New York Cuffs & Collars – June 27th, 2014
A lot wrong
Prior to the opening day of the Southern Zone big game season, ECO Brett Armstrong received a complaint of a baited treestand. He checked the location and verified the bait, which consisted of corn and sweet feed. On opening day, Armstrong and ECO Aaron Markey returned to the baited stand and observed a subject in hunting from the stand. Under the treestand near the baited area was a dead antlered deer the man had shot. The subject was ultimately ticketed for hunting deer with the aid of pre-established bait pile, an unlawful deer, tagging offenses, as well as hunting big game without a license. Tickets were pending in local court.
On the opening day of the Southern Zone big-game regular season, ECO Ozzie Eisenberg and T/Sgt. Brian Gillis were contacted regarding an incident of hunter harassment in the town of Groton. Eisenberg and Gillis secured a statement from the complainant. The complainant stated that he was legally hunting and that a neighbor was blowing a siren and yelling over a loudspeaker. The complainant stated that this activity continued for approximately one hour. He further stated that the harassment ruined his hunt in that area for the morning. Later in the day, Eisenberg received another call regarding the matter from another hunter. Eisenberg issued the individual who was harassing the hunters a ticket for violation of the hunter harassment law. The case was pending in the local criminal court.
Opening Day patrol
New-to-the-region ECO Don Damrath teamed up with Region 7 veteran ECO Rick Head to patrol the Morgan Hill State Forest on the opening day of the Southern Zone deer hunting season. Before even seeing a deer to check, Damrath cited a hunter for possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle when the hunter was driving out of the forest for the day. As the ECOs made their way deeper into the forest, they observed two hunters driving out. The hunters stated they had killed a deer, and the ECOs observed a doe in the back of one of the vehicles. The ECOs noted that the deer was untagged and the hunter in possession of the deer was not the hunter who had taken the deer. The hunters, who were twin brothers, admitted that the one brother who shot the deer did not possess a DMP, so the other brother filled out his own DMP for the deer and did not properly affix the tag. The tag was in the cup holder of the vehicle. Damrath issued a ticket for the illegal taking of a doe deer and the ECOs seized the deer for donation.
Southern Zone triple trouble
ECOs Eric Templeton and Andy McCormick and Lt. Ric Warner responded to a call in the town of Kirkwood from a hunter reporting that a poacher had shot three bucks that morning. They arrived to find the defendant at his vehicle in the field near the road, as well as an accomplice of the defendant along with the property owner who lived across the road. The defendant, who had permission to hunt the property, admitted to shooting a spike, an 8-point, and a 10-point from his stand that morning, stating that he thought the spike was a doe when he shot it. He additionally stated that he thought he could legally fill his friend’s buck and doe tags for him; his friend was done hunting for the season and had been home with his wife and newborn child when he was called and asked to bring his tags and assist with the deer. The man stated that the three deer were field dressed and still down in the woods and they were just about to fill out the tags and load the deer. According to the subject, the spike came through first at about 7:30 a.m. and he harvested it. Approximately two hours later the 10-point came through and he harvested that deer as well. He then stated, at 9:34 a.m. he called his hunting buddy to come bring his buck tag and 7S DMP tag and help him with the deer. The subject, who was still in his stand at the time, observed an 8-point coming through the woods at about 9:45 a.m., which he decided to take as well. The two men confessed to the thought of attempting to break the antlers off the spike buck in order to place a DMP tag on it and solve the buck tag shortage dilemma. After giving his statement, the subject was issued tickets for failing to comply with tagging requirements, and two counts of taking deer over the bag limit, and his accomplice was ticketed for aiding in the unlawful taking of deer. The 8-point and 10-point were seized along with the accomplice’s regular-season tag, and the deer were taken to a local butcher for the venison donation program, minus the antlers. The subject and accomplice appeared in the Kirkwood Town Court and were assessed penalties and fees totaling $1,260.
Shut the front door!
