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Dead deer

The DEC said Albany County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of someone shooting a rifle from a pickup in the town of Berne. Officials said the passenger said he had shot a buck that had run in front of the truck. The men loaded the deer into the truck bed and drove off, but the deer jumped out.

Two Fort Ann men face numerous charges after a bizarre deer-poaching incident that led to their arrest late last month in rural Albany County, according to police.

The two were linked to three illegally killed deer, as well as one that was shot and didn’t die, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

It was the small buck that didn’t die that led to the alleged poachers’ undoing the night of Nov. 22, the DEC said in a press release.

According to the DEC, one of the men illegally shot a four-point buck from the passenger window of a pickup truck as the deer ran across Hollow Road in the town of Berne that night, and the men retrieved it and placed it in the back of the truck.

But the buck was not dead, and it regained consciousness and bolted from the back of the truck.

The commotion led to a neighbor calling police, and an Albany County sheriff’s deputy found the men in the area looking for the animal, then trying to flee with the back of their pickup truck blood-stained.

State Conservation Officer Brian Canzeri responded to assist the Sheriff’s Office, and the injured deer was located and euthanized.

The DEC said it was determined the men had illegally shot three other deer in the prior days, and the carcasses were located in Berne and confiscated.

Canzeri charged Nathan D. Arno, 25, and Augustus O. Stevens Jr., 31, with:

  • taking deer with the aid of light;
  • shooting within 500 feet of a dwelling;
  • discharging a firearm from a public road;
  • having a loaded gun in a motor vehicle;
  • taking big game by means not specified;
  • taking deer from a motor vehicle.

Both were released after their arrests.

Additional charges were likely, as both men had suspended driver’s licenses and prior criminal arrests that may have precluded them from possessing weapons.

Arno had a history of prior hunting violation charges in Washington County, including arrests for taking deer out of season and with aid of a spotlight in Hartford in 2014, police said. No disposition for those charges was immediately available.

For Arno, the arrest happened five days after he was arrested by Glens Falls Police in connection with the theft and crashing of a van while driving drunk the night of Nov. 17.

He had been released on his own recognizance.

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

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

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