Saturday, Nov. 23 kicked off the rifle bear season for its three day run that ends Nov. 27. After that, there’s the extended season from Nov. 30-Dec. 14 in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5B, 5C and 5D. The extended opener also opens again in WMUs 1B, 2C, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4E and 5A, but that period ends Dec. 7.
Pennsylvania is known nation-wide for having large bears. Bruin’s in the 500-600-pound range are taken every year and in fact two were shot last year that topped 700 pounds, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Last year hunters took 3,153 bears, the 11th best state harvest to date. And this was out of an estimated population of about 20,000.
Typically, the northcentral part of Pennsylvania produces the most bear. Counties of Clinton, Lycoming and Tioga are customarily the top producers. And bear have been shot in 60-67 counties within the state.
But that doesn’t mean there are no local bears. For example, and during the 2018 seasons, Lehigh County had one bear taken during the early season and three during the general season. And they were taken from the Blue Mountain area.
In Northampton County, there were four in early, five in archery, three in the general and five in the extended season. Over in Berks, two in early, one in archery, two in general and three in the extended season.
Interestingly, the bears taken in Lehigh in 2018, were all year-old bear, determined by biologists manning bear harvest check stations who pull a tooth to analyze it for age. The four Lehigh County bear field dressed at 141, 124, 130 and 142 pounds respectively.
In Berks, one bear dressed out at 456 pounds and was determined to be nine years old. A 283-pounder came in at 283 and was nine years old. There was one 179-pounder that was nine years old, and a 152-pounder that was five.
Over in Northampton County, the largest four were a 400 pounder age three, a 316-pounder that lived to 12, a 258 pounder that was four-years old and a 10-year old 209-pounder.
So far this year and during the early season, the largest bear came from Clarion County that tipped the scales at 631 pounds. Slightly below that was a 610-pounder taken in Monroe County, and then a 601-pounder from Northampton County.
There were two archery season bear shot. A 556-pound bruin came from Berks County while the other, a 549-pounder bruin, came from Clearfield County. Interestingly, the PGC says it takes about nine years for a bear to reach 500 pounds.
The top 10 harvest counties to date were: Clinton (138); Lycoming (119); Tioga (91); Luzerne (70); Potter (66); Pike (58); Centre (56); Monroe (51); Wayne (50); and Bedford (49).
If hunters prefer to hunt locally, the best bet is the Blue Mountain ridge that encompasses Berks, Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Bear hunting opportunities have expanded this season since there are now 32 hunting days in most parts of the state as compared to the previous 16, and from three Saturdays to seven.
Successful bear hunters are reminded that they are required to take their bear within 24 hours to a PGC check station. Check the Hunting/Trapping Digest for their locations and hours of operation.
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters who took part in the first archery-only elk hunt Sept. 14-28, (98 general season elk license holders, 27 for bulls and 71 for antlerless), elk hunters are primed for one of the most exciting hunting adventures in the Keystone State.
The general elk season begins Monday, Nov. 4 and ends Saturday, Nov. 9.
The archery season was held in five of Pennsylvania’s 14 Elk Hunt Zones. The 15 hunters taking part in the archery hunt were selected by lottery after applying to participate. Separate drawings were held for the archery season, general season and late-antlerless-only season, with applicants paying $11.90 to be part of each drawing. More than 60,000 individuals put in for the elk license drawings, says the PGC.
All five archery bull elk hunters were successful during the archery season, and all took trophy animals. Five of the archery antlerless elk license holders harvested animals.
“The bulls were extremely active and vocal during the September archery season,” said Game Commission elk biologist Jeremy Banfield. “They were responding to calls, and in a few cases multiple bulls came charging in to hunters. Hunting during the elk rut certainly provided some exciting hunting,” Banfield added.
Hunters holding licenses for the general season should have been scouting and learning the area if hunting without the services of an outfitter. Outfitters operating in the area are regulated by the Game Commission and have intimate knowledge of the thousands of acres of private and public lands, and for hunters who don’t have the time to scout might benefit from a guide service.
Hunters who do not harvest an elk during the general season may participate in the extended season, in which they are permitted to take either an antlered or antlerless elk outside of the state’s Elk Management Area.
“Trophy bulls were harvested during the archery elk season, there’s much to be excited about for those lucky hunters holding bull and antlerless licenses for the upcoming general season,” said Bryan Burhans, Game Commission Executive Director.
Hunters participating in elk firearms seasons must wear, at all times, 250 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange material on the head, chest and back combined, visible 360 degrees.
