Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – January 4th, 2013

NORTHWEST REGION

•Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless, while conducting a routine field check of a hunter during the first week of rifle deer season, saw a small stamp-sized bag fall from his wallet and onto the ground. The individual picked up the bag and, despite being instructed to hand it over, placed it into his mouth and swallowed it. The individual said the bag contained a prescription drug that was given to him by someone else. The individual was charged for obstructing an investigation, which carries a fine under the Game and Wildlife Code of up to $1,500 and three months in jail.
•Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin reports that a Hempfield Township man faces multiple charges after a neighbor called to report a shot fired in a residential area. A local police officer responded and found an individual with an untagged antlerless deer he shot. The deer was shot about 50 yards from the caller’s home, and was well within the 150 yard safety zone of several nearby homes. The man didn’t have an antlerless deer license. He admitted that he saw this doe and another deer bedded down in the brushy ravine from his house and then went outside with his 30-06 rifle and shot the deer.
•Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber found more hunters illegally using bait this season. “Many made the comment that the larger antlers they were seeing preseason on their trail cameras made them take the risk of getting caught using bait,” she said. “However, most felt it was not worth the risk after being told the fines and penalties.”
•Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber found several “middle-aged” hunters this year who were new to the sport. When asked if they had taken an HTE course most responded they were not aware they had to.

SOUTHWEST REGION

•Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala said a Westmoreland County man is facing charges for shooting a buck from the road. When PGC officers arrived at the individual’s home, he was in the process of field dressing the untagged illegal deer near his residence.
•Armstrong County WCO Gary Toward cited three Butler County individuals for killing a deer at night through the use of a spotlight. While approaching their vehicle to do a traffic stop for late spotlighting, Toward witnessed a passenger, who was still inside the vehicle, shoot an antlerless deer that was standing just off of the roadway. The three occupants were charged with numerous Game Law violations and are facing stiff penalties including the loss of hunting and trapping privileges in Pennsylvania and Wildlife Violator Compact states for several years.
•Armstrong County WCO Gary Toward has filed charges against four men in two separate incidents of road hunting. In both cases, the individuals used a motor vehicle to locate deer and then the passenger got out and shot an antlerless deer while he was still standing on the roadway.  Information provided by concerned witness resulted in successful investigations in both cases.
•Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns is prosecuting four individuals for killing sub-legal bucks and not reporting them.  In all the instances the deer were removed from where they were killed, not tagged and never reported.
•WCO Cadet Jesse Bish, while on assignment with Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns, reports that although rifle deer season was slow this year, violations such as unlawfully taken deer, tagging violations, loaded firearms in vehicles and hunting without a license were encountered.
•WCO Cadet Brian Sheetz, while working on field assignment in Indiana County with WCO Patrick Snickles, said there were numerous citations filed for loaded firearms in vehicles.
•WCO Cadet Brian Sheetz, while working on field assignment in Indiana County with WCO Patrick Snickles, said four individuals were arrested for killing four illegal deer.
•Washington County WCO Chris Bergman said some of the violations he encountered or investigated in Fayette and Washington counties consisted of unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife and unlawful killing or taking of big game as well as numerous violations relating to not wearing the required fluorescent orange clothing, hunting in a baited areas, loaded firearms in, on, or against a vehicle and tagging violations.
•Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer said charges have been filed on a man from Port Vue for killing an antlerless deer on the opening day of the 2012 rifle deer season. The man was hunting in WMU 2C, an antlered-only WMU, on the first day. He shot the deer while it was standing in front of a corn feeder and his picture was caught on the trail camera that someone else had placed overlooking the feeder. “Before we could identify the individual from the photo, we found him hunting again in the same location on the first Saturday of rifle season – this time with his 15-year-old son. Both father and son were standing over the same pile of corn when we confronted them and matched the man to the photo we had,” he said.       

NORTHCENTRAL REGION

•Tioga County WCO Rodney P. Mee had WCO Cadets Jeffrey Oleniacz and Doug Barrick from the 29th Class during November. “During the WCO Cadet’s field assignments in Tioga County, the new officers investigated many road-hunting violations, five pre-season poaching incidents and several Act 54 over-the-bag limit incidents,” he said.
•Cameron/Clearfield Counties LMGS Colleen M. Shannon and her Food and Cover Corps crews had numerous instances during deer season of loaded firearms in vehicles and people shooting at wildlife from roadways. “In one case, a woman was preparing to take her young kids out for the school bus when a guy pulled up near the house and fired a shot from the car at a deer,” she said. “He was within 50 yards of this house and 100 yards from another house. The lady called in a description of the vehicle, and he was apprehended nearby. He had shot at a doe even though he did not have an antlerless license.
•Potter County WCO Mark S. Fair said the most common violation this bear season and the overlapping bear/deer seasons is the unlawful use of bait. Seven individuals were cited as a result of hunting in a baited area. Bait items included minerals, corn, doughnuts, apples, pears, sunflowers and peanut butter smeared on a tree.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION

•Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich reports 54 students were certified at the Mechanicsburg Sportsman’s Association HTE class held in November.
•Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich said numerous shooting range violations have been adjudicated, as well as a variety of other hunting and non-hunting violations that occurred in October and November. “Additionally, this season has been particularly wrought with unlawfully taken deer incidents,” he said. “We’ve concluded investigations on many and charges are pending. They include shooting from the road and vehicle, killing deer without valid licenses and taking deer in closed season.”
•Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich said a recently adjudicated case involved an individual unlawfully killing a skunk. “The individual chased it down, after it sprayed him, and bludgeoned it to death,” he said. “However, the issue that sparked numerous witnesses to report the incident was that he displayed it, by hanging it from his chain link fence directly adjacent to a neighborhood sidewalk.”
•Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan reports there seems to have been more violations during the first week of rifle deer season compared to last. Deputy WCOs from Cumberland and Franklin counties have encountered many incidents which will involve the subjects receiving multiple citations. Officers investigated  an incident where a person stopped his vehicle, jumped out, shot a doe while in several safety zones all while a school bus was letting a student off the bus about 30 yards away. Also the deer died in the student’s driveway.
•Perry/Juniata Counties WCO Steve Hower said several people have been charged with killing deer in closed season. A buck was shot during the early antlerless-only muzzleloader season in October and several doe were shot during the antlered- only rifle season. Those charged face mandatory fines of $1,000 to $1,500 per deer and loss of hunting privileges.
•York County WCO Kyle Jury said violations encountered during the deer season range from unlawful taking of big game to hunting over bait.

NORTHEAST REGION

•Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley reported several violations, including damage to trees on SGL 84, hunting without having passed a basic HTE class, improperly tagging big game, shooting a person and causing injury, and possessing a loaded firearm in a moving motorized vehicle.
•Sullivan County WCO Rick Finnegan said violations were deer that were not tagged properly, having loaded guns in vehicles and hunting without a license.
•Columbia County WCO John A. Morack recently cited an individual for unlawfully leaving paper targets on target back-boards after using the rifle range at SGL 58. The fine and costs totaled $169.
•WCO Cadet Steven Knickel, working with WCO Monroe County WCO Phil White, reports that, on the first day of rifle deer season, he joined a team of Game Commission officers that entered a heavily-baited camp. Four individuals were cited for hunting through the use of bait, others were issued warnings, and a significant portion of the large camp was closed to hunting for the remainder of the season.
•WCO Cadet Steven Knickel, working with Monroe County WCO Phil White, said several individuals have been found using either last year’s tags, someone else’s tags, non-completed tags, or not using tags on their deer at all. Citations were filed in all cases. 
•WCO Cadet Steven Knickel, working with Monroe County WCO Phil White, reports that four individuals were cited for riding ATVs on state game lands.

SOUTHEAST REGION

•Berks County WCO Matt Teehan reports that the two weeks of the statewide firearm season showed a decrease in minor violations as compared to previous years, but high rise in the number of major violations. “So far, we have 14 illegal deer cases resolved and another one pending,” he said. Numerous safety zone incidents and hunting without the required licenses topped out the bulk of violations encountered in his district. Officers also had numerous requests from officers in other districts from across the state to assist in investigations involving people from this area. There was also a rise in violations involving HUI, DUI, possession of controlled substances, Title 18 offenses for reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct and a multitude of spotlighting violations. 
•Bucks County WCO John Papson successfully prosecuted an individual for the unlawful killing of a bear out of season, several cases involving individuals using bait, untagged or improperly tagged deer, loaded firearms in vehicles and numerous other violations. 
Chester County WCO Scott Frederick recently filed charges on an individual who placed an antlerless tag on a buck that had obviously had its antlers bludgeoned off of its head. “It was discovered during the interview, that when the hunter realized he had killed a protected buck, he panicked and made the poor decision to remove the antlers and then place a doe tag on it and try to pass it off as a legal harvest,” he said.
•Chester County WCO Keith Mullin checked two hunters who did not have hunting licenses or enough orange material and were hunting after hours. Charges will be filed.
•Lebanon County WCO Michael Reeder had several cases of individuals possessing last year’s license or tagging a deer with an old license.
•Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that a second peregrine falcon was found dead at Martins Creek Power Plant. “This peregrine was an adult female that hadn’t been banded, so no history or record is available,” he said.
•Schuylkill County WCO Kevin Clouser reports a few hunters were surprised to see him in deer season. “They were over a mile in on foot, when they were asked to explain an illegal deer,” he said.

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