ECO Actions for Mid-November
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) enforce the 71 Chapters of NY Environmental Conservation Law (ECL), protecting fish and wildlife and preserving environmental quality across New York.
In 2017, the 301 ECOs across the state responded to 26,400 calls and issued 22,150 tickets for crimes ranging from deer poaching to corporate toxic dumping and illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.
If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred, please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).
"From Montauk Point to Mount Marcy, from Brooklyn to Buffalo, the ECOs patrolling our state are the first line of defense in protecting New York's environment and our natural resources, ensuring that they exist for future generations of New Yorkers," said Commissioner Basil Seggos. "They work long and arduous hours, both deep in our remote wildernesses and in the tight confines of our urban landscapes. Although they don't receive much public fanfare, the work of our ECOs is critical to achieving DEC's mission to protect and enhance our environment."
Recent missions carried out by ECOs include:
Stranded Deer (on Ice) Rescue - Greene County
On Nov. 15, ECO Anthony Glorioso was contacted by a concerned citizen regarding a deer stranded on a rock in the middle of a frozen pond in the town of Jewett. The deer had attempted to leave the island but was unable to swim through the ice and returned to the rock island. ECO Glorioso and the citizen used a rowboat to break a path out to the stranded deer, and as they approached, the deer jumped into the water. From the rowboat, ECO Glorioso used a catch pole to capture and hold the deer while the officer and the man quickly moved the boat back to shore. The deer was released and quickly ran off into the woods in good health.
Deer stranded on a rock
Deer Check in the City - Bronx County
On Nov. 18, ECOs Josh Jarecki, Zach Kochanowski, Dan Plows, Taylor Della Rocco, Ryan Kelley, Ryan Grogan, and Brendan Dickson conducted a multi-agency deer checkpoint led by Lt. Dawn Galvin at the Throgs Neck Bridge in Bronx County. Assisted by Triborough Bridge officials, the Tunnel Authority, and New York Army National Guard, the ECOs checked for compliance with hunting regulations involving the transportation of deer and firearms on the first weekend of the Southern Zone season for deer. During the detail, the ECOs checked more than 70 deer and issued a total of six summonses.
ECO Jarecki checking a deer (left) and ECO Kelley checking tags (right)
Two Bucks in Two Days - Wayne County
On Nov. 18, Lt. Aaron Gordon was driving through the town of Arcadia when he saw two men in a field, one of whom was preparing to field dress a dead deer. When asked where the tag for the deer was, the successful hunter replied that his license and tags were in his other car. ECO Kevin Thomas arrived to help with the investigation, and soon discovered that the hunter had already shot another buck the previous day. This second buck had been shot within 500 feet of a house. In addition, the officers found bait around the subject's tree stand. The ECOs confiscated the deer and issued several tickets returnable to the Town of Arcadia Court.
Don't Drink and Hunt - Sullivan County
On the morning of Nov. 17, the opening day of the Southern Zone big game season, ECOs Tom Koepf and Corey Hornicek, along with New York State Troopers Ken Schafer and Mike Sleyzak, conducted a check of a property with several known baited tree stands. Two hunters were found in the stands that morning and the officers escorted the subjects back to their camp. One of the hunters smelled strongly of alcohol and appeared to lack coordination. Trooper Sleyzak performed field sobriety tests and the hunter failed, registering a .15 percent blood alcohol content level on a preliminary breath test. The officers determined the hunter had also shot a seven-point buck the previous weekend from the baited property with his crossbow. This hunter was charged with hunting while intoxicated and his hunting license was immediately seized for suspension. He was also charged with two counts of hunting deer with the aid of bait and illegally taking protected wildlife. The other hunter was charged with hunting deer with the aid of bait. All of the charges are returnable to the Town of Liberty Court.
Stopping Traffic to Look at Deer in the Field Leads to Much More - Ulster County
On Nov. 17, ECO Jeannette Bastedo was on patrol when she observed a truck stopped in the middle of the road next to a field filled with several deer, including a buck. The truck drove off, turned onto another road, and stopped in the middle of that road. ECO Bastedo pulled the truck over and the driver and his son stated they were just looking at the deer in the fields as they drove home to pick up their ATV to drag out a buck they had just shot at another location. The hunters produced their tags but their regular season buck tags were not filled out. ECO Bastedo told the hunters that she would accompany them to retrieve the deer. Lt. Chris Lattimer and ECO Lucas Palmateer joined her, and the ECOs along with one of the hunters recovered the deer, an 8-point buck. The ECOs found the area was baited with corn and issued tickets for hunting over bait, failing to tag deer as required, and illegal taking of deer. The deer was seized for donation and the charges will be heard in the Town of Shawangunk Court.
