Northwest Region Field Report  - October 10, 2014

Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal reports that investigations are ongoing regarding the increase of drug use and production in local woodlands. Littering of methamphetamine byproducts and waste from the production of the drug are becoming an increasing issue in the southern Butler area. Marijuana plots have been discovered and needles from heroin use are fairly common in area parking lots. Multiple agencies are involved in the enforcement of related drug laws and arrests and suppression efforts have been common. All of these waste byproducts of drug use pose a significant health hazard to individuals and their pets that use the area for legal purposes.

Butler County WCO Randy W. Pilarcik reminds all waterfowl hunters that when using watercraft while hunting ducks or geese, Fish and Boat Commission regulations regarding the wearing of personal floatation devices (PFDs) must be followed. From Nov. 1 through April 30, everyone riding on boats under 16 feet in length must wear his or her own PFD. Also be reminded that all firearms must be unloaded while any boat is propelled by motor or sail.

Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that many individuals in the past month have been cited while using the State Game Lands 72 Rifle Range in Clarion because they didn’t first secure a hunting or furtaker license, or range-use permit.

Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports that bear activity in central Crawford County is still at a high level, and he recommends that hunters in the area seriously consider hunting bears this year.

Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports that an individual was cited and pleaded guilty to releasing a raccoon from a trap belonging to a Wildlife Pest Control permittee.

Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports the duck blinds on Presque Isle were drawn on Sept. 20 for the start of the Lake Erie Zone duck season, which begins on Oct. 27, 2014.

Erie County WCO Larry M. Smith reports seeing a large number of people handling sick or diseased wildlife. It shocks him to see people handling wildlife, exposing themselves, family members and pets to diseases like rabies. “In this information age people should know better,” he said. “Stay away; and contact the Game Commission.”

Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt reports trapping a 100-pound female bear that was causing damage to a cornfield in his district. The bear was moved approximately 7 miles away. One week later, the bear was trapped again at the same location. Not only did the bear travel a little, it had to get across the Allegheny River.

Forest County WCO Frank E. Leichtenberger has had several reports of baited areas on lands that are open to public hunting. A variety of attractants such as mineral blocks, apples and corn were set out. Attempts to catch the perpetrators will be made and eventually large areas around each will have to be posted with Baited Area signs to warn innocent hunters to stay away. All of the sites were found and reported by persons who intended to hunt in those areas. Unfortunately, they will now be unable to do so. At best, it was thoughtless and selfish to place the baits.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that on the first day of resident goose season he encountered two individuals hunting geese near a cornfield. While checking licenses, it was learned that the two hunters had purchased their required federal duck stamps via another state’s website. The two hunters could only produce a receipt for the purchase of duck stamps and not the actual stamps. When duck stamps are purchased via these sites, the actual stamps are mailed to the purchaser within 45 days of the purchase. The game Commission does not sell duck stamps via its website and, along with many other states, does not accept a receipt of purchase of a duck stamp in lieu of actually possessing a signed stamp.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reminds archers to use a quality fall-restraint device anytime they hunt from an elevated stand. All of the preseason scouting, quality camo clothing, archery equipment and practice won’t mean a thing if the season is spent on the couch or in a hospital bed because of a fall-related injury.

Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin reports that the Saturdays of the Youth Waterfowl Hunts provided some youngsters with a great deal of shooting, but not a lot of ducks taken.

Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin received a report regarding four kayaks that were inside the propagation area at State Game Lands 270. DWCOs Thomas R. Jones and Daniel E. Carl were called to respond and assist in apprehending the violators. These kayakers claimed this was their first time on Lake Wilhelm and they entered the propagation area with no intentions to do anything wrong. They saw the signs “Entry Prohibited” but didn’t think that applied to kayaks. They were cooperative and remorseful, but their excuse was as unacceptable as that of another pair of kayakers just a month ago. Citations were issued.

Butler and Lawrence counties LMGS Jeffery T. Kendall reports that he has received many reports of eagle sightings from different areas in his district. It seems as though everyone is seeing eagles lately.

Mercer and Venango counties LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli reports his crews are currently preparing to stock pheasants for the upcoming pheasant season. In addition, the crews are painting boundary lines on state game lands. The crews are also maintaining parking lots on game lands in preparation for the upcoming hunting season and making sure all game lands signs are posted.

Clarion and Jefferson counties LMGS George J. Miller reports that a dumpster has been placed in Jefferson County on State Game Lands 244 at the Fuller Access parking area to provide hunters that harvest deer within the Disease Management Area 3 (DMA 3) a place to dispose of their high-risk parts (brain, spinal column, lymph nodes, spleen, etc.) so that they can be in compliance with the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) regulations established through Executive Order within the DMA. All hunters are asked to double bag the high-risk parts, whether they’re disposing of them in the dumpster or setting them out for pickup through their regular refuse service.

Crawford/Erie County LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that the use of trail cameras has helped in the enforcement of illegal activity on state game lands.

Pennsylvania Game Commission, 2001 Elmerton Ave, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17110-9797