Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — Feb. 3, 2017

NORTHWEST REGION
From the Game Commission 

Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports he investigated a substantial number of sub-legal harvested bucks that were not reported as mistake-kills during the recent firearms deer season. For varying reasons, these hunters decided to keep the deer, rather than report them to the region office. Once a hunter skips that established process and decides to keep the buck, the deer becomes an unlawfully taken whitetail.

Crawford County WCO Randy R. Crago reports an Erie County man is being charged for a bear he killed illegally on the opening day of the deer firearms season, which was two days before the start of the WMU 1B extended bear season. He also did not have a bear license when he killed it. The man purchased the bear license several hours after killing the bear and then tried to check in the bear two days later, claiming it was killed in a county where extended bear season was in all week. During the investigation, he also was found to be in unlawful possession of a red-tailed hawk talon; he will face additional charges for that violation.

Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark issued  several warnings to duck hunters on Lake Erie for failing to tag harvested birds. Harvested waterfowl left in someone else’s possession must be identified with a homemade tag that includes the hunter’s name, address and signature, as well as the number of species killed and the date they were taken. You’re no longer in possession of harvested waterfowl when you leave the boat where they are being stored.

Forest County WCO Frank E. Leichtenberger reminds holders of the special-permit-to-use-a-motorized-vehicle-as-a-blind that it is not a permit to road hunt. This permit allows disabled hunters to drive to a hunting location, park their vehicle, shut off the engine, and then hunt from it. The permit does not make it legal for the permit holder to drive around, locate a game and shoot it. At a recent hearing, a defendant who was charged with unlawfully using a vehicle from which to hunt and kill deer admitted he was road hunting and noted the only reason he got his permit was to “road hunt.” He was found guilty of both charges.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports during the first week of the late muzzleloader season he checked an individual with a flintlock rifle. The individual didn’t have a muzzleloader license and the only portion of his general hunting license in his possession was his unfilled antlered deer/flintlock tag. He had a completed WMU 2B antlerless deer tag in his coat pocket, as well as a completed WMU 3E antlerless deer tag in his vehicle. Neither harvest had been reported.

SOUTHWEST REGION
From the Game Commission

Allegheny County WCO Douglas Bergman reports charges were filed against a Lincoln Boro man for failing to obtain a permit for a road-killed buck he picked up. The permit provides for the use of salvageable venison; possession of antlers from road-killed deer is not lawful.

Allegheny County WCO Douglas Bergman reports two Elizabeth Township residents were cited for hunting a bait area and hunting from a ground blind without displaying fluorescent orange on the opening day of the firearms deer season.

Allegheny County WCO Tom Kline says a hunter on the evening of Dec. 2 reported hearing what sounded like a rifle shot near the entrance to the Pittsburgh International Airport off Interstate 376. A large 8-point buck was found about 80 yards from the roadway in an opening for a gas line on airport property. Bullet shrapnel was recovered in a necropsy of the deer carcass. An active investigation is ongoing.

Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports a local man is facing several charges for violations that occurred throughout Allegheny County. The hunter originally was found deer hunting while possessing two junior hunting licenses/tags by one officer. The licenses were purchased as resident licenses for out-of-state junior hunters in another officer’s district. Additionally, one of the invalid licenses was used to tag a buck in a third officer’s district. He now faces fines that range from $800 to $1,600.

Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports a Clinton area man pleaded guilty to hunting in the firearms deer season without displaying fluorescent orange on the exterior of his blind. He also was not wearing the required amount of fluorescent orange inside of the blind. His blind came into compliance when he placed an orange construction cone on the top of his blind for the rest of the season.

Somerset County WCO Zachary Edwards reports two hunters are being charged for taking, possessing and transporting of a sub-legal buck harvested during the second week of the firearms deer season. The four-point buck that was shot was going to be left behind, but a group of hunters confronted the individuals, who then took possession of the deer and improperly tagged it. One of the confronting hunters called in the violation, which led to charges being filed on both hunters involved in the illegal harvest and possession the undersized buck. Both defendants face a minimum $1,000 fine, up to a month imprisonment and hunting license revocation for at least three years.

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports an investigation is ongoing relating to a black bear that was shot illegally during the opening day of rifle deer season in WMU 2C. The bear was shot early in the morning and left to rot in the woods.

Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports one individual has been charged with unlawfully taking an antlerless deer through the use of a motorized vehicle. The deer reportedly was observed by the individual in a vehicle on a public road. He then left the vehicle and fired three shots at the deer from within a safety zone, killing it.

Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports a man has been charged with purchasing a license while his license privileges were suspended from a previous violation involving the killing of a buck at night with a light. He also admitted to hunting with the unlawfully obtained license.

Washington/Fayette County WCO Chris Bergman reports charges are being filed against four Fayette Countians for violations, ranging from unlawful tagging, unlawful acts concerning licenses, unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife, and unlawful killing or taking of big game.

Washington/Fayette County WCO Chris Bergman reports charges have been filed against two Washington Countians for unlawful killing or taking of big game. The individuals shot a 10-point buck using a spotlight and rifle after dark.

