New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – August 6, 2021
All Tied Up
On June 29, ECO Parker responded to a complaint about a white-tailed deer fawn unlawfully possessed by an individual in the town of Liberty. Upon arrival, ECO Parker noticed a taut rope connected to a pole leading into the nearby wood line. ECO Parker investigated further and located a fawn with a collar attached to a rope with a tie-out clip. The ECO then spoke to an individual in the area who admitted to taking the fawn into his possession after finding it abandoned. The subject said that he planned to take care of the fawn until it was strong enough to be on its own. ECO Parker advised the subject that only licensed wildlife rehabilitators can take possession of protected wildlife and issued him a ticket for unlawfully possessing protected wildlife, returnable to the Town of Liberty Court. ECO Parker took possession of the fawn and transported it to a wildlife rehabilitator for further care.
Storm Damage Response
On June 21, Forest Rangers Nally, Thompson, and Kerr responded to a call for Forest Ranger assistance from the caretaker at Moffitt Beach State Campground. The caretaker reported several impassable roadways, downed trees and phone lines, and power outages in the area. Rangers helped clear storm damage in and around the campground and assisted local fire departments, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, and highway officials with localized storm impacts. Rangers, working through Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch, also responded to 911 calls, supplementing local resources. Rangers checked on campers at undeveloped and isolated State Land campsites in areas without cell service. On Powley Road in the town of Stratford, Ranger Thompson discovered the road impassable. The ranger began cutting his way down the road where he made contact and assisted stranded campers.
Operation Low Tide
On June 10, after receiving multiple complaints of people keeping undersized marine species, shellfish from uncertified waters, and protected terrapins (commonly called turtles) during low tide, ECOs Veloski and Currey participated in Operation Low Tide, an enforcement initiative to combat the illegal taking of wildlife and shellfish in New York City. ECOs partnered with U.S. Park Police in and around Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. While patrolling the area, the officers observed two individuals leaving the area with headlights, nets, and large totes. The officers interviewed the subjects and discovered that two of the totes contained diamondback terrapins while the other totes contained blue crabs. In total, the subjects had captured 22 diamondback terrapins, which are a federal- and state-protected species, and 41 undersized blue crabs. The anglers were also in possession of more than the allowable limit of 50 blue crabs. Officers issued multiple summonses to the subjects for possession of protected wildlife, possession of undersized blue crabs, and possession of over-limit blue crabs. All 22 terrapins and the many illegal blue crabs were safely returned to Jamaica Bay.
Lake Carmel Fishing Derby
On June 26, ECO Tompkins joined Lake Carmel Park District members for their annual fishing derby. This year, approximately 40 anglers, the youngest just a year old, participated in the event. The anglers were broken into three age classes and competed for several prizes. ECO Tompkins assisted the competitors with baiting their hooks, casting, and unhooking their catch. The ECO also answered questions about the career of an Environmental Conservation Police Officer and the steps to become one. Overall, nine anglers were announced for first through third place in each of the age classes. The participants caught a wide range of fish including yellow perch, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass, and brown bullhead.
Illegal Thanksgiving Buck
On June 28, ECO Palmateer completed the successful prosecution of an illegal deer case in the town of Coxsackie. The case began on Thanksgiving Day, 2020, when ECO Palmateer received a call at approximately 8:30 a.m. regarding a deer potentially shot before legal shooting hours. Palmateer responded to the location and interviewed the complainant who recalled hearing an early gun shot in the area. The officer analyzed the scene and collected evidence of a freshly killed deer. After interviewing multiple parties and taking statements, the ECO located the deer, an eight-point buck, at a nearby residence. It had already been skinned and was in the process of being butchered with the head and rack in a freezer on site. After a lengthy interview, the subject admitted to shooting the deer approximately 45 minutes prior to legal shooting hours. ECO Palmateer seized the buck and issued tickets for hunting during closed hours and illegal take of white-tailed deer. The subject paid $700 in fines.
Bear Cub Versus Chicken Feeder
On July 1, ECO Smith received a call from a resident in the hamlet of Round Top about a black bear cub with what appeared to be a bucket stuck on its head. ECO Smith responded to the location, but the cub had wandered into a nearby wooded area by the time he arrived. Over the course of the next several days, the officer received multiple calls and text messages from nearby residents, including a photograph of the cub perched on a tree trunk with a plastic chicken feeder on its head, an object unlikely to break apart or fall off without intervention. On July 10, ECO Smith received a call from the manager of a resort in Round Top who located the cub in a wooded area. ECO Smith, Lt. Glorioso, and New York State Police Trooper Alberts responded to the area, located the cub –now accompanied by additional cubs and a sow – and formulated a plan to remove the object. The sow was hazed away from the area to provide enough space and time for the responding officers to secure the cub in a catch pole. Lt. Glorioso then cut the thick plastic collar of the chicken feeder and removed it from the cub’s head. The cub was released back to the sow without injury.