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New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 25, 2021

Fish Bag Snagged
(Nassau County) 

On April 24, ECO DeRose received a call from a complainant reporting nearby anglers who had caught a small striped bass but did not return it to the water. ECO DeRose reached out to ECO Perkins to assist and both officers quickly responded. While ECO Perkins interviewed the fishermen, ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer searched the adjacent area. Although the fishermen all said they did not catch anything, K9 Cramer’s nose proved otherwise. The dog detected a bag hidden in a space in the bulkhead just above the incoming tide. Confronted with the evidence, one fisherman stepped forward and admitted the fish belonged to him. Officers seized the fish and ticketed the angler. 

Operation Early Bird

On May 1-3, ECOs across the state participated in Operation Early Bird. This initiative took place during the opening weekend of the spring turkey season to help ensure turkey hunters are hunting safely and following New York State DEC turkey regulations. Over the course of the weekend, ECOs responded to more than 60 calls from the public about the hunting season, encountered 550 hunters in the field, noted nearly 40 offenses, and provided additional education and support to those afield. 

Breaking Up the Party
(Jefferson County)

On May 29 at approximately 11:45 p.m., while on patrol to deter large underage drinking parties on state land, Forest Ranger Thomes overheard radio traffic detailing a large gathering underway at Perch River Wildlife Management Area. Ranger Thomes responded to the area where there was a fire and approximately 150 people with 60 vehicles. Ranger Thomes, ECO Rockefeller, and deputies from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office issued 49 tickets. Multiple parties were tasked with cleaning up the area and the fire was extinguished. All units were cleared of the scene by 4 a.m.

Duck Rescue
(Sullivan County)

On May 12, ECO Grose received a report about baby wood ducks found in Woodridge. A worker with a company clearing trees around power lines in the village discovered the baby ducks in a tree that was cut down and quickly notified DEC. Officer Grose arrived and located 10 babies and two eggs about to hatch. ECO Grose contacted a local wildlife rehabilitator, who advised that the best course of action would be to return to the ducks to a nearby tree. The lively and vocal ducklings quickly adapted to their new home. 

Hudson River Boat Patrol

On May 18, ECOs Helmeyer and Wamsley conducted boat patrol on the Hudson River for striped bass fishing enforcement. The ECOs began conducting vessel checks for fish on board, correct tackle including circle hooks, and required safety equipment. During the check of one vessel, the officers discovered a large striped bass within the live-well of the boat. The fish measured 39 inches, well outside the slot limit of 18-28 inches. When asked for a marine registry required to fish for striped bass, the individual could not produce it. The ECOs issued two summons to the subject returnable to the Town of Newburgh Court. Continuing their boat patrol, the ECOs came across another vessel where the individual bragged about catching a big fish. The striped bass measured in at 40 inches. The officers issued a summons to the individual who caught the fish returnable to the Town of Newburgh Court. ECOs checked a total of 21 vessels during their patrol. The two illegally kept striped bass were seized and donated to a local zoo.

Swiftwater Rescue Training
(Oswego County)

On May 24, Forest Rangers from Regions 6 and 7 participated in a multi-agency training hosted by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services’ Office of Fire Prevention and Control as part of the New York State Swiftwater Task Force. This training helps responders gain proficiency and knowledge in the operation of small inflatable boats for use in swiftwater rescues. Attendees operated the boats in daylight and low light, and a final scenario-based exercise was conducted after dark. DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers and New York State Police  also participated in the training. Also on May 24, Region 3 Forest Rangers participated in swiftwater rescue training on the Rondout Creek at High Falls. Rangers learned about self-rescue swimming, wading with belay assist, go-rescue, and throw bag techniques.

Great Blue Heron Hits Powerline
(Orange County)

On May 22, ECO DuChene responded to reports of an injured Great Blue Heron in the Town of Chester. When she arrived, Officer DuChene met with the head keeper and park supervisor for Trailside Museums and Zoo at Bear Mountain State Park to develop a plan. With help from volunteers, Officer DuChene and the other responders successfully captured the injured Blue Heron and transported it to Missy Runyan and her staff at the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in Hunter. The medical staff determined the bird likely fractured its radius and ulna after striking a powerline while in flight. After required surgeries, the Great Blue Heron is making a speedy recovery and will eventually be released back to its natural habitat in Chester.

Illegal Fishing
(Erie County)

ECO Koepf received a complaint from a fisherman who observed another angler illegally fishing with a large gill net anchored in Elliot Creek in Amherst. ECO Koepf arrived at the location a short time later, but the subject fled after his encounter with the complainant, leaving behind a large net and a fishing pole. ECOs Koepf and Scheer then conducted a plain-clothes fishing detail at the location in hopes the subject would return to his net and the other gear left behind. While the subject did not return during this time, the ECOs removed the gill net from the water to prevent future illegal fishing and released a snapping turtle they discovered being held in a submerged container anchored to the shore.

Solid Waste Investigation Leads to Illegal Deer Bust
(Ulster County) 

On May 26, ECO Walraven successfully completed the prosecution of an illegal deer case that occurred in the town of Marbletown during the 2020 deer season. While investigating a separate solid waste case, ECO Walraven observed several bucks hanging in a shed on the property. He interviewed the 42-year-old hunter who killed the deer and discovered that the hunter took one of the bucks with a crossbow without a valid muzzleloader privilege, as required, during the southern zone early bow season. He took the second spike-horn buck in a wildlife management unit under antler restrictions. The man was fined and ordered to pay penalties of $827.50 in the Town of Marbletown Court. 

Helicopter Ground School
(Livingston County)

On May 13, Forest Rangers from Regions 8 and 9 participated in a biannual helicopter ground school. The training took place at Rattlesnake Hill Wildlife Management Area and covered aviation safety, emergency procedures, patient packaging, and hoist rescue operations.

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