before. He thought it would be a good idea to place an ad on craigslist offering his services for money for a guided hunt. Hunter No. 1 did not possess a New York state guide’s license or even a New York hunting license. Hunter No. 1 was contacted by Hunter No. 2 and the two hunters met up to scout the property they were going to hunt. The scouting occurred prior to the early bow season in the Northern Zone. The two hunters were not seeing enough deer sign so they drove their truck to the Burrville Cider Mill (outside of Watertown), loaded the truck with apple mashing and drove the truck back to their hunting location and spread the apple mashing along the ground where they would be hunting. They also placed a salt block below their treestands.
Along came the opening day of the early bow season and the two hunters set out for their hunting location that was heavily baited. Hunter No. 2 was fortunate enough to harvest a buck while hunting with the aid of a pre-established bait pile. Their success did not end there. The two hunters also hunted the opening day of the early muzzleloader season and were able to harvest yet another deer over the baited area. What turned out to be thought of as a great idea by the two hunters turned out to be a disaster. Hunter No. 1 had invited the ECOs over to his property to complain about treestands being stolen and apparently assumed the two ECOs were not smart enough to pick up on what was really happening. Prior to the ECOs arriving, the salt block was hidden and the apple mashing was all buried under the ground. In conclusion, it was found that the property owner did not give the two hunters permission to be on the property and the property owner was actually the one who had taken the treestands. The treestands were returned to the rightful owners and numerous tickets were issued for the illegal deer that were taken over bait. Tickets were also issued for guiding and hunting without a license. All tickets were written returnable to the Watertown town court.
Tracking a trespasser
On Oct. 4, ECO Ricardo Grisolini received a call from a complainant with regard to a trespass that had taken place on property in the town of Marshall that morning. The concerned citizen claimed he watched a man walk through posted property while he was scouting that morning. He then ran out to the road and was able to get the license plate number of the trespasser as he drove away. Grisolini ran the plate and it came back to an Oriskany Falls man. Through interviews with neighbors and friends the officer was able to obtain a cell number for the suspect and made phone contact. The two met up and the suspect offered a voluntary statement that he intentionally trespassed on posted property in order to find a deer he had wounded with an arrow that morning. He was issued a citation for trespass on posted property and was to be arraigned in Marshall town court.
Trespasser goes to great lengths
ECO Steven Bartoszewski responded to a trespassing complaint in the town of Lyme where an individual trespassed and took a deer from posted property at first light. The landowner confronted the hunter and told him that it was his land he took the deer from. The landowner then went out to see where the deer was taken and when he returned to the deer the trespasser was gone. Once on scene Bartoszewski checked the remaining vehicles along the road in the area and monitored them to see if the trespassing suspect would return. The officer observed a hunter coming out to his vehicle just up the road from where the trespass had occurred. Bartoszewski approached the hunter and asked if he had observed anything that morning. The hunter stated he heard a shot and watched an individual retrieve a deer from an adjoining field and drag the deer back to the hedgerow on the state lands. The hunter also added the shot was fired around 6:55 a.m. – well before legal shooting time. The hunter also said he observed the individual headed for the abandoned railroad tracks that run across the property. The officer called the landowner back and asked if he could use one of his ATVs to try to find the suspect. The landowner agreed and the ECO set out to find the poacher. The officer continued up the old railroad until it reached the next roadway north of where the violation had occurred. Once at the road, he observed an individual carrying a firearm approximately 100 yards up the road, walking away from the railroad. The ECO approached the individual and, after a short interview, the individual admitted to taking the deer. Bartoszewski ordered the individual to stay where he was until he could return with his patrol vehicle. Once the officer returned to his vehicle and retrieved the suspect he did a background check on the suspect and figured out why the hunter was working so hard to get out of the area. The hunter had a felony conviction and was prohibited from carrying a firearm. The subject was arrested and ticketed for trespass on posted property, taking wildlife by means other than permitted, hunting deer during other than permitted and fourth degree criminal possession of a weapon. All charges were pending in the Lyme town court.
