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New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Dec. 13, 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.)

Illegally hunting with a crossbow
(Greene County)

On Dec. 2, 2018, ECO Mike Arp responded to the town of Durham after receiving a complaint of a deer found dead in a field with an arrow in it. The complainant advised Arp that he’d observed a pickup truck parked up the road with its lights off and provided him with the truck’s registration. The ECO located the owner of the truck, who admitted to shooting the deer with a crossbow when he spotted it in a field. The subject was charged with discharging a crossbow from a public highway, possessing a loaded crossbow in a motor vehicle, taking wildlife from a public highway, taking wildlife from a motor vehicle, and taking a doe deer without a valid Deer Management Permit. All charges were pending in the Durham Town Court.

Illegal activity abounds
(Monroe County)

On Dec. 5, 2018, ECO Evan McFee received a complaint of individuals hunting with shotguns in Wildlife Management Unit 8C, which is a bowhunting-only area. A trail camera photo provided to McFee showed an individual carrying a shotgun. On the afternoon of Dec. 9, the ECO responded to a tip from a local business owner that a vehicle occupied by hunters was parked on a dead-end road near the location. The officer observed two individuals, including the person in the photograph, exiting the woods after legal shooting hours, one carrying a shotgun. That individual admitted to hunting in the same area two days prior with a shotgun as well, but thought he was in WMU 8F, where shotgun hunting for deer is allowed. After being issued four tickets, the pair complained about another hunter who had a pile of apples and corn under his blind close to their current location. McFee made his way through the woods to the blind. To his surprise, the officer found the blind to be occupied more than an hour after legal hunting time. The man was armed with a crossbow, also illegal in the WMU. McFee found a large pile of corn, apples and pumpkins underneath the elevated blind, and the hunter was also without his hunting license, tags and backtag. The subject was charged with hunting over bait, hunting with the wrong implement, failure to wear a bag tag, and failure to carry license and tags. All of the tickets issued were returnable to Pittsford Town Court.

Poacher thwarted
(Albany County)

On Dec. 11, 2018, ECO Kurt Bush received a call about a deer that a complainant suspected had been shot from the roadway in the town of Berne. At the scene, the officer located the animal, a 10-point buck, and called ECO Wes Leubner for assistance. Leubner staked out the carcass and several hours later watched as a man followed the blood trail to the animal. Bush and Leubner conducted an extensive interview with the subject, who initially denied having anything to do with killing the animal, and stated he was only following a blood trail he had happened to find. Eventually, when faced with extensive evidence gathered by the officers, the subject admitted to shooting the animal from the roadway. The hunter was charged with trespassing, shooting from the roadway, illegal take of wildlife, and failure to tag a deer as required.

Gut piles lead to multiple charges
(Fulton County)

On Dec. 12, 2018, ECO Shane Manns received a call about hunters trespassing on posted property and harvesting two deer in the town of Johnstown. The complainant stated that he found two gut piles and drag marks leading to a house adjacent to his property. After gathering evidence at the scene, Manns spoke with the property owner adjacent to the complainant’s property. The neighbor told the ECO he had given permission to a several people to hunt on his property, and provided the names. Manns contacted ECO Paul Pasciak to assist with interviewing two potential suspects. The ECOs presented the evidence to both men, who admitted to trespassing and shooting the deer on posted property. Multiple tickets were issued to the men for charges, including trespassing and taking an illegal deer. One buck and one doe were seized and donated and the charges were pending in Johnstown Town Court. 

Busy day during late muzzleloader season
(Delaware County) 

On the morning of Dec. 16, 2018, ECO Nathan Doig received a call from a resident of the town of Franklin. The complainant stated he had just heard two shots fired back-to-back, which indicated that the shots couldn’t be from a muzzleloading firearm. Doig arrived and found an SUV parked in a field with a dead deer nearby. The dead buck did not have legal-sized antlers and had been shot by a woman using a .243 caliber rifle, which is not legal for deer hunting during the muzzleloader season. In addition, the woman did not possess a hunting license. The appropriate tickets were issued and the deer was seized for donation. Later that afternoon, Doig received a call from a complainant who had witnessed someone shoot a deer from a pickup truck in Masonville. The complainant was able to get the license plate of the truck and found two individuals in the woods who had been dropped off to look for the deer. Doig located two additional individuals who had been in the truck and issued tickets, including trespassing on posted property, possessing a loaded gun in a motor vehicle, shooting across a public highway, illegal take of a deer, and taking deer with the aid of a motor vehicle. All charges were returnable to Masonville Town Court.

Tracks in the snow tell the tale
(Cortland County)

On Dec. 18, 2018, ECO Matt Burdick investigated a complaint of a deer killed with a crossbow from a roadway in the town of Cortlandville. The complainant saw the deer being dragged to a pickup truck and was able to provide the officer with the vehicle’s license plate number. Burdick found the drag marks leading across the road to a set of tire tracks and a single pair of footprints leading past a visible “No Trespassing” sign. A short time later the suspect drove by the scene and was stopped by the ECO. The driver stated he shot the deer after parking his truck and walking off the roadway. He said he had not seen the posted signs and admitted to not having permission to hunt the property. After being confronted with evidence, the driver admitted to taking the shot from the road. ECO Brett Armstrong and K-9 Phoenix responded and recovered the crossbow bolt from the field. The subject was charged with the illegal taking of big game, discharging a crossbow from the maintained portion of the roadway, trespassing for purposes of hunting, and possession of multiple licenses while afield. The deer was seized and donated. 

A little too late
(Niagara County)

On Dec. 17, 2018, ECO George Scheer received a call from Lt. Nathan VerHague reporting that a deer had been shot after sunset in the town of Hartland. Scheer was nearby and arrived at the scene to find a hunter attempting to drive away. Scheer stopped the hunter, who admitted to shooting a deer but argued it wasn’t too dark to shoot. When asked why the deer was left behind in the field, the individual stated that he was going to come back for it later. The individual showed VerHague and Scheer where he shot from, which was confirmed by the complainant. The deer was seized and donated, and the hunter was issued tickets for taking big game after sunset, illegal taking of protected wildlife, and failure to immediately tag deer as required.

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