Many of you know me as a former Deputy WCO.  I am also a life member of COPA, currently a Police Officer and Deputy Sheriff.  As a sworn LEO I will be participating as a rider in the 2017 Police Unity Tour.  We will be leaving with Chapter IX from Philadelphia and traveling 260 miles on bicycle to Washington DC in May 2017.

I have always enjoyed physical fitness and in 2012 began endurance athletics (marathon, triathlon).  I have completed numerous Ironman races (140.6 mile swim/bike/run) and several marathons.  My inspiration comes from being able to do the things that many can’t.  This tour, although not a race will be my biggest challenge, more emotionally than physically.  It is something that is very important to me. 

Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region Director Daniel Figured was recently presented with the Pennsylvania Trappers Association’s (PTA) 2017 Conservationist of the Year Award for his contributions to wildlife management and support of Pennsylvania’s trappers.
The award was presented to Figured at the Game Commission Northeast Region office in Dallas by PTA past president Brian Mohn and PTA Public Relations Director Barry Warner.
Figured is responsible for directing and coordinating all Game Commission wildlife law enforcement, wildlife-management, and habitat enhancement programs within the 13 counties that comprise the Northeast Region.
“Dan has been a tremendous asset to Pennsylvania’s trappers by providing training for wildlife conservation officers in the areas of best management trapping practices, nuisance wildlife control, and positive public relations,” said Warner. “In addition, Officer Figured recognizes the critical role that regulated trapping plays in scientific wildlife management and supports the PTA in its training, educational, and public outreach programs.”

Killed in 1906, Charles Beecham will be honored at ceremonies on May 12 and 13.

A Pennsylvania Game Commission officer who was shot and killed during an arrest attempt more than a century ago will have his name added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Deputy Game Protector Charles Beecham, who was shot to death near Priceburg, Lackawanna County in 1906, is among 394 fallen law-enforcement officers to be honored at an 8 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 13 on the National Mall.
Beecham is the ninth Pennsylvania Game Commission officer to be recognized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.
Beecham was one of several officers to respond on Nov. 4, 1906 to a complaint about individuals hunting unlawfully on Sunday. The officers encountered two men hunting with large-caliber revolvers, and while attempting to arrest one of the men, the other threatened, “Let him go, or I’ll shoot.”
The man fired a shot into Beecham’s chest, and the officer died at the scene.

Dear Conservation Officers of Pennsylvania Association Members,

This is just a short note to all regarding our recent COPA Rendezvous on Winslow Hill near Benezette in Elk County -- the heart of Pennsylvania’s Elk Country. Thank you all so very much for coming out and spending this memorable day with colleagues, retirees, friends, and their faithful, supportive families.

We on the Board of Trustees often worry about what, at times, appears to be a waning interest in this our (your) fraternal/professional fish and game warden association; however, we want you all to know the Board of Trustees was pleasantly surprised to see that our member support and interest is still strong judging by your participation on August 17, 2016. At least 104 members and guests took part.

By Bernard J. Schmader – Retired Wildlife Conservation Officer

On November 11, 2010 at about 10:30 PM Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove was deliberately shot and killed while attempting to take two deer poaching suspects into custody in Freedom Township, Adams County, Pennsylvania.

The following snippets from the Altoona Tribune give an interesting glimpse of hunting in Blair County back in 1927.

All records for the sale of hunters' licenses, for any one day, were broken yesterday in the county, when 1,415 licenses were issued, the total number sold to date reaching 9,415.
It was thought the increase in the price of licenses from $1.25 to $2.00 would decrease the number sold this year, but such did not prove to be the case.
As yesterday was the last day, prior to the opening of the fall hunting season there was a rush of belated sportsmen to attend to this necessary procedure and the office of County Treasurer John F. Royer at Hollidaysburg was crowded all day. Mr. Royer, his deputy, Charles Way, and clerks, Misses Edna Snowberger and Rose Connors, were kept as busy as beavers attending to the hundreds who crowded the office. Only two nonresident licenses were issued during the day, the total number of those licenses to date being four. Most of the applicants for this form of license are deer hunters, who do not apply until later in the year as the deer season does not open until December 1.
Altoona Tribune, Altoona, Pa., Tuesday, November 1, 1927, page 1

Assistance in searching property of murder suspect yielded key evidence

Two Wildlife Conservation Officers of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s northeast region recently received Letters of Commendation from the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) for uncovering evidence during a murder investigation near Saylorsburg in October 2016.
Game Commission Northeast Region Law Enforcement Supervisor Mark Rutkowski and Monroe County Wildlife Conservation Bryan Mowrer received the recognition at a recent ceremony in held in Lehigh County.
Rutkowski and Mowrer assisted state police search a wooded area around the home of murder suspect Michael Horvath, Saylorsburg, in connection to the disappearance of Holly Ann Grim. Grim was last seen near her residence in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, in November 2013.

