ECOs nab illegal hunters and help perform an ice rescue

Here are the 21 ducks taken illegally in Jefferson County in December. (Photo provided — DEC)

Environmental conservation officers, who conduct law enforcement for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, recently nabbed some illegal hunters near Watertown and helped rescue a fisherman who fell through the ice in St. Lawrence County.

These are reports the DEC issued regarding ECOs’ work in December in the North Country:

Jefferson County

On Wednesday, Dec. 7, two ECOs were investigating a complaint of deer carcasses dumped in a stream. ECOs Shea Mathis and Lt. Steven Bartoszewski found the suspect’s car at a local boat launch and decided to wait for him to return to the vehicle.

ECO Shea Mathis posses with an illegally killed buck and four illegally killed buck antlers. (Photo provided — DEC)

After several hours, the suspect and another man returned to the vehicle, where the ECOs found them to be in possession of 21 ducks. The hunters were over their bag limit by 11 ducks and had gone over the daily limit for both mallard and black ducks.

After an interview by the ECOs, the suspect also admitted dumping the deer carcasses. The ducks were seized as evidence.

“Tickets were issued for taking waterfowl over the daily bag limit, possessing the license or tags of another hunter, and failure to properly tag deer,” a release from the DEC said. “The men removed the deer carcasses from the creek the following day.”

Jefferson County

On the night of Dec. 11, an ECO was patrolling in the town of Watertown when he noticed a set of antlers behind the garage of a residence.

ECO Shea Mathis pulled into the driveway, and before the owner could close the garage door, Mathis saw three deer inside.

The homeowner said all three deer were taken legally, but Mathis discovered that two of the three deer were untagged and also found three more sets of fresh antlers. The man said one of the bucks was his but the other two belonged to a friend.

The next day, Mathis interviewed the friend, who admitted to taking three deer without tagging them.

The two men were given a combined eight tickets for “taking of big game in excess of the bag limit, illegally taking deer, failing to tag deer, and possessing a license or tags of another hunter” the DEC said.

St. Lawrence County

On Sunday, Dec. 11, ECO Mike Sherry was on patrol when he heard a 911 call reporting that a man had fallen through the ice on Black Lake.

Sherry was the first first-responder on the scene and was able to don a life vest and get a throw rope to the man. Morristown Fire and Rescue arrived on scene and were able to get the man out of the water. The man was taken to Claxton Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg, where he was treated for hypothermia and released.

The man had been ice fishing with another individual when he fell through the ice.

A local resident who assisted with the rescue said there had been no ice on the bay the day before, but about 2 inches had formed overnight.

“The ice conditions were unsafe at the time of the rescue and placed all of the rescue personnel in danger,” the DEC said in a release.