Commission notebook: "Operation Talon" hits poachers

| Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

around the game commission

• The Game Commission conducted a large-scale, widespread law enforcement operation called “Operation Talon” this fall to look for poaching and other illegal activity. The effort — which followed an initial operation last year — involved 565 law enforcement officers from the commission, state police, Fish and Boat Commission, state parks and forests and neighboring states. That was a significant increase in manpower over last year. Over a two-week time period, those officers handed out 102 warnings and filed 295 charges, said Rich Palmer, chief law enforcement officer in the commission's bureau of wildlife protection. Most related to deer, but there were some tied to furbearers and other issues, he said. Similar operations will be conducted in the future, Palmer said. The commission also is developing a crime-mapping system that should help officers identify and track things such as specific communities where poaching is worst, he said.

• The stocking of 200,000 pheasants this hunting season, and the practice of spreading those birds out over a greater number of days rather than in a couple of big bunches, proved popular with hunters, it seems. “Everybody I talked to was excited about the number of flushes they were getting,” Game Commissioner Dave Schreffler of Bedford County said. “I think that spreading the releases out over time was successful for us. People knew it wasn't going to be one and done,” commissioner Dave Putnam of Centre County said. Commission president Ralph Martone of New Castle said every facet of the stocking program was a “home run.”

around the fish and boat commission

• The Fish and Boat Commission is moving ahead with its experimental mentored youth trout fishing program this spring. The plan is to allow children younger than 16 to fish March 23, the Saturday before the opening day of trout season in southeastern Pennsylvania. Children must register ahead of time and fish with an adult mentor who has a fishing license and trout stamp. Children and adults will be able to keep two fish while out between 8 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The program — which could expand across the state if successful and popular — is an attempt to get more children and families fishing, said executive director John Arway. Twelve waters stocked with trout will be open to fishing on the youth day in Adams, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery and Schuylkill counties.

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