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Conservation police arrest deer poachers

Although the autumn hunting season has just opened, the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation police are busy seeking out and catching poachers. The are out in full force patrolling and staking out hunting lands, on vehicle and on foot, undercover and uniformed, DEC police Captain Lawrence Didonato said. Most hunters pursue and take game in a legal manner, he said. However some poachers take game illegally and we will be making every effort to stop them from unfairly killing game at the expense of legitimate sportsman and game populations. Didonato said the DEC officers have already made several arrests for deer jacking, or using artificial light to immobilize them while shooting them. Other offenses the DEC officers have written tickets for include illegally taking an antlerless deer, taking deer during the closed season, taking over the legal limit of deer, and possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle On Oct. 2, Thomas J. White, 53, of Westport was charged by DEC officers with possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. Mr. White was observed attempting to shoot a pheasant from his vehicle. He was issued a summons for this misdemeanor offense and is scheduled to appear in Westport Town Court. The following day, Kevin G. Petrunich, 40, of Williston, Vt., was charged by DEC police with discharging a firearm from a public highway. Mr. Petrunich was observed attempting to shoot a pheasant from his vehicle. He was arraigned in Westport Town Court for this misdemeanor offense and paid $602.50 in fines and restitution. On Oct. 12, 2008, Michael A. Spear, 37, of Elizabethtown was charged by DEC officers with multiple misdemeanors . A complaint was received reporting that someone had shot at a deer from the back of a pickup on Wadham Heights Rd. in the Town of Westport. A DEC officer observed a vehicle matching the description leaving the area with two occupants riding in the bed. The officer stopped the vehicle and interviewed the three.Spear was charged with taking wildlife from a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public highway and having a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. He is to appear in Westport Town Court and is facing fines ranging from $200 to $1000 and/or 90 days jail for each count. Also on Oct. 12, Kevin J. Mulcahy, 49, and John E. Myers, 51, both of Queensbury, were charged by DEC police with misdemeanors of possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, discharging a firearm from a public highway and taking wildlife from a motor vehicle. They are scheduled to appear in the Town of Minerva Town Court later this month. They face possible fines of $200 to $1000 and 90 days in jail for each count. DEC officials request that those who have information regarding potentially illegal hunting activities contact the DEC tip line at 1-800-847-TIPP (7332).

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