If you haven’t yet purchased your 2019-20 Pennsylvania hunting license, now might be the time, says the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The new license year began today, July 1, so only 2019-20 licenses are valid when hunting or using Game Commission shooting ranges. And sales of 2019-20 antlerless deer licenses are about to begin, and only hunters holding valid general licenses may apply.
Pennsylvania residents are given preference in applying for antlerless licenses, and resident hunters may apply for their first antlerless licenses beginning Monday, July 8.
Nonresidents may submit their first applications a week later, beginning Monday, July 15.
Resident applicants need to make checks and money orders payable to “County Treasurer” for $6.90 for each license they seek. The fee for nonresidents is $26.90 per license.
A list of participating county treasurers and their addresses can be found within the 2019-20 Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest, which again is being provided free of charge to all license buyers.
Applications that are incomplete or sent without proper remittance will be rejected and returned to the applicant. Applications received before the Monday start of any round also will be returned to sender.
In any WMU where antlerless licenses remain, resident and nonresident applicants may apply for a second license beginning Aug. 5, and a third license Aug. 19.
Applications during these rounds are accepted by mail only, and must be mailed with proper remittance in an official pink envelope, which ordinarily is provided by the license-issuing agent at the time a general hunting license is purchased.
In most parts of the state, hunters are limited to purchasing a total of three antlerless licenses.
However, in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, there is no limit to how many tags a hunter may acquire until the total allocation has been exhausted. Each hunter may apply for only one license per round in those WMUs until Aug. 5, when an unlimited number of applications can be submitted. Only three applications can be mailed in each envelope.
If licenses remain, over-the-counter sales begin Aug. 26 in WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D, and Oct. 7 in all other WMUs.
To check on licenses remaining for your WMU of choice, go to the PGC’s website and click on “Antlerless Licenses” then on “Antlerless License Availability,” to see what the allocation is and what has been sold to date.
For example, as of this posting, the following antlerless licenses remain for nearby WMUs:
3D: 25,000, 1 sold, 24,999 remain
4C: 36,000, 13 sold, 35,999 remain
5C: 70,000, 0 sold, 70,000 remain
5B: 67,000, 1 sold, 66,999
5D: 29,000, 0 sold, 79,000 remain
As this is Fourth of July week, boaters and paddle craft enthusiasts will be out in force. And if you’re of the latter, whether kayak fishing or just out for a quiet day on the water, proper and efficient kayak paddling will help increase speed and momentum so you can travel farther with less fatigue, say the folks at YakGear, a Houston, Texas company that markets a variety of paddle craft gear.
The pro’s at YakGear offer these general tips for new and seasoned paddlers to make the most of the day on the water.
Efficient paddling, they say, begins with proper sitting posture. An upright sitting position is key to getting the most from your paddle blades and allows for easier dipping and removal of the blade from the water. Paddlers should be sitting upright or slightly forward and not lean on the backrest. Feet should be anchored to the footrests or foot molds with knees slightly bent.
Don’t overlook hand grip. To determine the optimal grip placement, YakGear says to position the middle of the paddle on your head and grab the shaft with elbows at 90 degrees. This will be the ideal gripping spot for each hand. Most paddlers will tend to over grip the paddle. A light grip will prevent hands from growing tired and give you a better feeling for the balance of the paddle. Using paddle grips, such as HOLDFast Kayak Paddle Grips, will help keep hands fresh and provide a consistent, tactile point of contact.
A smooth and consistent paddle stroke too is perhaps the most important aspect of efficient paddling. According to YakGear, most new paddlers hold the paddle too close to their bodies with their elbows bent – more commonly known as paddle hugging. Instead, keep the paddle as far in front of your chest as possible, with elbows slightly bent. This will allow you to reach farther forward when you begin your stroke.
And lastly, Yak says some folks may be using the wrong length paddle. The general rule of thumb for finding the correct length of paddle is to stand straight and position the paddle vertically alongside your body. If you can reach up and just hook your first finger joint over the blade, it will be the correct length. For kayaks wider than 30 inches, you will need to add those extra inches to the overall paddle length. Paddles are measured in centimeters instead of inches, so a conversion will be needed. One inch equals 2.54 centimeters. For most kayaks and adults, a 230 cm or 240 cm paddle will do the trick.
For kayakers that straddle standard paddle lengths or may have several different sizes of kayaks, YakGear’s Backwater Assassin Carbon Fiber Hybrid Paddle, for example, provides added versatility with an extra 10 centimeters of adjustment to fill the gap. The kayak paddle is available in lengths of 230-240 cm and 250-260 cm.
