New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – June 10th, 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.)

Three strikes and you’re out
(Saratoga County)

ECO Steven Shaw received a complaint of a possible trespass while hunting in the town of Greenfield. After patrolling to the area in question, Shaw checked a father and son with a 6-point buck. Although the men were not trespassing, no tag had been filled out for the deer and a ticket was issued to the son for failure to immediately fill out his tag. Exactly two weeks later, Shaw was called back to the same area regarding another possible trespass while hunting. This time the father had shot a large 9-point buck; it had died on legally posted property and the father had dragged the deer off the posted property without permission. Shaw followed up and found the deer was tagged with another hunter’s tag. The father was issued two tickets for killing one too many bucks and possessing the tag of another. The deer was confiscated and transported to the Saratoga County venison donation program.

On Thanksgiving morning, Shaw and ECO Robert Higgins were patrolling together when a third call was received from the same complainant. Apparently both men were back and hunting on or near the complainant’s property. On the way to the complaint it was learned that both the father and son were convicted felons and could not possess any firearms. After arriving at the scene, the men were quickly located. The father was carrying a muzzleloader and the son a shotgun. Both were arrested and processed at the local state police station and issued tickets for criminal possession of a weapon, 4th degree. The son was also issued a ticket for carrying his mother’s buck tag.

Wake up Larry!
(Warren County)

On Nov. 21, the opening day of the Southern Zone deer season, ECOs George LaPoint and Alan Brassard were patrolling the Northern Zone and walked to a known baited, enclosed treestand. Upon seeing the hunter’s ATV parked in close proximity to the treestand, the two officers quietly approached the stand. LaPoint, having prior encounters with the hunter, called out his name and did not get a response. Not knowing if the hunter was hiding inside the stand, he hollered again, “Larry!  Are you in there?” Larry suddenly awoke and responded, “What’s going on, who’s there?” LaPoint advised Larry it was the conservation police and asked if he knew why the officers where there. After he was fully awake, he replied, “Yep, I’ll be right down.” “Larry,” of Brant Lake, was issued tickets for hunting over bait and failure to carry his hunting license. To date, he has been arrested five times for hunting over bait, two times for illegally feeding deer, once for hunting while on revocation and hunting without a license. He has also had his license revoked for four years.

Mattress fire
(Oswego County)

On Nov. 27, ECO Dave Thomas responded to a 911 call of a large bonfire at a portable toilet rental business on State Route 3 in the town of Palermo. When he arrived, he learned that this was an intentional fire, with refreshments provided for the company’s workers and their families as they all enjoyed watching the solid waste being illegally burned. Thomas could make out the remains of at least eight mattresses, along with other furniture and household waste. The owner of the company was cited for open burning of solid waste and unlawful disposal of solid waste, which were returnable to Palermo Town Court. The combined fines upon conviction range from $2,000 to $33,000.

Timber theft
(Delaware County) 

On Nov. 5, a Masonville subject was arrested and charged with timber theft and grand larceny, 3rd degree (a Class D Felony), after ECO Nathan Doig concluded an investigation. The subject was arraigned and released in Sidney Town Court. Doig was assisted by Lt. Kevin Beiter in the investigation as well as DEC foresters in the stump survey; 179 trees were marked in the stump surveys valuing over $10,000. The subject was primarily cutting red oak and bringing two to five logs at a time to a local mill. The case was pending in Sidney Town Court.

ECO assists with fleeing motorist
(Nassau County)

On Oct. 8, ECO Rob Howe was checking fisherman along the Wantagh Parkway when he overheard a New York State Park Police officer call for assistance with a motorist that was failing to comply with a traffic stop. The motorist was fleeing from the officer along the Wantagh Parkway at speeds in excess of 85 miles per hour. The motorist exited the parkway and onto some side streets, where he was eventually stopped. Howe and another park police officer arrived immediately after and saw the pursuing officer struggling to subdue the motorist. Howe and the additional officer assisted in restraining the man and placed him in handcuffs. The incident started over the motorist being angry over a parking ticket. The actions the motorist then took resulted in him being arrested and brought to the Nassau County Jail.

