'TIP' line use urged
Residents who witness wildlife-related crimes involving the illegal killing of multiple big game animals or threatened and endangered species are encouraged to call the Pennsylvania Game Commission's toll-free "Turn In a Poacher" phone number, (888) PGC-8001.
The TIP hotline enables residents to qualify for a reward of $100. Under the TIP Program participants must report violations on the toll-free number in order to qualify for reward money. Calls to the TIP hotline will be answered either by a dispatcher or a secure recording device, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All callers may remain anonymous.
Ohio has a similar program, Turn In a Poacher, that can be reached at (800) POACHER.
Rock bass limits set
The creel limit for rock bass taken from the Juniata River and its tributaries will be set at 10 per day under a special fishing regulation that will take effect Jan. 1, 2003. The new regulation was adopted by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission as part of its winter quarterly meeting Jan. 26 in Harrisburg.
Taxidermy deadline
Those interested in becoming a taxidermist in Pennsylvania have to March 4, to submit a completed application and $50 test fee to their local Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer for the upcoming exams.
Applications may be obtained from any of the PGC's six regional offices or Harrisburg headquarters.
After an application is received, individuals will be sent a letter containing the date and time to report for the exam, scheduled for the week of April 15, at the agency's Southcentral Region Office in Huntingdon, Huntingdon County.
The examination consists of three parts.
Required specimens for the general category permit include an antlered white-tailed deer head; a small mammal; one upland game bird; a duck or other waterfowl; and a fish. Birds must be mounted with feet and legs visible. All specimens must be representative of wildlife found in Pennsylvania.
The second phase of the testing process is a written examination on taxidermy methods and procedures. The third portion requires applicants to actually perform some part of the taxidermy process on a selected specimen.
Passing scores must be attained on all three parts of the examination. In Pennsylvania, all persons performing taxidermy work for others must have a permit issued by the PGC.
Count set Feb. 15-18
The Great Backyard Bird Count (run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon) will take place this year Feb. 15 - 18. For an overview of this project, its evolution, and goals, visit
Participants are needed to count the numbers and kinds of birds you see in backyards, local parks, wildlife refuges, or other areas and send them in through the BirdSource website.
The primary purpose of the count is to create a massive database of North American birds so that researchers can track changes in bird distribution and abundance.
To request an "offline packet," email
Locally, both the Audubon Society/Mahoning Valley (330 783-6287) and Wild Birds Unlimited (330 629-2473) will be glad to send in results for someone without a computer. The local society chapter also has a voice mail message with further information on the GBBC.

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