The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the sentencing of a Saranac man for illegally poaching a moose in October 2019. On Sept. 3, 2020, DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement investigation into the moose poaching concluded when Zachary Vaughan, 26, of Saranac, NY, was sentenced in the Town of Franklin Criminal Court to 60 days in county jail and $5,525 in fines and surcharges. DEC also revoked Vaughan’s hunting privileges for five years.
DEC’s investigation began on Oct. 31, 2019, when ECO Favreau received a call from a camp member in the Chateaugay Highlands Easement reporting a dead cow moose on the property.
The moose was transported to DEC’s Delmar Wildlife Resource Lab for a necropsy. The crime scene investigation continued with the aid of DEC K9 Diesel. Following a series of anonymous calls and an anonymous tip reported to the DEC Environmental Crime Tip-Line, Zachary Vaughan was identified as the shooter.
While Vaughan initially denied the claims, ECOs obtained a supporting deposition. A search warrant was executed on Nov. 26, 2019, by DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement at the home of Vaughan and his parents, during which officers obtained a voluntary statement from Vaughan regarding the poaching incident. On Dec. 4, 2019, Vaughan was charged with four misdemeanors: taking of a moose; possessing a loaded firearm in a vehicle; use of an artificial light in a vehicle while in possession of firearm; and hunting deer with the aid of an artificial light. He also was charged with three additional Environmental Conservation Law violations.
The moose, a protected mammal in New York State, is the largest member of the deer family and the largest land mammal in New York. Hunting moose in New York State is illegal. Learn more about New York State hunting regulations on DEC’s website or view the Hunting Seasons and Regulations Guide online. To report suspected environmental violations, including illegal hunting, fill out DEC’s online form or call DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement dispatch at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).
DEC photo/Almanack archive