Successful hunters must attach the tag to the ear of an elk immediately after harvest and before the carcass is moved. In addition, within 24 hours, each hunter who harvests an elk must take it, along with his or her hunting license and elk license, to the Game Commission check station, where samples are collected to test for chronic wasting disease, brucellosis and tuberculosis. The elk check station is open to public and located at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day of the season.
Since the grouse, rabbit and squirrel season opened last Saturday, the third part of small game opens Saturday (Oct. 26) for pheasants, often referred to as long-tails. A reference to the long tail feathers of a male cockbird.
If a cockbird can be flushed, the cackle and burst of feathers is exciting and when not anticipated, a bit startling for the hunter. But it’s a nice rush to experience.
When I was a pre-teen, I’d tag along with my uncle and grandfather when they hunted the cornfields and overgrown fields with multiflora rose in and around Whitehall and North Whitehall townships. We actually hunted the land where the Whitehall Mall is located and behind Lehigh Valley Cooperative Farmers land where Spring Ridge Apartments is situated. We’d also hunt in my grandfathers’ backyard in Ironton and beyond the Ironton School.
During those days, wild pheasants were somewhat abundant. But you had to do a lot of walking to find one or two. That’s not the case today. If it weren’t for the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) stocking them, pheasant hunting would be a mere memory of the past.
For veteran upland hunters, you may remember when the PGC would stock birds on Farm-Game, Forest-Game and Safety Zone program lands, and private lands whose owners allowed hunting. That too is gone. Now the PGC mainly stocks State Game and State Park lands as those programs were all merged under a portion of the Hunter Access Program (HAP).
According to Travis Lau, PGC Public Information Officer, “The HAP program is intended to maximize return on our propagation investment by maximizing harvest rates on stocked pheasants. Pheasant banding studies in 1998 and 2015 showed that average harvest rates for stocked pheasants on public land (45-50 percent) are consistently higher than those on private land (35-40 percent). Therefore, the agency has gradually moved away from private property stockings in favor of State Game Lands and other public lands (e.g. State Parks, Army Corp of Engineers properties etc.). In some limited circumstances, pheasants are still stocked on HAP properties that have demonstrated to have higher harvest rates than the average for private land. However, these remaining private land stockings constitute less than 5 percent of the total allocation.”
Insofar as private properties are concerned, I recall many moons ago my son and I asking a Farm-Game cooperator farmer in Lowhill Township to hunt his stocked land. He said we couldn’t because there were five hunters already hunting there. I subsequently learned that he wanted it for himself and family so no others could hunt there despite his agreement with the PGC.
So if you would like to find a place to hunt pheasants, go to the PGC’s website and click on Hunting, then the sub-topic of Ring-Necked Pheasants then on Pheasant Allocation by List or Interactive Map. There you’ll see pheasant emoji’s of sorts on which to click that will give the game land number and allocation.
For Lehigh County’s SGL #205, stockings either took place or will take place on the following dates and bird numbers:
*Oct. 10-11, 450 birds; *Oct. 22-25, 450; *Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 460; *Nov. 6-8, 390; *Nov. 13-15, 390; *Nov. 20-22, 390; and *Dec. 19-20, 320.
When there are two days, Lau explained that a SGL could get stocked on either date, but will be only one of two, not both. But on a larger scale, stockings could happen on both days, some locations on day 1 and other locations on day 2. He went on to say that the PGC attempts to stock as close to weekends as possible.
ARCHERY AND MUZZLELOADER BEAR SEASON
While the archery bear season opened in WMUs 2B, 5C, and 5D Sept. 21 and on Oct. 5 in WMU 5B. It opens statewide Monday, Oct. 28. But this Saturday, Oct. 19, bear muzzleloader season opens and closes Oct. 26.
THIRD WEEK RUT REPORT
According to Bob Danenhower from Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy, his hunting buddies and customers are seeing some movement of young bucks chasing doe’s. He doesn’t think the older bucks will move much until after Halloween when the weather and moon phase seem to coincide. But he feels the rut may be a bit early this year. So, far he’s taken in several 8-pointers and a couple 10s, all local deer.
Danenhower also got in his fresh Yurine Luck deer scent. The shop is open during normal business hours and is located on Kernsville Road in Orefield and a block west of the Route 309 traffic light.
The second part of the small game season gets underway, Sat. Oct. 19, for grouse, rabbit and squirrel
The second part of the small game season gets underway this Saturday (Oct. 19) when Squirrel, Rabbit and Grouse become legal game.
