PA: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 4
Crawford County WCO Mario L. Piccirilli cited an individual for
illegally shooting two deer. “The first deer he didn’t tag at all,
and the second deer he was planning to use a borrowed tag he had in
his vehicle,” he said. His partner also was cited for aiding and
abetting the illegal act. They were apprehended on their way out.
Fines and costs totaled more than $1,800 for the pair, along with a
probable hunting license revocation.
Crawford County WCO Mario L. Piccirilli said a lot of winter birds
are showing up in the Pymatuning area. “The bald eagles are a
regular here at Pymatuning, and put on quite a show in their search
for food,” he said.
Erie County WCO Larry M. Smith welcomes fellow WCO Michael Girosky
to Erie County. Girosky will be taking over the western Erie County
district in mid-February, after having served for 17 years in
Jefferson County, and is returning to his home area.
Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt said many trappers and hunters
took part in this year’s bobcat season. “The first day of the
season, I checked several groups running hounds and curs and also
conducted field checks on several trappers,” he said. “One lucky
hunter even harvested a nice tom. The pressure continued throughout
the three-week season.”
Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin has received reports of dogs
chasing deer in several areas. “Winter weather conditions often
make wildlife more vulnerable to free-roaming dogs, and this is an
unnecessary addition to normal winter stress,” he said. It is
unlawful for dogs to chase big game. Any dogs pursuing deer close
enough to endanger the animal or actually causing injury to deer
may be declared a public nuisance. The dog owners are subject to
prosecution, and fines range from $150 to $300, as well as possible
replacement costs for any big game injured or killed.
Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports many cases have
been adjudicated through the court system. “In all of the cases
heard, penalties could have been avoided if the individuals would
have taken the time to read the digest that is issued when they
purchased their hunting licenses,” he said.
Clarion/Jefferson Counties LMGS George J. Miller reports that Food
and Cover Corps Foreman Gary Maxwell told him that, after checking
duck boxes on SGL 74, the highest wood duck nesting success rate
was noted since the boxes were put in place and the greatest number
of hatched eggs with 10 to 12 successful hatches being the norm.
One box had 16 hatches.
Forest/Warren Counties LMGS Richard T. Cramer reports that his Food
and Cover Corps crews have been checking wood duck boxes. “A couple
of screech owls were found using the boxes as daytime resting
areas,” he said. “One small, gray-phase screech owl had quite the
pile of small rodents in his box as a ready snack at his
Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala said a local resident was found
guilty of unlawfully killing and possessing an antlerless deer
recently. This individual killed an antlerless deer without having
a WMU 2B antlerless deer license this past October. The untagged
deer was found hanging in the man’s garage. Information about this
incident came through the agency’s TIP line earlier that morning.
The individual was fined $400, plus an additional $500 because an
eyewitness report was instrumental in providing information for a
conviction of big game being unlawfully killed. The TIP line caller
is eligible for a cash reward.
Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer charged an Ambridge man with shooting
and killing a white-tailed deer in multiple safety zones and
directly across the street from a school. “The individual came home
one afternoon, saw the deer out back, and shot the deer while
standing in his back yard,” he said. As part of the investigation,
the man was found to have nine antlerless licenses for WMU 2B, two
for WMU 3A and one for WMU 1A. When questioned about the number of
antlerless deer licenses purchased, the man replied that he was
trying to protect some of the deer by purchasing a license.
Citations have been filed with the local district judge.
Westmoreland County WCO Seth Mesoras said the late antlerless
season in WMU 2B draws a crowd of hunters from other areas. “I have
checked people from all over the state and some do not know
anything about the areas where they are hunting,” he said. “If you
plan on hunting in WMU 2B, do your research first and get
permission and find safe hunting locations. The number one
complaint during the late season is people hunting in safety
Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt said low temperatures have had
some areas of the Driftwood branch of the Susquehanna River iced
over causing elk to be trapped on one side or the other. “Those
that are on the south facing slopes are sure to fair better than
their counterparts,” he said. “Normally, this time of year, cold
temperatures and deep snow on the ridge tops drive the elk into the
narrow sheltered valleys of Cameron County.”
