Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars - March 15th, 2013
• Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal reports that he will be removing several treestands from various state game lands. The stands, when removed, will be held for 30 days and then destroyed if the owner does not claim them. Hunters are reminded that, on state game lands, overnight placement of portable blinds or stands may not occur sooner than two weeks prior to the opening of the first deer season nor remain later than two weeks after the close of the last deer season within each wildlife management unit.
• Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that he has been working on a case involving several individuals killing deer and selling them. The “commercial” utilization of wildlife can have a huge negative effect on a population. If anyone has any information on poaching in the Union City/Mill Village area over the last few months, please contact the Game Commission.
• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that several citations were recently filed against two individuals for violations that occurred in Lower Burrell Township, Westmoreland County, during the 2B extended antlerless deer season. “The individuals were seen jumping out of a truck and shooting two deer from the roadway with high-powered rifles while within several safety zones. One home was less than 80 yards from where the individuals were shooting multiple rounds at the deer,” he said. Shooting on or across highways, safety zones, and unlawfully taken deer are some of the charges the two individuals are facing.
• Cambria County WCO Shawn Harshaw reports that he has been receiving numerous questions about the Bald Eagle nest at Prince Gallitzin State Park. “The nest blew down over the winter, but the eagles have started rebuilding in February and hopefully will have a successful breeding season. The state park has erected signs concerning the access to the area and will be placing buoys to restrict boaters on the lake after the ice leaves. The buffer zones are to protect the nest during nesting and fledging periods,” he said.
• Indiana County WCO Patrick Snickles reports that a beaver trapper in southern Indiana County accidently caught a river otter in a 330 conibear set. “A sad ending for the otter but this is the third verified occurrence of river otters in Indiana County in two years,” he said.
• Indiana County WCO Patrick Snickles reports having a probable record number of farmers signing up their properties into the deer depredation program (red tag) throughout Indiana County. “With new farm signups and renewals not even yet completed, there are already over 2,000 antlerless deer red tags available for resident hunters wishing to participate in this deer control program,” he said.
• Indiana County WCO Patrick Snickles reports that with the increased use of cable restraints and expanded predator hunting and trapping opportunities, he has been getting complaints from trappers and hunters concerning one another’s actions in the field.
• Indiana County WCO Patrick Snickles reminds all trappers, especially bobcat trappers in particular, no bait of any kind, either natural or artificial, may be used as an attractant while trapping furbearers if it is visible from the air. Hanging feathers, fur and carcasses near by trap sets is illegal. “Visual attractants used by bobcat trappers seem to be gaining in popularity locally,” he said.
• Washington County WCO Richard Joyce reports that during the recent snowfalls there has been an increase in illegal ATV operation on State Game Land 245. “Gas line right-of-ways are only for the use of the gas companies and not open to vehicular travel. Anyone with information on the illegal ATV activities is asked to call the Southwest Regional Office at 724-238-9523.
• Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that recent trends in fur prices have been the highest in almost a decade. “After a recent auction from a leading fur auction house in Canada, fur harvesters were fortunate to have their pelts fetch more money than most trappers can recall in recent times. Prices aren’t near historical highs, but the increase helps. It will also bring those trappers out of retirement whom haven’t trapped in a while.”
• Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that recent illegal activity on several Hunter Access cooperator properties in Derry Township involved actors “turfing” farmer’s fields and parking areas. “The destruction of these properties which are open to the public for hunting and trapping has cost the landowners significant time and resources to fix. Anyone with information on these activities is urged to contact the Southwest Regional Office at 724-238-9523.”
• Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that three Bedford County men were recently found guilty on all charges stemming from a road-hunting incident that occurred during the regular firearms season. The trio shot at an antlered deer from the vehicle while parked on a public roadway. They also were in a safety zone at the time. The men were ordered to pay fines totaling over $2,000.
