The snows are back. No, not the slippery white stuff, but snow geese. And they substantially outnumber local Canada geese.
Local farmers detest snow geese because they can devour an entire winter wheat field, one of their favorite delicacies followed by corn.
Last week while driving on Mauch Chunk Road in South Whitehall Township, I couldn’t help but see several huge flocks of snows circling the cut crop fields owned by Jeras Corporation (Trojan Powder Co.) in Meyersville. But traffic wouldn’t allow me to pull over to see if they landed there. But feeding off in the distance of that field were a large flock of Canada geese. They were evidently eating the barely visible winter wheat that was planted there.
The week before I was in Northampton and saw other large, high-flying flocks of snows flying from West to East and my thoughts were that they may be enroute to put down in a quarry on Route 329 outside Northampton, a place they’ve landed in past years.
Hunting snow geese is not easy. They’re unpredictable and could be in one field on day and another the next day. One thing for sure, waterfowlers need a large supply of white decoys to lure them in. Some hunters use commercially made flexible sock-type decoys, while others employ white rags or even old diapers. So if you’re new to snow goose hunting, or interested in picking up some tips, the Pennsylvania Game Commission offers these DON’Ts:
Don’t leave your decoys out for extended periods of time. Pick them up daily in most circumstances. Decoys left out for days on end act as “goose repellent.”
When hunting, stay in your blinds. Snow geese can be very hard to spot against the sky and are notorious for “just appearing out of nowhere.”
Don’t stand around waiting for birds; they will see you long before you see them and you will be busted before they even get to you.
Don’t break the chain of birds off the roost. Snows tend to play “follow the leader” off the roost water and when they’re coming to your spot, you can decoy and shoot flock after flock if you don’t break the chain (typically three to four minutes between waves).
Hunters should take a mental note of numbers of birds shot and where birds fall, and do a pick up when there is a break in the action. If you don’t do this, you’ll break the chain of birds and they will land somewhere off in the distance and take the remaining birds on the roost with them.
Don’t have anyone call unless they sound like a greater snow goose. No calling is better than bad calling (the geese know the difference.)
There are others, including a lots of Do’s, but these should help the cause.
Contrary to some. Snow geese make great table fare. I’ve talked to one hunter who said they taste from the Tundra grasses from where the come. He only smokes the meat, makes jerky or cooks them in a stew. But if prepared correctly, it’s claimed they taste better than Canada geese.
Such delights as Barbeque Stuffed Snow Goose Breast; Grilled Caribbean Snow Goose; Skewered Snow Goose Breast; Snow Goose Fajitas/Jerky; Snow Goose Medallions; Snow Goose Cutlets; Stir Fried Snow Goose, or, how about Snow Goose Gumbo; Snow Goose Pie; Smoked Hawaiian Snow Goose and Snow Goose and Wild Rice Casserole to name a few. All of these and others are offered in the Snow Goose Recipe Book at www.agjv.ca/images/stories/pdf/snowgoosecookbook.pdf.
PRELIMINARY BEAR HARVEST
If you recall my recent preliminary bear harvest report where the number of bears taken were listed and for Lehigh County, there were three. I added that it would be nice if local sportsmen could learn where those three were taken, since a few years ago there were no bears shot in the county.
I just learned that all three were shot in the area of Bake Oven Knob on the Blue Mountain. One of those was taken by my friend Tim Papovich of Pennsville.
Skiers and snowboarders be advised that Blue Mountain Resort plans to fire up the snow guns tonight, Tuesday, November 20th and is preparing to open for the 2018-2019 winter season on Black Friday from 8:30am-10pm. Cooler temperatures and lower humidity are providing a big window of opportunity to build a base on most trails. The snow guns dust the trails overnight into the early morning hours, depending on the weather. This exciting event gets the Resort one step closer to opening their doors for a fun winter season! Snowmaking crews aim to open the following 3 trails and 1 lift on Friday, November 23: Easy Out Vista Trail Come Around Vista Lift
Lift tickets are $39 for an 8-hr lift ticket or $25 for a night ticket valid from 4pm-10pm available at the Summit Lodge Ticket Windows.
