Outdoors Notebook: Hunting in parking lot triggers charges

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Hunting for a good deal at Walmart? Not a problem. Hunting deer in a Walmart parking lot, however, is frowned upon in Westmoreland County.

Authorities allege that on the opening day of rifle deer season 2012 Arcangelo "Angelo" Bianco Jr., 40, of Derry spotted a 10-point in the parking lot of the Burrell store, stopped his pickup truck, pulled out a handgun and fired. He then ran to the side of the building near a loading dock, continued shooting at the fleeing whitetail and finally retrieved it from a yard across a highway where it fell.

Mr. Bianco was charged with reckless endangerment. At a hearing last week in Blairsville, authorities said he didn't have a hunting license and violated the safety zone law by firing within 150 yards of an occupied structure. Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Jack Lucas testified that blood smears found on a trailer showed the deer was nearby when Mr. Bianco fired.

The Associated Press reported one witness didn't know what was happening.

"After the truck stopped, I saw this guy jump out, and he started running along the side of the store where the trailers were, and he pulled out a handgun and fired two shots at the deer," said Walmart employee Domenick Hewitt, who was with others in a trailer at the loading dock. "At first I didn't know what he was doing."

Defense attorney Jason Huska said the reckless endangerment charge is unwarranted because his client couldn't have known workers were inside the trailers when he fired.

Kids fishing

Allison Park Sportsmen's annual Dan Wagner Kids Fishing Day will be held 7 a.m. to noon May 11 at Rochester Grove, North Park. Open to ages 2-12. No fishing license is required while assisting children. Door prizes and lunch provided. 412-487-2873.

Educator award

The Game Commission's Pennsylvania Hunter-Trapper Educator of the Year award went to Bill Chessman of Forest Hills. Presented at the Pitcairn-Monroeville Sportsman Club, the award honored his 45-plus years of teaching hunter safety courses.

The future of forests

Posted or open to the public? Industrialized or pastoral? Lush or browsed to the ground? Woodland owners are invited to attend a conference on private forest land management May 10-11 at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona. Details at http://ecosystems.psu.edu/private-forest-conference or 1-800-235-9473.

Chestnut planting

American chestnut trees were once common in Pennsylvania and an import source of mast for wildlife. Most were killed in a blight 100 years ago. In recent weeks volunteers gathered at the Flight 93 Memorial in Somerset County to plant 15,000 trees including 480 American chestnuts donated by The American Chestnut Foundation. The new strain of potentially blight-resistant chestnuts is the result of 30 years of research and selective breeding by the foundation.

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