Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – September 25, 2020

NORTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Lycoming County Game Warden Harold Cole reports catching more than just doves while dove-banding. Cole said banders caught the expected songbirds, as well as juvenile rabbits and a chipmunk drawn to the bait.

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports that two individuals were cited for riding motorcycles on a closed road on State Game Land 89. The individuals could each face fines up to $200.

McKean County Game Warden Jeffrey Orwig reports that one positive from the COVID-19 has been increased activity in the outdoors. Fishing rods and mountain bikes, along with camping and hiking gear are all but cleared out in many stores, he said. 

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports a cinnamon phase bear was killed on the highway in DuBois.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports individuals are not complying with the regulations at designated shooting ranges.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports encountering a person illegally dumping deer food and mineral attractants on game lands.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports a person killed a raccoon because it was eating bird seed.

Tioga County Game Warden Rob Minnich reports bear complaints seem to be at an all-time high and still receiving complaints. “We have far exceeded bear captures from any time I can remember over the past 20 years here in the county,” Minnich said. “We have over 40 bears captured and tagged already and several others we handled, but had to put down due to mange. Even with a record harvest last year, I believe we could set another record again this year.”

Tioga County Game Warden Thomas Nelson reports seeing multiple groups of hens and poults during his daily patrols in northern Potter and Tioga counties. 

Elk County Game Warden Kolton Mueller reports an individual has lost his hunting privileges for two years after attempting to catch and kill a bear in a homemade trap. 

Elk County Game Warden Susan Edmiston reports there has been a rise in illegal camping activity on state game lands. Recently, she and Game Warden Kolton Mueller found a couple sleeping in a tent in Spring Creek Township near Hallton. The day before, Warden Edmiston had entered the area to investigate the illegal campsite. No one was present, and drug paraphernalia was laying out in plain view on a rock. The glass pipe was taken to State Police in Ridgway where residue tested positive for marijuana. Mueller and Edmiston returned in the morning, and woke and interviewed the couple. This time, a water pipe containing marijuana residue was found at the site. The individuals received multiple citations including camping on game lands and possession of controlled substances and alcohol on game lands. The man also was charged under title 30 for being in possession of trout without a valid fishing license.      

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports the Pennsylvania Game Commission continues to monitor the spread and severity of mange. “As part of our efforts, we have several bears fitted with GPS collars to aid in studying the disease,” he said. 

Lycoming County Game Warden Jonathan M. Wyant said several sightings of mangy bears have been reported in the Oregon Hill area. “If you have a camp or home in this area, do not place any food out for the bears,” Wyant said. “Habituating bears to come to one area is making the problem worse.”

Cameron County Game Warden Wayne A. Hunt reports citing an individual for unlawful taking and possession of a white-tailed deer.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Franklin County Game Warden Trevor Shauf reports an individual was convicted of three charges relating to a poaching incident in Blue Ridge Summit.

York County Game Warden Justin Ritter reports all goose hunters checked on opening day were successful in harvesting multiple geese.

Cumberland County Game Warden John Fetchkan reports that, due to the dry summer, some farmers are cutting their corn earlier than usual and this may help bring in doves. Also, this will help in locating downed birds. Hunters are reminded that since dove and goose seasons run together, the possession of lead shot while goose hunting isn’t permitted. 

Juniata County Game Warden Eric Kelly reports multiple drivers and ATV riders were cited for operating on gated roads on State Game Land 107.

York County Game Warden Scott Brookens reports two individuals were cited for firing an AK-47-style rifle into a live tree on State Game Land 242. The tree sustained significant damage, and there was no backstop behind the tree to stop ricocheting rounds.

Perry County Game Warden Kevin P. Anderson Jr. reports many hunters have been taking advantage of the Game Commission’s Red Tag program by hunting on enrolled farms. Hunters help the farmer by harvesting antlerless deer, which assists in controlling damage to the farmer’s crop, and hunters get to enjoy the venison.

NORTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Northumberland County Game Warden Derek Spitler reports an individual was recently found guilty for failing to properly tag a spring turkey. The violation occurred in Jordan Township.  

Bradford County Game Warden Blake Barth is investigating an incident where a fawn and an antlered deer were shot around 3 a.m. Aug. 26 in LeRoy Township.

Columbia County Game Warden Rick Deiterich reminds range users that a current hunting license or range use permit must now be in possession while using Game Commission shooting ranges.

Wayne County Game Warden Adriel Douglass reports that charges have been filed against three individuals for their involvement in killing a black bear in closed season. The incident occurred in April in Clinton Township. One of the parties faces a misdemeanor charge with potential fines up to $3,000 and possible jail time. 

Luzerne County Game Warden Justin Faus reports increased patrols at State Game Land 260 in Salem Township, near Shickshinny. “I noticed an increase in illegal dumping and partying on these game lands and recently cited two individuals there for consuming alcohol and littering.”

