Here is a non-political early-morning photograph taken from the densely 
populated southwest shore of Cayuga Lake 24 October 2015 showing rowers heading 
out from the inlet in a northwest direction past my house for their usual 
morning practice.  The occupants in the boat to the right had set up elaborate 
decoys and camouflage in the dark in front of my house, with the shooting 
direction assumed to be across what would be the path of the rowers (shooting 
pointed away from the neighborhood houses and Treman Park of course).  The 
rowers froze when they saw the hunters, and subsequently the hunters packed up 
their decoys and departed when they saw the rowers.  Visibility was poor, but 
the rowers’ bow light can be seen.

From: "Christopher T. Tessaglia-Hymes" 
Reply-To: "Christopher T. Tessaglia-Hymes" 
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2015 13:46:34 +0000
Cc: Dave Nutter <<>>, Laura 
Stenzler <<>>
Subject: Re: [cayugabirds-l] guns at Stewart Park

Dave, thanks for sharing your encounter with the List, because this potentially 
affects anyone who intends to go birding at Stewart Park or in the nearby 
areas, if this kind of activity is seasonally permitted from such a widely and 
publicly used space.

Does the Cayuga Bird Club have an official position on this and other past 
similar situations at the South shore of Cayuga Lake? As Laura suggested, 
perhaps a letter (from the Cayuga Bird Club) to the City of Ithaca 
representative(s) whose area(s) includes the disputed region, a letter to the 
Mayor, and a discussion placed on the agenda during one of the City 
Administration public meetings, would help clarify the City’s stance on this 
issue and possibly put forth an opportunity for official change in the future?

I believe that we, as birders, are not all blatantly opposed to hunting, but I 
do think there’s a time and place for that sport – Stewart Park, and the South 
end of Cayuga Lake in general, does not seem like the right place at any time.

Chris T-H

On Nov 13, 2015, at 7:54 AM, Laura Stenzler 
<<>> wrote:


It is great that you followed through on all of this! It sounds like an 
intimidating situation, but you did not back down.   I think it would be 
worthwhile to share your experience with your city representative and the 
Major. I just read in the Ithaca Journal this morning that all Ithaca police 
officers are now wearing and using body cameras (as of Nov. 3) which must be 
turned on when they respond to a call.  So there is a good official record of 
what occurred (we hope).

   Good for you!


Laura Stenzler<>

 on behalf of Dave Nutter <<>>
Sent: Thursday, November 12, 2015 11:05 PM
Subject: [cayugabirds-l] guns at Stewart Park

This afternoon I was enjoying Stewart Park - the Cayuga Waterfront Trail, the 
Fuertes Sanctuary (swan pond), the birds on the lake - as I often do. As I 
walked clockwise around the pond and came out from the Fuertes Sanctuary path 
near the lakeshore and toward the park road, I came face to face with 3 guys 
carrying guns and dragging a small boat. I took a couple photos on my phone 
(I've been practicing lately, but they weren't very good) and I told them they 
weren't allowed to have guns in Stewart Park. They said lots of law enforcement 
agencies had been called on them before, which sort of contradicts what they 
also said about me being the only one who has given them a problem, and they 
were told it was okay if the guns weren't loaded. I said the ban was in the 
City Code, and maybe those police hadn't read that part. They were skeptical. 
They said they'd seen guys walk right out and shoot waterfowl from Stewart 
Park. I said I would've tried to stop those guys, too. They didn't want to 
leave, but seemed to think that having police, who had agreed with them before, 
resolve the issue would get me out of their hair. So I called 911 and explained 
the situation. The guys in camo agreed to wait for the cops, although meanwhile 
they did put their guns back in their pick-up trucks. That was nice, since kids 
were arriving next to them for rowing practice at the Cascadilla Boathouse, 
although I think the kids were unaware of what was going on. Also I was pretty 
uncomfortable confronting people with guns while waiting for police (also with 
guns) to tell me I was wrong. The guys asked me if I had been waiting for them. 
I said, no, I was just here a lot. A short while later IPD showed up in the 
form of a friendly woman who was smaller than the smallest of the 3 guys, and a 
lot smaller than the largest, who was considerably bigger than me. She seemed 
inclined to let them proceed, then took my ID info, and said I could leave. I 
didn't say that I had been enjoying the park and intended to continue. Instead 
I said I'd like to stay for the outcome, that I thought guns were banned in 
Stewart Park by the City Code, and if that's the case I'd like to see it 
enforced. She said she had to look it up, then took the guys' IDs, and got back 
in her cruiser to consult her computer monitor. Another IPD officer, a man, 
pulled up, got out, and stood by her window, not talking to me or the gun guys. 
After awhile she came out, gave the guys back their IDs and told them they had 
to go. I didn't hear their whole conversation but she gestured toward the boat 
ramp at Treman and they nodded and said they wouldn't park here anymore, 
although I bet they'll set up within conversational distance of the path around 
Fuertes. She then came over to me and repeatd their story of being told before 
that what they were doing was okay. I think that was my opportunity to insist 
they be ticketed, but I didn't. I thanked the officer for looking up the law, 
but she credited the other officer. After the cops drove off, the leader of the 
guys, the big one, said I had won today, but if this happened again they'd call 
the cops on me for harassing them. I asked, if what happens? No answer to that.

So it has been established, at least among six people, that you are not allowed 
to bring your gun into Stewart Park, not even if you plan to shoot the ducks 
and geese. I wish I had also asked the officers to look up the boundaries of 
Stewart Park in the City Code, because Stewart Park extends north to the City 
Limit, which is a considerable distance out in the lake.

A lot of Buffleheads went about their business.

If you see a maroon Ford pickup 71642 KA or a dark gray Silverado pickup GTL 
7095 parked in Stewart Park while there are gunners in camo standing in the 
water nearby, perhaps with a small boat for their stuff, you can ask IPD to 
talk to them about whterh they brought their guns through the park after being 
told not to.

--Dave Nutter

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Christopher T. Tessaglia-Hymes
Field Applications Engineer
Bioacoustics Research Program, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, New York 14850
W: 607-254-2418<tel:607-254-2418>   M: 607-351-5740<tel:607-351-5740>   F: 

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