From the Game Commission
• Butler County WCO Randy W. Pilarcik notes that, since the archery season is in full swing, he has been getting complaints from sportsmen about baited treestands. He has investigated those complaints and found different types of bait. One hunter had placed near his treestand a salt block, mineral block, corn and a powdered substance in an attempt to lure deer. Another hunter was using a commercial powdered substance, used screw-in steps, and cut down multiple saplings to set up shooting lanes – all without permission from the landowner. Charges have been filed against these individuals.
• Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish said that on the first day of archery season, two Clarion County hunters were cited for hunting through the use of bait. Fines and penalties for this type of violation range from $150 to $300.
• Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that a Shippenville individual was apprehended and cited for using a vehicle to hunt, alighting and shooting from the highway, employing prohibited devices and methods and unlawful taking of game or wildlife. Fines and penalties in this case can be up to $2,600 and 30 days of imprisonment.
• Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports several citations being issued in the last couple of weeks for individuals not wearing orange, operating ATVs or UTVs on state game lands, baiting or poaching activities.
• Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports, while assisting WCO Jacob J. Olexsak with a lengthy investigation, confessions were obtained from two individuals who shot at a deer from a vehicle in the early morning hours last November. The individuals fled from Game Commission officers at a high rate of speed at the time of the incident and their identities were confirmed during the investigation. Numerous citations have been and will be filed against the individuals involved in the Cussewago Township incident.
• Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that during the first few weeks of archery season, three individuals were cited for hunting from baited stands. Two individuals were cited for attempting to take a deer through the use of a vehicle. One individual was cited for a fluorescent-orange violation and for purchasing a hunting license without first completing a Hunter-Trapper Education course.
• Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that citations have been issued this month for littering on state game lands, as well as hunting through the use of a vehicle.
• Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin responded to a call from an irate farmer concerning a hunter in an “unharvested soybean field.” The hunter and his dog, a Chesapeake retriever, were several hundred yards into the soybean field hunting pheasants. When confronted the hunter was apologetic and stated he was trying to be careful as he walked. Chaybin talked to the farmer as DWCO Thomas R. Jones located the hunter afield. He had been hunting on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ property and his dog kept flushing birds ahead of him. He admitted that he knew he had crossed onto the private property, but said he was in pursuit of pheasants that flew there. A citation was issued.
• Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin received a report that resulted in multiple violations. An archery deer hunter was found in his stand with a white salt block just 5 yards away. The archer wasn’t wearing or displaying the required orange during the October muzzleloader season. There were also several small limbs cut from the tree, and he had three screw hooks or hangers placed above his platform. When asked about landowner permission for the tree damage he gave vague information about talking to some guy working in the field once and he was OK with him using a treestand. The WCO’s follow-up visit to the property owner determined that he did not have permission to hunt their property, let alone cause damage to trees. Charges are pending.
• Crawford and Erie counties LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that Game Commission officers were recently issued and trained on AR-style patrol rifles. These rifles will help better protect officers and the public in critical situations.
• WCO Cadet Skyler K. Gibble, with Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish, reports that a Jefferson County resident has been cited for damage to property and traveling on a road closed to vehicle traffic on State Game Land 283 in Clarion County. These fines can exceed $300.
From the Game Commission
• Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports that October saw a major increase in law-enforcement activity. One subject was arrested for possession with intent to deliver narcotics along with several other drug possession charges. One individual was arrested for possessing a concealed firearm without a license. DUI charges were filed against a man whose blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit. Resisting charges were filed against one suspect for flight by vehicle along with various game law charges for others including loaded firearms in vehicles, littering, and failure to tag big game.
• Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson reported that a Perry County man was recently found guilty of charges stemming from an incident which occurred during the last day of the 2013 rifle deer season. The defendant was ordered to pay $3,000 for illegally killing multiple does within a safety zone and will face a possible five-year hunting license revocation.
• Blair County WCO William Brehun reports that two individuals have recently been cited on State Game Land 198 for hunting squirrels with semi-automatic rifles.
• Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that a Bedford man was found to be hunting in an area baited heavily with corn on Oct. 11. The man was sitting in a blind with a loaded .22-caliber rifle. It was also discovered that he had no hunting license. He stated he was “just hunting squirrels” which were not in season at the time. Multiple citations have been filed in the case.
• Adams County WCO Darren David reports that, last January, a person witnessed a man and his mentored youth son hunting squirrels from a treestand over bait while using a shotgun admittedly loaded with buckshot. The two were in the same treestand on the first day of archery deer season eight months later. They were hunting over bait again. The man was charged with two counts of hunting over bait, and one count of killing a squirrel over bait. He was found guilty of all charges which totaled almost $1,000 in fines and costs.
• Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan reports that several orange violations were encountered during the early muzzleloader/rifle/archery overlap season. One involved an adult who had a junior hunter with him who was hunting squirrels. The adult who was responsible for the junior, permitted him to hunt without wearing the proper amount of fluorescent orange.
• York County WCO Kyle Jury reports that the recent law-enforcement efforts have been focused on unlawful nighttime activity. The bulk of recent night-related encounters have come from incidents occurring in Washington and Franklin townships. Some of the charges that conservation officers have recently encountered are spotlighting while in possession of a firearm, spotlighting after 11 p.m., loaded firearms in vehicles, and control of property regulations.
• Fulton County WCO Justin Klugh said that an individual who was caught shooting a small buck with a spotlight from the car in September has pleaded guilty to the resulting charges that were filed.
• Huntingdon County WCO Richard Macklem reports that an individual he cited for not tagging a 6-point buck that he shot in archery season has pleaded guilty. He said the buck was too small to tag and wanted a bigger one. Macklem has also issued multiple citations to two individuals for hunting deer on Sunday over bait.
• Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn filed citations on two individuals for multiple game lands use violations. He filed a citation on an individual for possessing an untagged deer. An additional citation was filed on an individual for placing mineral on game lands and a citation was filed on an individual for not wearing the required orange during the muzzleloader overlap with archery.
• Mifflin County WCO Jeff Mock reports that four Juniata County residents were involved in a poaching incident in Spruce Hill Township. Officers were dispatched to the area on a report of someone spotlighting and shooting. While investigating the report, a vehicle was observed spotlighting after 11 p.m. The vehicle was stopped; inside the truck were four individuals, a spotlight and a loaded .22 rifle. The driver of the truck admitted to having fired the shot at a deer earlier in the evening. Charges have been filed for attempting to take a deer with the aid of a spotlight and attempting to take a deer in closed season. Several other charges were also filed.
• York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that two adult hunters were cited for hunting pheasants during the youth- only season. Musser also reports that baiting complaints are on the rise this year. Several hunters have been caught hunting through the use of bait and more baiting information seems to continue to come in.
• Blair and Huntingdon counties LMGS Chris Skipper reports the completion of a vehicle bridge on State Game Land 67 off of Route 913. The previous crossing, consisting of culverts, was washed out during Hurricane Ivan in the 1990s.
• Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny reports that a black bear had been responsible for the killing of a goat in her district. Despite trapping efforts, the bear never returned to the area and has not been captured.
• Cumberland County WCO Timothy Wenrich stated “We received disposition on nine cases, including game lands violations, hunter access property violations, and game lands range violations. One was a summary appeal, where the defendant did not appear at the summary trial and was found guilty. She filed an appeal, and then appeared at the county summary appeal trial to plead guilty to the offense.”
From the Game Commission
• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea received information that a hunter set up a blind 20 yards away from a feeder full of corn. The hunter was hunting in the blind on the first day of archery season and was cited for hunting through the use of bait.
• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reports his deputies issued several warnings to waterfowl hunters for unsigned duck stamps. Several archery hunters also were issued warnings for failure to wear the proper amount of fluorescent orange material during the overlap with muzzleloader and early firearms deer seasons.
• Wayne County WCO Frank Dooley reports an increase in nighttime shooting incidents where deer carcasses were found with the head severed off, leaving the entire carcass to rot. Several leads are being followed.
• Sullivan County WCO Rick Finnegan reports road hunting and taking advantage of bait to hunt have become more than a common occurrence during this hunting season.
• Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa reports several suspects have been charged with unlawful use of bait while hunting, with one suspect having killed deer through the use of the bait.
• Susquehanna County WCO Mike Webb reports that spotlighting activity appears to be slightly down from last year.
• Susquehanna County WCO Mike Webb reports that two deer were shot with a small-caliber rifle in Liberty Township, near Lower Rhiney Creek Road, on or about Oct. 3. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Game Commission Northeast Region Office at 570-675-1143.
From the Game Commission
• Berks County WCO Matt Teehan reports that during the month of October, Cadet Eric Kelly was assigned to northeastern Berks County and had more than his share of activity. He was very busy with four illegal deer cases, three cases of taking protected birds during the early duck season, four baiting violations, several damage-to-property incidents, license and orange violations, and hunter trespass. In addition he instructed at two Hunter-Trapper Education classes, a program for Hawk Mountain interns, attended a Federation meeting, processed a research bear and completed two firearms training sessions.
