Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – October 23rd, 2015

From the Game Commission 

Butler County WCO Chip L. Brunst reports investigating several treestands where bait was unlawfully placed nearby to entice deer to the stand. Last year, Brunst charged two individuals with placing bait on state game lands, as well as hunting near it. Again this year, at least two cases are on state game lands. Another case involves the use of corn by the treestand, and the stand is only 75 feet from the edge of a farmer’s cornfield. Charges are pending.

Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports a Shippenville man was apprehended for damaging property and operating an ATV on State Game Land 63. Both violations arose from two separate incidents.

Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that he is still checking hunters who claim to have purchased add-on licenses that do not show on their back tag. 

Jefferson County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports that someone posted on the Internet a picture of a 10-point buck that was “poached” in the Reynoldsville area. Girosky found it was hit by a vehicle, dispatched by the police and picked up. 

Venango County WCO Jason R. Amory reports that several people were warned, and one person from the Polk area was cited, for unlawfully casting the rays of an artificial light in an attempt to locate game or wildlife between 11 p.m. and sunrise the next day. 

From the Fish & Boat Commission

Erie County WCO James Smolko was on routine patrol at the Walnut Creek Access Area when a vehicle in the parking lot was observed operating in a negligent manner by doing burn outs and traveling at a high rate of speed.  Smolko initiated a traffic stop, and through his contact with the driver, determined that the operator was driving under the influence. Further investigation revealed that the driver was on a DUI suspended license for previous offenses. Smolko placed the driver under arrest and transported him to a local hospital where a blood draw was conducted, charges are pending.

From the Game Commission

Centre County WCO Michael Ondik reports that an individual recently pleaded guilty to scattering garbage on land enrolled in the Game Commission’s Hunter Access program. One benefit of enrolling is that game lands and open hunting lands violations become enforceable on these enrolled private lands. This litterbug paid fines in excess of $300.

Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee has been working with Attorney General’s office agents in regard to marijuana cultivation on State Game Land 268. Mee and agents conducted surveillance and identified a suspect, who was growing marijuana in several areas on and off of State Game Land 268. The suspect has been charged with various drug and game lands violations.

Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports he spent a lot of time in the Pine Creek Valley this spring and summer dealing with bears with mange. Several bears had to be removed from the population because of this. They had almost no hair, gray scabby skin, almost a total loss of all muscle mass, and often were stumbling and not aware of their surroundings. Cole states several people have since reported they have been seeing only healthy bears of late. While this is good news, Cole reminded citizens the mange mite is still around, and any feeding or congregating of the bears would surely cause the mange to spread quickly again. The only way to minimize the spread of mange is to prevent the bears from using the same areas.

Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reported that a Cogan Station woman was cited for hunting through the use of bait on the opening morning of archery deer season. Charges were filed before Magisterial District Judge James Sortman in Williamsport.

Potter County WCO Mark Fair reports this year he’s caught about two mange-infested bears for every 10 captured over the last few years. Interestingly, the bear-research team captured approximately 40 bears in remote areas of the Susquehannock State Forest. Only one bear showed mild mange symptoms. Fair said the difference is that most of the bears he captured were in camp communities and residential areas. 

Elk County WCO Jason Wagner reports State Game Land 311 was bustling with eager elk viewers during the rut. Major improvements were made over the past year at the Winslow Hill Viewing Area in an effort to increase public safety, reduce traffic congestion and improve the viewing experience for wildlife watchers. With these changes came the implementation of an expanded restricted area, and the public largely has obeyed the bigger boundaries. Several verbal warnings were issued in order to keep people off of the fringes of restricted areas and from stopping on roads. At least one bull elk has been reported as showing aggressive tendencies in the town of Benezette, and this animal has also been sighted on the game lands.

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that an emaciated bobcat was euthanized due to it being covered in porcupine quills in Bradford Township.

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer checked four waterfowl hunters on the opening day of the resident goose season, and they were all in violation. Three individuals did not have their Federal Duck Stamp signed across the face of the stamp and the other lacked the migratory game bird license that cost $3.70.

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer immobilized a black bear with a dart projector inside a 50-acre game preserve fence that contained 10 wild boars. The bear was transported from the area and released back into the Quehanna Wild Area. The game preserve manger did not want to euthanize the bear even with the threat it posed to the pigs, and instead wanted to get this animal back into the wild, hopefully giving a hunter a chance at the resource. 

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that a convicted felon was encountered in the Lecontes Mills area with a stolen firearm that had a serial number altered from the frame of the pistol. The case was turned over to State Police in Woodland for prosecution.

Potter County WCO William Ragosta reports an ongoing investigation involving the unlawful trapping of multiple furbearers by unlawful methods.

Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston reports that several ATVs, motorcycles, and a UTV were observed traveling illegally on Forest Game cooperator property in Jones Township. The witness quickly took photos and video of the large group of riders as they passed. Several of the individuals have been identified from the photographs. An investigation is ongoing to identify others in the group. Charges on those identified will be pending upon the completion of the investigation.  

Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt cited an Emporium woman for unlawful possession of a raccoon. The animal viciously attacked her resulting in a trip to the emergency room. She had taken in the raccoon 14 years ago as an orphan and kept it in her home ever since. It tested negative for rabies.  

Tioga County WCO Steve Brussese reports that two deer were shot with a high-powered rifle in a field off of Colegrove Road, Farmington Township. Both, an antlered and antlerless deer, were left behind in the field.    

From the Game Commission 

Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports that an individual recently was found to be in possession of an unlawful deer, which was shot in Maryland by an unlicensed hunter. If found guilty, the individual could face fines up to $800. 

Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson assisted the local drug task force in the execution of a search warrant at a residence suspected to be involved with the dealing heroin. 

Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that persons found to be hunting deer over bait in Bedford County also are being cited with unlawfully placing food for deer within a Disease Management Area.

Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan said investigations are being conducted on illegal baiting in which hunters have placed food near their treestands. Also on game lands, some hunters have cut trees in order to create shooting lanes. This is also a violation for which they will be cited if identified.

York County WCO Kyle Jury said Wildlife Conservation officers have received information about hunters who might still have deer feed out around hunting locations inside the 30 days prior to archery deer season.  

Fulton County WCO Justin Klugh filed a citation against an individual for hunting doves without the required migratory bird license.

York County WCO Steve Knickel said in the last 10 days of September, 18 citations were filed for violations ranging from mudding on game lands, to drug possession and the unlawful taking of wildlife.

Huntingdon County WCO Richard Macklem II cited an individual for possessing a road-killed deer without obtaining the proper permits. He has since pleaded guilty.

Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn attended a hearing this month where the defendant was found guilty of one count of selling game or wildlife, and seven counts of unlawfully possessing Canada geese. He was ordered to pay a $1,700 fine and was given a three-year license revocation by the judge.  

Mifflin County WCO Jeff Mock reported that, on Labor Day, three Mifflin County residents were checked while dove hunting. None had a valid hunting license or migratory game bird license. They were observed hunting at 11 a.m., one hour prior to legal hunting hours. One of the three was “shooting them out of the trees” with a .22 caliber rifle. During the investigation, evidence was uncovered that the trio had been doing the same thing the day before – on Sunday.

Bedford WCO Brandon Pfister said a Saxton man is facing charges of dumping on State Game Land 73.

Franklin County WCO Amanda Powell reports that several individual were caught hunting through the use of bait on the first day of archery deer season.   

York County WCO Kyle Jury reported that, during September, the top violations in his district were the unlawful feeding of deer within a Disease Management Area. Also in September, a Dover resident was awarded $250 in reward money for providing information that led to the successful prosecution of a turkey-poaching case from earlier this year.  

York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that illegal dumping of trash on game lands and cooperator property is on the rise. Much of this trash is construction waste, such as old drywall, insulation and paint cans. 

From the Game Commission

Bradford County WCO Blake Barth reports investigating two separate incidents involving deer being illegally shot at night. 

Montour County WCO Michael College reports that a juvenile bald eagle was recently released in Point Township, Northumberland County. The eagle was injured and on the ground in June and could not fly. It was determined that it had a broken leg. The eagle was taken to the Carbon County Environmental Education Center where it spent five months there and was successfully rehabilitated.        

Pike and Monroe counties WCO Mark Kropa reports four men from New York City were recently were cited for riding motor cycles illegally on State Game Land 180. Through the investigation, it was found they’d been riding all summer on the game lands and on private property all over Pike County. Total fines could reach $2,400.

Pike and Monroe counties WCO Mark Kropa reports a man from Dingmans Ferry was found guilty of possessing an illegal deer taken in February. Although the deer was never found through DNA analysis, it was determined this was a deer that was shot illegally after the late archery/muzzleloader season. Fines and restitution totaled over $2,400.

Lackawanna County WCO Jared Turner reports that there are still a number of trail cameras in the area with food-based attractant in front of them. Most of these locations are in close proximity to blinds and treestands.   

From the Game Commission

Berks County WCO Matt Teehan reports that illegal baiting is a problem in WMU 5C. The first day of the archery deer season resulted in four charges for use of bait to hunt for deer (one was a repeat offender), two counts of the unlawful taking of big game over the limit and through the use of bait, failure to possess a license and various other charges. 

Chester County WCO Matthew Johnson reports that, in late September, a hunter shot an occupied house with a crossbow in a residential neighborhood in Coatesville. Johnson is working with Coatesville Police in investigating the incident. The suspect has been identified, and charges will be filed.

Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that hunting pressure during the resident Canada goose and migratory mourning dove seasons was low but the numbers of violations encountered were not. Individuals were cited for safety-zone violations, unplugged shotguns and the unlawful taking of protected birds.

Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham cited two non-residents for unlawful use of a motor vehicle to hunt, loaded firearms in a vehicle in motion, shooting on or across roads, safety-zone violations and unlawful taking or possession of doves. The incident occurred on a well-traveled road while a family was having a cookout in their yard. The family, concerned for their safety, reported the violation. The violators were apprehended and charged.

Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports another poaching group has been caught. Three individuals have been charged with an incident from early September. Two brothers were in the bed of a pickup truck while a female individual drove and held the spotlight. The brothers shot at a deer and got scared off by the witness. The incident took place around 4 a.m. One of the brothers returned the next day to get the deer. 

Lehigh and Northampton counties WCO Tyler Kreider reports that, on Sept. 30, a juvenile female and male passenger were stopped after traveling on a dirt road closed to traffic on a public access cooperator property. The individuals are believed to have been “mudding” on the property during the same time other citizens were attempting to hunt the property during the archery season. A citation has been filed. 

Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that several bait cases originating from the opening day of the early archery deer season in WMU 5C have been settled in court. Two additional bait cases are awaiting resolution. 

Philadelphia County WCO Jerrold W. Czech Jr. responded to a call from Philadelphia Police, to assist with a case near Temple University’s main campus. Neighbors reported a person with a gun, and found two windows shot and a dead squirrel. The man admitted to shooting the squirrel because he was bored. Czech cited the individual for unlawful taking and possession of the squirrel and the gun was confiscated.  

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