Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on June 20, according to the agency’s website:

Tioga County Wildlife Conservation Officer Robert F. Minnich reports that May was a busy month spent chasing bears around and attending or participating in the following programs: the Tioga County Envirothon, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Jakes Day at Arnot Sportsmens Club, Penn State Cooperative Extension’s 4-H Environmental Aware-ness Days, Springfest at Hills Creek State Park, a bear program for Mount Zion Church and retreat center and a display at the Route 15 visitors center.

  • Minnich added that bears still are causing problems. “I tell people, when asked about bears and traps, that it is like playing chess, but the bears always seem to be at least one move ahead of us,” he said. “We do catch some and help keep some complaints from progressing, but the best thing is to clean areas up and avoid attracting them in the first place. In one week this month, I handled five bears from 100 to 425 pounds. With (the) number and size of bear being seen, it looks as though it is going to be another banner bear season, as long as the weather cooperates.”
  • Lycoming and Union Counties’ Land Management Officer Thomas M. Smith reports during May that Game Commission personnel performed prescribed burns to enhance wildlife habitat on 88 acres of grasslands and 157 acres of shrub lands on State Game Lands 252 in Lycoming and Union Counties.
  • Land Manager Eric Erdman reports that prescribed fire in the northcentral region was ramped up this spring and food and cover corps in Centre and Clinton counties are busy with preparing and planting food plots. On an average year, the crew would have completed food plot activities by this time, but the benefits from fire are well worth the delay.

Lycoming County WCO Jonathan M. Wyant reports that there are many sightings of eagles in and around Lycoming County. “I’ve personally observed two different ones on the same day,” he said.

  • Denise H. Mitcheltree, of land management group two in Potter and Tioga counties, thanks the Tiadaghton Chapter of the Audubon Society in Tioga County, specifically Robert Ross, for spearheading a grant proposal to replace degraded boardwalk materials at the wildlife observation blind on State Game Lands 313. The walkway now consists of newly installed Timber Tech synthetic boarding that will last for years without the need for regular restaining.
  • Mitcheltree, who also is the Potter and Tioga County land manager, reports that reclamation efforts will begin again this summer on State Game Lands 59 in Potter County. Several areas already have been regraded and reseeded with more to follow over the summer months in efforts to convert areas affected by Marcellus gas exploration back into quality wildlife habitat.

Northeast Field Office: June 20

  • Pike and Monroe counties WCO Mark Kropa reports he is investigating a case where a bear head was dumped in a garbage bag in a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources parking area along Old Greentown Road. It was discovered by some birdwatchers, who turned it over to a Promised Land State Park ranger. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Northeast Regional Office at 570-675-1143.
  • Mark Kropa also reports several citations were issued at the State Game Lands 183 shooting range. The violations were not having the proper range permit or valid hunting license, shooting multiple projectile ammunition and shooting at targets other that paper. In one instance the individual was shooting at a rock. They all face fines of up to $200.

Wyoming County WCO Victor Rosa reports that individuals using state game lands should be aware of regulations for recreational purposes as the game lands are managed differently than state parks. Many activities allowed in parks are restricted or prohibited on state game lands.

NorthWest Field Office: June 20

  • Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reports that the fawning season is in full swing and, as always, people are picking up fawns that they believe are “abandoned” by their mother. Most do this with good intentions and think they are helping, but they are not. The mother has simply left the fawn because for the first few days of the fawn’s life it is practically odorless, and predators cannot smell the fawn. The mother leaves so her scent is not in the area. People should be aware they could receive citations for taking a fawn from the wild. It’s OK to look from a distance, but do not touch.
  • Erie County WCO Darin L. Clark reports that he has been getting a lot of incidents of people seeing or picking up young wildlife. Most of the time the mother is somewhere nearby and if you leave the offspring alone she will come back and take care of them.