Garbage fire leads to charge for illegal deer hunting
PITCAIRN — The smell of burning garbage led an environmental conservation officer to a bait pile he said hunters were using to illegally attract deer to shoot.
On Friday, Sept. 28, state Department of Environmental Conservation police officer Scott Atwood was on patrol when he noticed a strong odor that smelled like burning debris coming from behind a camp in the town of Pitcairn, St. Lawrence County.
Atwood saw a fire along an all-terrain vehicle trail as well as bags of corn stacked around the area and in the back of a pickup truck. Atwood followed fresh ATV tracks to the smoldering pile of debris, and then past that to an enclosed and elevated hunting stand. He spotted a hanging feeder and watched as a man exited the stand with a rifle over his shoulder. The man appeared to be tracking an animal, and Atwood approached him.
After a brief conservation, the man admitted to shooting a four-point buck with a crossbow over a pile of corn and apples outside of legal hunting hours.
The deer was recovered, seized and donated to a local community group.
The man was issued six tickets for killing deer except as permitted, hunting deer pursuant to a bow stamp while in possession of a firearm, hunting deer with the aid of bait, taking deer other than during permitted hours, taking deer by a means not specified, and failing to carry his hunting license and tags.
The next day, Atwood returned and spoke with the owner of the property, who admitted to starting the fire. That man was ticketed with unlawful burning of refuse.