Next Saturday (Oct. 3) is the start of the statewide archery hunting season for antlered and antlerless deer. The season runs until Nov. 14 including Sunday, Nov. 15 and again from Nov. 16-20. Then there’s the post Christmas Day late season from Dec. 26 until Jan. 18.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) makes note of some regulation changes for archers going afield:
*For bowhunters hunting during the three, first time Sunday hunting days, and when hunting on private property, hunters are required to carry written permission from the landowner.
*Hunters are reminded of the new “Purple Paint Law” that entitles landowners to mark their boundaries with purple markings instead of signs.
*Hunters may use illuminated nocks for arrows or bolts but may not use transmitter-tracking arrows which are illegal.
*If using portable tree stands on state game lands, they must be marked with durable identification that identifies the stand owner. Tags must include owner’s name, address, CID number appearing on their hunting license or a unique number obtained from the PGC’s Outdoor Shop or PGC website.
*Portable tree stands on state game lands must be removed no later than two weeks after the close of the flintlock and late archery seasons.
Additionally, if hunting in a chronic wasting disease (CWD) area and when shooting a deer from a disease management area (DMA), the PGC says you cannot take high-risk parts including, meat, the head, spinal cord, backbone, spleen, skull plate and attached antler - if visible brain or spinal cord tissue is present and more – beyond DMA boundaries (listed on PGCs website). The skull plate with attached antlers, may be removed if no visible brain or spinal cord material is present. There are several sites where hunters can dispose of high-risk parts from public areas within DMA’s. Consult the PGC’s website for locations.
The PGC says this doesn’t mean hunters who take a buck have to give up the antlers, as they can take the rack and skull plate – if properly cleaned - to a taxidermist or home and put the rest of the head in a collection bin for testing.
If the deer is suspect, the agency said hunters can take it to any processor or taxidermist located inside the DMA boundaries, or, a cooperating processor or taxidermist identified on the interactive map at www.bit.ly/PGC-CWDmap, or at http://bit.ly/wherecanitakemydeerPGC.
There has also been some controversy regarding using deer urine as attractants for deer hunting. In contacting Bob Frye, PGC’s CWD Communications Specialist, he said deer urine may not be used in CWD/DMA areas. But when asked about the new 100 percent CWD free urine from Inventive Outdoors, a Woodbridge, VA based company, Frye said, “If the product is indeed free of cervid urine, it’s legal to use inside or outside of a disease management area.”
While on the topic of deer scent, Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield received the first batch of his fresh “Yurine Luck” buck urine. Last season several bowhunters told him they managed to lure their bucks into bow range by putting down a urine trail with his fresh buck scent.
Also on Oct. 3 is the special rabbit hunting season for eligible junior hunters with or without required license. The season ends on Oct. 17 when the statewide season opens for rabbits. This is an opportunity for juniors to learn the sport and enjoy the great outdoors.
ANTLERLESS DEER LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS UNDER REVIEW
Pennsylvania Game Commission staff today appeared before the Board of Commissioners to deliver a report on the application process for antlerless deer licenses.
While the existing process is required by state law, and can’t be changed by the Game Commission unless the General Assembly first passes legislation that amends the law, the commissioners asked staff in July to proactively review the process.
Existing state law requires that antlerless deer licenses be issued by county treasurers.
Game Commission staff determined the existing automated license system used by the agency is capable of issuing antlerless licenses, either on a first-come, first-serve basis, or through lottery. Staff identified its preferred option is selling antlerless deer licenses on a first-come, first-serve basis, and identified a procedure and plan for implementing this process. The Commission will now continue to work with the General Assembly on amending Title 34 to allow for modernization of the antlerless license sale process.
With this week being the first week of fall, and if you’re a motorboat owner, be it a fishing or recreational boat, and don’t have plans using it again until next spring, the folks at BoatUS suggest following these guidelines for winter storage.
*Freshwater flush: Use a flushing attachment or run the outboard in a tank filled with clean water.