The mountain will also kick off their Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals at midnight on November 23rd. Off-Peak (midweek) lift tickets are $39, Peak (wknds & holidays) are $49. There is no limit to the number purchased and there are no blackout dates. Gifts Cards will also be on sale with an opportunity to get Bonus Cash:
$100 Gift Card get $10 Bonus Cash
$200 Gift Card get $20 Bonus Cash
$300 Gift Card get $30 Bonus Cash
$400 Gift Card get $40 Bonus Cash
$500 Gift Card get $50 Bonus Cash
These gift cards would make great Christmas stocking stuffers that snow sports fans would appreciate. Information regarding deals and events can be found at skibluemt.com.
For outdoor sportsmen and sportsgals, NRA’s Great American Outdoor Show tickets are now on sale that scheduled for February 2-10 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Showgoers can purchase tickets online at www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org. And they too would make dandy Christmas stocking stuffers.
The Great American Outdoor Show is a nine-day celebration of hunting, fishing, and outdoor traditions treasured by millions of Americans and their families. Featuring firearm manufacturers, hunting and fishing outfitters, fishing tackle, boats, RVs, archery, and fun for the entire family. More than 1,100 exhibitors fill nine halls and cover 650,000 square feet, making the Great American Outdoor Show the largest consumer sports and outdoor show in the world.
In addition to the expansive exhibit halls, the 2019 Great American Outdoor Show includes a jam-packed schedule of events—including the 3D Bowhunter Challenge, Dock Dogs competitions, celebrity appearances, more than 200 seminars, wild game cooking demonstrations, activities just for kids, an NRA Country concert, and much more.
Regular adult admission is only $14. Special rates apply for kids, seniors, groups and multi-day tickets.
For more information and regular updates on the 2019 Great American Outdoor Show, including celebrity guest appearance times, seminar schedule and special events, visit www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.
Pennsylvania’s 2018 elk hunting season produced 99 elk taken by 125 hunters during the regular one-week elk season that ended Nov. 10. And for those licensed to hunt antlered elk, also known as bulls, the success rate was 96 percent, with 25 of 26 tags filled.
This year’s harvest included some large elk. Thirteen bulls each were estimated to weigh 700 pounds or more, with two of them going more than 800 pounds. The heaviest bull taken in this year’s hunt was estimated at 894 pounds. That bull, which sported a 7-by-8-point rack, was taken in Gibson Township, Cameron County by Richard L. Reicherter I, of Wynnewood, Pa.
Other bruisers included an 806-pounder with a 10-by-7 rack was taken in Goshen Township, Clearfield County by Mark D. Copp, of Wellsboro.
Official measurements of bull racks taken in the hunt cannot be recorded until the antlers have air dried for at least 60 days after the animal was harvested.
There also were some large antlerless elk taken in the harvest. Eight of the 74 cows taken by hunters during the one-week season weighed over 500 pounds.
Thirty-nine elk – nine bulls and 30 cows – were taken on the opening day of the elk season Nov. 5.
“Overall, the 2018 elk season was fairly typical with a slightly lower success rate for antlerless elk hunters,” said Jeremy Banfield, Game Commission elk biologist.
One difference from previous years was the distribution of elk harvests across all the hunt zones, Banfield noted. “Normally we’d like at least a 50 percent success rate in each zone, where this year several zones had 100 percent success, while others reached only 20 to 40 percent success.
“Poor weather on Monday, Tuesday, and again on Friday might have contributed to the lower harvest, but most hunters recognize the rarity of having an elk tag and will hunt hard no matter the weather. Several hunters reported seeing elk while hunting and just not being able to connect with them.”
Successful hunters within 24 hours of harvest are required to bring their elk to a check station, where tissue samples are collected to test for chronic wasting disease, brucellosis, and tuberculosis. To date none of these diseases have been detected in Pennsylvania elk.
To participate in the elk hunt, hunters must submit an application, then must be selected through a random drawing and purchase a license. The drawing annually attracts more than 30,000 applicants.
WISCONSIN GLASSWARE COMPANY GIVES HANDGUNS TO EMPLOYEES FOR CHRISTMAS
“I want to make sure all of our employees are safe and happy – a handgun was the perfect gift,” co-owner Ben Wolfgram said in a news release.
The business said employees received a handgun of their choice.
BenShot is a father and son team who design and make glassware with bullets embedded into the side. BenShot started making glasses in 2015 and now employs 16 full-time people, including veterans, in their glass workshop in Hortonville.
Original story by NewsJax4/WGBA/WACY
Monday’s Nov. 26 antlered deer hunting season will have up to a million orange clad hunters invading Penn’s Woods in pursuit of a buck. The season runs until Dec. 8 in most areas of the state.
