Sunday, May 1, 2022

ECOs crack down on fishing violations

Recent actions from Adirondack-region Environmental Conservation Officers

fishing violationFishing Violations – Warren County

On the morning of April 15, Lieutenant Higgins and ECO Brassard patrolled a small trout pond in Queensbury and discovered several anglers catching freshly stocked trout without incident. However, some anglers also possessed out-of-season chain pickerel. In addition, two fishermen had failed to buy a fishing license, resulting in tickets to the offenders.

Later that afternoon, ECO Lapoint patrolled stocked streams in Lake George and located two anglers, one of whom exceeded the limit of trout he could legally catch and the other who did not have a valid fishing license. ECO Lapoint issued tickets to both anglers and educated the pair about daily limits and how purchasing a fishing license supports fish stocking in New York State.

Later that night, Lt. Higgins and ECO Lapoint teamed up to check on the spawning smelt in the tributaries of Lake George. It is illegal to fish for or possess smelt during the spawning period. While patrolling one of the tributaries in the town of Hague, the Officers located a truck parked next to the brook and noticed a flashlight shining on the water. The ECOs quickly apprehended the violators in possession of a net and a bucket of smelt and issued tickets for taking smelt during the closed season.

Earth Week Trash Cleanup – Franklin County
On April 22, in recognition of Earth Day, ECOs Okonuk and Riggs cleaned up a fishing access site on the Salmon River in the town of Constable. The Officers coordinated with town employees to remove multiple bags of garbage and waste tires. To celebrate Earth Week, ECOs participated in similar efforts statewide.

Disposition in Hunting Related Shooting Incident – Franklin County
A man who shot a firearm in Franklin County, sending a bullet into a house, recently pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid a penalty. In November 2020, ECO Okonuk received reports from New York State Police that a house on Cold Springs Road in the town of Bombay had been struck by a bullet that passed through several walls before stopping in a closet. A witness reported seeing hunters in the area on the day of the shooting, but could not identify the individuals. Officer Okonuk patrolled the area and conducted multiple interviews before a suspect was identified. The ECO questioned the accused shooter who explained that he shot at a deer and unintentionally hit the house. The hunter was arrested a few months later. After his guilty plea, the subject paid more than $5,000 in restitution to the landowner for damages to the house. ECOs will also revoke his hunting license.

Related Stories

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.

13 Responses

  1. Nathan says:

    Cracking down??? ECO’s are doing their jobs and enforcing fishing regulations, and maybe add a great article about how critically short NYS is on ECO’s and that it is almost impossible to get a ticket for illegally fishing. Or how ECO’s are so poorly paid, pensioned, or positions filled and Huckle is responsible for perpetuating the issue.
    Counties in the northern NY are lucky if there are over 2 ECO’s per county. I can fish the Hudson river or Boreaus river in Newcomb ny to Minerva from dawn to dusk for weeks and NEVER SEE an ECO. i have never been asked for a license on the Boreaus river in 40 years unless at boreaus river bridge from hudson to Newcomb and that was only once 25 years ago. but i sure do see a lot of people fishing and tossing garbage around, but cant even use cell to call ECO.

    • Doug Kroeger says:

      I agree. A couple of years ago I read about the acres of coverage per ECO. I don’t remember the figure, but I did think about how unlikely one would be to get caught, especially in a remote area.

    • Dana says:

      As long as Seggos keeps telling the governor manning is fine, I can’t fault her for that.

      • Nathan says:

        Our dear governer refused to sign a bill giving NCO’s the retirement benefits that all other police in NYS get. NCO’s have the most physically demanding job, hiking 10 miles in a storm to rescue lost hikers, getting injured person off a mountain by carrying them. They protect people in the most remote areas in the worst conditions, but are the poorest benefits deptartment. they don’t get the 20 year retirement, and many get injured at work and yet the car jockey police have it better! unfair and Governer should be ashamed!!!!!
        will not vote for her, another governer who caters to NYc and ignored the state too much and questionable business deals.

        • Mike says:

          Redistricting and NYC voters will keep her in the office for a long time.

          • Dana says:

            Perhaps. All we can do is vote as if the Park is on the line. Press ANY candidates for their DETAILED plans on the Park, the APA, DEC, and Rangers. Then see if the winner actually follows through.

          • Brian Joseph says:

            Redistricting? The state lines are going to be moved?

        • Boreas says:

          Gov. Hochul didn’t say the benefits package wasn’t warranted, she stated that she felt it should be negotiated with the union via contract, not simply legislated. For instance, is it better for ECOs/Rangers to get an earlier-out option, or is it better to have reduced overtime and less stress with more staffing? If you make it more expensive to add staffing, is that a plus or a minus? Are benefits as important to their workforce MORE important than the ability to perform their job more effectively by patrolling a smaller area with less overtime? To me, this is something the union is better at negotiating than the bill that was offered.

          Sure, we would all like better benefits, but if it ultimately results in fewer staff and more overtime/stress, is it a good thing? IMO, I think ECOs/Rangers would place staffing numbers above retirement benefits, but would likely take a little of both.

          But I certainly can’t speak for Rangers. I just recall Ranger Scott van Laer’s posts were mainly focused on staffing, not retirement benefits. Here is an old article for example:

          Unfortunately, not much has changed under Commissioner Seggos.

          • nathan says:

            not having benefits on pare with all the enforcements make the positions harder to fill as most people will goto better benefits as a career choice, rather than lesser. need much more officers but enhancing or at least equalizing benefits will make positons fill faster.

  2. Doug Kroeger says:

    Thank you ECOs!

    It is important that we outdoorsmen conform to all the applicable laws. The laws are there for a reason. Even if we don’t understand the purpose of the law or don’t like the law, we must comply. There are too many people that don’t understand our passion and many of them would be more than happy to stop us.

    I hunt, fish and trap and always adhere to the law.

  3. nathan says:

    Thank you ECO’s. Support and hopefully one day proper benefits and way more staff. It is unfair how over worked and understaffed, yet criticized and underappreciated. Yell out to retired ECO”S Terry Chase and Chet Boyd

  4. Keith says:

    ECO’s have a difficult job.
    DEC is in need of a serious top down overhaul that sets priorities where they belong.

    After reading the NYS Comptrollers Report on DEC’s poor administration of the Fisher Act tax exemptions under their jurisdiction. Potentially costing NYS taxpayers millions of dollars in fraudulent tax exemptions.
    DEC’s acknowledgement and attributing it to staffing shortages but then expecting ECO’s to enforce license violations is absurd.

    Set an example at the top that all forest preserve violations deserve enforcement. Executives in their Albany offices need to be effective in this effort and not just focus on the lowest level violators.

    Reform an ineffective DEC or shut it down.

  5. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Increments are better than nothing, and it sure was good to read the above. Manpower is never going to be what it should be what with rising expenses for every last thing, and also the expanding lists of priorities. Just imagine if there were no taxes at all! Or, as one school seems to support…less government. Where would the money to support such efforts & manpower come from then? The rich? I have my doubts! At the very least…the New York ECO’s are out there doing their jobs. You don’t get that everywhere!

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