Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ringwood Hunter Admits Illegal Kill

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ringwood Hunter Admits Illegal Kill

Article excerpt

A Ringwood man pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally killing a 450- pound black bear in North Jersey and transporting the carcass over state lines, where he tried to cover up the crime by spreading the bear's entrails in Sterling State Forest in New York to stage a fake kill site.

The hunter, Martin Kaszycki, admitted he had filed false records in New York saying he had slain the bear legally in that state.

Kaszycki, 36, pleaded guilty in federal court in Newark and could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $100,000, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

He was charged with two counts of violating the federal Lacey Act, which prohibits the interstate transport of wildlife taken or possessed in violation of any state law and also prohibits making a false record for wildlife intended to be transported in interstate commerce.

"In complex cases such as this, where the violator has gone through extensive effort to conceal their violations, the added enforcement penalties provided by the Lacey Act serve as a valuable deterrent against those who would make such attempts to hide their crimes," said Mark Chicketano, chief of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife's law enforcement bureau.

Kaszycki killed the bear in a wooded area in West Milford on Oct. 5, 2012, officials said. Had he killed the bear two months later, during New Jersey's week-long annual bear hunt, it would have been legal.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Kaszycki killed the bear from a tree stand and had set bait out for the bear within 300 feet of the stand.

Hunters are allowed to bait for bears, but they are not allowed to shoot them within 300 feet of any bait. Kaszycki also used a bow and arrow to make the kill, another violation of the state's game code.

Kaszycki then drove the bear to New York, where archery hunting was in season. He falsely told a New York weigh station employee that he had killed the bear in New York's Sterling State Forest and the employee then recorded the false information on a New York bear data form, authorities said.

Three days later, Kaszycki drove the bear's hide and skull to a taxidermy shop in Pennsylvania to have it mounted as a trophy display. …

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