From the Game Commission
Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that multiple individuals were found in possession of unlawful shot and unplugged shotguns during the spring turkey season. Hunters are reminded that permitted devices for spring turkey season consist of a manually operated or semi-automatic centerfire shotguns plugged to a three-shell capacity, or muzzleloading shotguns. Shot may be no larger than No. 4 lead, No. 2 steel or No. 4 of any other composition or alloy of nontoxic shot approved by the director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports several incidents of litter being dumped this spring on cooperator property and game lands. Citations have been filed in some cases. In one instance, criminal charges are pending.
Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt and DWCO Charles E. Worley assisted Fish & Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officer Erik Shellgren patrol Salmon Creek. They also helped local EMS with a serious all-terrain vehicle accident along a township road in Kingsley Township. Six citations and approximately a dozen warnings were given over the Memorial Day weekend at State Game Land 24 rifle range.
Forest County WCO Frank E. Leichtenberger reports that a group of four ATV operators were apprehended on the Allegheny National Forest on Memorial Day weekend by units from the Game Commission and the U.S. Forest Service. All of the persons operating the off-road vehicles were under 18 and had been running the machines on illegal trails, township roads, and Forest Service roads throughout the area. They had also ridden through the yards of a number of camps, spinning “doughnuts” in at least one of them. The oldest two had been given verbal warnings several years ago for operating ATVs and dirt bikes on a Forest Service road in the same area. The younger two operators were just following them and had no idea where they were or how to get back to their starting point. Two groups of adults were notified and came with trailers to collect the riders and their machines.
Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that evidence of illegal drug use left behind on game lands and other secluded properties is on the rise.
Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that citations have been filed against a woman for having nine wild skunks as pets in an outdoor enclosure in her yard. All of the skunks were capable of spraying.
Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that charges have been filed against a woman who took a wild raccoon as a pet for the several children living in her home.
Warren County WCO Eric M. McBride reports that a witness reported seeing an individual get out of a car along the side of the road and shoot at geese, but the information provided has not led to any suspects in the case.
Warren County WCO Matthew R. Savinda reports that residents in Cherry Grove Township have complained about ATVs on State Game Land 29 and in the Allegheny National Forest. A lead is being pursued on one of the offenders, but any further information can be submitted to the Northwest Region Office in Franklin by calling 814-432-3187.
From the Game Commission
Beaver County WCO Mike Yeck reports that garbage bags containing residential trash were dumped on State Game Land 285 in Darlington Township. While investigating the site, household mail belonging to an East Palestine, Ohio, resident was located in one of the torn bags. The owner of the mail took responsibility for the trash and pleaded guilty to a $250 littering citation.
Greene County WCO Jeremy Febinger reports that a man was charged with unlawful taking of game after he posted photographs online of a bobcat that he killed illegally. “Not only did his posting lead us to finding him, but the captions he posted below the photograph provided all the details of the killing,” he said.
Indiana County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that multiple property violations have been reported near Two Lick Reservoir. Multiple individuals were recently apprehended for underage drinking, disorderly conduct, and various firearms charges.
Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports 13 citations have been filed over the past month on a section of State Game Land 111 in Somerset County. Citations include driving on a road closed to motorized vehicles and damage to property.
Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports that an effort to curtail damage to property that is part of the Loyalhanna Reservoir has resulted in several persons being cited. In one case, an individual parked his truck in a cemetery on the property. The evidence photo clearly shows the truck parked under a sign advising the vehicle couldn’t be there, and there was a gravestone behind the truck. When tracked, the driver was found turkey hunting with an unlawful device. He pleaded guilty to two charges.
Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports that an individual was camping on Loyalhanna Reservoir in an unauthorized area. “Most notable, this individual had driven into his campsite, dug fire pits, and cut and damaged trees as part of his illegal camping activity. A weeklong investigation that included help from Army Corp of Engineers and the state Fish & Boat Commission, led to guilty pleas on four charges,” he said.
Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that after a nearly six-month investigation, a Derry man pleaded guilty to taking or possessing 15 doves over the limit, and possessing untagged birds killed by others.
Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports charges are pending on a Derry man who left nearly 20 traps or cable restraints out well after the season ended, and for taking over his limit of big game. “Officers found the traps in the beginning of April – over a month after the close of the season – and during the investigation, discovered several deer taken unlawfully,” he said.
From the Game Commission
McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik and DWCO Dale Thielges responded to a complaint concerning vandalism of several Collins Pine gates, and another about four-wheel-drive vehicles driving off road and causing damage. In all, five vehicles were found on the property, and the operators of those vehicles were issued citations. One vehicle had to be towed off the property, and the operators of the two vehicles could be responsible for damages totaling over $1,000.