Potter County WCO William Ragosta successfully prosecuted a number
of game law case.
Elk County WCO Dick Bodenhorn has been preparing hearing outlines
for upcoming cases. “The good news is that the preparation has
proven successful in getting convictions on all of the cases heard
so far,” he said.
Elk County WCO Dick Bodenhorn said most WCOs are changing gears
from mostly law enforcement to spending more time at various
in-service training and getting set to start trapping and banding
turkeys for the ongoing hen mortality study.
Tioga County WCO Rodney P. Mee successfully investigated a case
involving three individuals in Brookfield Township who took four
illegal deer and attempted to take over the bag limit. The three
individuals were charged with $4,900 in fines and will face several
years of license revocation.
Tioga County WCO Rodney P. Mee successfully prosecuted a baiting
case involving 15 hunters in Brookfield Township. “Several junior
or mentored youth were involved, and there were two deer illegally
killed,” he said. “The bait used was large quantities of a
salt/mineral attractant that was put out close to most of the
hunters’ stands. The judge worked out a deal to have a large rack
given back to the junior hunter who killed the deer in his father’s
bait area in an act of good will toward the child.”
Centre County WCO Christopher J. Deal said many people have voiced
concern that the new penalty package may be “a little heavy handed
for dealing with only hunting violations.” Deal said, “First off,
the new penalties do NOT apply to the vast majority of hunters that
make a simple mistake or have a momentary lapse in judgment.
However, I recently heard about a perfect example of an individual
that this law will apply to. An individual that I and other
officers have had dealings with in Centre County, who has been
charged in the past for multiple illegal deer killings, multiple
times was recently re-arrested in Somerset County for being back at
his old tricks again. In all, this individual can be traced back to
the known illegal killing of dozens of deer and that is just the
deer that were proven to be killed by his hand. This is who the new
laws are focused on. The laws are specific to those that cannot or
will not stop wanton killing.”
Adams, Cumberland, Franklin Counties LMGS Barry Leonard and Food
and Cover Corps crew are working with PennDOT representatives and
engineers on putting in a wetlands area on SGL 169. “This is part
of a mitigation project and will hopefully be completed this
summer,” he said.
York County WCO Michael Reeder investigated several trapping
violations this season. “Most of the incidents involved individuals
not checking their traps in the 36- hour period, while others
included fur theft and traps that were not properly marked,” he
Franklin County WCO Justin Klugh assisted the DCNR Forest Rangers
with a case of people stealing firewood out of the Buchanan State
Snyder County WCO Harold J. Malehorn said two juveniles pleaded
guilty to citations for attempting to kill a deer at night. Five
citations were issued in all, and fines totaled $2,450.
Huntingdon/Blair Counties LMGS Bert Einodshofer said that, in an
effort to reduce invasive species and improve regeneration
potential of native tree and shrub species, forestry staff and land
management staff in Blair and Huntingdon counties have just laid
out a large project on SGL 118 in Huntingdon County. “This project
is aimed to reduce if not eliminate ailanthus and stripped maple
which have taken over a large area and pushed out our native
species,” he said.
York County WCO Chad Eyler and his Deputy WCOs of southwestern York
County are handling cases involving illegal kills of big game in
neighboring states. “Game Commission officers investigate these
illegal takes upon request of the other state or federal officials
in context of federal Lacy Act violations,” he said. Officers also
are involved in investigations regarding damage to state game land
fields and surrounding private lands that are kept open to public
hunting and trapping.
Perry County WCO Steve Hower found a man hunting during the late
muzzleloader season for deer after having already killed his limit.
“As I took his information he said, ‘You know, this isn’t the first
time I ever did this so I have no reason to squawk about getting
caught,'” Hower said.
