From the Game Commission
• Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal reports that investigations are ongoing regarding the increase of drug use and production in local woodlands. Littering of methamphetamine byproducts and waste from the production of the drug are becoming an increasing issue in the southern Butler area. Marijuana plots have been discovered and needles from heroin use are fairly common in area parking lots. Multiple agencies are involved in the enforcement of related drug laws and arrests and suppression efforts have been common.
• Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that many individuals have been cited while using the State Game Land 72 rifle range in Clarion because they didn’t first secure a hunting or furtaker license or range-use permit.
• Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky said an individual was cited and pleaded guilty to releasing a raccoon from a trap belonging to a Wildlife Pest Control permittee.
• Forest County WCO Frank E. Leichtenberger has had several reports of baited areas on lands open to public hunting. A variety of attractants such as mineral blocks, apples and corn were set out. Attempts to catch the perpetrators will be made and eventually large areas around each will have to be posted with “Baited Area” signs to warn innocent hunters to stay away. All of the sites were found and reported by persons who intended to hunt in those areas.
• Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that on the first day of resident goose season he encountered two individuals hunting geese near a cornfield. While checking licenses, it was learned that the two hunters had purchased their required federal duck stamps via another state’s website. The two hunters could only produce a receipt for the purchase of duck stamps and not the actual stamps. When duck stamps are purchased via these sites, the actual stamps are mailed to the purchaser within 45 days of the purchase. The Game Commission does not sell duck stamps via its website and, along with many other states, does not accept a receipt of purchase of a duck stamp in lieu of actually possessing a signed stamp.
• Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin received a report regarding four kayaks that were inside the propagation area at State Game Land 270. DWCOs assisted in apprehending the violators. These kayakers claimed this was their first time on Lake Wilhelm and they entered the propagation area with no intentions to do anything wrong. They saw the signs “Entry Prohibited” but didn’t think that applied to kayaks. Citations were issued.
• Clarion and Jefferson counties LMGS George J. Miller reports that a dumpster has been placed in Jefferson County on State Game Land 244 at the Fuller Access parking area to provide hunters that harvest deer within the Disease Management Area 3 a place to dispose of their high-risk parts (brain, spinal column, lymph nodes, spleen, etc.) so that they can be in compliance with Chronic Wasting Disease regulations established through Executive Order within the DMA. All hunters are asked to double bag the high-risk parts, whether they’re disposing of them in the dumpster or setting them out for pickup through their regular refuse service.
• Crawford/Erie County LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that the use of trail cameras has helped in the enforcement of illegal activity on state game lands.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• During the last week of September, Erie County WCO Matt Visosky was patrolling Walnut Creek for the fall steelhead run. Two anglers approached his patrol vehicle and informed him that there were four people up at the Manchester Hole snagging steelhead and fishing on the side closed to fishing. Visosky found the four suspected poachers standing in the creek taking pictures with their fish because they were all limited out. Visosky went back down to the parking lot and the original complainants were still there. He asked them if they would be willing to testify in court on what they witnessed. Both agreed to go to court and testify against the poachers. While they were obtaining the information, another two anglers approached the officers and told them they also witnessed the poachers. Visosky informed the suspected poachers that they would be receiving a total of eight citations in the mail for the violations. Within minutes of the defendants leaving, another angler approached Visosky and informed him that the four had second tripped and left earlier in the day with steelhead. He also agreed to testify in court and was able to identify each of the four. After this information, the citations being issued totaled 12 – four over the limit, four for attempted snagging, two for snagging and two for fishing in a closed area. The next day WCO Terry Crecraft was patrolling Walnut Creek and called the region office asking for assistance with suspected snaggers. Visosky assisted Crecraft. Visosky approached the suspects and was not surprised that the two suspects were two of the same from the night before. The two defendants received and additional two citations.
From the Game Commission
• Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala said several individuals have been cited for using the SGL 203 shooting range without a valid hunting or furtaker license or range-use permit. Also, several shooters were found to have hunting licenses from 2013-14, which expired June 30,” he said. • WCO Cadet Andrew Harvey – while on field assignment with Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala – reports that multiple citations were issued for hunting through the use of bait.
• WCO Cadet Blake Barth – while on field assignment with Armstrong County WCO Rodney Burns – said a hunter saw officers approaching and ran out of his blind, but only made it several yards before the heavy growth of greenbrier stopped him. The man was found to be hunting through the use of bait and not having an archery license.
• Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports that, on the opening day of early goose season, a hunter was hunting geese without the required federal duck stamp. The hunter had purchased his hunting license the day before, a Sunday, and was unable to go to the local post office to purchase her duck stamp. The $15 duck stamp ended up costing over $150 in the form of a citation.
• WCO Cadet Ben Rebuck – while on field assignment with Cambria County WCO Seth Mesoras – reports three individuals were cited for hunting through the use of bait on the opening day of archery season.
• Fayette/Westmoreland counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that several citations were filed recently on a Connellsville man for providing false identification, making false statements, and operating an unregistered ATV on the Hanson Aggregates cooperative access property.
