New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 8, 2022
Night Vision Thwarts Illegal Fishing (Westchester County)
On March 8 and 12, ECOs Tompkins, Wamsley, and Thibodeau conducted a large-scale striped bass enforcement effort in Westchester County, surveilling multiple areas along the Hudson River. Overnight, ECOs watched as anglers illegally caught fish out of season. Utilizing night vision, the ECOs made contact with anglers claiming they didn’t have any fish. Knowing the individuals were lying, Officers located dozens of striped bass hidden in bags, under rocks, behind logs, and stuffed in exposed root systems of trees. Officers issued 27 tickets to 16 individuals throughout the night and seized 53 striped bass, returning the fish with high likelihood of survival back into the water. Deceased fish were donated to a local zoo.
Fisher in Distress
On March 10, ECO Doig responded to State Route 10 in the town of Delhi after receiving reports of an injured fisher approaching humans. Lieutenant Nichols, also in the area, assisted ECO Doig in safely capturing the fisher with a catch pole. Officer Doig then contacted the DEC Wildlife Pathology lab in Delmar and explained that the animal was exhibiting unusual behavior by approaching people, which is not normal for fishers. The lab is conducting tests to identify the reason for the fisher’s condition and behavior. For more information on fishers, go to DEC’s website.
Fish Patrol, Opossum for Dinner
(Orange and Rockland Counties)
On March 6, ECOs in Orange and Rockland counties conducted a detail along the Hudson River to stop illicit striped bass activity. Officers issued 36 summonses for charges including fishing without a freshwater fishing license and taking striped bass out of season. In addition to the fishing violations, officers found an individual in possession of an opossum that the subject admitted to shooting in the parking lot and then cooking to eat. ECOs wrote several citations to the individual for the illegal take of the opossum. Raccoons, red and gray fox, skunk, opossum, and weasel are primarily taken for fur during their hunting seasons from Oct. 25 to Feb. 15, but are otherwise protected.
Illegal Off-Roading Enforcement
On March 14 at 8:30 p.m., Forest Rangers responded to information about off-road vehicles illegally accessing the Otis Pike Preserve. Ranger Hicks apprehended three individuals for illegally accessing the property and starting a campfire where campfires are not permitted. All three subjects were charged with operating a 4X4 vehicle off-road in Suffolk County and instructed to put out the fire and clean up debris. Then, n March 15, while on ATV patrol, Forest Rangers Hicks and Scott received information about an off-road vehicle illegally operating on the Rocky Point State Forest. Rangers apprehended and charged the subject with operating a 4×4 vehicle off-road in Suffolk County. While investigating, Rangers observed a street-legal dirt bike in the same area. The subject fled the area, but was apprehended at a nearby residence and charged with operating an ATV off-road on public land.
Flat Ice Rescue Training
(St. Lawrence County)
On March 7, 14 Forest Rangers conducted the annual Flat Ice Rescue Training at DEC’s Cranberry Lake Complex. Four members of DEC’s Division of Environmental Remediation Spill Response Unit also attended. The classroom portion of the training included pre-planning, response, and coordination of flat ice rescue incidents. The field portion of the training highlighted self-rescue techniques, along with reach, throw, and go responses. The Region 6 airboat was deployed to provide operators and crew with additional training to deliver personnel to the scene and safely transition victims from the water to the deck of the airboat. The Region 6 airboat was recently used in the rescue of stranded subjects in Lyonsdale, Lewis County.
Stuck on the Beach
On March 6, ECOs DeRose and Perkins assisted New York State Park Police responding to a large gathering of cars organized over social media at Captree State Park. Some participants were driving recklessly and others parked on the fishing pier. The Officers found five vehicles parked in and around the pier, including one parked on seagrass in a tidal wetland area. Another driver attempted to drive a sedan on the beachfront where it became stuck. When the Officers asked the drivers why they were driving in an area not designated for vehicles, the subjects all gave the same answer-to take photographs. Park Police ticketed the drivers found in the area and ECOs issued additional tickets to the driver of the vehicle parked on the seagrass and the driver stuck on the beachfront for disturbing the natural state of a tidal wetland without a permit. The Environmental Conservation Law violations are returnable to Suffolk First District Court.