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PA: county treasurer and five others discovered hunting over bait.

December 21, 2009

Morreale charged in deer hunt

Game officials allege county treasurer and five others discovered hunting over bait.

Luzerne County Treasurer Michael Morreale and five others were charged by the state Game Commission on Friday in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred in Susquehanna County during the two-week rifle deer season.

According to Wildlife Conservation Officer Michael Webb, the game commission's Northeast Region Office in Dallas received an anonymous tip on Dec. 3 about a group hunting deer over bait. On Saturday, Dec. 5, Webb and other officers went to the Forest Township property to investigate the complaint and allegedly discovered several hunters, including Morreale, hunting over bait.

Webb declined to say what the group was using for bait, but he did state the baited area, which was on private property, wasn't hard to find. Webb added that one deer that he is aware of was shot over the bait.

Morreale, 75, of Wyoming, was charged with a summary offense of hunting over bait, which carries a fine of $100 to $300. Morreale's county office is responsible for accepting and processing antlerless deer license applications from hunters.

When contacted on Saturday, Morreale said no one in his group put the bait out, nor were they aware that it was in the area. He said he and his sons own the property where the incident took place.

"I didn't know that if somebody puts bait out and you're hunting in the area you can get arrested for it," Morreale said. "We didn't put the bait out and we didn't know it was there. We didn't see it because it's dark when we're walking out to hunt."

Morreale said he hasn't decided how he will plead to the baiting charge.

Also charged in the incident were:

Lorraine Edythe Vann, 54, of Dallas -- hunting over bait, failure to wear required amount of protective material; John Vito Morreale, 55, Duryea -- hunting over bait; Nicholas M. Morreale, 19, Pittston Township -- hunting over bait; unlawful taking (deer); David Albert Morreale, 50, Pittston -- hunting over bait, failure to wear required amount of protective material; Michael C. Morreale, 56, Dallas -- hunting over bait.

All charges were filed before District Judge Jeffrey L. Hollister in Montrose, Susquehanna County. All six individuals have 10 days from the date the charges were filed to enter a plea.

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