• Washington County WCO Richard W. Joyce reports that charges have been filed on four individuals for driving on fields and attempting to flee from officers in Greene County.
• Washington County WCO Richard W. Joyce reports charges have been filed on two individuals for spotlighting after 11 p.m. in Greene County.
• Washington County WCO Richard W. Joyce reports that a case from last deer season has been adjudicated at Washington County Court of Summary Appeals. The defendant was found guilty for the second time at the appeal hearing. The defendant was found guilty of unlawful possession of game or wildlife, false or fraudulent statements on reports and trespass on private property while hunting. The defendant was fined a total of $900 and an additional $750 in restitution as well as a possible revocation of hunting licenses for one year.
• Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports that on the opening day of the 2B early archery season, two individuals were found hunting through the use of bait. The investigation uncovered evidence that one of those individuals had taken a turkey over the limit in an earlier spring turkey season. Citations have been filed.
• WCO Cadet Matthew Johnson – while on field assignment with Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer – reports that prior to and including the first day of archery deer season, several hunting locations had been identified where bait had been placed to attract deer. Several hunters were found at these locations and were issued citations.
From the Game Commission
• Centre County WCO Dan Murray reports that six individuals were found to be hunting through the use of bait at five locations on the opening day of the 2014 archery deer season. These individuals all were hunting on state game lands or property controlled by the Game Commission. Charges include unlawful devices and methods, and various other violations.
• Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reports that a Williamsport man pleaded guilty to multiple trapping violations. The incident occurred in November 2013. The defendant was charged with 28 violations of the Game and Wildlife Code. The defendant pleaded guilty to 27 charges and was ordered to pay $2,700 in fines. The defendant now faces revocation of his hunting and trapping privileges.
• Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta is receiving reports of illegal spotlighting, baiting and killing of deer in the closed season.
• Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports that he successfully completed a case against an individual for trapping in closed season. The case yielded more than $2,500 in fines, resulted in the seizure of six muskrats taken in closed season, and placed the trapper on revocation for nine years.
• McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik reports that individuals responsible for dumping trash on state game lands were identified, and charges will be filed. The individuals cleaned up the area in exchange for minimal fines.
• Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt reports charges were successfully brought against a Tioga County man for hand-feeding bears and killing rattlesnakes while he was employed at a Marcellus well site in Elk County.
• Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston reports that three individuals from Allegheny and Westmoreland counties have pleaded guilty to several charges relating to their participation in the poaching of a deer at night near their camp located in Lafayette Township, McKean County. The parties involved got their vehicle stuck and called McKean County 911 for assistance. PSP troopers out of the Kane barracks responded. Upon arrival of a Mount Jewett-based towing company, the tow driver refused to enter the gate leading into the property where the vehicle was stuck, because there was a Game Commission “Closed to Motorized Vehicles” sign on the gate. The individuals called the Northcentral Regional Office of the Game Commission the following day for assistance in getting the vehicle out. Edmiston and LMGS Leonard Groshek were investigating where the vehicle came from when they discovered fresh blood in the bed of the pickup. Upon questioning the individuals at the camp, a fresh velvet spike buck head was discovered. The individuals claimed it came from a roadkill. Groshek and Edmiston found no sign of a deer/vehicle collision in the area they described. Speaking further with the party involved, Edmiston and Groshek obtained consent to search the camp, from the owner, over the phone. While searching the premises, a single turkey vulture flew from a wooded area behind the camp revealing to officers the location of parts of the butchered deer and a salted hide containing bullet holes. When the individuals were confronted with the evidence, two of them gave written statements as to their involvement in the poaching activity and concealing of evidence. Violations cited included unlawful taking and assisting with the unlawful taking of big game during a closed season, unlawful use of lights while hunting, resisting or interfering with an officer, and unlawful devices and methods involving the use of the vehicle to locate game. The fines, court and replacement costs for the three totaled $7,429.50 and they will be facing the possibility of years of license revocation.
• Union County WCO Dirk Remensnyder cited two individuals for littering on game lands.
From the Game Commission
• Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports that, in September, two individuals were cited for littering on lands open to hunting and fishing. Their fines were in excess of $600. Another individual was cited for a loaded firearm in a vehicle, as well as possession of a small amount of marijuana. Several other citations were issued, including for unlawful taking of waterfowl, and hunting with an unplugged shotgun.
• Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson is seeking information regarding a buck that was illegally killed on Sept. 29 along Buck’s Valley Road. The animal weighed 228 pounds and its rack green scored 157 inches. Anyone with information is urged to call the Southcentral Region Dispatch Center at 814-643-1831.
• Blair County WCO William Brehun reports that numerous illegal treestands have been found on state game lands in Tyrone and Snyder townships.
• Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that charges filed in September include spotlighting for wildlife after 11 p.m., spotlighting for wildlife while in possession of archery equipment and firearms, and placing feed for deer in a Disease Management Area.
• Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan reports that violations during the September goose season were minimal. Several hunters were warned for unsigned duck stamps and a few were cited for not being in possession of their current license. Current deer poaching cases involved five individuals in two separate incidents.
