New York Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – November 18, 2022

No Hunting From An Apartment Complex
(Essex County)

On Oct. 11, ECO Buffa received a complaint about an individual unlawfully hunting over bait behind an apartment complex in the town of Wilmington. The complainant advised the hunter took a seven-point buck and a doe on the morning of Oct. 1, and an eight-point buck the week before. Other witnesses reported seeing the individual shooting a crossbow from the breezeway of the apartment complex and loading the deer into his truck. ECOs Buffa and Favreau responded, but the suspect was not home at the time of the call. With no information on his whereabouts, DEC Dispatcher McCasland pulled up some associated addresses to assist in finding him. After a short time, ECO Fadden located the hunter in a neighboring county. The Officers met and interviewed the suspect who admitted to shooting all three deer with a crossbow over bait. He even admitted to shooting the doe in the early morning hours from his bedroom window. ECO Buffa issued 11 tickets to the hunter for illegally taking wildlife, hunting with a crossbow out of season, discharging a crossbow within 250 feet of a residence, hunting with the aid of bait, and improperly tagging deer. ECO Favreau also ticketed an individual who lent the hunter his tag. All three deer were seized and donated to the Venison Donation Coalition to help feed needy families in New York. 

Duckling Jailbreak
(Suffolk County)

ECO Della Rocco recently received a call from employees at the Suffolk County Corrections facility in Riverhead reporting a female duck had hatched seven ducklings in the garden in the center of the buildings, with no escape for the young birds. Jail staff became fed up with feeding and cleaning up after the ducklings and requested the ECO’s assistance removing and relocating the ducks. Officer Della Rocco caught the ducklings and released them in a nearby pond.

Illegal Archery Deer Take
(Hamilton Count)y

On Oct. 3, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a deer shot in the road in the town of Wells. Deputy O’Conner responded and requested ECO assistance. ECO Newell arrived and determined someone had shot the deer with an arrow from ground level. The blood trail led to a nearby home, but the homeowner claimed he didn’t hear or see anything. The Officers continued searching for additional evidence and found the blood trail ended in an area with pumpkins scattered on the ground. ECO Newell confronted the homeowner once more and he admitted to shooting the deer with his bow. The hunter did not have a hunting license at the time the deer was shot. Officer Newell charged the subject with the illegal take of a deer, hunting with the aid of bait, and hunting without a hunting license. ECO Newell donated the deer to the venison donation program.

Out-of-Season Tautog
(Suffolk County)

On Oct. 6, while patrolling near Robert Moses State Park, ECOs Perkins and Dickson checked a small fishing access site under the Captree Island Bridge and observed three individuals fishing along the rocky jetties using green crabs, a common bait for tautog/blackfish. During the ECOs’ inspection, which included a check of fishing licenses, the Officers found three blackfish in a bucket next to the anglers and another nine fish tucked away in bags hidden between the rocks. Blackfish season does not start until Oct. 15 on the South Shore, and Oct.11 on the Long Island Sound. The ECOs released four living fish; the rest perished in the bags. The Officers issued six tickets to the group for possessing out-of-season tautog and failure to release without undue harm. A few days later near Robert Moses State Park, ECO Dickson observed a different group of anglers catching blackfish out of season. In Great South Bay, the ECO observed three individuals fishing off a small inflatable boat. As the Officer approached the trio with members of the U.S. Coast Guard Fire Island, the anglers dumped the contents of a small cooler onto the deck of the boat and covered the contents with the lid of the cooler. ECO Dickson found the blackfish under the lid and issued tickets to the group for catching the fish out of season and fishing without a valid marine fishing license.

Too Early for Crossbows
(Genesee County)

On Oct. 8, the LeRoy Police Department discovered an antlered deer in the bed of a truck during a traffic stop. When the operator failed to produce a tag for the deer, LeRoy Police requested ECO assistance. ECO Fuerch responded and observed an eight-point deer in the bed of the truck with a wound consistent with an arrow blade. The ECO also located a compound bow and crossbow in the rear of the vehicle. At the time, crossbow season had not yet started. The driver admitted to illegally taking the deer with a crossbow in the town of Caledonia, and produced a valid hunting license and tags. However, the subject did not possess an appropriate bow/muzzleloader either sex tag. Officer Fuerch ticketed the man for failing to tag deer as required, taking a deer during closed season, and killing wildlife except as permitted. The charge of taking deer during closed season carries an automatic hunting license revocation upon conviction.

Lost Hunting Dog Rescued
(Saratoga County)

On Oct. 7, while patrolling at Daketown State Forest in the town of Greenfield, ECO Doroski observed a dog roaming around without its owner. The ECO persuaded the pup to come closer and made a temporary leash until he could locate the owner. A short time later, the owner appeared and was reunited with his dog. The owner said he was hunting afield earlier that morning when the dog broke free and ran off.

