Southwest Field Officer Report  - December 5, 2014

WCO Cadet Andrew Harvey, working with Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala, reports that two bears have been lawfully harvested in the early bear season with crossbows in the northern part of Allegheny County. 

Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that several individuals have been cited during the archery season for hunting through the use of bait. Although many sporting goods stores sell much of this type of product in the fall, it is the sportsman’s responsibility to make sure they are following the law and, one would hope, the ethical concepts of fair chase while going afield.  

Allegheny County WCO Gary M. Fujak urges motorists to be on the lookout for deer. “If the hunters and sportsmen take the time to look, they should see many of those deer are small-racked buck. After consulting with the deer-management team and crunching some numbers, we calculated that about 5,000 yearling bucks disperse in and around Allegheny County late each fall. After spending their first year in the area where they were born, these bucks are on the move to find their new home range and many will end up dead on the road,” he said.

 

Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties GLMGS Doug Dunkerley reports that pheasants are a big draw for Pennsylvania hunting. “Checking hunters the first day of pheasant season on State Game Lands 232 revealed hunters from Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia all made the trip to Pennsylvania just to hunt pheasants. All the hunters had seen some ringnecks and got some shooting,” he said.

Allegheny, Beaver and Washington counties GLMGS Doug Dunkerley reports on an interesting complaint he received. “For the first time in 22 years, I received an anonymous call from a hunter complaining we are stocking too many pheasants on the game lands. Since it was only one call and from an unnamed source; I continued to stock the game lands,” he said. “The Game Commission over the last couple of years has ramped pheasant production back up and with good survival rates at the pheasant farms I am stocking more pheasants than I ever have in may career. Including special youth hunts, there are some game lands that now receive seven pheasant stockings in the fall/winter.” 

WCO Cadet Michael Goodenow, while on field-training assignment with WCO Rod Burns in Armstrong County, reports a vehicle was stopped for a late spotlighting violation. “When contact was made a .22 caliber rifle was discovered, along with blood and deer hair in the back of the vehicle. The driver admitted to shooting a deer illegally, and the passenger admitted to trapping without a license. Both were cited for unlawful use of lights while hunting, and restrictions on recreational spotlighting. The driver was also cited for unlawful killing or taking of big game, and the passenger was cited for trapping without the required license,” he said.

WCO Cadet Michael Goodenow, while on field-training assignment with WCO Rod Burns in Armstrong County, reports that while checking a small-game hunter two shots were heard on the opposite side of the road.  “When we investigated, we found a hunter who was carrying a shotgun. The hunter was not wearing the required orange, and when questioned about what he was shooting at, we discovered a small buck about 30 yards away still alive, but obviously shot.  The hunter then admitted to shooting the deer with his shotgun using buck shot. The hunter is being cited for multiple game-law violations,” he said.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that while he and Cadet Michael Goodenow were investigating a hunter who had drug paraphernalia in his car, it was learned that his 15-year-old hunting partner had illegally killed an antlerless deer. Multiple charges are being filed.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that he and Cadet Michael Goodenow, and two deputies, put a pheasant decoy in a field near a road where road-hunting complaints were being made. “In a short time, a vehicle stopped and three hunters got out of the truck and shot at the pheasant with archery equipment. Charges have been filed,” he said.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that he and Cadet Blake Barth, while on night patrol, saw a car stop and a red light and firearm came out the window. “A fox call was then placed on the roof of the car. We approached the car on foot and found a loaded .22 magnum rifle and shotgun in the car. Furtaking season came in at midnight and this violation occurred 7 minutes past the start up,” he said.

