State conservation officers recently ticketed a Western NY man for running down and killing a couple of Canada geese with his van, handled the aftermath of a mysterious lake house explosion in Herkimer County and saved a stuck red-shoulder hawk in a chicken coop.
The details for those incidents and others involving Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) were supplied by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
Running Down Geese – Niagara County
“On Aug. 11, ECOs in Niagara County received a call from the town of Newfane marina reporting a van had intentionally run into a flock of geese. Security camera footage from the night in question showed the van illuminate the flock of geese with headlights and accelerate into them, killing two of the birds. A Conservation Officre tracked down the driver and ticketed the subject for the illegal take of protected wildlife and taking migratory game birds with the use of a motor vehicle.”
Lake House Explosion – Herkimer County
“On July 30, a Conservation Officer responded to a house explosion in the town of Webb. The blast sent debris flying more than 200 yards into First Lake on the Fulton Chain, impacting an estimated 20 homes in the surrounding area. Herkimer County soon declared a State of Emergency. the officer, accompanied by another ECO and a DEC spill responder, deployed a boat to help assess the damage and look for debris in the lake. Some fuel entered the lake, causing a sheen, and the ECOs assisted the spill responder to deploy a boom designed to pick up the oil. The following day, the officers joined another DEC spill responder to coordinate the use of a harbor boom from Eggan Environmental Services. The ECOs assisted Old Forge Fire Department and Eggan Environmental Services with deployment of the harbor boom using a patrol boat. The boom will contain the spill and allow crews to remove the fuel from the surface so it would not enter the greater lake.” Read more about this.
Playing Chicken – Putnam County
“While on patrol on July 26, a Conservation Officer received a call for a hawk in distress at a residence in the village of Brewster. The ECO met with the homeowner and found the hawk stuck in a chicken coop where it was being attacked by some of the chickens. the officer safely rescued the red-shouldered hawk, which did not appear to sustain any apparent injuries. Following the incident, the ECO released the hawk and it flew away.”
Righting the Ship – Ulster County
“On Aug. 4, while on patrol in Ulster County, a Conservation Officer responded to a 911 call for an overturned kayaker unable to swim near the DEC boat launch on Chodikee Lake in the town of Lloyd. Upon arrival, the officer grabbed a life jacket and throw rope and headed to the launch. Once at the water, the ECO and a police officer from the town of Lloyd borrowed two kayaks from recreators and paddled out to the man. The officers found the 72-year-old Staten Island man standing on a rock holding onto his kayak for balance. Although the man was wearing a life jacket, it was not properly secured, rendering it ineffective. After removing some water, the officers returned the kayaker to his kayak and towed him back to the boat launch where he was evaluated by medical personnel. Additional responders included the New York State Police, Ulster County Sheriff’s Department, Ulster County Sheriff’s Dive Team, Highland Fire Department, Ulster Hose Dive Team, and Mobile Life Ambulance Services.”
Uncovered and Wanted – Onondaga County
“On Aug. 5, a Conservation Officer received a complaint from the scale operator at the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) indicating commercial waste haulers were attempting to avoid higher, commercial tipping fees by offloading at OCCRA’s residential drop-off site in the town of Salina. The scale operator advised that many of the loads had been transported without covers, causing trash to blow into the road and Ley Creek, a tributary to Onondaga Lake. The officer responded to the Ley Creek facility and soon observed a waste hauler missing what turned out to be more than just a tarp. When the ECO stopped the truck for hauling an uncovered load of construction and demolition debris and municipal solid waste, the driver could not produce a valid driver license. A subsequent warrant check found the driver was wanted for assault by the State University of New York (SUNY) Police. The officer arrested the subject and charged him with transporting an uncovered load of solid waste and operating without a license. The ECO then turned him over to the SUNY Upstate Medical University Police on the assault warrant.”
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again – Sullivan County
“On Aug. 8, a Conservation Officer responded to an osprey in distress in the town of Fallsburg. Upon the officer’s arrival, she was met by several concerned local residents to assist with locating the young osprey. Working together, the osprey was successfully captured for closer observation. Missy Runyan at the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in the town of Hunter helped assess the extent of injuries and determined the fledgling was simply an unskilled flyer and took a tumble into the water. The bird was returned to the shoreline to reunite with its parents in a nearby nest. Thanks to the officer, the responding residents had the chance to get up close and personal with their very first osprey.”
Illegal Halloween Buck – Greene County
“On Aug. 9, a Conservation Officer concluded an illegal deer case in the town of Coxsackie. On Halloween Day during bow season, the officer received a report from a concerned bow hunter that two subjects were observed shooting a buck with a rifle. the officer contacted another ECO requesting assistance with the complaint, and the officers interviewed the complainant who recalled seeing the two subjects walking through the woods, one of them carrying a long gun. A short time later, the complainant reported hearing two gunshots and observing the subjects dragging a buck through the woods. After obtaining the vehicle registration from the complainant, the officers conducted an investigation, which led them to six different residences across Ulster, Greene, and Albany counties. The vehicle was improperly registered, preventing the ECOs from pinpointing its location. After interviewing multiple parties, taking statements, and following leads, the ECOs determined the deer was at a residence in the hamlet of Earlton in the town of Coxsackie. At this location, the officers observed an eight-point buck hanging and two men standing next to it. After interviewing the subjects, the ECOs discovered the buck was shot by a subject who already harvested a buck during bow season, but tagged it with someone else’s tag. The deer was wounded by an arrow on the previous evening and the two men returned to the woods the following day to shoot it with the rifle. One officer ticketed the subject who illegally harvested the buck for multiple violations of Environmental Conservation Law. That subject paid $1,000 in fines. The officers seized the deer and transported it to DEC’s Wildlife Health Lab. An officer ticketed two other subjects for lending tags to another and accessory to the illegal take of whitetail deer. These charges are still pending in court.”
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