McKean County, WCO Tom Sabolcik prosecuted two individuals for the unlawful dumping of trash on lands open to public hunting. Both pleaded guilty and both dumping areas were cleaned up.
Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer conducted four compliance checks on the opening day of spring turkey season. Three out of the four hunters had committed violations that ranged from hunting through the use of bait to failure to properly tag big-game animals. All subjects pleaded guilty to their infractions, and the hunters who violated the tagging requirements did not possess a second spring turkey tag.
Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that a spring turkey hunter was confronted in the act of killing a timber rattlesnake in the Moshannon State Forest. He discharged his shotgun four times into the poisonous snake. Information related to the case was forwarded to the state Fish & Boat Commission for prosecution. The defendant was charged for killing the snake out of season and failure to obtain the proper permit.
Union County WCO Dirk Remensnyder cited a man for the third time for hunting while on revocation.
Tioga County WCO Steve Brussese reports an individual has been charged and pleaded guilty to shooting at game or wildlife on the Sunday following the opening day of spring gobbler season. As part of the same case, the individual also was charged and pleaded guilty to locating game or wildlife though the use of a motorized vehicle.
Tioga County WCO Robert F. Minnich had a hearing involving a New York resident who was not eligible to purchase a hunting license in Pennsylvania or New York due to previous violations. He hunted in both states this past season and killed a deer in Pennsylvania. Working with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officers, multiple violations in Pennsylvania were found. On the day of the hearing, the defendant pleaded guilty to three charges and was fined $3,000. He could lose his license in multiple states for up to 15 years.
McKean County WCO Skyler Gibble reports that two individuals were found hunting turkey without their licenses.
McKean County WCO Jeffrey Orwig reports several individuals were cited for riding ATVs illegally on state game lands and lands enrolled in the Game Commission’s Hunter Access program.
McKean County WCO Jeffrey Orwig reports that charges were filed against a hunter found in the field with a used spring turkey tag.
Elk County WCO Jason Wagner reports an individual was cited for riding an ATV on a closed road on State Game Land 25 near Glen Hazel.
Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee reports he assisted Waterways Conservation Officer Emmett Kyler in apprehending two fishermen who took nearly three times the daily limit of minnows in local streams. One fisherman was using the minnows as bait, while the second was using them to feed trout in his personal pond.
Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt reports a successful prosecution of a St. Marys man for driving a motor vehicle on the newly established West Creek Recreational Rails to Trails. “The individual was in there with a metal detector digging artifacts and removing them from State Game Lands 293.” He also was in possession of stolen property in the form of a PennDOT road sign.
Clinton County WCO Dan Murray reports two individuals were charged for dumping on lands open to public hunting and trapping.
Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports that a Mill Hall man has pleaded guilty to charges for killing a bear during closed season, and then attempting to have another person tag the bear. Cole states that the man will be paying $4,500 in fines and restitution.
Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta cited a man for attempting to take an additional spring gobbler after he had already filled his only turkey tag, as well as for hunting with an unplugged shotgun. Another man was cited when his two pit bulls killed a white-tailed fawn.
Union County LMO Thomas M. Smith reports invasive mile-a-minute has been found on State Game Land 193 and 252. An extremely aggressive plant, mile-a-minute grows as much as 6 inches a day covering native vegetation and a single plant can produce 2,000 seeds. To help control its spread, 500 Asian weevils, Rhinocominus latipes, were released on each of the game lands. These small, 2 mm weevils feed only on mile-a-minute in their native county and have been introduced in at least 10 states as form of biocontrol. Not only do they eat the leaves, their larvae burrow into the stems to kill the plant and prevent the release of seeds.
Potter County WCO Mark Fair reports that approximately 12 bears from Potter County have been reported by the public to have symptoms of mange.
Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reported that two men were recently found guilty in a trial before Magisterial District Judge Gary Whiteman for their part in the unlawful killing of a deer. The incident occurred in December along Northway Road in Loyalsock Township, Lycoming County. One of the actors shot and wounded an antlerless deer, even though he didn’t have an antlerless license. The wounded deer ran into a safety zone, where a second member of the hunting party shot the deer twice. One of the shots was fired directly toward a home. The two defendants were charged with the unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife, and one of the defendants was charged with a safety-zone violation. At the conclusion of trial, the defendants were ordered to pay $1,200 in fines. A third defendant was charged with assisting the two and pleaded guilty prior to trial. That defendant was ordered to pay $600 in fines. The three men now face the revocation of their hunting and trapping privileges.
From the Game Commission
Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports that in conjunction with the state Fish & Boat Commission, 13 citations were filed, and one DUI arrest was made during a recent detail. Violations included drug possession and entering into a restricted area.
