By Jim Slinsky 08/16/03
Sit down, pour yourself a drink and get ready for a sobering story. This nightmare started on June 5, 2003 when 80-year old Robert Floyd from Sinnamahoning, PA killed an elk attacking his rare apple trees originally planted by his father. Mr. Floyd is not in the best shape, struggling in life to care for his terminally ill wife. Mr. Floyd summoned his good friends, Jim Pletcher, Art Gavlock and Adam Waltz to his home to help deal with the PGC when they arrive. All are members of the “Citizens Against the Exploitation of Private Property Rights” (CAEPPR), a group at odds with PA’s elk program. Mr. Floyd requested Adam Waltz be his spokesman to the PGC.
WCO Clint Deniker and WCO Doty McDowell arrive shortly thereafter and insisted to speak to Mr. Floyd “in his house” about the incident. Mr. Waltz explained that Mr. Floyd and his wife are not in the best of health and terribly shaken. He further states it is Mr. Floyd’s desire that the PGC pick-up the elk and leave as quickly as possible.
Standing over the elk Jim Pletcher suggests that they should photograph the scene before the elk is removed. Adam Waltz walks back to the house for a camera with everyone close behind. Upon entering the house WCO Clint Deniker grabs Adam Waltz from the rear in a bear hug and violently shakes him around like a rag doll. This was an assault and an act of unlawful entry into Mr. Floyd’s home. Adam Waltz immediately complained of severe neck pain. Adam Waltz later visited his doctor and is put in a neck brace. His medical problems from the incident are continuous to today. Mr. Waltz has hired an attorney and filed a complaint against WCO Deniker.
You would think disciplinary action against WCO Deniker would be appropriate and this story would be over. Incredibly, this story has just begun.
On August 7, 2003 fourteen members of the CAEPPR met at Adam Waltz’s house for a meeting. A PGC vehicle sat outside the Waltz’s house for 6 hours during the gathering. Little did they know WCO John Wasserman had taken a long ride to meet with District Justice John Maggs in Mill Hall to obtain search warrants.
When the meeting concluded some group members were followed. Jim Pletcher was pulled over and his vehicle including his dirty laundry was searched. The PGC was looking for Mr. Floyd’s .30-06 used to kill the elk. Art Gavlock’s and Bob Floyd’s homes were searched seeking this firearm. Mr. Floyd no longer owns the rifle and the PGC believes Jim Pletcher or Art Gavlock has the firearm.
Why does the PGC want the rifle? The PGC has filed charges against Mr. Floyd for killing an elk in violation of Title 34. I have a copy of Title 34 and it is perfectly legal for a landowner to protect his property against wildlife damage. (Last year 17 elk were killed for crop damage) Mr. Floyd had previously signed a sworn statement that he indeed killed the animal. Seeking the rifle was a bogus excuse. (The PGC must believe the turnip truck recently passed through the area.)
Ultimately, five WCO’s and three State Police officers were involved in this shakedown and I do mean shakedown. The officers wore bulletproof vests and at one point had their hands on their weapons. This was not a pleasant situation and another clear example of an Agency gone rogue.
While the PGC was shaking down Art Gavlock and his house, WCO Clint Deniker made his second mistake in this debacle. Deniker said, “the orders for this investigation came from high up.” Interesting. How high? Does that statement implicate Mike Dubiak, Chief of PGC Law Enforcement, Executive Director Vern Ross or did DCNR demand the PGC harass these people who have been critical of the elk - Biodiversity program? Obviously, these law-abiding citizens have gone to their attorneys and will start litigation charging civil rights violations. I’m told the search warrants obtained to conduct this shakedown are very suspect. District Justice John Maggs will also be investigated for his role.
Adam Waltz has no intention of dropping his charges against WCO Clint Deniker. This is an incredible story of abuse of power by the PGC applying intimidation tactics of yesteryear. We are all too smart for this nonsense.
Our legislators need to conduct a hearing and fully investigate this matter. All should be held accountable for their behavior and terminated immediately. Holding people accountable for their actions is the only way to rid the agencies of its bad apples.
In the interim, our law-abiding citizens of Northcentral PA are deeply concerned that the PGC is not finished with them. They are wondering if the next PGC move will be to surround their homes armed with M-16’s and sniper rifles.
Do we have an agency (the PGC and/or DCNR) so intoxicated with power and so determined to impose its will and agenda that the civil liberties of our citizens are no longer relevant?
Are we on the brink of another Ruby Ridge?
Jim Slinsky is the host and producer of the “Sportsman’s Connection”, a nationally syndicated, outdoor-talk radio program. For a station near you or to contact Jim, visit his website at