Operation Green Night
(Orleans County)

Between Oct. 7 and Oct. 9, ECOs from across the state participated in ‘Operation Green Night,’ a detail targeting illegal salmon fishing in Orleans County. The Officers used marked and unmarked units, thermal and night vision equipment, and undercover tactics to conduct compliance checks. The ECOs responded to several complaints of snagging, trespassing, and illegal fishing. During the three-day detail, ECOs issued multiple violations across the county for failure to have a freshwater fishing license, illegal tackle, failure to release foul-hooked fish, and trespassing in restricted areas.

Injured Great Horned Owl
(Suffolk County)

On Aug. 25, ECO Small responded to a report of an injured great horned owl. The owl was stuck in a soccer net overnight, and when freed the next day, did not leave. Concerned the owl might be injured, the callers reached out to DEC. ECO Small was able to capture the owl and transport it to a local wildlife rehabilitator. The rehabilitator did not see any noticeable injuries and suspected the owl would be released the next day.

Illegal Bear Take
(Ulster County)

On Oct. 8, ECOs Walraven and Johnson received reports that someone had illegally killed a bear in the town of Rochester. The complainant said a local hunter shot the female bear with a bow and then, with two accomplices, tracked the animal into the woods and killed it with a shotgun. The hunter posted several pictures of himself and the two accomplices with the bear and shotgun on social media. The caller indicated the same bear was seen in the area with its cubs eating out of trash dumpsters on the property. ECOs interviewed the hunter who admitted to shooting the bear as it was feeding on trash and confirmed he and his accomplices had killed it. The Officers seized the bear’s hide and meat and issued the hunter several tickets for unlawful take of black bear, hunting with the aid of a pre-established bait pile, and possessing a firearm afield during the special archery season. The ECOs tracked down and charged one accomplice and ticketed him for hunting with a revoked license and possessing a firearm afield during the special archery season. Charges are pending against the third accomplice. The case is due to be heard in the Town of Rochester Court in November.

Plane Crash
(Fulton County)

On Oct. 9, ECO Pasciak responded along with first responders to a small plane crash on the Great Sacandaga Lake in the town of Northampton. Fortunately, the pilot and two passengers survived the crash and only one passenger required medical attention. The pilot advised that a crosswind caused the plane to crash and flip upside down, just slightly above water during an attempted takeoff from a sandbar. The Fulton County Emergency Management Director, Northville Fire Department, New York State Police, Fulton County Sherriff’s Deputies, local EMS, and employees from Thompson’s Marina also responded to the crash to assist. Officer Pasciak notified DEC Spill Response Staff to investigate any potential fuel or petroleum spills from the incident before providing the pilot with a courtesy ride home. The plane was safely removed, no fuel oil was spilled, and the investigation continues.

Duck Thief Caught
(Saratoga Count)y

On Oct. 9, ECO Shaw received a call from the City of Saratoga Springs Police Department about an individual caught on camera taking two ducks from Congress Park, a longtime home for ducks during the warm weather months. Saratoga Police passed along the suspect’s vehicle description and plate number from the camera footage, allowing Officer Shaw to quickly locate and speak to the individual. When asked why he took the ducks, the man responded quickly that he did his research and found nothing that said he couldn’t take them. Officer Shaw corrected him on Environmental Conservation Laws regarding wildlife and directed the subject to release the ducks back to Congress Park unharmed. The ECO issued the man two tickets for unlawfully taking and possessing protected wildlife.

Deer Meets Soccer Net
(Otsego County)

On Oct. 12, ECO Vencak responded to reports of a deer trapped in a soccer goal net at Hartwick College in the city of Oneonta. Officer Vencak managed to cover the yearling deer with a blanket and hold it long enough for Hartwick employees to cut the net off and free the deer. The animal ran off into the woods, uninjured, after the incident. 

That’s Not a Squirrel
(Niagara County) 

On Sept. 25, while driving through Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area patrolling for end-of-season goose hunters, Lieutenant Ver Hague observed a hunter at his car just before sunset. The ECO pulled in to check in with the hunter, who claimed to be hunting squirrels, not geese. At the same time, Lieutenant Ver Hague noticed the hunter attempting to close the trunk of his car and observed a foot sticking out that appeared larger than a squirrel’s foot. Upon further inspection, the Officer determined the foot to be that of a raccoon, and raccoon hunting season does not open until Oct. 25. ECO Holzle arrived on scene shortly after this discovery and issued the man a ticket for hunting raccoons out of season.

Paying Homage
(Suffolk County)

On Sept. 29, ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer made their annual pilgrimage to Pine Lawn Cemetery in Suffolk County to pay their respects to fallen Game Protector William Cramer, K9 Cramer’s namesake. Cramer was murdered by poachers in 1929 when he tried to arrest them for unlawfully killing songbirds. ECO DeRose and K9 Cramer visit the cemetery every year on Sept. 29 to pay homage to a fallen Officer and salute his ultimate sacrifice in defense of New York State’s natural resources.

