Calverton, NY - November 14th, 2013 - Four young men are facing up to $1,700 in fines after New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) police officers discovered evidence of the group capturing two deer fawns and posting pictures of the incidents on Instagram.
"The pursuit and capture of native wildlife is not tolerated in New York State," DEC Regional Director Peter A. Scully said. "Although these young men may have thought their actions were harmless and trivial, serious consequences can occur due to these types of actions. Wildlife can be dangerous and unpredictable, and DEC's environmental conservation offices deserve recognition for their successful pursuit of this case."
On October 31, 2013, DEC environmental conservation officers (ECOs) were provided with two images captured from the online photo sharing site Instagram. Those images provided by an anonymous complainant, depicted young men posing with a live yearling whitetail deer. In both pictures, one man, later identified as George Salzmann, 18, of Calverton, was holding the stressed deer.
On November 01, 2013, several ECOs recognized Salzmann and three friends at a local business in Calverton and questioned them about the deer.
Presented with evidence proving he had been in possession of a live deer, Salzmann eventually admitted he captured two deer. The resulting interview showed Salzmann took custody of that deer along Grumman Boulevard in Calverton.
Salzmann's friends, Conor Lingerfelt, 19, of Jamesport, Joseph Sacchitello, 20, of Riverhead, and Anthony Infantolino, 20, of Wading River, were all involved with the illegal capture of the second deer. The ECOs determined that the subjects had captured the deer out of thrill, using a vehicle to chase down and capture at least one of the deer alongside a fence on Hulse Landing Road.
Tickets were issued for the illegal take and pursuit of protected wildlife -- white tailed deer - and for failing to tag a six point buck deer head that Salzman possessed at his home. All tickets are violations that carry a potential fine of up to $250 each. The young men are to appear at the Town of Riverhead Justice Court on November 27, 2013.
All native species of wildlife are protected under New York State law. The pursuit and capture of any native wildlife is illegal without an appropriate permit. These actions cannot only significantly stress or injure a wild animal, but also may endanger the individual attempting to capture the animal. In addition, certain wildlife are not well suited for life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be transmitted to people.
Individuals who spot illegal activities are encouraged to call DEC's Environmental Conservation Police at (631) 444-0250 during business hours, and 1-877-457-5680 or 1-800-TIPP-DEC at all other times to report suspected illegal activities.