According to Pennsylvania Game Commission, about 45 percent of the season’s buck harvest was taken on the opener last year. But last season, hunters took more deer on the first Saturday of the season – a first in Pennsylvania’s deer-management history. “These really are two of the best times to be deer hunting,” said Chris Rosenberry, PGC deer and elk biologist. And with snow on the ground, it should make seeing and tracking them easier.
He points out that larger racked (and older) bucks are making up more of the deer harvest with each passing year. Last year, 163,750 bucks were taken, making it the second-largest buck harvest in Pennsylvania since antler restrictions were started in 2002. It was the 10th best all time.
Rosenberry said that in 2017, 57 percent of the antlered buck harvest was made up of bucks 2.5 years old or older. The rest were 1.5 years old. “Older, bigger bucks are making up more of the buck harvest than they have for at least a couple decades. Hunters like the bucks in Pennsylvania today compared to what many of them saw 30 years ago,” Rosenberry boasted.
Bob Danenhower, Orefield-based taxidermist, says he’s been having big bucks come in ever year since he started his business 33 years ago. “In fact, back then when a 130 size buck would come in for mounting, guys from the coal regions would come down to see it as they never before saw one that big,” Danenhower explained.
As for field conditions, the PGC says that precipitation through spring and summer fostered a favorable supply of fall foods. Grazing grass was still green in early November and soft and hard mast crops have been plentiful. Cornfields stood longer this fall than usual and trees held their leaves longer. And deer, they point out, typically key on food sources within good cover, Deer, they explain, won’t leave cornfields until the corn is taken down. So the PGC recommends hunters scout as food sources dry up and hunting pressure can inspire their selection and location.
As a reminder, the agency strongly urges hunters to use a climbing harness if using a climbing, hang-on even ladder tree stands.
Hunters should also remember it’s required to report their harvest within 10 days of harvest. That can be done by sending in a report card that comes with the hunting license, online at www.pgc.pa.org and click on ‘Report a Harvest” button on the home page; or via a phone report by calling 855-724-8681 (855-PAHUNT1). Mentored youth hunters are required to report deer harvests within five days.
It’s also necessary to consider the area you’re hunting may be in a Chronic Wasting Disease county which has special regulations. Check the PGC’s website (www.pgc.pa.gov) to find the specific boundaries.
PGC BUCK CONTEST
If you take a big buck, a special buck or your first buck, the PGC would like to hear from you as they’re sponsoring a “Buck Harvest” contest. The contest is open for archery and firearms season bucks. Photos and information on your buck will be accepted through Dec. 17 by emailing a photo plus name/address/age/hometown, harvest date and county the buck was taken to email@example.com. Winners’ photos will appear on PGC’s Facebook page and each will receive a trail camera.
Steve Meserve of Lewis Fishery in Lambertville, NJ, a commercial shad fishing operation on the Delaware River every spring, reports his final shad tally for the year was 864 shad compared to 1,262 in 2017. Of that total, 88 were bucks, 247 roe and 529 were returned. This compares to 208, 319 and 735 respectively in 2017. This works out to 22 shad per haul compared to 29 in 2017.
Pure Fishing, owners of popular Berkley and Stren fishing lines, Ugly Stick and Fenwick fishing rods, to mention a few, has been sold.
Newell Brands, with its Accelerated Transformation Plan, designed to create a simpler, faster, stronger consumer-focused portfolio of leading brands (translation, they’re greedy and want more profit), announced it has signed definitive agreements to sell two businesses, Pure Fishing and Jostens.
Combined, these transactions are expected to contribute approximately $2.5 billion of after-tax proceeds, subject to customary working capital and other transaction adjustments, which will be deployed toward deleveraging and share repurchase.
If you recall, Berkley, Stren and others were separate companies many moons ago. Then profitability set in and they were sold.
According to their press release, Newell Brands have signed a definitive agreement to sell Pure Fishing to Sycamore Partners, a leading private equity firm specializing in consumer, distribution and retail-related investments. Pure Fishing is a leading global provider of fishing tackle, lures, rods and reels with a portfolio of brands that includes Abu Garcia®, All Star®, Berkley®, Chub®, Fenwick®, Greys®, Hardy®, Hodgman®, Johnson™, JRC®, Mitchell®, Penn®, Pflueger®, Sebile®, Shakespeare®, SpiderWire®, Stren®, and Ugly Stik®.