Of the trio, squirrels are the most plentiful and their sweet meat makes for excellent table fare be it in a stew, creamed or as a primary meat with mashed or sweet potatoes and a green vegetable or two.
As for rabbits, there are more of them in the city of Allentown and suburbs, than there are in area farmland fields and woodlots. And the reason for that are coyotes, foxes and great horned owls who keep their numbers there severely in check.
Then comes the ruffed grouse, Pennsylvania’s state bird. This majestic, beautiful game bird is the fast flyer of the woodlands. Unfortunately, their numbers are low and getting lower. In fact, the PGC closed the post Christmas season for them.
According to the PGC in their fall and winter hunting survey, avid grouse hunters (i.e. cooperators) were sent survey forms in October 2017. Forty-four percent of 595 Cooperators submitted hunt information. Useable replies were received from 206 of 262 responding cooperators; the remaining 56 submitted ‘did not hunt’ responses. Grouse Cooperators submitted data on 1,456 hunts, representing 4,135 hours of active grouse hunting. Grouse hunters averaged 20 hours hunted, 18 grouse flushed, and 0.87 grouse bagged during the 2017-2018 hunting season. Daily effort was greatest during the October (95.7 hours/available day) and November (83.7 hours/available day), followed by the December segment (71.3 hours/available day). December participation increased dramatically (up 96 percent compared to 2016) with the loss of the post-Christmas “Late Season” in 2017. The November portion of the season accounted for 52 percent of the statewide cooperator harvest, followed equally by December (24 percent) and October segments (24 percent).
The report goes on to say, statewide cooperators hunted 4,135 hours and recorded 3,641 flushes for an average rate of 0.88 flushes per hour. This flush rate of 0.88 represents a 6 percent decrease compared to the previous season and is the lowest flush rate observed in 53 years of population monitoring. It is 36 percent below the long term (52-year) average of 1.37 flushes per hour. Compared with the previous year, all regions exhibited decreased flush rates except the NW which ticked up (5 percent slightly. All regions are greatly below their respective 35-year long-term averages (Northwest -41%; Northcentral -22 percent; Northeast -38 percent; Southwest -51 percent; Southcentral -66 percent; Southeast -32 percent). Even compared to 10-year short-term averages, all regions except the Southeast are currently very depressed (Northwest -41 percent; Northcentral -24 percent; Northeast -22 percent; Southwest -25 percent; Southcentral -44 percent; Southeast -6 percent).
Without the relatively high annual abundance in the Northwest and Northcentral regions the statewide flush rate falls precipitously lower. In these regions, the mix of northern hardwoods and oak forests provides optimum nutrition, while active forest management within a largely forested landscape provides abundant habitat. Unfortunately, it is becoming evident that after years of high West Nile Virus (WNV) prevalence, these regions cannot be counted on to produce an abundance of grouse, which drops the statewide average below one bird/hour to a record-low 0.88 flushes/hour in 2017-18 license year. In other areas of the state, the Southcentral and Northeast regions retain relatively large-scale forested landscapes with suitable forest types, yet they seem to be under-producing grouse.
Best bet for grouse, the Blue Mountain. One veteran grouse hunter once told me the secret to finding them is to traverse the rugged terrain at the top of the Blue. A good hunting dog helps too.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) and Pennsylvania Game Commission are warning anglers and hunters to avoid online scams when purchasing their licenses. The warning follows several recent reports of customers paying for licenses through third-party websites not affiliated with either agency, and then never receiving a license.
“The only proven, reputable and reliable methods for purchasing Pennsylvania fishing licenses and permits are through the PFBC’s online portal The Outdoor Shop or in-person from a retail license issuing agent,” said Bernie Matscavage, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Administration. “If you choose to use a third-party website offering to sell you a fishing license, you risk wasting your money and putting your personal information at risk.”
The Game Commission, which sells hunting and furtaking licenses and permits through The Outdoor Shop, has received similar reports from hunters and trappers who tried to purchase their licenses online through unaffiliated vendors and never received them.
Customers should be aware of several look-a-like websites that mimic the agencies’ branding and offer customers the ability to purchase licenses and related permits. In one case, an imposter website uses a logo closely resembling the PFBC logo and offers to “broker” or “simplify” the purchase of a fishing license for an added fee, in some cases up to $50.00 (a resident PA fishing license costs just $22.90). The customer is then asked to provide personal information, including their social security number, as well as payment information to complete the online transaction. After submitting their information, the customer is informed that they will receive a printable, electronic version of their fishing license within 72 hours.
