Start of turkey season means busy time for ECOs

State environmental conservation officers have been kept busy in Adirondack counties since the start of turkey hunting season, and one officer went shopping for an illegal pelt at the Massena mall.

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Town of Brighton

On the opening day of turkey season, May 1, ECO Jim Cranker was on foot patrol in the town of Brighton when he heard a single shot from a gun.

Cranker investigated and located a man who did not have a turkey permit but insisted he was shooting at a coyote that happened to be following a flock of turkeys. The hunter also said he had no intention of hunting turkeys, despite being in the field shooting near a flock of turkeys at 8 a.m. on opening day of turkey season.

Cranker informed the man that coyote season was over and issued him a ticket for hunting coyotes out of season.

Town of Kingsbury

On Tuesday, May 2, two ECOs responded to a complaint that a man had fired three shots at turkeys and then taken them into the woods. The complainant said the man later exited the woods with no turkeys in hand.

The ECOs responded and located four turkey carcasses, partially field dressed, hidden under some wood, along with shotgun shells. The ECOs followed a trail to a farmhouse, where they were given a list of people who were allowed to hunt on the land.

During an interview with a hunter from Lake George, the man initially denied it was him, but the ECOs found turkey feathers and a bloody pocket knife in the man’s hunting gear. When confronted with this evidence, the man admitted to shooting three times, but he claimed the birds were walking in a line and he didn’t mean to kill so many.

The man was issued tickets for taking over the daily limit, taking over the season limit and failing to tag the turkeys. The man agreed to settle the case and paid $500 in penalties on May 10.

Town of Massena

A retired ECO contacted current ECO Joe Ryan about a full-size gray wolf pelt for sale at a store in the St. Lawrence Centre mall in Massena.

Ryan, dressed in civilian clothes, went to the mall and found out the pelt was being sold for $800. He identified himself as law enforcement, and the owners were cooperative, telling Ryan that they had bought the pelt from an unknown individual.

Ryan issued two tickets, one for the sale of an endangered species and one for possession of protected wildlife. The pelt was seized as evidence and is expected to be used for educational purposes when the court case is complete.

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