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Northwest Region News Releases


For Information Contact:Release #26-18
Chip BrunstNovember 7, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Deputy Game Warden Open House Announced
Sunday, November 11, 2008

FRANKLIN – The Pennsylvania Game Commission is looking for a few good men and women to help protect Pennsylvania’s wildlife and state game lands.

The agency will offer an open house to recruit state game warden deputy candidates. The open house, which will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, at the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s State Game Lands 85 Maintenance Headquarters, 26114 State Hwy 408, Cambridge Springs, Pa. 16403, provides a chance to talk with both full-time state game wardens and current deputy game wardens to learn more about the roles of deputies in conservation and why their involvement makes so much of a difference.

Deputy game wardens work in all phases of the agency’s operations and extend the coverage of game wardens.

“Without deputies, the Game Commission wouldn’t have the manpower to adequately protect wildlife and police the hundreds of thousands of hunters who might be afield on any given fall day,” noted Northwest Region Director Richard T. Cramer. “They fill a void that surely would be exploited without their services.”

Deputy applicants must be Pennsylvania residents at least 21 years of age, possess a valid Pennsylvania driver’s license and possess a high-school diploma or GED equivalent. Applicants must be in good physical condition, have a good knowledge of hunting, trapping and other outdoor activities and capable of maintaining good working relationships with fellow officers and the public. Applicants also must put in 20 hours of ride-along time with a game warden and have a through character investigation conducted prior to taking the deputy entrance examination.

“Deputy wardens are invaluable in carrying out the agency’s mission,” Cramer said. “We encourage anyone interested in the outdoors at least 21 years old or older to consider becoming a deputy. Even if you’re 40 to 60, it’s never too late to apply.”

More information may be found at:
https://www.pgc.pa.gov/InformationResources/CareersandVolunteers/Pages/DeputyGameWardens.aspx

The Northwest Region includes Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties.


For Information Contact:Release #25-18
Chip BrunstOctober 23, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Erie County Man Faces Felony Charges For Unlawful Deer
Charges Filed before Magisterial District Judge

FRANKLIN – An Erie man has been charged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission for unlawfully killing antlerless two deer while his hunting license is revoked.

Jonathon M. Gindy, 32, faces two felony counts for unlawfully killing the deer and one first-degree summary count for hunting while his hunting license was revoked. As part of a major revision to the Game and Wildlife Code enacted in 2010, any person convicted of a third offense inside of a seven-year period faces felony charges. These charges mark the third time Gindy has been charged in the last three years. Additionally, when wildlife is taken unlawfully there are replacement costs. The replacement cost of an unlawfully taken deer is a minimum of $800 each.

Also charged is an accomplice, Anthony J. Double, 40, of Erie. As a first-time offender, Double is charged with one first-degree summary count for the unlawfully killing big game.

On Friday, Oct. 19, Deputy Game Wardens Steve Wingenbach and Joe Douglas received a tip that Gindy had shot and killed two deer, removed one of the deer from the scene and was going to be back to remove the second deer. Wingenbach and Douglas staked out the area and apprehended Gindy and Double loading the second deer into the trunk of a 2004 Pontiac.

State Game Warden Darin Clark and Cadet Jered Schibik were called in assist in the investigation.

Gindy was transported to Erie County Jail before being taken before Magisterial District Judge Lisa Serrick, of Erie, for arraignment. Gindy was released on $5,000 unsecured bond. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 31 at Judge Serrick’s court.


For Information Contact:Release #24-18
Chip BrunstOctober 15, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Erie County Man Charged With Killing Bald Eagle
Charges Filed before Magisterial District Judge

FRANKLIN – The Pennsylvania Game Commission has charged an Erie County man with killing a bald eagle.

Daniel Haddix, of Waterford, was charged unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife for shooting and killing a mature bald eagle. If found guilty, the fine will range from $100 to $200, plus court costs. Restitution for the bald eagle is $2,500.

On Oct. 12, State Game Warden Michael Stutts was sent to investigate a report of a dead bald eagle in McKean Township field near South Hill Road. The recently killed eagle was found across the road from Haddix’s home. After several interviews, SGW Stutts concluded Haddix was responsible.

Haddix also faces a safety zone charge for shooting the firearm too close to a neighboring home.

Citations were filed at Magisterial District Judge Denise Stuck-Lewis’ office in McKean, Pennsylvania.

Bald eagles were listed as federally endangered species until 1995, when their status was upgraded to "threatened." In 2007, following a remarkable population recovery, the bald eagle was removed from the federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 states.

Although no longer listed on federal and state endangered species lists, the bald eagle remains protected under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Lacey Act and the Migratory Bird Protection Treaty Act. In Pennsylvania, the bald eagle is given additional protections under the state Game and Wildlife Code.


For Information Contact:Release #23-18
Chip BrunstOctober 10, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Game Commission Announces Temporary Closure of Game Lands Roads
Warren and Clarion Counties Affected

FRANKLIN – Northwest Region Director Richard T. Cramer today announced that two State Game Lands roads that normally are open to public travel will remain closed temporarily due to projects being delayed by weather.

“Every year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission opens certain state game lands roads for public travel so that our hunters have increased access to remote sections of these public hunting grounds,” Cramer stated. “It’s unfortunate, but sometimes the weather simply does not allow us to complete critical projects in time for us to open these roads.”

One of these roads is on State Game Lands 24, Road No. 024-13, and is approximately 0.43 miles long, running from Pine Hollow Drive in Clarion County to a turn-around at Little Coon Creek. The road is closed for the year due to heavy damage that was done while installing a new bridge over Little Coon Creek. The road eventually will be extended across Little Coon Creek, then reopen for public travel.

The other affected road is on State Game Lands 86 in Warren County. Connelly Run Road on is approximately 3.26 miles long running from Davey Hill Road to a parking area at the state game lands boundary. The Game Commission in the process of replacing a bridge on Connelly Run Road but, due to the wet weather and material delivery delays, it has not been completed. As soon as the bridge is completed and the road is repaired, the road will be reopened.

For further information you may contact the Northwest Region Office of the Pennsylvania Game Commission at 814-432-3187.


For Information Contact:Release #20-18
Chip BrunstJuly 30, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Game Commission Northwest Region Announces Hunter-Trapper Education Classes

Pennsylvania Game Commission Northwest Region Director Richard T. Cramer today announced the region’s schedule of Hunter-Trapper Education classes through the end of August.

“A basic Hunter-Trapper Education course is mandatory for all first-time license buyers, regardless of age,” Cramer said. “Now is a good time to register and take a course in preparation for the upcoming hunting season, and there are still a few antlerless deer licenses available in a few Wildlife Management Units.”

To register for a course in your area, visit the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.pa.gov); go to “Education” and click on “Hunter-Trapper Education”. Click on “Hunter-Trapper Education Class Calendar”.

With the support of volunteer instructors and organizations that host classes, HTE courses are being held throughout the region. There is no fee for the basic HTE course. Pre-registration is required and online registration is available for all courses offered by the agency.

In order to prepare for class, read Chapters 1, 4, 5, and 9 located in “Today’s Hunter & Trapper in PA.” You will be directed to an online link from the agency website

Taught by dedicated teams of trained volunteers, most HTE classes last at least six hours over one or two days, and participants must attend all instruction before taking the test at the end of the course. Youngsters must be at least 11 years old to receive HTE certification.

Successful completion of a basic Pennsylvania HTE class or another state’s equivalent course is required by state law to obtain a first-time hunting or furtaker license, regardless of age. For those that participate in either the youth or adult mentored hunting permit programs, a basic Pennsylvania HTE class is required before becoming a licensed hunter. A mentored permit is not a hunting license.