Congrats to the 2016 COPA Fall Raffle Winners

They are:

Bernard McGee
Philipsburg, PA

George Wilcox
Millville, PA

Michelle Shaffer
New Wilmington, PA

The 2016 COPA Collectible Patch Is Available For Purchase Now!

The artist for the design of the 2016 COPA patch is Randy Zigo, a resident of Mercer County,PA. He combines his love of the outdoors with his lifelong interest in painting. His rural surroundings serve as the inspiration for most of his paintings. He has recently won the 2010 Working Together For Wildlife Art print for Pennsylvania (2010-great horned owl), and had been the runner up 4 times. Randy's work has found favor with collectors throughout the United States. Randy can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Price includes postage and handling fees.

Please allow 4-6 weeks handling time.

Here's an interesting clipping from the Altoona Tribune 13 January 1859 regarding the enactment of certain laws to protect wildlife.

IMPORTANT TO SPORTSMEN. - According to a law passed at the late session of the Legislature, for the preservation of game, the season for trapping, shooting or destroying in any way, pheasants, partridges, woodcocks or rabbits, closed on the first inst. The following sections refer to the subject: -

SECTION 2. That from and after the passage of this act, no person shall shoot, kill or otherwise destroy any pheasant between the first day of January and the first day of September, or any woodcock between the first day of January and the fourth of July, or any partridge or rabbit between the first day of January and the first day of October, in the present year, and in each and every year thereafter, under the penalty of five dollars for each and every offense.

Game Commission, partners launch live stream at Hanover, Pa. bald-eagle nest.

It might be cold outside, but you don’t have to leave your cozy confines for a round-the-clock opportunity to view bald eagles at close range.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Eagle Cam is back on-line, offering viewers worldwide 24-7 access to live video and audio captured at a bald-eagle nest in Hanover, Pa.
The Eagle Cam is provided through a partnership among the Game Commission, HDOnTap, Comcast Business and Codorus State Park.
Once again this year, the Eagle Cam features two cameras, each equipped with a microphone, placed 75 feet high in a tree adjacent to Codorus State Park. Eagles have nested at the tree for more than a decade, and have successfully fledged young there many times.
While the 2017 run of the Eagle Cam at the same tree was successful, with two eaglets hatching in March and taking their first flights in June, there was some question whether the Eagle Cam would be back at the same tree in 2018.

National Wild Turkey Federation honors Jerry A. Bish, WCO Daniel Murray.

In Pennsylvania, it’s turkey season.
And the National Wild Turkey Federation Pennsylvania State Chapter recently honored two Pennsylvania Game Commission officers for their work in wildlife conservation.
Pennsylvania Game Commission Land Management Group Supervisor Jerry A. Bish, of Conneaut Lake, was named recipient of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Joe Kurz Wildlife Manager of the Year Award for his work managing wildlife habitat.
And Wildlife Conservation Officer Daniel Murray, of Milesburg, was named the National Wild Turkey Federation’s 2016 Conservation Officer of the Year.
Each honor recognizes the officers’ service during 2016, and was presented at the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners’ recent meeting.

With license-fee increase stalled, agency faces $8M budget shortfall.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced plans to close two pheasant farms – the Western Game Farm in Crawford County and the Northcentral Game Farm in Lycoming County.
As a result of the closures, 14 employees were notified their positions are being eliminated, effective Jan. 27.
The decision to close the farms strictly is a financial one.
Revenue from the sale of hunting and furtaker licenses makes up the majority of the Game Commission’s budget. Legislation that would have provided a much-needed increase in license-fee revenue was not approved in the General Assembly’s 2016 session. The Game Commission now is preparing to enter a third decade without an increase in the cost of a hunting or furtaker license, and the agency faces an $8 million budget shortfall in the coming fiscal year.

The results are in!

The 2016 COPA Winter Gun Raffle Early Bird Winner Is....

William Dietz of Windsor!

Winter Gun Raffle WINNERS from 4/9/16

 The rest of the winners are as follows

Hunters encouraged to use any of the collection bins placed within Disease Management Areas.

Hunters within the state’s Disease Management Areas (DMAs) have the opportunity to have their deer tested – free of charge – for chronic wasting disease (CWD), and at the same time help the Game Commission fight this deadly disease.
The Game Commission has installed large metal bins at about two dozen locations for the collection of harvested deer heads within DMA 2 and DMA 3. The bins, which are similar to those used for clothing donations, keep contents secure and are checked and emptied every other day through the deer-hunting seasons.
All deer heads retrieved from the bins that can be tested for CWD, will be tested, and the hunters who submitted them will be notified of the results as soon as they’re available.