*Empty fuel lines and carburetors: With the engine running, disconnect the fuel line from the engine. When the engine dies, the fuel delivery components will be empty, preventing gums from forming in the stagnant gasoline and clogging lines, jets or injectors.
* Fog the carburetor intake(s): Before the engine runs out of fuel, spray fogging oil into the carb(s). Fogging oil is an anticorrosive that will protect the internal surfaces of the carb and cylinders. Typically, the engine will run rough just before it runs out of fuel. As that happens, give the carb(s) a heavier shot of fogging oil to insure internal surfaces are fully coated.
*Drain cooling passages: Disconnect the flush attachment or remove the motor from the flush tank. With the motor upright, let all water drain out of the pick-up. Open drain plugs (if any) to empty the powerhead and intermediate housing. Crank the motor a couple times by hand or “bump” it with the starter to empty the water pump. Remove the spark plugs and spray fogging oil into the holes to coat the interior surfaces of the cylinders. Rotate the flywheel a few turns to spread the oil onto the cylinder walls. While the plugs are out, it’s the time to check them for corrosion and regap or replace as required. Reinstall the plugs.
*Lubricate linkages and electric starter drive mechanism: Clean all pivots and visible gears and protect them for winter with oil or grease per the owner’s manual.
*Drain and refill gearcase: Use lubricant specified in the owner’s manual. Fill oil tank. This will prevent condensation from forming inside the tank.
*Drain fuel tank and supply lines: Starting the engine in spring with old gasoline is an invitation to problems. Manage to leave your tank(s) close to empty, then drain the fuel that remains. Use it in your snow blower or cars’ tank, but leave the gasoline lines and tanks empty. If emptying the tank completely is not practical for your boat, top if off to 95 percent full. This is particularly important with the introduction of ethanol into the gasoline supply. Gasoline with ethanol is subject to phase separation if water gets into the fuel, which will surely happen with a half-empty tank over the winter. Filling the tank also limits the air space inside the tank and reduces the potential for internal condensation.
*Stabilize the fuel: If you leave the tank full, add an appropriate amount of gasoline stabilizer to combat the formation of passage-clogging gums.
*Clean and lubricate the propeller shaft: The off-season is the perfect time to have your prop serviced. If the engine will be stored on the boat, take the props off to discourage theft.
*Store upright: Laying the engine down risks water draining where it shouldn’t. An engine stand is easy to cobble together.
While these suggestions may not pertain to all motorboats, many items are applicable to most gasoline engines.
This weekend marks the opening of the archery deer and bear seasons in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D. The season runs from Sept. 19-Nov. 27. For deer (both antlered and antlerless), this will include one of the first Sunday hunts on Nov. 15.
The statewide archery season, which numbers about 400,000 bowhunters according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s archery license sales, kicks off for both buck and doe on Oct. 17 and runs until Nov. 7.
A youth and mentored youth squirrel hunt opened this past Saturday and runs until Sept. 26 when junior and mentored youth hunters can hunt with or without a hunting license. The first part of the regular squirrel season also got underway on Saturday and runs until Nov. 27.
The elk season also got underway Saturday for those lucky enough to draw an elk tag.
But back to deer that seem to be everywhere in suburbia and places you wouldn’t expect them to be.
I friend who lives off Lindbergh Avenue in Salisbury Township and not far from Lehigh Parkway has deer, even some sizable bucks, coming into this back yard that is bordered by other homes. Most recently, and as he was sitting on his patio and sipping a coffee, a 6-point buck sauntered up to within 15 feet of him. The attraction there is sunflowers and emerald arborvitae trees he has. Funny thing is, the deer only eat the center of the trees not the bottoms or tops which is an easy 7-foot stretch if they stand on their hind legs.
Then there was the doe that found its way inside the fence of the Allentown Fairgrounds in February as it seemed to walk around looking for an escape exit, according to the manager of the Sunoco gas station across the street.
