New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 2, 2020
Too Many Bucks
(Jefferson/ Onondaga counties)
On Sept. 8, ECO Noyes concluded a five-month investigation stemming from violations committed during the 2019 deer hunting season. ECO Noyes learned in April that an individual had shot two bucks on the same morning in the town of Ellisburg, and illegally used his friend’s tag on the second buck. After locating and interviewing Jason Burns, of Cicero, the suspected poacher, ECO Noyes discovered several more instances of ECL violations – a total of 18 violations in Jefferson and Onondaga counties, including three bucks and one doe shot illegally. ECO Tabor worked with an Onondaga County ECO to file charges in the Town of Cicero Court and Town of Ellisburg Court against Burns. He agreed to a civil compromise and paid a penalty of $500.
On Sept. 6, Environmental Conservation Police Officer Osborne contacted Forest Ranger Seeley to inform him about a tip he received about a party planned that night in Steam Mill State Forest. The officers formulated a plan for Rangers Seeley, Bink, and ECO Osborne to patrol the area to look for the group. The rangers and ECO located the party at 11:30 p.m. and discovered approximately 40 people around a large bonfire with a lot of alcohol. The officers collected identification from the attendees and instructed the group to clean up the beer cans and put the fire out. The rangers and ECO issued a total of 32 tickets to individuals between the ages of 16 and 20 for possessing alcohol under the age of 21. Ranger Seeley then administered a breath test with an Intoximeter to anyone who planned on driving. Those who could not drive could leave their vehicles for the night and received rides from sober attendees. The incident concluded at 4:30 a.m.
Torch Run for Special Olympics
On Friday, Sept. 11, Region 5 Forest Ranger Capt. Streiff and Ranger Booth took part in the 50th anniversary Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics in Plattsburgh. The run, organized by State and Federal Police, involved participants from numerous law enforcement agencies.
On Sept. 12 and 13, forest rangers from Region 9 participated in a two-day training exercise. The first day consisted of two rope rescue scenarios in the Zoar gorge, which forced members of different departments to jointly utilize equipment and experience. On the second day of the training, rangers reviewed the use of various tools and methods to complete swiftwater rescues. Departments from both Erie and Cattaraugus counties participated, as well as Erie County Sheriff’s SWAT.
Firefighters return home
On Friday Sept. 11, a team of 10 DEC Forest Rangers, staff, and volunteers returned to New York after helping to battle and contain wildland fires raging in western states for two weeks. These trained, expert wildland firefighters helped battle high priority fires in Nebraska and South Dakota. A second New York crew headed out the next day and are currently assigned to the Cameron Peak Fire on the Arapaho and Roosevelt Forest near Redfeather Lakes, Colo. That fire is 102,000 acres and was 4% contained.
ECOs responded recently to a hazardous materials release at the SABIC Plastic Fabrication Company in Selkirk. DEC’s Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigators and lieutenants assisted with response operations, air sampling, and staffed the incident command post along with DEC spill and emergency responders. Their knowledge and experience proved valuable to the effort and ensuring public safety. DEC has launched a comprehensive investigation of the incident and continues to closely oversee all required cleanup activities at the facility to ensure public health and the environment are protected. The investigation is ongoing.
Great Egret, Great Recovery
On Aug. 24, ECO Davey received a report of an injured great egret on Ooms Pond in the town of Chatham. The egret reportedly had a severely broken leg tangled in discarded fishing line. ECO Davey formulated a plan with the help of concerned local citizens, which led to him piloting a boat toward the injured bird. After several attempts, ECO Davey managed to get a hand on the wading bird while avoiding its sharp yellow bill and returned to shore. The officer turned the egret over to Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center where staff placed a brace on the bird’s leg to stabilize the fracture. The bird will undergo rehabilitation and be released back into the wild at a future date.
Snap of the Day
On Aug. 26, ECOs Veloski and Dodge received a call from a concerned homeowner regarding a large snapping turtle that had wandered into their front yard and got its carapace (shell) stuck in their fence. The ECOs successfully freed the two-foot common snapping turtle from the concrete fence without harming it. The turtle was strong and healthy and may have come from a nearby pond on a golf course. The ECOs released the turtle to a nearby freshwater pond without further incident.
Flood Incident Support Team Training (Warren County)
During the last week of August and first week of September, New York State’s multi-agency Flood Incident Support Team, led by the State’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control and consisting of DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers, DEC Forest Rangers, State Police, Parks Police, State Fire, and the State’s Task Force members participated in four, one-day training exercises on the Hudson and Sacandaga rivers in the town of Lake Luzerne. Each agency brought different equipment to train with throughout the day, allowing participants to familiarize themselves with each agency’s assets and equipment. ECOs attended with their specialized 21-foot SJX Jet Boat deployed during flooding and search and rescue events in swift- and low-water conditions. Additional trainings are scheduled.