Beaver County WCO Mike Yeck reports that charges were filed on a hunter for an improperly tagged antlerless deer. The deer was discovered while investigating reports of vehicles driving across cooperator property fields.
Beaver County WCO Mike Yeck reports that charges are pending on a subject who was found to be hunting from a tree stand on a Sunday. The hunter was in possession of a compound bow, two knives, a drag rope and other hunting equipment, and was reported to be in the stand for several hours before being located.
Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports that a Midland area man was hunting in an area where mineral was being used to entice the deer. “In addition, he was not wearing the required amount of fluorescent orange safety material. The man was using a commercially produced product that is available in every store in the area. Hunters are reminded that it is not illegal to purchase these products, just to use them to entice game or wildlife to their hunting location. Citations are currently being filed at the local district court,” he said.

WCO Cadet Jeremy Brunst, while on field training assignment with WCO Seth Mesoras in Cambria County, reports that a local man was cited for hunting through the use of bait over his archery stand.

Cambria and Indiana counties GLMGS Dan Yahner reports that many hunters routinely ask about good places to hunt. “Some of the greatest habitat, containing a variety of species in plentiful numbers, is to be found on areas of former coal surface mines that were mined in the ’70s and ’80s. Such areas are in the prime of the “regenerative” stage, and are outstanding sources of food and cover,” he said.  “Look for these areas on State Game Lands 108, 120 and 262. Each October, the Southwest Region hosts a public tour of State Game Lands 108 where many acres of such an area is highlighted and described for all who attend. This year, over 100 vehicles took advantage of the opportunity and were treated to a firsthand look at some of the best hunting areas the state has to offer.”

WCO Cadet Michael S. College, while on field assignment with WCO Jason Farabaugh in Fayette and Westmoreland counties, reports spotlighting activity has picked up. We have had multiple individuals spotlighting after legal spotlighting hours.

WCO Cadet Michael S. College, while on field assignment with WCO Jason Farabaugh in Fayette/Westmoreland Counties, reports a juvenile was cited for illegally shooting a 12-point buck in velvet. “This took place back in August, while he was hunting coyotes. If convicted, he could face a minimum fine of $1,000, as well as replacement costs and the loss of hunting privileges for three years,” he said.  

WCO Cadet Michael S. College, while on field assignment with WCO Jason Farabaugh in Fayette and Westmoreland counties, reports that we have checked many duck hunters this early season. While doing so we have found four unsigned federal duck stamps and one person without his federal duck stamp.

Fayette and Westmoreland counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that two individuals were stopped for late spotlighting recently. A loaded .22 magnum rifle was found on the floor area of the back seat. Charges are pending.

Fayette and Westmoreland counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that a large-bodied buck was found dumped along Kibe Road in Saltlick Township, Fayette County. “The antlers were removed as well as the hind quarters. The rest of the large deer was left to rot. Anyone with information on this waste of a resource is urged to contact me at 724-238-9523,” he said.

Fayette County WCO Doug Bergman reports that charges were filed against a Brownsville area man for using the tag of a junior hunter to tag a sub-legal, antlered deer. “The hunter was also charged for the unlawful deer as well as possessing the license or tag belonging to another,” he said.

Fayette County WCO Doug Bergman reports that several fluorescent orange violations were charged during the archery overlap with early muzzleloader season and special firearms seasons.

Fayette and Greene counties GLMGS Stephen Leiendecker reports he is filing charges against two individuals for range violations on State Game Lands 223 in Greene County. “The two defendants will be charged with failing to use the designated target backers provided on the range. The duo had moved the range garbage cans, provided for shooters to properly dispose of their targets and empty ammo boxes, onto the middle of the range and taped their targets to the cans,” he said.

Somerset County WCO Nathaniel Kimmel reports that multiple violations were uncovered during recent patrol efforts during the early muzzleloader season overlapping with archery deer season. One individual was found with a loaded inline muzzleloader in his vehicle and another found hunting without purchasing a hunting license. Citations were filed for the violations.

WCO Cadet Justin Ritter, while on field training assignment with WCO Nathaniel Kimmel in Somerset County, reports that while on general patrol of a cooperator property, three ATVs fled after being signaled to stop. The ATVs were on roads closed to public travel. “Minutes later, we stopped and cited one ATV rider after trying to flee. Later in the evening another ATV rider was cited,” he said.

WCO Cadet Justin Ritter, while on field training assignment with WCO Nathaniel Kimmel in Somerset County, reports that two individuals were cited for possessing road-killed deer without the proper permit. Permits can be obtained free of charge by calling into the appropriate Game Commission Region Office.

WCO Cadet Justin Ritter, while on field training assignment with WCO Nathaniel Kimmel in Somerset County, reports that one individual was cited after an investigation for attempting to take pheasants over the daily bag limit.

WCO Cadet Justin Ritter, while on field training assignment with WCO Nathaniel Kimmel in Somerset County, reports that two individuals were cited on cooperator property for possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. The incident occurred Nov. 10 through a routine patrol of the cooperative property.

WCO Cadet Justin Ritter, while on field training assignment with WCO Nathaniel Kimmel in Somerset County, reports that an individual was cited Nov. 15 for possessing a fall-turkey tag in the field after killing his season limit. The same individual was also cited for not properly completing the tag.

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that archery season has been busy. It seems with the nice weather and an increase in deer numbers that hunter participation has increased. 

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that several individuals have been cited for operating ATVs and possession of alcohol beverages on State Game Lands 104 in Fairhope.

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reminds, for important information regarding season and bag limits and orange requirements, hunters can review the digest that they were provided when they purchased their licenses.

Somerset County WCO Shawn Barron reports that on Oct. 17 at approximately 10 p.m., two individuals shot and killed a large 9-point white-tailed deer with an 18-inch inside spread with the use of a flashlight and a centerfire rifle. “A tip from an individual led to an investigation in which two parties were charged for unlawful use of lights while hunting and unlawful taking or killing of big game. With the help of Maryland Natural Resource officers, the antlers were secured from a residence in Grantsville, Md. Fines and replacement costs stemming from the incident totaled $4,700 and could lead to several years of hunting license revocation,” he said.

Washington County WCO Richard W. Joyce reports that charges are being filed in his district for the following; hunting over bait, fluorescent-orange violations and camping on game lands.

Washington County WCO Richard W. Joyce reports that there are several open and active poaching investigations in Greene County. If you have any information on any poaching activities please call, the South West Regional Office at 724-238-9523.

Washington County WCO Richard W. Joyce reports that several violations of driving on agricultural fields will be filed in conjunction with the Pennsylvania State Police charges, against individuals who drove in a farmer’s field, and lit his round bales of hay on fire in Greene County.

Washington and Allegheny counties WCO Chris Bergman reports that charges have been filed against a Beallsville individual for Unlawful Taking or Possession of Game or Wildlife. “The person shot a 10-point buck with a .270 rifle during archery season, returning to the house and then back to the deer to shoot it again with a bow and arrow. An investigation and information received led me to the carcass at a deer processor and upon further investigation, evidence that the deer was shot with a firearm was found, along with bullet fragments. Shortly after, contact was made with the individual and a confession and written statement were given,” he said.

Washington and Allegheny counties WCO Chris Bergman reports that the furtaking season is upon us once again and the Pennsylvania trappers are out catching fur. “So far I’ve seen plenty of harvested raccoons, foxes and coyotes, and one individual I spoke with caught and released a bobcat in WMU 2B,” he said.

Washington and Allegheny counties WCO Chris Bergman is investigating a possible poaching incident in Elizabeth Township. “Investigations are ongoing and increased patrols both day and night are in effect in Elizabeth and Forward townships, and violators will be charged to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.

WCO Cadet Jeffrey Orwig, while on field assignment in Westmoreland County with WCO Matthew Lucas, reports an individual was cited for hunting through the use of bait at multiple tree stands and possessing an antlered back tag of another.   

