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McGuire assumes post as officer in Somerset

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2002

Dan McGuire wanted to come home.

He's made it.

McGuire, 45, a native of Bloomfield in Pittsburgh and former resident of Baldwin and graduate of Baldwin High School, is serving as a waterways conservation officer in southern Somerset County.

"I was working at Ricketts Glen State Park in Luzerne County when I was accepted to the Fish and Boat Commission's Training School," McGuire said.

"I was looking for a new opportunity," he said. As for being assigned to Somerset County, "I lucked out."

After graduation from the training school in the fall of 2000, McGuire was assigned as a seasonal employee with the northcentral region office at Pleasant Gap.

McGuire has been married to the former Caryn Davis, also a native of Bloomfield, for 20 years.

That's the reason for his wish to return to the area. "We have family here," he said.

McGuire is a U.S. Air Force veteran, serving from 1974-78.

"When I was growing up, I used to fish the Pittsburgh rivers," he said.

He'll get that chance again.

The southern Somerset County post is a new one.

There had been two officers in Beaver County until Greg Jacobs was promoted to southwest region assistant supervisor.

Instead of filling the vacancy, the post in Somerset County was created.

Al Colian Jr., who had jurisdiction for most of Somerset County last year, will now have responsibility for the northern section.

East Westmoreland County WCO Jim Vatter, who had a portion of Somerset County last year, has added four Indiana County townships.

Officer Ray Borkowski assumes full control in Beaver County.

Rich Morder, southern Allegheny County waterways conservation officer, will handle the trout stockings in Fayette County, in place of Scott Opfer who was called to active duty.

Morder, also a graduate of the 2000 training school, is a native of Alexandria in Huntingdon County. He's a U.S. Army veteran and served as a deputy waterways conservation officer for three years.

Morder, 34, is married to the former Dawn Grayvill of Lancaster. They have two children, Austin and Aaron.

The family resides in Forward Township.

OHIO OTTERS

The river otter restoration project in Ohio has been so successful that Department of Natural Resources biologists are proposing that the animals be taken off the endangered species list.

From the release of 123 otters in 1986-1993, the population is now estimated at 2,100.

The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote April 10 on the proposal.

Otters, which can grow to 3 feet in length and weigh 20 to 25 pounds, are now found in 52 Ohio counties and at least 10 watersheds.

Otters, which were native to Ohio, began to disappear in the late 1800s and early 1900s because of poor water quality, pollution and deforestation.

Ohio received its otters for stockings from trappers in Arkansas and Louisiana.

GIFT FROM SPORTSMAN

Remember the Westmoreland County woman who had her tree ladder stolen this hunting season and couldn't afford a new one?

Well, she has a new one - thanks to a district sportsman.

"I could not believe that someone could be that kind and generous," she said.

"Even though I might need more back surgery I still have hopes of hunting this year."

The Westmoreland County woman will tell you that "hunting is my love. I live for the sport.

"I taught my son and a few friends to hunt," she said. "I took time to show them how to use a bow and let them use my rifles. They all got their first deer this year."

BOBCAT FOUND

"It was beautiful," said Jim Zuzik of Hannastown, an employee of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Zuzik was talking about the bobcat he found dead on the Amos Hutchinson Bypass, near the Route 130 exit ramp.

Zuzik, who received a permit from the Game Commission to have the animal mounted, said its weight was estimated at 16 pounds. It was a female.

"The Game Commission told me that a bobcat was killed earlier about four miles away on old Route 66," Zuzik said.

BALD EAGLES INCREASE

Bald eagles continue to flourish in Ohio.

A survey in January turned up a record 259 eagles, surpassing last year's previous high mark of 204.

The survey showed 147 adults and 112 immature birds, those less than 5 years old.

The highest number of eagles was found in counties along western Lake Erie. Sandusky and Ottawa counties each had 53 sightings.

Only six bald eagles were observed during the first survey in 1979.

MARYLAND TURKEYS

Maryland's fall turkey season, which is open only in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties, resulted in a harvest of 293 this season.

The kill in 2000 for the one-week hunt was 188, the lowest since the mid-1980s.

Allegany topped the 2001 harvest with 127 followed by Garrett, 118; and Washington, 48.

Good-to-excellent poult production was cited for the hike in the kill.

The harvest by counties the previous season was: Allegany, 81; Garrett, 76; and Washington, 31.

Back in 1995, some 570 turkeys were taken.

BEAR TASK FORCE

Maryland Department of Natural Resources has appointed a 12-member Black Bear Task Force.

The group will contribute to the development of a revised bear management plan. The previous plan was adopted in 1992.

The members include: Nancy Railey, Garrett County real estate agent; Brad Fratz, Garrett County Emergency Management; and private citizens Peggy Gosnell of Accident and George Falter of McHenry.

The bear season in Maryland is closed at the present time.

BOW BEAR RECORD

West Virginia archers checked in with 463 bears this season, topping the previous high of 424 set in 1999.

Firearms hunters reported 781 bears. Top mark of 1,024 was set in 2000.

The combined 2001 harvest of 1,244 is second to the 2000 mark of 1,328.

Preston County accounted for 28 bears by archers, with firearms hunters taking 16. Randolph County was the combined leader with 176. Archers took 77.

GRAFF RETIRES

Delano R. Graff, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Bureau of Fisheries director, has retired.

Graff began his tenure with the commission in 1964 as a research technician.

Rick Hoopes, who served as chief of the Division of Research, replaced Graff.

Graff and his family will be honored a retirement dinner Saturday in State College.

THE ERIE REPORT

John Bowser, western Erie County waterways conservation officer, said on Wednesday that "tributaries remain swollen and with predicted precipitation should remain high for a while."

Bowser reported that the Walnut Creek project area has fish in all the holes. "Manchester Hole is producing some nice fish. Anglers are doing well off the wall and the marina basin."

AWARD FOR LARNERD

Richard P. Larnerd II, Pennsylvania Game Commission Northeast Region law enforcement supervisor, has been named Pennsylvania Wildlife Officer of the Year by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation for his efforts on behalf of the state's wildlife resources, especially wild turkey.

OFFICERS SALUTED

Matt Zlocki has been named Ohio Watercraft Officer of the Year while J.C. Armstead earned Officer of the Year honors in West Virginia.

Zlocki works out of the Ashtabula office. Armstead serves in Jackson County.

AT THE SHOW

Frank Moff of Latrobe, inventor of The Bobber With a Brain, will be at booth 1408 at the Allegheny Sport, Travel and Outdoor Show at the ExpoMart in Monroeville.

The show, which opened Wednesday, runs through Sunday.

CHAPTER TO MEET

Laurel Highlands Chapter of Pheasants Forever will meet 7 p.m. today at Keystone Rod & Gun Club, Hannastown.

Martin racking up awards

Sue Martin, wife of Warren County waterways conservation officer Bill Martin, continues to pile up fish awards.

Miller received Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Catch-and-Release Awards last year for a 30-inch northern pike and a 30-inch walleye, both caught in June from the Allegheny River, and a 19½-inch smallmouth bass, also from the Allegheny River, in September.

But Martin was not done.

She finished out the year with another 30-inch northern pike, four smallmouths more than 4 pounds, and several walleyes in the 24-25-inch range. She released them all.

Martin also earned an award from New York for a 6-pound, 2-ounce smallmouth bass from Chautauqua Lake caught in July. She also released it.

As for Bill Martin, not a citation fish came his way.

"I'm doing a good job of driving the boat," he said.

SUNDAY: Smithton Sportsmen and Conservation Association gets ready for another season of stocking trout in the Youghiogheny River.

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