New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – January 8, 2021
ATV Patrol in the Pine Barrens
On Dec. 13, Forest Ranger Hicks participated in a multi-agency Suffolk County Pine Barrens Law Enforcement Council ATV detail. The detail included DEC Forest rangers, New York State Park Police, New York State Police, Suffolk County park rangers, Suffolk County Police Department, Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, and Town of Southampton Police Department. During the detail, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit spotted a group of 10 illegal ATV/dirt bike riders headed into the David A. Sarnoff Preserve. Ranger Hicks and five Suffolk County park rangers responded to the area and apprehended eight of the illegal operators. All vehicles were impounded, and operators were issued summonses for operating ATVs on public land in the county of Suffolk.
Wounded Warriors in Action
From Dec. 10-14, DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement supported a Wounded Veteran Deer Hunt hosted by Wounded Warriors in Action and the Naples Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. DLE Lieutenant VerHague helped to organize the successful event, and the New York Conservation Officers Association generously donated several items and covered the cost of the non-resident hunting licenses for the three Purple Heart recipients who participated in the hunt.
Statewide Response to Massive Winter Storm Gail
In anticipation of Winter Storm Gail, forest rangers, along with other DEC staff, were deployed to various staging areas across the state to assist with the state’s response. Forest rangers were assigned to Dutchess County and Oneonta on Dec. 16, and to the High Peaks rest area, Warrensburg, Saratoga, Northville, and Lowville on Dec. 17. Resources were moved as needed due to the changing track of the storm, including providing coverage to the Capital Region and I-81 corridor north of Binghamton. Following the closure of the highway, two crews patrolled and performed welfare checks on stranded motorists and helped shovel out tractor trailers and other vehicles. ECOs also assisted with stranded motorists on highways, performed welfare checks, and responded to calls for assistance. The officers used snowmobiles, tracked UTVs, and four-wheel-drive vehicles in Ulster, Schenectady, Albany, Broome, Fulton, and Warren counties. One crew of ECOs worked overnight with local responders to reach a subject having a medical emergency while stuck in his vehicle in more than 40 inches of snow.
On Dec. 12 at 11:25 a.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch was notified via radio by Forest Ranger Milano about a 60-year-old hunter from Long Lake who had fallen out of a treestand while removing it following the hunting season. While on routine patrol in Sargent Ponds Wilderness Area, Ranger Milano noticed a truck parked at the end of North Point Road and saw an injured man crouched next to his vehicle waving frantically. The forest ranger had recently transferred into the Long Lake area and was in the right place at the right time – North Point Road is a dead-end road with no cellphone coverage and the hunter had not informed anyone he was going into the woods. Ranger Milano called dispatch to request an ambulance and administered medical care while waiting for the Long Lake Rescue Squad. Once the ambulance arrived, the hunter was transported to a local hospital for additional medical care. DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police Officer Buswell and Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigators Unit were notified to investigate as a possible elevated hunting incident. DEC reminds hunters that one of the basics of hunter safety is to let someone know where you will be hunting and when you will return. A map showing treestand locations makes it easier for others to find hunters if they do not return on time.
Flat Ice Rescue Training
• On Dec. 17, Region 9 Forest Rangers participated in flat ice rescue training. Rangers practiced various techniques of the “reach, throw, row, and go” rescue sequence. Thin ice presented a challenging training environment, representative of real-world conditions.