Hunters Heading Out for the Late Seasons Often Have the Woods to Themselves

Outdoor Opportunities By COL(Ret.) Grey D. Berrier II

Can you remember your last wildlife encounter of 2018? Maybe you observed some animals or birds between Christmas and New Y ear’s that are still fresh in your memory. I know my wife’s and my final observation came late on New Year’s Eve and it’s not something we will soon forget. It was 10:30 PM and we were heading home on High Hill Road in Pulaski Township, when we came upon a pack of coyotes in the headlights. Two of the wild canines darted across the road and the other two slid to a stop by the road before rapidly retreating across an open field. That small pack of good-sized coyotes got me fired up for predator hunting and has me thinking about all the opportunities we still have in the “late seasons” of the new year, even though many hunters have already put away their gear and called it quits until Spring Turkey Season. As a reminder, here are the seasons still available for those willing to head out this Winter: 1. Statewide Deer Late Archery (Now – Jan. 12, 2019) - Deer are still in season for archers who have an unfilled buck tag or one or more antlerless tags in the Wildlife Management Unit(s) where they were fortunate to be drawn during last Summer’s “pink envelope lottery”. In spite of the quantity taken by hunters in early archery and regular firearms seasons before Christmas, there are still numerous deer to be found by those willing to work a little harder to locate them. 2. WMU 2B Deer Late Archery (Now – Jan. 26, 2019) – Archers get an additional two weeks down in WMU 2B, which is comprised of most of Allegheny County and suburban portions of surrounding counties. Fr om our area, you can be in WMU 2B within 30 minutes, since WMU 2B stretches up into Beaver County south of the PA Turnpike and east of I-376. Finding access to land to hunt in WMU 2B can be a challenge, but it is possible and offers real potential for those willing to make the drive. 3. Statewide Flintlock Deer (Now – Jan. 12, 2019) – Similar to Statewide Deer Late Archery, however , flintlock hunters can also elect to use their unfilled antlered (buck) tag to harvest an antlerless deer, if they choose to. It’s a small incentive for those willing to accept the challenge of har vesting a whitetail deer with a flintlock muzzleloader , much like the earliest PA settlers. 4. WMU 2B Flintlock Deer (Now – Jan. 26, 2019) – Like archers, flintlock hunters get an extra two weeks in WMU 2B to pursue whitetails. It is where I’ll focus my attention from Jan. 14-26, 2019, since I still have two unfilled WMU 2B antlerless tags. 5. Allegheny County Extended Firearms Antlerless Only (Now- Jan. 26, 2019) – While most of Allegheny County lies within WMU 2B, there is a segment in western Allegheny County that falls within WMU 2A. Hunters with either unfilled WMU 2A or 2B antlerless tags can take advantage of this extra time to hunt with a modern firearm within the established boundaries of the WMU within Allegheny County where they have an antlerless tag. (FYI: WMU 2A and 2B antlerless tags are still available from county treasurers and can be purchased over-the-counter.) 6. Small Game: Rabbits, Squirrels, & Pheasants (Now – Feb. 28, 2019) – Hunters have until the end of February to pursue these species. Reminder, most hunters require a pheasant permit. 7. Raccoons & Foxes (Now – Feb 16, 2019) – These wily predators are open for those who want to call them, track them, or pursue them with dogs either day or night. 8. Coyotes (No Closed Season) – Late January and February are coyote breeding season and a prime time to hunt these elusive canines, which are more abundant than many people realize. Other options for “late season” hunts include crows (Fri., Sat., and Sun. only), bobcats (only select WMUs), porcupines, bobwhite quail, ducks, and geese. Please check the P A 2018- 19 Hunting & Trapping Digest for more specific details on seasons for these species. Dress warmly and be prepared to have the woods all to yourself! God Bless, Be Safe, and Gr eat Outdoors! ©WBB 2019

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