Butler County WCO Christopher J. Deal reports that interviews have been held in Butler County regarding the unlawful taking of wildlife. These interviews stem from investigations that were initiated in other parts of the state. However, it is not uncommon that interviews involve people that are currently incarcerated in various county jails. Many times, the “average” poacher is not the hunter that got excited and made a dumb mistake, but it is increasingly common that poachers are individuals with drug problems, records of other violent crimes, and/or have mental health issues.
Clarion County WCO Jesse N. Bish reports that two Knox residents were stopped for operating ATVs on State Game Lands 63. They were also found not to have valid insurance or updated registration, and they failed to wear the required safety helmet.
Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports talking with several individuals who recently bought hunting licenses for their children at local businesses. In talking with them, they were misinformed that the Mentored Youth permit was good for the entire hunting season, even if the youth turned 12 years old during that permit year. That is not the case. As soon as the youth turns 12, their Mentored Youth permit becomes invalid, they need to have a Hunter-Trapper Education course, and they must purchase a junior hunting license. Even though most know what they are talking about, please do not take a sales clerk’s word for what is legal and what is not. Please read your digest and, if you cannot find what you are looking for, call your local region office for clarification. This information is clearly stated on page 15 of the current digest.
Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports that he recently completed an investigation from the past goose hunting season which involved three college students hunting together near Edinboro University. After shooting their daily limit of five geese, a friend was called to take the geese from the area; after which the group harvested five more geese. Eventually, the three hunters pleaded guilty to a total of 12 citations for taking/possessing wildlife over the legal limit.
Forest County WCO Daniel P. Schmidt reports completing several summer programs at the Tionesta Dam. With help from the Oil Creek Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the state Fish and Boat Commission, local resident Jim Howe, and the National Wild Turkey Federation, five programs were held. Instruction included canoeing, fly-fishing and fly-tying, trapping, turkey hunting, and compass and map use. The programs drew approximately 25 people.
Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman recently cited two local individuals for killing a turkey and a porcupine (closed season) and dumping them in another person’s yard, and for killing or attempting to kill two geese several days later.
Lawrence County WCO Byron D. Gibbs reports that ATV riders on Game Commission controlled land have continued to be a problem. Citations have been issued this month for operating ATVs, as well as for failing to stop.
Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin reports that a summer afternoon of “exploring” State Game Lands 130 proved costly for a Greenville man. The 19-year-old was nearly 2 miles beyond a gate on a road that is “Closed to Motor Vehicles” when he turned up a rather steep grassy trail. Unable to continue, he tried backing down and that’s when his car slid off into a deep ditch and became stuck. A wrecker was required to remove the vehicle and that compounded his pending financial responsibilities. The grassy trail was a recently seeded linear food plot and the recent heavy rains had saturated the topsoil. So, with the four-wheel-drive wrecker taking multiple attempts to back up the hill to the vehicle and then having to drag the car out; there was considerable damage done to the surface. The estimate for restoration and reseeding the area was nearly $500. Fines and costs on the two citations filed, along with restitution for damages, plus $200 for the wrecker bill made this off-road trip cost over $1,000.
Mercer County WCO Donald G. Chaybin recently found two youths (brothers ages 14 and 15) hunting groundhogs unaccompanied on a neighbor’s farm. The younger boy wasn’t wearing an orange hat, the older boy had a .22 semi-automatic rifle, and neither had their hunting license with them. It turned out their father was at home and knew they went out with the firearms. The family had moved to Pennsylvania less than two years ago, and the boys (and dad) had attended a Hunter-Trapper Education class last summer. All were aware of the requirement for adult accompaniment of young hunters, the restriction on hunting with a semi-automatic rifle, and the wearing of orange. Multiple citations were filed charging the father as the person responsible for the boys’ violations.
Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports many bucks sporting velvet covered antlers have been observed across the district. Those engaged in recreational spotlighting are reminded that casting the rays of a spotlight in search of wildlife is only lawful between the hours of sunrise and 11:00 p.m. There are further restrictions outlined on page 18 of the 2014 – 2015 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest.
Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports turkey reproduction is monitored each summer by WCOs across the Commonwealth. Officers are required to count and record all turkeys observed during daily patrols within their district for the months of June, July and August. Data gathered by this method plays an important role in determining wild turkey populations.
Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber reports that much of this week was spent working on beaver complaints. The hard winter kept trappers from removing the usual number of beavers and continued heavy rains are keeping water levels high. It takes a great deal of time to remove a dam and very little time for the beavers to repair one. She is hoping for a break in the rain and a better trapping season.
Warren County WCO David W. Donachy reports summer parties are a problem on Hunter Access properties in the area. Debris from large fires and litter remain after the parties. Landowners are considering posting their properties.
Mercer/Venango County LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli reports his crews have been busy mowing state game lands parking lots, clover strips, goose pastures and cleaning water control devices on state game lands.
Clarion/Jefferson County LMGS George J. Miller reports that two culverts have been replaced with bridges on State Game Lands 31 in Jefferson County, which will allow for the road to be open for hunter and trapper vehicular access from either end of the game lands again. “The road was open last year,” Miller said, “but you could only drive in and out of the SGL from one side.”
Crawford/Erie County LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that the recent Erie County bat maternity colony counts were very disappointing. One colony went from over 500 in years past to three; another dropped to zero.