Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – April 11th, 2014

NORTHWEST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Crawford County WCO Randy R. Crago reports a beaver trapper turned in an otter that he caught by mistake on the Erie National Wildlife Refuge.
• Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that several county residents have been arrested for having portable or home-based meth labs.

SOUTHWEST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that two incidents of turkeys acting aggressively towards people have been reported. “These incidents have occurred in urban/suburban areas and appear to have been caused by the turkeys being fed and habituated by individuals in the areas. It appears that the turkeys have begun to attempt to establish some form of dominance in the area where they live,” he said.
• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that a local man recently pleaded guilty at a local district judge’s office for two separate safety zone violations that occurred within a month. The hunter was found in violation twice in the same general area while shotgun hunting for deer within the 150 yard safety zone of a residential neighborhood. As part of a plea agreement the hunter was assessed $700 in fines and faces a loss of his hunting privilege.
• Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports an Aliquippa man pleaded guilty to killing two antlerless deer in WMU 2A without any antlerless tags for this WMU. The fines and court costs in the case exceeded $2,000 and the man faces a loss of his hunting and trapping privileges for numerous years.
• Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin reports that charges are pending against two Greene county violators. The first person, who is a repeat offender, is facing charges for buying a hunting license without first taking a Hunter Trapper Education Course, taking possession of an illegal deer, and to taking a deer beyond his limit. The second person is facing a charge for taking a protected buck, as he shot a antlered deer that did not meet the antler restriction requirements for WMU 2A. Together they could be penalized a total of $4,900 in fines and restitution, as well as five years revocation of their hunting privileges.
• Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin reports that two deer, a one gallon plastic  bag of marijuana, Vicadin, and paraphernalia were found in a residence after serving a search warrant. The deer were killed Feb. 18-19 and only the back straps removed, and the rest of the carcasses were being tossed over a bank in the backyard. This person was released from prison and placed on probation just this past fall. Charges will be filed for all violations.
• Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin reports that two people have been charged for cutting firewood on state game lands. These individuals cut down two trees near a wetlands on SGL 238 that may have been utilized by cavity nesting wildlife.
• Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that a Normalville man was recently found guilty of taking a trophy-class deer during the last week of archery season with a rifle.  The buck had a gross score of 163 B&C. The court assessed a $1,000 fine plus $5,000 in replacement costs.
• Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that an Acme man recently pleaded guilty to four charges relating to a night shooting incident on the last Friday of the firearms deer season. The man had fired two shots from inside his vehicle at a coyote in his headlights. The man was assessed fines totaling $1,450.
• Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that a button buck was recently shot and left to rot near the intersection of Kregar Road and Oak Road in Donegal Township, Westmoreland County. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Southwest Regional Office at 724-238-9523.
• Indiana County WCO Chris Reidmiller reports that an individual has recently pleaded guilty to four charges in relation to trapping while his privileges were revoked. The individual faces over $1,300 in fines and costs as well as additional years of revocation of his privileges. The individual also faces 15 additional charges in another county for possession of pelts of animals he admitted to trapping that season.
• Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that three individuals involved in shooting an antlered deer at night with a bow recently pleaded guilty and were fined a total of $4,200 plus $800 replacement costs. They also face revocation of their hunting privileges. 
• Washington County WCO Dan Sitler reports that two individuals were caught in the act of poaching in the Midway area. “Reports of poaching activity in the area resulted in a patrol with several officers being involved. A vehicle was seen spotlighting and at 10:25 p.m., a shot was heard where the vehicle was seen. A stop was made. A rifle, spotlight and spotting scope were found in the vehicle.  A freshly shot antlered deer was then found where the shot occurred. Several charges were filed on the individuals, which has resulted in a successful prosecution. The shooter will not receive the firearm back because it has been determined that he is a person not allowed to possess a firearm.
• Washington/Allegheny County WCO Chris Bergman reports numerous violations during recent coyote contests held in the southwestern part of the state.  Shining from a vehicle in search of coyotes while in possession of firearms is not a lawful method of hunting coyotes. 
• Washington/Allegheny County WCO Chris Bergman recently filed charges on an individual for driving his truck onto a public access property. The individual attempted to travel through a swampy area resulting in the truck being immobilized by the muddy quagmire hidden under what was thought to be frozen surface, he said. 
• Washington/Allegheny County WCO Chris Bergman reports that activity from ATV and dirt bikes on public access properties has increased due to the milder weather. “Numerous encounters with unlawful riders have been present for the last few weeks and this activity will result in increased patrols and continued enforcement on these properties,” he said. One encounter involved an 11-year-old child who was dropped off by his dad on private railroad property. The child then drove his ATV through this property, crossed a busy state highway and then entered Co-op property, driving past the signs that read “Closed To All Motorized Vehicles.”
• Westmoreland County DWCO Robert Dempsey recently filed charges in a dumping case. The suspect had been cited less than two years ago for the same violation. In this incident Dempsey located two dump sites belonging to the defendant. After the defendant agreed to clean up the sites to avoid additional restitution Dempsey was checking on the status of the two dumps when he discovered a third site nearby belonging to the defendant as well. Charges have been filed, and the defendant is facing fines and court costs in excess of $3,000.
• Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that a recent preliminary hearing in front of Magisterial District Judge Thiel of Ligonier ended with the poaching charges against a defendant being held over for trial. The Ligonier man was arrested after officers discovered he was in possession of a large untagged buck and a protected 4-point buck on the opening day of the 2013 rifle deer season. A trail date has not be set.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION

From the Game Commission
• Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that an 88-year-old pleaded guilty to nine trapping violations. The violations ranged from using bait that was visible from the air to unlawful killing a gray fox and a coyote. During the investigation, a sticker was noticed on the defendant’s cabin door and it illustrated a person urinating on a PGC logo.

NORTHEAST REGION

From the Fish & Boat  Commission
• Luzerne County Waterways Conservation Officer Aaron Lupacchini approached four men at their vehicle because the vehicle had no inspection sticker at Lily Lake. When Lupacchini asked about the sticker, he found out from the driver, the vehicle was not inspected, registered, or insured. In addition, the driver had no driver’s license, the license plate belonged on another car, and Lupacchini could smell burned marijuana. When asked if there was anything in the car that was drug related or anything that could harm him, the driver showed the officer two shotguns in the trunk, one regular and one sawed off. Lupacchini took control of the firearms, a bag of marijuana and a pipe found on one of the men. Charges are pending.

SOUTHEAST REGION

From the Game Commission
• Bucks County WCO John Papson reports that individuals have been found guilty for hunting over bait and loaded firearms in a vehicle.
• Dauphin County WCO Derek Daly reports that charges were recently filed for the killing of a hen turkey in a closed season. Daly and DWCO John Mike were on patrol and heard a single gunshot. While approaching a vehicle parked in that area, they noticed turkey feathers in the road and also recovered an empty rifle cartridge. In the vehicle, within view, were cartridges of the same caliber but no rifle or suspect. The individual was apprehended by the officers a short time later. He admitted to shooting a hen turkey from his vehicle then hiding in the woods when he saw the officers approaching.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that several charges were filed on a Palmyra man for killing a doe during the two-week deer season and not possessing an antlerless license. The same person also shot a spike buck in a closed season in late January. He also had harvested a turkey in this past spring gobbler season and never tagged it. “All this was discovered after a search warrant was served on his rental property,” he said. The owner was in the process of evicting him when they noticed a deer lying on the floor in the garage and deer season was over for a month.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that an investigation is in process were two people went onto private property without prior permission and shot snow geese while they were on a pond. They did all this in a safety zone. Once they were seen by the neighbors, they ran off and never collected the geese they harvested.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz and Deputy WCO Jeff Kawich finished an investigation of a person to be in possession of eight Canada geese the day after the season closed. During the investigation it was learned that the person did not harvest all eight geese himself. He was charged for being in possession of untagged geese harvested by another person. The person that shot and gave the geese was also charged for not tagging the geese before giving them to another. During this investigation, there were also three individuals charged for hunting in and harvesting snow geese in several safety zones without permission. Some of the residences were only 70 yards away.
• Montgomery County WCO Raymond Madden reports that multiple court cases are currently being wrapped up and warrants are being served in the county from cases that occurred during this past hunting season. Most of the warrants come from individuals who do not respond to their citations.
• Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that a third red deer was recovered by officers for CWD testing. The first red deer tested negative for CWD after submitting tissues samples collected from the hunter-harvested cervid. They are waiting for test results for the other two red deer.
• Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that a 620-pound black bear shot last year was adjudicated in court during February with the defendant pleading guilty to all counts. A district judge assessed an additional $1,000 for replacement costs of a trophy-class bear.

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