True’s beaked whale
(Suffolk County)

On Nov. 20, ECO Alena Lawston received a complaint of a dead dolphin that had washed up on a beach in Bridgehampton. The complainant had speculated that it may have been caught in a net and then had its throat slashed, possibly to release it from the net. Lawston responded to the location as the animal was being loaded into a Riverhead Foundation truck for transport to their facility. The officer followed to get a closer look. After a more detailed examination, the Riverhead Foundation’s marine biologist Kim Durham did not believe the lacerations were from a net but from scavengers picking at it. The marine mammal turned out to be an 11-year-old male True’s Beaked Whale weighing 1,071 pounds. According to the Riverhead Foundation, this is a species rarely seen close to shore. The necropsy showed the whale most likely died from a combination of gastritis, parasites and respiratory congestion in both lung lobes. The complainant was notified and was relieved the whale was not deliberately killed.

Changes his story
(Washington County)

On the evening of Nov. 13, ECO Thomas Wensley received a telephone call from the owner of a farm in the town of Fort Ann. His farm employee heard shots not far from where he was checking the farm’s steers. The farm worker investigated the shots and found a neighbor trespassing with a rifle. Wensley and ECO Matt Krug went to the residence and found an ATV with fresh blood on it and two untagged bucks. This part of Fort Ann is in the Southern Zone and was not yet open to rifle hunting. The two untagged bucks were seized as evidence. On the following morning, Wensley and Lt. John Ellithorpe followed up the human tracks to the backyard of the alleged offender’s home. The man initially offered a signed statement of taking the deer in the Northern Zone that was open to rifle hunting. When confronted with the physical evidence that did not support his original story, he changed his statement to taking the deer illegally. He was issued two misdemeanor tickets. Additionally, the landowner pressed trespass charges. The man had a court date and fines for the charges could be as much as $4,250 plus court surcharges.

‘It was an 8-pointer, or maybe a six’ (Greene County)

On Nov. 23, ECO Anthony Glorioso was contacted by a landowner in the town of Catskill who stated he just found a still-warm spike buck dead on his property. As the area has an antler restrictions of at least three points on one side, this made the deer an unlawful kill. Glorioso arrived and found that the deer was gut-shot. He immediately took a thigh temperature which revealed 98.7 degrees. With this information, the officer decided to backtrack the blood trail to a possible hunter still in the woods. Assisted by the landowner and a friend of his, they followed a 250-yard spotty blood trail and found where the deer had been shot. As they arrived at this location, they heard someone whistling and saw a man appear about 70 yards away from behind a downed tree just on the other side of the property line. The hunter shouted, “What are you looking for?” Glorioso hid behind a tree and had the landowner reply back to the subject, asking him particular questions. The man revealed in the shouting match that he had shot an 8-point buck or maybe a 6-point earlier right where we were standing. He stated that he thought he had gut shot it and couldn’t find any blood so he had given up looking for it. The man was asked to come over and Glorioso revealed himself, advising that he didn’t shoot an 8-pointer or a 6-pointer, but a spike. The ECO issued him a ticket for taking a deer in contrary to the antler restriction. The deer was donated to venison donation program.

Illegal bear cub
Schoharie County)

On Nov. 24, ECO Mike Terrell was contacted by ECO Steve Shaw about a bear cub that was taken to a processor in Saratoga County. Shaw was contacted by a Saratoga County sheriff’s deputy who was at the processor while off duty and received information that a bear cub was taken in the Catskills and was shot out of a group of four bears. The bear cub was seized as evidence and relayed to biologist Kevin Hynes at the DEC Pathology Lab to complete a forensic necropsy. The hunter filled out his carcass tag and checked the “cub” box. In the Southern Zone, you may not shoot a cub or a bear that should be known to be a cub, or shoot any bear from a group of bears. Charges are pending in Conesville Town Court.

Illegal deer on Facebook
(Delaware County) 

On Nov. 23, ECO Nathan Doig arrested a Colchester subject after Colchester police received a complaint of the man posting a picture on Facebook of a deer that he had recently shot. The individual is a convicted felon and is prohibited from possessing firearms or hunting. The deer was confiscated and donated to the venison donation program. The subject was arrested and processed by the Colchester Police for criminal possession of a weapon, 4th Degree and for possession of an illegal deer.

Last exit
(Nassau County)

On the evening of Nov. 15, state trooper Scott Kuntz called for an ECO to respond to the location of a two-car motor vehicle accident on the Southern State Parkway at Exit 22. One of the vehicles was occupied by a group of fishermen in possession of an inordinate number of fish. ECO Michael Unger responded to the location and observed four 55-gallon coolers packed with various fish. After a brief interview with the owner of the vehicle, it was determined that the group had been on a fishing charter earlier in the day out of Montauk. The group of unlucky fisherman received summonses for possession of undersized cod, undersized black sea bass and undersized porgy.

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