Since the start of the regular deer season through the end of the late special muzzleloading season (Nov. 15 through Dec 16, 2014), Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) in Region 9 report a total of 294 hunting-related enforcement actions, in addition to responding to approximately 430 calls for service.
"Enforcing hunting and trapping laws helps to ensure suitable populations of deer, bear and other wildlife in the region and throughout the state," said Regional Environmental Conservation Police Captain Frank Lauricella. "It also ensures that the large majority of law-abiding hunters are provided with fair opportunity to pursue game that these poachers are taking. We appreciate the thousands of hunters who consistently adhere to hunting regulations and guidelines, and who pass on the traditions of safety, responsibility and conservation to the next generation."
Of the 294 charges issued, 89 were classified as misdemeanors and included the illegal taking of deer, discharging firearms within 500 feet of dwellings, shooting across roadways, possessing loaded firearms in vehicles, using spotlights at night to hunt deer, hunting after closed hours and others. These charges carry potential fines of up to $2,000 and up to one year in jail.
Officers also issued tickets for 205 violations including trespassing, hunting over bait, improper tagging, hunting without a license, transport of untagged deer, hunting in the wrong Wildlife Management Unit or in a closed area, and others.
Officers investigated one hunting-related shooting incident (HRSI) involving property damage within Region 9 during this year's big game season; consistent with last year, zero incidents occurred involving personal injury. In addition to responding to a high volume of calls for service throughout the hunting season, ECOs in Region 9 also served a significant role in emergency response efforts during the severe November snowstorm.
Anyone with information about potential illegal hunting practices or other environmental crimes is encouraged to contact DEC's 24-hour dispatch hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267). Region 9 covers Erie, Niagara, Wyoming, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.