Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – August 29th, 2013

NORTHWEST REGION

• Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports charges have been filed on an individual for operating his ATV on Hunter Access property. The man also did not procure registration and insurance, and he was not wearing a helmet while driving. These are all regulations that are citable and each carries a separate penalty.
• Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish says six citations have been filed on five individuals for possession and consumption of an alcoholic beverage while on State Game Land 63, as well as littering and restrictions on vehicles.
• Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports an individual was sentenced to 68 days imprisonment and ordered to pay more than $1,000 in additional penalties resulting from an investigation that occurred in 2011. The case involved unlawful possession of a deer that had been taken after hours through the use of a light.
• Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman charged an individual for unlawfully possessing a firearm (during the rifle deer season). The man was a convicted felon and also on probation and not allowed to possess firearms. This arrest came about after conducting a routine field inspection.
• Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman charged an individual for possessing a wild fawn. Two fawns had been taken but one died while in the individual’s possession. During the investigation, it was determined that the subject was a repeat offender.
• Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that citations have been issued for multiple incidents of individuals unlawfully taking juvenile raccoons as pets. In these cases, the raccoons must be euthanized for rabies testing. Fines range from $100 to $200 per animal.
• Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin has received reports concerning illegal activities by people hunting groundhogs.
• Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin states that a suspicious vehicle was observed in an isolated parking area on State Game Land 270 late at night. The vehicle was approached, and the two occupants were found to be in possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The contraband was seized. Charges are being filed.
• Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder says evidence of possession and consumption of alcohol at Leesburg Falls on State Game Land 284 was thrown  over the steep embankment into the creek below.
• Venango County WCO Ronda Bimber reports that spotlighting has been on the increase over the last few weeks.
• Erie/Crawford County LMG Shayne A. Hoachlander reported that a recent bat maternity colony count he conducted showed a dramatic decline from years past.

SOUTHWEST REGION

• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports a deer recently was rescued from a well in the Wexford area. The large antlered deer fell through a rotten piece of wood covering a small opening in a cement covering for the well and was trapped inside. The deer was tranquilized. “After the deer was recovered, we treated some of the deer’s minor injuries and waited for it to recover from the drugs and run off into nearby woods,” he said.
• Beaver County WCO Mike Yeck reports that several individuals have pleaded guilty to charges of operating ATVs on state game lands, with the highest activity occurring on State Game Land 285 in South Beaver and Darlington townships. 
• Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports a concerned citizen contacted the Southwest Regional Office about someone shooting at an active osprey nest recently. The nest, located along the Beaver River, is the home to a pair of young and two adults. The witness indicated that several shots were fired in the direction of the nest and that the birds could be seen flying high above the nesting area. A search of the area provided limited information. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the Southwest Regional Office at 724-238-9523 and the information will be kept confidential.
• Fayette County WCO Douglas Bergman says charges are being filed against three individuals for operating ATVs on State Game Land 296 in the Layton/Banning area. “Unlawful use of motorized vehicles will continue to be strictly enforced on state game lands, as well as on lands belonging to cooperators enrolled in the hunter access program,” he said.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports two individuals were found drinking alcohol on cooperator property near the Quemahoning Reservoir. Both individuals were under the age of 21 and attempted to hide multiple beer bottles by throwing them in the surrounding fields. Citations have been filed on both individuals.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that while checking crow hunters on cooperator property, he observed multiple groups of ATV riders pass through the property, despite being closed to motorized vehicles. “One group was stopped and four individuals riding three off-road vehicles were rerouted off the cooperator’s property. Citations have been filed for operating vehicles on lands closed to motorized vehicles.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that a bag of garbage, seemingly from a vehicle, was found on cooperator property. The bag contained information leading directly to the household of the individual responsible for the littering. Also in the garbage was a small baggie containing residue amounts of marijuana which ultimately distinguished who the person responsible for the garbage was. A citation has been filed for littering.
• Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports that several areas along the Allegheny Hiking Trail in Somerset County are receiving unlawful ATV use.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports that citations were filed against an individual after information from the state police was investigated. “The state police contacted me after speaking with a witness that thought a neighbor might be poaching deer. The investigation concluded that the individual was hunting for groundhogs,” he said.  The individual did not have a current hunting license, was shooting across a roadway, was in multiple safety zones, was not wearing the required fluorescent orange and was using a semi-automatic firearm. On at least one occasion this all occurred after legal shooting hours.
• Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports a Uniontown man recently pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts for unlawful taking of big game and one summary count of hunting without a license for an incident stemming from last archery deer season. Officers found blood and hair evidence on the defendant’s hunting equipment as he was returning to his vehicle from an afternoon of hunting. The defendant claimed he hadn’t killed any deer, which was quickly refuted when officers sent the blood and hair evidence collected from arrows in his quiver and pocket knives for DNA analysis to East Stroudsburg University’s Wildlife DNA lab. The defendant was fined, paid restitution for the DNA costs and lost his hunting license for 10 years.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION

• Centre County WCO Dan Murray reports that several charges were filed under federal regulations and the Game and Wildlife Code for unlawfully killing a mallard duck and that a citation was issued for unlawfully transporting and possessing alcoholic beverages on State Game Land 100.
• McKean County WCO Leonard Groshek reports catching a large male bear that had been previously caught and tagged by WCO Wayne Hunt in Emporium in 2009. It was 14 years old in 2009.
• Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta reports that bear complaints are up in his district. The vast majority of complaints result from the unlawful feeding of bears, including an absolute epidemic of mangy bear complaints. People should be encouraged not to feed wildlife and if you become aware of people feeding bear, turn them in to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
• Tioga County WCO Patrick Cull reports that there is still plenty of space available in the Hunter and Trapper Education class in Westfield on Sept. 21. Sign up online.   
• Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs said that, on July 11, a Montgomery woman was found guilty in a hearing before Magisterial District Judge John Kemp. The woman was cited for operating an ATV on State Game Land 252. She was also cited for cutting a hedgerow with a reciprocating saw. The defendant was ordered to pay $200 in fines. 

NORTHEAST REGION

• Wayne County WCO Jim McCarthy reports that a car stolen in Honesdale has been recovered on SGL 312 in Gouldsboro. The vehicle and investigation have been turned over to the Honesdale Borough Police Department.
• Luzerne County WCO David P. Allen reports that an 8-mile stretch of Rails to Trails was recently opened in Dennison and Wright townships. The trail runs directly through SGL 119. Unfortunately, shortly after the opening, ATVs and 4×4 trucks entered the trail, causing damage to gates and the trail surface. Anyone with any information on this activity is urged to contact the Northeast Regional Office at 570-675-1143.
• Wayne County WCO Frank J. Dooley reports two Wayne County men have entered guilty pleas and are paying fines and costs in excess of $6,000 for jacklighting deer at night from a motor vehicle.
• Bradford County WCO Philip Kasper reports that there has been an increase in illegal dumping activity on state game lands. Kasper filed criminal charges on several individuals who are responsible for some of the dumping activity and urges people who witness illegal activity to call the Northeast Regional Office at 570-675-1143.
• Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley cited a man for possession of alcohol on game lands and another for attempting to sell wildlife on Craigslist.
• Pike County WCO Kirk Miller reports that two individuals were cited on the night of July 4 for using the SGL 180 Shohola parking area to set off fireworks. The individuals were also cited for leaving the trash behind in the parking area. Each individual faces fines up to $250. 
• Bradford County WCO Jeffrey Oleniacz reports more than 30 warnings and several citations were issued for illegal activities being conducted on state game lands in western Bradford County. The most common violations were swimming and consumption or possession of alcohol.
• Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa reports several incidents pertaining to the unlawful use of game lands have occurred in the county. Individuals have been cited for violations ranging from swimming in closed areas to ATV use and unlawful killing of wildlife.

SOUTHEAST REGION

• Berks County WCO Eric Anderson reports that while working in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, individuals were cited for having alcohol on state game lands as well as having an illegal bass and fishing without a license. 
• Bucks County WCO Cassie Zliceski reports that as hunting season approaches, she has received numerous reports about known areas of late spotlighting and shooting at night. “These areas will be heavily patrolled to show an officer presence and hopefully deter any illegal activity,” she said.
• Berks/Schuylkill County LMGS Matthew D. Belding reports that Steve Ferreri, regional GIS coordinator, has just put the finishing touches on the prescribed burn plan for State Game Land 280, which is commonly called Blue Marsh. “We were using prescribed fire on Blue Marsh many years ago and now we will be bringing the habitat management tool back,” he said. “We will be conducting the prescribed burns on fields and woodlots with the goal of reducing unwanted invasive plants such as ailanthus and mile-a-minute weed.”

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