New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 13, 2020
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Environmental Conservation Police Officers protect fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 2019, the 288 ECOs across the state responded to 25,704 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 16,855 tickets or arrests for crimes ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations, and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured, or distressed people from across New York State. In 2019, DEC Forest Rangers conducted 337 search and rescue missions, extinguished 74 wildfires that burned a total of 212 acres, participated in 29 prescribed fires that burned and rejuvenated 645 acres, and worked on cases that resulted in 2,507 tickets or arrests.
Firewood Detail Prevents Invasive Species
On Oct. 23, Lieutenant Fay organized a joint firewood/invasive species checkpoint at the entrance to Robert H. Treman State Park in the town of Ithaca with a team of Zone 4 ECOs and foresters from the DEC Division of Lands and Forests. Team members checked incoming campers for firewood transported more than 50 miles, which is a violation of state law. During the detail, the ECOs and DEC staff confiscated two bundles of firewood. The responsible parties were unaware of the regulations but after being educated about the transport of invasive pests in untreated firewood, freely turned in the unlawful firewood for proper destruction.
October was National Firewood Awareness Month and the DEC Division of Law Enforcement assisted agency partners with outreach, education, and enforcement of firewood transportation regulations. Many people bring firewood as they head out to camp, hunt, or enjoy the great outdoors, but most don’t realize their wood may be hiding the eggs, larvae, spores, adults, or even seeds of invasive threats. Transporting infested firewood allows invasive species to spread further and faster than these pests could on their own.
Moose on the Loose
On Oct. 9, Region 5 Wildlife staff requested help from ECOs with the removal of a young bull moose trapped in a 200-acre cow pen in Clinton, Clinton County. Lieutenant Maloney and ECO Brassard, Division of Law Enforcement drone pilots, located the moose in the pasture using an aerial drone equipped with thermal imaging cameras. Once located, DEC’s tranquilizing team, led by Big Game Biologist Jim Stickles, chemically immobilized the moose. Lieutenant Phelps, along with ECOs LaCroix, Buffa, Fadden, and members of the property owner’s family assisted the wildlife crew with removing the moose from the pasture and safely relocating it a short distance away. They fitted the moose with a radio location collar before the animal walked away, appearing to be healthy.
Spearing Salmon at 18 Mile Creek (Niagara County)
In the early morning hours of Oct. 18, DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement dispatch received a complaint about four men in 18 Mile Creek spearing and netting salmon. The complainant reported that two of the men scared the salmon while the other two men speared the fish. The caller shared a description of the poachers and waited for responding units. The responding ECO contacted the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office for assistance on scene. When the Officers arrived, they spotted one of the men bringing salmon and a spear to a vehicle. The responding officers detained the subject until the ECO arrived. The suspects face charges of fishing without a valid license, taking fish by means other than angling, illegal possession of spear on closed waters, fishing a half-hour after sunset until a half-hour before sunrise, and disturbing of waters with intent to drive fish.
On Oct. 22 at 7:08 p.m., Lewis County 911 transferred a call reporting a lost hunter to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch. The hunter’s friend contacted 911 reporting that his friend was disoriented and could not be reached by radio. Forest Rangers Evans, Thomes, and Lee responded to assist. Ranger Evans was first on scene and went into the woods, along with a Lewis County Deputy Sheriff, and the reporting party. Ranger Evans advised the responders located the lost hunter at 9:11 p.m. The 59-year-old hunter from Queensbury was escorted out of the woods to his vehicle and the rangers were cleared from the scene.
On Oct. 18, DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified by Hamilton County 911 of a fire on Dunham Mountain in the Silver Lake Wilderness Area. Reports placed the fire on the side of the remote mountain, which has no easy access and also indicated the fire was rapidly spreading. Forest Ranger Lt. Kallen, and Rangers Milano, Kerr, and Thompson responded. Over the course of several days, more than a dozen rangers, as well as a logistical support long line utility flight courtesy of New York State Police Aviation, worked to suppress and put out the fire. After several days, the fire was placed in patrol status totaling approximately 10 acres burned. Rangers traced the fire’s ignition back to an unattended campfire.
Search and Rescue Training
On Oct. 23, Region 4 Forest Rangers Dawson, Murphy, Ellis, Curcio, Seeley, and Jackson participated in search and rescue training at Vroman’s Nose Unique Area. The Rangers practiced patient packaging, hypo-wraps for cold-weather rescues, and using the rescue wheel attached to a litter to aid in carry-outs.
Long Night for Searchers and Lost Hunter
On Oct. 25 at 7:23 p.m., Franklin County 911 transferred a call to DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch reporting a lost hunter who left Coreys Road in Harrietstown, although 911 coordinates placed the subject near the northern end of Long Lake. Forest Rangers Russell and Temple responded by boat to the hunter’s coordinates where they sounded shots to make contact with the hunter without success. At 11:34 p.m., Franklin County 911 received another call from the 32-year-old hunter from Peru, New York, with coordinates still placing him near Long Lake. Using his cellphone, the hunter provided coordinates that placed him closer to Rock Pond off Coreys Road. Forest Ranger DiCintio swept the shore of Rock Pond and interviewed members of the hunting party who advised that their lost party member was supposed to go from Pickerel Pond to Rock Pond. Ranger DiCintio searched the surrounding hills in the area of Rock Pond until he was joined by four additional Forest Rangers at first light. At 7:45 a.m., Forest Ranger LaPierre advised she had located the hunter north of Rock Pond in good condition and they were walking back to the trailhead. All units were cleared at 9:15 a.m.