• Adams County WCO D.J. David reports there were two cases of people hunting waterfowl out of season in January. In one case, four juvenile teenagers were hunting along a creek and in safety zones, while shooting at ducks and geese. Apparently when they discovered they may be doing something illegal, they hid a duck and goose under some boulders beneath a nearby bridge. Additionally, one of the youngsters had never taken the required hunter education course.
• Perry County WCO Steve Hower reports that despite the presence of several signs posted on SGL 107 indicating that a road there was closed to all vehicular traffic, an individual drove on the road and went over a steep bank. With his SUV tilted on a 45- degree angle against a large tree, he now not only faces the charge of ignoring the signs but will no doubt incur an expensive vehicle removal charge as well.
• York County WCO Kyle Jury reports that several individuals in northern York County have been cited for violations of the Executive Order requiring all deer harvested within the established CWD Disease Management Area to be presented for examination within 24 hours of killing during the regular firearms season. Other than these exceptions and with the help of many processors throughout the county, compliance with the CWD Executive Order appeared to be very high.
• Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn recently filed charges on an individual for dumping garbage in a parking lot on SGL 212 and for an individual who gave false statements during an investigation.
• Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny reports a case involving a large 10-point buck that just missed scoring in the Boone and Crocket trophy buck classification by 2 points being taken. Other violations included loaded firearms in vehicles and untagged deer.
• Group 2 LMGS Jonathan S. Zuck reports in February he encountered an ATV on SGL 041 while investigating another incident outside of Woodbury. In addition to illegally operating the ATV on state game lands, the individual also failed to register the machine he was driving. Also DWCO Keith Comer apprehended an individual illegally operating an ATV on SGL 049 near Big Creek Road in January.
• Berks County WCO Dave Brockmeier reports that recently two individuals plead guilty to unlawful possession of a deer during firearms season. “Despite having legal tags in their possession, they chose not to tag the deer,” he said.
• Dauphin County WCO Derek Daly and Lebanon County WCO Michael Reeder were recently present for a summary trial regarding a case involving two individuals who shot a wildlife facsimile (decoy) from a vehicle. The incident took place this past firearms deer season during an operation where officers put out a facsimile after receiving numerous complaints of road hunting from local sportsman. Both individuals were found guilty with fines totaling $2,000.
• Lancaster County WCOs John Veylupek, Dennis Warfel and Greg Graham received a complaint about two injured bald eagles on the ground in the Columbia area. After responding to the scene, it was found that the two eagles had locked talons in the air during their courtship ritual, fallen to the ground through heavy brush, and continued to stay locked together on the ground for over an hour. “Both birds were unharmed, but none too happy about being interrupted,” Veylupek said.
• Lancaster County WCO Dennis Warfel reports that bald eagles are starting the nesting season with many already on the nest for a couple of weeks.
• Lehigh County WCO Kevin Halbfoerster has heard rumors about sightings of fisher within the county for the last two years. “Recently, I was told that a fisher was mistakenly caught in a trap and left was let go,” he said. “I believe that a photo was taken of the furbearer before it was released. I would really like to be able to confirm that one was sighted in the county.”
• Montgomery County WCO Chris Heil reports that two new great blue heron nesting rookeries were discovered in Montgomery County over this past winter. “One rookery has 13 nests and the second has 29,” he said.
• Montgomery County WCO Chris Heil reports that in spite of the more severe penalties aimed at game law violators, the number and severity of violations did not decrease in Montgomery County. “Many illegal deer, safety zone, baiting, hunting in parks, improperly tagging, failing to report big game kills and hunting trespass violations were successfully prosecuted,” he said.
• Environmental Education Specialist Bert Myers observed two sure signs that spring is just around the corner. “Both of these sightings seem to be more reliable than Punxsutawney Phil or other famous groundhog prognosticators,” he said. “The first was a male red-winged blackbird singing to attract a mate and stake out a territory. The second was hearing the call of a killdeer, flying across the meadow located near the Middle Creek Visitor’s Center.