New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 9, 2022

Sunbaked Rattlesnake
(Warren County)

On Aug. 7, ECO Krug responded to Turtle Island in Lake George to remove an unwanted guest from a campsite. Using the appropriate tools, Officer Krug removed a rattlesnake sunning itself near the shoreline. Turtle Island is a popular spot for rattlesnakes from nearby Tongue Mountain. ECOs respond to similar calls to the island several times a year. Based on its painted tail, Officer Krug determined the rattlesnake had been picked up in the past. He turned the snake over to a research assistant working with a professor at Skidmore College studying the local rattlesnake population. The students collect data from the snake and then release it further away from potential human contact.

(Nassau County)

At midnight on July 31, New York State Park Police requested ECO assistance after locating drums of fish along the roadside of Bay Parkway in Jones Beach State Park and observing subjects fleeing the area. Park Police Officers detained two people and ECO Pabes arrived minutes later. Once on scene, the ECO combed through multiple 30- and 15-gallon drums of baitfish and found 10 undersized summer flounder (fluke), 19 bluefish, undersized blue claw crabs, and hundreds of pounds of a baitfish called spearing. The subjects also used a seine net larger than the legal size allowed for recreational harvest to capture the fish and did not have marine registries. ECO Pabes issued tickets for undersized fluke, excess bluefish, undersized blue claw crabs, use of an illegal seine net in Hempstead Bay, taking fish by commercial means without a license, and failure to carry a marine registry. .

Lying About an Alligator
(Suffolk County)

On Aug. 5, ECO DeRose transported an illegally owned alligator to a reptile refuge and animal sanctuary in Massachusetts. In late July, Officer DeRose received information that an alligator approximately four to five feet in length was being kept as a pet at a private home in Bayport, town of Islip. DEC Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigators followed up on the tip, conducting surveillance on the property for several weeks. After determining the subjects in possession of the alligator did not have a permit to own it, Investigators Eastwood and Grady attempted to contact them without success. When the Officers finally made contact, the responding homeowner denied any reptiles resided in the house. However, after learning about the ongoing investigation and consequences of non-compliance, Investigator Grady received a follow up phone call on Aug. 3, and the homeowners agreed to surrender the nine-year-old alligator, “Zachary,” to DEC Investigators at SPCA headquarters in the town of Smithtown. The owners are facing administrative charges for possessing a wild animal without a permit.

Evening Seine Netting
(Nassau County)

On Aug. 3, ECO DeRose received a complaint about a large group using a large seine net near the Jones Beach State Park fishing pier and not culling their catch. Officer DeRose responded to the fishing pier and observed a rolled-up net, small bait fish in bags, and multiple five-gallon buckets. After examining the net, the Officer determined it was shorter than the legal maximum width but two feet above the maximum allowable height. The ECO spent two hours sifting through thousands of spearing and other baitfish, one handful at a time and found the group in possession of 120 snappers (99 over the limit of three per angler), five fluke under 19 inches, two out-of-season blackfish, and two undersized blue claw crabs. ECO DeRose issued several tickets returnable to Nassau First District Court, including possessing over-the-limit snapper, undersized fluke, out-of-season blackfish, and taking food fish by net without a food fish license.

Buckets Full of Crabs
(Suffolk County)

During the early morning hours of Aug. 13, while conducting crabbing checks along the south shore of Long Island, ECO Kaufherr observed a man at Blue Point Docks scooping crabs out of the water with a net. As the angler headed to his vehicle with the crabs, ECO Kaufherr approached him and asked to check his net. The man had a bucket next to his car with the net over it. Officer Kaufherr opened the lid and found the bucket filled to the top with blue crabs. The ECO found the bucket contained a total of 131 blue crabs, 103 of which were under the 4.5-inch size limit. The Officer also found oyster toad fish under the 10-inch legal size and issued one ticket for possessing undersized blue claw crabs and one for possessing an undersized oyster toad fish. ECOs returned all fish to the water. 

Baby Opossums Rescued
(Cattaraugus/Chautauqua Counties)

On Aug. 5, ECO Powers assisted in the rescue of baby opossums in Cattaraugus County after their mother was struck by a vehicle. Given their age, Officer Powers worked quickly to retrieve the babies and successfully transport them to a wildlife rehabilitation center in the town of Kennedy in Chautauqua County.

