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<span style="font-weight: bold">Northwest Region Field Report - March 15, 2013</span>

Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports that charges have been filed in a case where the defendant killed and possessed two deer illegally during the flintlock season. WCO Olexsak states “this individual killed the first deer legally but refused to tag it and tried to process it before being apprehended.” He only had one tag for the year, but the temptation of a second deer in front of him was too much.”

Crawford County WCO Mark A. Allegro reports that most WCOs and Deputy WCOs have been busy the past few weeks with mandatory training including foul weather/dimlight firearms qualification, defensive tactics, legal updates, hazardous materials, and 1st Aid/CPR.

Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports although the fishing season is never ending on Lake Erie, soon a new season will be upon us. Game Commission officers will be out on the streams and lakes patrolling along with the PF&BC officers. Littering is the most common violation (especially worm and bait containers) but there are many others. Please make it a point to take everything out that you brought in.

Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports that the sports show at the convention center in Erie seemed to be a success. There were many people there on Friday and most seemed happy with their hunting experience this past hunting season.

Erie County WCO Larry M. Smith encourages trappers to consider finishing their beaver season by trying to locate problem areas and taking advantage of the milder weather. Many municipalities have problem sites where they could use the help.

Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that most eagles’ nests are active now. People should resist the urge for a closer look and view from afar. Getting too close can disturb the birds and lead to nest failure.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that coyotes appear to be widespread not just in PA but other states to the south as well. During a recent trip to Tennessee, he observed four road-killed coyote carcasses along southbound lanes on the trip down and at least six along the northbound lanes on the trip back.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports that while attending one of the major sports shows this past winter he noticed a number of vendors displaying the latest in turkey hunting equipment, including an assortment of types and styles of electronic turkey decoys. Turkey hunters are reminded that electronic decoys are considered unlawful hunting devices in Pennsylvania; however, they may be used for the hunting or trapping of furbearers. For the sake of safety, hunters using any decoy should be careful of their placement in relation to their hunting location.

Jefferson County WCO Andrew D. Troutman is still investigating several cases from hunting season. Baiting cases, felons not to possess firearms, protected bucks shot and left lay, deer dumps, etc., are just some cases that need finalized.

Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports the students at Laurel High School had another fantastic turnout for their annual sportsmen’s night out event. Several hundred sportsmen and women visited the many vendors and booths that were setup at the school in Lawrence County.

Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports signs of spring are beginning to arrive in the district. Waterfowl including pintails, widgeon, black ducks, teal, and tundra swans as well as song birds have been observed across the district.

Venango County WCO Ronda J. Bimber reports that she has been spending a good deal of time in court wrapping up cases from deer season. She would like to thank everyone from the sportsmen who gave information on illegal activities to the district attorney and her staff for all their help and support. Some say it takes a community to raise a child; while in this case it takes a community to protect the wildlife.

Mercer/Venango County LMGS Mario L. Piccirilli reports that this time of year bald eagles can be seen on the ice at the Shenango River Lake. State Game Lands Maintenance Supervisor Michael Colgan from Mercer County observed nine eagles on the east side of the causeway on Rt. 18 and twenty minutes later he observed 11 eagles on the west side of the lake on the ice.

Clarion/Jefferson County LMGS George J. Miller reports he has received several reports this winter of hunting violations that were observed last fall. Although he appreciates the information and will keep it for future reference, it would have been more helpful if he had received it shortly after the illegal activity happened. If you observe a game law violation, please contact the nearest PGC Regional Office and report it immediately. The phone numbers for each office can be found on the first few pages of the Hunting and Trapping Digest. If you take the time to program the number into your cell phone now, you won’t have to scramble to find it when you need it.

Crawford/Erie County LMGS Shayne A. Hoachlander reports that although hard and soft mast crops were generally poor this past fall, we were fortunate in also having a comparatively easy winter. This hopefully minimized the impacts of the poor winter food supplies. Spring is approaching. Shayne observed his first woodchuck March 6th, first redwing blackbirds March 7th, and first singing woodcock March 8th.

<span style="font-weight: bold">Southwest Field Officer Report - March 15, 2013</span>

Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that two aggressive nuisance turkeys were trapped and relocated from Penn Hills. “A trio of gobblers was harassing residence along a dead end road over a period of weeks. The birds were preventing people from leaving their homes and chasing them as they returned from the bus stop,” he said. “Using a net gun and with the help of DWCO Candek and WCO Fife, two of the birds were captured and relocated. I am confident that the birds were being fed by humans at some point in time and had become habituated to being around people. It appeared that they were establishing dominance in the area to anyone who seemed to fear them.”

Allegheny/Beaver/Washington Counties GLMGS Doug Dunkerley reports on some good news regarding an addition to the state game lands in his group. “Another 167 acres has been approved for addition to SGL 302 increasing the size of that game land over 10%. This new tract was another in a long list of properties acquired as a result of the booming Marcellus industry,” he said.

Armstrong County WCO Gary Toward reports that a Westmoreland County man recently pled guilty to causing property damage to a house during the 2011 deer season. “The individual struck a house with two bullets while reportedly shooting at a deer. Although ballistic testing, which took more than a year to complete, was inconclusive, every other part of the investigation and resulting evidence indicated that this was the correct person who fired the shots,” he said. “With statements provided by the defendant, GPS mapping done by taking careful measurements of evidence obtained from the scene and trajectory of the probable shots as well as other evidence presented, the defendant’s attorney advised him to plead guilty to the charge. In addition to the fine imposed by the court, the defendant had to reimburse the homeowner for out of pocket expenses for the repairs to their home. Thankfully, no one was injured by the negligent actions of this individual,” he added.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that flocks of turkeys are being seen all over his district and this should be an excellent year for spring gobbler opportunities.

Armstrong County WCO Rod Burns reports that he had a busy day answering questions at the Allegheny County Outdoors Show. “Most everyone likes antler restrictions and there were very few complaints about Game Commission programs,” he said.

Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports that WCO Mike Yeck, a former Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer, completed his course of study as a member of the 29th Cadet Class at the Ross Leffler School of Conservation. “WCO Yeck's first assignment will be district 2-04-1 in Northern Beaver County. This district, comprised mostly of the area north of the Ohio River, contains State Game Lands #285 and #173, as well as numerous Farm Game Cooperators. WCO Yeck will do a fine job and the residents of Northern Beaver County will be well served by his courtesy and professionalism,” he said.

Beaver County WCO Matt Kramer reports that a Beaver Falls man recently pled guilty to citations stemming from an incident on the final day of deer season. “Thanks to a call from a concerned citizen, this violation did not go undetected. The man paid a total of over $2400 dollars in fines, costs, and restitution for wildlife illegally killed,” he said.

Cambria County WCO Seth Mesoras reports on spring black bear den work in the region. “We recently introduced several orphaned cubs to our radio collared females in Somerset, Westmoreland, and Cambria County and all seemed to have gone well. Hopefully next winter we will still see those cubs with their surrogate mothers,” he said.

Cambria/Indiana Counties GLMGS Dan Yahner reports that the Food and Cover crews in Indiana and Cambria Counties are cutting many acres of mature aspen thickets. “The cutting of the mature trees provides for a great deal of regeneration from the emergence of the root sprouts. New growth of aspen trees is one of the most desired food sources by many species of wildlife,” he said.

Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin reports that two individuals were recently cited for dumping trash in two areas. One has already plead guilty, and was assessed a fine of $300.00 plus court cost.

Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin reports that he has observed one Bald Eagle at the Cheat Lake nest site near Point Marion. The Eagle returned on the March 1st.

Fayette County WCO Brandon Bonin reports that charges have been filed against two Greene County hunters. “The first hunter was hunting on SGL 223 and was in possession of two antlerless tags belonging to a friend of his. He admitted to taking the tags to shoot deer for his friend during the previous season. The owner of the tags was also cited for lending the tags,” he said.

Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that Hunter Education classes are scheduled for March, April, and May in the district. “All first-time hunters, regardless of age, are required to attain certification from an approved Hunter Education course before purchasing a hunting license. Several individuals were encountered and cited over the past year who did not attend the required Hunter Education course prior to purchasing their hunting license,” he said.



Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that a total of 55 hen turkeys were trapped and banded in the region as part of the on-going hen mortality study. “I found it interesting that one of the hens we caught was previously banded in 2010,” he said.

Fayette/Westmoreland Counties WCO Jason Farabaugh reports that a Mount Pleasant man recently pleaded guilty to unlawfully killing a doe on the first day of the buck-only firearms season in WMU 2C. “A concerned sportsman initiated the investigation by relaying information obtained online from Facebook. The comments posted on Facebook ultimately led to a confession to the acts. Fines and costs exceeded $1200,” he said.

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that despite the long winter and consistent snowfall wildlife seems to have fared well. Turkeys, deer and other wildlife are being seen consistently.

Somerset County WCO Brian Witherite reports that after a lengthy investigation charges have been filed on an individual who assisted in the unlawful killing of three antlerless whitetail deer at night from last fall. “The individual charged faces possible jail time and large fines on top of losing his hunting privileges due to his actions,” he said.

Somerset County GLMGS Jack Lucas reports on habitat work on SGL 82. “An extensive grouse habitat area is being prepared for a multi-year project. Every time I return to the area, it amazes me the amount of wildlife taking advantage of the newly cut tree tops. It is interesting to the see the instant temporary food relief that the food and cover crew has provided during the heavy snows and cold nights,” he said.

Somerset County GLMGS Jack Lucas reports on the wild pheasant recovery area. “While patrolling the wild pheasant recovery area in Somerset County, I stopped and watched a red-tailed hawk fly the edge of a conservation area field on a farm. No doubt, while I was looking for pheasants the red tail was as well. The hawk eventually landed on a tree to watch for any small game to become its prey,” he said.

Washington County WCO Chris Bergman reports that a Fayette County man pled guilty to numerous charges filed against him for killing a big game animal over his limit in Luzerne Township. “The man possessed a disabled person’s permit which allowed him to hunt from a stationary vehicle, however, it didn’t allow him to do what he did the day of the violation. The man and his son were driving down the road when they observed an antlerless deer near a gas well. The man stopped the vehicle and shot the deer from the driver’s seat. He had no valid antlerless tags so he proceeded to tag the animal with his Son’s antlerless tag,” he said.

Washington County WCO Chris Bergman reports that two ongoing deer cases were recently adjudicated by guilty pleas in Somerset and North Bethlehem Townships. “The first case involved an individual who killed a buck during a closed season and the second involved an individual who shot an antlerless deer and tagged it with his Father’s tag because he didn’t buy his own antlerless tags. Charges for this man consisted of shooting a big game animal beyond his established season limit, failing to attach the proper tag, possessing a game kill tag belonging to another person, and fluorescent orange violations,” he said.

Westmoreland County WCO Matt Lucas reports that preparation has begun for the upcoming Hunter-Trapper Education classes for the year. Classes are being scheduled for March and April and are already filling up. A training workshop was held in early February for instructor updates.

<span style="font-weight: bold">Northcentral Field Officer Report - March 15, 2013</span>


Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta reports that he recently prosecuted two successful hearings in front of magisterial judges, both for road hunting episodes. Trapping patrol and turkey trapping are taking up much of his time presently.

Clearfield County WCO Chris Ivicic says he is not sure if the deer herd is up or down, it all depends on which hunters you listen to. He reports that the herd’s status in Clearfield Co. is doing fine. My measuring stick is the amount of poaching incidents that my neighboring officer and I have had to deal with this past year. No matter how many deer there are, POACHING has been at an all time high.

Potter County WCO Mark S. Fair reports while on a turkey trapping operation WCO Tom Sabolcik was showing the concerned landowner a healthy young jake bird. Officer Sabolcik proceeded to release the bird safely but failed to watch out for his own health. Tom slipped and fell on the ice and bruised his shoulder. Hopefully his injuries are minor and he will heal. WCOs face many hazards during their careers protecting and caring for wildlife.