With these tips in mind, be careful out there this week as the waters will be crowded, especially at places like Beltzville Lake in Carbon County, Blue Marsh in Berks and Lake Wallenpaupack in Pike County.
If you happed to be a golfer and avid bird watcher, you may want to get a tee time at Jack Frost National Golf Course in the Pocono’s. A buddy played there recently and said there’s an active bald eagle nest on the 10th hole.
The free National Wild Turkey Federations' JAKES program for youngsters offers great outdoors learning sessions
Now that school is out and you have youngsters that may be into ball sports or addicted to video games, their smartphones and iPads, it may be a good idea to give them a more rounded, different experience by enrolling them in the upcoming National Wild Turkey Federations (NWTF), JAKES Youth Field Day set for August 3.
The event, held at Ontelaunee Rod & Gun Club in New Tripoli, educates approximately 150 children, ages 8-12 and 12-16.
The JAKES program (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) has 10 learning stations that include archery, canoeing, fishing, NWTF’s take aim, safety, 22 shooting, trapping and more.
The more advanced Xtreme’s sessions are tailored for those in the 12-16 age class. This class is limited to 50 youngsters and includes several additional learning stations such as blood trailing, tree stand safety and shooting .223 rifles instead of smaller caliber .22s.
According to Lee Creyer, NWTF volunteer, the child must have at least one year in the JAKES program before enrolling in the advanced Xtreme’s sessions.
The program is free to all participants and each child will receive a complimentary T-shirt with lunch being included.
If interested in enrolling your youngster(s), email Creyer at email@example.com. Include the children’s name, age, address, phone number, T-shirt size, chaperone name (Mandatory unless in the same family), names of preferred other youth groups in same group and number of years of prior attendance, if any.
After registration, Creyer said you will receive a release form that needs to be signed and returned. Once received, registration on the day of the event begins at 7 a.m. with the day’s activities beginning at 8 a.m. and concluding at approximately at 5 p.m.
In a phone interview, Creyer remarked that over half of his current entrants have never attended a JAKES program. An encouraging sign.
With seemingly constant rain, this has been a bad stream and river fishing season. Best bets are lakes and ponds. And with bass season now open, you should concentrate your efforts on big waters like Ontelaunee Reservoir and Blue Marsh Lake in Berks County, Beltzville and Mauch Chunk lakes in Carbon, Lake Nockamixon in Bucks and Lake Wallenpaupack in Pike County. There’s also Lehigh County’s own Leaser Lake that is strictly catch-and-release on all species except for trout.
Incidentally, the hot trout bait right now is Berkley’s PowerBait worms in Bubblegum flavor. According to Willie Marx at Willie’s Bait & Tackle in Cementon, they also work well on Lehigh River smallmouth bass.
On the saltwater scene, northern New Jersey stripers are still being caught on the beaches, with a blitz occurring in the Deal surf for anglers using peanut bunker. Blue fish, in the 5-10-pound range, are popping up around the point at Sandy Hook and Keansburg Pier. Around Sea Bright, small bass and blues are falling for worms, sand crabs and bunker chunks. There’s also some black drum showing up in the surf.
Big blues are lingering in the Shrewsbury and Neversink rivers and fluke fishing is improving in both waters.
In Long Branch, keeper fluke are being hooked in the surf on bucktails tipped with Gulp teasers, SP minnows, Shads and Red Fin lures.
If you want really big fish, On the Water magazine reports offshore anglers are catching good eating bluefin and yellowfin tuna along with some sizable mahi-mahi.
Our 12-year old grandson shocked our son when he said he’d like to go hunting. A shocker because the boy is very active in basketball and baseball and up to this point never hinted he’d be interested in hunting. Perhaps the incentive was that two of his best buddies hunt with their dads.
So when my son asked how to get him started, I strongly suggested they attend a mandatory upcoming hunter safety course, as we did many moons ago.
And since I spent 43 years in law enforcement, it was thought my experience should help in regards to gun safety and safe handling prior to taking an upcoming hunter safety course.
I asked my grandson if he’d like to initially start off learning about firearms with a handgun or rifle. He chose the former as it appears to be the easiest to hold. With that, I introduced him to the simple, gas piston-powered Gamo break-barrel, single shot pellet pistol that has a manufacturer rated speed of 508 fps.
While there are a myriad of BB and pellet pistols on the market, most are C02 powered and the cartridges are somewhat expensive for someone in training. Plus, if the cartridge isn’t used up during a training session, it’s unsafe to keep it in the handgun and not good for the O-rings that maintain a seal to prevent leakage.
