New York Cuffs & Collars – February 19th, 2016

(Editor’s note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the state of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.)

Family in distress
(Fulton County)

ECO Shane Manns received a call from the New York State Police. They stated that a family of four, with two small children, was stranded on their boat that had been hung up on a sunken island in the middle of Great Sacandaga Lake. After talking to the father of the family via cell phone, Manns was able to determine their location and responded with his patrol boat. He navigated the patrol vessel in the middle of the night through several sunken islands and was able to locate the family. Manns was able to get close enough to get a line to the family and tow them back to shore.  

Floating away
(Hamilton County)

While on a boat patrol of Lake Pleasant, ECO Peter Buswell and forest ranger David Kallen observed a swim toy-type trampoline float in the middle of the lake, floating free approximately 1,000 yards from the nearest shore. Assuming it had broken free of its anchor and was simply a hazard to navigation, they maneuvered their boat to tow it out of the congested center of the lake. On approach, they observed two small girls on the float. The children, ages 8 and 10, were completely unaware they had floated so far and had no idea how they would return to shore. Buswell and Kallen attached a towline and returned them to their grandparent’s dock. The grandparents had not noticed the girls missing as they were watching several other children and were very, very grateful for their return.

Veteran appreciation event
(Wayne County)

What do you do to express your appreciation to the United States Armed Service Combat Veterans who fought so hard to preserve and defend our freedom as Americans? Well if you ask DEC Lieutenant Matt Lochner, Wayne County Tourism/Outdoor writer Chris Kenyon, Whispering Pines Hideaway Shooting Preserve Owner Charlie Buisch, and Wayne County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs President Gene VanDeusen, they would unanimously reply; “invite them to an all-expenses-paid, weekend-long shooting and hunting event that embraces the very freedoms they fought so hard to protect.” 

The Wayne County event was coordinated by the aforementioned individuals with support from the following organizations and businesses: New York State Conservation Officers Association, Wayne County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Wayne County Chapter of SCOPE, and Whispering Pines Hideaway Shooting Preserve. 

The event began with introductions and lunch, followed by a very wet afternoon warm-up session of shooting sporting clays in the pouring rain, headed up by ECO Josh Wolgast (USMC) in anticipation of the pheasant and goose hunts the following day.  

Before daylight the next day, the hunters and guides headed to pre-scouted fields for a morning goose hunt. Although conditions weren’t ideal, the hunters and guides had a lot of fun swapping stories in between flocks. After the morning hunt, everyone returned to Whispering Pines Hideaway for lunch prepared by Dave Schueler and John Thompson. Once the hunters finished eating lunch they headed back out to hunt pheasants at the Whispering Pine’s pheasant fields.  

Thanks to the time and effort put in by everyone involved, the 2015 September 11th Commemorative Combat Veteran Appreciation Event was a complete success. Everyone had a great time and the hunters harvested 11 geese and 21 pheasants during the hunt. All game meat that wasn’t taken for personal consumption was donated to Clear Path for Veterans, a not-for-profit organization that focuses on veteran integration needs through outreach, wellness and socially engaging programming. The donated game meat will be used to provide meals at their weekly “Canteen” and “Warrior Re-set” dinners. For more information visit 

Nuisance buck
(Ulster County)

A nuisance deer permit was used and two deer were reported taken. The shooters were asked if both deer taken were does and they replied that one wasn’t. ECOs Matt Nichols and Josh Sulkey went to the farm and inspected the deer, as well as the walk-in cooler, which contained several other deer taken on the permit. The buck taken was a spike buck still in velvet with 10-inch antlers. A ticket was issued for violating the conditions of the nuisance permit. 

Eating crow
(Orange County)

ECO Michael Buckley responded to a call at sunrise that hunters were targeting ducks in Stewart State Forest despite the fact that duck season was closed. He arrived at the scene and found evidence to support the allegations, observing several empty shell casings of lead bird shot that smelled like they were recently fired. He searched the swamp, finding a dead duck floating nearby but no hunters. The officer, however, observed the hunters’ foot tracks in the morning dew on the grass. He was able to follow the tracks from the swamp through a meadow and toward a standing cornfield, where he spotted three hunters sitting under a large tree. Upon approaching the trio he questioned them about their activities that morning. All three hunters claimed that they were only hunting crows, but when they were presented with the results of Buckley’s investigation, and the fact that the shell casings recovered near the swamp were the same shells they currently possessed, they confessed. Two of the three hunters claimed responsibility for the illegal attempt at taking ducks during the closed season, and one of the hunters said that they did successfully shoot a bird but did not bother to retrieve it since it fell into the swamp – another violation of the waterfowl hunting regulations. Charges are pending in the local criminal court.

Salmon River detail
(Oswego County) 

ECO Jared Woodin traveled to Pulaski to work the Salmon River detail. This was his first time working the river so he was paired with ECOs Ric Grisolini and Deo Read, who have worked the detail for many years. The officers worked plain clothes and positioned themselves along the river with the fishermen. The officers were not local to the area so they were able to talk and observe the fishermen without being recognized as “The Wardens.” This became apparent when one of the fishermen spoke with Woodin by stating, “this is a good fishing hole, but keep an eye out for wardens. They sometimes dress like us.” In four days the three officers wrote approximately 20 tickets.  

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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