Over the limit on trout
ECO Nathan Doig was patrolling the East Branch of the Delaware River after the DEC had recently stocked the river. The officer checked a woman fishing who stated that she had caught three fish. When Doig asked to see the fish, she told him they were in the car. As they went to check the vehicle, the woman’s husband returned to the vehicle as well. The two individuals opened the vehicle and showed Doig the fish. There were several fish in a cooler as well as more fish in a bait bucket. The woman and her husband were ticketed for possessing six trout over the limit.
Woodchuck from the road
ECO George Wilber responded to a domestic 911 hang-up call in the town of Franklin. The officer assisted K9 Trooper Chris May in handling the call and were joined by Trooper Nicole Mauro. As May began filling out paperwork and Wilber began to brief Mauro, the ECO’s attention was caught by a vehicle at the intersection of Leland Hull and Bennett Hollow Road. The conservation officer asked the trooper to watch the suspect as he got in his patrol vehicle and grabbed binoculars. He was watching a silver pickup traveling along Leland Hull Road when it came to a stop, rolled ahead another car length and stopped again. He continued to watch as the rear passenger window rolled down and the barrel of a rifle came out. With the crack of a .22 rolling through the hills, Mauro turned to the ECO and asked, “Did you hear that.” The ECO replied, “Quick, move your car; that guy just shot from the truck.” The ECO had a good mile to cover to get to the shooter who could be seen running through the field after the woodchuck with his arms swinging wildly out of control. As the ECO arrived on scene the shooter was scrabbling up the bank, clutching the woodchuck. Once he saw the ECO, the poacher quickly dropped his prize. He stood along the side of the road, caught in the act. The case was adjudicated by the Franklin town justice for a total of $1,380 in fines and costs.
State police and town of Durham police went to a residence in the town of Durham to locate a subject with an arrest warrant for criminal sale of a controlled substance. After locating the subject in the residence, they noticed five tanks containing eight snakes. ECO Anthony Glorioso was contacted to respond to the location for an investigation, which revealed the subject was in possession of six boa constrictors and two reticulated pythons. The subject did not possess a permit from DEC to possess the reticulated pythons as required. As the two pythons were being taken from the tank, it was found that one of them had recently died from malnutrition. The second python was confiscated for evidence. The subject was charged with unlawful possession of a wild animal without a permit.
Long Island bear complaint
ECO Ron Gross received a complaint of a dead bear near the east side of South Haven Park in the woods in the town of Brookhaven. Gross was initially skeptical of this complaint since black bears do not live on Long Island. Once on scene, Gross found that the complainant had marked a trail to the carcass. Sure enough, about 30 yards into the woods, Gross found a dead 50-pound bear cub. He and Lt. Tom Gadomski removed the animal from the site for a necropsy to determine cause of death. Unfortunately, the bear had decomposed to the point where the cause of death could not be determined. It is speculated that the bear cub was possibly illegally shot upstate and dumped at the Long Island location. Another theory is that someone captured the young bear elsewhere and tried to make it a pet.
Illegal hunting activity
State police requested ECO Brian Canzeri's assistance to investigate a firearm discharge within 500 feet of a dwelling in the town of Pittstown. Canzeri responded and spoke to the homeowner and complainant and searched the area. He found a dead rabbit and a .22 caliber shell casing. After investigation and interviewing two suspects it was determined that the two had been turkey hunting, one with a .22 caliber rifle, the other with a shotgun. On the way back to the car they saw a rabbit next to the complainant’s house. One suspect shot the rabbit with his .22 and then proceeded to shoot at a turkey vulture overhead five times. When the complainant confronted them, they jumped into their car and fled. Canzeri, along with Trooper Martin, was able to locate the two subjects hiding at a friend’s house. Both were charged with taking small game out of season, and the shooter was also charged with two counts of shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling, attempting to take a protected species and hunting turkey with a rifle. Both pleaded guilty and paid fines in Pittstown Town Court.
ECO Anthony Glorioso responded to a complaint in the town of Austerlitz of a subject trespassing while turkey hunting. The complainant, a local farmer and his hired hands had located and blocked the subject’s vehicle in after they heard multiple shots coming from their farm field. While en route, Glorioso was notified that Columbia County sheriff’s deputies were also en route to the location. Glorioso arrived and found two hunters from Vermont in possession of an untagged gobbler. Assisted by the deputies, the investigation revealed the driver had shot the tom earlier that morning in the town of Canaan. The nonresident hunter was in possession of a New York state resident hunting license and also had suspended driving privileges in New York. After the two subjects left their earlier hunting spot, they decided to drive the roads in the town of Austerlitz. The second subject was then dropped off at the farm when they noticed seven gobblers strutting in the farmer’s field. The second subject stalked the birds through the short wooded area to the field and fired three shots at the turkeys. An investigation revealed that the second subject did not possess a New York hunting license. He was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, trespassing, hunting without a New York hunting license and hunting without a turkey permit. Both subjects were immediately arraigned in Austerlitz Town Court. The second subject was remanded to Columbia County Jail, where bail was set at $400 or $800 bond. The driver was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation (3rd degree), making a false statement when applying for a hunting license, hunting without a valid small-game hunting license, hunting without a turkey permit and unlawful taking of protected wildlife. He was also remanded to Columbia County Jail, where bail was set at $850 or $1,700 bond.
Illegal possession of a wild animal
ECOs Michael Buckley and Chris Lattimer were contacted by town of Newburgh police regarding a town resident in possession of two spider monkeys. They stated that during a search warrant executed on the residence, the monkeys were observed in one of the back bedrooms. Buckley and Lattimer responded to the scene and spoke with the tenant, who confirmed that she did, in fact, have two monkeys in the house. She stated, however, that they were not spider monkeys, but marmosets. The two officers confirmed the animals in question were marmosets and explained to her that marmosets are also illegal to possess in New York without a permit. She stated that she was in the process of trying to give them away to a local pet store but was waiting to hear back from them if they possessed the proper licenses. Buckley called the DEC Special Licenses Unit to confirm that she did not possess a license that the pet shop did. Lattimer issued the woman a summons for the illegal possession of marmosets without a permit, returnable to the Newburgh Court. The monkeys were to be moved to licensed facility.
ECO Tom Koepf received a complaint from a fisherman about a man catching short striped bass from the Hudson River in the village of Irvington. According to the information given, the subject was hiding illegal striped bass in the trunk of his SUV. Koepf drove to the location, where he observed dozens of people fishing from a breakwall. He located a man who fit the description provided by the complainant and went to investigate. When asking the man about his day on the river, the man stated that he had caught a few white perch but no striped bass. When Koepf asked for permission to check the man’s SUV, the man said, “No problem” and opened up everything but the rear hatch. When the man was asked by the officer to open the rear hatch as well, Koepf found two short striped bass in a bag hidden underneath a rug. The man was issued tickets for taking over the limit of striped bass and for possessing undersized striped bass.
Snake taken down to size
As ECOs Jeff Hull and Matt Krug were finishing up a successful pesticides patrol, they heard a snake call come across the radio. The call described an aggressive, 12- to 14-foot long red and black snake in the parking lot of a supermarket. As the officers were responding to the scene as quickly as possible to assist Suffolk County PD, further radio calls described the beast as possibly poisonous. When the ECOs arrived at the supermarket they encountered a three-foot-long, docile, non-poisonous eastern corn snake. The non-native corn snake was transported to the DEC Region 1 Wildlife Office to be used for future outreach and education efforts.