Thursday, October 27, 2022

ADK Park: Recent Environmental Conservation Police News

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Division of Law Enforcement enforces the 71 chapters of New York State’s Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York. In 1880, the first eight Game Protectors proudly began serving to protect the natural resources and people of New York State.

In 2021, 282 Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and Investigators across the state responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases that resulted in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to solid waste dumping, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.

Plane Crash – Fulton County
On Oct. 9, ECO Pasciak responded along with first responders to a small plane crash on the Great Sacandaga Lake in the town of Northampton. Fortunately, the pilot and two passengers survived the crash, and only one passenger required medical attention. The pilot advised that a crosswind caused the plane to crash and flip upside down, just slightly above water during an attempted takeoff from a sandbar.

The Fulton County Emergency Management Director, Northville Fire Department, New York State Police, Fulton County Sherriff’s Deputies, local EMS, and employees from Thompson’s Marina also responded to the crash to assist. Officer Pasciak notified DEC Spill Response Staff to investigate any potential fuel or petroleum spills from the incident before providing the pilot with a courtesy ride home. The plane was safely removed, no fuel oil was spilled, and the investigation continues.

Small plane crash on Great Sacandaga Lake. DEC photo.

Illegal Deer Take – Hamilton County
On Oct. 3, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office received a call about a deer shot in the road in the town of Wells. Deputy O’Conner responded and requested ECO assistance. ECO Newell arrived and determined someone had shot the deer with an arrow from ground level. The blood trail led to a nearby home, but the homeowner claimed he didn’t hear or see anything. The Officers continued searching for additional evidence and found the blood trail ended in an area with pumpkins scattered on the ground. ECO Newell confronted the homeowner once more and he admitted to shooting the deer with his bow. The hunter did not have a hunting license at the time the deer was shot. Officer Newell charged the subject with the illegal take of a deer, hunting with the aid of bait, and hunting without a hunting license. ECO Newell donated the deer to the venison donation program.

Illegal deer taken in Hamilton County. DEC photo.


Burning Garbage -Saratoga County
On Oct. 6, ECO Doroski responded to complaints about a homeowner burning something that emitted an awful smell in the town of Galway. The ECO arrived at the location and observed a large fire with various items burning, including metals, plastics, and household garbage. Officer Doroski questioned the homeowner and learned that walls from a recreational camper and additional items from the homeowner’s basement had been added to the fire. The ECO explained New York’s burning regulations and proper disposal of solid waste and unwanted items. After extinguishing the fire, Officer Doroski issued tickets to the homeowner for unlawful disposal of solid waste and open burning of prohibited material.

Camper walls, garbage, and household items illegally burned. DEC photo.

Lost Dog Rescued – Saratoga County
On Oct. 7, while patrolling at Daketown State Forest in the town of Greenfield, ECO Doroski observed a dog roaming around without its owner. The ECO persuaded the pup to come closer and made a temporary leash until he could locate the owner. A short time later, the owner appeared and was reunited with his dog. The owner said he was hunting afield earlier that morning when the dog broke free and ran off.

Lost dog waits patiently for its owner at Daketown State Forest. DEC photo.

Duck Thief Caught – Saratoga County
On Oct. 9, ECO Shaw received a call from the City of Saratoga Springs Police Department about an individual caught on camera taking two ducks from Congress Park, a longtime home for ducks during the warm weather months. Saratoga Police passed along the suspect’s vehicle description and plate number from the camera footage, allowing Officer Shaw to quickly locate and speak to the individual. When asked why he took the ducks, the man responded quickly that he did his research and found nothing that said he couldn’t take them. Officer Shaw corrected him on Environmental Conservation Laws regarding wildlife and directed the subject to release the ducks back to Congress Park unharmed. The ECO issued the man two tickets for unlawfully taking and possessing protected wildlife.

Illegal Deer Take at Apartment Complex – Essex County
On Oct. 11, ECO Buffa received a complaint about an individual unlawfully hunting over bait behind an apartment complex in the town of Wilmington. The complainant advised the hunter took a seven-point buck and a doe on the morning of Oct. 1, and an eight-point buck the week before. Other witnesses reported seeing the individual shooting a crossbow from the breezeway of the apartment complex and loading the deer into his truck. ECOs Buffa and Favreau responded, but the suspect was not home at the time of the call. With no information on his whereabouts, DEC Dispatcher McCasland pulled up some associated addresses to assist in finding him. After a short time, ECO Fadden located the hunter in a neighboring county. The Officers met and interviewed the suspect who admitted to shooting all three deer with a crossbow over bait. He even admitted to shooting the doe in the early morning hours from his bedroom window. ECO Buffa issued 11 tickets to the hunter for illegally taking wildlife, hunting with a crossbow out of season, discharging a crossbow within 250 feet of a residence, hunting with the aid of bait, and improperly tagging deer. ECO Favreau also ticketed an individual who lent the hunter his tag. All three deer were seized and donated to the Venison Donation Coalition to help feed needy families in New York.

ECO Buffa with illegally taken deer in Essex County. DEC photo.

New York Youth Hunts Underway – Multiple Counties
Over the past few months, ECOs have assisted in several youth hunting events to educate young people about the benefits of hunting and the responsibilities that come with it.

