Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northeast region filed the following reports on Feb. 1, according to the agency’s website:

Sullivan County Wildlife Conservation Officer Rick Finnegan reports that a joint investigation with a WCO from Tioga County led to the finding that a Canton man had killed numerous turkeys illegally in Maryland over the past few years. Citations have been filed for possessing these birds in Bradford County. Many other charges were filed in Tioga County relating to the investigation but involving many illegally taken deer.

  • Bradford County WCO Joe Wenzel requests that anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of Charles Daniel Cochrane, 31, who last had a Troy address, should contact Bradford County 911 Center, Bradford County Sheriff’s Department or the Northeast Regional Office of the state Game Commission. Cochrane is wanted on a felony arrest warrant stemming from charges filed as a result of an incident with WCOs in Wells Township in November 2012. Cochrane, who also uses a Texas address, is wanted in other states as well, but primarily in Indiana. Cochrane has several contacts in the Austinville, Millerton, Nelson and Gillett areas, as well as in Savona, Painted Post, Horseheads, and Elmira, N.Y.

Wayne County WCO James P. McCarthy reports that a search warrant was served and a young Capuchin monkey has been seized from a Lakeville couple. The investigation is ongoing. Importing or possessing exotic wildlife in Pennsylvania without the proper permits is a crime.

Northwest Region Office

  • Crawford County WCO Jacob J. Olexsak reports several Ohio residents were cited and entered guilty pleas for hunting during the flintlock season without securing a muzzle loading license. They argued that the licenses cost enough and did not want to spend any additional money to get the required license.

Olexsak also reports that during recent snowfalls, snowmobiles have been illegally operating in areas that are closed to such activities, and many complaints from other outdoor enthusiasts, such as trappers, hunters and birdwatchers have been received. Multiple citations have been issued to those snowmobile operators who fail to follow posted signs and who failed to maintain the required registration on their machines.

Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless reports he recently came across a number of old Game News issues, several going back to the 1950s and ’60s. Reading through some of the old Field Notes, it was funny how many of the “notes” could have been penned by a WCO today. Especially common were reports of the general public picking up supposed abandoned wildlife and dropping the bird or animal off at the local officer’s residence to be taken care of. The message of “leave it where you found it” has been out there for at least 50 years and still often goes unheard.

Mercer County WCO Lawrence R. Hergenroeder reports a Sandy Lake trapper reported seeing evidence of an otter taking up residence on State Game Land 130 along Sandy Creek.

Southwest Region Office

  • Allegheny County WCO Dan Puhala reports that an Indiana Township man recently was found guilty for an illegally taken deer and hunting license violation. “The individual was charged for shooting the deer, a 10-point buck, and putting his daughter’s Youth Mentored permit kill tag on the animal. During the investigation, we discovered that the young girl had never practiced with or fired the crossbow prior to the incident. This turned out to be a situation where someone took advantage of the Mentored Youth program in a negative way,” he said.

Southeast Region Office

  • Berks County WCO Dave Brockmeier recently filed charges on an individual that removed a raccoon from the wild and allowed it to be handled by their family for many months.
  • Dauphin County WCO Mike Doherty prosecuted two separate violators this season for hunting with bait, hunting without a license, making false sworn statements, and killing trophy bucks illegally. Even worse, each one of them had a young teenage girl, a new hunter, assisting them in their crimes. “One of these young ladies still had her new HTE card with her when she and her criminal uncle were caught,” he said. “Very sad.”

Lancaster County WCO Dennis R. Warfel reports that one of the nesting pairs of bald eagles in southern Lancaster County has already set up house keeping and is incubating their eggs; others have paired up and are getting ready. “Hopefully the weather for the nesting season will cooperate,” he said.

  • Lehigh County WCO Kevin Halbfoerster reports that charges have been filed for a juvenile for not tending his traps. When asked about the last time he checked his trap, the juvenile responded, “About three days ago.” Halbfoerster informed the juvenile that a raccoon was caught in his trap, which is required by law to be checked within 36 hours.
  • Environmental Education Specialist Bert Myers reports that with the Middle Creek Visitor’s Center seasonal reopening on Feb. 1, the staff is receiving a lot of inquiries regarding snow geese and tundra swans.

“Typically, the peak of the migration occurs during the end of February or early March,” he said. “During this period, updated numbers will be posted on the Game Commission website.

“Also, keep in mind, weather permitting, the Tour Roads will reopen March 1. So, for those who want to come to Middle Creek to enjoy the annual spring migration, early March can be the best time to visit for best access,” he said.