“There is absolutely no advantage to using a third-party website to buy a license,” added Matscavage. “Customers to these websites are being asked to provide the same information as they would if they purchased a license securely through the agencies directly. The difference is that by using a third-party site, you are paying an unnecessary added fee, compromising your identity, and will likely not end up receiving a license at all.”
When you purchase your fishing license from the PFBC through the Outdoor Shop, a printable electronic version (.pdf) of your fishing license is issued immediately. Hunting licenses purchased online through the Outdoor Shop are confirmed at the time of sale through an official email from the Game Commission and licenses are mailed to the buyer within two weeks of purchase.
Anyone who encounters a website offering the sale of a Pennsylvania fishing or hunting license that does not link to The Outdoor Shop to complete the transaction should call the PFBC Fishing License Help Line at (877)707-4085 or the Game Commission’s license division at (717)787-2084. Victims of a fishing or hunting license scam should notify the PA Attorney General by completing a Scams Complaint Form.
October and November traditionally trigger trout and salmon migrations into Lake Ontario and Lake Erie tributaries where local anglers make the trek to experience some of the best trout and salmon fishing in North America.
Chinook and Coho salmon runs in Lake Ontario tributaries generally begin in mid-September and continue through early November. Steelhead begin their tributary runs in earnest in both these Great Lakes in mid-October, and provide fishing excitement through springtime.
Salmon are on a mission to spawn and they’re aggressive and ready to fight. Steelhead on the other hand seem happier and eager to feed, arriving to stuff themselves full of eggs and decaying salmon flesh.
If you plan a trip to pursue these strong fish, the following are the most popular waters that should provide some excellent fishing action:
• Black River (Jefferson County)
• Salmon River (Oswego County)
• Oak Orchard Creek (Orleans County)
• Lower Niagara River (Lake Ontario)
• Cattaraugus Creek (Lake Erie)
According to Willie, from Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, several customers traveled to Salmon River in Pulaski, New York last week and had terrific action on Coho in the 5-12-pound range. Although the daily limit is three, Willie said his customers could have caught them all day long. “This was the best run of Coho my customers have seen in a while,” Willie retells.
Willie went on to say that the guys were also picking up a few browns and steelheads and were using egg sacs, rubber salmon eggs and, believe it or not, Berkley’s pink, three-inch trout worms for the Coho.
Easton angler and friend Tom Marchetto, also hit Pulaski and in three days fishing during the last week in September, he reported there was plenty of fish from the DSR up to Pineville (basically the lower stretch of the Salmon River). Marchetto and buddies fished the Staircase Hole area for all three days where the water flow held at around 375 cfs, so access was good. Marchetto said they used a variety of baits including egg sacs, plastic eggs and various flies.
Fishing was good, he opined, considering major runs had not yet occurred. The trio focused on Coho and steelheads, but the majority of the hook-ups were kings (Chinook). Battles were intensive which is indicative of fresh fish coming up the river. Marchetto believed fishing could have been even better had the temperature not been 84 one day. Some rain cooled things off a bit making conditions more typical for fishing there. “The three of us brought home five kings and one Coho, but the take could have been higher had we chose to keep what was landed. Overall, another successful salmon trip,” he said.
Reporting for On the Water Magazine, my fellow New York State outdoor writer and long-time friend Bill Hilts Jr says the Salmon River has fish spread out from top to bottom while the lower end of the river is getting the most fishing pressure. He reports anglers have been getting into kings in the DSR, Black Hole, Staircase/Longbridge, Town Pool, Ballpark, Papermill and RT2A areas.
Bill goes on to report that in the mid-upper end of the river, fish continue to be holding in and around the deeper holes and larger runs such as Sportsman Pool, Pineville, Trestle Pool, Ellis Cove and Schoolhouse Pool. Additionally, fish are holding in both the Upper and Lower Fly Zone.
Anglers there are using glo-bugs, sucker spawn, estaz eggs, hot stones, steelhead hammer, egg sucking leeches, comets, bunny leeches and Wooly Buggers.
Deer and bear hunters are in for some changes this season, with most offering additional hunting days afield.
Now that the statewide archery deer hunting season gets underway this Saturday (Oct. 5), it also spells the time junior license holders can hunt squirrels and rabbits until Oct. 19. Juniors can also hunt ring-necked pheasants from Oct. 12-19.
But the big news is that for the first time in 50 years, the regular firearms deer hunting season will open on a Saturday after Thanksgiving instead of the usual Monday opener. This came about as the result of lobbying by sportsmen’s groups and hunters who plan their vacation days around the deer season opener. This gives them an extra day to hunt as many leave for their hunting camps and destinations on Friday night.
