Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Sept. 27, 2019

From the Game Commission

Allegheny County Game Warden Dan Puhala reports several individuals recently have been cited for shooting things other than paper targets at the State Game Land 203 rifle range. Shooting produce, bottles, cans or other objects is unlawful and subject to a $100 to $200 fine, plus court costs.  

Allegheny County Game Warden Dan Puhala reports an area hunter is facing charges for groundhog hunting while in multiple safety zones. The hunter was parked along the road near a farmer’s field and apparently didn’t pay attention to the nearby houses when he shot at a groundhog. The hunter was as close as 35 yards to one of the several homes in the immediate area. The penalty for a safety-zone violation can be up to a $500 fine, plus court costs for a first offense. 

Beaver County Game Warden Mike Yeck said a North Sewickley Township resident pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of wildlife after she removed a young raccoon from the wild and raised it in her home.

Beaver County Game Warden Mike Yeck reports a New Castle resident was charged with driving on roads closed to motorized vehicles, damage to property and casting the rays of an artificial light after 11 p.m. The subject was caught on a surveillance camera when driving through a food plot on State Game Land 285 in Darlington Township.

Beaver County Game Warden Matt Kramer reports multiple citations have been filed in response to individuals operating motorized vehicles in areas posted closed to such activity. Many of these individuals admit to seeing the “closed to motorized vehicle” signs.  

Fayette County Game Warden Charles T. Schuster reports two individuals were warned using the State Game Land 51 shooting range without the required hunting license, furtaker license or shooting range permit.

Fayette County Game Warden Charles T. Schuster reports several individuals were given warnings for camping on State Game Land 51. 

Fayette County Game Warden Charles T. Schuster reports several individuals were given citations for riding ATVs on State Game Land 51.  

Fayette and Westmoreland counties Game Warden Andy Harvey reports two ATV operators were caught riding on property were they weren’t permitted, but they couldn’t get away. The ATVs became stuck when they attempted to cross a river. Charges were filed against the operators. 

Somerset County Game Warden Zachary Edwards reports several ATV riders recently were cited for riding across state game lands and Hunter Access property. The machines were equipped with large “mudding tires” that caused severe damage to several logging roads and walking trails including the Laurel Highlands hiking trail.

Somerset County Game Warden Zachary Edwards reports that, with the expansion of Disease Management Area 2 into western Somerset County, all should help to spread word that the intentional feeding of deer is prohibited within DMAs.  

Somerset County Game Warden Shawn Barron reports an individual has been charged for unlawful taking or killing of big game. The defendant’s vehicle was found immobilized in a ditch with deer blood and hair on the bumper. A freshly killed antlerless deer was subsequently found at the defendant’s residence. The deer is believed to have been taken in the early morning hours of the day the carcass was found.

Somerset County Game Warden Shawn Barron reports an individual has been charged for multiple state game lands violations after a concerned citizen reported a description of the defendant’s vehicle to the Southwest Region Office and stated they believed the vehicle had been operating on state game lands. Several days after the report, the officer spotted a vehicle matching the description approximately 20 miles away. A traffic stop was performed based on the description and the driver admitted to operating the vehicle on state game lands.

Somerset County Game Warden Shawn Barron reports an individual has been charged for operating a dirt bike on State Game Land 111 in Somerset County. The vehicle was observed on a surveillance camera and the owner was tracked down by a partial license plate number.

Somerset County Game Warden Shawn Barron reports multiple individuals have been charged for dumping trash on various Hunter Access properties.

Washington County Game Warden Adam Traynor reports there has been in increase in ATV and side-by-side traffic on state game lands and Hunter Access properties, resulting in multiple citations. Charges also are pending against individuals dumping trash on State Game Land 245. 

From the Game Commission

Centre County Game Warden Dan Murray reports that several warnings have been issued for shooting-range violations and use of mountain bikes on unapproved trails on Scotia Range/State Game Land 176. 

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports an increase of bear conflicts in agriculture areas. Trapping efforts are being conducted to resolve problem.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that the Lawrence Township Police Department encountered a person killing a bat with a shotgun. Investigation is pending.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that ATV operators are failing to comply with Game Commission signage being posted on Hunter Access property.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that a revocation petition was submitted to the Bureau of Wildlife Protection to suspend a person’s hunting privileges for five years.

Elk County Game Warden Susan Edmiston reports that a Ridgway man has been found guilty on charges related to unlawful bear feeding. After receiving multiple complaints about a nuisance bear in one neighborhood, including a complaint of a bear trying to enter a home, the Game Commission received a report that the man was putting out feed in front of a trail camera. Black oil sunflower seeds were spread in an approximately 25-foot diameter in the backyard, and several bear paths were leading to the seeds. The man was cited and ordered to pay fines and costs of $241.25. 

Land Management Group Supervisor Rodney Mee reports that all work on State Game Land 75’s Pine Run Road is complete and the road will be open to the public throughout the year, giving great access to the Pine Run basin as well as access to the handicap ATV trail head. Mee notes that further repair will be conducted on the seasonal section of Pine Run in hopes of reopening that section for fall hunting.

Union County Game Warden Dirk Remensnyder reports that multiple littering violations have occurred on state game lands, including dumping of construction waste, which is being investigated.

Tioga County Game Warden Rob Minnich reports that his district has been affected by bear mange, and it has been especially prevalent in the Arnot, Bloss and Covington areas this year.  

