Mark Your Calendar. Schedule Time Off. Hunting Seasons are Here! (Part 4 of 4)

Updated: Mar 30

Outdoor Opportunities By Colonel(Retired) Grey D. Berrier II

This time of year, it truly is a bless- ing to live in Pennsylvania! So much to see, so much to do. It’s no wonder Fall is my (and many other folks’) favorite season. This past Saturday, my wife and I made our annual Fall foliage road trip to take in the changing leaves. Over the course of 11-hours, we covered 450-miles, with the vast majority on winding two-lane roads, including PA-555, PA-120, PA-880, and PA-45. We made it as far east as Jersey Shore in Lycoming County, since I wanted to see where the PGC’s Northcen- tral Regional Offi ce is, because I plan on hunting black bears in Cen- tre County this Fall and it’s good to know where the nearest PGC bear check station is located. On the way home, we stopped by Yellow Creek State Park in Indiana County and had the opportunity to see two beauti- ful male ring-necked pheasants out feeding just before sunset. Having been released for the Junior Pheas- ant Hunt that started Sat., it made me nostalgic for the days when pheas- ants were much more abundant. I miss hearing the cackle of wild cock birds announcing their presence to the world in the fading light at dusk! Speaking of missing things, this past Monday morning, I surprised my wife when I sent her the large sad face emoji with a prominent tear drop at 7:35 AM. That was my way of ex- pressing disappointment after I had just missed a prime coyote with my crossbow. (It looked like a miniature timber wolf and was one of the nicest I’ve seen in years!) After walking in by the light of the “Hunter’s Moon”, as the October Full Moon is called, sunrise came at 7:32 AM. Almost on cue, I caught movement off to my left in my peripheral vision. I was sit- ting facing NE and I realized I was observing a trotting coyote about 60-yards away heading from NW to SE. Its course would take it through the mountain laurel behind my tree stand. As it entered the brush, where its view would be obscured, I quietly stood up, turned around, and picked an opening ahead of the moving coy- ote about 25-yards away. When I had the coyote’s chest in my crossbow reticle pattern, I pulled the trigger. My crossbow bolt may have glanced off an unobserved, intermediate (Part 4 of 4) BRYAN CAMERON NEW CASTLE CITY COUNCIL ELECT PAID FOR BY THE CANDIDATE branch as I obviously missed the un- phased coyote, which continued on its way. Replaying the entire 30-sec- ond scenario in my mind, I don’t know what I could have done differ- ently to ensure a better outcome on that passing coyote. As a consola- tion, I did see three vibrantly plumed wood ducks at close range on my way walking back out to my truck. Forgetting that coyote, let’s look at upcoming waterfowl and other seasons opening soon: Ducks, Coots, & Mergansers: South Zone (Oct. 19-26, Nov. 19 – Jan. 18) – PA is divided into 4 zones for ducks with each zone having its own opening and closing dates. Being south of I-80, Lawrence County is entirely in the South Zone, while neighboring Mercer County is split between the Northwest and South Zones. Check your 2019-20 PA Hunting & Trapping Digest for more details on seasons, bag, and posses- sion limits. There have been changes on mallards. Canada Geese: Resident Popula- tion Zone (Oct. 26 – Nov. 29, Dec. 16- Jan. 18, & Jan. 31 – Feb. 22) – PA has 3 zones for Canada Geese. Be aware that seasons and bag limits are different in the nearby Southern James Bay Population Zone, which is north of I-80 and west of I-79. Webless Migratory Birds – This includes Doves, which opened Sep. 2 and runs through Nov. 29, as well as Dec. 16-24, and Woodcock, which runs Oct. 19 – Nov. 29 and Dec. 16- 24. Please check your digest for regula- tions on other huntable species like gallinules, rails, and snipe. Fall Turkey: Varies by Wildlife Management Unit – Here in WMU 1A, both male and female turkeys can be harvested Nov. 2-9 and Nov. 28-29. If you hunt elsewhere in PA, check your digest since you may be afforded more or less time, and it varies on use of a shotgun or rifl e. So much to consider possibly doing this time of year, but only so much time available. I guess that’s what makes Fall so special! God Bless, Be Safe, and Great Outdoors! ©WBB 2019

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