Actions of some hunters and anglers really make you shake your head and wonder
It never fails. If I receive three e-mails, at least one of those readers wants to know when there will be another "Dumb Outdoor Crooks" column.
The reality is that I have so any potential DOC columns in my files that I could run them non-stop for the next two years and not run out. Here is a sampling from the first weeks of last year’s deer season.
For instance, ECO Tony Rigoli was on patrol in the Town of Windsor when he observed a large antlered deer carcass in the bed of a pickup truck traveling in the opposite direction. Since the "other direction" was coming out of Pennsylvania, the officer quickly turned his vehicle around. Unfortunately the driver of the other vehicle observed the ECO and took off at a high rate of speed.
Unfortunately for that guy, the ECO managed to quickly catch up to the vehicle, and that officer just as quickly conducted a traffic stop. The driver stated he had shot the impressive buck in Pennsylvania and was taking it to his camp in New York to process. However, there were just a few problems for this dodo. The deer carcass was untagged, but this yahoo did have a completed Pennsylvania tag in his possession. But there was an even bigger problem.
ECO Rigoli advised the subject he was in violation of New York's Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) regulations, and would be ticketed. Oh, and the "impressive deer" carcass would be seized on the spot. But Mr. Stupid stated he was not going to relinquish the deer carcass. So the ECO contacted Lt. Kenric Warner, who responded and quickly convinced the subject that the deer was going to be seized pursuant to the regulations, or else.
And there was one other problem for this guy. The officers determined that the subject, a Pennsylvania resident, had procured a resident New York hunting license illegally. So this dodo was ticketed for making a false statement to obtain a New York resident hunting license and for violating the State’s CWD Regulations. The deer was seized, and it was transferred for testing at Cornell University.
It isn’t just hunters that ran far afoul of DEC regulations. ECO Timothy Brown was observing fisherman at the Bayville Bridge in Oyster Bay when he received a tip that two males were illegally fishing on the south side of the bay. The officer found those two yahoos and observed them with the aid of a night vision device as they caught and hid striped bass in a large bag in nearby wetlands.
When he had enough visual evidence the officer approached the individuals, identified himself, obtained their identification and instructed them to take him to the fish. Mr. and Mr. Stupid did as instructed, and the officer seized 17 striped bass ranging in size from 14 to 21 inches. These two guys each received tickets for possession of undersized and over the limit striped bass.
And now for some really unbelievable stupidity.
ECOs Josh Sulkey and Jason Smith were checking hunting camps as part of Southern Zone opening day patrols. While at a camp in the town of Wawarsing, the ECOs noticed bags of feed lying around one of those camps. The ECOs questioned the property owner about the feed, and he took them to a hunter’s tree stand where several piles of feed had been scattered nearby.
Really good investigative techniques were employed, and the ECOs learned that a hunter had taken a deer and a bear that morning from near the baited area. He had already transported the carcasses to a taxidermist.
Folks, if some idiot puts illegal bait out for the illegal hunting of animals it would be reasonable for him to hide the bags of evidence, right? Well, the ECOs located the hunter and, after a brief interview, this Gomer finally admitted to hunting near the bait. The deer and bear carcasses were seized as evidence and the hunter was issued tickets for hunting with the aid of pre-established bait, illegally taking a black bear, and illegally taking a deer.
If you think that moron was stupid, stay tuned because you ain’t seen nothing yet.
ECOs George Scheer and Michael Phelps were on patrol when they responded to a call from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office in the town of Royalton. A complainant claimed someone had stolen a deer he had just shot. The ECOs and a New York State Trooper interviewed the complainant, and he told them he thought a man on an ATV took a doe that he shot.
ECO Phelps and Trooper Blair attempted to locate the man with the ATV while ECO Scheer continued to interview the complainant. This yahoo was in possession of two firearms with ammunition, one shotgun and one rifle. But rifles are not legal for deer hunting in Niagara County. Then, as the interview continued, ECO Scheer discovered the complainant was in possession of a female's hunting license that included four Deer Management Permits (DMPs), and regular season tags.
The complainant stated that they were his girlfriend's tags and then he said that she, "does not hunt anymore."
Say what? The officer also discovered a used crack pipe, used hypodermic needle, and a small white rock suspected of being crack cocaine. Then this moron stated he had smoked crack from the pipe the night before but not that day. The man was charged with possession of a rifle during deer season in a non-rifle zone, possession of a hunting license of another person, unlawfully possessing another person’s DMPs, and various charges for the drugs and paraphernalia. Talk about a special kind of stupid, and he probably votes, too.
There’s room for one more dumb crook. ECO Ricky Wood and his trusty K-9 Deming, working with NY State Trooper Peter Bizjak, responded to a complaint at a hunting camp in Ferndale involving several hunters hunting deer with the aid of bait. One "evasive" hunter tried leading the officers away from a known baited area, but that ploy didn’t work. Then K-9 Deming picked up a scent and quickly located a four-point buck hidden under leaves between a tree stand and a pile of corn.
Now, are you ready for this? While the officers were investigating the complaint, the "evasive" subject emerged from the woods near the camp. He was wearing full camouflage. He claimed that he was only filming his friends, and not hunting himself. ECO Wood, suspecting that there was a firearm hidden in the woods near where the camouflaged yahoo had entered the camp, put K-9 Deming to work in that area. That pup quickly located a firearm hidden in the leaves. The ECO returned to the camp with the gun and the camouflaged yahoo quickly changed his story and admitted to hunting.
And here is a kicker. A final hunter returned to the camp riding on an ATV. And on the back of that machine was some whole-kernel corn, an untagged doe, and a loaded firearm. Oops!
All three hunters were charged with hunting deer with the aid of bait. One subject was charged with hunting without a license. Two were charged with the unlawful taking of protected wildlife for harvesting deer with the aid of bait. And, one hunter was also charged with possessing a loaded firearm in or on a motor vehicle. Now that deserves another Oops!
Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Writer. Contact him at email@example.com.