Gross proceeds from the Pure Fishing divestiture are anticipated to be $1.3 billion, subject to customary working capital and transaction adjustments. In 2017 net sales for Pure Fishing were approximately $556 million.
Newell Brands also signed a definitive agreement to sell Jostens (you may have, as I do, a high school class ring from them) to Platinum Equity, a leading private investment firm. Jostens, based in Minneapolis, is a trusted partner in the academic and achievement channel, providing products, programs and services that help its customers celebrate moments that matter. The company's products comprise yearbooks, publications, jewelry and consumer goods that serve the K-12 educational, college and professional sports segments.
Gross proceeds from the Jostens transaction are expected to be approximately $1.3 billion, subject to customary working capital and transaction adjustments. Jostens’ 2017 net sales were $768 million.
“We are pleased to announce another step forward in our Accelerated Transformation Plan, with the signing of the Pure Fishing and Jostens transactions,” said Michael Polk, Newell Brands President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have full confidence that these businesses will continue to thrive under new ownership, as they leverage their strong positions in the market place.”
Both transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC acted as financial advisor to Newell Brands on the Pure Fishing transaction, while Jefferies LLC acted as financial advisor to the company on the Jostens deal.
Newell Brands (NYSE: NWL) is a leading global consumer goods company with a strong portfolio of well-known brands, including Paper Mate®, Sharpie®, Dymo®, EXPO®, Parker®, Elmer’s®, Coleman®, Marmot®, Oster®, Sunbeam®, FoodSaver®, Mr. Coffee®, Graco®, Baby Jogger®, NUK®, Calphalon®, Rubbermaid®, Contigo®, First Alert®, and Yankee Candle®. For hundreds of millions of consumers, Newell Brands makes life better every day, where they live, learn, work and play.
This press release and additional information about Newell Brands are available on the company’s website, www.newellbrands.com.
Sycamore Partners is a private equity firm based in New York. The firm specializes in consumer, distribution and retail-related investments and partners with management teams to improve the operating profitability and strategic value of their business. Sycamore has approximately $10 billion in assets under management. The firm's investment portfolio currently includes Belk, Coldwater Creek, CommerceHub, Hot Topic, MGF Sourcing, NBG Home, Staples, Inc., Staples United States Retail, Staples Canada, Talbots, The Limited and Torrid.
Founded in 1995 by Tom Gores, Platinum Equity is a global investment firm with approximately $13 billion of assets under management and a portfolio of approximately 40 operating companies that serve customers around the world. The firm is currently investing from Platinum Equity Capital Partners IV, a $6.5 billion global buyout fund, and Platinum Equity Small Cap Fund, a $1.5 billion buyout fund focused on investment opportunities in the lower middle market. Platinum Equity specializes in mergers, acquisitions and operations – a trademarked strategy it calls M&A&O® – acquiring and operating companies in a broad range of business markets, including manufacturing, distribution, transportation and logistics, equipment rental, metals services, media and entertainment, technology, telecommunications and other industries. Over the past 23 years Platinum Equity has completed more than 200 acquisitions.
According to a report from Gun Broker.com and Gun Zone, the number of concealed handgun permits has again increased. In 2018, the number of concealed handgun permits soared to over 17.25 million – a 273% increase since 2007. 7.14% of American adults have permits.
Unlike surveys that may be affected by people’s unwillingness to answer some personal questions, concealed handgun permit data is the only really “hard data” that we have on gun ownership across the United States. Still, an even larger number of people carry because in 14 states people don’t need a permit to carry in all or virtually all those states.
* Last year, despite the common perception that growth in the number of permit holders would stop after the 2016 election, the number of permits grew by about 890,000.
* Outside the restrictive states of California and New York, about 8.63% of the adult population has a permit.
* In fifteen states, more than 10% of adults have permits, up from just eleven last year.
* Alabama has the highest rate — 22.1%. Indiana is second with 17.9%, and South Dakota is a close third with 17.2%.
* Four states now have over 1 million permit holders: Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
* Another 14 states have adopted constitutional carry in all or almost all of their state, meaning that a permit is no longer required. However, because of these constitutional carry states, the nationwide growth in permits does not paint a full picture of the overall increase in concealed carry.
* Permits continued to grow much faster for women and minorities. Between 2012 and 2018, the percent of women with permits grew 111% faster for women and the percent of blacks with permits grew 20% faster than for whites. Permits for Asians grew 29% faster than for whites.