Grandfather, granddaughter returned to safety.

Two hunters who became lost Saturday on State Game Lands 33 in Centre County were tracked down by specially skilled Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officers and returned to safety early the next morning.
The Game Commission was notified on the evening of Oct. 21 that the two hunters, 58-year-old Jeff Cherry, of Altoona, and his 17-year-old granddaughter Megan Settlemyer, did not meet up with the rest of their hunting party when expected. As darkness fell and the hours passed, concern for the hunters’ safety grew because Cherry is diabetic and did not have insulin or food with him.
At about 11 p.m., wildlife conservation officers and their deputies, state police, members of the Mountain Top Fire Company, and family and friends of the lost hunters gathered to begin a search.

Today we learned of the passing of Dennis Guise, former Deputy Executive Director and Chief Counsel of the Fish and Boat Commission and Chief Counsel of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He passed away on Monday.
Dennis grew up in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. While attending college and law school, he served as a seasonal park ranger at the Gettysburg National Military Park.
He graduated magna cum laude from Gettysburg College in 1969. He was class salutatorian and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Dennis was designated a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training (ROTC) program.
After graduation, he continued his professional education at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, from which he earned a juris doctor degree in 1972.

fter law school, he served on active duty in the United States Air Force. His first assignment was as assistant Staff Judge Advocate for the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

During the recent quarterly business meeting in Erie, Executive Director John Arway and the Board of Commissioners presented Lifesaving Awards to four waterways conservation officers (WCO). 

Lifesaving Award for Heroic Efforts During a Life Threatening Situation- presented to WCO Terry Crecraft. After completing stocking efforts on a local stream on April 14, 2016, WCO Crecraft stopped at a local restaurant with some stocking a
ssistants. After a short time, WCO Crecraft noticed that one of the assistants was choking and unable to breath. He performed the Heimlich maneuver, successfully clearing the obstruction. WCO Crecraft called the individual later that night to check on his welfare and was informed of a full recovery. Photo (L-R) Executive Director John Arway, WCO Terry Crecraft, Board President Glade Squires.

COPA Announces The 2016 Fall Raffle

copa logogplus

Donation - $5.00 Per Ticket
3 Chances to win!
Drawing to be held November 7th, 2016 at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Headquarters
2001 Elmerton Ave. Harrisburg, PA at 1pm.

All tickets and donations must be received by November 4, 2016 to be included in the drawing.

For information on obtaining tickets please contact Mike Reeder at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1st Prize Pelican Elie Kayak with paddle and PFD


2nd Prize Invader G3 Wicked Ridge Crossbow


3rd Prize CVA Accura V2 Inline Muzzleloader


Winner is responsible for making arrangements for
collecting their prize.

Hunters can help keep eagles safe by burying entrails of harvested game.

An increasing number of bald eagles have been admitted to wildlife-rehabilitation centers across Pennsylvania exhibiting signs of illness such as weakness, lethargy, emaciation, labored respiration and drooping wings. Blood tests often reveal that the eagles are suffering from lead toxicity.
Lead poisoning occurs when toxic levels of lead are absorbed into the body.
Raptors are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning because when they ingest lead particles, the acidic nature of their stomach causes rapid absorption of the metal, said Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Veterinarian Justin Brown.
“Lead poisoning is a debilitating disease in bald eagles,” said Brown. “You have this powerful bird and you find it in the field – limp and weak. You can pick it up and it doesn’t even know you are there. “

Provisions vary from those implemented elsewhere statewide.

When the Pennsylvania Game Commission in April approved the use of semiautomatic rifles and air guns for hunting small game and furbearers, the provision could not be extended to the state’s Special Regulations Areas, which are covered under a separate section of the law.
But a measure adopted today by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will allow hunters and trappers within Special Regulations Areas also to use semiautomatic rifles and air guns.
It will take approximately six to eight weeks for the changes to become official.

An official state historical marker was placed at the PFBC headquarters on Oct. 12 commemorating the beginning of the agency with its establishment in 1866 and its national leadership in environmental protection and enforcement.

The special ceremony was held in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and was part of the PFBC’s year-long celebration of its 150th Anniversary. 


The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is pleased to announce that Southern York County Waterways Conservation Officer Darrin Kephart received an award as one of several Northeast Fish and Wildlife Officers of the Year at a ceremony held on April 4, 2016, at the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife's annual conference, which was held in Annapolis, Maryland. WCO Kephart received his award from Colonel Kyle Overturf, Director of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection- State Environmental Conservation Police.

Here is an excerpt from his nomination: "WCO Kephart’s patrol district is composed of a vast diversity of public safety and resource protection responsibilities, to which he successfully addresses through a dynamic, multi-faceted patrol scheme. Within the scope of fishing related enforcement, WCO Kephart focused on protecting the Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass with increased enforcement of the “catch and immediately release” rules. WCO Kephart also participated in multiple Special Enforcement details for preseason and in-season trout stocking endeavors.

Hunters during the final day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season harvested 168 bears, raising the 2017 statewide season harvest to 1,796 – an about 30 percent decrease compared to the 2,579 bears taken during the four days of the statewide season in 2016.
Extensive rain on the season’s opening day, Nov. 18, led to the harvest decline.
Archery and other early-bear season harvest data is not included in this report. Comprehensive bear harvest totals that include bears taken during the early and extended seasons will be released in the coming months.
During the statewide season, bears were harvested in 54 counties.
The top 10 bears processed at check stations were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 576 pounds or more.

It’s unlawful to hunt with electronic devices unless they’re permitted by exception.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a measure that makes four additional electronic devices lawful to use while hunting.
It will take approximately six to eight weeks for the changes to become official. But once they do, hunters will be able to use electronic decoys in hunting waterfowl; electronic dove decoys used solely for hunting doves; electronically heated scent or lure dispensers; and electronic devices that distribute ozone gas for scent-control purposes.
Electronic devices generally are prohibited for hunting use in Pennsylvania, but the Game Commission over the years has received requests to review several specific electronic devices, and has approved some of them for hunting use. As part of the review process, the Game Commission evaluates to what degree a given device might negatively impact the principles of resource conservation, equal opportunity, fair chase and public safety.

Six members of the PFBC’s Swiftwater Emergency Response Team (SWERT) deployed to Texas on Aug. 31 to assist in rescue operations in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The six-member team consisted of PFBC waterways conservation officers (WCO) and two volunteer instructors. They assisted local authorities with waterborne search and rescue operations before returning to the Commonwealth on Sept. 8.

Hurricane Help – (L-R) Rescue technician volunteer Rickey Price, Jr.; WCO Tony Beers; rescue technician volunteer Len Basara; WCO Jeremy Allen; WCO Darrin Kephart; and WCO Chase Rhoades.

Game Commission communicating with communities through a series of meetings.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has scheduled a series of public meetings to ensure Pennsylvanians remain informed about chronic wasting disease, and how this threat to the state’s deer and deer hunting impacts their lives.
So far, meetings have been scheduled on the following dates at these locations:

• Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m. – Chambersburg Rod & Gun Club, sponsored by state Rep. Paul Schemel in conjunction with a second amendment program. More information: 814-643-1831.
• Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m. – Fayetteville Fire Hall, sponsored by state Sen. Richard Alloway II. More information: 814-643-1831.
• Tuesday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m. – Greencastle Sportsman’s Club, sponsored by state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. More information: 814-643-1831.
• Thursday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Penn State DuBois Student Union, an open house sponsored by state Reps. Matt Gabler, Thomas Sankey and Cris Dush.
• Thursday, Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m. – Fayetteville Fire Hall, sponsored by state Rep. Rob Kauffman. More information: 814-643-1831.
• Tuesday, Oct. 10, 6:30 p.m. – McConnellsburg Fire Hall, sponsored by state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. and state Rep. Jesse Topper. More information: 814-643-1831.

The 2014 Northeast Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association Officer of the Year Award was presented to Waterways Conservation Officer (WCO) Anthony J. Quarracino.

Each year the North East Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs Association (NECLECA) recognizes an outstanding officer from each member agency as that agency’s officer of the year. This year’s award winner for the Commission is WCO Quarracino.

WCO Quarracino’s Southern Huntingdon patrol district is composed of a vast diversity of public safety and resource protection responsibilities, which he successfully addresses through a dynamic multi-faceted patrol scheme.

BROCKWAY, Pa. – The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission today placed a marker recognizing the country’s first-ever training school for conservation officers.

The marker, placed in Jefferson County at Game School and Empire Ridge roads, is about 1½ miles from the site of the original Ross Leffler School of Conservation – the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s training school for law-enforcement officers.

HARRISBURG, PA - After two days, 1,310 black bears have been harvested as part of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season, according to preliminary totals released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Archery and other early bear season harvest data is not available at this time.
Bears have been harvested in 54 counties during the statewide season so far.
Four bears exceeding 500 pounds were taken on the season’s second day, Nov. 20. The top 10 bears processed at check stations on the season’s first two days were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 560 pounds or more.
The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 700 pounds – was taken in Oil Creek Township, Venango County, by Chad A. Wagner, of Titusville, Pa. He took it with a rifle at about 8 a.m. on Nov. 18, the season’s opening day.