Sullivan County Game Warden Rick Finnegan reports that, while investigating bear complaints in the Eagles Mere area, he discovered a home where birdseed and corn placed in the yard was causing bears to congregate. Warnings were issued. 

Susquehanna County Game Warden Ben Rebuck cited an individual for taking possession of a raccoon from the wild.  

Pike County Game Warden Patrick Sowers reports a significant increase in the amount of property abuse at State Game Land 180 in the Shohola Falls area. “Graffiti Is being found on rock faces, there is an increase in drug and alcohol use and trash is being left behind,” said Sowers. 

Monroe County Game Warden Praveed Abraham reports filing charges against an individual for the unlawful take of a Canada goose.

Monroe County Game Warden Praveed Abraham is charging multiple individuals for swimming in a Class A protected trout stream at Wild Creek Falls. “The reason for protected trout streams is to preserve these pristine waters from contaminants,” said Abraham. “When people swim in these waters, contamination may occur through sunscreen, lotions and deodorant.”

SOUTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Berks County Game Warden Ryan Zawada reports that State Game Land  280 was very busy on the opening day of dove season. Most of the hunters checked were compliant with the law, however, multiple citations were filed against one hunter for hunting with an unplugged shotgun and hunting doves without a migratory bird privilege. 

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports that a Franklin Township man had a preliminary hearing for the possessing two unlawful deer in the fall of 2019. One of the deer was a trophy-class buck. The case arose from a joint search warrant served with State Police from the Avondale barracks, which also disclosed evidence of drug-related crimes. The judge hearing the case forwarded the charges for prosecution in the court of common pleas.

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports that all-too-frequently this spring and summer waterfowl were found tangled in discarded fishing line along streams and lakes. “This is an issue every year, but seemed especially bad in 2020, maybe due to more people out fishing because of COVID restrictions,” Johnson said. “When fishing, please make sure the area is clear of line and other tackle when you leave.”

Dauphin and Lebanon counties Game Lands Management Group Supervisor Steve Bernardi reports several citations have been written for individuals using the rifle range at State Game Land 211 without a valid range permit or hunting license. Also, citations have been issued for posting targets on the wooden framing, causing damage to the target stands. Targets are to be placed on the target backing material only, not on the support structure.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek issued several citations for possessing alcohol on State Game Land 156.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek assisted Warden Daniel Gibble with an investigation of a trash dumping case in southern Lancaster County.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek assisted Southwest Region wardens with cases of Lancaster County residents unlawfully riding ATVs on Somerset County state game lands. Citations are pending.

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports that an individual took a young Canada goose from the wild and kept it in captivity. The individual then attempted to release the goose at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area where witnesses observed the individual using a large tree branch to drive the goose away. This occurred inside the Propagation Area that is closed to the public. The goose ended up at the boat launch where it clearly showed no fear of humans and had to be relocated. Local wildlife rehabilitators said the goose would most likely be incapable of living in the wild. The investigation is ongoing, and charges are pending. 

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports citing an individual who shot a cottontail rabbit out of season. “When target practicing for archery season, do not shoot game that is not in season,” Gibble said.

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports citing an individual hunting waterfowl without the required Duck Stamp. Reference the Federal Duck Stamp Program Fact Sheet on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website for information on what your $25 is supporting. www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/get-involved/DSOfactsheet.pdf  

Lehigh County Game Warden Tyler Barnes cited multiple individuals over several weekends for various violations at the State Game Land 205 rifle range.

Lehigh County Game Warden Tyler Barnes cited an individual on Aug. 1 for hunting doves. Multiple citations were filed, the hunter has pleaded guilty to all charges.

Montgomery County Game Warden Raymond Madden reports attending multiple hearings for state game lands violations. The violations were able to be prosecuted thanks to the vigilance of lawful game lands users seeing something and saying something. If you suspect something, report it to the region office or through Operation Game Thief.

Montgomery County Game Warden Raymond Madden said there has been an increase in dumping and littering violations on state game lands. Multiple incidents are currently under investigation.

Northampton County Game Warden Brad Kreider is investigating the unlawful removal of beavers and beaver dams in the northern part of the district.

Northampton County Game Warden Brad Kreider reports receiving information from local police about an individual living on State Game Land 168. The individual was located and all encampment items were removed. 

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas reports an increase in illegal activity on several Hunter Access Program properties throughout the county. The most common violations include illegal and unsafe swimming in reservoirs, consumption of alcohol, littering and drug activity. Violations encountered will continue to be enforced.  

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas reports that charges were filed against an Orwigsburg man for illegally possessing wildlife. He indicated that he took possession of an opossum when it was a newborn and continued to raise it for over a year. Due to a poor nutritional diet, the opossum is now being treated for medical issues including bone disease, which is limiting its mobility.

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