Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – May 9th, 2014


From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Erie County WCOs on April 13 apprehended five New Jersey residents with a total of 57 steelhead taken from Lake Erie tributaries. The total number of fish put these individuals over the limit by seven steelhead with the current limit being five.  Total fines and cost for the five defendants exceeded $1,000.


From the Game Commission
• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala said several individuals have been cited recently for not having a range-use permit or a valid hunting or furtaker license at the SGL 203 shooting ranges. 
• Fayette County WCO Douglas Bergman reports that several treestands were removed in March from State Game Land 296 and screw-in steps that damaged trees were found at two of the stands. 
• Fayette County WCO Brandon C. Bonin reports that two hunters are facing multiple charges after being apprehended while using their dogs and a .22 rifle to hunt raccoons at night 30 days after the season ended. “When caught, these two stated that they didn't think game wardens worked at night this time of the year,” he said.
• Fayette County WCO Brandon C. Bonin reports that ATV riding has been increasing on lands enrolled in the Farm Game program. Some riders have been caught, and charges have been filed.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports two individuals were found on cooperative access property cutting firewood without permission of the landowner. Additionally, they operated a motorized vehicle past two signs indicating that such travel was prohibited. When approached by a deputy wildlife conservation officer, one of the individuals fled on foot and was later found to have multiple active arrest and bench warrants. The other individual initially provided false statements as to the identity of the individual who fled, but later admitted to him being his son. Multiple charges are pending.
• Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that multiple cases of garbage dumping on lands open to hunting have been occurring since the weather has warmed. One case involved two dumpsites of what appeared to be various sorts of household garbage as well as construction materials. Materials matching those found at the dump site also were found in the bed of the apparent dumper’s pickup. The second case involved various forms of prescribed narcotics lying next to three garbage bags. After interviewing a possible suspect, who claimed to know nothing about the garbage, he was found picking up the trash shortly after the interview. Multiple charges for littering have been filed in  both cases.
• Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports that several individuals have been cited for using multiple projectile ammunition at the SGL 50 shooting range.
• Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports that one individual was cited for allowing his dog to attack a male white-tailed deer in March.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports that recently an individual was found guilty of killing a deer without the proper license. The deer was discovered while an investigation was being made into the violations of two other individuals. Those individuals tried to hide their actions by telling the story of this other deer that was discarded in the woods. In the end, multiple charges were filed on everyone involved.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports an individual who had requested a hearing for a loaded gun in a vehicle charge that occurred in the regular firearms season was found guilty.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports charges are forthcoming for individuals who removed three newborn fox squirrels from the woods in Allegheny County and brought them back to Westmoreland County. The squirrels were tested for rabies with negative results.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• After watching a group of three men fishing in the delayed-harvest area of Buffalo Creek, Armstrong County WCO Bruce Gundlach issued citations for trout in possession, no fishing license, no trout stamp and littering for discarding their beer cans.
• Allegheny County WCO Michael Johnson reports that during opening day weekend April 12 a total of 15 citations were issued in the Central Allegheny County District.   Thirteen citations were issued for individuals not wearing a personal flotation device during the period from Nov. 1 through April 30 on watercraft under 16 feet and on all kayaks and canoes. Two citations were issued for fishing rules and regulations, one for possession of trout prior to the season and one for over the limit of trout.
• Cambria County WCO Al Colian cited an individual on the opening day of the regular trout season for altering a fishing license. The individual took a black marker and change the license year of 2013 to reflect the current license year of 2014.  The individual received three citations.  


From the Game Commission
• Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that a cow elk was euthanized in Benezette Township, Elk County, near the village of Grant. The animal was emaciated and transported to the PSU Diagnostic Lab for testing. Preliminary results indicate that the animal was a victim of rumen acidosis. This disease causes a disruption of the digestive system and is directly related to artificial feeding of wildlife.
• WCO Dan Murray, Centre and Clinton counties, cited two individuals for dumping garbage on lands open to public hunting in Howard Township, Centre County.  
• Potter County WCO Mark Fair reports that a small, 100-pound bear in Austin has been observed moving through town with a piece of metal protruding through a rear leg. Officers will attempt to capture the animal to determine if it can be saved.
• Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports that two men recently pleaded guilty to several charges for shooting at a deer decoy at night. He states that the men paid $4,150 in fines, plus court costs. They were charged with the unlawful taking of big game, spotlighting after hours, using a vehicle to locate game and spotlighting while in possession of firearms.