FRANKLIN – Jacob McCafferty, age 20 of Union City, Pa. was sentenced by Erie County Court Judge Stephanie Domitrovich on Monday, September 18th for his part in the unlawful taking of multiple deer in Erie County. McCafferty, along with co-defendant Collin Stone, age 20 of North East, Pa., were apprehended by Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Darin L. Clark and Deputy Wildlife Conservation Officer James E. Sutton after unlawfully killing an eight-point buck on November 4, 2015.

Follow-up investigation and laboratory analysis led to three other unlawful deer in possession at McCafferty’s residence.


L-R: Larry Hergenroeder, Wyatt Bubak, Murray Breemersch, Mike Reeder, Kirt Snyder

Fourteen, five person teams ascended on the St. Joseph Township Centennial Grounds in Richards Landing, Ontario, for the 2017 NAWEOA Warden Skills Games.

Wayne Laroche will lead agency in advancing chronic wasting disease campaign.

The Game Commission has created a new executive-level position to direct its ongoing and intensifying efforts to limit the spread of chronic wasting disease in wild white-tailed deer and neutralize its threat to wild elk.
Wayne A. Laroche, who has served as the agency’s Bureau of Wildlife Management director for the past two years, will be appointed Aug. 1 to Special Assistant for CWD Response, a new position. In his new capacity, Laroche will lead the Game Commission’s efforts to slow CWD’s spread and minimize its impacts on whitetails and elk.
Efforts will begin immediately to hire a new director for the Bureau of Wildlife Management, which is responsible for managing the state’s 480 species of wild birds and mammals, including 60 game animals and furbearers.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 27) – As the busy July 4th holiday approaches, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) waterways conservation officers (WCO) will be focusing on keeping boaters safe by cracking down on boating under the influence (BUI) as part of the national Operation Dry Water campaign, which runs from June 30 – July 2.

In partnership with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the PFBC is working to increase boater awareness of the hazards associated with boating under the influence, and to decrease the number of accidents and deaths attributed to impaired boating and other unsafe boating practices.

"As a part of the community ourselves, we want to ensure that recreational boaters, paddlers, and anyone enjoying our waters have a safe place to spend their time on the water, " says Col. Corey Britcher, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Alcohol impairs judgment and reaction time on the water just as it does when driving a car, even more so because of the added stressors of sun, heat, wind, and noise on a boat.

HARRISBURG, PA - The first day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of 659 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Archery-bear and other early-bear season harvest data are not included in this preliminary harvest for the statewide four-day bear season, which runs from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22.
Bears have been harvested in 49 counties during the statewide season so far.
The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 535 pounds or more.
The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 700 pounds – was taken in Oil Creek Township, Venango County, by Chad A. Wagner, of Titusville, Pa. He took it with a rifle at about 8 a.m. on Nov. 18, the season’s opening day.

The deer were euthanized July 26 in Elk County due to concerns they could spread CWD.

The investigation into the origin of two ear-tagged deer euthanized recently in Elk County has resulted in a conviction.
A 56-year-old Ridgway man pleaded guilty Aug. 16 to two counts of disturbing wildlife after reporting he’d handled the deer, saying both were wild and he tagged them in separate years while they were fawns. Fines and costs totaled $2,120.
It is unlawful in Pennsylvania to pick up, take into captivity or otherwise disturb wildlife, or release any deer into the wild. Doing so can result in stiff penalties, including imprisonment.
The ear-tagged deer were euthanized July 26 in Ridgway Township, Elk County. While the Game Commission uses ear tags in its research, the agency’s tags differ in appearance from the tags commonly used on deer farms. Because of the risk escaped or released captive deer or elk could spread chronic wasting disease (CWD) to areas where the disease has not been detected in the wild, Game Commission protocol authorizes wildlife conservation officers to shoot free-ranging ear-tagged deer they encounter.

Diseased buck detected in Bell Township, within Disease Management Area 3.

Chronic wasting disease has spread to free-ranging deer in an area of the state where it previously had been detected only in captive deer.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced a free-ranging whitetail buck in Bell Township, Clearfield County, has tested positive for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
A news conference about the new CWD-positive deer and the Game Commission’s response will be held on Thursday, July 13, at noon at the Game Commission’s Harrisburg headquarters. The news conference will be available to view on the Game Commission’s social media pages.
The CWD-positive buck was shot by a wildlife conservation officer June 7 on State Game Lands 87 because it showed signs of being diseased. Preliminary tests indicated the buck was CWD-positive, and the final results confirm the buck was infected with CWD, which always is fatal to deer and elk.

