•Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak is investigating a case in which an 8-point buck was shot from a roadway, just after sunset in August.
•Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt reports the bald eagle nest across the Allegheny River from Tionesta was destroyed by lightning. “Tionesta VFD personnel responded after lightning struck the tree splitting it in half and causing the tree, nest and other woody debris to catch fire,” he said. “Five members of the department extinguished the burning nest as it fell to the forest floor. No eagles were known to have been lost in the fire,” Schmidt said.
•Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin reports an underage drinking party was under way on SGL 130 when State Police troopers arrived after responding to calls from the public. “Several party-goers tried to flee the scene, and there were two vehicles that crashed,” he said. “Two local fire departments were called out to extinguish the raging fire, which was started in a large pile of timber and debris at a former log landing. The flames were 20-feet high and covered a 20-foot by 60-foot area. Their bonfire was larger than a mobile home, and risked starting a potentially major wildlife. The individuals involved face multiple charges which will be filed by both State Police and the Game Commission for numerous violations of Titles 18 (Crime Code), 75 (Vehicle Code) and 34 (Game & Wildlife Code).”
•Butler/Lawrence Counties LMGS Jeffery T. Kendall said there was a recent problem with a logging company running its skidder on SGL 95. “The company was contacted and will be cited and have to pay for damages,” he said.
•Mercer/Venango Counties LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli observed ospreys and bald eagles with regularity on SGL 270 and the Shenango River Lake Area. “One morning, while working with Maintenance Supervisor Michael Colgan on SGL 270, we observed an osprey dive within 80 yards to pluck a fish out of the water and fly directly over two bald eagles, which watching intently in a tree,” he said. “The bald eagles opted not to give chase to the osprey this time and let him enjoy his meal.”
•Crawford/Erie Counties LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander said the nesting colony of purple martins at SGL 269 has done well this year. “The martins have now left the colonial nesting grounds and have started to stage for their migration to South America,” he said.
•Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that a number of warnings and citations have been issued at the new pistol range on SGL 203. He reminds range users at the handgun that they are required to have a Game Commission-issued range permit or a valid hunting/furtaker license to use the range. “Each license and permit year ends on June 30, and a new license or range permit is required as of July 1. Also, the handgun range is for handguns only. These and the other range rules are in effect and those found in violation of these rules are subject to the fines and penalties as dictated by the Game and Wildlife Code.”
•Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that a month-long investigation involving over 100 man hours has lead to a successful prosecution of a local contractor. “Deputy WCO Robert Dempsey and I investigated four large shingle/construction debris dumps throughout Derry Township, all on Hunter Access Program properties,” he said. “Through search warrants issued by District Judge Mark Bilik, Deputy WCO Dempsey and I were able link the dump sites together and tract down bank and credit card information that ultimately lead us to the contractor responsible. The man was given the opportunity to clean up the sites and return them to the condition they were in before almost 40 tons of debris was dumped. The contractor chose to make a weak attempt to clean up the debris; leaving the remaining debris to the property owners. The defendant plead guilty to four counts of dumping on lands open to public hunting and was ordered to pay $4,817.21 in fines and penalties, some of which will go to the landowners to help offset the remaining costs of the cleanup.”
•York County WCO Greg Graham’s Deputy WCO force has been busy issuing citations for property violations on Hunter Access Program lands. “Violations include possession of alcoholic beverages, possession of controlled substances, driving on closed roads and fields, and other illegal activities,” he said. “The efforts of our Deputy WCOs help keep these lands open and available to the public for sporting endeavors.”
•York County WCO Greg Graham and Lancaster County WCO Dennis Warfel set a bear trap near Airville early in July, but have not been successful in catching the young bruin responsible for destroying several bird feeders. “This bear has been in the county for a month,” WCO Graham said.
