The upcoming Sept. 1 dove hunting season kicks off the first part of Pennsylvania’s small game season.
Dove populations within the U.S. are estimated at 350 million with over 20 million harvested annually by hunters.
Doves are the most abundant game birds in North America and in Pennsylvania alone, hunters take over 100,00 yearly.
Despite these numbers We wish there was better news. when the season kicks off for a split season that runs until Nov. 27 and reopens again Dec. 18-Jan. 2. It’s also the date when the early Canada goose season also opens which runs until Sept. 25.
This pessimism is the result of a loss of habitat and hunting lands that fell prey to warehouses and housing developments by greedy, land grabbing developers.
In Lehigh County, the primary dove hunting opportunities are on State Game Lands #205 in Lowhill Township where the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) traditionally plants wildlife food crops.
If you do some intense searching, you may be lucky to find a farm to hunt after acquiring permission to hunt in upper Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Compared to those counties, upper Berks County has more open farm lands where most are owned by Mennonite farmers who will often give hunting permission if appropriately approached.
If new to dove hunting in Pennsylvania, and besides the general hunting license, hunters age 12 and older need a state migratory bird license. Fluorescent orange is not required but there are other important regulations.
According to the PGC, agricultural crops and natural vegetation may be manipulated to improve dove hunting. Manipulation means the alteration of agricultural crops or natural vegetation by activities such as mowing, shredding, disking, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning, or herbicide treatments. Manipulation does not include the distributing or scattering of seeds, grains, or other feed after removal from or storage on the field where grown. Manipulation does not include the placement of grain in piles or other artificial concentrations. In Pennsylvania, the manipulation of the crop or vegetation for purposes of dove hunting must be done no later than September 15th each year.
You may hunt doves over manipulated grain crops, such as wheat, milo, sorghum, millet, sunflower, and buckwheat. Although you can hunt doves over manipulated agricultural crops, you cannot hunt waterfowl or other wildlife species over manipulated agricultural crops except after the field has been subject to a normal harvest and removal of grain recognized as a normal agricultural process. A managed dove field, which has had a crop manipulated, is off limits to hunting of all other species until 30 days after the manipulated grain and/or its residue is removed from the field.
Agricultural activities other than planting or harvesting also scatter grain or other feed in agricultural areas. You can hunt doves in such areas provided the agricultural operation involved is a normal agricultural practice. A normal agricultural planting is a planting undertaken for the purpose of producing or gathering a crop. Normal plantings do not involve the placement of grain in piles or other concentrations. You cannot, however, hunt in an area where grain, salt, or other feed has been placed to improve dove hunting.
I used to look forward to dove hunting with my son who when he was a teen 30 years ago, managed to shoot doubles on dove at a sunflower field in Macungie. A fete I never accomplished. It was a great mentoring and memorable dove hunting trip that will probably never again be realized since that field now houses homes and a nearby strip mall while our other huntable places saddenly also dried up.
The daily dove limit is 15 with 45 in possession. Incidentally, their dark meat makes delightful table fare, especially if wrapped in bacon and cooked on a grille. I miss that too.
With a rash of shark incidences occurring this summer, here are some shark facts you may not know about them
With an upswing in the number of recent shark spotting’s, a few attacks, even a fatality like the lady who was killed by a great white in Maine, here are some interesting facts about sharks you may not know, from the folks at The Outdoor Hub.
*Sharks have been around a very long time based on fossil scales found in Australia and the United States. Scientists hypothesize sharks first appeared in the ocean around 455 million years ago.
*Scientists age sharks by counting the rings on their vertebrae which contain concentric pairs of opaque and translucent bands. Band pairs are counted like rings on a tree and then scientists assign an age to the sharks based on the count. Thus, they say, if the vertebrae has 10 band pairs, it’s assumed to be 10 years old. Recent studies, however, have shown that this assumption is not always correct. Researchers must study each species and size class to determine how often the band pairs are deposited because the deposition rate may change over time. Determining the actual rate that the bands are deposited is called “validation.”
*Blue sharks are really blue as they display a brilliant blue color on the upper portion of its body and is normally snowy white beneath. The mako and porbeagle sharks also exhibit a blue coloration, but it’s not nearly as brilliant as that of a blue shark. In life, most sharks are brown, olive and grayish.
*As for whale shark’s, their spot pattern is unique as a fingerprint. They are the largest fish in the ocean and weigh as much as 40 tons by some estimates. Basking sharks are the world’s second largest fish growing as long as 32 feet and weighting more than five tons.
