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NY - 2 charged after probe of hunting fatality

2 charged after probe of hunting fatality
Men attempted to take deer illegally, DEC says

Friday, March 14, 2008
By Edward Munger Jr. (Contact)
Gazette Reporter

MINDEN — Montgomery County prosecutors are not filing criminal charges in the Nov. 17 death of a Fulton County man shot while hunting with family members in the town of Minden.

But two people in the hunting party were charged with attempting to take antlerless deer following an investigation, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Donald W. Frye, 76, of Caroga Lake, was hit in the hip area with a shotgun round while hunting with a group of six others off Goulds Road.

Authorities described the territory as private property ordinarily used to train beagles to hunt rabbits. Such grounds are typically brush-covered areas with few clearings, authorities said.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department at the time reported deputies responding to a call just after 1:30 p.m. to find crews from the South Minden Fire Department and Mid-County Ambulance Corps performing first aid. Frye was taken to Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities have declined to say who shot Frye.

Montgomery County Undersheriff Jeffery T. Smith said this week the department’s investigation has not resulted in charges in the case.

But an officer from the state Department of Environmental Conservation filed a total of three charges in connection with the investigation, said Rick Georgeson, a spokesman at DEC.

Georgeson said Fred Lewis, 17, of Gloversville, was charged with taking an antlerless deer and attempting to take an antlerless deer.

Michael J. Lewis II, 21, of Gloversville, was charged with attempting to take an antlerless deer, Georgeson said.

Georgeson said during the investigation that Fred Lewis was found to be in possession of a doe without a permit, having killed it in the town of Starkville, Herkimer County.

Both Fred Lewis and Michael J. Lewis II admitted to shooting at a deer even though they were unable to determine whether the deer had antlers while hunting off Goulds Road on the day Frye was killed, Gerogeson said.

Montgomery County District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy sent the case to Herkimer County District Attorney John H. Crandall because Frye was related to one of Conboy’s staff members.

Crandall has not returned repeated calls seeking information since December.

Georgeson said authorities in Herkimer County reviewed the case and declined to file any criminal charges.

Conboy had no comment on the case Thursday.

Fred Lewis’ citations were returnable to Starkville Town Court on April 16 and Minden Town Court on April 10, Georgeson said.

The citation that was filed against Michael J. Lewis II is returnable in Minden Town Court on April 10, Georgeson said.

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