by DINA CAPPIELLO, Staff writer
A 26-year-old Fulton County man was arrested Monday for allegedly shooting 159 crows in a restricted area of the Albany Pine Bush Preserve, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation officials.
Burton Frasier of Mayfield allegedly killed the crows with a shotgun in a part of the Pine Bush north of the city’s Rapp Road landfill known as Karner Barrens East. Hikers on Pine Bush trails noticed the crows littering the ground, said Rick Georgeson, a spokesman for DEC Region 4. Environmental Conservation officers also charged Frasier with operating a motor vehicle in the rare, inland pine barren.
Both violations carry maximum $250 fines.
While hunting crows with firearms is permitted in other areas of the Pine Bush during crow-hunting season from Sept. 1 through March 31, only bows and arrows are allowed in the area in which Frasier was apprehended Thursday. That area, because it is near the landfill, also attracts birds.
“If he was in a different part of the Pine Bush, what he did would have been perfectly legal,” said Georgeson.
State wildlife pathologist Ward Stone, who is conducting autopsies on some of the birds, said they were shot over several days. There was also evidence that they were food for other animals, Stone said.
“It’s very poor hunting practice,” Stone said. “When you litter the ground with crows like that, you have scavengers coming around.”
DEC said Frasier was returning to shoot more birds Monday when he was caught. A fellow hunter was not charged with any violations.
A Pine Bush Preserve Commission official expressed concern about the arrest Thursday, saying it was a rare occurrence in the preserve.
“It puts out a bad name for people who are truly sportsmen and following the law,” said Chris Hawver, the executive director.