Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 23, 2021

SOUTHWEST REGION
From the Game Commission

Allegheny County Game Warden Zeb Campbell reports a number of nuisance turkeys in the area. Some are even attacking cars and chasing people. An investigation revealed the turkeys are being fed by someone in the same neighborhood.    

Allegheny County Game Warden Zeb Campbell reports more ATV and dirt-bike activity on properties controlled by the Game Commission. These machines cause damage to property that upsets the property owners. Riding on these properties without landowner permission is a violation of the law. 

Armstrong County Game Warden Christopher Bence reports charges have been filed against an individual for shooting protected songbirds within several safety zones.

Armstrong County Game Warden Christopher Bence reports numerous charges have been filed for riding motorized vehicles, ATVs and UTVs on Hunter Access property in Armstrong County.

Beaver County Game Warden Matt Kramer reports that, every spring, well-meaning individuals pick up, handle and often harbor young wildlife taken from the wild. Not only is this unlawful, but it puts them and their families at risk for disease.

Fayette County Game Warden Zachery Hay reports citations were filed for the taking of an antlerless white-tailed deer during closed season in North Union Township. The deer was also killed through the use of bait.

Fayette County Game Warden Zachery Hay reports two citations recently were filed for ATVs being operated on state game lands in Dunbar Township. 

Somerset County Game Warden Zachary Edwards reports that, after a cooperative investigation among the Game Commission, DCNR, township police and the Attorney General’s office, a defendant has been found guilty of a misdemeanor and summary charge in a large dumping case spanning multiple jurisdictions in two counties. Fines and costs for charges within Somerset County totaled just under $500.

Somerset County Game Warden Zachary Edwards reports a defendant who was serving out a probationary sentence related to criminal charges, recently violated the conditions set by the court and consequently was ordered to serve up to 12 months imprisonment and pay an additional $3,700 in fines and restitution on top of what was previously ordered. All charges stemmed from the unlawful taking of big game in a closed season.

Westmoreland County Game Warden Bill Brehun reports a Derry Township man has been charged for depositing a large amount of household trash along a public road.

Fayette and Westmoreland counties Game Warden Shawn Greevy reports he and three other officers recently trapped five jake turkeys as part of an ongoing research project. 

Fayette and Westmoreland counties Game Warden Shawn Greevy reports an increase in ATV activity on multiple Hunter Access cooperator properties. Night patrols in different areas with deputies and neighboring officers are being coordinated and trail cameras are set. Cooperators are encouraged to reach out to us and let us know what is happening on their properties. They enjoy hearing about us patrolling their areas and enforcing the game laws. We greatly appreciate them being so gracious and opening their properties to the public for hunting and trapping, he said.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Tioga County Game Warden Thomas Nelson reports an individual in Tioga County was cited for having a loaded firearm in a vehicle while hunting coyotes. 

McKean County Game Warden Jeffrey Orwig reports that charges were filed against two Elk County residents who shot out the vehicle at a deer decoy. 

Lycoming County Game Warden Jonathan M. Wyant wants to remind hunters to remove their stands and blinds from state game lands now that deer seasons are over.

Elk County Game Warden Susan Edmiston reports an Ohio man was found guilty of hunting through the use of bait, unlawful taking of an antlerless deer, and unlawfully riding his ATV on Allegheny National Forest property to retrieve the deer. The individual was hunting behind a camp in Millstone Township that had a large pile of corn, apples and mineral blocks in the camp yard. The individual was assessed $1,922.75 in fines, costs including an $800 replacement cost for the deer. 

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that all citations from 2020 have achieved a disposition.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that a hunter was found not guilty at trial for killing a bull elk in mistake for a white-tailed deer. 

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that a deer hunter was found guilty at trial for having a loaded rifle on a moving ATV which was not even secured to the machine, creating a safety hazard.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports an individual pleaded guilty to hunting by using bait on the opening day of rifle deer season. While the defendant initially denied he was hunting, he was dressed from head to toe in full orange clothing and sitting in a treestand with a loaded rifle within the first hour of the season.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that a mange bear was captured in Grassflat in February. The disease prevented the animal from hibernating.

Elk County Game Warden Kolton Mueller reports an individual was found guilty in court of hunting through the use of bait on the first day of archery season.

McKean County Game Warden Heath Hilbert reports investigations are still ongoing in relation to the 2020 rifle deer season. An individual was interviewed recently in relation to a number of deer, some being untagged, hanging in front of his residence in early February since the firearms deer season.

McKean County Game Warden Benjamin Johnson reports individuals unlawfully riding snowmobiles on game lands. 

