Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on March 29, according to the agency’s website:

Tioga County Wildlife Conservation Officer Bob Minnich reports he has been monitoring known eagle nests in the area and has confirmed five nests with eagles. By mid-month, they all appeared to be incubating. Four of the five have reused nests from previous year, but one pair seems to move at least every other year. This year they moved again, but he found the nest.

Minnich also said he has been checking some furtakers, but weather has been hard on them, as one day it is warm and sunny next day cold and snowy. This has been affecting both trappers and hunters, but the persistent ones have had some success.

  • Cameron and Clearfield Counties Land Management Group Supervisor Colleen Shannon reports that all 18 cases she prosecuted from the fall hunting seasons have been successfully adjudicated, including two cases that were heard in district court. In several road hunting cases, the district judge sent a message to violators by assessing near maximum penalties for first-time offenders.

Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs said that on Feb 17, a Lycoming County man was cited as a result of an incident that occurred during the Mosquito Creek Coyote Hunt. The incident occurred just after midnight in Jackson Township, Lycoming County. The defendant was road hunting for coyote while using a spotlight. There were three loaded rifles in the vehicle at the time of the incident. The defendant was charged with one count of unlawful use of lights while hunting, one count of unlawful devices and methods, and three counts of loaded firearms in vehicles. He faces fines of $1,700 to $2,900.

Elk County WCO Doty McDowell saw and heard his first male bluebird singing on Feb. 25.

  • McDowell also attended the North Central Division of the Federation of Sportsman’s Clubs on March 3.
  • Potter County WCO Mark Fair reports 35 hen turkeys have been banded this winter by the Tioga, Potter and McKean turkey trapping crew. Crew members consisted of WCOs, deputy WCOs and volunteers. Eight hens were fitted with radio transmitters in addition to their leg bands.
  • LMGS Eric Erdman reports the Centre County food and cover crew has been preparing State Game Lands 176-Scotia Barrens for the 2013 controlled burn season. One of the burn blocks can be seen along the range road and can be identified by how open it is compared to the surrounding landscape.
  • Erdman also reports the Clinton County food and cover crew has been maintaining old and constructing new waterfowl nesting structures on state game lands and cooperative property in the area they cover. In cleaning out the old nests, they are finding a fairly high nesting and hatching success rate.

McKean County WCO Len Groshek reports a Smethport man pled guilty to various charges resulting from an investigation that began during deer season when a dead doe was discovered strangled in an illegal snare. Two other snares were found set in the area and the defendant was not checking a foothold trap he set that held a coyote for several days. Fines and court costs totaled nearly $1,000.

  • Groshek reports an Erie man pled guilty to killing two antlerless deer in Wildlife Management Unit 2F during the early muzzleloader season. The defendant possessed only one antlerless deer license for WMU 1B, and the deer were killed in an area baited with corn and apples. Fines totaled $2,400.

Northeast Field Officer Report: March 29

  • Luzerne County WCO David Allen said he is noticing an increasing amount of items being dumped along the roadways. Just last month, he apprehended three individuals for dumping.
  • Montour and northern Northumberland counties WCO Rick Deiterich reports: “A common complaint that I hear this time of year concerns coyote hunters and their dogs that they let run across private property without permission of the landowner. I must say that a little common sense and a courtesy would go a long way. Posted property is posted property and does not mean posted except for running dogs. Asking landowners for permission” is encouraged.
  • Sullivan County WCO Rick Finnegan reports that locks and gates are being damaged on SGL 13 in Sullivan County. Anyone with information on the damage is asked to contact the Northeast Regional Office at 675-1143. All information will remain confidential.
  • Luzerne County WCO Gerald Kapral reports that he recently assisted WCO David Allen process a large (nearly 600-pound) black bear that Allen had trapped in Nuangola. The bear was denning under the recreation center building at Nuangola Lake and was making regular visits to garbage cans to dine. Besides the constant mess, the bear was in a residential area, so relocation was the best option. Kapral reports that the bear was able to clean out all of the bait in the trap without getting caught, but with some trap and bait modifications, Allen had him the next night.
  • Kapral also said he recently got a conviction in court on a person who illegally killed a 10-point buck after hours. The hunter allegedly witnessed the large buck get shot by a person in a vehicle from the roadway, then saw the vehicle fled the area. The hunter “put the badly injured deer out of its misery” and then tagged it with his buck tag. This occurred almost 1 1/2 hours past shooting time for that day. In addition to putting a 4:15 p.m. kill time on the tag, the hunter never bothered to report the violation, or even call the PGC for guidance on the matter.
  • Northumberland County WCO Kelley reports assisting Riverside Borough in investigating coyote carcasses being dumped on private property following an organized hunt. He also has seen an increase in deer collisions with automobiles and would like to remind motorists to keep an eye out for wildlife while driving.

Columbia County WCO John Morack reports that 40 Central Columbia School District students recently successfully competed a Hunter/Trapper Education Course.

Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa reports several incidents of dogs running deer have been reported in the county. Pet owners that allow their dogs to roam freely risk not only loosing the pet but face possible prosecution for several violations. Wildlife have very limited resources this time of year, wasting energy while being chased by dogs may weaken the wildlife exposing them to disease and malnutrition, both that could lead to death of wildlife.