Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — May 12, 2017
From the Game Commission
Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that someone killed five Canada geese the weekend of April 8 and dumped them over a bridge on West Washington Street in Corry. The geese were easily seen from the road and located in an area heavily used for fishing. If anyone has information on this violation, contact the Northwest Regional Office at 814-432-3187.
Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports encountering a number of vehicles with expired registration on game land roads and parking lots lately. Most of the vehicles have had registrations that have been expired for less than a month and the operator received a warning. Unless the operator of the vehicle has permission, it is unlawful to travel on game lands or co-op roads open to vehicle travel with a vehicle or conveyance propelled by motor if it is not licensed for operation on a public highway.
Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman recently concluded a case where a subject shot a buck in archery season, two days later bought a replacement license, and was caught hunting during the rifle deer season. This lapse in judgment cost the defendant over $1,500.
Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that two Beaver County men were riding dirt bikes on a property enrolled in the Game Commission’s Hunter Access Program that land was closed to motorized vehicle travel. They were signaled to stop, but sped right by. They were caught later that same day and face multiple charges.
Venango County WCO Jason R. Amory reports that criminal complaints were filed for multiple cases regarding the possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia. One defendant was in possession and under the influence of marijuana while engaged in the act of hunting. A second individual discarded drug paraphernalia and other litter on State Game Land 45.
From the Game Commission
Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston reports a Ridgway man pleaded guilty to single counts of littering and damaging trees after hunters who saw him reported his actions to the Northcentral Region Office. The man left propane cylinders and other trash on a Western PA Conservancy property enrolled in the Hunter Access program, and also left an untagged treestand up until mid-February. Upon investigation, it was found he had caused damage to the maple tree the stand was in by driving a screwdriver into the trunk to hold up a roof umbrella. The man was given until March 1 to have all materials removed from the property. Warnings and citations were filed later, after the site was inspected. The defendant was assessed $620 in fines and costs.
Centre County WCO Michael Ondik reports that an individual has recently pleaded guilty to illegally shooting a deer within a safety zone last December, 119 yards from a residence. The guilty plea resulted in fines and costs in excess of $700. Additionally, the hunter could lose his hunting privileges.
Union County WCO Dirk Remensnyder reports an individual was cited for purposely running his truck into a large flock of ring-billed gulls huddled in an area of a Wal-Mart parking lot, killing 13 of them.
Elk County WCO Jason Wagner reports that investigations into the unlawful feeding of elk are ongoing. Written warnings and citations have been filed for intentional feeding of elk. Individuals whose otherwise lawful feeding of wildlife has caused elk to congregate or habituate an area also have been warned.
McKean County WCO Jeffrey Orwig reports that charges were filed against an individual for riding his snowmobile on co-op land.
Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reported that a Trout Run man pleaded guilty to hunting through the use of a vehicle and possessing of a small amount of marijuana in Jackson Township in December. The defendant was ordered by Magisterial District Judge William Solomon to pay $550 in fines.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
While conducting an in-season trout stocking of the South Branch of the Little Aughwick Creek, Fulton County Waterways Conservation Officer Jeremy Ney had the opportunity to interact with a vehicle operator following the stocking truck. Observing an open alcoholic beverage container in the vehicle, as well as the vehicle operator’s physical appearance and demeanor, WCO Ney suspected that the driver may be impaired. Field sobriety tests were administered, to which the operator was unable to successfully complete, resulting with WCO Ney placing this individual under arrest for DUI. Criminal charges are pending toxicology results from a blood-alcohol chemical test. Upon releasing this individual from custody, a parting statement was made that “I’m not coming to help you stock next year, I’m going to wait at my house until the truck gets there and then carry buckets.”
Franklin County Waterways Conservation officers Rachael Thurner-Diaz and Jeremy Ney encountered an angler on the East Branch of the Antietam Creek displaying an expired 2016 fishing license. While at his vehicle, this individual could only produce a valid photo identification card in lieu of a drivers’ license, as well as an expired vehicle insurance card. Officers Thurner-Diaz and Ney initiated a background investigation of the individual through the Franklin County 911 Center and were advised that his drivers’ license was suspended and he had multiple active arrest warrants pending. Officers took the man into custody and facilitated commitment to the Franklin County Correctional Facility.
Adams County Waterways Conservation officers from throughout the Southcentral Region recently conducted a covert saturation detail in concert with an in-season trout stocking of Waynesboro Reservoir and the East Branch of the Antietam Creek. Utilizing plain clothes surveillance and unmarked vehicles, four individuals were apprehended for taking over the limit of trout, one individual for snagging and one individual for failure to possess the required trout stamp.
In a similar covert detail in Cumberland County, uniformed and plain clothes officers within the Southcentral Region conducted surveillance on Big Spring Creek in concert with an in-season trout stocking. Seven individuals were criminally charged with taking over the limit of trout.
