•Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal said there has been a sharp increase in reported fisher sightings.
•Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt handled two injured birds of prey at the end of August. “The first was an immature bald eagle that was reported by a concerned citizen near Hunter’s Station Golf course just south of Tionesta,” he said. The eagle presently is being rehabilitated at Skye’s Spirit Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center. The second bird was a sharp-shinned hawk that was reported by a Pleasantville resident. The bird had to be euthanized due to a severe compound fracture of its right wing and a broken right leg.
•Jefferson County Roger A. Hartless reports that the new class of WCO cadets are about to hit the field for 10 weeks of on-the-job training.
•Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman recently cited a landowner for illegal trapping. When confronted, the individual said he was trapping fishers in May because he was afraid of getting attacked while he was working in his woodlot. When he was informed that there have not been any reports of fishers attacking anyone, he said he didn’t want to be the first. The defendant was issued a warning and told to stop trapping. But, 17 days later, the trap was still set with fresh bait. He told the judge that he didn’t remove the trap right away, but as soon as he was able. The judge didn’t buy the excuse when there was fresh bait 17 days after the warning and found him guilty.
•Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports a black bear was struck by a motor vehicle on Interstate 79 in Lawrence County on Aug. 14. The male bear had an estimated live weight of 185 pounds,” he said. “Lawrence County historically has not had a notable population of black bears, but sightings and accidental mortality have been on the rise.
•Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports Canada goose season began on Sept. 1. “Hunters 16 years old and older are required to have a general hunting license, Pennsylvania migratory game bird license and a federal duck stamp signed in ink across the face of the stamp,” he said. “Junior hunting license holders 15 years old and younger only need a junior general hunting license and a Pennsylvania migratory game bird license. The September Canada goose season allows hunters to harvest geese 30 minutes past sunset, unlike the regular season when you have to end shooting at sunset for all waterfowl.”
•Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber recently cited three individuals for riding motorized vehicles where they were not permitted. “This is one of the most frequent landowner complaints,” she said.
•Cambria County WCO Seth Mesoras reports on turkey trapping efforts in his district. “Recently we trapped and banded 13 turkeys in southern Cambria County as part of the hen turkey study in the state,” he said. “Of the turkeys banded and released, two were adult females, seven were juvenile females and four were juvenile males,” he said.
•Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin said thanks are due to a concerned individual that provided accurate and detailed information in a timely manner. “I was able to investigate and file charges against a Farmington-area man and his 19-year-old grandson for shooting a white-tailed deer in closed season,” he said. “The deer, a fawn, was shot from Wharton Furnace Road. Had it not been for somebody making the call, this poaching pair would have most likely never been caught.”
•Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin said CHEVRON Corporation assisted in the rescue of a large seven-point buck. “The buck became trapped in a large mud pit at a drilling site,” he said. “After several hours, we able to sedate the deer and lift it out of the pit,” he said. “Before being released he was provided a shower from a water truck, which CHEVRON brought in just for that purpose.”
•Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh said another illegal dumping case was settled along Carpentertown Mine Road in Mount Pleasant Township, Westmoreland County.
•Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh said the first day of dove and goose season produced a good showing of goose hunters. “Two dove hunters were apprehended hunting doves nearly three hours before the legal shooting time for doves,” he said. “The most common violation observed was failure to produce identification. All hunters are reminded to carry a form of identification with them while afield.”
•Indiana County WCO Jack Lucas said the Conemaugh River Flood Control Project, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer property enrolled in our Hunter Access Program near South Blairsville, has a new bicycle trail that recently was completed with efforts from Blairsville Borough. “While patrolling the area, WCO Cadet Nathaniel Kimmel and I stopped a motor vehicle traveling down the trail,” he said. “The person driving asked us why they can’t drive vehicles on it. She further stated that police travel it multiple times a day. As I explained, the need for police patrols was due to public safety of the trail users (hikers and bicyclists), but that the road ultimately wasn’t designed for motor vehicle usage and would quickly destroy the trail system.”
