Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – June 5, 2020

From the Game Commission

Lycoming County Game Warden Harold Cole reports game lands use increased with COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Unfortunately, it also was accompanied increased litter and tire tracks in areas closed to vehicles.

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports seeing more and more vehicles on closed roads.

McKean County Game Warden Jeffrey Orwig reports investigating the illegal dumping of a truckload of furniture and trash that contained an insurance card with the violator’s name and address.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports serving a bench warrant on a person hiding at a local hotel which was wanted for killing an unlawful deer. The Clearfield County Sheriff’s Office aided on transporting the subject to his arraignment, then to jail.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports no samples from Clearfield County deer that were harvested in the 2019-20 seasons and submitted for chronic wasting disease testing came back positive.

Tioga County Game Warden Rob Minnich reports that, in March, he spent a lot of time in a blind trying to catch turkeys for a project to band gobblers for study. “We spent a lot of time, setting up, watching and patterning birds and sitting in blind, only to be outsmarted,” Minnich said. “We did manage to catch three birds and band them for research.”

Elk County Game Warden Kolton Mueller reports an individual pleaded guilty to unlawfully attempting to take a black bear, and using unlawful devices and methods.

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports activity recently increased on state game lands, and so have violations. 

Land Manager Eric Erdman reports that several major road improvements on state game lands in various stages of planning and implementation in Centre and Clinton counties. Those game lands include 33, 60, 89, 103 and 295. Forestry staff are administering some of these with Game Commission and Pittman-Robertson funding, while habitat crews are performing roadwork with funding from outside partners such as the Clinton County Conservation District through the Dirt and Gravel Road program. The end result will be improved access for all users of these game lands, and less erosion, minimizing negative environmental impacts.  

Centre County Game Warden Dan Murray reports that efforts are ongoing to address unlawful activities on state game lands in the district. 

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports that an individual from Clinton County could face up to $200 in fines for having a loaded shotgun on a vehicle. 

Elk County Game Warden Kolton Mueller reports there has been an increase of illegal ATV travel on state game lands since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

McKean County Game Warden Jeffrey Orwig reports that several individuals were cited for riding ATVs on state game lands.

Elk County Game Warden Susan Edmiston reports that during the COVID-19 pandemic, many have been seeking outdoor recreation, but there’s also been a rise in violations. Citations have been issued to several people, including riding ATVs in areas closed to motorized vehicles, camping in unauthorized areas, and several vehicles ending up locked behind gated roads that were not open to public travel.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that a person was squatting on state game lands by parking a Winnebago in a food plot. He was evicted, then convicted, Gritzer reports.

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports individuals have been cited for closed-road violations on state game lands. 

McKean County Game Warden Jeffrey Orwig reports that a few hunters already were finding sheds in January. 

McKean County Game Warden Jeffrey Orwig reports a Bradford man was cited this past winter for taking a fisher in an illegal set.

Union County Game Warden Dirk Remensnyder reports that, following deer season, he received multiple calls from farmers wanting to enroll in the Red Tag program.

Lycoming County Game Warden Harold Cole reports that while training to take part in a study where gobblers were trapped this winter, testing out the rocket net drew attention from a neighbor, who heard the noise from it deploying and came over to make sure all were OK.  

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports multiple individuals were cited for untagged deer in the 2019-20 seasons. Loaded firearms in, on or against motorized vehicles were also a problem.

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports that an individual pleaded guilty in recent months to taking a deer and failing to tag it, resulting in more than $500 in fines. 

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports that multiple individuals have pleaded guilty to their roles in killing a buck at night with a spotlight.

Lycoming County Game Warden Harold Cole reports he received a call in mid-February regarding a malnourished bear with a severe case of mange. The bear, a 30-pound yearling, was about half the size it should have been and had to be euthanized. “I hope that people understand how much these animals suffer and want to help by not feeding wildlife and removing all possible food sources that they may have around their houses,” Cole said. The mite that causes mange can be passed directly or indirectly to bears at feeding sites.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports detecting violations by hunters possessing loaded firearms in vehicles while pursuing coyotes with tracking dogs.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that a bench warrant was served on individual for failure to pay fines in connection to possessing an unlawful deer.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that illegal ATV operators were apprehended in an area closed to motorized vehicles while crossing an approved trout water.

Elk County Game Warden Susan Edmiston reports that a Kersey man and two men from Beaver County received multiple citations related to an investigation stemming back to the first day of rifle deer season. Two of the men admitted to placing minerals on the state game lands for the purpose of getting trail camera pictures. One of the men admitted to cutting trees for shooting lanes. The third man was found to be sitting in a stand over a mineral site and occupying a treestand that was causing damage to the tree. Each man received a citation related to hunting or conspiring to hunt through the use of bait, and damages to trees or other flora. 

