Northwest Region Field Report  - February 13, 2015

Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal reports tree stands remain on state game lands, even though the deadline to remove them has expired. Hunters are reminded they must remove tree stands no later than two weeks after the last deer-hunting season. If a hunter discovers that their tree stand is missing, look for a note attached to a nearby tree with the officer’s contact information. The note will provide information for the hunter to reclaim their stand. If no note is found, still contact your area’s regional office.

Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that a Lickingville man was found guilty in court and assessed $250 for dumping trash along Gregory Road in Farmington Township, Clarion County. The defendant cleaned the trash out of his vehicle alongside a rural back road, leaving many receipts from Visa transactions and other articles containing his name.

Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports several incidents where trash; such as tires, electronics, and other household garbage, was thrown out along the road on State Game Lands  330 in Clarion County. Anyone with information should call the Northwest Region Office at 814-432-3187. If you are in that area and see something you think is suspicious, please do not hesitate to call.

Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports a recent court hearing involving a violator from Ohio resulted in two guilty verdicts for taking a black bear through the use of bait. Total costs, fines, and restitution in the case were $5,858.86. The man also will lose his hunting privileges. With the loss of hunting privileges in Pennsylvania, he also loses his privileges in 43 other states.

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports a Virginia resident has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from his unlawful attempt to take a white-tailed deer. He had paid his brother, a resident of Pennsylvania, to secure a license for him in his brother’s name. When the defendant was checked in the field, he could not produce any identification and provided false information. Both brothers were charged.

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports that charges filed against a local man have been adjudicated by a guilty plea. The man was in a field with two unlicensed hunters. All three had firearms and were attempting to fill the defendant’s tags. When questioned about the blood that was clearly visible in his vehicle, he reported that a friend of his had taken an unlawful deer and that he would testify to such. Further investigation proved that the original defendant had killed a sub-legal antlered deer, butchered it and dumped the remains on private property. For his actions, the court assessed over $1,700 in fines and costs.

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports a juvenile is facing charges for taking an antlerless deer without a license. If convicted, the deer would be the 15th the juvenile has been convicted of taking unlawfully in the past two seasons. Fines for the misdemeanor violation could reach $15,000.

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports as of Jan. 1, five otters have been turned in as incidental captures. Four were caught in 330 beaver sets and one in a mink trap. The otter in the mink set could have survived to be released unharmed, but became entangled in trash carelessly left on the stream bank resulting in the animal drowning. Olexsak reminds trappers it is important to report mistake kills so necessary biological information can be collected.

Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports that the recent cold temperatures and heavy snows have slowed the beaver trapping in his district, making it a challenge to set and check traps.

Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports that, following an arrest warrant being issued, an individual from North Carolina has decided to pay his fines for a loaded gun on an ATV and possessing his uncle’s hunting license.

Erie County WCO Larry M. Smith would like to remind people to be cautious when running snowmobiles through the woods and fields. With the severe winter conditions and deep snow, deer and other animals need to conserve energy. Coming too close to their shelter area pushes them out into deep snow.

Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that with the snow starting to pile up, some try to help wildlife by beginning to feed it.. It has been shown that feeding stations generally cause more harm than good. It congregates wildlife, which promotes the spread of disease and makes them more susceptible to predation.

Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt reports seeing a set of bear tracks in the snow on his property Jan. 24. The bear followed a set of tire tracks that led right to Schmidt’s house.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports several cases from deer season wrapped up during the past couple of weeks. One individual pleaded guilty to hunting without the required hunting license and to purchasing a license he wasn’t entitled to. The individual, who lived out of state, had been purchasing resident licenses for the past several years. In another case, an adult male pleaded guilty to using a vehicle to hunt, having a loaded firearm in a vehicle, hunting antlerless deer without a license, and unlawfully killing an antlerless deer. Several witnesses observed someone shoot from the pickup that the adult male was driving. The witnesses confronted the adult male, who claimed that his 9-year-old son had just shot his first buck. The deer that was killed was an antlerless deer, and the adult did not have an antlerless license.

Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports charges have recently been filed for loaded guns in vehicles, resisting an officer, hunting through the use of a vehicle, killing big game out of season, untagged big game, shooting from and across a roadway, taking game over the bag limit, hunting over bait, damage to trees, failure to produce ID, as well as other charges.

Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin responded to an incident involving a landowner complaint about hunting on “posted property,” possibly shooting within the safety zone, and also the hunter refusing to show the landowner his hunting license or ID. The hunter, who had a dead coyote in possession, was apologetic to the landowner but never gave his name or produced a hunting license. An investigation was initiated, but the hunter no longer was in the area. The complainant is willing to testify and the investigation is still ongoing.

Mercer County WCO Patrick Cull reports that he recently transferred from Tioga County to Mercer County and that he is excited to work with the hunters and trappers within the Northwest Region.

Venango County WCO John A. McKellop III reports the number of illegal tree stands on Game Commission-controlled Hunter Access property was up this year. These private co-op properties, with thousands of acres open to public hunting, can easily pull their agreements and post their property. If you see any illegal activity on these properties, please contact the Game Commission. You may be saving yourself a place to hunt in the future.

Mercer and Venango counties LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli reports that, while checking a couple of hunters on the first day of deer season, one hunter said, “Can I ask you a question?” Piccirilli responded, “Certainly.” He said, “How come you guys drive around in such fancy new vehicles that cost so much money?” Piccirilli said, “Thank you for the compliment, my truck is a 2008 model with close to 120,000 miles on it, and it’s not the oldest one in our fleet.” The hunter didn’t have a comeback.

Clarion and Jefferson counties LMGS George J. Miller reports that the Clarion County Food and Cover crew, along with the field foresters, recently completed a 68-acre timber stand improvement cut on State Game Lands 283 in Clarion County. “This cut removed undesirable trees and shrubs that compete for sunlight and nutrients and will allow oak and other beneficial trees and shrubs to prosper,” Miller said.

Crawford and Erie counties LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that severe snow has slowed habitat-management work. This time of year is often a good time to conduct fruit-tree daylighting, border cuts, aspen regeneration cuts, maintenance on wood duck boxes, game land cover mapping, contract show dates, etc., but deep snow prohibits many of these projects, and slows many others.

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