Opossum-Eating Striper Poacher Busted in New York

There’s a headline I never thought I’d write. 

Environmental Conservation Officers have been busy along the Hudson River this month, as they enforce fishing regulations.

Night Vision Thwarts Illegal Fishing – Westchester County
On March 11 and 12, ECOs Tompkins, Wamsley, and Thibodeau conducted a large-scale striped bass enforcement effort in Westchester County, surveilling multiple areas along the Hudson River. Overnight, ECOs watched as anglers illegally caught fish out of season. Utilizing night vision, the ECOs made contact with anglers claiming they didn’t have any fish. Knowing the individuals were lying, Officers located dozens of striped bass hidden in bags, under rocks, behind logs, and stuffed in exposed root systems of trees. Officers issued 27 tickets to 16 individuals throughout the night and seized 53 striped bass, returning the fish with high likelihood of survival back into the water. Deceased fish were donated to a local zoo.

One of the poachers opted for what I’ll call a “Rockland County Surf n’ Turf,” an out-of-season opossum with a side of illegal striped bass. 

Poached Opossum on the Grill

There’s Something Fishy about That Meat – Orange and Rockland Counties
On March 6, ECOs in Orange and Rockland counties conducted a detail along the Hudson River to stop illicit striped bass activity. Officers issued 36 summonses for charges including fishing without a freshwater fishing license and taking striped bass out of season. In addition to the fishing violations, officers found an individual in possession of an opossum that the subject admitted to shooting in the parking lot and then cooking to eat. ECOs wrote several citations to the individual for the illegal take of the opossum. Raccoons, red and gray fox, skunk, opossum, and weasel are primarily taken for fur during their hunting seasons from Oct. 25 to Feb. 15, but are otherwise protected under New York State Environmental Conservation Law. Opossums are North America’s only native marsupial, and they help with the fight against Lyme disease by eating thousands of deer ticks and reducing the number of ticks that can spread the disease. Fish seized during the detail were returned to the water to continue the spawning season.

 While it’s disheartening to see so many striped bass killed out of season, it’s encouraging to see the regulations being enforced by hard-working conservation officers. 

71 on “Opossum-Eating Striper Poacher Busted in New York

  1. Bob Fleury

    Thanks for covering this story OTW I get aggravated by this and glad to see the CO’S on it

    1. Dan Baker

      Poachers are not punished harshly enough. Thanks for ECOs efforts! What confuses me is why do you need a freshwater license to fish in the Hudson, and I wasn’t aware striped bass could be killed “out of season”. Is there now a season for striped bass?

  2. Hezakiah S Levinson

    Almost be funny if it wasn’t such a waste. People with no respect for the sport or the future almost did in the redfish fishery in Florida when I lived there. They literally had to close all fishing for reds, both commercial and recreational, for almost 5 years, made the use of nets to commercially harvest them illegal and was buying them from fishermen. That was over 23 years ago and even today there is a slot fish size to keep, 19-27 inches.

    1. Sean

      Because they are afraid we’ll go after them and give them a real punishment.

  3. Dennis Kampe

    Nice to see these bums get caught! The majority of anglers follow the rules and regulations but there are always a few who think the rules don’t apply to them.

    1. Cornelieus

      All anglers 16yrs and older are required to register for saltwater fishing or purchase a license for freshwater fishing in New York State. You need to register before saltwater fishing. It’s easy and it’s FREE for NYS residents and all visitors. To fish our local lakes and ponds, a Freshwater License is required.

    2. John R

      Just like politician who think the laws do not pertain to them, especially when they get caught doing something wrong or with their hand in the cookie jar !!

  4. Robert Pazdan

    Great job guys , I HOPE you get EVERY one of those ILLEGAL poachers , and give them what’s due .

  5. Ken Grady

    Would like to see follow up on the sentence these poachers receive ,will they keep there fishing license. Also I think 50% of fine should go into fund for overtime so that these officers can keep doing the great job there doing thurout the spawning season

  6. Ken Grady

    Another thought ,let’s post the names of these poachers,let everyone know in Hudson Area who they are

  7. Felix Miranda

    There Has to be someway to discourage these poachers. A Fine is just a slap on the wrist, if that even ! It is very likely that They will be back on the water next week doing the same thing.

