Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on Aug. 16, according to the agency’s website:

Dan Murray, wildlife conservation officer in Centre County, reports that several charges were filed under federal regulations and the Game and Wildlife Code for unlawfully killing a mallard duck and that a citation was issued for unlawfully transporting and possessing alcoholic beverages on State Game Lands 100.

WCO Mark Fair reports cinnamon bears seem to be the big news coming from southern Potter County this summer. This is not a new species of bear inhabiting our state, but a color phase of black bears. Their colors range from a reddish brown to a blondish brown. WCO Tom Sabolcik even has tagged one of these bears. Based on location, color and eyewitness accounts, Fair believes there are three adults and one cub spending their summer in Potter County.

WCO Bill Ragosta, of Potter County reports that bear complaints are up in his district. The majority of complaints result from the unlawful feeding of bears, including an absolute epidemic of mangy bear complaints. People should not feed wildlife and if you become aware of people feeding bears, turn them in to the state Game Commission. Your report could keep bears from getting sick.

  • Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that turkey poult sightings are on the increase as compared to the month of June. Multiple hens were observed with low brood counts this month. The turkey population seems to be strong throughout the district and hunters should look forward to a promising fall hunting season.
  • Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer documented a significant decrease in the number of bear complaints. Food availability was the contributing factor. The soft mast crop of apples, blueberries and blackberries are abundant throughout the county. Hard mast crop is pending.
  • Thomas M. Smith, Land Management Group Supervisor, Lycoming and Union counties reports that in an ongoing effort to provide quality small-game habitat on State Game Lands 193 and 201 Union County, the Game Commission has contracted out 110 acres for brush cutting – predominantly, invasive shrubs such as honeysuckle, multiflora rose and autumn olive. All stems less than 6 inches in diameter are to be cut to ground level. Desirable species that benefit wildlife such as crabapple, apple, dogwood and red osier dogwood will be retained.
  • WCO Patrick Cull, of Tioga County, reports that bear-trapping efforts still are underway in Tioga and Potter counties and reminds everyone to keep trash and all food sources secure. Also, remember that purposely feeding bears is unlawful.
  • WCO Patrick Cull, of Tioga County, reports that there still is plenty of space available in the hunter and trapper education class in Westfield on Sept. 21. Sign up online.
  • WCO Harold Cole, of Lycoming County, reports that everyone is getting the last-minute items for their next hunting adventure. If you haven’t done it yet, be sure to pull out this year’s digest and review it before you go out. There always are some changes. Good luck and be safe.
  • Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs said that, on July 11, a Montgomery woman was found guilty in a hearing before District Judge John Kemp. The woman was cited for operating an ATV on State Game Lands 252. She also was cited for cutting a hedgerow with a reciprocating saw. The defendant was ordered to pay $200 in fines.
  • Land Manager John Dzemyan of Elk and McKean Counties reports that every year Wildlife Food and Cover workers for the Game Commission spend hundreds of hours cleaning up litter from state game lands parking lots. Workers also spend hundreds of hours replacing and repairing paper and wooden signs that are stolen or damaged on game lands by irresponsible people. These hundreds of hours can be better spent by commission workers providing better food and cover conditions for wildlife. You can help by cleaning up any litter you see in SGL parking areas and also by reporting any individuals you see littering, dumping or damaging game lands in any way. If you like, you can send a picture to the commission website of what you cleaned up, telling us where and when you did so. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Northeast region reports – Aug. 16

Northumberland County WCO Jason Kelley reports citing a man for possession of alcohol on game lands, and another for attempting to sell wildlife on Craigslist.

Monroe County WCO Bryan Mowrer reports an increase in spotlighting; most likely because deer are in velvet. “It is unlawful to shine lights on buildings and livestock, and spotlighting after 11 p.m. is prohibited,” he said.