Westmoreland County WCO Matthew Lucas reports during an investigation for trespass while hunting in Hempfield Township, an individual was found to have unlawfully harvested an antlerless deer. Charges are pending.

Westmoreland County WCO Matthew Lucas reports two individuals were cited for use of bait while hunting in North Huntingdon Township on the opening day of the firearms deer season. The two junior hunters accompanying the cited individuals were given warnings.

Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports a man arrived at a local butcher shop with an untagged deer. The only identification, licenses or tags he could provide were his daughter’s antlerless deer tag. Charges have been filed.

Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports a man was cited and pleaded guilty to several charges, after pulling up to the entrance of a well access, exiting his vehicle and shooting at a deer. It all occurred within several safety zones and included shooting in the general direction of a home. He decided he had missed the deer, put his gun back in the car and went for a walk with his wife.

Westmoreland County WCO Michael J. Papinchak reports that information that came from DWCO Heather Flanegan in Washington County lead to two individuals being cited for the unlawful possession of an antlered deer head.

Westmoreland County WCO Bill Brehun reports that since the start of bobcat trapping season, numerous violations have been uncovered and charges filed. Violations were for: traps set before season; traps set with bait visible from the air; failure to check traps within 36 hours, and setting of body-gripping traps outside of a waterway.

Fayette/Westmoreland counties WCO Andy Harvey reports a Fayette County man has been charged with illegally shooting a black bear. He shot the bear and did not have a bear license. After killing the bear, he went to the store and purchased a bear license. Then he took the bear to check station and attempted to pass it off as a legal harvest.

NORTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Centre County WCO Michael Ondik reports multiple individuals were cited for safety-zone violations during the recent deer seasons. These cases all involved individuals  hunting within 150 yards of homes, with one individual discharging a rifle within 60 yards from an occupied residence.

Centre/Clinton counties WCO Dan Murray reports charges have been filed for various violations in the firearms deer season. They include: untagged big game; hunting without a license; possessing the license or harvest tags of another hunter; hunting without sufficient fluorescent orange; loaded firearms in vehicles; locating game through the use of a motorized vehicle, and shooting from or across highways.

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports a hunter shot a 500-pound cow elk equipped with a GPS collar in mistake for a white-tailed deer on the opening day of the firearms antlerless deer season. Charges were filed against the hunter, who faces a $1,500 replacement cost for the elk, since it was considered a critical-research animal for the Game Commission’s elk ecology studies.

Clinton County WCO Kirk Miller reports an individual from Virginia pleaded guilty to more than $400 in fines for hunting without a current hunting license and for failure to wear the required amount of fluorescent orange.

Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston reports that during a Dec. 7 deer drive of a Spring Creek Township clear-cut, an individual from Ridgway shot another member of his hunting party – also from Ridgway – in the forearm while shooting at an antlerless deer exiting the clear-cut. The victim’s injuries were minor. The shooter pleaded guilty to shooting at or causing injury to human beings, and paid $1,084 in fines and court costs. The shooter also will face a mandatory two-year hunting license revocation and must attend a remedial hunter education course.

McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik, after checking a nice 8-point hanging from a Fishing Creek Road camp, was surprised to be called back to the camp the following day for a mistaken kill. Upon arrival, he learned the camp matriarch, a woman in her 70s, had killed a 4-point in mistake for a doe at a distance of more than 200 yards. She explained that she had taught her children to be responsible adults and she accepted full responsibility for the mistake, the first she made in nearly 40 years of hunting.

Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reported four individuals were cited for violations stemming from hunting through the use of a motorized vehicle on the last day of the firearms deer season.

McKean County WCO Skyler Gibble reports several individuals were cited for having loaded firearms in their vehicles during deer season.

Potter County Officer Mark Fair reports a spike-bull elk was rescued after it became trapped in the Stevenson Dam spillway in Cameron County. The elk had wandered down into the spillway slipped on ice and struggled just to maintain its balance. Jeremy Banfield, Game Commission elk biologist, and Sinnemahoning State Park staff devised a plan to drug the elk and move it to safety. Fitted with a radio collar, the young bull was released.

Tioga County WCO Steve Brussese reports an individual has been cited for shooting an antlerless deer and 8-point buck in closed season.

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION
From the Game Commission

Adams County WCO Cory M. Ammerman reports an individual was found to be hunting on property without permission, failing to wear the required amount of orange material during a big game season, and killing an antlerless deer without a valid antlerless deer license. This individual could face upward of $2,200 in fines and face several years of license revocation.

Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that a Hyndman-area teen has pleaded guilty to charges that stemmed from a road-hunting incident in archery season. A vehicle was used to locate an antlered deer on private property along the road. The driver stopped and allowed the teen to exit the vehicle and shoot at the buck with a bow. The buck was left injured in the field after the shooter was scared by a passing motorist. This occurred on private property. The deer was euthanized by officers.

Cumberland County WCO John Fetchkan reports he seemed to encounter fewer violations during this firearms deer season, however, several loaded firearms were found in vehicles. Several dumped deer carcasses are still being investigated to see if they were legally taken.