ECO Bastedo with illegally taken 8-point buck
One Too Many Bucks - Erie County
On Nov. 17, ECO Tim Machnica and Investigator Ed Piwko were on patrol in the town of Concord when they observed four hunters standing in a driveway around a vehicle. The officers inquired about the success of their morning hunt and determined that one of the hunters had taken not one but two bucks that morning. The man stated that he had thought the second buck was a doe, but it had seven-inch spikes and neither deer was tagged. The hunter was reminded of the need to properly identify a deer before shooting and was issued summonses returnable to the Town of Concord Court for taking deer in excess of the bag limit and failing to tag deer as required. ECO Mark Mazurkiewicz assisted with turning the deer over to a participating venison donation processor.
Loaded Gun on ATV Leads to Illegal Deer - Niagara County
On Nov. 17, ECO Shea Mathis spotted two hunters walking along the railroad tracks in the town of Wheatfield. The two claimed they had a lousy morning hunting and had not taken any deer. ECO Mathis checked their licenses and found their deer tags attached. A third member of the hunting party pulled up on an ATV with a loaded muzzle loader over his shoulder. While issuing a ticket for possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, ECO Mathis was contacted by ECO George Scheer, who had received information that a male had shot two bucks with a muzzle loader that morning in the same area. While ECO Mathis was issuing the ticket, one of the hunters left on the ATV and headed to a residence. ECO Scheer traveled to the location and found the subject. After a brief interview, ECO Scheer located a nine-point and 10-point buck, both untagged, in the back of a pickup truck. One of the hunters admitted to shooting both bucks that morning, just minutes apart. Tickets were issued for possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, taking big game over the limit, and failure to tag deer as required. The second buck was seized as evidence and donated.
ECOs Mathis and Scheer with seized buck
Two Bucks Hanging Raises Suspicions - Fulton County
On Nov. 17, ECOs Paul Pasciak and Shane Manns received a tip of two untagged bucks hanging behind a house in the village of Northville. ECOs Pasciak and Manns arrived at the residence to find the two untagged bucks being butchered by two men. One of the hunters stated that the tags for the deer were inside the house, but after a brief search he could not produce them. Conversations with the second man resulted in conflicting statements about how the deer were taken. After being confronted with the evidence and conflicting statements, the first man admitted to shooting both bucks. Five tickets were issued, and a six-point buck was seized and donated to the venison donation program.
ECOs Pasciak and Manns with seized 6-point buck
If You Don't Want to Hear Your Name in the News, Don't Break the Law - Saratoga County
On Nov. 17, ECOs Robert Higgins and Steve Shaw were on patrol when they observed ATV tracks and blood trails on posted property. Several inches of fresh snow had fallen the previous day and the ECOs knew that the property owner had not given permission for anyone to hunt there. The ECOs followed the blood trail and located evidence of a deer being harvested, along with evidence of a second deer being shot. ECOs Higgins and Shaw followed the ATV tracks up the road a short distance and found additional blood tracks leading behind a nearby residence. The property owner admitted to having two deer hanging in a back shed. The ECOs examined the deer, noticing that one of the tags belonged to the man's father. After a brief interview, the man admitted to shooting both deer on the posted property and shooting a third deer he couldn't locate. The hunter was issued tickets for trespassing, possessing hunting tags of another, failure to properly tag a deer, and taking deer except as permitted by the Fish and Wildlife Law. As the ECOs were leaving, the man stated, "I never thought I would be reading about myself in those conservation law publications." All of the charges are pending in the Town of Galway Court.
ECOs Higgins and Shaw with two deer shot on posted property
Illegal Deer on an ATV - Orange County
On Nov. 18, ECO Jeremy Fadden was contacted by the Village of Monroe Police Department to respond to an illegal hunting situation. Monroe PD received a complaint about a shot fired near an apartment complex in the village and found an individual driving an ATV with a deer on the front. ECO Fadden responded to the scene, along with ECO Will Chomicki, and interviewed the subject. The ECOs returned to the area where the shot was taken and determined that the hunter was within 500 feet of a dwelling and that the deer was taken after legal hunting hours. The hunter was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, possessing a loaded firearm on a motor vehicle, illegal taking of deer, hunting after hours, failure to tag deer as required, and failure to carry a hunting license. The illegal deer, a huge buck, was confiscated as evidence.
Buck seized by ECOs Fadden and Chomicki for multiple hunting offenses