State record buck…. almost
On Oct. 2, ECO Fay Fuerch arrested a man for falsifying a statement, a Class A misdemeanor, and aggravated unlicensed operation in the third degree, an unclassified misdemeanor. The arrest was the result of an investigation into a 22-point nontypical buck that the suspect had taken by bow and was attempting to enter into the state record books. The antlers were taken to the local Boone & Crockett scorer, who knew immediately the deer was not a wild deer. Once the scorer had aged the deer at 2 to 2½ years old, he was confident the deer came from a deer farm. The suspect eventually admitted to the scorer and officer he had legally taken the deer during a paid hunt at a local deer farm and was simply trying to prove to his brother that he could get a big buck. Apparently, the subject’s brother has continuously questioned his ability to hunt and had taken a decent size buck. So the suspect decided to shut him up and paid for a hunt at a local farm and took the buck in question. He then attached a DEC Bow/Muzz tag to the deer and recorded a different town and county than where the deer had actually been taken. He then drove the deer to that township, dragged it into the woods and took pictures in an attempt to show the deer had been taken in the wild. He decided to take the hoax further and attempted to enter the buck into the state record book. His “reward” was a trip to the Lewis County Public Safety Building in handcuffs for processing for the false statement charge. During Fuerch’s investigation, she observed the suspect driving with a revoked driver’s license and he was subsequently charged. In court, the suspect paid a fine for the revoked driving charge; unfortunately, the false statement charge was dismissed in satisfaction of that.
(St. Lawrence County)
On Oct. 21, ECOs Scott Atwood and Bret Canary were on patrol in the town of Gouverneur checking hunting activity when Canary spotted a truck parked way off in a field with several individuals around it. The ECOs pulled over and got out their binoculars to get a better look. While observing the actions of the individuals, it appeared they were gutting a deer. The ECOs continued to watch the subjects for about 10 minutes when they finally observed one of the subjects drag a deer over to the truck and load it into the truck bed. The ECOs continued to watch the subjects and observed them driving through the field back toward a residence. The ECOs waited until the vehicle got back to the residence and then they pulled in to check for proper tagging of the deer and hunting licenses. When the ECOs pulled in, they were greeted by a male subject, his wife, and three kids. The ECOs asked the male subject if he had gotten a deer and he stated that he did. Atwood requested to see his hunting license and the individual stated it was in his house. A check of the deer revealed there was no tag on it and it appeared that one had not been filled out. Atwood checked the subject’s license and observed all his tags were intact. The subject stated he was at his house and saw the deer in the field so he ran out and began stalking it in the field. He stated he left his wallet and tags in the house and figured he would fill out the tag after he got the deer back to his house. The ECOs educated the subject on proper tagging procedure for deer. The subject was issued one ticket for failure to immediately fill out a carcass tag upon taking a deer. The ECOs then instructed the individual to fill out his tag and tag the deer as required. A verbal warning was also issued to the subject for transporting the deer without a tag as required.
Southern District highlights
On Oct. 18, ECO Kaitlin Grady received a call from a Suffolk County Police K-9 handler about an overflowing cesspool behind a strip mall in Medford. The officer was conducting training down the street with his four-legged partner and stumbled on the mess. Grady responded and observed sewage overflowing from a manhole cover in the parking lot. The parking lot, which also serviced a deli and a coffee shop, was covered in septic waste which was actively flowing out of the cesspool and pouring into a storm drain in the corner of the lot. Grady located the property manager, who tried to argue that clean water was filling the cesspool; however, nothing clean was pouring out. The manager called a licensed waste transporter to come service the cesspool for the second time in almost two weeks. A bystander commented that the cesspool overflows almost daily and the landlord refuses to fix it. Both the property manager and the landlord face several charges for discharging waste into the street and into a storm drain.