  8. Raptor

    I see them every day near George’s island fishing for striped bass. It’s sad to see and I know they can’t catch them all it would be nice to see more caught and fined.

    1. John L.

      They sell them. Up here in Massachusetts they catch Carp & sell them to the Viet Namese people. They love Carp. I wouldn’t touch one, they’re dirty bottom feeders

      1. Danny Chanp

        And the fish you catch eat the bottomfeeders? Whats your point?

  9. Chad

    Who needs that many fish? Who are these poachers and what are they doing with the fish? I sense something more than just some recreational fisherman breaking the rules here!

  10. Capt Pete Rosko

    Your dedication, in preventing the raping of our fisheries is most appreciated!

  11. Mark Zimmerman

    Great job by the ECO’s, Guys like that don’t deserve to fish or hunt.

  12. paul segalla

    Wonder why striper have a low count ?People like this Ruin it for everyone, there allready cracking down on the rules soon you won’t be able to fish for them..idiots

  13. Andy

    Confiscate their gear and vehicle, got to make it hurt to send the msg.

  14. fjdietz

    Hopefully these poachers will be held accountable and spend some time in prison. If NYS does a “catch and release” of these criminals, they will only repeat their lawlessness. Lock ’em up!

  15. Tony

    Start giving them suspended drivers license and a few days in the county lock up and up the penalties as they repeat the offenses

  16. Falcon70

    A round of applause to the ECO’s. The only way this stops (or at least slows to a crawl), is by increasing fine and seizing any and all gear associated with taking of under sized and out of season stripers. If the poachers are hit hard, they might think long and hard about doing it again. After all it’s hard to go before a judge and plead ignorance when you are hiding the Bass under rocks, trees, etc.

  17. Rick

    Why don’t you list all the names and addresses of these guys? This way we can at least know who’s among us…

  18. skip

    CONFISCATE all their fishing equipment! …in addition to the FINES. a couple of run-ins like that and you may get their attention.

  19. David

    Publish the photos and names of these criminals! Lock them up for a few days. Make them post bond. Good job to the officers that busted these pigs.

  20. Paul

    These * need to have an ankle monitor on them. There should be legislation to do this. Just because it’s low level crime? Gimme a break. Protesters at capitol are still in jail for far less. Deputize citizens with a facial recognition app. Since when are criminal acts exempt from the privacy acts we enjoy anyway

    1. Jojo

      Ummmm, they tried to overthrow the US government on Jan 6. Bad example.

    2. Dave o

      No comparison, poaching is not treason…..its greed and selfishness.

  21. Paul

    Put an ankle monitor on these clowns. Deputies citizens with a facial recognition app. Do something of substance to deter these hooples

  22. Albert

    Keep up the good work Fines is not enough 5to10years in the slammer give them time to think about it

  23. Wetpaint

    They deserve community service , like water front or roadside clean up!

  24. Charles

    Would be nice if they came to Freeport,LI during crabbing season. They take crab the size of a half dollar. They killed the seasons for anything leagal..

  25. dennis

    I think it is wonderful to see are hardworking under paid encon officers working hard to protect are game laws keep it up and stay safe also it is good to read how many true sportsman support them

  26. Michael

    The poachers will probably get a relative small fine maybe a couple hundred dollars , lose their fishing license for a couple years. Do you think not having a fishing license will stop them from fishing? I think not. They should be forced to pay to replace the fish they took. How much does it cost to hatch, grow, and replace just one adult striper? Multiply that by the number of poached fish, and add a punitive fine on top of that.

  27. Moses Moses

    They arrested Granny from Beverly Hillbillies? What is Jethro going to do?

  28. Declan Wallace

    If these guys don’t need a license to drive in NY then why bother get a fishing license

  29. Daisy

    Complete bull… entire DEC operation waste of taxpayer money… the little people never are the ones really hurting fisheries

  30. John Hood

    Congratulations and sincere thanks to the officers who busted these scumbags. And to Moses Moses, I guess Jethro will just have to tighten his rope belt!

  31. Borderline

    Just saying. If a guy is willing to eat an opossum maybe he needs the meat. I would have to be in bad shape to eat that.

  32. Plano55

    I hope they left the skin on the oppossum , cause that’s the best part when it’s crunchy, along with the tail. GREAT JOB E C Os, lock em up , losers

  33. JC McCashion

    I don’t know those officers seem a little too proud with that big haul of fish….. I think I might be a little embarrassed that’s what I was busy doing

  34. Howard Huffman

    Throw them in jail fine them big-time and take away as much as the state will allow

  35. Tom

    Mark my words you will see this more & more as the year progresses. People are already having a difficult time acquiring food. As prices continue to rise while availability continues to decline. People are going to do what they have to do. Things are going to continually get worse as our great leaders continue to make decisions that hire normal people. We are currently only experiencing the tip of the iceburg.

  36. SJS

    Why is this a headline? Should not these fines be handed out daily? I see all too often, as well as all of us have, people not following any bag limits, seasonal restrictions, or just plain environmental awareness. It is a true pandemic. And nothing. No consequences.
    In my whole lifetime of fishing, which covers half a century, I have been stopped by DEC twice. I have called them on a number of occasions to report a violation in progress, but I’m always told they are short handed.
    Hand out summonses to these outlaws, confiscate their vehicles after a second violation, and with the auction proceeds and fine revenue hire more DEC. And after a third guilty violation, jail time.
    Let’s get serious.

    1. Frank

      Absolutely Correct. The offenders names SHOULD be published as an addition punitive action and a warning to others that their names will be publicly known should they continue to break the law.
      This is done in many states where “Johns” are caught with prostitutes and have their names listed in Newspapers.
      Thishas been found to be an effective deterrent to breaking the law. Do the same here with these people

  37. Richard Vann

    It just baffles the hell out of me that GOD put these creatures to be ate or to eat and we have such ridiculous enforcement of a fish species that obviously like a deer succumbs to others eating them or dying naturally. Millions and millions of strippers out there and they make up an agency to enforce game hunting and fishing when we all know it’s another way for government to make money, nothing to do with really caring about wildlife just the money it generates.

  38. Lou Wodash

    Hey jack asses….. there is a place called Shop Rite, you cheap bastards. No fishing licenses for life, 100 hours community service at a fishery of their choosing and a monetary fine of $250 per fish, payable to the fishery. That should deter any future bs

  39. Rick

    They should lose their fishing license forever and have their gear confiscated. That would discourage others from doing it

  40. Joe

    When you come into this country illegally, why would you think they would obey our laws and regulations.

  41. Kevin

    Bail reform contributes to not publishing the names. NY while purporting to be tough on environmental crimes, hunting, fishing and even crimes involving polluting is decades behind other states. NY does not have trophy restitution laws and the like and the staffing at that the DEC has allocated to law enforcement and the legal division is so few it is laughable…e.g. three officers to patrol 611 square miles of river and woods in just one sector or one regional attorney to handle administrative cases for 9 counties…C’mon man!

  42. Dave

    We need more game wardens out here poachers are everywhere can’t stand them sob’s

  43. Belt

    There is a reason why there is a season. To let them do what they do and make more so we can continue fishing and not extinct them, to never see them again.

  44. gMasta

    Look at those idiots standing to the picture with fish, what a waste – are we actually paying them for this ? That’s the biggest story in fishing world now ? Check yourself

  45. john

    Again, Absolutely Correct after a second violation , Confiscate their gear and vehicles. Sell them at auction and use the funds to hire MORE ECO’s.

    We NEED more of these people to enforce the law and protect our fisheries, ESP on Long Island. I myself have stopped Guys on three occasions from taking short bass. Most times the offenders plead Ignorance of the law and of the English laguage. I made it clear, releaase that fish.

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