New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 29, 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.)
Big bucks over bait
(Herkimer and Oneida counties)
On Nov. 30, several complainants called ECO Ben Tabor about a buck suspected of being taken over bait in the town of Ohio that had been entered in a local big buck contest. Tabor determined where the deer had been shot after finding a large bait pile with the gut pile next to it. The ECO interviewed the suspect, who admitted to taking the buck illegally. The deer was seized as evidence and summons were issued for hunting over a pre-established bait pile and the illegal taking of a deer.
On Dec. 2, ECO John Gates received a call from an informant stating that a large buck had been killed by a suspect who had posted pictures on Facebook of him feeding deer close to his camp. As the officer pulled onto the property, he noticed piles of alfalfa and corn. The hunter claimed he had shot the deer halfway back into his 100-acre parcel. Gates followed sled tracks to a gut pile within 30 yards of the bait. The man admitted to shooting the deer and was charged with illegal taking of deer, hunting over bait, and carrying the tags of another person. The deer was seized as evidence and the charges were returnable to Forestport Town Court.
Holiday striped bass
On Oct. 14, ECO Craig Tompkins was on patrol on the Hudson River checking Columbus Day holiday weekend fishing activity. Several anglers were taking advantage of the warm weather and getting in their last bit of fishing before the cold weather hits. After checking several anglers pursuing carp, Tompkins observed a group of six anglers placing small fish in an orange bucket. The ECO moved in to check the group and as he did, one of the women in the group quickly sat on the bucket. After checking fishing licenses, Tompkins asked to look in the bucket and found 14 striped bass, all under the 18-inch minimum size limit. Three of the anglers admitted to catching the fish and were issued two tickets each for possession of undersized fish and over the daily limit of striped bass. A majority of the stripers were alive and returned to the Hudson River. All tickets are pending in Croton-on-Hudson Village Court.
Cooperative CWD checkpoint
On Dec. 1, Capt. James Boylan, Lt. Kenric Warner, and ECOs Andy McCormick and Anthony Rigoli conducted a Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) checkpoint just north of the Pennsylvania border in the town of Vestal, along with officers from the Vestal Police Department and state of Pennsylvania wildlife conservation staff. The detail was part of DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement initiative to prevent CWD-infected carcasses and prohibited parts of deer taken in Pennsylvania from entering New York. CWD is an untreatable and fatal brain and nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose and poses a serious threat to New York’s white-tailed deer population. The first vehicle checked was transporting a whole carcass taken in Pennsylvania. Over the course of the detail, two more vehicles were found to be transporting deer carcasses into New York state in violation of Environmental Conservation Law. DEC conducted testing on the confiscated deer. One truck contained four whole, untagged carcasses. Pennsylvania officers addressed the unlawfully taken deer, as well as other violations of Pennsylvania’s game laws. In addition, ECOs charged two men with possession of loaded firearms in a motor vehicle and Vestal police issued numerous tickets for vehicle and traffic offenses.
Fool me once
On Oct. 5, ECO Sean Rockefeller located an illegally baited treestand in East Hampton. ECOs Jeremy Eastwood and Michael Unger checked the stand the following day and found a fresh gut pile nearby. A week later, Rockefeller once again checked the treestand in hopes of catching violators, but came up empty. While speaking with another hunter, the ECO learned that a white pickup truck had been seen in the area. Rockefeller visited the site a short time later and spotted a truck that met the description. The officer snuck through the woods to view the treestand and found two hunters sitting in it. He announced his presence, and after a short interview one hunter admitted to shooting a small buck out of the treestand on Oct. 5, and placing bait at the stand in the spring. Nine tickets were issued to the two hunters for violations, including hunting with the aid of bait, hunting after legal shooting hours, failure to wear back tag, placing a salt lick on lands inhabited by deer, failure to tag deer as required, and illegally taking the small buck. In addition, two compound bows, one trail camera, a mineral block, and a set of antlers were seized. All tickets were returnable to the East Hampton Town Court.
Hunting over bait
( Delaware County)
On Oct. 12, ECO Dustin Osborne received an anonymous tip about a subject who had possibly killed an illegal buck with a rifle during the early archery season in the town of Deposit. Osborne and ECO Jared Woodin responded to a hunting camp, where the officers discovered empty bags of bait scattered around and a gut pile in the front yard. No one was at the residence when the officers arrived. The ECOs examined the field-dressed deer’s entrails and found a clean archery shot through its vitals, as well as a cocked crossbow hanging inside the front door. The officers also discovered additional bags of deer bait on the back of an ATV. Shortly after the ECOs arrived, a subject returned to the camp with an 8-point buck, which he admitted he shot over a bait pile with a crossbow earlier that day. Crossbows are not a legal implement for hunting big game during early archery season. Osborne and Woodin seized the deer and issued the subject tickets for killing a deer over bait, hunting over bait, and killing a deer by means not specified. The subject was immediately arraigned in Deposit Town Court, where he paid a penalty for his violations.
Officers assist oyster farmer
On Oct. 13, ECO Justanna Bohling assisted Blue Island Oyster Farms in recovering floating oyster bags that washed up on the north shore of Robert Moses State Park. The bags had broken free during the two-day storm that hit New York and portions of Long Island that week. The oyster farm owner was thankful for the assistance in receiving his oyster bags back in one piece.