New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 22, 2022
All I Want for Christmas
In Albany County, a hunter recently paid a penalty for taking a deer out of season on Christmas Day in Guilderland. On Dec. 25, 2021, ECO Bevis received reports from a complainant who reported he had heard a single shot from what sounded like a muzzleloader as he stood outside his home. Officer Bevis responded to the nearby property where the shot appeared to have originated and spoke to the homeowner who claimed he hadn’t heard any gunshots that morning. ECO Bevis inquired further, asking the man to see the barn on his property. The homeowner obliged and Officer Bevis checked the inside of the barn without finding anything suspicious. However, on his way out, the ECO noticed a spike buck tucked under the bed of one of the old pick-up trucks parked outside the barn, in an attempt to conceal it. Confronted with this discovery, the homeowner admitted to shooting the buck with a muzzleloader earlier that day, despite knowing the season was closed. ECO Bevis ticketed the hunter for taking deer during the closed season and the defendant paid a $500 penalty. Officer Bevis donated the deer to a local processor for the Venison Donation Coalition.
Lawson Lake Ice Fishing Clinic
On Feb. 26, ECO Bevis assisted DEC Fisheries personnel with an ice fishing clinic at this year’s Winter Festival at Lawson Lake, hosted by the Albany County Department of Recreation. Attendees, many of them children, learned various ice fishing techniques, including how to drill holes in the ice and fish with live bait. The festival also included ice skating and hoverboard riding. The event had an excellent turnout and participants caught a variety of fish species including pickerel and perch.
DLE Mourns the Loss of K9 Deming
On March 12, DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement (DLE) bid farewell to a retired K9 Officer. K9 Deming, named for retired Lieutenant Deming Lindsley, served as ECO Ricky Wood’s partner since 2013. Officer Wood and K9 Deming worked together in DEC Region 3, handling hundreds of wildlife detection, tracking, and spent shell detection cases. ECO Wood and K9 Deming were also deployed with other DLE members to the manhunt for two inmates who escaped from Dannemora State Prison in Clinton County in 2015. K9 Deming was the very first striped bass detection K9 in New York State, helping to locate illegally taken fish. K9 Deming retired from service in 2020 and will be missed.
Stripers with a Side of Sturgeon – (Orange/Rockland/Westchester counties)
On March 15 and 16, ECOs conducted details along the Hudson River in Orange, Rockland, and Westchester counties in search of anglers taking striped bass out of season. In Orange and Rockland counties, Officers issued 10 tickets and seized six out-of-season striped bass. In Westchester County, ECO Franz observed a vehicle on the side of the road in a closed-off area and decided to investigate. While approaching the vehicle, the ECO discovered the driver with a large garbage bag containing out-of-season striped bass, two catfish, a white perch, and a fish later determined to be a shortnose sturgeon. Shortnose sturgeon are an endangered species and protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Officer Franz ticketed the angler for a host of Environmental Conservation Law violations and donated the striped bass to a local wolf conservation center. The sturgeon is being used for outreach and educational purposes. Each year, DEC’s Division of Marine Resources monitors the health of New York’s spawning fish population. Using a 500-foot seine net and an electrofishing boat, employees catch spawning striped bass, record their weight, length, and sex, and tag the fish before returning them to the water. Taking striped bass out of season or fishing without a fishing license can affect the data collected, hampering DEC’s fisheries management. Some of the seized striped bass will be utilized during training for fish detection by DEC’s K-9 program.
(Great Sacandaga Lake, Fulton/Saratoga/Franklin/Essex Counties)
On Feb. 18, ECOs and Sheriff’s Deputies in Fulton and Montgomery counties conducted patrols on Great Sacandaga Lake the evening before the annual Walleye Challenge ice fishing contest. Officers checked ice ridges on the lake and alerted event organizers about safety hazards and open water. On the morning of Feb. 19, ECOs were joined by local law enforcement from the New York State Police, Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office, and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office to monitor the challenge, which drew 2,000 participants. Using snowmobiles, ATVs, and UTVs, the Officers focused on public safety. Throughout the day, the ECOs responded to four calls for machines and individuals through the ice and into the water; all who fell through made it out safely. A half-submerged snowmobile was recovered, as well. The Walleye Challenge on the Great Sacandaga Lake was part of a series of weekend-long ice fishing contests throughout New York State, including contests on Lake Colby in Franklin County and Schroon Lake in Essex County. In addition to the ice rescues, ECOs conducted patrols to ensure anglers followed the Environmental Conservation Law. While most anglers complied with all requirements, Officers issued 13 tickets over the weekend of March 5 for violations including fishing without a license, failure to wear a helmet, and operating an unregistered snowmobile. A total of 31 law enforcement members participated.
On March 21 at 3:40 p.m., Ray Brook Dispatch requested Forest Ranger assistance with a potential search after a kayak was seen floating down the Kennyetto River. Forest Rangers Kerr, Morehouse, Nally, Scott, and Thompson were joined by New York State Police, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, and Mayfield Fire. At approximately 5:30 p.m., the kayak was retrieved. The search concluded after Rangers determined the kayak had been tied to a tree and likely broke free after the ice melted.
Ilegal Commercialization of Wildlife (Sullivan County)
On March 3, Lieutenant Buckley, Investigator Bastedo, and ECO Parker conducted an enforcement detail to crack down on the illegal commercialization of wildlife in Sullivan County. While in plainclothes, Investigator Bastedo and ECO Parker entered an antique shop in the town of Liberty and, within a few minutes, located several artifacts made from ivory, alligator parts, and leopard parts. After the items were positively identified, Officers identified themselves and seized the pieces as evidence. Several notices of violation were issued to the store owners for offering ivory, alligator parts, and leopard parts for sale. The store owners agreed to a consent order and paid $2,500 in penalties.