$1,200 penalty for illegal moose kill

Croghan, N.Y. — A New Hampshire hunter has reached a settlement in the illegal shooting of a young bull moose during the Northern Zone deer and bear season last November.

Steven Zehr, 53, of Walpole, N.H., agreed to make a $1,200 payment plus a $2.50 court surcharge in connection with the case.

He also pleaded guilty to hunting deer without a license, since he had already killed a buck earlier in the week prior to the Nov. 25 incident. As part of a conditional discharge on that charge he donated $125 to a decoy fund and paid a $75 court surcharge.

DEC Region 6 officials said Zehr was hunting in the Lewis County town of Croghan when he shot the young bull moose at about 10 a.m. on Nov. 25. He told officers he mistook the animal for a heavy antlered deer. 

Zehr turned himself in later that day.

The moose was retrieved by the DEC the next day and sent to the agency’s pathology lab as part of ongoing research on New York state’s moose population and its health.

A civil compromise is an agreement between DEC’s environmental conservation officer, the local justice court and the individual who committed the violation. DEC collects a penalty for civil liability and the charges are no longer considered criminal.

DEC Region 6 officials released an end-of-season report on the 2014 deer season which showed a total of 353 hunting-related “enforcement actions.”

Region 6 covers St. Lawrence, Jefferson, Lewis, Herkimer and Oneida counties. 

ECOs ticketed numerous individuals for violating hunting and firearm laws and regulations during the big-game hunting season. The charges – 171 misdemeanors and 181 violations – involved 228 individuals.

Among the charges:

• 60 for the illegal taking of big game (55 misdemeanors and 5 violations);
• 5 misdemeanors for possession of firearm during bow or muzzleloader season;
• 12 misdemeanor charges of discharging of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling;
• 2 violations for discharging of a bow within 150 feet of a dwelling;
• 5 Penal Law misdemeanors for criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree;
• 71 firearms-related charges (loaded gun in a motor vehicle, shooting from roadway), all misdemeanors;
• 103 tickets related to tagging, reporting and licensing;
• 5 charges for hunting with the aid of bait;
• 38 violations for trespassing on posted property;
• 4 misdemeanor counts of taking deer with an artificial light;
• 12 misdemeanors for use of a spotlight with an unsecured gun or bow;
• one violation for feeding bears;
• 11 violations for feeding deer within 300 feet of a road;
• 6 false statements charges – 5 Penal Law and one false statement applying for a license;
• 14 violations for hunting after hours;
• 4 additional charges: hunting with barbed broadheads, hunting big game with a semi-automatic firearm holding greater than 6 rounds, and two for taking deer with an implement not specified.

“Environmental conservation police are diligent in enforcing hunting and trapping laws to ensure suitable populations of deer, bear and other wildlife,” regional ECO Capt. Todd Richards said. “While the list of offenses may be long, it also shows that the thousands of people who hunt do follow the laws, appreciate the privilege of pursuing game and enjoy their sport safely and responsibly.”

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