Statewide archery deer season too has increased a bit for antlered and antlerless deer as it runs until Nov. 16. This later November closing is due to the way the calendar falls, and the PGC says it promises to offer some prime hunting days during the deer rut.
The other big news is the bear season. According to the PGC, the season this year is being doubled and will be the longest since bear hunting began in Pennsylvania in the 1930s.
Says Mark Ternent, Pennsylvania Game Commission bear biologist, “Bear hunting days are expanding from 14 or 16 days, to 32, and from three Saturdays to seven. As such, we will start hunting bears almost two weeks earlier.”
The archery bear season in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D started Sept. 21 and will end Nov. 29. In 5B, it gets underway this Saturday and continues to Nov. 16. But the statewide archery bear season doesn’t kick off until Oct. 28 and concludes Nov. 16.
For muzzleloader hunters, their new statewide bear season begins Oct. 19 and ends Oct. 26. This leads the way for an early firearms bear season from Oct. 24-26 for junior/senior hunters and hunters who are on active military duty and certain disabled persons.
The PGC reminds deer and bear hunters of warm weather threats in regards to meat spoilage. They suggest field dressing the animal as quickly as possible and cooled down as soon as possible. Hanging an animal during warm temperatures they contend, is not advisable as that practice is mainly used during colder days.
Some hunters take along a cooler filled with ice bags to stow inside the body cavity of their field dressed animal until they can get it to a meat processor, or they do it themselves.
Another remedy in warm or cold weather was told me to by Jeff Heller, owner of the former Pro Am Fishing Shop in Kuhnsville, Heller said when deer hunting he would take along a plastic jug filled with salt water, a brine if you will, to wipe out the body cavity of a deer. He claimed it would put a nice sheen on the meat and preserve it while adding a bit of flavor to it. May be worth a try.
FALL TROUT STOCKING
A quick reminder that Lehigh County’s Little Lehigh Creek will be stocked Oct. 15, but not all portions.
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is pleased to announce that Team Ruger Captain Doug Koenig took first place in the Open Division and first overall at the 2019 European Bianchi Cup Championship match held in Alsfeld, Germany. Koenig claimed this title for the sixth time in his career with a final aggregate score of 1920-183 shooting his Ruger® Custom Shop SR1911® built open competition pistol.
The Bianchi Cup course includes four separate events, including: the Practical Event with 12 shots fired at cardboard targets at distances of 10, 15, 25 and 50 yards; the Barricade Event, where competitors stand behind barricades and engage cardboard targets from distances of 10, 15, 25 and 35 yards; the Moving Target Event, in which a cardboard target moves horizontally in a 60-foot space between two barricades while competitors shoot from a three-foot square at 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards; and the Plate Event that requires competitors to fire at six metal plates lined up on a rack at distances of 10, 15, 20 and 25 yards. Competitors must complete the course of fire within the maximum par time allowed at each distance in each event, with the number of X-ring hits being the deciding factor for the win.
"Winning a major event like the European Bianchi Cup is all about confidence," said Koenig. "That confidence starts with great equipment that allows me to focus on the match and not my gear. The quality and reliability of my SR1911 gives me that assurance."
Meanwhile stateside, teammates Dave Olhasso and James McGinty each claimed divisional wins at the USPSA Area 8 Championship held at the Ontelaunee Rod & Gun club in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania. Olhasso placed first in the Limited 10 division with a winning time of 261.54 scoring 1,468.71 points competing with his Ruger Custom Shop SR1911 Competition Pistol chambered in .45 Auto. McGinty took the top spot in the ESP division and second place overall for the match shooting his Ruger Custom Shop SR1911 Competition Pistol chambered in 9mm Luger, with a final time of 253.94 scoring 1,452.95 points.
From the folks at Yak Gear, they say that one sure way to get kayakers fired up is to start a healthy conversation about paddling versus pedaling. With advances in kayak propulsion technology, there are increasingly more ways to thrust a kayak through the water than ever before. We take a look at some of the advantages and drawbacks to each method of kayak propulsion.
Paddlers harken back to the old-school days where paddling was the only game in town. While options have changed, paddling does provide worthy benefits over pedaling.
