New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – May 14, 2021
Persistence Pays Off
On April 13, an illegal bear case pending in Fallsburg Court was resolved after years of persistence, patience, K9 assistance, DNA testing, and a photograph. In September 2019. ECO Wood received a complaint about suspects unlawfully shooting a bear with the aid of bait in Fallsburg. The illegal activity reportedly happened over the final weekend of the early bear season. Wood responded to the area and patrolled on foot with his partner, K9 Deming. ECO Wood located two stands around a bait pile, and K9 Deming located blood and black fur. ECO Wood photographed the area and collected the blood for potential future testing. On opening day of rifle deer season in November 2019, ECO Wood returned to the area with K9 Deming and a New York State trooper as part of the annual Green and Gray Patrol, a detail that pairs ECOs and troopers in areas with a high-call volume during hunting seasons. During the patrol, the officers observed hunter Michael Travis in one of the bait stands with his younger brother. When asked who else was hunting, Travis was adamant that he was alone. However, K9 Deming quickly tracked to a vehicle in the woods where another hunter, Tasha Curry, was found hiding with her rifle. Officers interviewed Travis and Curry and charged them with hunting deer with the aid of bait. Curry was issued an additional charge of failing to report her bear harvest during the previous bear hunting season as required. ECO Wood remained committed to finding the bear and solving the illegal bear take case. The two hunters eventually admitted to killing a bear illegally and taking it to a residence in Ulster County until they could get it mounted. ECO Wood made several attempts to locate the bear carcass at the Ulster County residence with negative results, but eventually found it at Travis’ residence. DNA test results confirmed that the animal was the bear killed in September 2019. In addition, ECO Wood observed a photograph of Curry posing with the bear in the same area of the bait stands, where the evidence was found. On Feb. 4, 2020, Travis and Curry appeared in Fallsburg Court for hunting deer with bait. Both pleaded guilty and were fined. The illegal bear case was resolved on April 13 when Curry and Travis each pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charges of taking protected wildlife except as permitted by Fish and Wildlife Law. They were each fined $2,000 for the illegal bear and mandated to pay a $120 surcharge, plus $450 in DNA testing restitution, to DEC.
On April 24, with the start of striped bass season, ECOs Dickson and Della Rocco conducted a marine fishing enforcement detail at Robert Moses State Park and Fire Island National Seashore. The ECOs spent the night interviewing anglers surfcasting off the south shore beaches and educating the public on circle hook regulations. A few written warnings were issued for failures to possess a valid marine fishing license. The officers were excited to see many new surfcasters trying out saltwater fishing for the first time.
Walleye Spawning Detail
During the first three weeks of April, ECOs in Madison County conducted focused patrols of several creeks and streams entering Oneida Lake along the lake’s south shore. These patrols were initiated to protect walleyes during annual spawning runs upstream from Oneida Lake. ECOs conducted foot, canoe, and boat patrols along Oneida Lake and Chittenango, Cowaselon, and Canaseraga creeks to look for poachers who would take advantage of these vulnerable spawning fish. The successful detail resulted in more than 40 tickets being issued for violations associated with taking walleyes.
On April 1, Region 7 Forest Rangers conducted swiftwater airboat operation training on the Chenango River. The annual training keeps the rangers’ qualifications current and increases proficiency. Forest ranger airboats are utilized statewide for search and rescue missions.