New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 2, 2021
On March 11, ECOs Tompkins, Thibodeau, and Franz conducted a plainclothes fishing detail focused on anglers taking out-of-season striped bass. The officers patrolled George’s Island Park in the town of Cortlandt and Croton Landing Park in the village of Croton-on-Hudson. During the detail, the ECOs observed several anglers taking and keeping out-of-season fish. The ECOs issued 10 citations for violations including possessing out-of-season fish and fishing without a valid license. The officers seized 42 striped bass from violators and recovered 38 striped bass from large black garbage bags concealed in a nearby wooded area. Several fish were released back into the Hudson River to survive another day and the rest of the fish were donated to a local Wolf Conservation Center.
Don’t Drive on a Snowmobile Trail (Franklin County)
On March 7 at 7:06 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request from New York State Police for assistance locating a vehicle reported stuck on a remote snowmobile trail. Forest Rangers Milano and O’Connor responded with snowmobiles to conduct a search for the vehicle and occupants. Environmental Conservation Police Officer Cranker assisted with communications. At 10:03 p.m., rangers located the 59-year-old couple from Peru, N.Y., and their vehicle further down the snowmobile trail. At 10:33 p.m., rangers and the couple were out of the woods and the vehicle owner made arrangements to have the vehicle removed.
On March 12 at 10:30 p.m., DEC’s Central Dispatch received a request from Columbia County 911 for Forest Ranger support for a wildfire in the town of Hillsdale. Forest Ranger Gullen responded. The brush fire was approximately eight acres, and fire crews were able to contain it by constructing a fire line with water support. Due to heavy winds, hot spots flared up on the hilltop, extending mop up operations. On March 13 at 12:30 a.m., the fire was declared out and firefighters were clear of the scene. Region 3 Forest Rangers also responded to three small wildfires recently in Sullivan, Westchester, and Putnam counties. The largest was about five acres in size. In an effort to reduce the number of spring brush fires, New York State’s residential brush burning ban is in effect through May 14.
First call, high stakes
Early into his shift on March 6, ECO Tabor began a snowmobile patrol when Oneida County 911 reported a possible overdose victim. The closest officer in the area, ECO Tabor responded to the location to find a non-responsive subject in the back seat of a vehicle. The patient’s daughter and son-in-law were attempting CPR when ECO Tabor took over chest compressions while the son-in-law provided rescue breaths. The patient exhibited bouts of gasping and non-responsiveness until Woodgate Fire Department paramedics arrived on scene. Paramedics administered Narcan and supplemental oxygen and the patient responded to the treatment. ECO Tabor helped move the patient to an ambulance for further treatment.
Snowmobile Collision Results in Arrest (Franklin County)
On March 8, a snowmobile operator was charged after an accident earlier this year that left him and his passenger injured. On Jan. 6, ECO Favreau received a phone call in the early morning hours from New York State Police requesting assistance investigating a personal injury snowmobile accident in the village of Tupper Lake. The 20-year-old snowmobile operator was traveling illegally on Murray Street when the snowmobile left the roadway and struck a shed on private property. The operator and his passenger were transported to the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake for treatment. ECO Favreau investigated the incident and determined the operator was intoxicated at the time of the accident. The subject was charged with operating a snowmobile at an imprudent speed, reckless operation of a snowmobile, operating a snowmobile at excess speed within 100 feet of a dwelling between the hours of 12 – 6 a.m., operating a snowmobile with a B.A.C. of .08 or higher, and operating a snowmobile while intoxicated. The subject will face these charges in the Village of Tupper Lake Court.
Second Call, Low Water
Following his response to the medical emergency on March 6, ECO Tabor was dispatched to the Black River where Forestport residents noticed the flowing waters of the river had stopped and pools of water appeared to be drying up. ECO Tabor interviewed several individuals and determined the Forestport Reservoir’s hydroelectric dam had a broken sensor, which caused the water control system to malfunction and divert much of the reservoir water into the adjacent Black River Canal. Fortunately, the water reentered the river approximately one-quarter mile downstream without causing any significant issues. A contractor manually fixed the gates to restore water flow to the Black River and a more extensive fix under the oversight of DEC’s Dam Safety Section and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is underway.
DNA Head Case
On March 10, ECOs wrapped up an extensive poaching investigation with a guilty plea in Rochester court. On Nov. 19, 2019, DEC Central Dispatch received a trespass complaint about a ground hunting blind on private property. ECO Johnson and Lt. Buckley responded to the property, found the hunting blind with bait around it, and an arrow stuck in the ground. The arrow had DNA material on it, which the ECOs collected for evidence. A few days later, ECOs Johnson and Palmateer returned to the blind and found an individual hunting with the aid of bait. The officers issued a summons to the hunter, who provided information about the owner of the blind. During the investigation, the officers learned the owner might have shot a deer from the blind earlier in the season. The ECOs interviewed the owner of the blind at his residence, where he admitted to placing the bait and killing a buck during archery season. The head of the buck in question had the suspect’s regular season deer tag, but the date of kill written on it was the last day of archery season. The officers seized the deer head as evidence to compare to the DNA samples collected at the bait site. DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit performed a full necropsy on the deer head and determined the deer was killed by multiple small caliber bullet wounds to the neck, not an arrow, indicating the deer was killed with a firearm during archery season. Officers and investigators executed a search warrant of the suspect’s residence and charged him with illegally taking protected wildlife, taking deer with an illegal implement, unlawful possession of protected wildlife, failing to tag deer as required, hunting deer with the aid of bait, and failing to report deer harvest within seven days. The defendant accepted a plea agreement for one of the misdemeanors and multiple guilty pleas for the violation-level charges. He was ordered to pay more than $1,200 in fines and surcharges.
Call 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267) to report poaching and polluting complaints to a DEC dispatcher. They are open 24/7.