Charles Olsen Jr., 39, of Wilkes-Barre was found guilty of illegally killing a 707-pound bear over bait during the 2009 hunting seasons and ordered to pay fines and restitution of $6,800, plus court costs, according to Pennsylvania Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Vic Rosa, Wyoming County.
District Judge Carl Smith, Tunkhannock, found Olsen guilty of unlawfully killing a bear, for which he was fined Olsen $1,500, and of hunting over bait, for which he fined Olsen $300. In addition, Judge Smith assessed Olsen with a $5,000 restitution penalty since the bear was considered "trophy-class," which means that it exceeded a field-dressed weight of 350 pounds.
Olsen also stands to lose his hunting and trapping privileges for at least three years.
This case began when Luzerne County WCO Cory Bentzoni became suspicious when he saw a truck loaded with pastries from a local store traveling along Route 309 in Dallas a week before the opening of the three-day statewide bear season, Monday, Nov. 23. While suspicious, this was not illegal and Bentzoni had no "probable cause" to stop the truck.
"I did the only thing I could; I wrote down truck's license plate number, found that it was registered to Olsen," Bentzoni said. "Then I instructed all Game Commission personnel operating bear check stations throughout the region to notify him me if Olsen brought a bear into one of the check stations."
On the final day of the season, Wednesday, Nov. 25, Olsen brought a bear with an estimated live weight of 707 pounds into the bear check station at the Northeast Region Office in Dallas. WCO Rosa was immediately contacted by the Northeast Region Office, since Olsen reportedly harvested the bear in Noxen Township, Wyoming County.
Northeast Region Land Management Supervisor Peter Sussenbach, who also was aware of the tip provided by WCO Bentzoni, approached Olsen and said, "There may be a problem with this bear." At that point, Olsen confessed he had killed the bear over a bait pile.
Schuylkill Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will sponsor a "Jakes day," Saturday, June 12, beginning at 9 a.m., at Silverbrook Rod and Gun Club.
Programs are specifically designed for youth between the ages of 8-16 and there is no charge to attend. Activities include seminars on the basics of turkey hunting and calling, shotgun, rimfire rifles, archery and trapping.
An adult must accompany all participants, who will receive a complimentary Jakes NWTF membership and other prizes, and one will win a guided spring gobbler hunt at Silverbrook on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's 2011 Youth Day, Saturday, April 23. For information and registration, call Kevin Titus at 570-668-5903.
Jeff Matts of Erie has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission for setting the state record for yellow perch with a 2-pound, 11-ounce fish caught in March. His 15 -inch perch was caught in Presque Isle Bay, Lake Erie.
Keith Meck of Macungie held the previous record with a 2-pound, 9-ounce perch caught in February 2001 at Beltzville Lake. To qualify for a state record, a fish must exceed the established mark by at least 2 ounces, be weighed on a certified scale and must be caught in season by legal means from Pennsylvania waters open to the public without charge or fee.
Fish taken from farm ponds, fee-fishing lakes, ponds or streams or in waters restricted to use by club members or guests are not eligible. Staff from the PFBC must examine the fish.
"Porcupine" Pat McKinney of the Schuylkill Conservation District is today's guest of Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association member Doyle Dietz on "Experience the Outdoors," from 7:30-8 a.m. on Oldies 1410-AM. A rebroadcast will be heard Sunday from 9:30-10 a.m. on WMGH, 105.5-FM, and is available on the Web at www.wmgh.com  by clicking on the "Experience the Outdoors" link.
A fly fishing seminar will be presented today, beginning at 1 p.m., at South End Field and Stream, Frackville. For information, call Joe Conapinski at 570-205-5527.
A 3-D course is open for public use from dawn to dusk at Bear's Head Sportsmen's Association, Delano, located off Exit 134 of Interstate 81, daily through Saturday, Oct. 23. Donations are accepted and for information call the clubhouse at 570-467-0331 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
First Frontier Militia, the muzzleloader arm of Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club, will hold a muzzleloader shoot Sunday and the following dates: June 13, July 11, Aug. 6, Sept. 12, Oct. 9 and 10, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bowmanstown Rod and Gun Club is located on Gun Club Road, off Route 248, Bowmanstown. For information, call Roger Fisher at 610-377-2812.
This year's Empire State Lake Ontario Tournament dates have been announced. Here is the schedule: Spring, underway through Sunday, May 9; Summer, Saturday, June 19-Sunday, July 18; Fall, Friday, Aug. 20-Monday, Sept. 6. For information and registration, access on the Web at www.loc.org  or call (888) 733-5246.
A trap shoot will be held, Thursday, May 6, beginning at 6 p.m., at Orwigsburg Gun Club, Gun Club Road, off Route 443 East, Orwigsburg. For information, e-mail email@example.com  .
A "Native Plant Sale" will be held, Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton. For information and required registration, call the visitor center at 610-756-6961.
"Summer DiscoverE Day Camps" for children between the ages of 4-13 will be held this summer at Beltzville State Park, Lehighton. Registration begins Saturday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beltzville's Environmental Interpretive Center at the cost of $35 per child and $17.50 for each additional child in a family for the following sessions:
For information, call the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks at 1-888-PA-PARKS or Beltzville State Park at 717-558-2711.
This year's Bear Creek Festival will be held, Sunday, May 16, from noon-4 p.m., at Schuylkill County Fairground, Route 895, Summit Station. For information, call Pat McKinney at 570-622-4124, ext. 113, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org  or access on the Web at www.schuylkillonthemove.com .