Franklin County WCO Douglas Barrick reports that one individual was charged after removing a fawn from the wild, and keeping it for several days in his house.
Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that a Bedford County man recently was cited for purchasing a hunting license while on revocation. The defendant had not attended a remedial Hunter-Trapper Education class, as required, before purchasing another hunting license. He pleaded guilty and was fined $1,000.
Adams County WCO Darren David reports that two individuals were involved in a turkey-poaching incident in which they shot a gobbler from their vehicle. The act occurred while a man, who was legitimately hunting that bird, watched. This led to a search warrant, during the service of which multiple turkey parts, deer parts and snake skins were found. The firearms found in the home were seized due to one of the suspects being a convicted violent felon. Many charges are pending.
Franklin County WCO Eric Anderson reported that two Franklin County men have been successfully prosecuted for killing a doe out of season in November. The deer was shot illegally at night through the use of a spotlight.
York County WCO Kyle Jury reports that a turkey-poaching case resulted in $2,000 in fines, has recently been adjudicated in the northern York County district. The incident started when a witness, who was turkey hunting himself, watched a pickup driving slowly through an area where several turkeys could be seen in a field. The witness watched the vehicle stop, immediately heard a gunshot, and observed the vehicle drive off. The witness found a dead hen turkey about 20 yards off the road. He confronted the shooter when the vehicle returned. Jury and Ted Richards apprehended the suspected shooter later that day. The Dillsburg resident confessed to shooting the hen turkey from the driver’s seat of the vehicle, and pleaded guilty to all charges filed.
Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson reports that charges have been filed in conjunction with a party that was discovered on State Game Land 170 in Perry County. The party was encountered during a foot patrol at 1:50 a.m., and 14 people were taken into custody, after which, a beer keg, multiple liquor bottles and cocaine were discovered during a search of the area.
Fulton County WCO Justin Klugh stated that a turkey hunter was cited for shooting two turkeys off the roost with a .243 rifle during the spring gobbler season.
Huntingdon County WCO Richard Macklem cited two individuals for unintended use of state game lands, along with possession of a controlled substance.
Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn filed a citation against one individual for hunting within a safety zone, and against another for “doing doughnuts” (spinning his vehicle around) in a game lands parking area.
Mifflin County WCO Jeff Mock reports incidents of shots being fired at night in the Coopers Gap area are being investigated. One call was taken by Mifflin County 911. Both Mifflin County Regional Police and the Game Commission are investigating the incident.
York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that nuisance goose complaints are on the rise. It seems several geese have decided to nest near main entrances of local businesses. One set of geese made a nest near a doorway to the York Galleria Mall. They were “flogging” customers as they attempted to enter and exit the mall.
Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny recently received a call from a logger who said he had cut down a locust tree only to return the next day to hear baby birds. Upon inspection, they discovered a cavity in the tree that woodpeckers were using, and two young were still inside. “He cut a section of the tree and had it ready for me to pick up,” Nabozny said. “When I arrived at the rehabilitator with the section of tree and the two birds inside, she laughed and said it was a first that anyone has ever brought her birds still inside the tree.”
Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich reports that unlawful off-road-vehicle activity is still rampant at a South Middleton Township Hunter Access property. Everyone that is caught and interviewed doesn’t even know who owns the property, and never even considered whether the owner would allow such activity. It’s not surprising, however, because most apparently don’t even see the red and yellow signs throughout the property specifically stating that it is closed to motorized vehicles. Patrols and strict enforcement will continue.
From the Game Commission
Bradford County WCO Michael Goodenow reports an individual was cited for failing to report to the Game Commission a gray fox was killed to protect property.
From the Game Commission
Chester County WCO Matthew Johnson reports that an individual removed four live wild turkey poults from the wild near Hibernia Park. When recovered by Wildlife Conservation Officers, two of them already had died, and one of the remaining two is not expected to survive. Charges will be filed once the investigation is complete.
Dauphin County WCO Scott Frederick recently filed charges against a man found riding an ATV off Greenland Road on State Game Land 210.
Delaware County WCO Justin Ritter reports that there has been an increase of parties on public land. Most of them include alcohol, drugs and litter, he said.
Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that the five individuals who shot 265 snow geese over the limit, all have pleaded guilty and paid over $55,000 in fines and replacement costs.
Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that several charges have been filed for people using drugs and alcohol on State Game Land 145 in an area called “Dinosaur Rock.”
Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that with the help of WCOs Matt Teehan, Shawna Burkett and Greg Graham, there was a special detail performed on State Game Land 156 in Lebanon County at an area known as “1,000 steps” or “Potato Patch.” In one day, there were six people charged for using or possessing drugs and one person charged for littering. Additional warnings were given for other regulation offenses.