LMGS Colleen M. Shannon, Cameron and Clearfield counties, reports that she prosecuted a case in rifle deer season where a hunter witnessed a person shoot from a pickup truck while stopped on a township road. The witness, a USMC Major on leave in PA for deer season, took the time from his own hunt to obtain a license plate and vehicle description then called it in promptly. Upon arrival in the area, and with the assistance of another group of local hunters, DWCO Jeff Colbey and I were able to locate the suspect vehicle. The suspects admitted to the violation due to the veracity of the witness’s information. Our investigation revealed that the buck had not been harvested but it was still costly for the defendants.

LMGS Colleen M. Shannon, Cameron and Clearfield counties, reports that she prosecuted a case in rifle deer season where a homeowner heard a rifle shot close by just as she was preparing to send her young son outside to wait for the school bus. The mother looked out to see a car stopped on the roadway between her house and the neighbor’s house across the road. The lone occupant had fired across into the woods on the left side of the road and within 50 yards of the house. The witness was not able to leave to get license plate information as the car left the scene but she reported the violation promptly and I was able to locate the suspect just a mile down the road. He quickly admitted to the violation and my investigation revealed that he had not harvested a deer. He told me he missed because he was nervous and I replied that he should have been because such behavior is extremely unsafe and illegal.

Clinton County WCO Ken Packard says, “Thanks to a concerned citizen, two young men that shot a doe nine days after the close of the late flintlock season were apprehended.” The deer was killed with a .243 and was within at least three safety zones. Neither men needed the deer meat but since they hadn’t seen much during deer season they decided to take action when the opportunity presented itself.

WCO Jonathan M. Wyant, Northcentral Region, says, “I have been observing several pairs of mature bald eagles in the Lycoming County area.”

Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports that a Grandfather and Father plead guilty to charges for Using a Vehicle to Locate Game, Loaded Firearm in a Vehicle and for the Unlawful Taking of an Antlerless Deer. The Grandfather also plead guilty for having a tag of another person and placing it on the unlawfully taken deer. Cole also states that the 14 year old son/grandson was in the back seat while the deer was shot from the vehicle.

Centre County WCO Dan Murray says all is quiet on the northern Centre County front.

Tioga County WCO Rodney P. Mee reports that he along with WCO Minnich, WCO Fair and DWCO Youmans and 2 civilian volunteers continued to turkey trap in WMU 2G. The weather was very uncooperative though and the group was only able to band and transmitter 2 hen turkeys.

Union County WCO Dirk Remensnyder reports that fisher sightings have increased substantially this year as many sportsmen have approached him showing trail – cam pictures of the animal.

LMGS Denise H. Mitcheltree, Potter and Tioga counties, said that weather conditions and personnel shortages have hindered significant progress on an aspen regeneration cut in Potter County. However, 8 additional acres of aspen were cut in February to promote early successional habitat creation in the vicinity of Phoenix Run. The crews have been working together on this project in hopes of finishing the entire 40 acre block this winter but time is running out. Depending on the weather changes and when the aspen trees begin “budding out”, cutting may have to be suspended in a few weeks and the project completion would then be delayed until next winter.

LMGS Thomas M. Smith, Lycoming and Union counties, said the Pennsylvania Game Commission entered into a restricted surface use oil and gas cooperative agreement with General Energy Company, L.L.C. on 11,899 acres of State Game Land 75. As part of the lease agreement, the Game Commission will receive a 6,200 acre tract of land adjacent to SGL 62 in McKean County.

Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt reports successfully capturing 16 hen turkey as part of a PGC mortality study. The hens were marked with leg bands with instructions to report the harvest. Each hunter harvesting one of these birds will receive a $100.00 reward for following through with the process and providing the Game Commission with the pertinent data regarding the harvest location. The birds were captured and released on SGL 014 in Cameron County

Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta reports settling his last case from the 2012 fall and winter hunting seasons. It involved three co-defendants who were found to be hunting in baited areas, killing deer and doing damage to trees on state forest property.

Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta reports that most of the northcentral WCOs have completed their annual training in defensive tactics and have qualified with firearms in the foul weather and dim light portions of their annual training.

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<span style="font-weight: bold">Southcentral Field Officer Report - March 15, 2013</span>


Perry County WCO Kevin Anderson reported that as the weather warms the abuse of the game lands begins to increase. Investigations have begun dealing with the destruction of game lands by ATVs and off road vehicles. Readers are urged to call the Southcentral dispatch center with information.

LMGS Steve Bernardi reported he recently responded to an injured deer report for District Officer Howie Malehorn in Adams Twp. Snyder County. I figured a quick 10 minute job; Wrong! Apparently the deer had been hanging around this particular area for a couple of days with several people actually walking up to it to see what was wrong. They couldn’t tell if it was hit by a vehicle or if it was sick. By the time I got there someone had shot the deer, dragged it behind an old building and loaded it into a vehicle. An investigation continues. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Southcentral Regional office.

Bedford County WCO Jeremy Coughenour reports that three Bedford County men were recently found guilty on all charges stemming from a road hunting incident that occurred during the regular firearm season. The trio shot at an antlered deer from the vehicle while parked on a public roadway. They also were in a safety zone at the time. The men were ordered to pay fines totaling over $2,000.00

Adams County WCO D. J. David reports that a man was recently found guilty in court for a hunting related shooting accident from the 2011 deer season. He fired at a deer running across a field between him and a group of his own hunting party, most of who were in plain view of him. He missed the deer, but shot his own brother through both arms. The victim was actually firing his own rifle at the same time he was shot.

Adams County WCO D. J. David reports a fox was found dead in a leg-hold trap, which had likely been there for about 2 weeks without being checked. Since traps by law must be checked once within 36 hours, it was a blatant violation. When I confronted the trapper, the main thing he seemed to be concerned about was who in the area would have turned him in.

Cumberland County WCO Fetchkan reports that while many hunting opportunities exist at this time of the year very few hunters have been encountered. Most of the cases from the major hunting seasons have been settled with a guilty plea from the defendants and many of these violations involve their hunting privileges possibly being revoked for the upcoming years.

WCO Fetchkan reports that many small mammals will soon be encountered due to their activity level rising, however he wants to remind residents that taking possession of them is illegal and perhaps a health risk also. “ If you handle mammals, especially rabies vector species, they will be euthanized and tested.” “Unnecessary handling of these animals causes a risk to the person and waste of Sportsmen’s dollars.”

Perry County WCO Steve Hower reported that despite the presence of several signs posted on SGL 107 indicating that a road there was closed to all vehicular traffic, an individual drove on the road and went over a steep bank. With his SUV tilted on a 45 degree angle against a large tree he now not only faces the charge of ignoring the signs but will no doubt incur an expensive vehicle removal charge as well.

York County WCO Kyle Jury reported that enforcement efforts have also increased on the Game Lands Shooting range located off of Old York Rd. in Dillsburg. All users of the range must have either a range use permit, valid hunting license, or be accompanied by someone with either a permit or license.

York County WCO Kyle Jury is currently investigating a trapping violation that occurred on Stillhouse Ln. in Newberry Township. Traps were left set after the close of the furtaking season and some of them still contained wildlife. In addition the traps had no identifying tag on them. If anyone has any information on the violation please contact the Southcentral Regional Office at (814) 643-1831.

Snyder County WCO Harold Malehorn recently closed a case where an individual shot two antlerless deer during the first week of the rifle deer season. In Snyder County antlerless deer are not in season the first 5 days. When asked why he shot them, he stated he thought they were in season. To make matters worse, he never purchased, nor even applied for the appropriate antlerless licenses.

Mifflin County WCO Jeff Mock said officers are investigating a poaching incident that occurred the night of March 1st, 2013. Individuals shot and killed a mature doe with the aid of a spotlight. Thanks to local residents we have excellent leads and expect to have a successful prosecution of those responsible. During the necropsy of the doe it was determined that not only had the poachers killed the doe, but also the three fawns that she was carrying.

York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that the time is upon us for Hunter/Trapper Education. Please register early as classes are filling up quick. It only took about 2 weeks for the first class to be registered to the 75 student capacity.

York County WCO Shawn Musser reports that “Red Tag season” is in full swing. This is a great opportunity for hunters to get out, and get some venison while helping the farmers control some crop damage caused by deer. Contact your Regional office for more information.

Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny reports that this past deer season was an extremely busy one. There were numerous hunting in baited area cases and road hunting cases including one involving a large 10 pt. buck that just missed scoring in the Boone and Crocket trophy buck classification by 2 points being taken. Other violations we saw more of were loaded firearms in vehicles and untagged deer.

Huntingdon County WCO Amy Nabozny recently did a career day at Juniata College where a lot of students expressed an interest in working for the PA Game Commission. The timing was perfect since we will be recruiting for our next Wildlife Conservation Officer Cadet class in March.

Bedford County WCO Chris Skipper reports that now is the time to start thinking about enrolling in Hunter Education classes. Most classes are held in the spring and summer with only a few in the fall.

Cumberland County WCO Tim Wenrich reports that trapping activity seems to have increased a bit this year. Patrols have shown more activity which may be credited to the increase in fur value. Trappers have also had success taking coyote and fox with cable restraints.

LMGS Jonathan S. Zuck reports this past fall and winter Bedford-Fulton Food and Cover Crews improved 164 acres of forested and shrub land wildlife habitat on State Game Lands. Work was completed through the use of upland vegetation cutting machines (skidder and skid steers affixed with cutting heads) as well as chain saws. The project areas will provide future early successional habitat for grouse and woodcock as well as whip-poor-will, the imperiled golden-winged warbler, and numerous other birds and mammals.

<span style="font-weight: bold">Northeast Field Officer Report - February 15, 2013</span>

Wayne County WCO Frank J. Dooley reports that he recently arrested a New Jersey man on a variety of charges including Aggravated Assault, Felon Not to Possess Firearms (2 counts), Simple Assault, Loaded Firearms in Vehicles, False Imprisonment, Terroristic Threats, 28 felony counts of killing deer with a light at night from a vehicle and two misdemeanor counts for killing deer at night from a motor vehicle. The subject is incarcerated in the Wayne County Prison awaiting trial.

Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral says “Reports that even with the cold and snowy weather, I am still getting an occasional report of a bear wandering about. Many people don’t realize that bears will get up and search for food if there is a good source available. It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with the animal.”

Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral reports that the cold weather hasn’t dampened the spirit of shooters using the PGC shooting ranges in his area. However, violations continue on the ranges despite aggressive and constant patrols, and citations instead of warnings are being issued, according to Kapral.

Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral reports that several citations were filed after a routine field check of two hunters revealed that both had purchased a hunting license without taking the required HTE course. Besides the license issues, neither hunter was wearing the required amount of fluorescent orange, and an unplugged shotgun with five rounds in the magazine was leaning against their vehicle.

Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley reports having investigated several individuals for trapping violations along with a trapper reporting his traps being stolen. WCO Kelley recommends when trapping in areas close to roads or near bridges to check your traps often and take extra care in placing and concealing your traps.

Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa reports the feeding of wildlife, even with good intensions, may be devastating for the wildlife. Congregating wildlife to one location exposes animals to potential issues ranging from attacks from predators to disease transmission. Most wildlife succumbing to this exposure will die unbeknownst to the individual trying to help.

Susquehanna County WCO Mike Webb reports that many of this years wildlife crime cases have been adjudicated through the courts. Two individuals were cited for road hunting, shooting across roads, safety zone violations, and an illegal deer each. A call from the public with a vehicle tag number is directly responsible for the successful prosecution of this case.

Southeast Field Officer Report - March 15, 2013


Lehigh/Northampton County WCO Shawna Burkett would like to urge the public to contact the Pennsylvania Game Commission about any wildlife incidents and possible violations with the upcoming spring turkey season. “Call the Southeast Region office at (610)926-3136,” she said.

Bucks County WCO John Papson reports the 29th class of Wildlife Conservation Officers has just graduated from the Ross Leffler School of Conservation. “After enduring both a physically and mentally demanding schedule for a year, they will take their place as protectors of wildlife,” he said. “WCO Cassie Zliceski will take over her district consisting of central and lower Bucks County.”

Bucks County WCO John Papson comments that with the last of the hearings over for violations from hunting season, he is gearing up for Hunter Education. “Remember spring turkey season is right around the corner so don’t wait to take a Hunter/Trapper Education course if you or another family member needs it,” he said.

Chester County WCO Scott S. Frederick, along with DWCO’s Tom Clifford, John Klopp and Jeff Steen, have been spending more time patrolling at the SGL 43 rifle range to curb the ongoing range violations and vandalism that seems to plague that location. ”It has been almost 2 years since the ‘range permit/hunting license’ requirement came to pass as a necessary element to use the range facilities,” he said. “Folks using the range need to have one or the other or face a penalty. Signage is well posted on site as well to advise would be users of the rules, so there is no excuse for violating them.”

Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that the snow goose migration at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is pretty much over. “Most of the snow geese are now north of the area and few birds remain to the south,” he said. Peak numbers were 55,000+ this year. “This is down from the historic high of 150,000+ due to more birds using the large quarries in the Lehigh Valley as a stopover on their northward migration. Still, some hunters were able to harvest snow geese by use of decoys, pass shooting or stalking.”

Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that the spring bird migration is well underway in southeast Pennsylvania. “Waterfowl, bald eagles, raptors and songbirds are all showing up throughout the area,” he said. “Now is a great time to get out and take advantage of the increasing numbers of species available for viewing opportunities.”

Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that 2 injured bald eagles were recovered recently. Unfortunately both died of their injuries. “With the increasing numbers of eagles in the state, these incidents are becoming more common,” he said. “I want to thank the concerned individuals who reported finding these eagles.”

Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham reports that citations were filed on several individuals for shooting tundra swans in mistake for snow geese. “One individual was cited for hunting with an unplugged shotgun that was fully loaded with 5 shells,” he said. “Overall, game law compliance during the Conservation Snow Goose season was good.”

Lebanon County WCO Michael Reeder and Lancaster County WCO Greg Graham are investigating the killing of swans and snow geese near Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area. “According to eye witnesses, a group of vehicles stopped along Gibble Rd. and were watching a flock of snows,” Reeder said. The witnesses state the individuals exited and began shooting at the flock. After retrieving some of the birds they then left, leaving 3 wounded swans and 5 snow geese in the field. “This is a constant issue every year. Hunters drive around looking for snows and then often trespass, shoot in safety zones and in this case also kill protected birds.”

Montgomery County WCO Raymond Madden reports that recently during the outdoor show at Oaks, many individuals stopped to talk with officers, ask questions and give information. “Some of this information came in the form of tips related to illegal hunting activities,” he said. “A lot of these incidents have occurred months ago but this is the first time they have been told to officers. Multiple investigations are being conducted based on information given to us by citizens. It is important to note however, that timely information gathering is critical to solving a lot of cases. Citizens are encouraged to report information about violations in a timely manner to assist the officers in a timely investigation.”

Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that the five bald eagle sites in county are all active with birds incubating eggs. “Several reports of possible new nest sites are being verified by officers in the county,” he said.

Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that Hunter/Trapper Education courses are well underway with two early March courses already complete.

Northampton County WCO Brad Kreider reports that with the graduation of the 29th class of WCOs, a new district has been created encompassing the southern halves of both Lehigh and Northampton counties. “WCO Shawna Burkett has been assigned to the new district and officially starts March 13,” he said.

Schuylkill County WCO Brian Sheetz reports that even though he is just starting in the district, things are off to a busy start. “There are prescribed fires scheduled this year for parts of SGL 326 and also SGL 217,” he said. “Depending on weather conditions, the burn window for these may start to open sometime around the end of March.” Check the PGC website for more information about these habitat improvement projects. Click on About Us>Regional Information>Southeast Region>News/Updates.

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