•Washington County WCO Dan Sitler recently filed a citation on an individual for possession of an exotic animal. “The seizure of the monkey and subsequent charges originated from a complaint where a young girl was exposed to the animal at a local public park,” he said.
•Washington County WCO Dan Sitler said hunting pressure on the first day of dove and goose season was good. “We field checked numerous hunters and found one person had over their limit of doves,” he said. Also, a person was cited for possession of marijuana on state game lands and another person was cited for possession of two raccoons at her house. The raccoons were kept in a cage outside but were handled by several individuals. The raccoons tested negative for rabies.
•McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik investigated a report of a “hairy alligator” running across the yard of a local resident. “The report went on to say that the ‘alligator’ had deposited five eggs in a nearby stream,” he said. “Tracks on the bank clearly indicated that the culprit was a river otter. As for the eggs, they came from a turtle’s nest that the otter had raided.”
•McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik successfully prosecuted two individuals for the recent unlawful dumping of trash or debris on lands open to public hunting.
•Centre County WCO Dan Murray reports that charges are pending on two individuals for spotlighting after 11 p.m.
•Elk/McKean Counties LMGS John P. Dzemyan, on Aug. 1, joined Game Commission Biologist Mario Giazzon and Elk County WCO Doty McDowell one evening to document bat use of an old lightly used wooden storage building on SGL 25. “Being inside the old building with dozens of bats flying around your head in near darkness is an experience everyone should try at least once,” Dzemyan said. “It did not bother Mario, who patiently handled a few to gain information. Between 8:30 p.m. and 9:10 p.m., we stood outside the building and counted 241 different bats as the exited the old building and headed out for a night of catching bugs. It’s interesting to note I estimated there were about 50 bats using the building prior to the count, Mario estimated at least 200.”
•Elk County WCO Doty A. McDowell testified in County Court at a suppression hearing regarding a DUI incident he was involved with last fall. “The judge ruled that all evidence would be included in the trial and that the state police trooper and I had reasonable suspicion for the stop,” he said.
•Tioga County WCO Rodney P. Mee investigated several poaching incidents in the Liberty Township area, where the violators shot several deer and left them in the field to rot. “I’m pursuing several leads and hope to in time make successful prosecutions,” he said.
•Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that information obtained from the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline led to several charges being filed against two men in Bedford County. “Two deer were shot at by use of a spotlight the first week of August, with one being killed and transported by the individuals to a campfire party,” he said. Blood and hair evidence, along with a 22-caliber rifle, was found in the suspect’s vehicle during a consent search. Both suspects later gave written statements admitting to multiple violations.
•Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan received a few reports of shots at night, and has an investigation going on in an illegal deer case.
•Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich reports multiple violations are being addressed during patrols of the state game lands shooting ranges. The majority of violations are related to not possessing the proper license/permit, he said. “This regulation has been in effect for more than one year and is being absolutely enforced.”
•Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich concluded an investigation involving the unlawful possession of a monk parakeet. “While they appear harmless, these birds are veracious nesters and can disrupt native wildlife, as well as cause damage to infrastructure when they are present in a wild, non-captive setting,” he said. “That is why they are unlawful to possess in Pennsylvania.”
•Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny recently handled several mange bear calls in the southern end of Huntingdon County. “The callers on these incidents indicated they thought it was a death sentence for the bear once it got mange,” she said. “As a reminder, if caught early, a bear can be treated with very effective results. So, if you see a bear with mange, please notify your local region office so we can attempt to catch that bear and medicate it before it spreads the mange to other bears. Mange is highly contagious amongst other bears and though bears are solitary animals, they pass it greatly during breeding season and a sow can pass it to her cubs.”
•Luzerne County WCO David P. Allen reports an increase in state game lands illegal activity. “Recent citations were issued for target shooting, dumping and ATVs,” he said. “Also, hikers are asked to follow all regulations regarding the display of fluorescent orange. A recent target shooting incident was unnerving to a few people that were hiking.”