Fulton County WCO Justin T. Klugh reports an uptick in violations during bear season, including bears being shot by unlicensed hunters or tagged by hunters who didn’t harvest them. Multiple charges are pending.

Perry County WCO Kevin P. Anderson Jr. reports that two Perry County men recently were charged for shooting at a wildlife-enforcement decoy. The driver of the vehicle had been charged for shooting at a decoy two years prior, and the shooter had been charged last year in a road-hunting incident. At the time of the incident, the shooter’s hunting license was revoked. Both men were charged, and enhanced penalties were requested.

York County WCO Kyle A. Jury reports several unlawful deer cases were adjudicated in December. One case in the Dillsburg area involved a family of five that had unlawfully taken three deer during the early archery deer season. Jury first discovered on Facebook that several in the family harvested deer before they purchased the required licenses or permits to legally hunt. His investigation revealed a total of eight Game and Wildlife Code violations, and there were some very young hunters involved.

York County WCO Kyle A. Jury reports working with Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich on a case that revealed two bucks were taken by the same individual during the regular firearms deer season in 2016. Both bucks, one a 6-point, the other an 8-point, were taken from Fairview Township in York County. The officers charged the individual for several violations including two counts of transporting the deer outside of a CWD Management Area.

NORTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Bradford County WCO Blake Barth reports a man was cited for harvesting multiple deer in one WMU and tagging them with antlerless harvest tags from a different WMU. He also was cited for using an antlered deer harvest tag from another person for a buck that was killed in the archery deer season.

Bradford County WCO Michael Goodenow reports an individual was cited for an untagged doe during the recent antlerless firearms season. The man could face up to $200 in fines.

Bradford County WCO Eric Kelly reports charges are pending against four individuals in unrelated road-hunting incidents.

Columbia County WCO Rick Deiterich reports three Columbia County men were cited for parking and blocking an emergency access road to State Game Land 55. The road was the only access point to get into the interior of the game lands in case of an emergency.

Columbia County WCO Rick Deiterich reports a Millville area man and a Benton Township man were both cited for killing or possession of an illegal deer and lending or borrowing a license of another. One man admitted the other gave him an antlerless license and asked him to kill a deer.

Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reports a hunter was charged and pleaded guilty to killing a bear in a baited area during the archery bear season.

Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reports being called to several safety-zone violations on the last day of the firearms deer season. Several of these investigations lead to charges filed for shooting at or killing deer in safety zones.

Montour County WCO Michael College reports a Columbia County man pleaded guilty to charges that stemmed from shooting a deer with a handgun during the archery deer season while hunting in a baited area. Fines totaled more than $1,000.

Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley reports citing several individuals for hunting with licenses of others and possessing loaded firearms in, on or against their vehicles.

Sullivan County WCO Rick Finnegan reports charges have been filed on persons for the unlawful use of an ATV on state game lands, hunting in baited areas and the unlawful taking of game or wildlife.

Susquehanna County WCO Ben Rebuck reports citing seven people for hunting through the use of bait during firearms deer season and was investigating numerous other baited areas.

Wayne County WCO Jim McCarthy reports that two Lackawanna County men pleaded guilty to illegally killing a black bear near Gas Hollow Road, in Sterling Township, during the archery bear season. Both men were ordered to pay hefty fines and will lose their hunting and trapping privileges for several years.

SOUTHEAST REGION
From the Game Commission

Berks County WCO Dave Brockmeier reports that he and DWCO Smith were in their patrol vehicle, parked in a game-lands parking area as a vehicle with hunters drove past them and into the parking lot. The hunters were so focused on another hunter that had successfully harvested a deer, they never saw the patrol vehicle. DWCO Smith watched as one hunter loaded his rifle and placed it back in the truck. Subsequently, the officers approached the individual and issued a citation for the violation. The hunter tried to assure the officers that placing the loaded rifle in the truck was the safest thing to do so he wouldn’t have to handle it while getting ready to hunt. The officers assured him that waiting until he was away from the busy lot would have been the safe thing to do.

Dauphin County WCO Michael Doherty reports that several  Harrisburg area hunters have received citations for removing banned deer parts from the neighboring Disease Management Area in York and Adams counties.

Lancaster County WCO John Veylupek said numerous violations were encountered, including failure to tag big game, littering, trespassing, unlawful taking of big game, unlawful taking of small game, hunting on Sunday, unlawful removal of high-risk cervid parts from Disease Management Areas, hunting small game with an unlawful device and failure to wear the required amount of fluorescent orange.

Lancaster County WCO Dennis Warfel says there were violations from loaded firearms to failure to wear the required fluorescent orange. Two separate road-hunting incidents resulted in multiple citations for each violator, including unlawful taking of big game, loaded firearms in vehicles and using a motorized vehicle to hunt. The most disappointing occurrences are the 14 incidents involving mistake kills, which is an increase from past years.

Lehigh County WCO Kevin Halbfoerster encountered five violations of unplugged shotguns the first day of pheasant season last fall. Each violator received a citation. Citations will be for all unplugged shotguns whether loaded over capacity or not.

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