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.

hunter harassmentShe 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. Thomas met.

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 Hunter Harassment
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Back to C.A.S.H. Courier Article Archive


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