Northcentral Field Officer Report  - February 13, 2015

Land Management Officer Colleen Shannon reports that eight members of Pennsylvania Wildlife Habitat Unlimited spent several hours working on State Game Lands 331 in Clearfield County. Some volunteers cut aspen to create browse and early successional habitat and other volunteers built brushpiles for cover.

Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt reports citing an individual for damaging state game lands property in a motor vehicle accident, from which the driver fled the scene. The individual later was identified by a concerned citizen who noticed a vehicle had been abandoned on the game lands.

McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik reports that Hunter Trapper-Education classes are beginning to be posted. Don’t wait until June or July to take a course because if you wait too long, it might be too late for your youngster to apply for an antlerless deer license.

After conducting a necropsy on a deer suspected to have been shot, WCO Tom Sabolcik, McKean County, put the deer in a pit just behind the crew headquarters on State Game Lands 62.  He was somewhat surprised when several chickadees started feeding on the deer within seconds of it hitting the ground. Several eagles were observed feeding on the carcass the next day.

McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik recently handled two mistake kill reports, the first was a cinnamon bear that died from hypothermia in a coyote set while the second was an otter killed in a beaver set.

Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports that, while patrolling the game lands, he saw a lot of deer tracks and bare spots in the snow where the deer had dug through the snow to get to the grass and acorns. Cole noted that this feeding behavior is beneficial to other species, such as turkeys that would have a hard time digging through the deep snow to get to the food source.

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that a Clearfield individual pleaded guilty for killing a deer illegally through the use of bait. The hunter was encountered removing the entrails from the deer while the carcass literally was lying on a large pile of corn during rifle deer season. The hunter also failed to possess a doe license for that Wildlife Management Unit and received a fine of $1,150, plus revocation. 

Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that charges have been filed on two St. Marys individuals for killing a bull elk on Oct. 15, 2013. Both individuals were charged for unlawfully killing of a big-game animal during a closed season, and with recklessly endangering another person, since a firearm was discharged directly in front of an occupied house at the time of the crime. The Commonwealth is requesting the $5,000 replacement cost for the resource.

 Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that a Bensalem man from Bucks County failed to appear for a preliminary hearing in connection to killing four antlerless deer during a closed season. A bench warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta reports fairly average winter weather, which is allowing wildlife to manage quite well. 

Tioga County WCO Robert F. Minnich reports that, although the weather has been somewhat cold, there still has been activity outdoors. “I have received complaints about spotting, trappers, furtakers, dog trainers and nuisance animals in contact with domestic animals,” Minnich said. “I have been working on several cases with neighboring New York State Conservation Officers. It never ceases to amaze me that all law enforcement, even across state lines, are always dealing with the same individuals.”  Minnich said he has at least four cases in which he’s working with authorities in New York state.

Tioga County WCO Robert F. Minnich reports that it is that time of year to watch eagle nests for activity including incubation. He asks that anyone aware of new eagle nest sites to contact the Game Commission.

Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston reports enrolling a 285-acre parcel in the Lake City area of Spring Creek Township, Elk County in the Safety Zone Cooperator Program, opening the parcel to public hunting. If you own 50 or more acres and are interested in the benefits of sharing your land for public hunting, please contact your Pennsylvania Game Commission Regional Office for more information.

Elk County WCO Susan Edmiston reports that there is frequent bald-eagle activity in the Clarion River corridor in Elk County. A concerned citizen contacted Edmiston about bald eagles feeding on a road-killed deer very close to state Route 949, and asked if the carcass could be moved farther from the road. When the road killed deer carcass was located, another concerned citizen had already moved it to an area along the river.

Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee reports that charges were filed on a Potter Brook man for illegally killing or possessing two antlered deer, one turkey, and one beaver. The man was also charged with hunting without a license. During the investigation, Mee also found a Westfield man to be possession of an antlered deer head taken from a roadkill.  That man was charged with unlawful possession of game or wildlife.

Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee reports conducted an “Elk in Tioga County” program at the Winter Fest held at Hills Creek State Park. At that program he spoke of the increasing elk sightings that have occurred in the county.

Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports lots of deer are being observed around Lycoming County and in good condition.

Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reported that a Williamsport man pleaded guilty to multiple violations stemming from an incident that occurred on Dec. 12. The defendant shot and a wounded an antlerless deer within a safety zone on the Poco Farm Road Extension in Loyalsock Township. Magisterial District Judge Gary Whiteman ordered the defendant to pay $950 in fines for violating a safety zone and unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife.

Potter and Tioga counties Land Manager Denise Mitcheltree reports that an additional 1.2 miles of access road will be open on Park Hill Road of State Game Lands 37. The road will be open to travel by properly licensed motor vehicles during the regular firearms seasons for black bear and deer. Two additional parking lots were constructed along the newly open section of road. Motorists must be prepared for winter conditions and unmaintained roads in the event of snow and ice. The new section of road will be closed to public travel during the remainder of the year but can easily be accessed on foot for hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities. ATVs are strictly prohibited in this area, regardless of the season.

Potter County WCO Mark Fair reports numerous locations where well-intentioned people have placed game feeders in close proximity to highly traveled roads and snowmobile trails. These locations can be extremely dangerous to both wildlife and motorists. Please use common sense and good judgment when placing out feeders for wildlife!

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