The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Summer-Fall 2012 Issue
Another Victim of the Hunter Harassment Law
Yvonne Thomas had been
feeding domestic ducks at a boat launch for approximately four years. On
Dec. 30, 2011, after sunset, she went down to feed the ducks. It was
getting dark. She spotted a boat parked at the boat launch area with
decoys in the water. There was a smell in the air of gunshot, although
hunting season had closed at sunset. She started taking pictures of what
she thought were muskrats. A hunter came walking across the parking lot
carrying a dead duck. Ms. Thomas asked him if he had shot any white
ducks, and he replied that he hadn't. The time date stamp on her camera
would prove that it was after sunset.
She told him that it wasn't legal
to hunt there. He said he had permission from NYSDEC to hunt. Ms. Thomas
continued to take pictures and photographed him picking up his decoys.
When she went home, she called the DEC and was told by a dispatcher in
Albany that hunting was not allowed there, so she gave them the hunter's
truck license plate number.
On Dec. 31, she returned to feed the ducks
and, once again, there were decoys in the water, a boat parked in the
launch area, and trucks and trailers in the parking area. Additionally,
there were other boats out in the water. The ducks come when she calls
them or if they see her van. She thought she heard a gunshot. She blew
her horn so the ducks would not come to her. All of a sudden, a hunter
appeared at the window of her van, screaming and verbally abusing her.
She called the Yates County Sheriff's office and was told to stay there
until a deputy arrived. She told them the man was off the wall and had a
gun, and that she would meet them a mile and a half away in a parking
lot. When the deputy arrived and started taking her statement, she
became the target. He took her statement and together they returned to
the boat launch where another deputy and the NYSDEC officer were with
the hunter. They were there at least four more hours.
The DEC officer
talked to her for approximately five minutes. The hunter's truck was
missing a headlight unit and Ms. Thomas asked that he be ticketed for
that. The deputy responded that he wasn't driving it at that moment.
When the hunter left, one deputy followed him up the road. Ms. Thomas
took pictures of the deputies and the DEC officer with the hunter as
they did their investigation.
Then in Jan., 2012, Ms. Thomas was issued
a ticket for hunter harassment. When the case was finally scheduled, in
testimony, the NYSDEC officer said they did not want to charge her but
the A.D.A. had insisted on it. Thomas's lawyer said she only charged her
as a favor to two police officers. It also was stated that neither
officer had checked to see if the hunter had a license. It was also
shown that hunting season was closed on Dec. 30, when the hunter and Ms.
It was proven that this area is a bait area and it is
unlawful to hunt in a bait area. It was proven by the sign posted at
Severne that you need written permission from the NYSDEC to do anything
other than launch a boat within 100 feet of the exit or entrance ramps
of a boat launch. This includes both on-shore and off-shore ramps. The
hunter testified in court that he and the deputy walked off 100 feet.
Ms. Thomas photographed the deputy measuring the distance. The judge
mailed out his decision, finding Ms. Thomas guilty and fining her $175.
She has filed for an appeal.
Reading the transcripts of the court case,
C.A.S.H. was struck by the line of questioning:
"Are you an animal
lover? Do you think you own the animals?" "Do you object to hunting? Do
the animals sleep at your home?"
These questions were clearly designed
to intimidate and befuddle Ms. Thomas.
Laws are needed to rescind the
unconstitutional hunter harassment statutes!
Go on to
Note to C.A.S.H. from Herman Lenz about
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