Through the issuance of an unusual executive order on October 1, Pennsylvania Game Commission Director R. Matthew Hough has closed all hunting and trapping seasons in seven northeastern townships where the search continues for a fugitive wanted in the September 12 shooting death of a state police officer.
The closure affects all private and public lands, including the portions of State Game Lands 180, 183 and 221 located within those townships.
The closure was initiated after the Pennsylvania State Police advised that troopers who are part of the search for fugitive Eric Frein had uncovered explosive devices that apparently were left behind in wooded areas by the fugitive, and would pose an obvious danger to anyone who would encounter them.
Hough said the discovery of the devices, and the danger associated with the search effort in general, would pose too great a risk to hunters, trappers and members of the general public.
“While we realize this temporary closure might disappoint some of the hunters and trappers it affects, we’re certain, too, they understand the gravity of the situation, as well as the danger in allowing the seasons to continue as scheduled, given this new information,” Hough said. “Plenty of good hunting and trapping opportunities remain outside of the temporarily closed area, and we need hunters to readily adjust their plans to help bring resolution to this case and see that justice is served.”
Frein is wanted in the September 12 ambush-shooting death of Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Bryon Dickson II outside the state police barracks in Blooming Grove, in Pike County. Trooper Alex Douglass was also wounded in the attack.
The search for Frein has continued since the deadly shooting, and police recently discovered explosive devices—at least one of which was attached to a trip wire—in the area they were searching.
The Pennsylvania Game and Wildlife Code authorizes the Game Commission to close any hunting or trapping season, or otherwise take necessary action, to assure the purposes of the code, including assuring the health and safety of the persons who hunt or take game and wildlife.
Hunting and trapping seasons will remain closed in the identified townships until the executive order is lifted, which will be announced by the Game Commission in a statewide news release that will be posted on the agency’s website at the time it is issued.End Of Story Code