If you still have an unfilled antlered or antlerless deer hunting tag, you get another shot sort of speak when specific seasons open Dec 26.
For firearm hunters, the antlerless deer season runs Dec. 26 – Jan. 28 in Wildlife Management Units (WMU) 2B, 5C and 5D.
If you’re hunting with a flintlock, the season for antlered and antlerless deer runs Dec. 26 – Jan. 16 in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E, 5A and 5B provided you have a muzzleloader license. The flintlock season is longer if hunting in 2B, 5C, and 5D that runs Dec 26 – Jan. 29.
If you’re a bowhunter, the archery deer season for antlered and antlerless runs Dec. 26 – Jan. 28 in WMUs 2B, 5C, and 5D.
For those bowhunters hunting in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2A, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 4E and 5B, the season runs Dec. 26 – Jan. 16.
Now if you’ve already filled your tags but love to hunt possibly with some snow on the ground, the small game season also reopens for Squirrel, Pheasant and rabbits from Dec.26 – Feb. 27.
Waterfowlers can also pursue the resident ducks until Jan. 21, and the resident goose population that runs Dec. 12 – Jan 14 and again from Feb. 3 – Feb. 25.
Snow geese have arrived with a sizable flock spotted in East Allen Township, Northampton County. Their seasons run from now until Jan. 28 and then the Conservation Hunt kicks off Jan. 30 – Apr. 20.
Snow geese do a lot of damage to local farmers winter wheat crops and many would be most happy to have you hunt them, with permission of course.
Recently posted on The Sportsmen Party’s Facebook page was crossbow hunter Dave Kammerdieneer’s new Pennsylvania record bull elk that scored 446 Boone & Crockett Club points that beat the old record of 400 2/8 according to the posting. The majestic elk was taken on 9-15-22 in Pebble Run, Clearfield County and had 11 points on the right antler and seven on the left.
As for the recent deer hunting season, Bob Danenhower, of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield, has had one of his best seasons with loads of 8-point and better bucks brought in for shoulder mounts. When asked, he said that most of the trophy racks were brought in during the archery season as opposed to firearms season.
While his business in booming, he said it’s also true for deer processors. Danenhower said a lot of butchers have had to turn deer away since they’re inundated with more work that they can handle. And over the year there are less butchers as some retired or just couldn’t get the help. And there’s another season forthcoming.
Now that the rifle deer hunting season has ended, and before it kicks off again Dec. 26 in selected WMUs and for flintlock firearm hunters, there’s still some fishing action if you don’t mind traveling to the Jersey shore.
According to our fishing reporters from On the Water Magazine, there were striper blitzes on the beaches with anglers blind casting to holes and around jetties with fish up to 40 inches being hooked. Bass were hitting metal-lipped swimmers, shads and bucktails. There were also reports of better togging on the reefs and wrecks for boat anglers.
Rick Hebert from Tackle World in Rochelle Park, had good reports of bass in the ocean opposite the Highlands Bridge and from Manasquan Inlet on South. He added that blackfishing has picked up on the local reefs.
Mike Pinto, at Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright, said there were blasts of bass on the beach over the weekend but things have slowed a bit. Anglers are still catching some keepers on shads, swimming plugs and poppers.
Mike Gleason, at TAK Waterman in Long Branch, reported there were blitzes on every beach last Saturday with surfers throwing bass assassins, bucktails and metal-lipped swimmers. He said the fish were a mix of sizes but there were some 30 pounders. He added that stripers had peanuts pinned against the beach in Ocean Grove and Bradley Beach last Friday. One bass looked like it would explode if it ate just one more peanut he surmised.
Bob Matthews, at Fisherman’s Den in Belmar, said stripers are requiring a little more work but they’re still chasing bunker however the bait is not as wide spread as it was a few days ago. He recommends more casting and less looking is the better tactic. Matthews believes Tsunami sand eels fished with a teaser if the smaller fish are around. The better fishing lately, he added, has been on the beaches of Southern Ocean County.
Lloyd Bailey, at the Reel Seat in Brielle, said striper fishing remains good in his area. He and members of the Berkeley Striper Club tagged and released more than 600 stripers over the weekend. The bass were caught from boats and in the surf. The bite was best from the Manasquan Inlet to the south with Mantoloking being a hot spot. He also received good reports on blackfishing with fish 9 to 13 pounds being caught. There were also some bluefin hooked inshore by boat anglers.
Jason Szabo, of Fishermen’s Supply in Point Pleasant Beach, reported striper action remains reliable. There are occasional blitzes but blind casting along the beaches is producing fish he reports. Szabo said there are plenty of bass in Manasquan River and back through the Point Pleasant Canal that are hitting soft plastics. Blackfishing saw an improvement especially in the deeper drops. He also heard of a few bluefin tuna caught in the shipping lanes on popping plugs and RonZ lures.
Scott Thomas, at Grumpy’s Bait & Tackle in Seaside Park, said there were a few bass blitzes for anglers working the holes. Bass up to 40 inches were hooked on bucktails, shads, Mag Darters and SP Minnows.
If you’re an owner of an outboard boat motor and haven’t as yet prepared it for winter storage, don’t wait until the snow flies to do so. The folks at Yamaha offer these winterizing tips that you can do yourself to save the cost of taking it to a boat dealer.
For starters, Yamaha recommends draining any water out of the engine as any water will turn to ice, expand, and likely break something like the powerhead. In case you’ve never attempted this before, simply trim the motor all the way in toward the transom and any water remaining inside will come out.
Next, treat the fuel left in the tank. The ethanol-mix fuel in the tank will be setting there and trying to separate all winter and the water that comes out will sink to the bottom of the tank where the fuel pickup is located. That water will be the first thing that will go into your fuel system when trying to start the engine in spring; The easy way to avoid this is to put fuel stabilizer in the tank like is done in lawn mowers, weed wackers and leaf blowers. The stabilizer, says Yamaha, prevents the fuel from separating so no water goes into the cylinders.
Batteries, if left in the boat, do not like cold weather. If the boat battery gets fully discharged in winter, it can freeze and could crack the housing. If your boat is stored outside, it’s recommended to remove the battery and store it inside where it can’t freeze. Yamaha also suggests putting a trickle charger on it over the winter as it can keep the battery at or near full charge so it will be ready to start the motor in spring.
It’s also a good idea to change your four-stroke outboard oil to get rid of dirt and acids that may have accumulated inside. There are videos on motor company websites showing how to do this job. It’s far from a fun job as you’ll need a collector pan, funnel and filter. Once the oil is drained, the next problem is what to do with the old oil. If there’s not a recycling place that will take the oil, you may want to ask your local service station where you may take your vehicle for a lube and oil change. Or take it to the dealer where you bought the car or truck and ask the service manager.
This may be a good time to also to change the lower unit gear oil. Another unpleasant task. Again, check the website to see how it’s done. West Marine also has a video on this task.
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.