• WCO Cadet Ben Rebuck, working with Berks County WCO Eric Anderson, reports they cited three individuals for disorderly conduct under the Game and Wildlife Code for possession of drugs/paraphernalia.
• Bucks County WCO John Papson is investigating cases involving two deer shot at night and another deer killed illegally in a baited area. Citations also have been filed for possessing the license of another, unplugged shotguns and dogs chasing deer.
• Chester County WCO Scott Frederick discovered a man sleeping in his car on state game lands. He was in possession of illegal narcotics and paraphernalia in plain sight. Charges are pending.
• Chester County WCO Scott Frederick reports that while working a night-patrol detail, DWCOs Tom Clifford and John Klopp made a vehicle stop on two young men spotlighting after hours. During the stop, a cocked crossbow was discovered in the front passenger area of the vehicle. Charges are pending.
• Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that violations have been numerous throughout the various hunting seasons currently in place. Most common violations encountered have been fluorescent orange, baiting and game lands regulations.
• Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that an injured osprey was reported and, when captured, it appeared to have been caught in a foot-hold trap. The significant injury to its leg resulted in the need to euthanize the bird.
• WCO Cadet Jason Wagner, working with Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham, reports that three young men were cited for multiple violations at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area including camping, building a campfire, and possession of alcohol and controlled substances. Another individual also was cited for going around a gate on the tour road and bicycling through the Controlled Area during a controlled burn.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports numerous citations have been filed for hunting with the use of bait. “This year appears to be worse than past years for people hunting through the use of bait,” he said. “With the help of a lot of concerned hunters, several people have even been cited,” he said.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that charges will be filed against an individual who killed a trophy-class buck through the use of bait on state game lands. The individual used at least four “trophy rocks” and other minerals, along with apples, and placed them all within 10 to 40 yards from his treestand. “Thanks to a concerned hiker who found the bait, this case was solved,” he said. Charges have been filed including a $5,000 replacement fee for a trophy-class animal.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports charges have been filed against a person for allowing his 12-year-old daughter to harvest a doe through the use of bait. The person had a large pile of apples in a woodlot no bigger than a 100-foot circle. The apples were 18 yards from the two ladder stands they were using.
• Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports a law-enforcement detail was performed on State Game Lands 145 and 156 recently to reduce the amount of illegal mountain bike and horseback riding use. “With the help of numerous WCOs and DWCOs, we were able to catch six mountain bikers and four horseback riders on trails or roads that are clearly marked as ‘foot travel only,” he said.
• Lehigh and Northampton counties WCO Shawna Burkett reports that charges will be filed against a young man who was caught archery hunting without a license, while using bait. If convicted of all three counts, he could face over $1,400 in fines.
• Cadet Amanda Powell, working with Lehigh and Northampton counties WCO Shawna Burkett, found an individual hunting with two untagged deer. He was with two youth hunters, and they had multiple violations.
• Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that beaver complaints are increasing as colder weather approaches.
• WCO Cadet Steven A. Brussese, working with Schuylkill County WCO Kevin Clouser, reports that he is working on two separate deer cases. Both deer were shot from the road. One was shot with a muzzleloader during the early muzzleloader week and the other was shot with a crossbow during the same week.
• Environmental Education Specialist Bert Myers reports that at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, a recent banding return proved quite interesting. Biologist Jack Gilbert was banding ducks on Aug. 20 when he encountered a wood duck that had been previously banded. He sent his report to the U.S. Geological Society and learned that the wood duck was originally banded on Aug. 22, 2011, and estimated to have hatched in 2010 or earlier. “Most surprising was the fact that this wood duck had been banded in Jasper County, Indiana,” he said.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
• The PF&BC Special Investigations section, in cooperation with WCOs from the Southeast Region, recently investigated complaints concerning the sale of undersized tautog (blackfish) by several markets in Philadelphia. Although tautog are not native to the commonwealth, they are highly sought after, by both recreational and commercial anglers, in several surrounding states and have a minimum size limit of 15 inches. Three markets were inspected and found to be in violation. One market sold undersized fish on three occasions while another possessed 72 fish – some as small as 10 inches. Fines and penalties are likely to range from $60 to $3,850 plus loss of fish which have a street value of approximately $2,500. New York officials were also able to seize additional undersized fish from a Brooklyn supplier based on information provided by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.