• Land Management Group Supervisor Eric Horsh is seeking information on the illegal use of mountain bikes on State Game Land 305 near Boiling Springs in Cumberland County.
• Fulton County WCO Justin Klugh said there has been an increase of ATV usage on State Game Land 65. Two people were apprehended and charges have been filed.
• Mifflin County WCO Jeff Mock reports that two Mifflin County residents are facing charges of possession of a deer that was unlawfully taken. A concerned citizen tipped off officers that an individual was in possession of a 9-point buck that was clearly shot in the head. The individual was approached and asked about the deer. He indicated that he found it and knew that it was shot in the head. He still thought that it was OK that he take the unlawfully killed deer home, give the meat to another person for a cookout, and keep the head and antlers for himself.
• York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that a man was cited for hunting over bait. This occurred on State Game Land 83. “What makes this more disheartening is the fact that he had his daughter, a junior hunter, with him” Musser said.
• Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich apprehended three individuals for using/possessing a controlled substance and paraphernalia on State Game Lands 170. Charges are pending.
Bedford County WCO Salvadore Zaffuto reports that an Everett man has been charged with having illegal bear parts without first obtaining a valid permit. The individual had picked up a road-killed bear, and took it to work to show it off and remove parts of the bear for keepsakes.
• Bedford-Fulton County LMO Jonathan S. Zuck is investigating numerous instances where activities conducted by neighboring private landowners and a local municipality are encroaching on state game lands. Zuck states it is unlawful for any person, group, or entity to mow, cut, place structures (other than portable treestands), or conduct any other activities on game lands without permission from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Those found encroaching on state game lands can be punished by fines and be forced to pay restitution for any damages.
From the Game Commission
• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea received information from a local police officer that helped identify and convict an individual of operating an unregistered ATV on State Game Land 129.
• Wayne County WCO Frank Dooley reports an ongoing investigation into dumping of large quantities of building materials and household trash on state game lands resulted in criminal charges being filed against two area men. Charges include destruction of state property, criminal mischief, and operating a motor a vehicle in restricted areas. In addition to criminal charges, the state is seeking to recover the costs of cleaning up the site and disposal.
• Bradford County WCO Philip Kasper reports that a Monroeton man recently pleaded guilty to several charges stemming from an incident at the end of August involving the attempted killing of bats, shooting into a safety zone without prior permission, and damage to property by gunfire. The individual pleaded guilty and ended up paying approximately $456 in fines and costs, and an additional $1,500 in damages caused by the errant gunfire.
• Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley reports issuing written warnings to several individuals for failure to possess identification while hunting.
• Lackawanna County WCO Kevin Moran reports that an individual was cited for multiple violations that occurred on State Game Land 135. The individual drove his Jeep behind a game lands gate. He received over $1,200 in fines.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Luzerne County Waterways Conservation Officer Aaron Lupacchini received a report that an individual was selling snakes in the Larksville area. After investigation, Lupacchini found and confiscated two eastern hognose snakes which had been offered for sale. The seller of the native species was charged with multiple violations.
From the Game Commission
• WCO Cadet Eric M. Kelly, working with Berks County WCO Matt Teehan, reports that, while on field training on opening day of the regular archery season, they handled multiple incidents, including an illegal deer case. They conducted multiple interviews and the seized venison from the two illegally taken deer. The other incident involved two baited treestands, damage to property, and other pending charges.
• Berks County WCO Eric Anderson reports that a county man was cited for setting snare traps in a residential area in an attempt to catch deer. The traps were set in a safety zone, and the individual did not possess a hunting license.
• Bucks County WCO John Papson reports that warnings have been given to several individuals for failure to properly follow the deer-attractant permit. In addition, the area will need to be cleaned up and may not be hunted for 30 days. Papson also reports that several mistake kills have been turned in.
• Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports a mature bald eagle was found dead underneath a power line. “This was less than a mile from a known nest but it has not been determined if it was one of the mated pair that successfully hatched three eaglets this past spring,” he said.
• Montgomery County WCO Raymond Madden was recently contacted by a local police department about a deer call police were handling. The deer was lying on a back porch and would not move. “Normally, this is not unusual since injured deer sometimes end up next to homes,” he said. “What was unusual was that this porch was actually elevated with about eight steps between the porch and the ground.” After Madden arrived, the deer, appearing to not be injured, came walking down the steps and walked into the woods.
• WCO Cadet Jeremy Febinger, working with Schuylkill County WCO Kevin Clouser, reports that two citations were issued on State Game Land 80 for scattering bait and hunting through the use of bait.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• Bucks County WCO Brendan Ryan arrested a 20-year-old Milford, New Jersey, man for DUI in the parking lot of the PFBC Riegelsville Access Area on the Delaware River after finding the man behind the wheel of a car with the engine running and the hazard lights flashing. After conducting field sobriety tests, the subject was arrested and a subsequent search discovered that he was in possession of “bath salts.” Bath salts is a term used to describe a number of illegal designer drugs. Ryan is awaiting lab results for both the blood sample drawn from the defendant and for the suspected bath salts that were seized as evidence.