  • Luzerne County WCO David P. Allen reports that an 8-mile stretch of Rails to Trails recently was opened in Dennison and Wright townships. The trail runs directly through SGL 119. Unfortunately, shortly after the opening, ATVs and 4×4 trucks entered the trail, causing damage to gates and the trail surface. Anyone with any information on this activity is urged to contact the Northeast Regional Office at 675-1143.
  • Wayne County WCO Frank J. Dooley reports two Wayne County men have entered guilty pleas and are paying fines and costs in excess of $6,000 for jacklighting deer at night from a motor vehicle.
  • Bradford County WCO Jeffrey Oleniacz reports the Fourth of July weekend proved to be busy in western Bradford County. More than 30 warnings and several citations were issued for illegal activities being conducted on state game lands. “The most common violations were swimming and consumption or possession of alcohol,” Oleniacz said.
  • Bradford County WCO Philip Kasper reports that there has been an increase in illegal dumping activity on state game lands. Kasper filed criminal charges on several individuals.

Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on Aug. 2, according to the agency’s website:

Lycoming County Wildlife Conservation Officer Harold Cole reports that during the spring of the year, he receives a lot of calls about wildlife hanging out around houses. Sometimes the wildlife is sick and might be stumbling, falling down or bleeding. Other times, wildlife reported as “sick” isn’t sick. Often times, females will stay in an area and be more forward and stay in areas that they usually do not regularly visit. This may be because she is searching for food because she has many mouths to feed. Once the young get big enough to travel with mom, she usually will move on. The best way to have her move on sooner is to make sure that you don’t have any food sources for the wildlife to use.

  • Potter and Tioga County Land Manager Denise Mitcheltree reports that the Food and Cover crews planted 63 acres of grains and 17 acres of clover on state game lands and cooperator lands in those counties for the month of June. Frequent, heavy rains have hampered operations somewhat but have been a tremendous boost to the recently planted food plots.
  • Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports that on one road that is about 4 miles long a resident reported observing 47 deer one morning on his way to work. Sounds like there are lots of deer around.
  • Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer encountered a local camp feeding bears intentionally on private property. Camp members were feeding the bears marshmallows and shelled corn for their own entertainment value. Feeding of wildlife causes habituation, and puts healthy animals at risk to certain diseases especially with the emergence of mange in our black bear population. The camp received a written warning and was instructed to remove all the food enticements.
  • WCO Tom Sabolcik is investigating the killing of a more than 500-pound bear near the village of Keating Summit in Potter County. The bear was killed in a remote area just east of the village and was causing no harm. If anyone has any information, call the Northcentral Regional Office at 398-4745.
  • Elk County WCO Doty McDowell is happy to have the PGC’s new elk biologist Jeremy Banfield on board and he looks forward to working with him.

Northwest Region Field Report – Aug. 2

  • Crawford County WCO Randy R. Crago reports that an immature bald eagle died near Canadohta Lake. A state Department of Transportation crew watched the eagle fly into a power line and get electrocuted.
  • Erie County WCO Michael A. Girosky reports that there is a completely healthy female deer running around in the Erie Cemetery. The deer is not trapped but enters and leaves the grounds by the gate or jumping the fence at its leisure. There is no need to call the police or the Game Commission to report the deer.
  • Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that he has investigated numerous dumping cases this summer. He has successfully prosecuted one individual for dumping a truckload of garbage on state game lands and has charges pending on two other individuals for dumping a 19-foot fiberglass boat on state game lands. The individuals backed the boat up to a tree, tied the boat off and pulled the trailer out from under it. Using the make of boat and a partial registration number, the state Fish and Boat Commission was able to establish the owner, which led to the two men who had last possessed the boat.
  • Jefferson County WCO Roger A. Hartless has received reports that a fair number of people were unaware that WMU 2G split into 2G and 2H when they sent in for their antlerless deer license. Instead of applying for a license in 2H, where they want to hunt, they sent in for a license for 2G like they have done in the past. The mistake could end up being a costly one if they hunt for or take an antlerless deer in the wrong WMU.