New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 15, 2019
(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.)
One too many bucks
On Nov. 17, ECO Tim Machnica and Investigator Ed Piwko were on patrol in the town of Concord when they observed four hunters standing in a driveway around a vehicle. The officers inquired about the success of their morning hunt and determined that one of the hunters had taken not one but two bucks that morning. The man stated that he had thought the second buck was a doe, but it had seven-inch spikes and neither deer was tagged. The hunter was reminded of the need to properly identify a deer before shooting and was issued summonses returnable to Concord Town Court for taking deer in excess of the bag limit and failing to tag deer as required. ECO Mark Mazurkiewicz assisted with turning the deer over to a participating venison donation processor.
Loaded gun on ATV, illegal deer
On Nov. 17, ECO Shea Mathis spotted two hunters walking along the railroad tracks in the town of Wheatfield. The two claimed they had a lousy morning hunting and had not taken any deer. Mathis checked their licenses and found their deer tags attached. A third member of the hunting party pulled up on an ATV with a loaded muzzleloader over his shoulder. While issuing a ticket for possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, Mathis was contacted by ECO George Scheer, who had received information that a male had shot two bucks with a muzzleloader that morning in the same area. While Mathis was issuing the ticket, one of the hunters left on the ATV and headed to a residence. Scheer traveled to the location and found the subject. After a brief interview, Scheer located a 9-point and 10-point buck, both untagged, in the back of a pickup truck. One of the hunters admitted to shooting both bucks that morning, just minutes apart. Tickets were issued for possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, taking big game over the limit, and failure to tag deer as required. The second buck was seized as evidence and donated.
Two bucks hanging raises suspicions
On Nov. 17, ECOs Paul Pasciak and Shane Manns received a tip of two untagged bucks hanging behind a house in the village of Northville. Pasciak and Manns arrived at the residence to find the two untagged bucks being butchered by two men. One of the hunters stated that the tags for the deer were inside the house, but after a brief search he could not produce them. Conversations with the second man resulted in conflicting statements about how the deer were taken. After being confronted with the evidence and conflicting statements, the first man admitted to shooting both bucks. Five tickets were issued, and a 6-point buck was seized and donated to the venison donation program.
Name in the news
On Nov. 17, ECOs Robert Higgins and Steve Shaw were on patrol when they observed ATV tracks and blood trails on posted property. Several inches of fresh snow had fallen the previous day and the ECOs knew that the property owner had not given permission for anyone to hunt there. The ECOs followed the blood trail and located evidence of a deer being harvested, along with evidence of a second deer being shot. Higgins and Shaw followed the ATV tracks up the road a short distance and found additional blood tracks leading behind a nearby residence. The property owner admitted to having two deer hanging in a back shed. The ECOs examined the deer, noticing that one of the tags belonged to the man’s father. After a brief interview, the man admitted to shooting both deer on the posted property and shooting a third deer he couldn’t locate. The hunter was issued tickets for trespassing, possessing hunting tags of another, failure to properly tag a deer, and taking deer except as permitted by the Fish and Wildlife Law. As the ECOs were leaving, the man stated, “I never thought I would be reading about myself in those conservation law publications.” All of the charges were pending in Galway Town Court.
Illegal deer on an ATV
On Nov. 18, ECO Jeremy Fadden was contacted by the village of Monroe Police Department to respond to an illegal hunting situation. Monroe PD received a complaint about a shot fired near an apartment complex in the village and found an individual driving an ATV with a deer on the front. Fadden responded to the scene, along with ECO Will Chomicki, and interviewed the subject. The ECOs returned to the area where the shot was taken and determined that the hunter was within 500 feet of a dwelling and that the deer was taken after legal hunting hours. The hunter was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, illegal taking of deer, hunting after hours, failure to tag deer as required, and failure to carry a hunting license. The illegal deer, a huge buck, was confiscated as evidence.
ATV and UTV training
On Aug. 14, ECOs from Region 5 attended an ATV/UTV training course in Lake George focused on ATV/UTV nomenclature, basic maintenance and riding techniques. The ECOs operated different models of ATVs and UTVs on courses designed to test their skills and handling of the machines. The training also included climbing and descending steep hills, traversing side hills, and crossing obstacles such as logs. These skills were combined at the end of the day when ECOs completed a long trail ride. Regular training is key to safely and effectively operating off-road equipment such as ATVs and UTVs.
Road hunters become the hunted
On Nov. 26, ECO Shawn Dussault received a call about a deer being shot from the road by someone in a small white sedan in the town of Conesus. He headed to the location and spotted the dead deer just off the roadway. Thinking that the suspects would return for the deer, he requested an unmarked car to respond to assist him. Capt. William Powell drove to the area and parked his unmarked patrol vehicle in a driveway across from the location. About 20 minutes later, a white sedan appeared and parked nearby. The subjects spotted Dussault in the woods and sped off. Powell pulled over the sedan and found an unloaded shotgun and rifle inside. Initially, the male and female subjects denied having any involvement in the incident, but after interviewing them separately, the pair admitted to shooting the antlerless deer from inside the vehicle with the shotgun. K-9 Ski was requested and found the components from the slug that killed the deer, as well as an empty shell casing. Both subjects face several charges, including reckless endangerment, possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public highway, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a residence, trespassing, taking an illegal deer, taking an antlerless deer without a proper Deer Management Permit, and taking wildlife from a motor vehicle.
On Dec. 3, ECO Jerry Kinney attended Harmony Town Court to finalize a case involving a deer killed on June 10. A 19-year-old man traveling on Wilcox Road in Harmony saw a doe in a field and took a single-shot .22 caliber rifle and fired it out of the back passenger window of the car. The deer was wounded and the subject did not have any more ammunition, so he used a knife to kill the deer. This case was solved thanks to interviews conducted by Kinney and a video taken by a passenger in the vehicle. The shooter accepted a civil settlement for taking a deer out of season, using rimfire ammunition to hunt deer, possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from the roadway, and using a motor vehicle to take wildlife, with total penalties of $1,712.50.