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports checking a coyote hunter in mid-February who had a loaded gun inside his truck.

From the Game Commission

Luzerne County Game Warden Justin Faus said unlawful ATV activity continues to be an issue on State Game Lands 119 and 187. Several citations were issued. 

Monroe County Game Warden Praveed Abraham charged an individual for the unlawful killing of a black bear. 

Monroe County Game Warden Praveed Abraham reports charging an individual for riding an ATV on state game lands. 

Bradford County Game Warden Blake Barth reports filing charges against an individual for killing a turkey outside of turkey hunting season. The turkey was shot with a .223 firearm from inside a vehicle. The violation was reported by a person who observed the incident. Charges may result in fines up to $2,000 and loss of hunting license privileges for several years. 

Columbia County Game Warden Rick Deiterich reports an increase in illegal ATV riding on state game lands.  

Wayne County Game Warden Adriel Douglass said an individual pleaded guilty to two charges for shooting protected birds in the borough of Honesdale. Citations were also filed in connection with a turkey killed in closed season in Damascus Township.

Bradford County Game Warden Mike Goodenow reports that an owner of a hunting camp was warned for placing food items that were causing bears to congregate around the camp and surrounding properties.     

Monroe County Game Warden Bryan Mowrer reports there was a large increase in state game lands use in April. More hikers and cyclists were using game lands, but unlawful uses were also detected. Several warnings and citations were issued for the possession of alcohol, possession of marijuana, camping, operating motorized vehicles where prohibited and damage to public property. 

Susquehanna County Game Warden Ben Rebuck ended a two-year investigation of unlawful ATV use on State Game Land 236. In a span of eight months, the individuals that were cited committed 25 violations of the Game and Wildlife Code and the Vehicle Code.

Wyoming County Game Warden Vic Rosa reports the unlawful dumping of a couch on State Game Land 57 in Forkston Township. 

Pike County Game Warden Patrick Sowers reports a continued increase in outdoor recreation on state game lands occurring the pandemic. 

Northumberland County Game Warden Derek Spitler reports that charges will be filed against two individuals for the unlawful killing of a Canada goose in Upper Augusta Township.

From the Game Commission

Berks County Game Warden Ryan Zawada reports citing several individuals for abandoning treestands on State Game Lands 110 and 280 (Blue Marsh Lake) in Berks County.

Bucks County Game Warden Tyler Barnes issued citations to three hunters who trespassed by boat onto private property along the Delaware River on New Year’s Day. The three individuals are facing various charges such a trespass while hunting, killing an antlered deer during closed season, unlawful possession of an antlerless deer, and failure to wear the required fluorescent orange. 

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports that game wardens have been assisting DCNR with off-road vehicle violations at a state forest property in West Caln and Honey Brook Townships. In April, seven citations were filed related to dirt bike and ATV use, and there are ongoing investigations related to persons entering the closed roads of the property with pickup trucks. The property is gated and clearly marked against entry, and cameras are being used to identify suspects.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek reports encountering many violations on State Game Land 156.  Veylupek has cited individuals for littering, damage to property, possession of drug paraphernalia and unauthorized vehicle usage.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek reports checking a junior hunter and accompanying adult with an unplugged shotgun during the spring gobbler youth hunt. Warnings and a short educational seminar were the result of that encounter.

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports filing charges against two individuals who repeatedly parked their vehicles and left them for multiple days in a game lands parking lot near their residence. Both vehicles did not have current registration. Previous warnings were issued regarding the activity but went unheeded.

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports an increase in littering and property destruction. 

Montgomery County Game Warden Raymond Madden reports receiving information from a local police department concerning an incident involving an individual who was illegally trapping wildlife out of season. Upon arrival, Madden was shown multiple leg-hold traps, one containing a raccoon. Trapping season was long over at this point and these traps were placed illegally. The individual was found, and citations are pending.

Northampton County Game Warden Bradley Kreider reports seeing extremely heavy use of the game lands system. Increased illegal activity involving spray painted graffiti, cut trees and discarded trash have been observed. Increased patrols are occurring to apprehend the violators.

Philadelphia County Game Warden Jerry Czech reports disposition of a case where two individuals were apprehended hunting in the Germany Hill section of Fairmount Park during archery season. Both men were charged with hunting in a park and one did not have a hunting license. An alert person living adjacent to the park reported the issue to 911. Police arrived, and detained the suspects until game wardens arrived.

Philadelphia County Game Warden Jerry Czech assisted Waterways Conservation Officers Evancho and Bonney apprehend an individual using an illegal cast net. The violator was in possession of several unlawfully taken fish using the illegal device.

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas said numerous charges are pending against and Tamaqua-area man. During an investigation, it was determined that he used the headlights of his vehicle to illuminate a deer he shot at from his vehicle along the Wildcat Road in Walker Township.

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