Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on March 14, according to the agency’s website:

Lycoming County Wildlife Conservation Officer Harold Cole reports seeing his first roadkill woodchuck of the year on Feb. 19.

  • Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports seeing many antlered and antlerless deer after the hunting season concluded.
  • Land Manager Eric Erdman reports Food and Cover Corps have begun mowing State Game Lands 176, Scotia Barrens, in preparation for 2014 controlled burns. Over the next few years, our objectives include targeting invasive species and returning vegetation back to scrub oak and pitch pine. Some of the densest patches of invasive species are right along Scotia Range Road, so mowing and burning will be easy to spot.
  • Officer Mark Fair reports that three bears were euthanized during the late-winter period. The animals were in such poor condition that they were forced to try and forage for food during sub-zero temperatures.
  • Lycoming County WCO Kristoffer Krebs reported that five adults and two juveniles recently were sentenced for their roles in the unlawful killing of two antlerless deer. The incident occurred on Oct. 5, 2012, in Cogan House Township. Each defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful taking of big game. The group was ordered to pay $32,000 in fines.
  • Lycoming and Union Counties Land Management Officer Thomas M. Smith reports food and cover crews have been busy with border cuttings and a timber stand-improvement cut on the game lands. Border cuts provide another layer for wildlife by “softening” the transitional edge going from herbaceous openings to the woods line. The current timber-stand-improvement cut is to promote aspen regeneration in an area where the species is uncommon.

WCO Dirk Remensnyder reports seeing numerous small groups of deer that have continually stayed in one spot for days at a time to conserve energy and fat reserves which enable them to make it through the cold winter.

  • Tioga County WCO Rodney Mee reports that Tulsa Frey and Calvin Jennings, of Tioga County, entered into a plea bargain with the Tioga County district attorney. They each pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully taking big game, a first-degree misdemeanor, and were sentenced to serve nine months in Tioga County Prison, pay a $500 fine and $2,538.99 in restitution, plus lab fees, for the eight deer involved.

Clearfield County WCOs Mark Gritzer, Dave Stewart and Chris Ivicic trapped turkeys with 92-year-old John Livergood, from the Shawville area. They successfully trapped nine turkeys on Livergood’s property, and he allowed them to record the biological information from the birds directly in his kitchen. “This was an experience for all of us, and we presented John a framed photograph of him holding a hen turkey fitted with a GPS transmitter,” the officers reported.

Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on Feb. 28, according to the agency’s website:

  • Lycoming County Wildlife Conservation Officer Kristoffer Krebs reports that a Cogan Station man pleaded guilty to charges for his part in the unlawful taking or possession of two deer. The incident occurred on Dec. 2 near Rock Run Road in Hepburn Township. Two antlerless deer were shot and killed within a safety zone. The defendant appeared before District Judge James Sortman and was ordered to pay $1,500 in fines.
  • Krebs reports that a Cogan Station man was cited for one count of dogs pursuing, injuring or killing big game. The incident occurred on Jan. 4 along West Route 973 in Lycoming Township. The defendant entered a guilty plea and was sentenced by District Judge Sortman. The defendant was ordered to pay fines and restitution totaling $1,050.
  • Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reports that with the end of the late deer seasons, many of the WCOs are helping out with the hen turkey study in conjunction with the National Wild Turkey Federation and Ohio and New York. Cole said, in two days of trapping, 34 hens were banded in Study Area 2, where the trapping quota for the year has been set at 115. Cole states that two of the hens also received GPS backpacks that will allow researchers to see the birds’ movements every day. The main purpose of the transmitters is to see how long the hens sit on their nests in the spring.

Lycoming and Union counties’ Land Management Officer Thomas M. Smith reports local food and cover crews constructed 30 rabbit brushpiles on game lands using recycled Christmas trees. The trees are collected and wrapped after the holidays by the Montoursville and Muncy Lions clubs as a fundraiser. Rabbits and other small critters then use the piles as escape cover from predators and the winter elements.

  • Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports that, judging by the pictures after the hunting season, many very nice antlered deer were taken.
  • Tioga County Officer Patrick Cull reports that while running a decoy operation during the rifle deer season a car of hunters drove through the area and stopped to shoot at the decoy. Through the investigation other wildlife violations were discovered as well.
  • While trapping turkeys McKean County, WCO Tom Sabolcik got a surprise when checking the bait site. In a nearby tree sat two mature bald eagles and, when they took off, four immature eagles took off from nearby trees. Six eagles – no wonder the bait remained untouched.
  • Sabolcik also is investigating the senseless killing of a 25-pound bear cub near Roulette, Potter County. The cub was with its mother and tried to escape by attempting to climb a nearby pine tree. The bear cub was defenseless when it was shot and killed and then its body was burned in a nearby barrel. The remains of the cub have been recovered and a witness has come forward naming the perpetrator. Charges will be filed.
  • Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reports that a group of more than 100 elk are using the reclaimed strip mines between the towns of Karthaus and Pottersdale. This type of behavior with elk congregating in large herds is common during the winter months. The Elk Management Team is conducting a population survey and the results look promising in these particular geographical subpopulation.
  • Cameron County WCO Wayne A. Hunt offers the following advice to sportsmen’s clubs or landowners looking to do something worthwhile and have a lasting effect on wildlife. Plant some conifer seedlings this spring, or build some brushpiles. Pruning apple trees will help the tree stay healthy and produce fruit, and the limbs will provide woody browse for wildlife.