* Concealed handgun permit holders are extremely law-abiding. In Florida and Texas, permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors and felonies at one-sixth of the rate at which police officers are convicted.
Injury Prevention,” a scholarly journal, released what may be the closest look yet at gun ownership across the US. Their survey, published in 2015, asked a representative sample of 4,000 adults nationwide whether they own firearms. The findings helped the research group estimate gun ownership rates in each state. The national average is 29.1%. Here are the percentages derived from the survey:
From lowest to highest:
Delaware – 5.2%
Rhode Island – 5.8%
New York – 10.3%
New Jersey – 11.3%
New Hampshire – 14.4%
Connecticut – 16.6%
Ohio – 19.6%
Nebraska – 19.8%
California – 19.8%
Maryland – 20.7%
Massachusetts – 22.6%
Maine – 22.6%
Washington DC – 25.9%
Illinois – 26.2%
Oregon – 26.6%
Pennsylvania – 27.1%
Missouri – 27.1%
Washington – 27.7%
North Carolina – 28.7%
Vermont – 28.8%
Michigan – 28.8%
Virginia – 29.3%
Oklahoma – 31.2%
Georgia – 31.6%
Utah – 31.9%
Kansas – 32.2%
Arizona – 32.3%
Florida – 32.5%
Indiana – 33.8%
Iowa – 33.8%
Colorado – 34.3%
Wisconsin – 34.7%
South Dakota – 35%
Texas – 35.7%
Minnesota – 36.7%
Nevada – 37.5%
Tennessee – 39.4%
Kentucky – 42.4%
Mississippi – 42.8%
South Carolina – 44.4%
Louisiana – 44.5%
Hawaii – 45.1%
North Dakota – 47.9%
Alabama – 48.9%
New Mexico – 49.9%
Montana – 52.3%
Wyoming – 53.8%
West Virginia – 54.2%
Idaho – 56.9%
Arkansas – 57.9%
Alaska – 61.7%
With the deer rut in progress (when bucks chase doe’s during the breeding season - for you non-hunters), it’s a time for motorists to stay alert, because if you hit a deer with your vehicle, you’ll probably have to pay a deductible for your car insurance to cover the damage. And if you no longer carry collision coverage, you’re out the cost for repair.
The likeliness of a deer collision is quite high in Pennsylvania. In fact, the Keystone State ranks third in states where you’re most likely to hit a deer with your vehicle. West Virginia is rated first and Montana second.
Since we turned our clocks back, it becomes darker earlier in the evening when many motorists are returning from work. Dawn and dusk are the peak times deer when are on the move, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC). And deer often travel in groups. So if one crosses the road in front of your vehicle, there’s a good chance there’s more.
The PGC offers these driving tips when driving during these times. The agency says slow down at dawn and dusk; pay attention to deer crossing signs; when appropriate, use high beams to see farther down the road; be extra vigilant when driving on narrow roads with woods on either side or standing corn as a darting deer shortens your reaction time; avoid swerving as it can cause a lost of control of your vehicle; don’t rely on deer whistles as they don’t work.
If a deer is hit, it’s not necessary to report it to the PGC. If it dies, Pennsylvania residents may claim it. To do so, it’s required to call the PGC’s regional office and report where the accident occurred and a dispatcher will collect your accident information and issue a free permit number that must be written down. And this must be done within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer. If hitting a buck, the antlers must be turned over to the PGC or may be purchased for $10 per point. Removing antlers from a road-killed deer is illegal, unless it’s being claimed by the driver.
The PGC also recommends that if hitting a deer and it isn’t deceased, it’s strongly advised to maintain your distance because some deer recover and will jump up and move on. If it’s still alive, call a PGC regional office or local law enforcement and it will be put down. To remove a deceased deer from the state roadway, call PENDOT at 800-FIX-ROAD and a road crew will pick it up.
According to Bob Danenhower, of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield, many of his customers and hunting buddies are reporting good number of bucks cashing does. “They’re seeing three-four bucks daily instead of the usual one or two. And their racks are exceptionally nice,” says Danenhower.
So far he’s been getting in lots of 8 and 10-pointers for mounting, instead of the customary six pointers. Seems bowhunters are waiting out larger bucks and ones they’ve seen on their trail cameras. A few customers who used Urine-Luck doe-in-heat scent that he sells, have scored well. “One customer used a drip rag with it on and brought in a nice 8-pointer,” Danenhower said.
As we get further into the rut, activity can only increase.
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.