Sniffing Out Bags of Blackfish
(Nassau County)

On Oct. 2, K9 Cramer joined ECOs investigating an illegal fishing case in Nassau County. ECOs Kochanowski and Macropoulos observed a fisherman catch an out-of-season blackfish under one of the bridges on the Wantagh Parkway, put it in a bag, and toss the bag down into the rocks. When the Officers approached, the angler appeared to be all packed up and leaving the area. The ECOs were surprised the subject had no fish and only fishing equipment. After a hasty search of the area failed to uncover the poached fish, the Officers reached out to ECO DeRose to bring in K9 Cramer. Cramer searched the area the subject was fishing, but focused on a nearby location. Officer DeRose expanded the search area and after getting to the opposite side of the bridge, Cramer quickly barreled through a large section of vegetation and alerted his handler. ECO DeRose moved in and discovered multiple black bags containing blackfish. Officers ticketed the angler for keeping out-of-season blackfish and failing to release blackfish without undue harm, returnable to Nassau County First District Court.

Eagle Rescue
(Suffolk County)

On Sept. 22, the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) requested assistance from an ECO regarding a report of a bald eagle struck by a vehicle traveling westbound on Sunrise Highway by Exit 58 in Manorville. ECO Perkins arrived on scene, and with assistance from the SCPD Officer, safely captured the juvenile bald eagle and placed it inside a cage. ECO Perkins then transported the eagle to a local rehabilitator for an X-ray and further treatment. The rehabilitator stated the eagle appeared to have suffered an injury to its wing. Unfortunately, after an examination by a veterinarian, the damage was more extensive than expected and the bird was euthanized.

Bear Removed from Vehicle
(Ulster County)

On Sept. 23, ECOs Johnson and Walraven responded to a 911 call about a bear that broke into a vehicle in the town of Hurley. New York State Police shut down Route 28 while ECOs positioned their vehicles at the back end of the vehicle with the bear to create a funnel in a safe direction. The Officers then used a rope to open the back hatch and force the bear out. The animal appeared unharmed, but the vehicle sustained heavy damage.

Women and Firearms
(Suffolk County)

On Sept. 18, ECOs Small and Anderson attended a firearm educational event in the town of Babylon. The event, hosted by the Suffolk Alliance of Sportsmen and Old Bethpage Rifle and Pistol Club, focused exclusively on women over the age of 12. The day included presentations on firearm safety and shooting skills. Officers Small and Anderson assisted participants while on the range, giving pointers to those who had never before shot a rifle.

All Tangled Up
(Chautauqua County)

On Sept. 27, ECO Mead received a report about a deer with its head stuck in a swing set in Jamestown. The caller reported the animal was struggling to free itself for an estimated 45 minutes. When Officer Meade arrived, the caller showed him the four-point-buck entangled in a large tree swing with a 25-foot rope. The animal could run more than 20 feet in any direction only to be snapped back and swept up to eight feet in the air before crashing back down, often into and around nearby smaller trees. With daylight fading quickly, Officer Mead duct-taped his knife to a long stick and grabbed a flashlight. Doing his best to avoid the animal’s wildly thrashing hooves, after several attempts the ECO freed the animal without injuring himself or the deer by cutting the rope and preventing the deer from re-entangling itself. The buck ran away showing no signs of significant harm.

Well, Hello Deer
(Albany County)

On Oct. 12, ECO Hameline responded to a residence in the city of Albany for reports of a deer stuck in an abandoned well. The homeowner advised he found the deer when he heard commotion while doing yardwork. Officer Hameline arrived and observed the deer stuck in what appeared to be a sinkhole, not an abandoned well. The ECO retrieved his catch pole from his vehicle and lifted the deer to safety without incident.

Youth Hunting and Fishing Events
(Orange and Rockland Counties)

On Sept. 24, National Hunting and Fishing Day, ECOs in Orange and Rockland counties assisted with two youth hunting and fishing events. At Stewart State Forest in the town of Montgomery, DEC and the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs (OCFSC) cosponsored a Youth Pheasant Hunt during which more than 20 youth hunters enjoyed the opportunity to pursue and take pheasants stocked by DEC and OCFSC. Less crowded hunting conditions, experienced adult hunters and dog handlers, and mild weather combined to provide an exceptional upland hunting experience for the junior hunters. In Rockland County, DEC and the United Sportsmen Association of Rockland held a National Hunting and Fishing Day event at Congers Lake Memorial Park in the town of Clarkstown. More than 200 youth enjoyed a day packed with hunting and fishing instruction and opportunities.

Youth Waterfowl Hunt
(Oneida County)

On Sept. 24 and 25, Madison County and Oneida County ECOs took a group of local youth hunters for an early season goose hunt. The group spent the first day learning about hunter safety and waterfowl regulations at the Cassidy Hollow Rod and Gun Club. The next day, they headed out to the field and witnessed the many birds in the area respond to the mentor’s call. Four birds were harvested and all involved had a memorable experience. Read more about ECO’s and their involvement with youth hunts starting on Page 1. 

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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