Recent DEC Environmental Conservation Officer actions:
Something Fishy – Essex County
On Feb. 18, ECO LaPoint received a report of ice fishermen on Schroon Lake, Essex County, who were catching lake trout shorter than the legal length of 18 inches. ECO LaPoint contacted Acting Lieutenant Nicols, who located the suspects’ vehicle with information provided by the complainant. From the shore, the two Officers observed the ice anglers until the fishermen returned to their vehicle. When asked to see the fish caught, one angler pulled out the legally caught fish while trying to hide the undersized fish. ECOs discovered nine undersized lake trout, the largest measuring 17 inches. One of the men was also fishing without a license. ECO LaPoint issued both subjects tickets for undersized and over-the-limit lake trout and one for fishing without a license. After advising the men of the limit of two lake trout per angler and the legal minimum length of 18 inches, the ECOs allowed the licensed fisherman to keep his legal-length catch and the undersized trout were donated to DEC Bureau of Wildlife staff to use as bait for a fisher and pine marten live trapping study.
Right Place, Right Time – Jefferson County
On Feb. 20, while conducting routine ice fishing checks on Chaumont Bay, ECO Jackson encountered a group of approximately six subjects fishing and preparing lunch. As ECO Jackson checked fishing licenses, one of the anglers advised that another fisher was choking. This subject was red in the face, clutching his neck, and unable to speak. ECO Jackson immediately performed the Heimlich maneuver of the subject. Fortunately, on the third thrust, a partially chewed piece of venison flew out of the man’s mouth and he was immediately able to breathe and speak. The subject refused further medical attention but thanked ECO Jackson for the life-saving measure.
Snowmobile Accident Assist – Jefferson County
On Feb. 21, while patrolling for snowmobile violations, ECO Nicholas heard Jefferson County dispatch report a snowmobile accident. The ECO was the first responder to arrive on scene. The snowmobile operator had failed to negotiate a turn in the trail, struck a tree, and was ejected from the sled. Despite their injuries, the operator was alive and alert. ECO Nicholas helped the Lorraine Volunteer Fire Department load the injured subject onto their UTV for transport to a waiting ambulance. The ambulance met with a helicopter that then transported the injured subject to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse. New York State Park Police, State Police, ECOs, and Forest Rangers remind all snowmobile riders to make safety their priority in an effort to reduce the number of personal injury and fatal accidents. For more information, visit NYS Parks website.
Sometimes all it Takes is a Little Snow – St. Lawrence County
On Feb. 28, a 15-year-old girl in the town of Lisbon was home alone when she noticed two trucks pull into her driveway. Unknown men exited the truck wearing camouflage and knocked on the door. At the same time, the teen heard sounds of dogs fighting in her backyard. She was frightened by the knock and the presumed dog fight and did not answer the door. The girl saw the men proceed into the backyard, heard a gunshot, and watched as they left quickly. The teenager called her parents, who contacted ECO Canary for assistance. ECO Canary’s investigation determined the hunting dogs entered the yard from the rear farm field while chasing, and eventually cornering, a coyote. Because they were using GPS collars, the subjects were able to tell when their dogs had stopped moving. The poachers arrived to get their dogs and took advantage of an easy, but illegal, harvest of the coyote. The Officer did not identify the poacher, but thanks to some freshly fallen snow, tracks left behind provided helpful evidence. ECO Canary visited the homes of five known coyote hunters in the area until finally the Officer was able to match the tread pattern left at the scene. The poacher admitted to shooting the coyote and was issued tickets for trespass and shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling.