From the Field

Connecting YOU with Wildlife – Pennsylvania Game Commission

Ben Cypher Tells Story About Taking Cameron County’s Biggest Buck on Record

Ben Cypher


Ben Cypher recently traveled to Harrisburg from Butler County to have his 17-point buck officially scored by Pennsylvania Game Commission staff. Ben, 84, is a disabled veteran who served with the 1st Marine Division in 1953 and 1954.

He harvested his 17-point buck on the second day of the 2018 rifle season in Cameron County using a Game Commission-issued Disabled Person’s Permit. Ben’s buck ranked 46th in the state in the nontypical firearms category and is the largest Cameron County buck on record. The buck’s rack measured 22” wide and 11” tall.


It had a gross score of 173 6/8, lost 6-4/8 in side-to-side deductions on normal points and circumferences and had 16 5/8” of abnormal points added to make the final non typical score of 183-7/8. We thank Ben for his service and congratulate him for his buck of a lifetime.

Ben’s family has hunted at Camp 8-Point, northwest of Emporium in Cameron County, since 1934. That’s the year the camp cabin was built and also the year Ben was born. He’s harvested 16 bucks there, including his 2018 buck, though he’d never killed a buck bigger than a 5-point until 2018.


Pictured from left: PA Big Game Scoring Program Coordinator Bob D’Angelo, Ben Cypher, Ben’s son, Don Cypher, and Ray Brugler, who assisted Bob with the scoring.


New Game Commission Archery Range Ready

Scotia Range


Construction on the archery range at the Scotia Shooting Range in Centre County is now complete and ready for archers.

The Game Commission maintains public shooting ranges across the state for the shooting enjoyment of Pennsylvanians, and to provide the opportunity to become better hunters. The agency has another archery range in Montgomery County.

Click here for more information about the Pennsylvania Game Commission public shooting ranges.

Game Commission’s 2019 ‘Cabin Fever Sundays’ Dates Set

Rail fence and rustic cabin in winter, Brown County State Park, Indiana

Looking for something outdoor-related and educational to do this winter? Mark your calendars for our 2019 Cabin Fever Sundays series! Three Sundays throughout the colder, wintry months, we will host a seminar for those itching to get some fresh air and learn more about an issue in which the Game Commission is involved.

Each of these events will take place at the Pennsylvania Game Commission Headquarters, located at 2001 Elmerton Ave. in Harrisburg, PA 17110. The doors will open at 12:30 p.m., and the presentations will begin at 1 p.m. and will each run about two hours in length.

Sunday, Feb. 10 – Woodland Survival

Pennsylvania State Game Wardens will discuss basic survival methods, materials and equipment that will help you stay dry, warm and safe on an unexpected overnight in the Pennsylvania woods. We’ll review how to create a minimalist everyday carry (EDC) survival kit that is always ready. The class will include outdoor demonstrations, so please dress appropriately.

Sunday, March 10 – Basic Winter Tree Identification

Pennsylvania State Game Wardens will provide basic instruction on how to identify common trees, shrubs and vines using a variety of field identification techniques that are utilized by wardens.  The class will include outdoor demonstrations, please dress appropriately.

Sunday, April 14 – Case Study of PGC Documentary, “Return of the Piping Plover”

Come to preview a documentary in progress and discover how Game Commission filmmakers do their work. We will focus on the Game Commission’s documentary film and do a case study of the “Return of the Piping Plover.” From idea conception, to shooting, script writing, program editing and equipment they use—come prepared to ask questions as well as discuss other films in our body of work.

2018 Buck Harvest Photo Contest Winners

Buck Harvest Photo Contest Winners

CONGRATULATIONS to RaeAnne Isaacs and Teja Hageter for being voted the winners of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s 2018 Buck Harvest Photo Contest!

We’d like to extend a special thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s contest. Whether you submitted your photo to one of the categories – rifle or archery – or helped by voting for your favorites, we appreciate your participation.
As a prize, the winners of each of the categories will be receiving a trail camera. Congratulations to RaeAnne and Teja, and to everyone who sent in their photos this year – there were SO many great ones in which to choose. We wish you all the best in your future hunts! 


Contest Winner Firearm RaeAnne Isaacs
RaeAnne is a 10-year-old from Renovo, PA. She harvested this 10-point buck, with a 20-inch spread this year in the Kettle Creek area of Clinton County on the second day of the 2018 firearms deer season. This was RaeAnne’s FIRST buck and her first year in the woods!
She went out during archery season with her dad and didn’t have much luck, but that didn’t stop her once the firearms season opened. The first day wasn’t easy with all the rain, but she got back out with her dad on the second day to try again. At 8:30 a.m. she dropped this buck with one shot from her new .243 Mossberg rifle. The smile on her face really says it all.


Contest Winner Bow Teja Hageter
Teja is a 15-year-old from Rimersburg, PA. She’s pictured here with her 14-point buck, which was harvested in Clarion County on Sept. 29, 2018. 
This is Teja’s third buck with a bow in three years! We wish her continued luck in upcoming archery seasons.

Federal Duck Stamp Display at PGC Headquarters through Jan. 24


2019-2020 Federal Duck Stamp Display at Pennsylvania Game Commission Headquarters.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has again partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Chapter of Ducks Unlimited to host a display of the original artwork submissions, including the winner of the 2019-2020 Federal Duck Stamp (pictured below), at the agency’s headquarters, located at 2001 Elmerton Ave., in Harrisburg. The display will be available until Jan. 24, 2019.


Scot Storm, Freeport, MN, “Wood Duck,” acrylic.

Waterfowl hunters 16 years and older are required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp, but anyone can contribute to the cause of conservation by buying one. The stamps are miniature works of art and are prized by stamp collectors around the world.

These stamps are among the most successful conservation tools ever created to protect habitat for birds and other wildlife, as 98 percent of the purchase price goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Pennsylvania is home to three National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) – Erie, Cherry Valley and John Heinz. A current stamp also serves as a free pass into any NWR that charges an entry fee.


John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Philadelphia, PA. Photo by Joe Kosack.

Every fall, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducts an art contest to select the art that will be displayed on the next year’s stamp. This contest is the only juried art competition sponsored by the federal government. Any artist 18 years and older may enter, and the winning artist sees his or her work featured as the design of the following year’s Federal Duck Stamp.

Also known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, the Federal Duck Stamp was conceived in 1934, when Congress passed, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act.


Junior Duck Stamp Program display at Game Commission Headquarters.

The above photo is of the Junior Duck Stamp Program display. Each year, more than 25,000 students from kindergarten through high school are involved in this program.

The meaningful words of Abigail McIntyre, age 16, of Manhattan, KS, are featured on this display: “Conserving our wetlands is as important as conserving our art. It is our history, our inspiration, our life and our future.”

Each state presents awards in four different age categories and declares one Best of Show, which receives the top honor of being the selected representative for the state in the national Junior Duck Stamp competition. The national winning entry is made into a collector’s stamp.

Pictured below, is the winner from Pennsylvania – Maggie Kozich, age 12, from Mountaintop, PA, with “Tundra Swan,” which she created using pastels.


Maggie Kozich, age 12, Mountaintop, PA, “Tundra Swan,” using pastel.

Pennsylvania Duck Stamp

duck stamps

In addition to the Federal Duck Stamp, you can support the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s conservation efforts by purchasing a Pennsylvania Duck Stamp. This program began in 1983, and revenues are deposited into the Game Fund to protect, manage and conserve more than 5,000 acres of wetlands for migratory bird conservation.

Pennsylvania’s Waterfowl Heritage Collection

waterfowl patch

To celebrate Pennsylvania’s rich hunting and conservation history, our agency introduced the “Waterfowl Heritage Collection.” This five-year series features a specific species each year on a 4-inch patch and a Pennsylvania made call.  Display cases are available for both patches and calls and would make a great addition to any home or office. Click here to purchase online, or stop by to see the display and purchase one at Game Commission Headquarters.





Hummingbird Visitors this Winter?

Rufous Hummingbird by Sandy Lockerman

Rufous Hummingbird.

As colder weather arrives in Pennsylvania, energetic little visitors from the west may be arriving in our state. Several species of hummingbirds that normally spend the winter in the southern United States and Central America are now being recorded in the eastern United States, as stray individuals are migrating in a different direction than expected. Scientists are studying these birds by capturing and banding them when possible, in order to better understand what may be driving this notable behavior pattern. 

Colorful hummingbirds, such as Rufous Hummingbird, Allen’s Hummingbird, Black-Chinned Hummingbird and Calliope Hummingbird are showing up in people’s backyards and taking advantage of sugar water feeders left hanging, long after our native-nesting Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have departed. These diminutive birds are adapted to handle cold weather, and supplement their diet with small insects and spiders that they find on plants. 

An excellent summary of the “Wintering Western Hummingbird” phenomenon in Pennsylvania may be found on the eBird citizen science page for our state.

If you or someone you know has a hummingbird show up in their yard this fall or winter, you are encouraged to contact one of the five certified hummingbird researchers who are based in Pennsylvania:

 Scott Weidensaul,

Sandy Lockerman,

Bob Mulvihill,

Wayne Laubscher,

David Hauber,

Male Rufous1

Male Rufous

Video: How to Find CWD Information Online

Having a hard time finding specific information about Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania? The Game Commission’s CWD Communications Specialist Courtney Colley provides a step-by-step visual guide on how to find some of the most sought information online. Click the video above, or here, to view the video guide.

Courtney starts this video by walking viewers through resources available on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website, including how to find a copy of the most recent executive order about CWD in Pennsylvania, which describes Disease Management Areas (DMAs) and lists other CWD positive states. There’s a link to Title 58, which provides regulations currently in place in Pennsylvania related to CWD. There’s also a public event schedule on the Game Commission’s website of related events. A link to a 30-minute webinar on CWD is there, too. Another great resource is our interactive map – helpful for hunters who will be hunting in a DMA. We also have a comprehensive FAQ list on our CWD page.

The next helpful site Courtney outlines on the program is the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System, which is a subsection of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which conducts CWD testing in Pennsylvania. Courtney mentions a CWD FAQ list on this site, which can also be helpful for hunters, including information on getting a deer tested for CWD.

The final site Courtney highlights is the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance’s page, which is a great resource for hunters who intend to hunt out-of-state. This alliance is a collaborative project between the Boone and Crockett Club, the Mule Deer Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and more, with the intentions of providing scientifically accurate information to the public related to CWD. The alliance’s recent news section is a great way to keep up-to-date with the new CWD cases in North America, as well as regulations in other states. There’s a helpful U.S. map at the bottom of the homepage for hunters who hunt out-of-state. You can easily find other CWD-positive states and regulations.

Still not finding what you’re looking for?

Courtney has a few other site resource suggestions: