New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) charged two Washington County men with numerous hunting related violations and misdemeanors after discovering a collection of deer heads and hundreds of pounds of venison in their possession, the DEC announced today. The incident stemmed from an anonymous complaint ECOs received on December 30, 2015. ECOs Matthew Krug and Steve Gonyea investigated the complaint on January 1, 2016 when they visited a residence in Greenwich to conduct an interview.
"Every day, DEC's ECOs are on the front lines of protecting wildlife and natural resources by enforcing New York's Environmental Conservation Laws," said Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. "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."
Through their investigation, the ECOs observed eight antlered white-tailed deer heads next to the garage as they walked up to the front door. After being interviewed, Brian Manney, 50, of Greenwich, provided a written statement admitting to shooting all eight bucks with a .308 rifle during the regular big game season. ECOs seized the deer heads and more than 200 pounds of venison. Manney was issued tickets for seven counts each of illegal taking of a deer (a misdemeanor), failure to report taking a deer (a violation) and failure to tag the deer (a violation). Manney plead guilty to all charges in Greenwich Town Court and agreed to a settlement, which included $3,800 in fines.
Further investigation resulted in ECOs charging Manney's friend, Neil Peterson, 49, of Schuylerville, a convicted felon, with criminal possession of a weapon (a misdemeanor), illegal taking of a deer (a misdemeanor) and failure to report taking a deer (a violation). ECOs seized another illegally taken head of an eight point white-tail deer and two muzzleloaders.
Peterson is scheduled to appear before Greenwich Town Court on March 14. He faces penalties of no less than $500 and up to one year in jail for criminal possession of a weapon. He also faces total maximum penalties 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.