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Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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New York Cuffs & Collars – September 19th, 2014

Cub rescued twice
(Delaware County)

ECO Nathan Doig responded to State Route 206 on Bear Spring Mountain in the town of Walton in regard to a small bear cub causing a traffic jam. Walton police were there a few moments before Doig arrived and were able to catch the bear. After the traffic got moving again, Doig brought the cub back to the area where it was originally picked up. He then released the cub in a safe area, far from the road, hoping that the mother bear would come back to get it.
Two days later, ECOs George Wilber and Jared Woodin received another call concerning a bear cub in the roadway, not far from where Doig had released the cub. Wilber and Woodin safely caught the bear again. DEC wildlife staff advised the officers to transport the bear cub to a licensed rehabilitator in Oswego County, where they specialize in feeding and raising bear cubs without human contact. The bear cub was to be raised until it was 25 to 30 pounds and then was to be released back into the wild.

Illegal deer
(Allegany County)

ECO Russ Calanni received a tip from a probation officer that one of his probationers may have shot a deer that he was not entitled to take. He advised Calanni that he received multiple complaints on this subject, and that he was a convicted felon. Following a lengthy investigation, Calanni was able to get an admission from the subject, as well as seize numerous packs of venison as evidence. The subject stated that he did shoot an antlerless deer and placed the wrong DMP on it because he did not draw one for that area. The subject would not admit to the Penal Law firearm charge, nor were there any witnesses to him actually possessing a firearm. He was, however, charged with the DMP violation as well as the taking of an illegal deer. The Allegany County Probation Office will make the determination if the subject will be cited for violating the conditions of his probation. 

Liar, liar
(Wyoming County)

ECO R.J. Ward concluded an investigation that led to violation and misdemeanor level Penal Law and Conservation Law charges for a hunter from the town of Perry.  Ward received a tip in late November regarding the operator of several illegal traps and responded to the suspected trapper’s residence for an interview. It turned out that the individual was not responsible for the traps, but the conversation eventually turned from trapping to deer hunting. The hunter claimed he had killed two deer, one during the archery season and one with a firearm on Alverson Road in the town of Perry. A check of the hunter’s carcass tags showed the hunter tagged the firearm deer with a Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 9H Deer Management Permit (DMP). Ward informed the hunter that the town of Perry was not in WMU 9H and that he was going to issue a summons for the violation. Ward returned to his vehicle to complete the paperwork when the hunter knocked on the window of the patrol vehicle. The hunter told Ward that he had lied about the location he shot the antlerless deer during the regular season. He then wanted to change his story, saying that he actually shot the deer on Christ Road in the town of Warsaw, a location that would require the 9H tag. Ward requested the hunter take him to the location where he shot the deer on Christ Road. At that location, the hunter showed Ward an area where he claimed to have field dressed the deer, but no gut pile was located. Ward then requested to see the deer and carcass tag. The hunter met Ward at his father’s house in Mt. Morris. A check of the carcass tag showed the hunter entered Perry as the town of kill, not Warsaw. Confronted with the inconsistencies of his story, the hunter would still only admit to writing the wrong township. Having been born and raised in the town of Perry, the hunter could not convince Ward that he was not familiar with the area he was hunting, and was blatantly lying to hinder the investigation. He was ultimately charged with making a false written statement (a Class A misdemeanor), as well as two counts of failing to properly complete deer carcass tags. He was scheduled to appear in Warsaw Town Court at a later date.

Stolen deer
(Erie County)