WCO Cadet Jeffrey Orwig, while on field assignment in Westmoreland County with WCO Matthew Lucas, reports an investigation was conducted and charges were filed on a North Huntingdon Township man for taking an antlered and antlerless deer over bait.

Westmoreland County WCO Matthew Lucas reports an individual is facing multiple charges after he attempted to kill a buck in Hempfield Township through the use of bait.

Westmoreland County WCO Matthew Lucas reports a South Huntingdon Township man is facing charges after he finished off his antlered deer with his concealed carry 9mm handgun.

WCO Cadet Justin Ritter, while on field-training assignment with WCO Daniel Puhala in Allegheny County, reports that the public shooting ranges on State Game Lands 203 were busy with hunters getting ready for the firearms deer season. As a reminder, shooters are required to possess a valid hunting license or shooting range permit.

Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports that a local trapper was found to be using bait visible from the air in his raccoon sets. “The trapper was using fish, placed on the pan of the trap, to entice raccoons to the set.  The reason that this is unlawful is that it increases the frequency of non-target catches, especially birds such as hawks, owls and great blue herons. Citations are pending in the local district justice office,” he said.

WCO Cadet Jeremy Brunst, while working with Cambria County WCO Shawn Harshaw, reports that two individuals were cited on the first day of bear for having loaded firearms in their vehicle.

Cambria County WCO Seth Mesoras reports that while on patrol for the opening day of rifle bear season, WCO Matt Kramer and I backtracked an archery-killed bear from the previous evening. “We discovered the 384-pound bear had been illegally shot over a pile of pastries, peanut butter, and cooked meat. The defendant has been charged with hunting through the use of bait and unlawful taking of a bear,” he said.

Cambria and Indiana Counties GLMGS Dan Yahner reports that in November, he had the very difficult task of interviewing 12 individuals for a vacant Food and Cover crew position. “There were many talented individuals, and it is difficult to make a selection. For those who may be interested in applying in the future, the advice is as follows: Find out as much as you possibly can about the duties of the position in advance. Study the PGC website and pay particular attention to wildlife-management sections and information for landowners,” he said. “Also seek training and experience in the use and maintenance of chainsaws and farming equipment. The jobs are few and are infrequently open. If you find the chance to speak to any of the F&C employees, you will quickly learn why. They all are so dedicated to the cause of wildlife habitat and hardly ever does someone leave the job except by retiring,” he added.

Fayette and Westmoreland counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that an underweight, 250-pound male bear was recently killed by a Connellsville landowner after the bear killed a donkey and a goat inside a fenced area. “The bear had an infected arrow wound in its chest that appeared to have been inflicted weeks earlier during the archery deer season. The effects of the infected arrow wound likely caused the bear to become desperate for an easy food source that led to its untimely demise. Anyone with information about the arrow wound is urged to contact the Southwest Region Office at 724-238-9523,” he said.

WCO Cadet Joel Gibble, while on field assignment with WCO Jason Farabaugh in Fayette and Westmoreland counties, reports that, on Nov. 23, the antlers of two large bucks became entangled during a fight resulting in the deer drowning in a small pond near Scottdale. “One of the bucks was a 19-point and the other was a large 8-point. Thanks to the local residents for the assistance in removing the entangled deer from the pond,” he said.

WCO Cadet Joel Gibble, while on field assignment with WCO Jason Farabaugh in Fayette and Westmoreland counties, reports that despite the rain and fog on the opening day of the firearms deer season, he checked several youth hunters who had harvested bucks. “One hunter in particular was a younger girl who killed her first deer, a large 8-point in Fayette County,” he said.

WCO Cadet Michael Goodenow Jr., while on field training assignment with WCO Brian Singer in Westmoreland County, reports that on the first day of the 2014 rifle bear season, a man was found hunting along the railroad tracks in a baited area. “The area contained several buckets of used cooking grease which had signs that bear had been in the area previously. Charges were filed for hunting through the use of bait,” he said.









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