Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – April 1, 2022

SOUTHWEST REGION
From the Game Commission

Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties Land Management Group Supervisor Dan Puhala reports the first prescribed fire operation of the year in the Southwest Region was successful. Approximately 65 acres of fields were burned in early March on State Game Land 232. This operation helped remove woody growth, invasive plants and some thatch allowing the area’s native grasses to respond and improve the wildlife habitat of these field complexes. 

Allegheny County Game Warden Douglas Bergman reports three individuals from Forward Township pleaded guilty to charges for a safety zone violation and multiple counts of hunting without a valid antlerless license during the extended antlerless season. Four warnings also were issued for trespassing while hunting as a result of this incident.

Beaver County Game Warden Matt Kramer reports treestands are being removed from state game lands by wardens and habitat management crews. By law, treestands must be removed no later than two weeks after the close of the final deer season in an area. The stands are not a placeholder on the public land and often they are abandoned after the season. In addition, the stands can cause damage to trees if left in the same location for many seasons.

Beaver County Game Warden Matt Kramer reminds citizens that, with spring now here, young wildlife should not be disturbed or handled in any manner. Every year, well-meaning individuals attempt to help presumably orphaned wildlife. In most cases, young wildlife is not abandoned and a parent is in the immediate area. “Remember to let it go so it can grow,” Kramer said.

Cambria County Game Warden April Whitsell reports that state game lands usage appears to be picking up with the warming weather.

Fayette County Game Warden Bradley Hyde reports an individual has been cited for firing an AK-style rifle out of a vehicle on a game lands road, shooting at the ground for practice. Firearms should not be fired in areas not designated for such use, and they may not be fired from the passenger side of a vehicle.

Greene County Game Warden Brandon Bonin reports that an interview ended with a West Virginia resident confessing to unlawfully killed an 8-point buck, without a license, on the last day of the 2020 Pennsylvania deer season. Two citations were issued, and the antlers were seized.

Greene County Game Warden Brandon Bonin reports an investigation that began in December 2021 has ended. One hunter is being charged with multiple misdemeanor and summary charges for hunting while his license was revoked; assisting, aiding, abetting and conspiring to take a white-tailed deer beyond the limit, and attempting to purchase a hunting license while on revocation. It was the third time Bonin arrested this person for unlawful deer. Meanwhile, a second hunter is being charged for taking a whitetail beyond his limit. The investigation and charges were made possible by a witness report and the East Stroudsburg University Wildlife DNA Laboratory.

Somerset County Game Warden Brian Witherite reports that, after a lengthy investigation, three individuals have been criminally charged for their involvement in the unlawful taking of 19 white-tailed deer. The majority of the deer were killed at night with the use of a spotlight.  Several deer were poached during the day. Both antlered and antlerless deer were taken. The defendants in the case used multiple rifles and a crossbow. This case originated when a farmer observed the individuals shoot an antlered deer in his field while using a spotlight. He reported the incident to the Southwest Region Office.

Westmoreland County Game Warden Chris Bergman reports an individual was found guilty of hunting in the extended antlerless deer season without having his license and antlerless tags in possession.  

Westmoreland County Game Warden Chris Bergman reports the unlawful riding of ATV, UTV, and four-wheel drive vehicles on state game lands and Hunter Access property is being strongly enforced.

Westmoreland County Game Warden Chris Bergman reports an individual pleaded guilty to lending her tag to another person, who shot an antlered deer.

Westmoreland County Game Warden Chris Bergman reports charges are pending against an individual for unlawful possession of game or wildlife.  An antlerless deer was found lying in his yard and the deer had been shot and field-dressed, but was untagged.

Westmoreland County Deputy Game Warden Clyde Gouker reports an individual pleaded guilty to hunting over bait during the firearms deer season.

Westmoreland County Game Warden Shawn Greevy reports an increase in dumping and ATV riding on game lands as the weather has warmed. Enforcement efforts are increasing in response.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

McKean County Game Warden Benjamin Johnson reports he cited an individual for shooting from the roadway. Hunters are reminded it is unlawful to shoot while standing on a road.

McKean County Game Warden Benjamin Johnson reports he cited an individual for hunting and trespassing. Hunters are reminded to respect landowners and get permission before hunting. 

Elk County Game Warden Susan Edmiston reports that, in cooperation with DCNR Park Ranger Ben Rzicznek, a Wilcox man has been cited for several park regulation violations and hunting through the use of bait on Elk State Park property during the late archery hunting season.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that two subjects involved in shooting at a deer decoy pleaded guilty to the crimes. The combined total fine was $1,773.25.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports that multiple people are not complying with the deer feeding prohibition in Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area 3.