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports that an individual from Clinton County was found guilty for being in possession of his friend’s license while hunting.

Tioga County Game Warden Michael Smith reports that turkey trapping has been very successful this year. Smith participated in capturing 22 jakes and longbeards, along with a dozen or so hens. 

Clearfield County Game Warden Thomas Henry reports the Mosquito Creek coyote hunt was busier than expected given the amount of snow. He performed multiple field checks, and all hunters were in compliance with hunting regulations.  

Centre County Game Warden Tyler Hegedus reports a search warrant led to charges being filed against an individual who shot an antlerless deer, through the use of bait, out of the upstairs window of his house. 

Tioga County Game Warden Rob Minnich reports he had reports of bear sightings as soon as temperatures warmed. Minnich wants to remind residents to bring in birdfeeders and other food sources that might attract bears to homes.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Franklin County Game Warden Trevor Shauf reports an individual was found guilty of unlawfully taking a white-tailed deer in Greene Township. Charges were filed against a Mercersburg man for attempting to unlawfully take game or wildlife, hunting without a license, and hunting through the use of bait.

York County Game Warden Scott Brookens reports the warm weather has increased the number of people trespassing in the propagation area on State Game Land 242. The geese and ducks have been trying their best to establish nest sites and start laying eggs, but the constant harassment from people sneaking in to fish has been a continuous issue this spring.

Cumberland County Game Warden John Fetchkan reports turkey sightings are on the rise, several large hen flocks have been spotted along with groups of gobblers close by. As for law-enforcement efforts, all charges from the 2020 year have been adjudicated, and several new charges in 2021 are pending.  

Bedford County Game Warden Philip Bietsch reports an increase in life-jacket violations with the warming weather. As a reminder, from Nov. 1 through April 30, a person shall wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak.

Bedford County Game Warden Philip Bietsch reports a Bedford County man has been charged with the attempt to unlawfully take two turkeys during closed season, feeding deer in the DMA, and numerous other violations.

Fulton County Game Warden Justin Klugh reports he has observed an uptick of activity on Hunter Access properties like the Bedford/Fulton Pike2Bike property. Patrols will increase in those areas.

Cumberland County Game Warden Timothy L. Wenrich encountered an incident near Carlisle where a female was attempting to gain entry to a house, claiming that she was running from people who were trying to kidnap her. After investigating further, Southcentral Dispatch discovered she had an active criminal arrest warrant out of York County. The subject was taken into custody and transported to York County Central Booking with assistance from Game Warden Scott Brookens.  

NORTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Lackawanna County Game Warden Jonathan Bowman reminds residents that bears are leaving their dens and becoming active. Keep garbage inside or in a safe place until it is time to be picked up.

Lackawanna County Game Warden Jonathan Bowman urges people to contact the nearest Game Commission region office if they witness wildlife that is sick or injured. 

Columbia County Game Warden Justin Faus reports filing nine citations against two individuals who were shooting at the State Game Land 58 shooting range near Mifflinville. Both were shooting melons with shotguns loaded with birdshot. These individuals caused extensive damage to the backstops at the range which had to be replaced by Wildlife Habitat Management personnel.     

Sullivan County Game Warden Rick Finnegan reports that several arrest warrants have been activated after defendants did not respond to citations that were filed. “Some of these issues could have been avoided had defendants ensured the addresses on their hunting and driving licenses were updated,” said Finnegan. 

Susquehanna County Game Warden Ben Rebuck reports investigating two incidents involving domestic dogs chasing deer.      

Pike County Game Warden Patrick Sowers reports filing charges against a man for deer poaching. The defendant is accused of killing eight deer unlawfully, with five being killed outside of legal seasons and beyond bag limits. The defendant was caught when he was recorded on a doorbell camera while shooting two deer with a crossbow that were standing in the driveway of a home. Other deer were discovered in the defendant’s possession. The man faces charges that could result in jail time, heavy fines and lengthy periods of hunting license revocation. 

SOUTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Berks County Game Warden Alex Murray reports an Oley Township woman reported an individual shooting across Route 662 while hunting snow geese. Shotgun shells and other evidence were recovered, and the investigation is ongoing. 

Berks County Game Warden Alex Murray reports two individuals were cited for trespass while hunting in Oley Township. They were walking along the road when they were initially stopped, and stated they were hunting rabbits. Their boot prints in the snow were found exiting a quarry property in the area marked with no-trespassing signs. 

Berks County Game Warden Ryan L. Zawada reports a Bethel Township man was cited for leaving traps out after the close of the season. He had left a trap inside of a safety zone that caught a raccoon several weeks after the close of the season.  