Huntingdon County WCO Richard O. Danley has been finishing up court
cases from the previous hunting seasons. “So far, all cases have
reached a successful prosecution with game law violators being held
accountable for their actions,” he said.
Huntingdon County WCO Richard O. Danley said the cold weather
limited the amount of area surveyed on Raystown Lake for the annual
eagle survey, as about half the lake was covered in ice for the
Fulton County WCO Kevin L. Mountz and his deputies found that the
most common violation during the deer seasons was the same that
tops the list every year: possession of a loaded firearm in a
vehicle. There were seven cases of possession in a stationary
vehicle and eight cases while the vehicles were moving. In one
case, the actor shot out of the driver’s window at a deer decoy.
There were no hunting-related shooting incidents.
Bedford County WCO Chris Skipper coyote hunting has increased with
the close of the flintlock season. “Coyotes are plentiful and
hunting them is an enjoyable way to pass these long winter
evenings,” he said.
Southcentral Region Field Forester John L. Smith has been seeing a
lot of coyote tracks in the snow on state game lands, but very
little human tracks.
Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny said the most reported offenses
in the district this deer season seemed to be baited area and
road-hunting cases. “Due to the public’s diligence in reporting the
information to the Region Office, we were able to successfully
apprehend several of these individuals,” she said. “One case from
this season is still awaiting the results of DNA testing to be
concluded at the Northwest Wildlife DNA laboratory before any
future measures can be taken.”
Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich still has three ongoing
investigations involving unlawful big game kills in Upper Allen,
South Middleton and Silver Spring townships.
Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich and his deputies have had several
safety zone incidents involving waterfowl hunters in the East
Pennsboro Township portion of the Conodoguinet Creek. “While the
creek offers good waterfowl opportunities for hunters, all are
reminded that it is their responsibility to be aware of their
surroundings, especially in the developed eastern portion of the
county,” he said.
Sullivan/Luzerne/Wyoming Counties LMGS William Williams reports
Alexandra Bolinksi, a student at Greater Nanticoke Area High
School, recently completed a senior project that benefits wildlife.
“Lexi constructed five wood duck nesting boxes and installed them
in suitable habitat on SGL 13 in Sullivan County,” he said. The
project was done in cooperation with members of the Nanticoke
Sportsmen’s Club and the Wyoming Valley Chapter of Ducks
Wayne County WCO Frank J. Dooley reports investigations are ongoing
where several individuals were caught shooting deer from vehicles
on the first Sunday after the close of the 2010 deer season. “The
investigation has revealed the number of individuals involved in
the case is continuing to increase,” he said.
Luzerne County WCO David P. Allen is investigating numerous illegal
trapping situations. “Most violations have involved unlawfully
trapping while using bait visible from the air,” he said. Anyone
with information relating to unlawful activities is urged to
contact their appropriate Region Office.
Luzerne County WCOs Gerald Kapral and Jim Jolley recently confirmed
a new eagle nesting site along the Susquehanna River near Berwick.
“The pair took over a red-tailed hawk nest along a very busy
roadway, which makes me wonder how successful the pair will be at
the site since eagles normally don’t tolerate human disturbance
anywhere near a nest,” Kapral said.
Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral reports that several illegal
snares were set on North Branch Land Trust property in Hanover
Township. The snares were set where animal carcasses were placed as
bait, and none of the snares were tagged as required by law.
“Unfortunately, the trapper was scared off by the land director’s
foot prints at his snares, and the trapper removed the sets before
he could be apprehended,” he said.
Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral and other WCOs are dealing with an
increasing number of unlawful possessions of wildlife incidents.
“Residents should know that the purchase, importation, or
possession of wildlife is tightly regulated by the Game
Commission,” he said. “Anyone who is considering the purchase of
any type of wildlife for pets is urged to contact the agency for
the requirements to lawfully do so.”
