DEC police

New York environmental conservation officers recently apprehended an individual for shooting a deer and bear over bait from the same tree stand. Although this type of work is typical for ECOs, this fall they've also been assigned to patrols enforcing littler laws in the New York City subway system.


Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered state environmental conservation officers to a littering enforcement detail in the New York City subway system. The governor was concerned with the amount of littering in the subway system and, unsatisfied with the effort of city officials and law enforcement, decided to take it upon himself to abate the problem and assigned ECOs to a litter enforcement detail in the subways.

Officers from across the state are being assigned to weekly details in the city subways system. One supervisor and three ECOs work in plain clothes with two or three Mass Transit Authority personnel. This detail began around Columbus Day weekend and continues with no cut-off date scheduled at this time.  It is considered a state detail and the city is not reimbursing the state.

This time of year the public would expect ECOs to be focused on enforcing the fish and wildlife laws of the state. Unfortunately, this year their efforts are being diverted to the littering detail in the city. TheECO force has vacancies and is not at full strength.

There were a couple of alternatives that could have been considered before pulling ECOs from their patrol areas. First, how about hiring private security to increase litter enforcement? Or, if peace officers were wanted, how about using the provisions in the General Municipal Law to appoint special patrol officers? The sheriffs in New York state use that law to hire retired police, corrections or probation officers to handle special patrols and events, such as navigation patrol. It would be less expensive to hire retirees. If the retirees were from the city, they would be more familiar with the city and subway system. This would allow our ECOs to concentrate on enforcing our fish and wildlife laws and regulations in their assigned sectors across the state.


There is plenty of time to harvest a deer during the remainder of the firearm, late archery and muzzle loader season. To be successful during the late season, you may have to change your techniques and strategies. Experienced deer hunters know what has to be done to hunt the late season and some of their tips and recommendations follow.

There are three primary things that influence deer movement: food, mating and forced movement from other hunters. Food is one of the most important factors to consider when hunting the late season. Mating could be a factor during the second rut. During the late season hunting pressure and deer movement caused by hunters should be at a minimum.

Locate a food source: To survive and stay healthy during the colder weather deer are required to feed and keep their bellies full. They have to feed during the daylight so it is important to locate a good source of food where the deer are actively feeding. It could be corn or soybeans that have not been harvested. It could also be an area where you found a good mast crop earlier in the season or an abandoned apple orchard. When hunting that food source, do not let the deer see you. If they do, they could move to another location to feed.

Hunt the second rut: Does that were not bred during the first rut re-enter estrus approximately 28 days after the peak of the primary rut. You will not see the frantic chasing activity that occurred during the first rut. However, when that second rut does occur try to find a “hot” doe and keep her under observation in case a buck shows up. You can identify a doe in heat by the red droplets of blood it leaves on the snow when it urinates.

Bring your calls: Whether or not there is a second rut, don’t forget to bring your calls with you during the late season. Bucks and does will respond to calls. Fawn distress or doe estrus calls are recommended contact calls and worth trying, even if only to stop a buck moving. If it is freezing weather, bring a can call which will resist freezing up.

Put out a decoy: Experts say that putting out a standing or bedding doe decoy is worth trying. Both buck and does will be least weary when approaching your setup if they see another deer. Make sure you put the decoy in a location that if another hunter takes a shot at it, you are not in the line of fire.

Keep the noise to a minimum: Experienced deer hunters will tell you that deer pattern hunters by sound, sight and scent. Don’t drive your ATV within a half mile of your blind or stand. Give yourself extra time to walk in to your stand or blind. Don’t let the deer know they are being hunted.

Look for fresh tracks: It is important to know the difference between old and new deer tracks. Experienced hunters recommend comparing deer tracks with your own for such things as definition and, if in snow, melting, as a gauge to judging the ages of tracks.

Take notice of the wind: Never hunt from a blind or stand when the wind is blowing to the food source or bedding area you are hunting. Most veteran deer hunters will tell you that if the wind is blowing from your stand or blind to the food source or the bedding area you are hunting, move to another stand or blind. If you do not have other blinds or stands up to hunt that food source, move to another food source or bedding with blinds or stands in the right location. High winds are one of the most difficult conditions to hunt. Deer movement is largely dependent on its ability to detect predators and high wind hinders that ability. In one study on wind speed, deer movement reduced by 50 percent when the wind speed exceeded 11 mph. Only 7 percent of very large bucks were spotted during a five-year period when wind speeds exceeded 15 mph. The researcher doing the study concluded “that when wind speeds hit 20 mph, stay home.” However, there may be no better time to stalk a deer that is bedding than during high winds.

Keep tabs on the moon: When the temperature drops during the late season and there is a full moon, deer will often feed during the night. They will usually head for bedding areas at first light and bed down until late afternoon. During cold weather and dark of the moon, deer are more active after first light in the morning.

Hunt going to and from blind or stand: Do not rush to get to your stand or blind. Slow down and still hunt to and from your blind or stand. Take a route that is downwind of your blind or stand, or of the area where you believe the deer are bedding. Stop, look and use your binoculars as you slowly move to your blind or stand. Do the same when you return to your vehicle.

Consider modifying your hunting time: There are times that warrant getting to your stand or blind before first light, but there are other times you may have better chances heading to your stand or blind after first light. This is especially true if you are still hunting to your hunting area. You need enough light to see and shoot any deer you intercept. You also have to make sure you shoot the deer during legal hunting hours. Experienced deer hunters also recommend hunting food sources during the afternoon to avoid spooking them when you try to hunt in the morning.

Scrape the tree bark: Some hunters say that scraping a stick against a sapling or tree bark to simulate a buck polishing its antlers works to attract a buck even during the late season. Bucks are naturally attracted to the noise of another buck and will check out the scraping noise you make.

If you jump a deer, sit tight: Those deer hunters experienced in stalking deer say that once they jump a buck, they sit down and wait about 30 minutes. Don’t think that the best chance you have to take that deer is the first time you see it. It is most often the second time. A half hour after being jumped, the buck will relax again. It will probably be standing making finding him again much easier. As long as you can wait, then slowly go after the deer and not push it, the deer is likely to settle down. Stay on his track and scan ahead.

Mini drives: If there are three of you hunting together and you are not in the mood to sit hours in a tree stand or blind anymore, you could consider doing some “soft pushes” in small brush lots, woods or other small areas of cover. Two hunters still hunting through these small areas towards a third hunter can be a very successful late season tactic.

Don’t give up and hunt every opportunity you have during the late season. Keep it up until you fill you tags or the season ends. These tips from experienced deer hunters may help you succeed during the late deer season.