I chose the Gamo as the company has been manufacturing air guns for over 120 years. They are also the largest manufacturer of airgun pellets in the world and one of the most recognized air gun manufacturers in Europe. They can be found in more than 50 countries where they’re commonly used for hunting and plinking.
Upon rehearsing the safety requirements of wearing eye protection, keeping the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot, not pointing the muzzle at anything but the target, and holding it at the low-ready position in-between shots, I was surprised that without prompting, my grandson kept his finger alongside the receiver of the Gamo P-900 when I handed it to him, and he checked to make sure the trigger safety was engaged.
After reviewing safe handling of the Gamo P-900, then subsequent sight alignment of the fiber optic front sight and adjustable rear sight, plus trigger squeeze, a pellet was loaded and he took a stance. His first shot from the light 1.3-pound, 12.5-inch long Gamo P-900 was low left at 10 yards. I advised him to pull the stout 4.5-pound trigger (pull weight), as straight back as he could. The next shot was closer to the center of the target. Surprising me again, he said he was going to try the next shot in a kneeling position, one of three we previously reviewed. Bingo. This one hit a tad low left in the orange center of the ping pong ball-size dot on the paper target. He was all smiles and appeared hooked on target shooting.
The next progression would be grand pop’s hefty Gamo break-barrel, scoped, pneumatic pellet rifle that could now be used for squirrel hunting in Pennsylvania since the rules were changed last year.
Who knows. Our grandson may eventually forego ball sports and take an interest in competitive BB gun shooting and perhaps be a member of the 64 top BB gun teams at the Daisy Nationals, a national championship shoot wherein youngsters ages 8-15 will compete on July 3-6 in Rogers, Ark, according to Lawrence Taylor, Daisy/Gamo Director of Public Relations.
Taylor describes the Daisy Nationals as competitive shooting that teaches mental focus, bolsters self-esteem and improves coordination. “Every year we hear stories of how competitors have raised grades and became happier since thy started the program. This is especially true for those who are dealing with a learning disability or other issue that can make excelling as a youth more difficult,” said Taylor.
Daisy Nationals’ youth competitors shoot four positions – Standing, Kneeling, Sitting and Prone – at targets placed at a distance of 5 meters using Daisy Model 499B Champion BB guns that are billed as the most accurate 5-meter BB gun in the world according to Taylor. “It’s not your old Red Ryder – this muzzle-loading BB gun will dot the “i” every time, Taylor explains.
He goes on to say that teams from 17 states will compete in this year’s event and most locally, the Rangers and Shrewsbury (Pa) Sharpshooters will compete. The event covers gun safety, technique, match rules extensive written test and an extension of Daisy’s youth gun initiative.
If our grandson continues in the sport, he could possibly go on to be a member of the USA Shooting Team and compete in future international Pan American games, the Olympics of the shooting sports wherein shotguns and other firearms are used.
For more information on Gamo products go to www.gamousa.com.
While the deer hunting season closed in January, it doesn’t have to end if you take to the woods and fields in search of antler sheds.
According to Pennsylvania resident Bob Foulkrod, a RedHead Pro Hunting Team member, outdoor TV personality and outdoor writer, “From a practical standpoint, hunting sheds is a tremendous aid in hunting the deer that grew them. Finding shed antlers in your hunting area in late January and into February and March, can tell you a great deal about the number and quality of bucks you are likely to see during next hunting season.”
Shedding can start to occur in late December as famed wildlife photographer and author Dr. Lenny Rue III indicates in his new book, Whitetail Savvy (a sensational encyclopedia on whitetails available from Rue at www.ruewildlifephotos.com). Says Rue, “With the ever increasing amount of daylight after December 21st, the melatonin is suppressed by the end of March and the luteinizing hormone allows enough testosterone to be produced to start the growth of the buck’s new antlers.”
In his chapter on sheds, Rue writes that finding cast antlers may help hunters to be more successful in locating a good buck the following deer season. Sheds, he contends, also make good knife handles, door pulls and chandeliers.
Rue goes on to say that even more important, cast antlers give definite proof which bucks made it through the hunting season, how large the bucks are and where they might be found next season.
He adds that although bucks may not live in the same area in which they spend their winter, hunters who live in an area where deer do not yard up, can find sheds that indicate home range.
And as many shed hunters know, if you find one antler you may or may not find the other one. Rue says that most of the time a buck will lose one antler and not drop the second for another hour, day or week. And if not found a short time after they’re cast, they’ll be consumed by rodents and other animals desperate for minerals.