There are also deer throughout Lehigh Parkway (even a bear in July), in small woodlots and fencerows around Parkland High School, the farmland across from Whitehall High School, Whitehall Parkway, woodlots off Schantz Road and behind the new Parkland elementary school, patches of woods along the Lehigh River from Whitehall to Laury’s Station, the woods along Huckleberry Road that will shortly be developed, small woodlots off Tilghman Street across from the vo-tech school, and of course the vast holdings of GEM Corporation (formerly Trojan Powder), all in Lehigh County.
The point being, deer were pushed out of from many of their northern woodland haunts because of development of warehouses, homes, apartments and office complexes, but they have adapted and survive.
A word of notice, the woodlot on Lehnert Road down from the tennis courts in Whitehall Township and owned by the County of Lehigh, was opened for bowhunting by former County Executive Don Cunningham. But now its posted for no hunting.
As most bowhunters hunt from a tree stand, every year hunters fall from tree stands because they lack proper safety equipment. According to the Tree Stand Safety Awareness Foundation (TSSA), the number one cause of injuries and deaths when deer hunting are from falling out of a treestand. They list 20 percent fall from home made stands, 31 percent from lock-on stands, 20 percent from ladder stands, 25 percent from climbers and 4 percent from others.
Falls shouldn’t happen with the array of safety harnesses on the market. It’s a small investment to pay for a life or limb.
LOCAL TROUT STOCKING
While the fall trout stocking schedule for Lehigh County is listed for Oct. 15, it was pushed back to Oct. 22 for the Little Lehigh Creek in Allentown.
With cooler nighttime temperatures local fishing should improve, primarily on lakes and ponds. Stream fishing, on the other hand, is slow except for avid fly anglers who have the patience and expertise to coax a leftover trout to hit.
Fall trout stockings are far and few between and as for Lehigh County, the stocking schedule lists the Little Lehigh Creek to be stocked Oct. 15, but it was moved to Oct. 22.
Until then, the best angling action right now is saltwater at the most popular northern New Jersey shore points.
According to On the Water Magazine, a remarkable inshore Bluefin tuna bite is going on. Plus, there’s plenty of action on bonito, false albacore, Spanish mackerel, terrific reports of fluke, even some inshore mahi-mahi. The magazine says there’s a build-up of bait in the bays and river which appears to have the makings of a good fall run.
Tackle World tackle shop in Rochelle Park, reported a solid inshore bite of black tip and spinner sharks as they’re feeding on lots of bunker with the added bonus of a Bluefin tuna or two.
Capt. Phil Sciortino, at the Tackle Box in Hazlet, NJ, says fluking has been really good with a little more than two weeks left in the season. He adds that the rough bottom areas of the Rattlesnake and Scotland Grounds has been yielding big fish and lots of limits. The porgy bite has also been good on the Tin Can Grounds.
Jilian’s Bait & Tackle in Atlantic Highlands, reported good fluking on the hard bottoms of Ambrose and Chapel Hill channels.
Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, NJ, reported several bluefish blitzes on the beach with blues stretching from Sea Bright to Long Branch, NJ. Blues were gorging on peanut bunker and spearing. Also, good numbers of blues and Spanish mackerel at the Rip on Sandy Hook. As for fluke, the keeper ratio is getting better in the surf, but shorts are still in the majority. Additionally, small stripers are falling for poppers in the Shrewsbury and Naversink rivers.
Mike Gleason, at Tak Waterman in Long Branch, managed to take (after a 30-minute fight) a 69-inch bluefin that swallowed his Madd Mantis popper just 20 feet from the boat. He says the offshore yellowfin tuna bite remains good while surf fishing has been producing blues and short bass with an occasional fluke.
Small blues, he added, blitzed the beach in Ocean Grove last week with plenty of small fluke in the wash.
Over at Grumpy’s Bait & Tackle in Seaside Park, they report fluke and blues continue to bite well in the surf. They’re surprised the blues are in so close. Crabbing too remains good in the bay but it’s recommend hitting the less frequented lagoons.
On the Water’s upcoming forecast, with two weeks remaining in the fluke season, is that fishing should be really good this week. It’s recommended anglers hit the rough bottoms with Gulp and bucktails. The beaches too should produce good action on bass, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and false albacore.
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.