New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 23, 2022
Netted at Night
On Aug. 20, while patrolling the Delaware River in the town of Cochecton, ECO Parker utilized night vision equipment to spot six individuals unlawfully using cast nets. With assistance from ECO Lovgren, the Officers approached the individuals under the cover of darkness and observed them using three cast nets to catch fish. Officer Lovgren located and seized a bag filled with 17 freshwater fish, including sunfish, rock bass, and smallmouth bass. ECOs issued a total of 12 tickets for fishing without a freshwater license and taking fish by means other than angling.
On Aug. 27 at 4:55 p.m., The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) requested Ranger assistance with a 15-acre fire at Naponach Point in Minnewaska State Park. Due to the remote and rugged terrain, NYSP Aviation was called in to help with bucket drops. At 5:28 p.m., with Ranger Gullen serving as crew chief, bucket drops began. On Aug. 28 at 9:54 a.m., dozens of firefighters joined eight Rangers, including DEC volunteer firefighters, two NYSP helicopters, and OPRHP staff. On Aug. 30 at 10 a.m., the fire was estimated at approximately 130 to 150 acres. DEC Forest Rangers also tackled wildfires in Franklin and Sullivan counties during August.
Illegal Take of Osprey
On Aug. 3, ECO Small responded to a call from Suffolk County Police about a resident in Port Jefferson who had heard gunshots just prior to seeing a large bird fall out of a tree. After a brief investigation, Officer Small and Suffolk County Police identified and interviewed a subject who claimed he neither heard shots fired nor saw large birds in the area. While canvassing the location, ECO Small observed fresh fish lying on the ground, even though the subject’s residence was not near water. She also noticed an area with freshly dug dirt and a shovel. With the subject’s permission, Officer Small dug a little further and recovered a deceased osprey with visible gunshot wounds. The subject then admitted to shooting the osprey out of a tree with a 12-gauge shotgun. In New York State, osprey are listed as a “species of special concern” and are protected under State and federal law. The subject is facing criminal charges for the illegal take of protected wildlife, discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and unjustified killing of an animal. He is scheduled to answer those charges in Suffolk County First District Court.
On Aug. 23 at 11:02 a.m., Forest Rangers and Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) responded to a search for a missing person from Penfield, Monroe County. The 32-year-old’s car was found at the North Hemlock Boat Launch in Ontario County. The Ontario County Sheriff’s Department and other law enforcement agencies joined the search by foot, boat, drone, and K9. The search was suspended at dusk and resumed the following morning. On Aug. 24 at 1:12 p.m., search teams found the subject deceased. After investigators processed the scene, the search team carried the man’s body to bring him to the coroner.
Hudson River Boating Accident
ECOs recently concluded an investigation into a boating accident on the Hudson River in the town of Catskill. In early July 2022, ECO Palmateer received information about a boat striking a channel marker on the Hudson River in the Catskill area. The Officer and Lieutenant Glorioso set out on boat patrol, inspecting channel markers in the area for damage. The ECOs eventually located a green channel marker with white paint streaks and a missing light, indicating some sort of collision, as well as a navigation light from the bow of a boat sitting on the marker. Over the next few weeks, the investigation led ECOs to the subject responsible for striking the channel marker. The man admitted to colliding with the channel marker one night in June. After striking the marker, the subject beached the boat near Catskill Creek and got a ride from a friend to Columbia Memorial Hospital for the treatment of minor injuries caused by the accident. The subject stated he returned to the location the next morning to retrieve his boat, but it was gone. The Ulster County Sherriff’s Department used sonar equipment to try to find it with negative results. On Aug. 13, a kayaker located the boat on the Hudson River just north of the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and the owner retrieved it. The incident was reported to the U.S. Coast Guard and they are in the process of replacing the light on the channel marker. ECO Palmateer issued the subject a ticket for failing to report a boating accident.
Large Group Takes Illegal Fish
On Aug. 17, ECOs Dickson and Pabes responded to the Captree Fishing Pier at Captree State Park after receiving reports of anglers using nets to catch undersized crabs and other species. As the Officers entered the parking lot, they observed a group of people placing a net and buckets into the back of a SUV. The ECOs approached and interviewed the anglers who admitted to fishing off the beach with a net. In the catch of nearly 700 fish and crabs, the Officers measured 21 blue claw crabs under the legal limit of 4.5 inches and counted more than 650 menhaden, which was over the catch limit for that species. The Officers issued tickets to the group for those violations and additional citations for undersized summer flounder (fluke) and fishing without a valid marine registry. The ECOs also informed the group that a nighttime fishing access permit is required by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to fish in the park after hours. Shortly after this incident, ECOs Dickson and Pabes encountered a second group a short distance away actively crabbing off a dock. After inspecting the group’s catch, the Officers found that 20 out of the 30 crabs caught were under the legal size limit. The second group received a ticket for possession of undersized crabs.