Northcentral Field Officer Report  - August 29, 2014

Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports that he has been receiving reports of bears with mange.  He states that when he talks to the people about the bears, most of them have an artificial food source that the bears are coming into. Corn, birdfeeders, garbage, etc. causes the animals congregate into a small area and increases the odd of disease to spread. When a bear with mange leaves a food source, mites usually are left behind and can be spread to any healthy bears that might come to that food source next. Cole said people who feed bears often do so to try to help them, but they don’t know it is actually healthier and better for the bears to forage for food in the woods. Mange can kill bears and become so bad that a bear loses most of its hair, the skin can turn an ash color and the bear usually looses all muscle mass and literally becomes a bag of bones. It’s not a pleasant way to die.

 WCO Mark Fair, Potter County, reports that a bear in Coudersport entered through a screen door and grabbed a bag of cat food from a dining room table. The surprised resident heard a noise while she was taking a shower and looked just in time to observe the small bear making off with her groceries. 

WCO Robert F. Minnich, Tioga County, reports bear complaints and sightings are still coming in and a lot of large bears are being seen. Some nice bucks are showing up in fields and doe with fawns are being seen everywhere. A lot of twin fawns and a large number of triplets are being seen this year. Turkeys with poults are starting to be seen and looks like some late nest success as many are small poults.

Lycoming County LMO Thomas M. Smith reports the relocated Disabled Sportsmen Access Road on State Game Lands 134, Cabbage Hollow, is nearing completion and will be open for the upcoming hunting seasons. Originally located on Camp Mountain where steep slopes limited hunters, the road was closed in 2011 due to severe storm damage.  The new road designed by the Penn State Dirt & Gravel Road Program will provide better hunting opportunities for the disabled due to more diverse habitats found along its path.  Included are different timber stand improvement cuts, wetlands, herbaceous openings, an impoundment, plus a newly established orchard provided by the Loyalsock Creek Men’s Club who paid for and planted 30 apple trees. Various enhancement projects will continue in the future to ensure wildlife is attracted to this area.

Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt, reports signing an additional 138 acres of Rails to Trails into the Game Commission’s Safety Zone Cooperator program. The 19-mile trail travels from Emporium to St. Marys. During the winter months, weather permitting, it is open to snowmobile travel. The trail is closed to ATVs, but hikers, cross-country skiers, and bicycles are welcome.The land will remain open to hunting and furtaking, and the landowner is eligible to receive seedlings, and nesting boxes, as well as having the local WCO look after their property.

McKean County WCO Tom Sabolcik reports the eagle’s nest located along the Allegheny River north of Eldred successfully hatched two young this year. The young fledged late this year but their timing could not be more appropriate, both young took their maiden flights on the Fourth of July.

Centre County WCO Dan Murray reports that an individual pleaded guilty after receiving a citation for killing a songbird.

WCO Bill Ragosta, Potter County, has recently cited multiple individuals for the unlawful use of ATVs on Hunter Access property.

Elk and McKean counties Land Manager Len Groshek reports that, during July, Food and Cover crews were busy mowing several hundred acres of food plots and roads. They also limed, fertilized and planted over 20 acres and took care of our game lands roads, buildings, equipment, signs and parking lots. They also found time to plant, mow and improve wildlife on the Allegheny National Forest.

WCO Tom Sabolcik, McKean County, reports that 40 new hunters were recently certified at the Oswayo Rod and Gun Club in Potter County. The kids had a special treat at lunchtime when Sabolcik processed a captured 120-pound bear for the group.

WCO Tom Sabolcik and DWCO Dale Thielges recently rescued a fawn deer that was trapped inside a fence at the Port Allegany Sewerage Plant. The deer was chased around the perimeter of the plant, but refused to run through the open gates. After four attempts, several vehicles were strategically placed so that the fawn would be funneled through the open gates. On the fifth attempt, the fawn bolted out of the gates and disappeared into the brush.

WCO Dirk Remensnyder, Union County, reports citing an individual for the interference of an active nest of a duck.

Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports that, even though they are on the state endangered species list, he’s observed several great egrets in the Harrisburg area, during his travels.

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