Registrations also are being accepted for the online version of the basic HTE program, which is available for those 16 years of age or older. The online course is available to students on their own time schedule. A fee of $19.50 is required after successfully completing the course requirements to receive certification.

In 1959, the Game Commission began offering a voluntary hunter safety program, and about 25,000 students participated in that program annually. Beginning in 1969, the General Assembly required all first-time hunting license buyers under the age of 16 to successfully complete a four-hour hunter education course. The course requirement was expanded to six hours in 1977. The program became mandatory for all first-time hunting license buyers regardless of age in 1982.

In 1986, the safety program was increased to ten hours of class time and trapper training was included. The name of the program also was changed to Hunter-Trapper Education, and was required for all first-time furtaker license buyers, too. A combination home study-classroom version of the course reduced classroom time to six hours of instruction starting in 2013.

Since 1959, more than 2 million students have been certified through this course.

Following is a list of scheduled Hunter-Trapper Education courses for the Northwest Region:

Basic Hunter-Trapper Education Classes

Transfer Sportsman’s Club, Greenville, Pa.
Saturday, August 4, 2018 – 8am to 4pm.

Sparta Sportsman’s Club, Spartansburg, Pa.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 – 6pm to 9pm.
Saturday, August 11, 2018 – 8am to 3pm.
Must attend both dates.

Wiltsie Community Church, Russell, Pa.
Saturday, August 11, 2018 – 8am to 4pm.

Venango Coon & Fox Hunters Club, Franklin, Pa.
Sunday, August 12, 2018 – 9am to 4pm.

Butler Township Recreation Building, Butler, Pa.
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 – 5pm to 9pm.
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 – 5pm to 9pm.
Must attend both evenings.

Jackson Center Field and Stream Club, Jackson Center, Pa.
Friday, August 17, 2018 - 6pm to 9pm.
Saturday, August 18, 2018 – 9am to 2:30pm.
Must attend both dates.

Ellwood-Wampum Rod & Gun Club, Wampum, Pa.
Saturday, August 18, 2018 – 9am to 2pm.

Brockway Sportsman’s Club, Brockway, Pa.
Saturday, August 25, 2018 – 9am to 4pm.


For Information Contact:Release #19v2-18
Chip BrunstJuly 31, 2018
For Immediate Release
 Pymatuning Special Deer Hunt Changed

FRANKLIN - Pennsylvania Game Commission Northwest Region Director Richard T. Cramer today announced that the special deer hunt at Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area will continue in a format that was new in 2017. “We want our special deer hunts at Pymatuning to conform to the statewide deer management plan, improve wildlife habitat and provide a better-quality hunt to those lucky enough to have their name drawn.”

This newest system spreads out hunting pressure over a longer period of time with approximately the same number of hunters being able to enjoy this opportunity. The hunt will take place from Monday, Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, and will reopen Wednesday, Dec. 26 through Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. Hunters will be permitted access from 12:30 p.m. until the close of hunting hours. Hunters will be limited to a maximum of two hunters per zone. The permit will be valid for up to one week on one of seven wooded hunt zones. Hunters are restricted to hunting in their assigned zone. A maximum of 14 hunters will be hunting the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area at one time. Hunters may use any legal sporting implement that conforms to the deer season that is open at that time. Deer are the only legal species and all valid deer tags may be used. Hunters must abide by all established seasons, bag limits, rules and regulations.

Applications must be received by 3 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2018 and are available at the Northwest Regional Office, 1509 Pittsburgh Road, Franklin, PA 16323, or by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Pennsylvania Game Commission, PO Box 31, Franklin, PA 16323. Office hours are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday – Friday (closed Holidays). Applications may also be picked up at the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, 9552 Hartstown Road, Hartstown, PA 16131. However, our office hours are by chance only. The public drawing will be held at 1 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2018 at the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, 9552 Hartstown Road, Hartstown, PA 16131.


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