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Hunting- Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Chris Ivicic recently filed charges against six individuals from the Philipsburg area for their involvement in a two-night shooting spree of deer that took place this past fall, two weeks prior to the opening of deer season.

Two 16-year-olds, and four adults received citations for the killing of 20 deer. Charges include: 20 counts of unlawful use of lights while hunting; two counts of loaded firearms in vehicles; two counts of restrictions on recreational spotlighting; two counts of littering and restrictions on vehicles; and one count on regulations, possession without a permit. Game and Wildlife Code charges were filed before District Justice Allen Sinclair, in Philipsburg.

If convicted on all counts, the individuals face fines of up to $12,900. Revocations on these individuals' hunting and furtaking privileges combined could total up to 47 years.

Michael W. Welder Jr., 19; Brooks R. Fry, 21; and a 16-year old juvenile, all of Philipsburg, were each charged with three counts of unlawful use of lights while hunting.

Joshua M. Mackey, 19, of Moundsville, West Virginia, formerly of Philipsburg, also was charged with three counts of unlawful use of lights while hunting.

David L. Shoffner, 22, and a 16- year old juvenile, both of Philipsburg, were each charged with four counts of unlawful use of lights while hunting, along with a single charge each of: loaded firearms in vehicles; littering and restrictions on vehicles; and restrictions on recreational spotlighting. The 16-year-old also received one charge under Title 58, Regulations.

According to the defendants' statements, they were not real sure how many deer they actually shot. Their own estimations were anywhere from 25 to 35 deer, including several large rack bucks. Some of the deer were shot multiple times. The investigation resulted in sufficient forensic evidence to charge them with 20 deer.

"This is a case of gross disrespect for wildlife and for Pennsylvania's hunting ethics," said WCO Ivicic. "I would like to thank those citizens who took the time to contact the Game Commission and provide the information we needed to file these charges."


READING - Following a two-year investigation, officials from the Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced a plea agreement involving Chong Chol So, 66, of Hanover, York County, regarding several charges stemming from his illegally purchasing black bear gall bladders and white-tailed deer antlers in velvet beginning in 2000. Purchasing these parts is a violation of the Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code. Charges were filed by Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer (WCO) Chad Eyler in 2003.

The guilty plea agreement between the defendant and the Game Commission was heard in front of District Justice Mervin L. Dubs in Hanover, on Feb. 18. Through the agreement, So pled guilty to two counts of illegally purchasing black bear gall bladders and one count of illegally purchasing white-tailed deer antlers in velvet.

Both the black bear and white-tailed deer may be lawfully hunted in Pennsylvania, however, the purchasing or selling of these species, or parts of these species, is prohibited or extensively controlled by both state and federal laws.

Black bear gall bladders and white-tailed deer antlers in velvet are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Traditional Korean Medicine (TKM) for a variety of ailments. The illegal buying and selling of wildlife and wildlife parts, such as these, are part of the annual $1.25 billion international trade and part of the annual $200 million U.S. trade. The illegal wildlife market now rivals the illegal drug trade in profit margins.

The bile found in the black bear's gall bladder contains ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and is considered to treat a variety of illnesses in TCM and TKM. Deer is considered one of the most important ingredients in TCM, and of the forty plus deer species found in the world, the white-tailed deer antler in velvet is considered one of the most highly prized parts used in TCM.

"Buying and selling black bear gall bladders and white-tailed deer antlers in velvet is not only a violation of the Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code, but it also is an example of exploitation of game or wildlife," said WCO Eyler. "Unfortunately, this illegal market leads to the illegal killing of our most valuable wildlife resources."

Source: PA Game Commision
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