By PATRICK BUCHNOWSKI
December 19, 2006
MEYERSDALE — A Meyersdale hunter jumped out of his vehicle to
take a shot at a pheasant – but in the end, it was his feathers that
Bryan Harris spotted, or thought he spotted, the bird meandering
along the road.
He later found himself in court cited for shooting at a
mechanical pheasant used to ensnare hunters illegally shooting
within 25 yards of the road.
The decoy was left by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Harris, 22, of Glade City Road, was fined $150 by District Judge
Douglas Bell of Meyersdale for shooting near the road.
Game officials say such illegal hunting is a year-round problem,
and they use phony deer, turkeys and pheasants to combat the
“You can’t ride around with a loaded firearm in your vehicle and
jump out and shoot at something along the roadway,” said Mel Schake,
game commission information and education supervisor. “That’s not
how we expect you to hunt.”
Harris was one of several hunters nabbed this season for taking
pot shots at the decoy on state gamelands in southern Somerset
County, Schake said. When the hunters shoot, hidden game officials
“We’re not trying to keep them from hunting. We’re just trying to
combat roadside hunting,” he said. “This is one of the tools we
The use of decoys comes in response to complaints from nearby
“We don’t have the manpower to arbitrarily do this,” said Jerry
Feaser, game commission spokesman in Harrisburg.
“People call in and complain,” he said. “In some areas, it’s a
The mechanical pheasant was donated to the game commission by a
local chapter of Pheasants Forever, Schake said. Pheasants Forever
is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and
enhancement of pheasant, quail and other wildlife, according to the
group’s Web site.