*Some shark species have a spiracle that allows them to pull water into their respiratory system while at rest. Most sharks, as you know, have to keep swimming to pump water over their gills. A shark’s spiracle is located just behind the eyes that supplies oxygen directly to the shark’s eyes and brain. Bottom dwelling sharks, like angel and nurse sharks, use this extra respiratory organ to breathe while at rest on the seafloor. It’s also used for respiration when the shark’s mouth is used for eating.
* You may know if watching “Shark Week” that not all sharks have the same teeth? Mako sharks have very pointed teeth, while white sharks have triangular, serrated teeth. Each have a unique, tell-tale mark on their prey. A sandbar shark will have around 35,000 teeth over the course of its lifetime.
*Different shark species reproduce in different ways as they exhibit a great diversity in their reproductive modes. There are oviparous (egg laying) species and viviparous (live bearing) species. Oviparous species lay eggs that develop and hatch outside the mother’s body with no parental care after the eggs are laid.
There you have it. Some fun facts of sharks that are to be respected, and for many, feared by anyone enjoying ocean water.
Recent storms played havoc with local fishing conditions so anglers may want to hit the Jersey shore
After cleaning and painting the trout holding ponds and getting delivery of 14,600 trout fingerlings at Allentown’s Lil-Le-Hi Trout Nursery, Mother Nature dealt the site a nasty blow during the recent storm with its flooding conditions.
According to Herb Gottschall, President of Little Lehigh Fish & Game Association, the adjacent Little Lehigh Creek flooded all but one of the holding ponds at the nursery. Because of this, Gottschall thinks they probably lost fish but they won’t know until the site can be cleaned, the water clears and the remaining fish re-counted.
This storm also made local streams and the Lehigh River high and muddy with floating debris. This Friday, the Little Lehigh was supposed to get 60 trophy palomino trout from Cabela’s to stock in the Little Lehigh section of Lehigh Parkway. This is in addition to 60 they stocked last Frday. But the parkway too experienced damaging conditions with roads washed out and debris all over the place. So it’s unclear when those trout will be stocked although Gottschall said it may be this upcoming Friday if the City of Allentown can get the parkway repaired and cleaned-up. Gottschall added that this flooding problem was worse then what the nursery experienced during the Sandy storm.
Until local streams and lake conditions improve, anglers may want to head to the Jersey shore to try their saltwater luck. The following reports come compliments from our On the Water Magazine fishing reporters. The shore areas also experienced power outages and losses, but seem to have recovered quickly.
Rick Hebert. at Tackle World in Rochelle Park, said fluking was holding up nicely before the blow and now we have to wait and see. He fished the Axel Carlson Reef last weekend and got his limit with fish up to 6 pounds. He’s also received reports of schoolie stripers along the beaches hitting shads and small plugs.
Capt. Phil Sciortino, of The Tackle Box in Hazlet, reported the fluke fishing had been very good in Raritan Bay and out front prior to the blow. The shop weighed in a 10-pounder last Thursday from an angler fishing from a kayak.
Sciortino said the crabbing is excellent at all the usual spots around the bay. Snappers are all over the place as well. He also reported good porgy fishing on the local rock piles.
Joe Julian Jr., at Julian’s Bait and Tackle in Atlantic Highlands, reported losing a lot of killies due to the power outage caused by Tuesday’s storm, but that was the extent of the damage. He reports big fluke have been caught in the Shrewsbury River close to the ferry dock and the porgy fishing has been good in the bay. He’s had reports of cobia in the bay as well. And the crabbing, he added, has been awesome, especially in the Navesink River.
Mike Pinto, at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, said the best thing going on locally is the crabbing in the Shrewsbury and Navesink rivers. The fluking in the surf is okay, but added, it’s still mostly shorts. There were small blues and bass in the surf before the storm, so we’ll have to wait and see if they’re still around once the water clears.
Mike Gleason, at Tak Waterman in Long Branch, reported a lot of schoolie bass caught in the surf on shads and small plugs prior to the blow. It was a dawn-and-dusk bite. Spanish mackerel too were found off the beach, and there were tons of adult bunker in the area as well. Peanut bunker are back in the rivers along with snapper blues. Last weekend saw a lot of yellowfin tuna caught on jigs, Gleason said, but there haven’t been any reports since the storm.
The Ocean Grove surf has plenty of short fluke but I’ve yet to get a keeper. Short bass are hitting shads and small plugs and one took his Gulp lure at the beginning of the week. Sand bugs will probably still work for them. “Watch out for the big rays, Gleason cautioned. One spooled me over the weekend and I was lucky to get most of the line back.”
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, said the Shark River continues to give up some nice fluke with Steve Adamo weighing in a 4.5 pounder and A.J. Earley with a 5.5-pound fluke. Matthews added that there are loads of snappers in the river right now along with peanut bunker. Folks are picking up some stripers in there as well on shads.
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.