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Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars - October 18th, 2013

Posted on October 24, 2013

NORTHWEST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal reports that there are many baited hunting sites located in the county. Sites located in the special regulations area have focused on baiting for archery bear, where in other areas they have been for archery deer. Both types are under investigation, with prosecutions pending.
• Butler County WCO Chip Brunst reports that DWCO Jeff Smith recently completed a successful investigation into a dumping on State Game Land 95. Smith found a few boxes that had been dumped at a fishing location. The symbols on the boxes were unique, and Smith was able to use these to contact the manufacturer, who said there was only one place in Butler that carried their products. Smith contacted the store and staff there described a vehicle that might have been linked to the dumping. On his way home from the store, Smith observed a truck matching the description and wrote down the license plate number and initiated an investigation. An interview with the suspect resulted in a confession. The defendant had been issued a citation for dumping in the same location a year before.
• Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that a felony theft charge and 19 summary charges have been filed against a lumber company for removing many valuable cherry, oak and maple trees from SGL 45. Penalties, restitution and damage to the trees total more than $30,000.
• Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports a successful prosecution of two individuals involved in shooting a 6-point buck at the end of July. Costs and fines totaled $3,911.50.
• Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports charges have been filed during the early goose season for hunting without a federal duck stamp, multiple counts of hunting during the closed season, taking and attempting to take more than the daily limit of geese, and unlawful possession of ducks.

SOUTHWEST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports three local hunters were found hunting geese out of season. The original call was about hunters in a safety zone. Upon investigation, officers found that they were hunting geese after the close of the season and had shot four geese between the three of them. One of the hunters did not have a migratory game bird license or federal duck stamp. Several other violations were also discovered at the time. All three men will be facing charges including hunting out of season and unlawful taking/possession of geese.
• Cambria County WCO Shawn Harshaw reports two poaching cases, numerous citations and two criminal complaints were filed the last week of September. Also four dead deer were recovered.
• Greene County WCO Michael Greiner said charges have been filed on a West Virginia resident for riding ATVs on areas closed to motorized vehicles near State Game Land 302 outside of West Finley.
• Greene County WCO Michael Greiner reports that citations and warnings have been issued to several individuals using spotlights after 11 p.m.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that three individuals were found driving through an alfalfa field. Local police responded and forwarded the information to Kimmel. Originally, the individuals stated that they had permission to be driving on the fields but were unable to give the name of the person who gave them permission. After conducting interviews with the landowner and the individuals responsible, it was clear that they did not have permission, he said. The person driving the vehicle was cited for driving on fields without permission.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that ATV and off-road activity is present throughout northern Somerset. Multiple individuals have been stopped for riding ATVs on Cooperative Access property. Recently during a night-time patrol effort, Land Management Supervisor Travis Anderson stopped one vehicle traveling on Cooperative Access property and the individual was issued a citation for unlawfully operating a motorized vehicle on lands prohibiting such activity.
• Washington County WCO Richard Joyce reports a man was found guilty of violations on the state game lands. The defendant drove his truck into the wetlands on State Game Land 232 where the vehicle became stuck. The Food and Cover crew discovered the stuck vehicle and reported it. When Joyce arrived, the vehicle was stuck in the wetlands base, buried up to its doors. A local tow company removed the vehicle. The defendant was found guilty at his hearing, fined $200 and ordered to pay $632 for repair to the wetlands base. The defendant also had to pay a hefty tow bill, which also included vehicle-storage charges.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak said citations will be filed against individuals camping with an open fire on Loyalhanna Reservoir property. The investigation resulted in the discovery of an unknown alcoholic beverage in the possession of someone under 21 years.
• Westmoreland County WCO Matt Lucas reports that during a foot patrol on State Game Land 296, he found two groups traveling by ATV or Jeeps. Both groups had multiple violations including failure to have their vehicles registered, failure to wear helmets and possession of alcohol.
• Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports four individuals were recently found to be using controlled substances on State Game Land 42. When officers approached, one defendant threw a hypodermic syringe from the vehicle, while a second individual had a needle still stuck in his arm.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Beaver County Waterways Conservation Officer Jeremy Allen recently received a complaint from the Beaver County Conservation District of an individual intentionally filling in a wetland with dirt and gravel.  The wetland contained several species of aquatic organisms. The individual was charged and plead guilty to the charges.
• Eastern Allegheny Waterways Conservation Officer Mike Walsh investigated a boating accident fatality that occurred on the Youghiogheny River in Westmoreland County. A 58-year-old male drowned after apparently launching his kayak on the Youghiogheny River in North Huntingdon Township in the early afternoon of Oct. 4. A fisherman reportedly found the individual’s capsized kayak, which contained a waterproof container with some personal belongings, floating in the river near the town of Coulter. The individual’s body was recovered and identified near the town of Coulter two days later.
• Eastern Allegheny Waterways Conservation Officer Mike Walsh recently filed BUI charges against an individual who was involved in a boating accident in early August. The individual was operating his powerboat on the Allegheny River when he went over the Highland Park Dam.  Blood analysis results showed the individual’s blood-alcohol level at 0.116 percent.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION

From the Game Commission
• Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs is investigating two deer that were shot in the English Center area over the Sept. 28 weekend. Anyone with information can contact the Northcentral Region Office.
• Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer filed charges against a Kylertown resident for failure to secure the proper permit to possess a sugar glider. Sugar gliders are native to Australia and display similar characteristics to that of a flying squirrel.
• Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston successfully prosecuted an individual for a violation that occurred two years ago. Now-retired WCO Richard Bodenhorn investigated a deer shot at night along Bendigo Road, Johnsonburg, on Aug. 16, 2011, at around 3:45 a.m. Johnsonburg Police and state troopers initially responded to the call after a resident heard the shot. A truck with blood and hair in the bed was located. The deer was discovered tucked behind a garage in an alley a short distance from the truck. After recovering the lab analysis from the state police crime lab, charges were filed. The lab results were not available until after Bodenhorn retired. The fines and costs assessed amounted to more than $2,200.
• Thomas M. Sabolcik, WCO McKean County, reports that a local farmer recently shot and killed a bear for crop damage; everything was above-board and legal. The bear was damaging the farmer’s corn crop and, to boot, the bear was suffering from a severe case of mange. After picking up the bear, Sabolcik ran the ear tag numbers. It turned out that the bear was a 21-year-old female that had been captured and relocated twice, but apparently had returned to the same farm.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION

From the Game Commission
• Franklin County WCO Douglas Barrick charged an individual with purchasing a hunting license without having taken the required hunter safety course.
• Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour said several citations were recently filed on individuals in his district. Charges ranged from spotlighting wildlife after 11 p.m. to spotlighting while in possession of archery equipment and driving motorized vehicles in a closed area.
• Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan is investigating several reports of baited treestands within his district.
• York County WCO Steven Knickel reports that an individual was recently caught with an out-of-season buck that he had shot. The buck was shot in Chester County, tagged, and brought home. He had the deer in the open, since he assumed archery season was open in Pennsylvania as it was in Maryland and New Jersey. The deer was a nice 6-point piebald buck.
• Bedford County WCO Salvadore Zaffuto found a red-tailed hawk around the Hopewell area that was shot with bird shot. The hawk’s feet were also cut off. If you have any information in this case, contact the Southcentral Regional Office at 814-643-1831.

NORTHEAST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reports two individuals were cited and pleaded guilty to operating unlicensed ATVs on state game lands.
• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reports several baited areas have been located in his district. Hunters found hunting in these locations will be cited.
• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reports that an injured osprey was recently discovered in the Cresco area, just north of the Paradise Trout Hatchery. The X-rays of the osprey revealed that it had several pellets lodged in its body and the local wildlife rehabilitators are unsure if the bird will ever fly again. Anyone with information should call the Northeast Regional Office at 570-675-1143.
• Columbia County WCO Rick Deiterich reports receiving complaints of people baiting areas prior to the start of the archery season. In some cases, nothing was substantiated from the information received. Deiterich warns that providing false information, just so an officer will go into an area to ruin a hunt, is illegal and individuals can be prosecuted under the law.
• Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley cited an individual for spotlighting after 11 p.m., near Irish Valley Road. He also investigated several baited areas.
• Lackawanna County WCO Aaron Morrow reports activity on the State Game Land 300 shooting range has increased. Numerous citations and warnings were issued in September with most being for persons lacking a valid hunting license or range permit.
• Monroe County WCO Bryan Mowrer reports citing four people for unlawful use  of ATVs on SGL 38, in Jackson Township.
• Bradford County WCO Jeffery Oleniacz reports Scott F. Cron, of Wysox, was recently sentenced in connection with events that occurred in the Sunfish Pond Area of State Game Land 12 on the opening day of trout season. In a plea agreement with the Bradford County District Attorney’s office, Cron pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses of driving under the influence, fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest and tampering with evidence. Cron’s combined sentences totaled 1½ years of probation and a $1,000 fine.
• Lackawanna County WCO Kevin Moran reports that an individual has been cited for creating and leaving open fires unattended on State Game Land 91. 
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Pike County WCO Robert Plumb investigated a kayaking accident on the Lackawaxen River. Two men had been kayaking during high river flows when both kayaks flipped in the rapids. After passing through the rapids, one of the men was missing. His kayak and personal floatation device were located downstream. The missing man’s body was recovered later down river.
• Bradford County – WCO Chad McKenrick is investigating the release of drilling mud into the Susquehanna River at Homet’s Ferry. While gas workers were drilling under the Susquehanna River, drilling mud had made its way to the surface.
• While on routine patrol along the Susquehanna River, Luzerne County Captain Larry Bundy and Waterways Conservation Officer Aaron Lupacchini stopped to check for fishing licenses and an illegal fire. Because the three individuals did not have identification with them, Lupacchini did a records check on all three and found that the woman in the group had a warrant for her arrest. She was arrested and placed in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
• While checking a fishing license, Wayne County Waterways Conservation Officer David Kaneski found two unknown pills in a female’s fishing license holder. He later discovered that the pills were a prescribed drug, but not prescribed for this person. The investigation continues in conjunction with the Wayne County Detectives Unit.

SOUTHEAST REGION

From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Chester County WCO Robert Bonney apprehended a 50-year-old Downingtown resident on Oct. 4 for taking trout by illegal means in the delayed-harvest, artificial-lures-only area on the east branch of the Brandywine Creek after observing the man take several trout using a six-foot cast net. Bonney filed misdemeanor Fish & Boat Code charges against the defendant for serious unlawful take and taking or possessing by illegal methods, in addition to several summary charges for violations of the rules and regulations that govern fishing in a DHALO area.
• On Sept. 24, a Susquehanna Regional police officer heard a commotion on the Susquehanna River and observed three males in kayaks approaching the shore. Once the three males reached the shore, the police officer approached them and determined all were under the influence of alcohol. The officer contacted Lancaster County WCO Jeff Schmidt, who arrested the three Marietta residents, ages 42, 48 and 53, for boating under the influence. The three men were transported to the Columbia Borough Police Department and each underwent a breath test to determine their blood-alcohol level. The BACs were 0.097, 0.147 and 0.164 percent.