Game Commission field officers report on outdoor happenings

Field officers for the state Game Commission’s Northcentral region filed the following reports on Aug. 11, according to the agency’s website:

• Lycoming County Wildlife Conservation Officer Kris Krebs reported he has seen numerous rattlesnakes while patrolling state game lands in July.

• Clinton County WCO Kirk Miller reported an individual recently was found guilty of hunting turkeys through the use of bait on the 2017 spring gobbler season opener. Fines total over $150.

• Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reported another bear with a severe case of mange had to be euthanized. He responded to a residence where the bear was wandering in the yard. Then it went into an open shed. Cole sedated the bear and removed it from the garage. The underweight bear then was euthanized. The bear had been feeding on field corn put out by residents to attract wildlife, so there’s a chance it contaminated the area with the mange mites that could infect healthy bears that also were drawn to the corn. Cole originally had trapped and tagged the euthanized bear in September 2011 just north of Jersey Shore on a farm where corn damage was occurring. The bear was released in southern Potter County. The bear was 20 years old at that time it was trapped, which made it 26 years old. The bear died largely because people are feeding wildlife, drawing bears and helping to spread mange, Cole said.

• WCO Tom Sabolcik recently stopped and cited three individuals for operating utility terrain vehicles on State Game Lands 59. They were apprehended at 10:30 p.m. and quite shocked when they were stopped by the officer, Sabolcik said.

• Potter County WCO Bill Ragosta reported having issued at least half a dozen written warnings in the last month for the unlawful bear feeding. The mange epidemic continues and it can be traced to backyard feeding in most instances.

• Union County WCO Dirk Remensnyder reported furbearer sightings are up, especially those of foxes and raccoons.

• Clearfield County WCO Mark Gritzer reportedthat English yew has been identified in his district. The plant produces a toxic berry that can be detrimental to wildlife, especially bears. Bear trapping efforts were conducted on the property to where the plant was discovered. Efforts to eradicate the invasive species are planned in the near future.

• Gritzer also reported a great blue heron was euthanized in Lecontes Mills. The bird displayed symptoms of West Nile virus, but autopsy results showed the bird was suffering from an internal parasite within its gizzard.

• Potter and Tioga counties Land Manager Denise Mitcheltree reported the Tioga Food and Cover Crew, which still is short-staffed, planted 39 acres of food plots on State Game Lands 37 and cooperative access lands in July. The Potter Food and Cover Crew planted 39 acres of food plots on State Game Lands 59, 64 and 204 and state parks and state forests. The Potter crew also mowed 123 acres of clover that already was established in various herbaceous openings.

• Tioga County WCO Rob Minnich reported he attended Arnot regional meeting, Tioga County youth field day meeting, handled bear complaints, set and moved bear traps, handled beaver complaints, picked up road-killed deer, answered permit questions, patrolled his district and state game lands, and traveled with the National Rifle Association to Raton, New Mexico, for the National Youth Hunter Education Challenge.

• McKean County WCO Jeffrey Orwig reported the bear population is doing very well in McKean County. Hunters should have an outstanding season.

• Orwig also reported that, with the assistance of WCO Tom Sabolcik, charges were filed agaisnt an Eldred man for illegally taking multiple deer out of season. Seven deer where found in the shed behind the man’s residence.

• Clinton County WCO Kirk Miller reported that, during a patrol on State Game Lands 89, he spotted a hen turkey with poults, a black bear and multiple deer with fawns. It serves as a great example that state game lands provide excellent opportunities for hunters to be successful.

• Lycoming County WCO Harold Cole reported that after getting a slow start on seeing turkeys in June, the number of hens with poults has increased greatly during July. Turkey numbers are looking good for the fall.

Northeast Field Officer Reports — Aug. 25

• Monroe County WCO Ryan Gildea reported multiple citations have been filed as a result of a camera that was placed on State Game Lands 129 to help deter all-terrain vehicle use.

• Susquehanna County WCO Ben Rebuck cited an individual for removing a live groundhog from the wild to keep as a pet.

southcentral Field Officer Reports — sept. 8

• York County WCO Kyle A. Jury reported Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officers Matt Miller and George Rupp have closed their investigations on a deer poached in the Spring Grove area. The officers responded to a report of a trail camera photographing a doe with an arrow sticking out of its rib cage. Several residents in the area also saw the deer. Miller and Rupp matched the arrow from the trail-camera photograph with an arrow they retrieved from the home of an individual they investigated. Eventually, the individual admitted to committing the senseless act that likely killed the doe and her two fawns.

northwest Field Officer Reports — sept. 8

• Clarion County WCO Steven J. Ace reported food sources are sporadic this year. With the frost hanging around a little later this past spring and other factors, food sources seem to be hit and miss. This should make scouting a little easier. Even a minimal amount of time spent scouting should pay great dividends.