Trying to spot antlers in a forest littered with leaves and sticks could be tough, as they don’t stand out. He writes about an Indiana farmer who had two of his tractor tires punctured by a shed as he was driving in his hayfield. “That cost him $600 to have the tires replaced.”
But for shed hunters, finding large ones could bring big bucks of the monetary kind. Rue points out that if finding a large 150-195-inch B&C class shed could bring the hunter upwards of $2,500 or more.
As for locally in the Lehigh Valley area, Bob Danenhower, of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy in Orefield and an avid shed hunter since he was a kid, says shed hunters should check hillsides and ridge-tops with a southern exposure as bucks like to warm themselves during past cold and bright winter days. He also suggests checking winter deer bedding areas.
Danenhower contends, as does Rue, that bucks may drop an antler then keep shaking its head to drop the other that may or may not fall at that time.
For novice shed hunters looking for a public spot to hunt, Danenhower suggests walking the Lehigh Valley Zoo (the Trexler Game Preserve to us old timers) lands as he did and as he used to find many sheds there. And if you’re shed hunting takes you to an unplowed field, you may not only an antler, but an Indian arrow head as a bonus.
So to lengthen your deer-hunting season, give shed hunting a try. It may pay off handsomely.
With Memorial Day traditionally kicking off the pleasure boating season, and if you own a boat or watercraft, this list, prepared by the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), tallies the most popular boat names. The tradition dates back a quarter century, with the list derived from adding up requests for boat name designs from BoatUS Boat Graphics.
Each reveals something about the personality of the vessel’s owner. And the list is entertaining to say the least.
The 2019 BoatUS Top 10 Boat Names:
1 Aquaholic: After a four-year absence from the Top 10 list, this popular boat name returns. Its appeal is in its intoxicating wordplay about overdoing too much time on the water. This kind of imbibing, however, won’t give you a hangover – except maybe on a Monday morning when you have to go back to work!
2 Pearl: Sometimes a shortening of the name of the fictional ship in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series, folks who put Pearl on the transom likely know that their luxurious vessel has an understated luster.
3 Forever Young: While boating isn’t exactly like the Fountain of Youth, many boaters say the feeling of boating, sailing or fishing keeps them feeling young. A perfect name for maintaining a stress-free boating life.
4 Second Chance: This boat owner has likely had an opportunity for a do-over – be it with boating or a life challenge related to health, career or matrimony. It’s a reminder to take advantage of the chance to start over.
5 Squid Pro Quo: It’s clear this fishing vessel owner appreciates Latin, or at least perhaps understands that life is a game of give-and-take.
6 More Cowbell: A 2000 Saturday Night Live comedy skit featuring Will Farrell and Christopher Walken pokes fun at taking things too far. Perhaps this boat is a little over the top as well.
7 Pegasus: A winged horse from Greek mythology that was capable of creating water springs just by striking his hoof into the earth. This boat name that connects earth and sky is commonly found on both sailboat and powerboat transoms.
8 Feelin’ Nauti: Who says you can’t be amorous while boating?
9 Why Knot?: These owners appreciate nautical wordplay and realize sometimes you just have to jump into things without overanalyzing it.
10 High Maintenance: This term, sometimes used to reference a boat owner’s spouse, can also indicate that this vessel also requires much time, money or effort. A good choice for a high-performance boat.
For a look at all of the BoatUS Top 10 Boat Names lists over the years go to BoatUS.com/Boatgraphics/Top-10-boat-names. The BoatUS Graphics service offers an online design tool to easily create custom boat graphics with fast turnaround times. BoatUS also has simple step-by-step video instructions on how to install graphics on your boat.
FREE FISHING DAY MAY 26
During the upcoming Memorial Day weekend when many families and friends will already be gathered together, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is pleased to offer the first of two Fish-for-Free Days in 2019.
On Sunday, May 26, the PFBC will waive its license requirement, allowing anglers to fish within public waterways across the Commonwealth without possessing a fishing license. The second Fish-for-Free Day will happen on Independence Day – Thursday, July 4.
From 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. on both days, no fishing license is required to fish, however all other fishing regulations apply. Complete fishing regulations can be viewed, downloaded and printed for free from the PF&BC’s website.
To make the fishing experience more convenient on Fish-for-Free Days, participants can borrow equipment from dozens of fishing tackle loaner sites across the state. Many of the sites are located at state parks, county parks and some public libraries. Go the PF&BC’s website to locate a fishing tackle loaner site near you. And the site also includes interactive maps, regional fishing reports and tips on fishing fundamentals.
