Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 47

who killed the coyote. I told him we
had evidence and witness statements
that pointed to the suspect as the one
responsible.
The man stared at the ground, saying
he'd talk with me later, but now wasn't a
good time. But he did say my information
was correct.
I obtained his contact information,
then secured the coyote carcass and hide
as Seth finished his interview.
Both the suspect and his friend left.
But the snow-covered field across
from where we stood held more clues.
This is where the coyote appeared to have
been shot, as evidenced by the tracks and
blood on the ground. We took photos and
collected blood samples here, as well.
Later that evening, the suspect's friend
called, saying he was in a difficult situation, but wanted to do the right thing. He
asked if we could talk later, at some other
location away from Berlin.
Deputy Kris Wyant and I interviewed
the man the next day, and he told us the
truth about the suspect killing the coyote.
Prior to leaving, he said the case would
be difficult on all involved. Kris asked
what he meant, and the man replied his
friend doesn't take it lightly when people
interfere with his affairs.
It matched what we knew about the
suspect, and stories we've heard of his
vindictive reputation.

PAYING THE PRICE
It took several weeks before the blood
and tissue samples we collected came
back from the wildlife-forensics lab.
The results verified all samples were
from an eastern coyote. With this final
piece of evidence backing up the statements we'd secured, I consulted with my
supervisor, Scott Tomlinson, and filed
citations with Magisterial District Court
JANUARY 2019

Judge Douglas Bell in Meyersdale.
The suspect pleaded not guilty to all
charges, and requested a hearing. While
the judge found the defendant not guilty
of hunting while on revocation and shooting along or across a road, he rendered a
guilty verdict for the charge of unlawfully
taking wildlife.
The defendant, however, appealed the
verdict to Somerset County court.
The day before his hearing, as I sat in
the office of Somerset County District
Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser, reviewing the case file, the phone rang. It was
President Judge John Casico, saying the
defendant had pleaded guilty and would
accept the $2,557 in fines and costs
applied by the lower court.
With the guilty plea, the defendant
also would lose his hunting and trapping
privileges for an additional five years.
While the coyote in this case was killed
in November 2012, the man who shot it
still is without his hunting and trapping
privileges, and he's not eligible to get
them back until June 30, 2019.

DOING RIGHT
I applaud the many people who came
forward to provide information, as well
as the assistance and professionalism of
the Somerset County District Attorney's
office in bringing this case to justice.
Doing the right thing isn't always the
easy thing, especially when friends are
involved.
But I ask anyone who observes a
wildlife crime to contact his or her local
Game Commission region office, or use
Operation Game Thief to report violations by phone or electronically.
At the end of the day, wildlife belongs
to all citizens, and your local game
warden is the steward of that resource
- reach out.
47



Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 5
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Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - January 2019 - Cover4
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