Pennsylvania Cuffs & Collars – February 12th, 2016

NORTHWEST REGION
From the Game Commission 

Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports many individuals were cited in rifle deer season for having a loaded firearm on or against a motor vehicle. This safety violation carries a fine of $100 to $200 if the vehicle is not in motion, and can be $150 to $300 if the vehicle is in motion.

Erie County WCO Michael J. Stutts Jr. filed charges after completing an investigation of an unlawfully killed antlerless deer in the Fairview area. The evidence found at the scene showed that the deer was killed with a shotgun during the flintlock deer season. The man also was charged for not having the proper license.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that a number of individuals have not responded to citations issued for offenses that took place during the recent rifle deer season. Arrest warrants will be issued for these individuals in the near future. Individuals who fail to respond to a citation within 60 days have their hunting and furtaking privileges automatically suspended.

Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber reports that two individuals were cited for killing seven deer at night through use of a light. A penalty of up to $10,000 in fines and up to 18 months in jail can be assessed for each deer. The defendants also were charged with several other offenses that will add to their penalties. Their cases currently are working their way through the court system.

Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber reports that many hunters were cited for not carrying their licenses with them while hunting, and a few were cited for not purchasing a license at all. 

SOUTHWEST REGION
From the Game Commission 

Allegheny County WCO Doug Bergman reports that charges for furtaking violations were filed against an individual from North Huntington. Charges included bait visible from the air and trap-tagging violations.

Allegheny County WCO Doug Bergman reports that charges were filed against a North Versailles woman for acquiring a hunting license without having the required Hunter-Trapper Education certification. All first-time license buyers, regardless of age, are required to become certified through completion of a basic course. 

Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that, on the last day of the extended firearms antlerless deer season, several individuals were cited for various license and device violations. The violations included hunting for antlerless deer without a WMU 2B license, possessing a WMU 2B license belonging to another, hunting antlered deer with an inline muzzleloader during flintlock season, and hunting for coyotes during firearms deer season without a furtaker license.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that incidents involving hunters not having purchased their hunting licenses increased this year in his district. Eight hunters checked in deer season had not purchased a hunting license. Also, several hunters checked in archery and muzzleloader season had not purchased the required license for that season.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that a joint investigation with officers from Jefferson County led to charges being filed against a poacher who killed five bucks. Three of the bucks were killed in Jefferson County and left to rot, and two – including a trophy class buck that scored 131 1/8 – were killed in Armstrong County.

Armstrong and Indiana counties GLMGS Art Hamley reports that illegal activity and vandalism at the State Game Land 248 shooting range in Indiana County has been reduced significantly since users have been required to possess either a shooting-range permit or valid hunting license. All users now have a vested financial interest in the range. 

Fayette and Westmoreland counties WCO Andrew Harvey reports that charges have been filed against numerous individuals for multiple shooting range violations.  

Indiana County WCO Chris Reidmiller reports two individuals recently were cited for possessing an antlered deer head unlawfully. The pair had found a deer that a hunter had lawfully harvested and removed the head without the hunter’s knowledge.

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that two individuals pleaded guilty to spotlighting with a firearm. These individuals were spotlighting during the two-week rifle deer season when spotlighting is prohibited. The information was provided.. 

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that, with the recent snow accumulation, snowmobile activity has increased. Complaints have been generated on properties enrolled in the public access program. As to operation of snowmobiles on state game lands, only certain tracts of land and designated trails are open to travel. 

Washington County WCO Dan Sitler reports that several individuals have been stopped and cited on Hunter Access cooperator properties. The activity is occurring at night with a variety of violations occurring.  

Washington and Allegheny counties WCO Chris Bergman reports that investigations and increased patrols are underway for individuals responsible for driving through the fields of farmers enrolled in the Hunter Access program.  

Washington and Allegheny counties WCO Chris Bergman reports that a McKeesport man pleaded guilty to killing a protected buck during the firearms deer season. The man dropped the deer off at a processor during closed hours. He cut the head off of the deer and took it home with him, then left an antlerless tag along with his order for steaks, chops, and roasts.

Westmoreland County WCO Matthew Lucas reports an investigation on the Sunday following the regular deer season led to charges being filed against a North Huntingdon man. The man killed an antlered deer from his kitchen window with a compound bow over a pile of corn at 7 p.m. Sunday. 

Westmoreland County WCO Matthew Lucas reports a Connellsville man pleaded guilty to shooting at antlerless deer after alighting from the vehicle in South Huntingdon Township. “I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I heard a gunshot, crested a hill and found the man leaning on a fence post with the truck parked halfway on the road with the door hanging open. He had a look of disbelief when he turned and saw my truck approaching,” he said.

Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that, on the last day of regular rifle deer season, officers responded to a safety-zone complaint in the last few hours of daylight. “To our surprise, we discovered two antlerless deer that were not properly tagged or taken by someone without a tag for that management unit. The deer were discovered after finding an adult hunter hiding in an enclosed treestand a mere 20 feet from the ATV and unlawful deer,” he said.

Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports a motorist reported a group of hunters that looked as if they were under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. At the conclusion of the investigation, officers arrested two individuals for hunting under the influence of marijuana and oxycodone. One individual was a felon not to possess firearms, and had shot and killed two protected deer with an AR-15 rifle and full metal jacket ammunition. Officers also discovered a marijuana grow site 30 yards from where the pair was arrested.

Westmoreland County WCO Brian Singer reports that, during regular rifle deer season, officers responded to a complaint about an individual who fired six rounds from a 9mm handgun at a group of deer that just crossed the road in front of the vehicle. Before officers arrived, the owner of a nearby home already had confronted the hunter. “The suspect shot directly at a residence while striking and eventually killing one of the deer. During the confrontation, the homeowner demanded the suspect’s driver’s license and hunting license,” he said. “The driver fled the area, but not before the woman was able to get a good driver, vehicle and license plate description. Subsequent interviews with the suspect revealed that he was scared of the irate woman and fled because he had a “few beers” prior to the incident. Criminal charges are pending.”

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission 

Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports an individual pleaded guilty after multiple charges were filed pertaining to an unlawfully taken deer. Additional charges stemming from the same incident included hunting without orange, trespass while hunting, and failure to tag a big-game animal. The individual received $1,400 in fines. 

Blair County WCO William Brehun reports that an Altoona resident was cited for the unlawful attempt to take big game, hunting through the use of bait, feeding deer inside Disease Management Area 2, and failure to produce his hunting license and identification while hunting in the late archery season.

Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that charges are pending against a Hyndman area man for unlawfully possessing a large rack buck that was hit by a car. The buck was still alive and unlawfully shot after dark. The man admitted to then filling out a deer tag that belonged to his relative to make the deer look as though it was lawfully taken. 

Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan reports that many violations involving illegal deer have been addressed this past deer season, and a few are still being investigated. Also a person who shot a bullet into a house is being sought.  

Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson reported that a 51-year-old male and a 16-year-old juvenile have pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a road-hunting incident that occurred on Nov. 14, 2015.  The intoxicated adult shot at a deer after legal hunting hours through the use of a spotlight. The juvenile operated the vehicle and drove away from the scene with the vehicle lights turned off. “Upon stopping the vehicle, it was found that the adult had thrown the loaded rifle out of the vehicle’s window when he observed the emergency lights of my patrol vehicle,” Anderson said.

York County WCO Steve Knickel reports that tips he received led to the arrest of a person not to possess firearms, who also was hunting without first securing the proper license. He did not realize an officer was watching him for some time prior to attempting to make contact. The individual ran off when he noticed the officer. Upon being contacted at his home, he claimed that he was profusely sweating because he had been hanging Christmas lights. 

Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn filed one citation for a person killing an antlerless deer over the limit. Another citation was filed and that person was convicted in court of tampering with the trap of another. He filed an additional citation against another individual for tampering with the trap of another and possessing a red fox illegally.  

York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that an individual has been cited for killing a white-tailed deer out of season. The individual was a Maryland resident who has a camp in York County. He decided that while he was out riding on his ATV with his crossbow, he was going to kill a deer. He and several other men in the camp continued to deny anyone having killed or being in possession of a deer. It wasn’t until a small girl of about 8 years old stepped out, overhearing the conversation, stated “my uncle just killed a deer tonight,” then the stories began to change. Several citations were filed and the main violator pleaded guilty and paid over $1,300 in fines

Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny reports that, with the unusually warm weather seen during much of the winter numerous people have been reporting encounters with bears. She also had been informed that at least one individual encountered a rattlesnake while lining up to start a deer drive during the rifle deer season.  

Bedford County WCO Brandon Pfister reports that one person from a poaching ring has pleaded guilty to shooting five deer at night this summer. Total fines for those violation are $8,650.

Blair and Huntingdon counties LMO Chris Skipper reminds hunters that courtesy CWD dumpsters are for the disposal of high-risk parts and not garbage, some of which has been showing up in the dumpsters.

Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich advises the Game Commission’s enforcement is not limited to wildlife violations, even at the peak of hunting seasons.  He and his deputies handled eight separate drug-related violations on Nov. 27 and 28.

NORTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission 

Columbia County WCO John Morack reports that two Northumberland County men were cited for two separate and unrelated dumping cases along wooded areas open to public hunting and trapping along Snake Road in Conyngham Township. The individuals face fines and costs totaling over $500 each and are required to clean up the dump sites and properly dispose of the trash that was deposited.

From the Fish & Boat Commission 

Lackawanna County Waterways Conservation Officer Kadin Thompson is currently investigating encroachments upon Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission property. Fish & Boat Commission properties are held in trust for the citizens of the commonwealth focusing on fishing and boating. Non-public uses are prohibited. The placing and/or storage of personal property, cutting of trees and vegetation, and removing of commonwealth property by individuals or other entities without permission or license are prohibited. In this case the violations occurring on commission property were that the property was being used for the storage of personal property and the cutting of trees and vegetation.

Luzerne County Waterways Conservation Officer John Cummings is currently investigating a “Disturbance of Watershed and Waterways” violation where a streambed has been excavated, moved, and a levy was built from the streambed materials without a permit or any erosion controls in place. This occurred in an area where wild trout are present involving a listed “Exceptional Value” wild trout stream. Remedies and penalties are pending. 

SOUTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission 

Berks County WCO Matt Teehan reports an increasing number of high-profile cases over recent years. These cases might involve multiple big-game violations, harvests well over the bag limit, execution of search warrants large-scale marijuana cultivation on game lands or extensive damage to property. “This may seem to be the norm for the newer officers, but officers with a couple of decades under their belts have seen a major increase in the threat to our natural resources, and to officer safety,” he said.  

Buck County WCO Shawna Burkett reports investigating several dumping complaints over the course of the hunting seasons. One instance involved someone leaving several striped bass carcasses in a Game Commission parking lot. Another included a hunter who disposed of three antlerless deer carcasses on private property. “Hunters are reminded that such waste is able to be disposed of with their household trash,” she said.

Chester County WCO Matthew Johnson reports that charges were filed against multiple hunters this season for transporting the high-risk parts of harvested deer out of Disease Management Area 2. The deer parts were found at multiple butchers in Chester County by officers and other Game Commission employees. 

Chester County WCO Keith Mullin reports that the eagles in the Homeville area have built two new nests to replace the nest that fell last season. The pair has not yet decided on which nest it will use this year.  There are also reports of a new eagle nest at the Maryland line. Mullin has found what appears to be a nest but cannot yet confirm if eagles are using it. 

Dauphin County WCO Scott Frederick of cited two individuals on the Susquehanna River for waterfowl violations that included not having Federal Duck Stamps and not carrying identification or their current, valid hunting licenses with them. “Even if one has purchased their hunting license and fails to have it with them while they are engaged in a hunting activity in the field, it can result in a citation equal to that for not buying a hunting license at all,” he said.  

Delaware County WCO Justin Ritter reports that an individual has been charged for the unlawful taking of an antlerless deer on Christmas eve. The individual did not possess any antlerless tags and the deer season was not open. The individual was caught after a concerned citizen called Radnor Police Department; which in return called a deputy wildlife conservation officer to assist.  

Delaware County WCO Justin Ritter reports that a five waterfowl hunters have been cited for various violations. The violations include unplugged shotguns, possessing lead or toxic shot, not having a Federal Duck Stamp and unsigned stamps. Other violations included not reporting harvested deer and an unsigned license. Pennsylvania State Police made the initial stop of the hunters.

Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that eagle nests in the district all seem to have nesting activity. He has been able to see the pair working on most of the nests. 

Lebanon County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that all Hunter-Trapper Education classes have been scheduled for Lebanon County. The first two classes are almost full.

Lehigh and Northampton counties WCO Tyler Kreider reports that a Freemansburg man who was charged for shooting an arrow into a local resident’s back patio door has pleaded guilty and will pay fines and restitution totaling $1,450. 

Montgomery County WCO Raymond Madden reports that he is working on multiple ongoing relating to unlawful killing of deer.

Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that high concentrations of snow and Canada geese are drawing waterfowl hunters from across the state, and a few nonresident hunters were field checked, too. “Some hunters are traveling several hours just to hunt snows, with some groups coming in the day prior to set up 1,000 plus decoys,” he said.

Schuylkill County WCO Joel Gibble reports that charges have been filed against an individual who shot a doe over bait after the close of the season and also shot a deer in the fall and did not tag it.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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