Dauphin County Waterways Conservation Officer Mark Sweppenhiser recently investigated a boating accident on the Susquehanna River where the 77-year-old operator struck a rock while accelerating the boat. The impact resulted in the operator being thrown overboard from the vessel into the frigid waters. Two nearby fishermen witnessed the crash, and were able to rescue the victim who was not wearing a life jacket. This senior gentleman was treated for hypothermia and shock, and later stated “There is no doubt that those two fishermen saved my life!”
From the Game Commission
Lackawanna County WCO Jared Turner reports that two individuals successfully were prosecuted for poaching 11 white-tailed deer – three antlerless deer, five spike bucks and a 6-point, 7-point and 10-point buck. Other charges against the men included the use of unlawful devices and methods, shooting in a safety zone, and having loaded firearms in vehicles. Fines, penalties, and restitution totaled more than $12,000 and will result in a combined 25 years of hunting-license revocation.
From the Fish & Boat Commission
Berks County WCO Troy Merrell recently apprehended a 29-year-old man and a 37- year-old man from Reading at Blue Marsh Lake who were in possession of 21 striped bass, which is grossly in excess of the daily creel limit of two, and none of which met the minimum length of 20 inches. In addition, neither man had a 2017 fishing license. WCO Merrell, who was patrolling the shoreline alone, observed both men fishing. Upon approaching them, they both admitted they did not have a fishing license, and WCO Merrell discovered they had a large plastic bag containing the striped bass, which the men admitted to catching. Because of the severity of the offenses, WCO Merrell filed charges against the two men for the Fish & Boat Code violation of Serious Unlawful Take, a misdemeanor offense, in addition to various summary charges. Court action is pending.
Lehigh County waterways conservation officers, working both in uniform and in plain clothes, conducted a law enforcement detail on Jordan Creek on the date of a recent in-season stocking. Three individuals were cited for fishing without a license, and two individuals were cited for exceeding the daily creel limit for trout. Thanks to the work of the plain clothes officers, one of the subjects was observed catching his limit of five trout and then leaving the stream prior to the start of the stocking. The man later returned to the stream after the stocking was in progress and caught and kept an additional eight trout. All of the subjects were issued citations, and court action is pending in each case.
In Philadelphia, WCO Nathan Hancock arrested a 29-year-old Philadelphia resident for catching and keeping a hickory shad, an endangered species, from the Schuylkill River at the Fairmont Dam fish ladder. A Philadelphia Water Department biologist was in the area of the fish ladder and observed the man catch the shad and conceal it among some rocks on the shore. The biologist approached the man and informed him that the fish he had caught was a hickory shad, which is not legal to keep, and the man claimed that he had released it. The biologist called PF&BC officers, who were not in the area, to request that they respond. Because he was concerned that the man would leave prior to the arrival of a PF&BC officer, the PWD biologist called the Philadelphia Police Department and two police officers responded and held the man until WCO Hancock arrived. When confronted with the fish that he had hidden, the man admitted that he knew it was a hickory shad and knew that it was illegal to keep it. The subject was transported to the Philadelphia Police Administration Building for processing, as the taking of an endangered species is a misdemeanor offense under the Fish & Boat Code. Court action is pending.
From the Game Commission
Dauphin County WCO Scott Frederick reports that, with the assistance of K-9 handler WCO Dave Allen, a Dauphin Borough man was charged with the shooting a protected bird of prey while it was in a residential area and with several safety zones.
Dauphin County WCO Michael Doherty reports that, every spring, many people illegally dump yard waste in the parking lots of State Game Land 246 and 211. Game Commission Food & Cover Corps employees spend a lot of time cleaning this up, when they could be doing better things for habitat. The law makes no distinction between yard waste and other types of debris, and anyone caught dumping faces substantial fines.
Lancaster County WCO John Veylupek investigated a case in which a person took a young squirrel from a litter and attempted to raise it in on their own. The squirrel has been reunited with its siblings at a local permitted wildlife-rehabilitation facility.
Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that two individuals were apprehended after they shot seven snow geese from the road. Other violations in the same incident include possession of an unplugged shotgun, possession of an unsigned Federal Duck Stamp, failure to possess the required Federal Duck Stamp, failure to possess the required Snow Goose Conservation Permit, using a motor vehicle to locate and unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife.
Lehigh and Northampton counties WCO Tyler Kreider reports that a juvenile has pleaded guilty and paid fines associated with “off-roading” on state game lands, causing damage to property set aside for wildlife management and habitat.
Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports there have been many bear sightings, and the first nuisance bear he trapped this year weighed 600 pounds. Additionally, a second new bald-eagle nest was confirmed, in addition to the several existing nests in his district.
Philadelphia County WCO Jerrold Czech Recently reports he recently settled a case where two hunters pleaded guilty to hunting while trespassing. The two men were apprehended driving deer out of the nature center and onto other properties where they did not have permission to hunt.