Straining to strain
On Oct. 26, ECO Denise Ferraro received a complaint that a contractor was dumping a thick "ricotta cheese"-like liquid into a hole in the ground at Roosevelt High School. Several teachers at the school used their cell phones to videotape the event. The teachers said that the contractors have been working at the school and have always carted away any debris. During an interview of the construction manager on site, he admitted to using a filtration screen to try to separate the water from the solid glue scrapings (they were scraping an old floor). He allegedly stopped the process because it was too much of a strain and too many solid particles were getting through the "cheesecloth.” He stated they were trying to avoid driving five drums of sloshing liquid to the Bay Park water treatment plant. The general manager was ordered to clean up the mess and two tickets were issued.
On Oct. 2 while on patrol in the town of Pittstown, ECO Brian Canzeri and Major Tim Duffy observed a suspicious vehicle along Nick Mush Road and County Route 103. As they passed the vehicle, they observed a man urinating in the middle of the road. As Duffy pulled up, the suspect jumped back into his vehicle and started to drive off until stopped. Canzeri smelled a strong odor of alcohol. The driver, a Bennington. Vt., man, admitted to having two beers. Canzeri had the suspect exit the vehicle for standard roadside sobriety tests, which he failed. Duffy secured the scene and notified the county. Trooper Painter arrived on scene and conducted his own tests. The suspect was taken into custody by the trooper for DWI charges. Later in the evening, Canzeri and Duffy were notified that the suspect’s blood-alcohol level was over twice the legal limit and he was also a repeat DWI offender.
Pine Barrens detail
As part of the Law Enforcement Council for the Pine Barrens Commission, on Oct. 28, ECOs Tim Fay and Matt Krug participated in a Suffolk County Pine Barrens ATV and off-road enforcement detail with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department and County Park Police. The ECOs ended up apprehending eight 4x4s off-roading on private property. While issuing tickets, another 4×4 drove up to the group. More than one of the drivers told the ECOs they didn't think any police would be out due to Hurricane Sandy approaching. In total, 18 citations were issued to the nine drivers for operating off road vehicles on private property and for trespass.
Fishing Derby/Conservation Da
On Sept. 22, ECOs Dawn Galvin and Michael Buckley participated in a Fishing Derby/ Conservation Day at Congers Lake in the town of Clarkstown. The day was organized and put together by the Rockland County Hunting Federation and went well.
Youth Pheasant Hunt
On Sept. 29, ECOs Sean Dewey and Anthony Glorioso attended the Greene County Youth Pheasant Hunt. The hunt was located on Joe Mauer’s property in the Town of Coxsackie. Eighteen youths were in attendance and all were successful, with most youths taking their two-bird limit.
On Oct. 13, ECO Harry Chase responded to a complaint on DeRuyter Lake of individuals harassing two waterfowl hunters legally engaged in pursuing ducks. The complainants advised that while hunting over a decoy spread from their boat, they had two individuals in a canoe paddling back and forth in front of them attempting to scare the decoying waterfowl away. Chase had handled a similar complaint last year with the assistance of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department and gave warnings to the same individuals involved. Both subjects this year were cited by Chase with violation of the Hunter Harassment Law after he witnessed the event firsthand from a location near the lake. Tickets were pending in the DeRuyter town court.
Unlawful goose hunters
On Oct. 23 ECO Jamie Powers responded to a complaint through the Chenango County sheriff’s office of two individuals killing a Canada goose from a roadway in the town of Earlville. The complainant stated he had observed a red pickup truck stop on the roadway, overheard two shots, and observed an individual run into a field and retrieve a dead goose. Responding, Powers located the two spent shotgun shells – one located on the roadside – and a pile of goose feathers in the field. The two individuals were known to the complainant. Powers, through his investigation, determined the shooter had discharged the shotgun from the roadway. The subjects were charged with hunting geese out of season, discharging a firearm from a public highway, and taking wildlife from a public highway. Charges were pending in the local town court.