New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) have charged two Potter County, PA, residents and one Steuben County resident in connection with a recent deer poaching incident.
Alex Nadjadi, 23, of Savona, and Jeffery Duell, Jr., 29, and Nathan Karns, 24, of Couldersport, PA, have been charged with a total of 40 misdemeanor offenses stemming from an investigation into the illegal taking of eight deer. The offenses include 38 Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) misdemeanors, one New York Vehicle and Traffic Law misdemeanor, and one Criminal Possession of a Weapon misdemeanor.
“I applaud the work of our ECOs in bringing these criminals to justice,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “Our conservation laws are designed to protect our valuable deer herd, and when poachers like these acts with disregard for the rules that ethical hunters follow, our ECOs will be there to serve justice.”
On Dec. 9, ECO Farrand received a complaint from a resident that reported hearing a gun shot and observing a car repeatedly driving up and down a road in the town of Woodhull. ECO Farrand immediately responded to the complaint and found the complainant had confronted Duell, who had been driving up and down the road. ECO Farrand then located Karns walking down the road.
Duell had dropped Karns off to look for a deer the pair had shot with the use of the vehicle’s headlights, while Duell drove up and down the road looking for a signal from Karns. The signal was never given because Karns saw the complainant confront Duell.
The ECOs investigation determined that eight deer had beenillegally shot after sunset with the aid of a motor vehicle on Saturday, Dec. 8, and Sunday, Dec. 9. Further investigation led to ECOs identifying Nadjadi as a third suspect.
ECOs Farrand, Lomozik, and Baker located the poached deer dispersed in four separate locations: a field in Woodhull, dropped on the roadside in Woodhull, in Nadjadi’s possession, and in a barn in Allegany County.
The three men were charged with multiple misdemeanor offenses.
Karns was arrested for the following 17 misdemeanor offenses and faces up to $41,000 in fines and/or up to 17 years in jail:
- Eight counts of taking a deer with the aid of a motor vehicle (misdemeanor) $2000/misd
- Eight counts of the illegal taking of a deer (misdemeanor) $3000/misd
- Criminal Possession of a Weapon (misdemeanor) $1,000/misd
Duell was ticketed for the following violations and faces up to $40,500 in fines and/or up to 16 years in jail:
- Eight counts of taking a deer with the aid of a motor vehicle (misdemeanor)
- Eight counts of the illegal taking of a deer (misdemeanor)
- One count of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (misdemeanor)
Nadjadi was ticketed for the following violations and faces up to $15,000 in fines and/or up to 6 years in jail:
- Three counts of taking a deer with the aid of a motor vehicle (misdemeanor)
- Three counts of the illegal taking of a deer (misdemeanor)
The charges are answerable in Woodhull Town Court on Jan. 8. The deer were seized as evidence and the meat was donated to a New York State member of the Venison Donation Coalition.
DEC would like to remind all hunters to follow DEC’s Hunting Safety Rules:
- Assume every gun is loaded.
- Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
- Be sure of your target and beyond.
- Do not hunt deer and bear in the dark; big game hunting ends at sunset (link leaves DEC’s website).
- DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
For more information on hunter safety, visithttps://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9186.html