ECOs with bear remnants

ECOs unraveled a bear poaching case in Day earlier this fall.

Provided photo

Most of us who have spent a lot of time in the woods have come across what we suspect to be "bait" piles, most of the time designed to attract deer or sometimes bear to waiting hunters. I've come across piles of corn a few times on wood lines, but I've never seen anything as overt as donuts or other stuff some use for bears.

In some states, baiting game is legal. It isn't here in New York, but some do it anyway.

Local conservation officers busted a guy in Saratoga County last month after they determined he baited a bear onto his property. From the state Department of Environmental Conservation:

On Sept. 22, ECOs Steve Shaw, Rob Higgins, and Ryan Kelley investigated a possible illegal bear that was taken in the town of Day. ECOs questioned an individual claiming he had shot the bear in his yard because it was a nuisance. The ECOs located a shooting lane approximately 275 yards from the subject’s deck to some hanging steel targets. Below the targets, the ECOs located a pile of corn covered in blood and black hair. After the ECOs confronted the subject with the evidence, he admitted to shooting the bear over a bait pile. The individual was charged with illegally feeding bears, hunting bear with the aid of a pre-established bait pile, and taking an illegal bear. The bear skull, meat, and gall bladder were seized as evidence and all of the charges are returnable to the Town of Day Court. 

It's unfortunate the DEC doesn't release the names of poachers in these situations. It is public information, and the agency used to release them. No one has explained to me why the practice stopped.

-- Don Lehman


Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on

Load comments