Bradford County WCO Andrew Troutman reports that illegal ATV and
snowmobile violations are increasing on state game lands. “Several
riders have been caught and patrols have been stepped up,” he
Montour/Northumberland Counties WCO Rick A. Deiterich said a
Watsontown man, who is facing federal charges for being a felon not
to possess firearms, was found guilty in District Court for
attempting to take deer unlawfully, shooting across a highway and
alighting and shooting within 25 yards of the roadway. “The man was
road hunting for deer along State Route 54 in northern
Northumberland County, when he saw a group of deer in a field,
pulled over and got out to shoot at them,” he said. “An eye witness
stopped and told him not to shoot, and that what he was doing was
illegal. The suspect then used obscenities to the witness and fired
a shot across busy State Route 54 toward the now running deer. The
suspect was a known federal felon and is not allowed to possess
firearms at all, yet he stated he has 30 firearms and claims that
he will keep using them if he wants. The FBI is handling the
Montour/Northumberland Counties WCO Rick A. Deiterich said a
Watsontown man was cited for allowing his 11-year-old to hunt with
a current hunting license during the deer season. “The juvenile
does not turn 12 until May 2011, and is not entitled to use the
hunting license until then, but his father took him hunting with
that license during deer season,” he said. “The father is now
taking a hearing on the charge.”
Bradford County WCO Vernon Perry III is working on a dumping case
where a subject left rubbish on state game lands.
Lackawanna County WCO Mark Rutkowski reports one adult and two
juveniles were apprehended by Dickson City Police for discharging
pellet guns near a borough park on a Sunday afternoon. “The
individuals had killed a squirrel and shot at song birds,” he said.
All were licensed hunters, but none of the three had attended or
passed an HTE course. The possession or sale of pellet guns in
Dickson City is a violation of the borough’s ordinance and were
confiscated by Dickson Police Department. Charges are pending for
the related game law violations.
Berks County WCO Robert Prall reports that on the last day of the
antlerless deer season in WMU 5C, a hunter fired a shot that hit
St. Joseph’s Hospital in Bern Township. “Evidence at the scene
indicates a deer was shot and harvested, probably by the same
hunter who hit the building,” he said. “While the deer was killed
outside the safety zone, the hunter was firing directly at the
building which was in plain view. If anyone has information on any
hunting activity in the area that day, Jan. 29, or specific
information on the incident itself, please call the Southeast
Region Office at (610) 926-3136.”
Dauphin County WCO Mike Doherty reports that unknown persons
sabotaged a treestand in Lower Paxton Township in a manner to
injure anyone using it. “Destroying or damaging a treestand
prepared for hunting is interference with lawful hunting under the
Game Code, and the Lower Paxton Police and Game Commission are
sharing information about this troubling crime,” he said.
Lancaster County WCO John Veylupek is investigating a case in which
four small-game hunters violated a property owner’s safety zone and
then refused to provide the landowner with identification.
Lancaster County WCO Dennis Warfel has not seen very many snow
geese in southern Lancaster County as of yet. “They seem to stay
farther east these last few years,” he said.
Lancaster County WCO Dennis Warfel issued a citation after an
individual decided to shoot at two mallards from a public roadway
on the last day of the duck season. A muzzleloader hunter witnessed
the violation and reported it.
Montgomery County WCO Chris Heil reports that the Norristown Farm
Park regulated antlerless deer hunt was held on Jan. 19, and 35
hunters harvested 63 antlerless deer. Seven deer were donated to
the Hunters Sharing the Harvest Program.
Montgomery County WCO Chris Heil reports that, with the close of
deer season, many charges are being filed and court hearings are
being scheduled for violators of the game law. “Those convicted of
Game Law violations can face stiff fines and license revocation
and, if convicted again within seven years, may face increased
penalties, automatic license revocation and criminal misdemeanor or
felony charges depending on the circumstances,” he said.