Bad Luck
(Nassau County)

On Aug. 3, while patrolling Jones Beach State Park on his Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV), ECO Pabes encountered an angler with an undersized fluke hidden among supplies. Officer Pabes issued the angler a ticket for undersized fluke before continuing his patrol. Later that day, the ECO observed the same angler on the beach with an injury to his foot. The angler stated he was stung in the foot by a stingray, leaving him in excruciating pain. ECO Pabes saw the barb lodged in the fisherman’s foot and helped him to the UTV for transport to the Jones Beach West End parking lot where EMTs waited. The angler is expected to make a speedy recovery. The fluke was donated to a wildlife rehabilitator to serve as food for recovering animals.

The Short Fish Cooler
(Suffolk County)

On Aug. 12, while patrolling the Great South Bay and Ocean off Robert Moses State Park, ECOs Perkins and Kaufherr encountered a fishing vessel and asked the boat’s occupants if they had any fish on board. The anglers stated they had two legal-sized fluke and pulled the two fish out of a large cooler from the back of the boat. Officer Kaufherr boarded the vessel to get measurements of the fish and noticed another cooler in the corner of the vessel with a mix of fluke and black sea bass. The ECO measured the fish and determined all five of the fluke from the smaller cooler measured under 18.5 inches and all three of the sea bass measured under the 16-inch legal size. ECOs issued a ticket to the angler for possessing undersized fluke and possessing undersized black sea bass.

Bunker Bust
(Nassau County)

On Aug. 4, ECO DeRose received a complaint about a group using a large net to catch peanut bunker (small Atlantic Menhaden) near the Jones Beach State Park fishing pier. The caller believed the party was storing the bunker in a vehicle in the parking lot. Officer DeRose watched from a distance and spotted a group eating lunch in a picnic area but did not see a net. Once the group finished eating, ECO DeRose saw the subjects remove a net from a vehicle in the parking lot, walk the pier, and cast the net into the water to catch fish. After retrieving the net, the subjects dumped their catch into buckets. ECO DeRose approached the subjects, advised of applicable fishing regulations, and undertook the arduous task of counting the catch. In total, the four adults and three children possessed 2,417 bunker, well over the 100-per-person limit. Officer DeRose issued a ticket to each of the adults for possessing 1,717 bunker over the daily limit, returnable to Nassau First District Court.

Rattlesnake Retreats to the Convent (Orange County)

Recently, ECOs in Orange County responded to a call from Queen of the Apostles Convent in the town of Monroe after the resident sisters encountered a timber rattlesnake warming itself outside the main entrance of the convent. Officers responded, contained the snake in a plastic container, and relocated it to a safe area nearby. For more information on timber rattlesnakes visit:

Small Plane Crash
(Ulster County)

On Aug. 7, ECO Grose responded to a small plane crash in downtown Ellenville. The two occupants on board were uninjured. Crews noticed gasoline leaking from the aircraft but contained it before it reached any waterways. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

State Park Illegal Clamming
(Kings County)

On Aug. 7, while patrolling Spring Creek Park across from Shirley Chisholm State Park for shellfish violations, ECOs Michalet and Milliron observed two people with several buckets and bins full of various clam species and blue claw crab. The subjects possessed 48 razor clams, 693 top neck clams, and six undersized blue claw crabs. As the Officers escorted the anglers to the trailhead, they spotted another group of three individuals nearby with 85 top neck clams, 346 razor clams, seven streamers, and five undersized blue claw crabs. Each subject received tickets for taking shellfish from uncertified waters and possession of undersized blue claw crabs.

Striped Bass Bust
(Nassau County)

On Aug. 12, ECO Kochanowski conducted a recreational fishing check of a cast netter in the town of North Hempstead. The angler reported he was throwing his cast net for bait fish to catch striped bass. Officer Kochanowski inspected the catch and realized the subject did not know the size requirements and possession regulations for striped bass. The ECO found 10 striped bass less than six inches and nine undersized blue crabs. Officer Kochanowski issued tickets for possession of undersized striped bass, possession of over-limit striped bass, and possession of undersized blue claw crab returnable to the Nassau County First District Court.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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