Bucks County Game Warden Hannah Robinson reports investigating an individual for not receiving required permit to possess a road-killed deer.  

Bucks County Game Warden Hannah Robinson is investigating the unlawful trapping and killing of squirrels in a residential neighborhood. 

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports that, while covering southern Berks County in January, a landowner withdrew his property from the Game Commission’s Hunter Access program after he discovered a hunter planted a food plot, set up an unlawful mechanical feeder, and erected treestands that damaged trees – all without permission. 

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports that many treestands have been found left on State Game Land 43. Hunters are required to remove tree stands and blinds no later than two weeks after the close of the last deer season. Stands and blinds left overnight on game lands must be tagged with a legible and easily found tag. Stands must not cause any damage to trees. Not complying with these regulations can result in seizure of the stand or blind and hundreds of dollars in fines.

Dauphin County Game Warden Russell Kreider reports an increase in the number of camp sites and fire pits being found on state game lands and reminds users that camping is prohibited on game lands. 

Dauphin County Game Warden Russell Kreider reports an increase in the use of state game lands for hiking and dog walking. Reminder: No alcohol is permitted on state game lands. 

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek investigated a case in which six waterfowlers hunted within the safety zone of a residence.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek is investigating numerous dumping sites on State Game Land 156.   

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek had to euthanize four wild fox kits and get them tested for rabies as a result of numerous people handling them.   

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham  reports that a snow goose hunting incident was reported and multiple violations were detected including no license in possession, no Federal Duck Stamp, no Snow Goose Conservation permit, unlawful taking of game or wildlife and unlawful methods and devices for use of an air rifle. Charges are pending.

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports finding tree stands that have been unlawfully left in the woods after deer seasons closed. Some stands located have chains and straps that are grown into the bark indicating they’ve been there for a long time. 

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports charging two individuals with using a vehicle to locate game (geese), shooting from the road, and shooting within a safety zone.

Lancaster County Game Warden Daniel Gibble reports charging an individual with using a vehicle to locate game, shooting in multiple safety zones, and illegally taking a deer. The individual was found guilty by trial. A witness checking his mailbox at the right time saw everything happen. Warden Gibble urges, if you witness a wildlife crime against big game (deer, turkey, bear and elk) or a species that is protected, endangered or threatened, call Operation Game Thief’s toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to report wildlife violations: 1-888-PGC-8001 or fill out an Operation Game Thief Reporting Form online.

Lebanon County Game Warden Derek Spitler reports safety-zone violations in Derry Township. Two goose hunters were hunting within multiple safety zones. 

Lehigh County Game Warden Tyler Barnes received a report during the last day of firearms deer season that someone may be trespassing. Barnes located the individual and found that he had also harvested an 8-point buck. The individual was cited for unlawfully harvesting big game, trespass while hunting, and hunting without a license. The individual has also pleaded guilty to all charges.

Montgomery County Game Warden Raymond Madden reports the recent completion of multiple court cases in which the primary violation was hunting in safety zones. “This year we had many issues where people were hunting too close to homes or shooting in unsafe directions,” Madden said. “All were found guilty.”

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas reports that guilty pleas were entered by three of four co-defendants involved in a poaching incident last fall. The individuals were employed together and during their commute home at night, attempted to shoot three deer along the Burma Road in Blythe Township. Two of the three deer were recovered by the group and taken back to a residence, where they were field dressed and processed in the bathtub. The four individuals were involved to varying degrees and cited accordingly. Nearly $8,400 in fines have already been ordered in this case, and an additional $2,800 to $4,600 is pending final disposition of the fourth co-defendant.   

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas reports that, after a yearlong investigation and an additional yearlong court process, a large poaching case from the Hegins area has finally concluded. In all, five individuals, including three juveniles were cited and held accountable for their actions. Many large-racked bucks were shot and killed, with the majority being taken under the use of a light and from a motorized vehicle. In all, fine totals for all cases combined netted nearly $18,700 and will result in the loss of hunting privileges for a combined 29 years.  

Schuylkill County Game Warden Charles T. Schuster reports that two individuals received a warning for a having a motorized vehicle on local state game lands property.

Schuylkill County Game Warden Charles T. Schuster reports that several individuals took advantage of the youth fishing day on the Little Schuylkill River that flows through State Game Land 227.

Northampton County Game Warden Brad Kreider reports that all court cases have been adjudicated stemming from goose season. Charges have included over the daily bag limit, unplugged shotguns, license/stamp issues and trespass.

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