Northwest Region Field Report  - July 18, 2014

Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that over the Fourth of July weekend, several boating, shooting-range and state-game-lands violations were identified, such as: life-jacket violations; shooting more rounds than permitted at the shooting range; shooting at the range without a permit or hunting license; shooting at the range before noon on Sunday; and ATV violations.

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports charges have been filed against an East Springfield man for hunting over three hours past the end of legal hours during the early part of spring turkey season.

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports that guilty pleas have been entered in two separate cases that involved golf-course employees killing geese unlawfully in order to keep them off of the course property.

Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports that the number of bear nuisance complaints, sightings and bear-vehicle collisions throughout central Crawford County is on the increase.

Erie County WCO Larry M. Smith wants to remind people not to approach or pick up young or injured wildlife. Often their attempt to “save” the animal leads to its death and their potential exposure to a variety of diseases.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports he is aware of several situations where individuals who own a camp or residence next to game lands routinely mow or maintain the game lands next to them like they own it. One of these individuals was interviewed recently after he had used a riding lawn mower to mow one path onto the adjoining game lands and used a gas powered trimmer to clear a second path that ran a considerable distance through the game lands. Charges are pending in this case, and similar situations will be investigated and handled appropriately.

Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman reports that with the rising of the temperature comes the increase in violations including illegal ATVs, litter, and underage drinking parties, etc.

Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports a bobcat sighting was reported in the district in Wilmington Township. A local sportsman reported the cat to be upwards of 30 pounds as it strolled across the road in front of him.

Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports two black bears were struck and killed by motor vehicles on Interstate 79 within two weeks of one another, and both within one mile of the Grove City Factory Outlet Mall. Over the past six years, six bears have been killed on the 10- mile stretch of I-79 and another on Route 258, which runs parallel to I-79.

Venango County WCO John A. McKellop reports that often the summer months bring out different kinds of violations than he usually sees in hunting season. This past month, he’s investigated cases involving field driving and cutting “cookies” in farm fields, illegal tree stands, various dumping cases and illegal ATV and dirt-bike usage on Game Commission Cooperator properties.

Venango County WCO John A. McKellop reports that the Game Commission maintains many private lands in its “cooperator” programs, leaving them open for hunting and some other public use. Sadly, many “co-ops” are damaged from illegal ATV use, garbage dumping and other illegal activity. Some cooperators are considering closing their private lands to even the good hunters because of these illegal activities. If you see any illegal activity going on, call the appropriate law enforcement agency. A few bad apples often ruin it for all of us.

Venango County WCO John A. McKellop reminds, “Don’t forget that Hunter-Trapper Education class for your young, soon-to-be hunters. Many classes are held early before the antlerless deer licenses go on sale, mainly so that the youngsters can get a chance at a ‘doe’ license before they are sold out.”

Warren County WCO Jason R. Amory reports that charges were recently successfully adjudicated against a Tidioute woman for dumping refuse on State Game Lands 309 and a Sharpsville man for operating an ATV on a forest service road not authorized for such activity, and without a helmet, without registration and without insurance on the ATV. The Tidioute woman is facing approximately $121 in fines and costs. The Sharpsville man is facing approximately $540 for his multiple offenses. Unlawful ATV operation in and around the Allegheny National Forest, and unlawful disposing of refuse will continue to be strenuously enforced throughout the summer. Residents and visitors are encouraged to ride only on approved trails and dispose of their refuse in containers authorized for such purpose.

Mercer/Venango County LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli reports sighting numerous turkey poults, with up to 12 to 15 per brood, throughout his travels on state game lands. Black-bear activity and sightings are at an all-time high, and numerous fawns and grouse broods have been sighted. The upcoming hunting seasons are shaping up to be promising for hunters in the field this fall.

Mercer/Venango County LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli reports he and his crews have been seeing a lot of rabbits in the early successional habitat they created this past year on state game lands. This is a bonus for rabbit hunters who run their beagles in the fields.

Crawford/Erie County LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that beavers are causing significant problems with impoundment water-control structures on State Game Lands 69, 218 and 277. He encourages trappers to scout these areas for this winter’s beaver trapping season.

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