Amendment package includes expanded Sunday hours at Game Commission ranges.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to a package of regulatory changes regarding the use of Game Commission-owned public shooting ranges.
One change allows shooting ranges on state game lands to open longer – from 8 a.m. to sunset – on Sundays within the firearms deer and bear seasons.
Shooting ranges on game lands regularly are open from 8 a.m. to sunset Monday through Saturday, but regular Sunday hours are noon to sunset. On the Sundays immediately preceding the firearms deer and firearms bear seasons, however, ranges are open from 8 a.m. to sunset.
Commissioners said the proposed expansion of Sunday hours within the deer and bear seasons, while minor, would create a convenience for hunters who might find themselves pressed for time to adjust sights or scopes on firearms at the height of the hunting season.

Statewide pheasant season begins Oct. 21, adult and senior hunters need to carry signed permits.

The statewide pheasant season kicks off Oct. 21, and a new interactive pheasant-stocking map on the Game Commission’s website will be updated throughout the season to include all properties where birds will be released, and direct hunters to the likeliest areas to find pheasants on each property.
The map is found on the Pheasant Allocation page at, and can easily be accessed under Quick Clicks on the website’s homepage.
The interactive map not only shows the properties where pheasants will be stocked, it allows the user to zoom in on properties to view potential pheasant hunting areas, even parking lots. By clicking on the property, users can learn the total number of pheasants released there last year, as well as the number of releases, to get an idea of what’s happening there.

One of the largest bulls on record in Pennsylvania on permanent display in Clearfield.

After touring the country as part of a traveling display, the mount made from a giant, illegally killed Pennsylvania bull elk has come home to Clearfield County.
Representatives from the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at a recent ceremony in Clearfield, Pa. presented the mount of the now-famous “Historic Pennsylvania Poaching Bull” to Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr., who prosecuted the poachers responsible for the unlawful killing.
Because of the historic significance of the elk, Shaw made arrangements for the trophy to be on permanent display at the Clearfield County Historical Society, where it is available for public viewing.

Revenue to help sustain pheasant propagation and release.

Adult and senior hunters in Pennsylvania who pursue pheasants will need to purchase a pheasant permit in addition to a general hunting license in the 2017-18 license year.
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to creating a pheasant permit that would be required for all adult and senior hunters who pursue or harvest pheasants.
The permit would cost $25 for adults and seniors, including senior lifetime license holders. Junior hunters would not need a permit to hunt pheasants.
While Pennsylvania once was home to a robust wild pheasant population, in recent decades, pheasant hunting has relied entirely upon the stocking of farm-raised birds.
The Game Commission annually has raised and released about 200,000 pheasants for release on state game lands and other properties where public hunting is permitted. While the program has been popular with hunters, it has been costing the agency about $4.7 million a year. And without a permit, there’s no funding mechanism in place to help sustain it.

A Three Springs, Pa. man has been arrested, in a November incident where a Pennsylvania Game Commission patrol vehicle was struck as the officer tried to perform a vehicle stop for suspicion of poaching activity.
Wildlife Conservation Officers from the Game Commission’s Southcentral Region this morning arrested Rusty Stephen Garlock, 25, of Three Springs.
Garlock has been identified as the driver of the pickup that drove at and struck the vehicle driven WCO Rick Macklem II on Nov. 11 in the area of Mathews Bridge Road in Springfield Township, Huntingdon County.

DALLAS – When a search warrant was executed last November at a Honesdale man’s residence, the search turned up evidence he was selling drugs, unlawfully possessing firearms, and involved in a large-scale deer poaching operation involving others.
Pennsylvania State Troopers from the Honesdale barracks and Wayne County Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Frank Dooley arrested Leroy D. Catania, 31, Honesdale, on drug charges and several game law violations.
“Catania has been a serial game law offender for years,” explained Dooley. “He was previously cited for numerous game law violations and was on hunting license revocation at the time of his arrest.”
The Catania property search uncovered illicit drugs, drug paraphernalia, stolen property, freshly processed deer meat, and evidence of deer baiting. Among the many items seized as evidence were 30 mounted antlered deer heads and deer antlers.

ERIE, Pa. (Sept. 26) – For the second consecutive year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is adding more waters to the increasingly popular Keystone Select Stocked Trout Program, bringing to 22 the total number of creeks holding the big 14”-20” trophy trout.

The eight new waters, which will be stocked for the 2018 trout season, include:
• Armstrong County, Buffalo Creek, Section 03 (3.70 miles) – Little Buffalo Run downstream to 0.6 miles upstream of SR4035 (Craigsville)
• Berks County, Tulpehocken Creek, Section 06 (1.95 miles) – Outflow Blue Marsh Lake downstream to SR3008 Bridge (Rebers Road bridge)
• Fayette County, Meadow Run, Section 06 (2.20 miles) – Bridge on Dinner Bell Road (SR2011) downstream to the mouth
• Lebanon County, Quittapahilla Creek, Section 04 (1.10 miles) – Spruce Street Bridge (T-398) downstream to SR0934 bridge
• Lycoming County, Lycoming Creek, Section 04 (1.30 miles) – First overhead utility line upstream of Powys Curve downstream to bridge on old Route 15 (SR0015) near Haleeka

Guided by scientific survey of state’s hunters, commissioners remove proposal for big-game.