•York County WCO Shawn Musser cited an individual for illegally killing a white-tailed deer. “When questioned, the individual admitted to shooting at the deer, because it was getting into his garden,” he said. “This individual made no attempt to deter the deer in any other way from getting into his garden. There was no fence or any type of scare tactics instituted. He didn’t attempt to just walk towards the deer or make any noise; his first response was to shoot it. This was in a very populated residential area that has children playing in the direction that he shot. The deer made it to a neighbor’s yard and died.” A witness reported the incident.
•Juniata/Mifflin/Perry/Snyder Counties LMGS Steven Bernardi reports someone has been stealing gate locks at SGL 107 in the Painterville area. “Any information leading to the arrest of those responsible would be appreciated and kept confidential,” he said.
•Luzerne County WCO David P. Allen is receiving reports of road-killed deer with their heads cut off. “Anyone with information on this activity is urged to contact the Region Office,” he said.
•Sullivan County WCO Rick Finnegan has been dealing with woodchuck road hunters; illegal activity on state game lands, such as alcohol and ATVs; and unlawful possession of deer, specifically live fawns. Two individuals found to be in possession of live fawns had to pay fines, as they were planning on keeping and raising these fawns, which were taken from the wild, he said. “Most of these cases were turned in by concerned or confidential residents of the community.”
•Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelly reports two individuals pleaded guilty to game law violations. One individual pleaded guilty to littering in Zerbe Township, and the second individual pleaded guilty to having a loaded firearm in the vehicle in Anthony Township, Montour County. Kelly also report an increase in the amount of late spotlighting occurring in the district.
•Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa reports that caring for orphaned wildlife is unlawful and dangerous. “Wildlife found around the home should not be handled, and should be reported to the Game Commission for proper handling,” he said.
•Chester County WCO Scott Frederick, along with other select WCOs from around the state, completed Peer Contact/Critical Incident training in Harrisburg. This training was comprised of several weeks of intensive training for 13 WCOs and two bureau chiefs. “As agency peer contacts, we are another resource to assist agency personnel with an assortment of on the job and off the job challenges/problems,” he said. “We also are prepared to assist with critical incident defusing and debriefings, as in the event of an officer-involved shooting or perhaps a hunting-related shooting incident. We are not counselors or clergy, just fellow officers with some specialized training to help guide those in need.”
•Lancaster County WCO Derek Daly reports that the bald eagle nest near New Holland successfully fledged three young for the second year in a row. “There also are two other eagle nests in the district that were both successful as well,” he said. “There was a pair in West Cocalico Township exhibiting nesting activity this spring but they never nested. A close eye will be kept on the area next year in hopes of a potential fourth nest in the district.”
• Lebanon County WCO Michael Reeder recently filed charges on a Lebanon City man for removing an opossum from the wild and keeping it as a pet. “Wildlife is just that: wild,” he said. “Taking animals from the wild not only can harm the animal, but doing so could cause it to die or be dangerous for the individual keeping the animal.”
•Montgomery County WCO Raymond Madden said, as hunting season approaches, he is beginning to receive more and more information about unlawful activity in the area from concerned citizens and sportsman. “Anyone who has any information about any activity they suspect is unlawful is encouraged to contact the Southeast Region Office at 610-926-3136,” he said. Information from local sportsman is invaluable in helping officers to protect our natural resources.
•Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that crop damage caused by deer seems to have increased this summer.
•Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that Deputy WCO James Hoppes recently was recognized by the Board of Game Commissioners for 40 years of service as a commissioned deputy. “In 1972, Jim started as a deputy under Game Protector Dick Anderson, who is now retired, and remains active today,” he said.
•Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider said dove season is looking great for the opening day. “One of the WCO cadets from the RLSC’s 29th Class will be working with me on the opening day of dove and early goose season,” he said.
•Berks County WCO Matt Teehan said, with the upcoming early goose and dove season, it’s a good time to make sure you have all the required licenses before going afield. “Obviously a hunting license is required, as well as a state migratory game bird license,” he said. “A ‘signed’ federal duck stamp is needed for all those persons 16 years of age and older for hunting geese and other waterfowl. Also, remember to check your shotgun for the proper plug before going afield. Most of all, be safe and respect others property and comply with the laws.”