On Sept. 17, in Jefferson County, ECOs hosted the 13th annual Youth Waterfowl Hunt in the North Country. Nine young people joined the Officers hunting ducks. A few days later at the second annual Youth Pheasant Hunt on Ashland Flats Wildlife Management Area, young hunters received assistance from volunteers with trained bird dogs to help with their hunts. ECOs thank local volunteers, the Sackets Harbor Sportsmen’s Club, the National Wild Turkey Foundation, and NYCOA for helping make these hunts successful events. If interested in participating in next year’s sponsored Youth Hunts, please reach out to the DEC Law Enforcement Office in Watertown at 315-785-2231.

Youth waterfowl and pheasant hunts held in Jefferson County. DEC photo.

In St. Lawrence County, ECOs recently partnered with the Massena chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and DEC Wildlife employees to host a youth waterfowl and pheasant hunt at Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area. Sixteen young hunters, ages 12 to 15, participated in the organized hunt. Many successfully harvested ducks and pheasants. Youth waterfowl and pheasant hunts are free to participants thanks to the generosity and donations from NYCOA, St. Lawrence County Sportsmen Federation, Potsdam and Massena Elks clubs, Wal-Mart, Running’s, and Tractor Supply.

Young hunters participate in youth waterfowl and pheasant hunting events in St. Lawrence County. DEC photo.

Youth waterfowl and pheasant hunts held in St. Lawrence County. DEC photo.

To contact an ECO to report an environmental crime or to report an incident, call 1-844-DEC-ECOS for 24-hour dispatch or email (for non-urgent violations).

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

16 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Duck thievery. That’s pretty fowl…

  2. Boreas says:

    So I can be snoozing on a sand bar and a plane can land on me?

  3. Bill Ott says:

    It’s plane to me you should learn to duck.

  4. John M. Glowa, Sr. says:

    When are they going to start enforcing the law to protect wolves?

  5. ADKresident2 says:

    Called them with an illegal dumping complaint. They were worthless. If they can’t find anyone to arrest, the issue is not that exciting and they can’t be bothered.

    • Boreas says:


      Burn permits can be frustrating to obtain as well. I would like to believe it is from under-staffing and not disinterest.

  6. Charlie Stehlin says:

    A deer shot with an arrow! What a horrible way to die, the possible prolonged suffering of that beautiful animal! Us humans sure do have it down pat so far as our killer-instinct nature goes!

    • Tom Paine says:

      Ever see a wolf pack, lion pride, hyena pack, alligator kill an animal? Lots of beautiful animals are killed daily and suffer being eaten alive. Mother nature can be very cruel. I assume your a vegetarian Charlie.

      • Dana says:

        Mother Nature does not use arrows. And not much goes to waste with predators in a normal ecosystem. They hunt to eat and feed their young. We hunt to kill. We may eat the prey if we bother to pick up the carcass, but how often is the meat just trashed after freezer burn has destroyed it?

        The vegetarian allusion is a tired and poor argument. What you are essentially saying is that it is only acceptable for humans to kill animals. If predators kill, it is deemed to be “inhumane”. There is a difference between inhuman and inhumane.

  7. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “When asked why he took the ducks, the man responded quickly that he did his research and found nothing that said he couldn’t take them.”

    He was going to kill them! A real man!

  8. Tom Paine says:

    Illusion. Tired old arguement is what we keep hearing from you. If you want hunting to stop put your money where your mouth is. Tired of paying yearly hunting license fees to Albany for conservation programs while the biggest mouths pay nothing.

    • Dana says:

      How do you jump from criticism of an illegal and wasteful crossbow kill to assuming that critic has an agenda against hunting? You are painting with too wide a brush my friend, and it shows your inability to see nuance – like the difference between allusion and illusion. If you are tired of paying license fees, then stop buying licenses. There are other ways to support conservation than through license purchases, if that is your goal.

      I have bought licenses most of my life, and consider hunting and fishing to be privileges. But I also respect someone’s aversion or repulsion of the sport. It isn’t for everyone.

  9. Daniel Woodward says:

    When there’s no consequences why follow the Law?

  10. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Tom Paine says: “Ever see a wolf pack, lion pride, hyena pack, alligator kill an animal? Lots of beautiful animals are killed daily and suffer being eaten alive. Mother nature can be very cruel. I assume your a vegetarian Charlie.”

    > I eat chicken and turkey but stay away from red meats Tom Paine, which would make me a non-vegetarian, and I do like venison by the way, but to shoot an arrow into a deer! It is a horrible way to kill any animal plain and simple, a horrible way to die. I knew a boy that was shot and killed with an arrow on Long Island when I was growing up, Donald Occhipinti. This occurred way back when a single digit was still attached to my age, but I’ll never forget! Donald and a friend were out sporting one day with their bows & arrows over by the Muncie woods near Babylon. It was illegal to do such but boys will be boys. If I remember correctly, Donald was crouched low behind a downed tree stump when his friend saw his movement there and thought it was a rabbit. Off his arrow went and found its mark in Donald’s head. He lived for about a week I believe with that arrow still in his head, or a partial arrow as I’m sure the surgeons cut most of it off. There was nothing could be done for him. Of course this has nothing to do with shooting deer with an arrow, but it does justify my conviction that getting shot with an arrow is just a horrible way to die.

  11. Charlie Stehlin says:

    Dana says: “There is a difference between inhuman and inhumane.”

    > We raise animals just to kill them Dana, we bring them into this world with the sole purpose of slaughtering them. What does that say about us?

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