New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 27th, 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.)
While on patrol ECO Vernon Fonda and Lt. Joshua Ver Hague received a call regarding someone shooting within 500 feet of a residence. Fonda began interviewing the two individuals who claimed to be target shooting, and did not think they were doing anything wrong. Fonda informed them they were far too close and they would be receiving tickets on the matter. After doing a more thorough look into the two with the help of DEC’s Central Dispatch, Fonda discovered that one individual had a suspended license for not appearing in court and the second had a felony conviction. That conviction prohibited him from being in possession of a firearm. The two were taken into custody and transported to Ridgeway Town Court where they were arraigned for discharge within 500 feet of a dwelling and Criminal Possession of a Weapon, 4th Degree. Also assisting in the matter were Lt. Chris Bourke and Merideth Papponetti of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department and New York State Trooper Scott Gregson.
Free for all on the farm?
While on patrol, ECOs Brian Wade and John Lutz received a tip that a subject in Avon may have taken a deer without a license. Armed with no other information, the officers responded to a local horse farm and interviewed the subject, a 35-year-old business management consultant from Virginia who was in town visiting family for Thanksgiving. He admitted to taking a buck two days prior, insisting that he “honestly and literally” believed that since he was on a farm he could shoot deer without a license. Not convinced of his claim of ignorance, the officers looked at the deer hanging in a tree behind the residence. It was clearly evident that this deer had only been dead for several hours, not days. Further questioning revealed that the subject had shot not one, but two bucks without a license, one on opening day and a second two days later on the morning of Nov. 23. He showed the officers where he had thrown the carcass of the first buck in a pond after processing the meat, which was in Styrofoam coolers in the trunk of his car. After obtaining a written confession, the deer were seized and tickets were issued for unlawfully killing two deer without a license. Since he was from Virginia and returning home in a day or two, the officers took him to Avon Town Court for immediate arraignment, where he paid a hefty penalty for his illegal actions, emptying both his wallet and hitting his ATM cash withdrawal limit.
Search and rescue
On Nov. 12, ECO Erik Dalecki heard a call over the radio about a lost hunter on Texas Hollow state land, and radioed that he would respond as he was not far away. Dalecki and sheriff’s deputy Andrew Yessman went to where the lost hunter had parked. The lost hunter had no cellular coverage, but was able to get text messages out to his sister, who had then contacted the sheriff’s office. Dalecki and Yessman started canvassing the wooded area. The lost hunter was eventually located and escorted back to his vehicle. Fortunately, the hunter had only been lost for approximately one hour and did not require any medical attention.
Down the drain
On Nov. 24, ECOs Kevin Cummings and Jeanette Bastedo responded to a report of an oil spill at the Long Island Railroad Depot in Jamaica Queens. When they arrived, the ECOs found that fuel truck making a diesel delivery had been left unattended and that the overfill alarm on the storage tank was known to be broken. A large quantity of diesel fuel had spilled into the sewer drains by the tank and onto nearby railroad tracks. The tanker truck was completely empty and nobody at the MTA/LIRR could say how much diesel had already been in the storage tank, making it difficult to determine the volume of the spill. DEC spills personnel also responded. Notices of violations were issued while the MTA and an environmental remediation company began the massive cleanup that included attempting to suck diesel fuel back out of the sewers.
Four illegal deer in the shed
On Nov. 27, ECO Luke Billotto received an anonymous text that there were several untagged, illegally killed deer in a shed behind a residence in Berne. He and ECO Kurt Swan responded to the address, and when they arrived they observed blood evidence on the concrete in front of the garage, bloody handprints on the white garage door, and a partial deer leg sticking out from under the garage door. The officers spoke with a girl and then checked the garage. In the garage they found four deer hanging – two tagged bucks and two untagged does. Also found were frozen deer quarters in a backpack on top of a freezer, and two frozen buck heads inside of the freezer. T/Sgt. Keith Isles and K9 Shamey responded to assist with the investigation. The resident returned to the house and after a brief interview admitted to illegally taking the two does. He was unable to provide a tag for either of the two bucks in the freezer. The four untagged deer were seized and donated to the Venison Donation Program and the two frozen buck heads were taken as evidence. The resident was issued tickets for the deer, and a tagging violation for the buck head.
Firearms season starts early
In the afternoon of Nov. 20, ECO James Davey received a call from a concerned bowhunter who stated that he had witnessed an individual walk into the woods behind a house with a scoped rifle. The caller stated he then heard a firearm discharge and watched the hunter removing a deer from the property a short time later. At the residence in question, Davey was able to see a deer carcass hanging in the backyard tied to a small sedan with a New Jersey registration. While approaching the hanging deer, a squeaky wheelbarrow could be heard being pushed in the dark behind the residence. As the responsible party approached the deer, Davey confronted the subject and asked for identification. The hunter promptly admitted to taking the deer with the rifle. ECO Anthony Glorioso, state trooper Chris Alberts and deputy KC Bauhoff assisted with the investigation and arrest. The hunter was charged with taking a deer with a gun during bow season, failure to carry a hunting license and fail to tag deer as required. The responsible party was taken into custody and arraigned in Livingston Town Court, where he entered into a civil compromise and was fined $900. The 8-point buck was seized as evidence and later donated to the Hunters for the Hungry program.
Late-night light and gun
Responding to rumors that there was a large buck in the area, ECO Nathan Doig and Lt. Kevin Beiter decided to watch some nearby fields for spotlighting activity on the night of Nov. 11. Doig and Beiter sat patiently until they saw the wagging of a spotlight several miles away. Doig was familiar with the area and knew the vehicle would be heading their way. The vehicle later passed by the officers, shining a light at deer in the field. A vehicle stop was conducted and Doig found an unsecured Marlin .22 rifle in the truck, along with the spotlight. Both individuals were charged with the misdemeanor of spotlighting for deer while in possession of a rifle.
‘I thought you could burn couches’ (Washington County)
While on patrol Lt. John Ellithorpe noticed a large plume of black smoke rising in the distance. ECO Matthew Krug and Lt. Ellithorpe responded to the scene in Argyle where a man was burning tires, furniture and construction debris. When Ellithorpe told the subject they had spotted his fire from miles away, he replied “You can always see one of my fires!” When informed that burning solid waste was illegal, he exclaimed “I thought you could burn couches!” The man was issued a ticket for the incident.
Baiting bandits busted
On Nov. 21, ECOs Nathan Doig and George Wilber were patrolling in the town of Hancock when they spotted two deer hanging on a porch on Bert Medlar Road. The officers checked several firearms strapped to ATVs and inspected the tags on the deer. One of the guns was loaded, and one of the deer, although still very warm, was tagged with a WMU 3M carcass tag. Wildlife Management Unit 3M was a long way away.
When the officers asked for information on the deer, an individual full of pride stepped forward to claim the kills, proudly adding that both were taken on the property. The suspects were separated and advised they were in violation of Environmental Conservation Law for the loaded gun and illegal deer. The officers learned that several other individuals from camp were out hunting. The once delighted hunter led the officers to each deer stand where piles of corn, gravity feeders and salt licks were overseen by the eagerly waiting hunters. The hunters marched back to camp, single file, where they received tickets for possessing loaded guns on ATVs, taking deer over bait/without a 4W DMP tag, hunting over bait and for failure to carry their hunting license/carcass tags while afield. A total of 11 tickets were issued