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From the December 2010 Conservationist

A fire tower on a mountain summit at dawn

On Patrol

Real Stories from Conservation Officers and Forest Rangers in the field

By ECO Lt. Tom Caifa and Forest Ranger Lt. John Solan

Never Bait and Brag-Broome County

On the opening day of the Southern Zone archery season, ECO Andrew McCormick received a call from a person in Kirkwood saying that a man was bragging about trail cam pictures he had of bears near his baited tree stand, and that the man was looking forward to shooting one. The following day, the person called back to report that the man shot two bears that morning. When ECOs McCormick and Rick Warner went to interview the suspect, he admitted to shooting a bear, but stated he had done so legally and was not baiting bears. While conducting the interview, ECO McCormick noticed two bloody arrows in the man's quiver. The ECOs found the dead bear near the suspect's tree stand, along with several piles of cracked corn. Upon closer examination, the officers found only one entrance wound in the bear, and so questioned the man about a second bear. At first the man denied it, but when he couldn't explain that second bloody arrow, he admitted to shooting another bear. He was issued a total of six tickets. Unfortunately, after hours of searching, the second bear was not recovered.

Poaching Doesn't Pay-Montgomery County

During the fall, Sgt. Keith Isles informed ECO Jason DeAngelis of a complaint call from the Town of Sharon. The caller told Isles he witnessed two individuals shoot a doe from their vehicle. The witness got the license plate, and a DMV plate check revealed the name and address of a poacher that ECO DeAngelis immediately recognized. The poacher and his friend were suspected of taking a deer illegally in September, but the ECO didn't have enough information to prove it. DeAngelis and Isles interviewed both men, and when faced with the witness's deposition and the doe carcass, they admitted to shooting two deer the night before and another on September 19th. The officers seized the meat from the September 19th deer, as well as the rifle used in all three deer jackings. Each of the poachers were issued six summonses and fined $1,100.

Holler Back-Hamilton County

At 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 10th, the DEC Dispatch Center in Ray Brook received a call from DEC's Lewey Lake Campground reporting that three out-of-town hikers had not returned from a day hike at Watch Hill. Forest Rangers immediately set out searching the area, repeatedly calling out the names of the three hikers. Finally, at 8:30 a.m., the rangers located the missing hikers, all in good condition. They reported that it had gotten dark as they were returning to the campground and since they did not have flashlights, they lost the trail. When asked if they could hear Forest Rangers calling for them, they responded that they had, but stated that, "Growing up in the city, you never holler back." (Ranger's Note: When hiking, always carry a flashlight or headlamp. Remember that the sun sets earlier in the fall and winter, so plan trips accordingly. If lost, help searchers find you by staying in one place; starting a fire or making noise; and please answer searchers' calls.)

Ask the ECO

Q: I heard that crossbows are now legal for deer hunting. Is this true?

A: Not until Fall 2011. While a bill was passed that allows the use of crossbows for some big game hunting in New York, crossbows may not be used during the 2010 hunting season; you must wait until the fall of 2011. Also, crossbows may only be used during a regular firearms season or during the late muzzleloading and late bowhunting seasons. For more information on this new law, visit the "Crossbows in New York: FAQ" webpage.

Photo: Carl Heilman II