Environmental Conservation Officers in New York charged two Washington County men with multiple counts of poaching and other wildlife related offences.
In a bulletin released by the New York State DEC, the story of two men charged with numerous violations of poaching and other game laws unfolded in the never ending battle on the front lines of conservation law enforcement.
After receiving an anonymous complaint in late December 2015, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs), Matthew Krug and Steve Gonyea began investigating the alleged violations upon a visit to a residence in the town of Greenwich.
During their investigation, the ECOs found eight whitetail deer heads, complete with antlers, on the side of the garage. Upon reaching the residence the officers later discovered some 200 pounds of venison and a man named Brian Manney with a tale to tell.
Manney, 50, of Greenwich was faced with admitting to the deed and in fact provided the ECOs with a written statement of just that. The Greenwich man came clean about shooting all eight bucks with a .308 rifle and was subsequently charged with seven counts each of illegal taking of deer, failing to report taking deer, and failing to tag deer.
The DEC bulletin read that, "Manney plead guilty to all charges in Greenwich Town Court and agreed to a settlement, which included $3,800 in fines," but the investigation didn't stop there.
Schuylerville resident and Manney friend Neil Peterson, a 49-year-old convicted felon, was tracked down by law enforcement and charged in the crime, as well. Peterson was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, illegal taking of a deer, and failing to report a deer.
Along with the charges against the Schuylerville man, the ECOs seized an eight-point buck head and two muzzleloaders. While Manney plead guilty to all the charges and was fined the $3,800, Peterson is now looking at a penalty of $500 and up to one year in jail for criminal possession of a weapon. He also faces a total of up to $750 and one year in jail for illegal taking of deer and up to $250 and seven days in jail for failure to report a deer.
As acting Commissioner Basil Seggos was quoted as saying, "Every day, DEC's ECOs are on the front lines of protecting wildlife and natural resources by enforcing New York's Environmental Conservation Laws. The state's deer hunting laws have been established to promote the health of the deer herd and ensure that all hunters have the opportunity to hunt deer. When not followed appropriately, it has a significant impact on DEC's science based deer management in the state, and I applaud the work of our ECO's to bring these poachers to justice"
Truer words were never spoken for those who spend their lives protecting hunting rights and the laws that guide them. Three cheers to conservation law enforcement officials and those with the guts to take a stand against poaching and report violators!
Editor's note: Officers depicted in cover photo are not those in this story.