From the Game Commission
• Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports that an individual has pleaded guilty to all charges stemming from a joint-operation investigation with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources regarding the unlawful taking of two male white-tailed deer. One deer was killed in Pennsylvania and one in Maryland. Both animals were taken without a proper license or harvest tag.
• Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson reported that a summary trial was recently held for two defendants charged with possessing a deer that was illegally killed at night in Centre Township. The crime was committed in November 2013 and was reported by a witness. After the report, Anderson collected DNA evidence from the scene, the defendant’s vehicle, and from a discarded hide and head found along Irish Road. After collection, all samples were sent to the East Stroudsburg Wildlife Forensics Lab for processing. Magisterial District Judge Elizabeth Frownfelter found both defendants guilty after hearing testimony from the witness, a lab expert and WCO Anderson. Fines have been assessed and hunting revocations are likely.
• Blair County WCO William Brehun reports that a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for early May regarding a Snyder Township, Blair County, resident who has an extensive list of previously violating the state dog law, including failing to confine a dog. The charges to be heard include two misdemeanor charges filed under state dog law and two charges of violating the state Game and Wildlife Code. If found guilty, the defendant will pay a mandatory $800 replacement cost related to the killing of a white-tailed deer.
• Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that, while on patrol in areas with stocked trout streams, four individuals were apprehended fishing for trout in approved waters before season. Information on the subjects was turned over to the Fish & Boat Commission.
• Adams County WCO Darren David reports that game lands violations are being investigated and prosecuted. Most involve littering and dumping trash. Another incident involved two men unlawfully shooting clay birds with shotguns, shooting rifles into a paper target with no proper backstop, and leaving litter behind.
• York County WCO Kyle Jury reports that recent law enforcement efforts have been focused on the shooting range on State Game Land 242 in northern York County.  Most common violations include shooting without a range permit or current hunting license, loading or discharging over the posted round limit, and using non-paper targets. As of late last year, it is also unlawful to collect shooter’s brass from any of the shooting stations while the range is active.
• York County WCO Steve Knickel reports that, thanks to a social media website and an anonymous caller, charges are being filed against an individual who killed two deer out of season.
• Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn reports the resolution of a case where an individual pleaded guilty to setting cable restraints without first completing a cable-restraint class and setting two on drags and another where an animal could become entangled after being caught. The trapper had no tags on any of the sets.
• Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny reports that charges have been filed against an individual in the Warriors Mark area. The violator allegedly killed four deer out of season. Apparently the deer were shot because they were eating the individual’s shrubs. The deer were discarded after being killed.
• Cumberland County WCO Timothy Wenrich reported that while assisting waterways conservation officers and patrolling during the regional trout opening day, he discovered two individuals unlawfully driving an off-road vehicle in a wetland area on a Hunter Access Property. The landowners allow public hunting and trapping on their properties. By the time the contact with the subjects was complete and the vehicle removed, dense sedimentation leached into a nearby stream and completely clouded a section approximately 50 yards long. Multiple charges are pending.
• Blair County WCO Albert Zellner reported one case has been adjudicated concerning an individual who committed numerous violations. These include hunting bear through the use of bait, hunting deer through the use of bait, attempting to kill through the use of bait in a Disease Management Area, hunting through the use of a motorized vehicle, and loaded firearms in vehicles. Fines and costs were $1,500.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Dauphin County Waterways Conservation Officer Mark Sweppenhiser recently facilitated a covert special enforcement detail on Clarks Creek in concert with an inseason trout stocking.  Utilizing plain clothes officers and unmarked vehicles, multiple violations for fishing without a valid license, littering and unauthorized use of a “childrens and disabled fishing only” area were addressed.
• In Cumberland County, the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System recently aided in the successful warrant execution for an individual cited in 2009 for fishing without a license. The individual was cited in Cumberland County and failed to respond to the citation. Subsequently, this individual changed their last name and relocated to Clearfield County. Recently, this individual attempted to purchase a 2014 fishing license, but their driver’s license (proof of Pennsylvania residency) was flagged by the PALS computer based suspension precluding them from the transaction. A resulting visit from officers culminated in the successful resolution of this 5-year-old “cold case.”
•  Five individuals were charged with over their daily possession limit during a covert trout detail on Big Spring Creek in Cumberland County on April 7.  Additionally, four over-the-limit cases, one snagging case, a no license and no trout stamp case were all handled during a similar detail at Whipple Lake in Huntingdon County on April 19.


From the Game Commission
• Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral reminds shooters who use the PGC shooting ranges that the ranges close at sunset. Complaints are starting to come in about late shooting and some shooters are going by the hunting hours (which close one-half hour past sunset) to shoot.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Wyoming County Waterways Conservation Officer Kadin Thompson assisted the Pennsylvania State Police in the search for a missing man believed to have fell or jumped off the Susquehanna River Bridge in Laceyville on April 5.
• On April 12 Waterways Conservation Officer Kadin Thompson discovered a pollution event occurring in the area of Nicholson. He followed the sediment pollution upstream to find a stone quarry that had been excavated, releasing sediment- laden water into commonwealth waters. The investigation is continuing.
• Lackawanna County Waterways Conservation Officer Walter Buckman discovered, through a routine fishing license check, that a man from New Jersey had obtained a resident fishing license from a local issuing agent. Buckman is investigating to see if there was fraud involved.


From the Game Commission
• Berks County WCO Dave Brockmeier is investigating a dumping violation on State Game Land 280.
• Dauphin County WCO Derek Daly will be filing multiple charges on an individual including drug-impaired driving, pending toxicology results. The individual was found driving on a gated game land road and attempted to flee by vehicle from Daly. Drug paraphernalia was seized from the vehicle, and the individual admitted to using marijuana and heroin.
• Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that two individuals were recently convicted in magisterial district court for operating non-licensed off-road vehicles on state game lands. The vehicles were driven to Middle Creek Wildlife Manage­ment Area on public roads and were uninsured, uninspected and did not have the required safety features of a properly licensed on-road vehicle. The operators were apprehended and charged with operation of a motor vehicle in wanton disregard for the safety of property and persons.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian W. Sheetz reports that a person walking on the game lands in April spotted a red fox that was dead in a cable restraint and reported it. An investigation was conducted on a large area of State Game Land 211. “After finding the red fox and two other cable restraints that were set way after the close of trapping season, a Lebanon County man was charged with numerous trapping violations,” he said.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian W. Sheetz reports several citations were written during a two-week period and criminal charges are being filed against several individuals regarding activity on State Game Land 211 in the Box Car Rocks area. The charges range from drinking alcohol on game lands, to criminal charges for numerous drug offenses, some dealing with marijuana and heroin. Other charges include using a vehicle to avoid identification or inspection, resisting or interfering with an officer and using motorized vehicles on roads clearly posted as closed.

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