Pennsylvania Man Charged With Poaching

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

A Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer filed multiple charges against David N. Hartzell Jr., 28, of Centre Township, Perry County, for his involvement in the illegal killing of a black bear and two deer. All charges were filed with District Justice Donald F. Howell in Newport on Feb. 14.

Following a preliminary investigation, Game Commission officers On Jan. 26, secured a search warrant and, on Jan. 26, seized from Hartzell's home wildlife parts, photographs, hunting licenses and two crossbows. Following the search, additional information was received that prompted a probe into the origin of one of the seized crossbows. Through this investigation, it was learned that the crossbow, valued at more than $1,000, was stolen from a sporting goods store near Hamburg, Berks County.

Based on the investigation, WCO Steve Hower charged Hartzell with: one count of receiving stolen property, a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a possible prison term of up to five years and up to $10,000 in fines; three counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game (one black bear and two deer), which carries fines of up to $1,500 for the bear and up to $800 each for each deer; one count of failure to tag and report big game, which carries fines of up to $200; and two counts of permit violations, for the unlawful possession of parts from two deer without first securing the proper permits from the Game Commission, which carries fines of up to $200 for each count.

"It appears that numerous people were aware of the alleged poaching of various species by this individual over the past several years, but no one spoke out," Hower said. "Unfortunately, there seems to be a high degree of tolerance among some citizens in this area for crimes against our wildlife resources and these species suffer as a result."

Created in 1895 as an independent state agency, the Game Commission is responsible for conserving and managing all wild birds and mammals in the Commonwealth, establishing hunting seasons and bag limits, enforcing hunting and trapping laws, and managing habitat on the 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands it has purchased over the years with hunting and furtaking license dollars to safeguard wildlife habitat. The agency also conducts numerous wildlife conservation programs for schools, civic organizations and sportsmen's clubs.

The Game Commission does not receive any general state taxpayer dollars for its annual operating budget. The agency is funded by license sales revenues; the state's share of the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which is an excise tax collected through the sale of sporting arms and ammunition; and monies from the sale of oil, gas, coal, timber and minerals derived from State Game Lands.