New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 17, 2021
Too Drunk to Launch a Boat
On the evening of Aug. 9, a man backed his Jeep and boat trailer, with boat attached, into Onondaga Lake – missing the DEC boat launch by 50 feet and becoming stuck in mud along the shoreline. One tow truck and $800 later, the man drove away unscathed without reporting the incident to DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement. Three days later, on Aug. 12, the same man successfully navigated the ramp at the same boat launch, but failed to apply the brakes, fully submerging his trailer and Jeep in Onondaga Lake. The allegedly intoxicated man miraculously escaped through the window of the vehicle and made it to shore. This time, a witness called 911. ECO Damrath, along with Geddes Police and Onondaga County Parks Police, responded to the boat launch immediately. ECO Damrath noted the sheen of gasoline and garbage leaking from the man’s vehicle and contacted Region 7 Spill Response experts. NRC Environmental Services responded to contain the fuel spill. Thanks to cooperating witness statements, ECO Damrath charged the driver with several violations of Environmental Conservation Law and State regulations. Geddes Police is leading the DWI investigation.
While on patrol on July 26, ECO Crisafulli received a call for a hawk in distress at a residence in the village of Brewster. The ECO met with the homeowner and found the hawk stuck in a chicken coop where it was being attacked by some of the chickens. Officer Crisafulli safely rescued the Red-Shouldered Hawk, which did not appear to sustain any apparent injuries. Following the incident, the ECO released the hawk and it flew away.
If at First You Don’t Succeed
On Aug. 8, ECO DuChene responded to an osprey in distress in the town of Fallsburg. Upon the Officer’s arrival, she was met by several concerned local residents to assist with locating the young osprey. Working together, the osprey was successfully captured for closer observation. Missy Runyan at the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center, in Hunter, helped assess the extent of injuries and determined the fledgling was simply an unskilled flyer and took a tumble into the water. The bird was returned to the shoreline to reunite with its parents in a nearby nest.
Running Down Geese
On Aug. 11, ECOs in Niagara County received a call from the town of Newfane marina reporting a van had intentionally run into a flock of geese. Security camera footage from the night in question showed the van illuminate the flock of geese with headlights and accelerate into them, killing two of the birds. ECO Holzle tracked down the driver and ticketed the subject for the illegal take of protected wildlife and taking migratory game birds with the use of a motor vehicle.
Illegal Halloween Buck
On Aug. 9, ECO Palmateer concluded an illegal deer case in Coxsackie. On Halloween Day, 2020, during bow season, Officer Palmateer received a report from a concerned bowhunter that two subjects were observed shooting a buck with a rifle. ECO Palmateer contacted ECO Smith requesting assistance with the complaint, and the Officers interviewed the complainant who recalled seeing the two subjects walking through the woods, one of them carrying a long gun. A short time later, the complainant reported hearing two gunshots and observing the subjects dragging a buck through the woods. After obtaining the vehicle registration from the complainant, the Officers conducted an investigation, which led them to six different residences across Ulster, Greene, and Albany counties. The vehicle was improperly registered, preventing the ECOs from pinpointing its location. After interviewing multiple parties, taking statements, and following leads, the ECOs determined the deer was at a residence in the hamlet of Earlton in Coxsackie. At this location, the Officers observed an 8-point buck hanging and two men standing next to it. After interviewing the subjects, the ECOs discovered the buck was shot by a subject who already harvested a buck during bow season, but tagged it with someone else’s tag. The deer was wounded by an arrow on the previous evening and the two men returned to the woods the following day to shoot it with the rifle. ECO Palmateer ticketed the subject who illegally harvested the buck for multiple violations of Environmental Conservation Law. That subject paid $1,000 in fines. The Officers seized the deer and transported it to DEC’s Wildlife Health Lab. ECO Smith ticketed two other subjects for lending tags to another and accessory to the illegal take of whitetail deer. These charges are still pending in court.
On Aug. 11, ECO DeRose responded to assist Suffolk County Police with a 911 call for a ‘dangerous turtle’ in the garden of a residence. Upon arrival, ECO DeRose determined it was a large native snapping turtle with a shell almost 18 inches long. ECO DeRose, along with Suffolk County Police, safely removed the turtle and transported it to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for evaluation. After it was determined to be in good health, they released the snapping turtle into a local pond.