Clearfield County Game Warden Mark Gritzer reports two successful turkey trappings in January.  Fifteen males were tagged with leg bands for the agency’s turkey survival study.

Clearfield County Game Warden Thomas Henry reports individuals have been cited for hunting with others’ licenses and not checking traps.

Tioga County Game Warden Mike Smith accompanied Game Warden Rob Minnich on multiple investigations involving multiple deer taken unlawfully at night in and around the Mansfield area. Several bucks have been seized. 

Tioga County Game Warden Thomas Nelson reports an individual was found guilty in February for killing a 200-pound male black bear with a muzzleloader while hunting through the use of bait. The violation occurred in Hector Township, Potter County.

Centre County Game Warden Tyler Hegedus reports that a Clinton County an resident pleaded guilty to shooting multiple antlerless deer during a closed season.

Lycoming County Game Warden Richard C. Lee will be filing citations against an individual for hunting deer on a Sunday, over bait and without a license in the month of October. 

Lycoming County Game Warden Harold Cole and Warden Richard C. Lee have been attending concealed-carry seminars hosted by the state representatives. Cole states that during these seminars, the attendees listen to short presentations from a county judge, district attorney or assistant about state laws pertaining to self-protection. The county sheriff discusses the application process to get a license to carry firearms. A local police officer or state trooper reviews what a person should do if they are carrying a firearm and have contact with police during things such as a traffic stop. And the game wardens review and discuss some of the hunting and trapping laws and what a hunter or trapper with a license to carry firearms is allowed to do by law. Cole advised that the second half of the seminar is a question-and-answer session. The seminars are attended heavily and well received by everyone, he said.

Clinton County Game Warden Kirk Miller reports that multiple hunters during the hunting season were cited for not properly attaching and completing the proper game kill tag to their deer they harvested. 

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Adams County Game Warden Taylor Knash reports there is much more activity on state forest land as temperatures have started to get warmer. 

Bedford County Game Warden Austin Adams reports a Blair County man has been charged with one count of feeding deer in a Disease Management Area, resulting in a fine that will range from $100 to $200. 

Cumberland County Game Warden John Fetchkan reports an ongoing deer-poaching investigation that involved several deer taken illegally, after the season. A related dumping incident also is under investigation. The subject dumped inedible deer parts, as well as a letter with the individual’s name on it.  

York County Game Warden Scott Brookens reports poaching from the road has continued well past the end of deer season. The two most recent deer were shot in residential areas where people easily could have been injured. 

York County Game Warden Justin Ritter reports one individual was cited for taking a Canada goose out of season. 

Perry County Game Warden Michael Smith reports an investigation with Officer Minnich has led to multiple guilty pleas. Five deer were taken unlawfully at night by multiple individuals. Although the events took place in the fall, investigations and new evidence more recently led to the suspects and helped to tie the cases together. In a separate incident, an individual pleaded guilty to an unlawful deer charge through an investigation conducted in the late muzzleloader season. Lastly, an individual was charged for shooting across a roadway in Potter County, stemming from an investigation that began last fall. 

NORTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Bradford County Game Warden Praveed Abraham is charging multiple individuals in the killing of an adult bald eagle. There were multiple game law violations that occurred. He reminds the public to familiarize themselves with the proper regulations and when in doubt to contact their regional office for clarification. 

Columbia County Game Warden Jake Klinger reports citing an individual for unlawfully trapping. The individual had two unlawful traps set with bait visible from the air. The individual also failed to place ID tags on the trap. Klinger advises trappers to make sure they’re familiar with regulations before going out and setting traps. 

Luzerne County Game Warden Dale Ambosie reports investigating an incident where individuals were hunting Canada geese during a closed season in Butler Township, Luzerne County, and had taken geese unlawfully. The investigation led to contacts with eight individuals. The geese were confiscated, and multiple citations were filed.

Lackawanna Game Warden Eric Kelly reports charges are pending against an individual for using unlawfully set snares.

Lackawanna County Game Warden Benjamin Johnson reports individuals dumping on state game lands. Outdoor enthusiasts are reminded to properly dispose of trash and keep the landscape clean.

Monroe County Game Warden Dillon Gruver wants to thank landowners for allowing the Game Commission to use their properties to live-trap wild turkeys for research. “Turkey populations are down across the state and it’s important we get a better understanding of their behavior,” he said. 

Northumberland County Game Warden Michael Workman reports several cases of vehicles parking in front of closed gates, blocking them. “It’s important to remember that habitat crews and emergency vehicles rely on this access being open,” he said. 

SOUTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Berks County Game Warden Ryan L. Zawada reports issuing several warnings for the unlawful feeding of deer inside of Chronic Wasting Disease Management Area 4. 

Bucks County Game Warden Shawna Burkett reports investigating the unlawful taking of a 6-point buck in early January. The buck was found by a property owner in Hanover Township, Northampton County, in a development near Route 22 and Stoke Park Road. The buck was shot in the throat with a small-caliber round, sometime around Christmas.

Bucks County Game Warden Hannah Robinson reports investigating an illegally set trap in Bensalem Township.    

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports citing a Chadds Ford man for allowing his juvenile son to walk on State Game Land 43 without any fluorescent orange on the opening day of deer firearms season. The two were hunting earlier in the morning, and when they returned to their vehicle realized the son had left behind his cellphone. The father allowed his son, who was hunting under a mentored youth permit, to return alone to retrieve it, but he did not wear his orange while doing so. It is unlawful to be on state game lands for any reason without orange from Nov. 15 to Dec. 15, and persons using state game lands to hunt deer should be especially aware of this. The pair had also been hunting with centerfire bottle-necked cartridges, which is a violation in Special Regulations Area counties.

Chester County Game Warden Matthew Johnson reports assisting Deputy Game Warden Jeffrey Steen with several baiting violations on William Penn State Forest property in Honey Brook and West Caln townships. Multiple bait sites were located, and a significant portion of the property was posted closed to hunting in the early days of the firearms deer season. These acts impact not only the violator, but also reduce the amount of land available to other hunters, in a part of the state where public hunting opportunities are limited. In this case, only one person was charged, although all indications were that others were also involved.

Chester County Game Warden Zachary Salsgiver reports investigating unlawful dumping on Hunter Access property in southern Chester County, where a large bag of trash was deposited. A suspect has been identified and charges are pending.

Dauphin County Game Warden Zach Soles reports hunting structures were unlawfully built from cut wood from a timber sale on State Game Land 210. He reminds people everyone that it is unlawful to construct, place, maintain, occupy, use, leave or abandon any structures on state game lands.

Dauphin County Game Warden Russell Kreider reports three individuals have been charged with the illegal taking and possessing of two white-tailed deer in Swatara Township.

Delaware County Game Warden Nicholas Visser reports encountering on a vehicle fire near Ridley Creek State Park. The driver and passenger both exited the vehicle and received medical attention as firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames.

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports that several arrest warrants were served for individuals who failed to respond to citations. One fled when wardens arrived at his place of employment to serve the warrant. By the end of the day, he went to the district magisterial judge’s office and entered his plea. The other individual, when contacted at his workplace, agreed to enter his plea by the end of the week. Both prosecutions are now adjudicated with guilty pleas. 

Lancaster County Game Warden Greg Graham reports that the annual spring snow goose migration at Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area has peaked at around 150,000 birds. Public visitation was high on Presidents Day, when 13 violations were encountered. Most were unlawful entry into closed areas, and citations are pending in four of those cases. One individual was warned about drone usage before he launched his aircraft.

Lancaster County Game Warden John Veylupek reports filing citations against two individuals. The first was cited for hunting geese during the closed season and the second for setting cable restraints in a manner that allowed for entanglement of animals.

Lebanon County Game Warden Derek Spitler reports receiving information about the theft of full-body snow goose decoys from a field in North Annville Township.

Lehigh County Game Warden David Furmato reports an increase in violations on the State Game Land 205 shotgun range. He advises that all who use the range read the regulations that are posted there upon arrival. 

Lehigh and Northampton counties Game Warden Jesse Cunningham reports citing an individual in Upper Saucon Township for killing a deer with a bow and arrow in a residential area during closed season. The deer was found by a neighbor the next morning with the arrow still in its side which prompted a call to the Game Commission. 

Montgomery County Game Warden Raymond Madden reports multiple cases have been completed that include killing of wildlife through the use of a motorized vehicle, possessing loaded firearms in a vehicle and using bottle-necked centerfire cartridges in a Special Regulations Area. 

Northampton County Game Warden Tyler Barnes cited four hunters who were unlawfully hunting on Sunday, with unplugged shotguns, and without wearing the required daylight fluorescent orange material. All four have pleaded guilty to charges.

Schuylkill County Game Warden Jason Macunas and Deputy Dave Fidler investigated a report of a Pine Grove individual harvested three antlerless deer in the same evening. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that he was only issued one antlerless deer tag. The individual pleaded guilty to unlawfully taking the two other deer that he harvested. 

Schuylkill County Game Warden Charles T. Schuster reports an individual received a citation for dumping materials at a state game lands parking area.

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