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Northwest Region News Releases


For Information Contact:Release #12-18
George J. MillerApril 24, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Controlled Burns Conducted By Pennsylvania Game Commission On Serveral State Game Lands

FRANKLIN – The Pennsylvania Game Commission conducted controlled burns of several parcels of warm and cool season grasses, reverting fields and woodlands totaling approximately 183 acres. The parcels were located on various sections of State Game Lands 039 (43 acres, Victory Township, Venango Co), 284 (20 acres, Springfield and Washington Townships, Mercer Co), and 063 (120 acres, Elk Township, Clarion Co). Based on the weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss’s for each fire gave the go-ahead for these burns to proceed on April 21st, 23rd, and 22nd respectively. The objectives were to control invasive species and undesirable woody growth and rejuvenate and diversify the grass, wildflower, and mast-producing species for the benefit of wildlife and habitat. Prior to the controlled burn, each Burn Boss conducted a “test burn” to check the fire behavior and smoke dispersion patterns for the day.

During the controlled burns, access to the sites were restricted and only people directly associated with the burns were allowed access at or near the site. Trained staff were on hand with numerous pieces of fire equipment and water resources. All necessary local fire and emergency personnel were notified in advance. As a result of the burn, the public saw smoke mainly between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

In these warm and cool season grass fields, the thatch layer was too dense and the invasive species and woody growth were overtaking this critical habitat. Hopefully, these controlled burns will remove the old thatch layer and open up the ground cover to promote native growth and control the invasive species. By utilizing controlled burns in our woodlands, the Commission’s goal was to promote diverse plant communities, enhance food sources, and provide protective cover for numerous wildlife species

For more information about controlled burns, please go to the Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Council website at www.paprescribedfire.org. For more information about wildlife and habitat management, please visit the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov.


For Information Contact:Release #07-18
Regis F. SenkoMarch 16, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Controlled Grassland Fire Planned For PA Game Commission Shenango Reservoir Area 415 In Mercer County

FRANKLIN – The Pennsylvania Game Commission plans to conduct a controlled burn on 3-4 parcels of warm season grasses totaling approximately 15-20 acres. The parcels are located on various sections surrounding Shenango Reservoir known as Area 415 in Pymatuning Township, Mercer County. Based on weather conditions and moisture in the ground and vegetation, the Burn Boss has given the go-ahead for this burn to be conducted on March 19th. The objective of the controlled burn is to rejuvenate and diversify the grass and wildflower species to improve wildlife habitat. Prior to the controlled burn, the Burn Boss will conduct a “test burn” to check the fire behavior and smoke dispersion patterns for the day.

During the controlled burn, access to the site will be restricted and only people directly associated with the burn will be allowed access at or near the site. Trained staff will be on hand with numerous pieces of fire equipment and water resources. All necessary local fire and emergency personnel will be notified in advance. As a result of the burn, the public may expect to see smoke between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Currently, the warm season grasses in these fields are too dense. A controlled burn will thin the warm season grasses and remove old thatch, making it more accessible to wildlife. Through the use of controlled fire, the Game Commission is able to promote diverse plant communities, provide improved food and protective cover, as well as create nesting areas for numerous wildlife species.

For more information about controlled burns, please go to the Pennsylvania Prescribed Fire Council website at www.paprescribedfire.org. For more information about wildlife and habitat management, please visit the Game Commission’s website at www.pgc.pa.gov.


For Information Contact:Release #05-18
Regis F. SenkoMarch 1, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Meth Lab Case On Warren County State Game Lands Resolved

FRANKLIN – On April 12, 2017, Pennsylvania Game Commission Land Management Group Supervisor Ronda J. Bimber and State Game Warden Matthew R. Savinda were investigating a suspicious tent on State Game Lands 291 in Spring Creek Township, Warren County. Camping is not permitted on State Game Lands.

While the officers were observing the tent, Thaddeus Leo Czech IV arrived and made his way toward the tent. The officers identified themselves and Czech fled on foot. The officers gave chase and SGW Savinda apprehended the suspect and placed him under arrest. Investigation determined that Czech was No. 2 on Erie County’s “Most Wanted” list at the time of arrest. Subsequent investigation uncovered evidence of methamphetamine production at the camp site.

Interviews and investigation resulted in Czech and his girlfriend, Sara M. Lang, being charged with the following:

Thaddeus Leo Czech IV, 22, of Corry, Pa. was charged with multiple felonies, misdemeanors and summaries:

  • Manufacturing, delivery or possession of controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver.
  • Depositing, storing or disposing of chemical waste.
  • Risking catastrophe.
  • Possessing phenylpropanolamine, etc., as a precursor substance with intent to unlawfully manufacture.
  • Flight to avoid apprehension/trial/punishment.
  • Possession of controlled substance (two counts).
  • Use/Possession of drug paraphernalia (five counts).
  • Knowingly possessing ephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
  • Control of property regulations (three counts).