Turtle Washes Up
On Aug. 14, ECO DeRose received a call from the town of Islip regarding a sea turtle that washed up on shore adjacent to a local fishing dock. ECOs DeRose and Perkins responded, meeting with an Atlantic Marine Conservation Society biologist. The responders determined it was a loggerhead sea turtle, a threatened species in New York. The sea turtle had been killed by multiple boat strikes. Tissue samples and measurements were taken of the deceased loggerhead for research purposes, but the washed-up turtle serves as a reminder to be safe while boating and always aware of potential wildlife that may be swimming close to the surface of the water.
(Suffolk County )
In August, while patrolling Captree State Park to ensure anglers are in compliance with recreational saltwater fishing guidelines, ECO Perkins monitored a call over the New York State Park Police radio reporting three kayakers overturned and in the water near the main fishing pier. Officer Perkins responded, along with members of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), NYSPP, and Suffolk County Police Department’s Marine Bureau. The Marine Bureau deployed an Officer into the water to assist one kayaker through the strong current while the USCG used a line to safely guide another. The third kayaker safely climbed up the dock with assistance from other responders. Islip Rescue evaluated the three kayakers and all declined further medical treatment.
On Aug. 18, ECOs Sheer, Holzle, Gill, and DEC Bureau of Fisheries Biologist Mike Todd conducted youth fishing outreach in support of the Niagara County Building Bridges program. DEC partners with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, City of Niagara Falls Police Department, and County Legislator Owen Steed on Building Bridges to help foster relationships between youth and law enforcement in social settings. The program’s youth fishing event was held at Bonds Lake Park, in Lewiston. Twelve children, ranging in age from eight to 17, attended the event. ECOs and Biologist Todd taught fish identification and handling, casting techniques, and knot tying before heading to the water to practice their new skills. At the end of the outreach, Officers provided attendees with fishing equipment including a fishing pole, hooks and bobber, hat, and a fishing bucket. The equipment was generously donated by Runnings Outdoor Store in Lockport and the New York Conservation Officers Association.
Double Raptor Rescue
(Ulster and Sullivan Counties)
On Aug. 23, ECO Walraven received a call from a New York State Trooper out of the Ellenville Barracks reporting an injured red-tailed hawk at a local residence. The bird appeared to be unable to fly and in need of rehabilitative care. ECO Walraven responded and successfully captured the hawk. During the rescue, the ECO received a second call regarding an injured spotted owl in Sullivan County. ECO Walraven gathered both raptors and transported them to the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Greene County for medical treatment. Sadly, the red-tailed hawk succumbed to its injuries. However, despite a broken humerus the spotted owl is responding well to treatment. If the owl is successfully rehabilitated, the bird will be released back into the wild.
Nothing But Net
On Aug. 25, ECO Wood responded to several calls about a distressed deer stuck in a net in Woodbourne. When he arrived, ECO Wood met with Officers from the Fallsburg Police Department, two members of the Woodbourne Fire Department, and the property’s caretaker. They observed what appeared to be an eight-point buck with its antlers stuck in a large soccer-type net in the backyard of the home. ECO Wood feared that waiting for equipment to safely tranquilize the deer might lead to the deer breaking its neck or succumbing to stress in the extreme heat. Instead, ECO Wood requested that all police and fire personnel on scene assist him in holding down the deer once it flopped to the ground. Once the group secured its body, ECO Wood and a Fallsburg Police Detective controlled the animal’s antlers and cut away the netting. Once the netting was removed, the deer was released and ran off from the location.
• On Aug. 23, Steuben County requested Forest Ranger assistance to help manage relief crews from various organizations assisting local residents cleaning out homes and removing debris in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fred. Rangers worked as operations section chiefs throughout the week to organize personnel, make assignment areas, document work progress, and coordinate relief crews. On the morning of Aug. 18, DECs Division of Law Enforcement began preparing for Tropical Storm Fred. The storm brought heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the Southern Tier and Central New York. Under the leadership of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services (DHSES), DLE worked closely with the State’s multi-agency Flood Incident Strike Team to rescue individuals and families from high water. In Herkimer County, team members diverted traffic from flooded roads. These efforts saved lives and prevented possible further loss of property. While flooding caused by Fred wreaked havoc in upstate New York, Tropical Storm Henri picked up in intensity and became a hurricane as it approached Long Island. The Flood Incident Strike Team reconvened on less than a day’s rest and deployed to Long Island and the Hudson Valley. Henri crossed Long Island and traveled into the Hudson Valley/Capital District where it hovered and flooded more New Yorkers. Fortunately, teams were prepared for any life-threatening conditions.