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports he has been seeing and catching many bears this summer. One sow was 18 years old with four cubs. 

Centre County Game Warden Michael Ondik reports a hunter pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing a turkey in excess of the season limit. In exchange for his plea, the Commonwealth reduced its fine recommendation to the minimum of $1,000, plus an additional $500 enhancement, and dropped a road-hunting charge, did not seek replacement cost for the turkey, and recommended no jail time be served. 

Lycoming County Game Warden Harold Cole reports that he has received 188 bear calls from March 1 to July 31.  That averages out to 37.6 calls about bears per month. Cole states that 18 were for road-killed bears, 48 were for sick or injured bears, 23 were for bear damage and 99 calls were for bear nuisance complaints. 

From the Game Commission

Juniata County Game Warden Eric Kelly reports an individual pleaded guilty to charges on game lands violations.

Bedford County Game Warden Jeremy Coughenour reports that charges have been filed against a Harrisonville woman for unlawfully possessing a raccoon that was taken from the wild. The animal had to be euthanized and tested for rabies after it scratched someone.

York County Game Warden Scott Brookens reports an individual has been convicted of multiple counts of unlawfully killing wildlife in an inhumane manner by using a box trap and allowing the animal to die due to summer heat exposure. 

Fulton County Game Warden Justin Klugh reports there has been an increase of ATV activity on State Game Land 99, and patrols will be focused at that location to address the problem.

Blair and Huntingdon counties LMO Chris Skipper reports that, during the opening day of dove and goose season, many hunters were checked and found to be in compliance. Several warnings were issued for unsigned licenses and a citation was issued for failing to secure a migratory bird license before dove hunting.

Cumberland County Game Warden John Fetchkan reports that safety-zone violations, baiting, and unlawfully taken geese have been investigated in early September. Citations will be filed. 

From the Game Commission

Northumberland County Game Warden Derek Spitler reports that an individual pleaded guilty to the unlawful killing of an antlerless deer last season in Rush Township. He received an antlerless harvest tag that belonged to his friend after killing the deer. His friend also received a citation and pleaded guilty for providing the tag.

Monroe County Game Warden Praveed Abraham filed charges against a man found riding an ATV on State Game Land 129.  

Columbia County Game Warden Rick Deiterich reports an increased use of the newly refurbished shooting range at State Game Land 58 in Mifflin Township. Shooters are claiming the need to get out early to sight in their firearms.  

Luzerne County Game Warden Justin Faus reports that a recent ATV patrol on Hunter Access property near Hazleton resulted in three violations and an individual being transported to Bucks County Correctional Facility on a bench warrant.

Pike County Game Warden Patrick Sowers reports euthanizing a bear that posed a danger to the public. People were feeding the bear for years, resulting in the bear losing its fear of people. The bear broke into occupied homes and vehicles and was acting aggressively. 

Montour and Northumberland counties Game Warden Jared Turner reports an incident of night hunting with a spotlight in the area of Gearhart Road, near Watsontown, late the evening of Aug. 23. Anyone with information is asked to call the Northeast Region Office at 570-675-1143. 

From the Game Commission

Berks County Game Warden Ryan L. Zawada reports, filing many citations against individuals using the State Game Land 43 shooting range without a shooting range permit or hunting or furtaker license, as well as shooting at the range before noon on Sundays.

Bucks County Game Warden Tyler Barnes reports issuing citations to two individuals for multiple violations while they were hunting in the Red Tag Program. Both individuals have pleaded guilty to all charges.

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports that, over the spring and summer, many individuals have been found to have unlawfully purchased hunting or furtaker licenses without first completing Hunter-Trapper Education. Many of these issues are discovered while conducting regulations checks at the State Game Land 43 shooting range. In many cases, the subject admits to purchasing the hunting license instead of a range permit because they must have one or the other to use a Game Commission shooting range, and they purchase the hunting license because it costs less. Others say they hunted in the past or plan on hunting in the future. Depending on the circumstances, both the person making the purchase and the agent selling the license can be cited.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek reports taking a local high-school student on a ride-along for a day. The student was exposed to many facets of a game warden’s job and enjoyed touring a local wildlife-rehabilitation facility and seeing local bald eagle nests.

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports assisting with the capture of a young male black bear that wandered into Lancaster City. It’s the first bear known to be darted and processed within city limits. 

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports that the fall duck migration has begun. There have been numerous sightings of blue-wing teal at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area.

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports citing an individual for not removing his treestand from state game lands after last season, causing damage to the tree as it grew.   

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports citing two individuals for not having plugs in their shotguns. “I was asked, ‘What is a plug?’” he said.    

Northampton County Game Warden Bradley Kreider reports beaver complaints increase as summer ends, and this year was no exception. Unfortunately, a recent caller decided to take care of his beaver problems with a rifle. Investigation continues.

Montgomery County Game Warden Raymond Madden reports multiple alcohol violations on state game lands made it through the court system recently. Three people pleaded guilty in Chester County after being found with alcohol on state game lands during a detail.

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas reports that a Schuylkill Haven man recently was cited for littering. Numerous garbage bags and cardboard boxes filled with trash were discovered on State Game Land 326, near Frackville. Evidence linked the trash to an individual who later admitted to the violation. 

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