Paddling Provides Stealth
The ability to sneak up on spooky fish is probably the most often-cited reason for choosing paddling over pedaling. Fish don’t like anything out of the ordinary and will vacate the area if they sense something is amiss. Quietly dipping the paddle in the water makes much less commotion then pedal-drive and will allow anglers to slip in on unsuspecting fish. Once in an area, using an ultra-quiet anchor, such as the YakGear YakStick Floating Stake-Out Stick, will secure your boat while fishing out an area.
Fish More Shallow Waters by Paddling
One of the drawbacks to using a pedal drive system is the extra clearance needed under the boat. Some pedaling anglers flutter kick their fins in shallow water, but when fish are in super shallow waters, like redfish busting back in a mud flat, anglers will need to completely flip up their fins or remove the pedal drive. This will take up much-needed deck space and can become frustrating after numerous switches.
Make Adjustments While Standing with a Paddle
Whether chasing tailing reds or sight-fishing bedded bass, fishing from a standing position can give you an advantage. Standing allows for longer and more accurate casts, and provides the ability to pitch and flip baits, too. The paddle plays a critical role in maintaining or adjusting your position to best present the bait to fish. Keeping the paddle close at hand is a must, and the RAILBLAZA QuickGrip Hip Clip is a good solution to storing the paddle without unnecessary bending up and down.
Hobie forever changed the landscape of kayak fishing with the introduction of the Mirage Drive in 1997. Since this innovation, many other kayak manufacturers have launched their own versions of a pedal drive, and each delivers advantages to paddling.
Pedaling Gets You Places Fast
Whether it’s a rotational pedal with a propeller or push/pull pedals with fins, pedaling provides on-the-water speed and efficiency. Successful tournament anglers are usually the ones who get to their spot first. Anglers who routinely travel large bodies of water will get the most out of their day using a pedal drive to get them where they need to be in a short time.
Pedaling Frees Up Your Hands
The problem with paddling is that it requires both of your hands. Many anglers, in both freshwater and saltwater, actively fish while moving from location to location. Traveling is also a good time to tie on different baits and fine tune fishing electronics. Pedaling while making small adjustments to your keel or skeg is usually enough to keep you on the right track to your destination and your hands free for other tasks.
Get More Power and Endurance Using Your Legs
Pedaling takes advantage of our strong and powerful leg muscles. Anyone new to kayaking will need to get into paddling shape, but most people will have a better built-up endurance in their legs. Even seasoned paddlers can benefit from pedaling when traveling long distances or prolonged periods on the water. Paddling efficiently takes much work to develop the proper technique, so a pedal drive may be the best choice for novice kayakers.
The gap between diehard paddlers and dedicated pedalers is slowly closing as more and more kayakers see the advantages of both methods. As companies continue to produce more efficient ways to propel your kayak, tradition does have its place in kayaking. Whether you choose tradition or innovation, getting on the water as much as possible is the most important goal. To really stir up the pot, we could have also thrown in the use of motors, as well. But that is for another day.
One of the most debated topics in the hunting world is whether or not products that are geared to hide or mask human scent while hunting are effective, but a recent HunterSurvey.com poll is shedding new light on the topic.
And with the Pennsylvania archery deer hunting season set to open this weekend in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D and the statewide opener on Oct .5, here’s what the folks at Southwick Associates' HunterSurvey.com found in their survey.
They found that 88 percent of hunters believe scent control products are effective for their intended purpose, according to Southwick, the leading market research and economics firm in the outdoor industry. Among those hunters, 51 percent use them.
So, which products are used the most? Scent control sprays, applied just prior to going to a stand or into the field, are the overwhelming favorite choice of today’s scent-conscious sportsmen with 85 percent using them. Following directly applied sprays, the survey found these other products to be quite popular:
• Scent-Control Detergent and Dryer Sheets, 71 percent
• Scent-Control Hygiene Products, 54 percent
• Scent-Control Hair Products, 47 percent
• Scent-Control Clothing, 28 percent
• Scent-Control Bags or Containers, 27 percent
Field wipes (20 percent), ozone products while hunting (4 percent), ozone products while stored (3%), and unspecified “other” items (2 percent) rounded out the survey results.
Among those hunters who don’t use scent control products, the top reasons for taking a pass on them include: the belief that they do not work (42 percent), cost (21 percent), prefer the challenge of hunting without them (10 percent) and lack of product awareness (4 percent). More than 32 percent of respondents cited “other reasons,” including not needing scent control for species, such as waterfowl and wild turkeys.
“This survey may not settle the debate on the effectiveness of these products in managing scents, but it does show the majority of sportsmen do believe in them and in fact use them to gain an edge in the field,” says Cody Larrimore, research analyst at Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts the surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.