Sara M. Lang, 30, of Corry, Pa. was charged with multiple felonies, misdemeanors, and summaries:

  • Manufacturing, delivery or possession of controlled substance with intent to manufacture or deliver.
  • Depositing, storing or disposing of chemical waste.
  • Risking catastrophe.
  • Possessing phenylpropanolamine, etc., or a precursor substance with intent to unlawfully manufacture.
  • Possession of controlled substance.
  • Use/Possession of drug paraphernalia (four counts).
  • Knowingly possessing ephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
  • Control of property regulations (two counts).

Pennsylvania Game Commission officers were assisted at the scene and with prosecution of this case by Pennsylvania State Police Vice Unit Supervisor Cpl. Scott P. Zinram and Pennsylvania State Police Crime Lab Forensic Scientist Brett A. Bailor.

All charges were filed in Warren County.

Both defendants accepted plea bargains that resulted in:

  • Thaddeus Leo Czech IV was assessed $1,000 in fines and costs, and will spend up to 48 months in state prison for production of methamphetamine, depositing of chemical wastes, risking a catastrophe, and control of property regulations.
  • Sara M. Lang was assessed $3,000 in fines and costs, and will spend up to 60 months in state prison for depositing chemical wastes, risking a catastrophe, and control of property regulations.

For Information Contact:Release #02-18
Regis F. SenkoJanuary 16, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Erie County Deer Processor Case Resolved

FRANKLIN – The Pennsylvania Game Commission received information that venison bologna was being purchased at the counter of Pacileo’s Great Lakes Deer Processing. The information was turned over to the agency’s Special Investigation unit and undercover officers made four separate purchases of venison products totaling approximately 185 pounds over a one-year period.

Seth John Pacileo, 37 years of age, operator of Pacileo’s Great Lakes Deer Processing, from Erie, PA was charged with four counts buying and selling game, and four counts of buying and selling game that was imported and not properly marked. The four ungraded misdemeanors and four first degree summaries could have carried penalties up to $18,000 and three years in jail.

The charges were filed in District Court 06-3-03 by State Game Warden Larry M. Smith on November 15, 2016. A preliminary hearing was held on March 14, 2017 in Erie County Central Court by District Judge Susan D. Strohmeyer. The charges were bound over to Erie County Court of Common Pleas. On January 3, 2018, a plea agreement was approved before Erie County Judge Stephanie Domitrovich.

The Erie County District Attorney’s office entered a plea agreement with Mr. Pacileo that placed him in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program for nine months. No fines were assessed, but Mr. Pacileo was ordered to pay $3,640 in restitution for the cost of the venison purchases and laboratory testing fees. As part of the agreement, he will lose his hunting and furtaking privileges for a three-year period starting in July 2018.


For Information Contact:Release #01-18
Regis F. SenkoJanuary 8, 2018
For Immediate Release
 PGC Snowmobile Trail Reopened

FRANKLIN - The Pennsylvania Game Commission has announced the reopening of the snowmobile trail on State Game Lands 143 in Warren County on Sunday, January 21, 2018. The six-mile trail runs from the PGC Blue Eye parking lot, off Route 27 through the game lands to the PGC Spetz Hill parking lot, along township Route 457.

Closing the trail was necessary due to a number of large-scale timber-harvest operations that started during the summer of 2015.

These timber harvests were a direct result of the presence of emerald ash borer, an invasive non-native forest insect. All species of ash were impacted by this forest pest; resulting in high levels of tree mortality. There is no feasible method for treating large wooded areas to avert mortality. The Pennsylvania Game Commission proceeded with timber harvesting to derive the maximum value from the resource.

Northwest Region Director Richard T. Cramer said, “Closing the snowmobile trail was the only responsible option. Safety for state game land users and contractors working on state game lands is always a priority for the agency. We are pleased that the majority of the trucking operations are complete. Road repair work won’t occur until spring; therefore, we feel it is safe to reopen this trail for authorized snowmobile use.”

Users are reminded that snowmobiles, as defined in 75 Pa.C.S. § 7702 may be driven beginning on the third Sunday in January through April 1 on designated areas, roads and trails marked with appropriate signs, so long as snowmobiles are registered and display a valid registration decal as required under 75 Pa.C.S. §§ 7711.1 and 7711.