ECO Nate Mead was just finishing his tour on the opening day of the Southern Zone firearms deer season when he received a call from ECO Vern Fonda about two deer that were stolen from the roadside near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge in Orleans County. Fonda was able to provide a plate number of the truck involved, along with the registered owner’s address. Mead responded to the address in the town of Tonawanda and upon arrival he located a vehicle matching the description given by Fonda. A quick look in the back of the vehicle proved promising because there was fresh blood on the tailgate and in the truck bed. The officer spoke to the resident, who appeared to be butchering a deer in his kitchen, and asked if he had any deer in his possession and he stated that his son and his son’s friend had shot two deer earlier that morning. Mead asked to see the deer and the tags. The information given to Mead by Fonda was that the two deer that were stolen had both been tagged by the legal takers and that one was a doe and the other a button buck. Upon checking the carcasses, the officer found a little piece of tag left in the ear of the button buck with a string looping through the ear, but the tags presented for inspection were not damaged at all. After a long and drawn out interview with the two subjects who claimed to have harvested the deer, and with the evidence of multiple tags being used on one deer, an admission of guilt was finally obtained. When asked why they did it, one subject stated that the other guys who hunt the area are always messing with them and he decided to steal the deer to get back at them. He was charged with possessing the license of another person and two counts of illegally taking protected wildlife.

Slow learner
(Niagara County)

ECOs James Rogers and Nathan VerHague were on patrol when VerHague received a call of a trespassing violation that had happened a few days earlier. The trespasser had reportedly killed a deer while on posted property where he did not have permission to hunt, and the caller offered a possible name associated with the incident. Rogers immediately recognized him as a repeat violator whom he had apprehended illegally killing deer in the past and whose hunting privileges were still revoked. The ECO knew where the subject of the complaint lived so the two officers patrolled to his farm. Upon arrival they observed a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle used in the trespass complaint, and as they drove past the farm, Rogers noticed someone walking across a field about 1,000 yards to the north of the road they were on. Through binoculars they could see a man who looked to match the physical description of the subject they were looking for, wearing a green camo jacket and carrying a long gun. The officers hid their vehicle and waited at the farm. The man they were looking for soon appeared but did not have his gun. He initially denied possession of a gun but a brief check of the area by VerHague revealed a Remington 870 Deerslayer loaded with deer slugs. The officers questioned him about the trespassing complaint and at first he denied any knowledge of the incident, but when confronted with more facts and witness information, he admitted to killing a doe on the complainant’s property the Friday before. He also admitted to the ECOs that his hunting privileges were still revoked from his last arrest. He said he tagged the deer with his brother’s DMP tag and took the deer to a processor. The officers charged the man with hunting while his privilege was revoked and taking an illegal deer. Trespassing charges were pending.

Illegal deer
(Erie County)

While on routine patrol, ECO Scott Marshall received a call from the Erie County Sheriff’s Office requesting assistance with a trespassing complaint in the town of Sardinia. Upon arrival, Marshall met with the deputy and an irate farmer. The farmer claimed that while he ate his lunch at his kitchen table, he observed a pickup truck pull onto the shoulder of the road in front of his property. A man exited the truck carrying a shotgun and knelt along the shoulder of the road approximately 150 feet from the farmer’s house. Using the farmer’s fence as a rest, the man fired at two deer standing in a corn field. The farmer watched the buck react to being hit and run a short distance. The man fired again, hitting the deer a second time as the deer ran into the woods. As the man walked into the field, the farmer went outside and yelled to him. The trespasser looked at him but ignored his frantic yelling and waving and proceeded to the woodlot after the deer. Marshall immediately drove the farmer’s laneway back to the field and encountered the man dragging the deer out. When confronted with the allegations, the man admitted to everything, but claimed he thought he was on property he had permission to hunt. Marshall and the hunter retraced his actions, which corroborated the farmer’s account. The man was charged with taking the deer illegally and for discharging a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling.

A sure thing
(Chautauqua County)

While investigating an earlier duck hunting complaint, ECO Darci Dougherty received information that during the regular big-game season there was a high level of road hunting activity along a particular road. She received permission from the landowner to conduct a decoy detail on the road and let him know that she would be putting out the decoy. He told her it was a sure thing that someone would shoot it. The day of the detail ECOs Dougherty, Kevin Budniewski, Chris Freeman, Mike Phelps, and Lt. Don Pleakis set up their decoy in a likely location and took up watch. Shortly after sunset, a truck rolled down the road and stopped at the decoy. The driver exited the truck and shot at it. The shooter was cited with numerous Conservation Law offenses including trespass, possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, hunting after hours, and possessing the buck tag of another.

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