Operation Early Bird
On May 1, ECO Wamsley received a tip about possible turkey baiting in Dover, Dutchess County. In response, the ECO planned to conduct surveillance in the area for Operation Early Bird the following morning. Under the cover of darkness, ECO Wamsley made his way to a good vantage point and concealed himself. As the sun rose, numerous turkeys came to the area, pecking and scratching in the alleged baiting area. When a large tom entered, ECO Wamsley heard the unmistaken boom of a shotgun ring out and quickly ran toward the sound. The ECO found two individuals standing over the dead bird. One subject was holding a shotgun while the other held a camera. During his investigation, ECO Wamsley discovered a large amount of corn spread throughout the woods. He issued two tickets to the individual who shot the turkey for hunting turkeys with the aid of bait and the illegal take of protected wildlife. The turkey was seized and donated to a local family. Summonses are returnable to the town of Dover Court.
Sick Seal Recovery
On April 18, ECOs McCabe, Doroski, and Bobseine assisted a New York Marine Rescue Center team in collecting a harp seal in Amagansett. The seal appeared sick. East Hampton Marine Patrol found the animal after it had been reported by a member of the public. ECOs assisted with getting the seal into a transport cage and loading it into the Marine Rescue Team’s truck for transport to biologists for treatment.
On April 24, during the 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 surf-casting 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.
On May 8, while on patrol, ECO DeRose noticed a U-Haul truck on the shoulder of a roadway in Suffolk County. The ECO made a U-turn, turned off his vehicle lights, and watched. The driver eventually got out of the truck, opened the lift gate, and began emptying the truck’s contents onto the side of the roadway, directly in front of a ‘No Dumping’ sign. ECO DeRose approached the driver, who immediately said he would clean up the material dumped on the side of the road. ECO DeRose took the subject up on his offer and watched as he cleaned up the mess. Before allowing the subject to leave, the ECO wrote a summons for unlawful disposal of solid waste, returnable to the Suffolk County District Court.
A Dog’s Nose Knows
On April 23, ECOs called in K9 Cramer to investigate two anglers observed catching a striped bass that appeared to be undersized. When confronted, both fishermen insisted they did not catch anything. ECO DeRose brought in K9 Cramer and the four-legged officer quickly located a fully concealed undersized striped bass under a fallen tree. Before long, K9 Cramer found three more undersized fish in the area. The ECOs issued both fishermen tickets for possessing undersized striped bass and possessing over the daily limit of one striped bass. One of the anglers was well known to both ECOs, as this incident marks the third time this season officers have caught him with illegal striped bass. Consequently, the ECOs seized his fishing poles and tackle. The tickets are returnable to the First District Court of Nassau County.
Illegal Catch of a Lifetime
(Ambrose Channel, Marine District)
On May 8, Sgt. Auguscinski and ECO Brussell inspected a vessel in Queens County and found the crew in possession of a 700-pound bluefin tuna. ECOs were tipped off by a Facebook post to meet the vessel at the dock. Upon inspection of the vessel, the officers found that the crew did not possess the Federal Highly Migratory Species permit needed to fish for tuna. Officers in DEC’s Region 2 are also deputized NOAA officers and referred the case to the federal agency to adjudicate.
Assistant Forest Ranger Training
(St. Lawrence County)
From May 16 to 21, DEC Forest Rangers held the annual one-week training for 22 Assistant Forest Rangers (AFRs) at the SUNY ESF Ranger School in Wanakena. The AFRs completed courses in Wilderness Advanced First Aid and Leave No Trace principles, and were also instructed on Environmental Conservation Law and the protection of state land. The AFRs participated in eight hours of real-life scenarios involving emergency mitigation, radio communications, public interaction, and interpersonal skills. The AFRs will be assigned to backcountry areas across the state and will assist DEC Forest Rangers with public outreach and education, search and rescue, and forest fire suppression.
Deer Poachers Pay the Price
Two poachers recently paid fines for illegally taking a deer. On Dec. 17, 2020, ECO Younglove received a call about a deer shot from the road. The ECO arrived at the reported location and found a New York State Police trooper and Palmyra Police officer already on scene. After receiving a description of the vehicle, ECO Younglove watched the area for several hours and eventually spotted a vehicle matching the description. The officer saw the vehicle’s occupants load the deer into the back of the truck. With assistance from a Palmyra Police officer, ECO Younglove stopped the vehicle, conducted interviews, and seized evidence. After further investigation, the ECO charged the first poacher with seven misdemeanors and violations, including criminal possession of a weapon, illegally taking white-tailed deer, taking deer with the aid of an artificial light, possession of a loaded gun in a vehicle, and other Environmental Conservation Law crimes. The officer charged the second poacher with illegally taking white-tailed deer and hunting from a vehicle. The two poachers paid $1,900 in fines and officers seized a firearm used in the deer jacking for destruction.