Hunters heading afield in the 2017-18 seasons will be able to carry semiautomatic rifles for hunting small game and furbearers, but not for big game, based on regulatory changes approved today by the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.
The commissioners in January preliminarily approved a proposal that would have allowed semiautomatic rifles to be used in any season where manually operated centerfire rifles now can be used.
The board today amended that measure, giving final approval to hunting small game and furbearers with semiautomatic rifles beginning in the 2017-18 seasons. It made no changes to the list of lawful sporting arms for hunting big game.
Commissioners said a clear majority of Pennsylvania hunters voiced opposition to hunting big game with semiautomatic rifles at this time, and the board’s vote reflects that opinion.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (June 24) – Eighteen waterways conservation officers (WCO) from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) have formally graduated from the agency’s H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Watercraft Safety and have started working in their assigned regions across the state.

“Learn your districts well so that you can properly advise anglers, boaters and others who have questions about where to fish or boat and about how to stay safe on our lakes, rivers and streams,” PFBC Executive Director John Arway said during the 21st Class graduation ceremony held today at Fort Indiantown Gap.  “You have a difficult and challenging job ahead of you, but if you do it right, it will be the most rewarding experience you will ever have.”

“Always remember that we serve the public and our natural resources and not ourselves and your decisions will be guided accordingly,” he added. “You become not only a part of the PFBC team, but also part of a much larger conservation team that includes our anglers, boaters and other conservationists who are our partners and allies. We cannot forget that.”

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 21) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has announced that an 18-month undercover investigation into the illegal purchase of reptiles and wildlife has resulted in multiple charges being filed against two Pennsylvania residents and one New York man, including a felony charge against the N.Y. individual.

The Pennsylvania men are from Luzerne and Wyoming counties and the N.Y. resident from Brooklyn, N.Y. Charges were filed in Luzerne, Monroe and Wyoming county courts on February 29 and include 15 summary offenses, 12 misdemeanors and 1 felony.

“The individuals face fines between $300 and over $10,000 as well as possible jail time if convicted,” said Col. Corey Britcher, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Convictions would also result in the individuals losing their hunting and fishing privileges in not only Pennsylvania but also each state which participates in the Interstate Wildlife Compact, a cooperative agreement designed to prevent poachers from moving from state to state without fear of prosecution.”

As part of its Core Values & Beliefs program, the Williams Company recently donated $2,400 to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to be used for camera-aided enforcement to protect bat caves from intrusions. The funds will go toward adding six new cameras in two new sites. Currently, the Northeast Region has two and the other five regions have one camera up and running in caves.
Williams is an energy infrastructure company and provider of large-scale infrastructure connecting the growing supply of North American natural gas and natural-gas products to growing global demand for clean fuels and feedstocks. Williams owns, manages and operates natural gas pipelines within Pennsylvania.
Founded in 1908, Williams employs more than 6,700 people with a regional presence and a local office in Moon Township, Pennsylvania.

Disease Management Areas change, DMAP to be used in key areas.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced regulation changes to address the increasing threat that chronic wasting disease (CWD) presents to the state’s deer and elk.
Disease Management Area 2 will be expanded significantly eastward, increasing its area from 2,846 square miles to 4,095 square miles. Within DMA 2, two new Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) units have been created to focus hunter effort in areas where multiple CWD-positive deer have been found. And at the same time, the Game Commission has dissolved DMA 1 in York and Adams counties.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (July 1) – As the busy July 4 holiday approaches, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is reminding vacationers that boating under the influence (BUI) is a serious crime and a threat to public safety.

“Boating under the influence is no different than driving a car after someone’s been drinking,” said Colonel Corey Britcher, director of the PFBC Bureau of Law Enforcement. “Alcohol impairs an individual’s ability to operate a boat safely and puts the driver, his passengers and others on the water at risk.”

“Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion — stressors common to the boating environment — intensify the effects of alcohol,” he added. “Boating is a fun summertime activity, and we’re urging all boaters to help keep it that way by boating sober.”

Have you witnessed a wildlife crime against big game (deer, turkey, bear and elk) or a species that is protected, endangered or threatened?

Call Operation Game Thief’s toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to report wildlife violations: 1-888-PGC-8001 or fill out an Operation Game Thief Reporting Form online.

Calls to the Operation Game Thief telephone number are always answered by a secure recording device. Although it is beneficial to provide your contact information in case officers have follow-up questions, callers may remain confidential, however, those who wish to claim any monetary reward, must provide contact information.

2017-18 Migratory Game Bird Seasons And Bag Limits

North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 7-Nov. 18, and Dec. 19-Jan. 13.
South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 14-21, and Nov. 21-Jan. 20.
Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 7-Dec. 9, and Dec. 26-30.
Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 30-Jan. 6.

Total Duck Bag Limits: 6 daily, 18 in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 4 mallards including 2 hen mallards, 2 scaup, 2 black ducks, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 1 pintail, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous whistling duck, 4 eiders, 4 long-tailed ducks, and 4 scoters. Possession limits are three times the daily limits.

Mergansers: 5 daily, 15 in possession (not more than 2 hooded mergansers daily, 6 hooded in possession).
Coots: 15 daily, 45 in possession.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission today offered testimony to legislators on two issues important to the state’s hunters and trappers.

First, Game Commission Deputy Executive Director Bryan J. Burhans testified before the Senate Game and Fisheries Committee about the potential expansion of Sunday hunting. Then, Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough testified before the House Policy Committee on the importance of a license-fee increase and Senate Bill 1166, which would enable the Game Commission to set its own fees for licenses.

Their testimony is provided in full below:

Board of Game Commissioners increases overall antlerless license allocation.

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for the 2017-18 license year.
A list of all seasons and bag limits appears at the end of this news release.
The commissioners also set the number of antlerless deer licenses to be allocated, as well as the number of elk licenses to be allocated for the coming license year.
The board voted to allocate 804,000 antlerless deer licenses statewide, which up from 748,000 licenses in 2016. Allocations by Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) are as follows, with the allocation from the previous license year appearing in parentheses: WMU 1A – 52,000 (46,000); WMU 1B – 35,000 (29,000); WMU 2A – 50,000 (43,000); WMU 2B – 60,000 (61,000); WMU 2C – 31,000 (31,000); WMU 2D – 55,000 (55,000); WMU 2E – 22,000 (21,000); WMU 2F – 24,000 (22,000); WMU 2G – 25,500 (21,000); WMU 2H – 7,000 (6,000); WMU 3A – 20,000 (15,000); WMU 3B – 30,000 (28,000); WMU 3C – 42,000 (36,000); WMU 3D – 25,000 (25,000); WMU 4A – 30,000 (30,000); WMU 4B – 26,000 (26,000); WMU 4C – 29,000 (25,000); WMU 4D – 34,000 (34,000); WMU 4E – 27,500 (25,000); WMU 5A – 22,000 (19,000); WMU 5B – 57,000 (50,000); WMU 5C – 70,000 (70,000); and WMU 5D – 30,000 (30,000).

The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave preliminary approval to minor changes to regulatory language that clarify the role officers play in enforcing criminal violations they encounter in the performance of their official duties.

Wildlife Conservation Officers are given authority under state law to enforce not only the state’s Game and Wildlife Code, but also the Crimes Code and a variety of other laws. The regulatory change removes a requirement for WCOs to attempt to transfer all general crime matters local or state police. In almost all cases, state and local police decline to pick up cases from WCOs, and ask that the Game Commission prosecute the cases.

The primary responsibility of WCOs remains enforcement of the Game and Wildlife Code.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission Ceremonial Unit also known to many as the Honor Guard was formed in the spring of 2009 by the then Bureau of Wildlife Protection, Assistant Director, Thomas Grohol. Grohol saw the need for a formalized unit to call upon for events within and outside the agency.

Twelve members, from across the state, were chosen to form the unit and began training with the PA State Police in the fall of 2009.

Multi-year fishing licenses have been a hit with anglers since the PFBC first started selling them in 2013 for 3-year and 5-year periods.

Anglers like the convenience of not having to buy a license each year, and they like saving money by avoiding annual transaction and processing fees.

Now anglers can choose from a new 10-year option for $211.90, which includes a one-time fee of just $1.90 and savings of more than $17.

Anglers can also purchase 10-year trout, Lake Erie and combo permits and experience similar savings.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has appointed a new director of the Northwest Region Office in Franklin.
Richard Cramer, who has spent many of his 25 years with the Game Commission working within the Northwest Region, has been named director of the region office.
Cramer fills the vacancy created when former region director Keith Harbaugh retired.
Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said Cramer will fulfill his new role nicely.

You might notice something different about wildlife conservation officers these days.

All are wearing body cameras.

A 2014 change in state law allowed Pennsylvania Game Commission officers to wear the devices as long as the agency developed a training program approved by the Pennsylvania State Police. That was accomplished last year, said Tom Grohol, director of the commission's bureau of law enforcement.

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