•Wayne County WCO Frank J. Dooley said night-time shooting and reports of deer poaching incidents seemed to have started earlier than they normally have in the past. “We are on patrol and working varied schedules and hours to combat the illegal activity,” he said.
•Northumberland WCO Kelley cited an individual in Locust Gap for failure to tag a big game animal. “The individual was hunting on a ‘Red Tag’ farm in Schuylkill County,” he said. “Upon killing any big game animal, hunters must immediately attach the provided tag, regardless of the type of tag. The individual also was cited for failure to report a big game kill from last year. This needs to be done within 10 days after taking the animal. Hunters can report this by Internet, mail or by calling 1-855-724-8681.”
•Sullivan County WCO Rick Finnegan recently filed citations on an individual from Sayre for dumping papers and having a fire on SGL 36 near the Schrader Creek. “This is a really nice area that is being ruined by people throwing trash all along the creek and on SGLs,” he said. A gate had been destroyed as well on SGL 36 off of Deep Hollow Road. Anyone with information is asked to call the Northeast Region Office; all information will remain confidential.
•Pike County WCO Mark Kropa reports that, in the last two weeks of August, 10 citations were filed for violations at the shooting range at SGL183. “The violations were shooting without a valid hunting license or range permit, shooting at targets other than paper targets placed on the back boards, shooting more than three rounds from a rifle and six rounds from a handgun and shooting multiple-projectile ammunition,” he said. Each fine will be $100 to $200.
•Wayne County WCO James P. McCarthy said several incidents involving night-time shooting have been reported. “A large number of incidents have been coming in from the Scott Township area of Lackawanna County,” he said. “Anyone hearing gunfire at night is urged to call 911 to report the activity. Also, anyone who provides information used to prosecute an individual for a big game violation is eligible for a reward of $250 per big game animal killed. The person providing the information also may remain anonymous.”
•Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa said a case from last deer season involving out-of-state suspects has been adjudicated with fines and restitution of more than $22,000 for the unlawful taking of seven antlered white-tailed deer. “This case was the direct result of someone taking the time to make a phone call,” he said.
•Susquehanna County WCO Mike Webb reports numerous does with multiple fawns have been observed throughout the county. “In one area, it appears white-phase deer seem more prevalent,” he said. “These deer attract multiple people who enjoy watching these unique animals.”
•Bradford County WCO Joe Wenzel handled three raccoons that tangled with domestic animals in the past few months in northern Bradford County. “All three were tested by the Department of Agriculture and tested positive for a rabies virus,” he said. “In these cases, contact could have possibly been avoided had a food source, such as dog and cat food, not been available. In one case, a kitchen door was left open at a local bar room.”
•Dauphin County WCO Mike Doherty comments that people sometimes think the Game Commission has no jurisdiction off of state game lands, so they sometimes disregard citations that are issued. “One person dumped a truckload of trash on SGL 246 near Middletown, and hasn’t responded to the citation he was issued,” he said. “Unfortunately, this means the District Court will soon be issuing a warrant for his arrest, and we will be knocking on his door.”
•Lancaster County WCO John Veylupek had a busy month on SGL 156. “I investigated a marijuana-growing operation, an unauthorized film set, unauthorized vehicle usage, disorderly conduct, unlawful camping and littering,” he said.
•Lancaster County WCO Dennis Warfel reports that Deputy WCO Carl Warfel responded to an incident where two woodchuck hunters failed to wear the required orange hat. Citations were filed.
•Berks County Deputy WCO Dan Lynch is investigating the illegal dumping of close to one dozen Canada goose carcasses along Merkel Road in District Township. “If anyone has information, please contact the Southeast Region Office in Reading at 610-926-3136,” he urged.
•Game Commission Environmental Education Specialist Bert Myers is assisting Game Commission Biologist Jack Gilbert with the duck banding program Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. “