While patrolling in the town of Vestal, ECO Andy McCormick drove by a residence and noticed several individuals standing in front of a garage with a half-open door and a deer hanging inside the garage. McCormick was familiar with this location as he had received a complaint during the 2013 archery season alleging that an individual living at this residence was illegally baiting deer. McCormick decided to stop and take a look at the deer. As he approached the gathering one of the individuals had a “string” of carcass tags in his hands and stated that, “I was just getting ready to fill out the tag.” The individual stated that he had shot the deer on the hill behind the house and stated that he had also shot an antlerless deer during archery season. McCormick proceeded to question the individual and found that the deer that was shot during the archery season was shot out of one of the baited treestands on a date that McCormick could verify that the bait was still present. The individual admitted to placing the apples and salt blocks on his property. McCormick issued tickets for hunting with the aid of bait, unlawful placement of salt block, failing to comply with deer tagging requirements and taking deer contrary to the provisions of the Fish and
Wildlife Law. Double trouble
ECO Jamie Powers responded to a baiting complaint in the town of North Collins and hiked with the complainant to the area where the complainant had observed the bait. After a search of the area the two were able to locate three treestands with piles of corn, apples and salt blocks nearby. Powers also located a fresh gut pile 40 yards from one of the baited stands. Early the following Saturday morning, Powers and ECO Chuck Wilson returned to the area and found a hunter sitting in one of the stands. The hunter immediately stated that he had just shot a doe and led the officers to the area where he hit the deer. When the hunter handed the officers his license, they found a regular-season buck tag and a bow/muzzleloader tag that did not belong to him. They also found that he did not possess a DMP tag for the area they were in. After a quick search the officers located and seized the deer. While interviewing him, the subject admitted to shooting a doe in the same spot where Powers had found the gut pile.He also admitted to placing 50-pound bags of corn and apples near the three stands. He was subsequently charged with two counts each of hunting over a pre-established bait pile and illegally taking a deer, as well as single counts of possessing tags of another and hunting without a valid DMP tag.
Done in in Dunkirk
ECO Darci Dougherty was on her way back to her headquarters after conducting a road hunting detail with two other ECOs when she heard the Chautauqua County sheriff’s dispatch calling for the assistance of an ECO. She contacted them and was connected with the city of Dunkirk Police Department, who had two officers out with an individual who had just shot a deer within the city limits. There is a no-firearm discharge ordinance within the city limits. Dougherty responded immediately and interviewed the subject, learning that not only was the deer shot after legal hunting hours and in an area where firearms discharge was prohibited, but that it was also shot over a pile of apples and corn. The man was charged with the illegal taking of a deer, hunting deer during closed hours, hunting deer over bait, enticing deer to feed within 300 feet of a highway, and failure to immediately tag a deer.
ECO Erik Dalecki received a call from Schuyler County Sheriff’s Deputy Andrew Yessman, who had received a call from a hunter who was tracking a wounded deer on property near Watkins Glen raceway. The hunter had permission to be on the property. While looking for his deer, the lawful hunter encountered two other hunters he knew did not have permission to be on the property. Dalecki responded and located what he suspected was the trespassing hunter's truck and conducted a search of the nearby wooded area and eventually found the trespassing hunters over a mile away at one of their parent’s residences. Dalecki interviewed both hunters. One hunter was found to have a hunting license but was not carrying it or any of the tags with him. The other hunter did not possess a big game hunting license. The hunter without the license admitted to shooting at the deer the complainant was tracking. The unlicensed hunter stated he had not gotten around to getting his license, as it was the first time he had hunted this season and thought no one would know since he was on private property. Each hunter was issued three tickets for Environmental Conservation Law violations. The property owner was satisfied with the ECO’s actions and chose not to press charges for trespass.
Lt. Matt Lochner was notified about a possible illegally taken deer at a meat processor in Wayne County. A DEC wildlife biologist was checking deer that had been dropped off at the meat cutter’s and discovered a buck that had its antlers removed and was tagged with an antlerless deer tag. The same hunter also dropped off a 10-point buck which appeared properly tagged with his regular-season buck tag. Lochner relayed the information to ECOs Todd Smith and Aaron Gordon, who were patrolling together, and the two officers met the hunter at his residence to speak to him about the deer in question. Gordon questioned the man about the buck with the removed antlers and at first he stated that the antlers must have broken off before he shot the deer. But after further questioning he admitted that the buck was a 5-point and he shot the 10-point later in the day and removed the antlers on the smaller buck and placed a doe tag on it. Tickets were issued for failure to tag deer as required and illegally taking protected wildlife. Smith and Gordon seized the 10-point buck from the meat processors as evidence. The overeager hunter was set to appear in the Phelps Town Court to answer the citations.