At this time of year, wildlife is blooming with newborns be it song-birds, geese, ducks, foxes and deer fawns. The Pennsylvania Game Commission asks that people avoid disturbing or picking them up, especially deer fawns.
Most deer fawns are born in late May and the first and second weeks of June, according to the PGC. During this time, it’s best to keep your distance because the fawn’s mother is almost always nearby. When people see a small fawn alone, they often mistakenly assume it is helpless, lost or needing to be rescued.
Fawns do not attempt to evade predators during their first few weeks, instead relying on camouflage and stillness to remain undetected. During these times, fawns learn critical survival skills from their mothers. Bringing a fawn into a human environment results in separation from its mother, and it usually results in a sad ending for the animal.
The PGC encourages people to resist the urge to assist wildlife in ways that may be harmful, and offers these tips:
* Deer nurse their young at different times during the day and often leave their young alone for long periods of time. These animals are not lost. Their mother knows where they are and will return.
* Deer normally will not feed or care for their young when people are close by.
* Deer fawns will imprint on humans and lose their natural fear of people, which can be essential to their survival.
* Keep domestic pets under control at all times. Dogs often will kill fawns and other baby animals.
And in this last respect, coyotes, that are becoming more populated in all suburban areas, even in the city of Allentown’s West End where they’ve been seen, are big killers of fawns.
For the safety of all wildlife, taking a wild animal into captivity is illegal. It’s best to maintain a respectful distance and help keep wildlife wild, reminds the PGC.
STRIPER FISHING REMAINS HOT ALONG THE NJ COAST
In southern New Jersey, striper fishing has been good with bass over 40 inches showing up from Brigantine to Manasquan. Most shops, says Striper Magazine’s Striper Migration Report, are reporting best bites from anglers trolling with bunker spoons and mojos.
In northern New Jersey, striper action slows a bit in Raritan Bay as the bass have gone up the Hudson River to spawn and spread out in the ocean where they’re being hooked on bunker spoons and mojo rigs.
The spawners in the Hudson River are in the 20-30-40-pound class up to Albany. Again, all being caught on bunker, mojos and bunker spoons.
Locally, Lake Wallenpaupack striper catches are increasing with bass ranging from 20-35 inches that are being caught mostly on live bait.
In this day and age, you don’t need a big, expensive boat to get to good fishing spots. Float tubes, pontoons and kayaks are less expensive to buy and maintain, plus they’re fun to fish out of, especially the newer ones that are outfitted with rod holders, bait wells, depth finders, even cup holders. There are ones that have pedal power allowing you to cast and move, use a trolling or small outboard motor, and there are inflatable kayaks that are the least expensive to buy.
But before going helter-skelter in buying one, there are some considerations. Is it going to be used on flatwater, moving water, white water or in the ocean? Would you prefer a sit-on-top or sit-in model? And what length would be suitable for your needs?
The best initial bet if you’re a first timer is to talk to an experience kayaker for their feedback before buying. If you don’t know of one, stop up at Leaser Lake most any weekend and you’re certain to find a kayak angler in the parking lots or wait until one comes ashore.
One of the first things to consider once you decide the type you prefer, is its cost. Starter or entry-level kayaks start at around $250. Ones equipped for fishing fetch $500 and more.
Then there’s the decision of a sit-on-top or sit-inside kayak. Experts say a sit-on-top is easy to get in and out of, which is especially helpful if you plan to kayak and wade. This model increases visibility and casting distance but leaves the angler vulnerable to splashing and waves.
A sit-in-side model protects the angler from waves and water and is more stable. It also offers inside storage (although some sit-on’s have sealed compartments) and is good for river, ocean or quieter ponds and lakes.
Now if you want a pure fishing kayak that has rod holders, you’ll find they’re around 30 inches wide for more stability. Because of that, they’re less tippy and will allow you to be able to cast, set the hook and land tough fighting fish without feeling like you’re about to take a swim. They also have more storage features, molded tackle trays and casting handles. Their drawback is they won’t cut through the water as quickly.
If the water is choppy because of the wind, you’ll need a lightweight folding anchor or stake-pole. The anchor works best in deep water whereas the stake-pole is better in shallow water. The poles can be bought or made from PVC pipe and stuck into the lakes’ bottom, often through the kayaks’ scupper holes.
Length and weight are considerations. A longer kayak will move faster and have more storage space. The drawback, they weigh more. The popular size is 10-12 feet in length that puts them around 50 pounds. Unless you have a pickup truck or trailer, hoisting one atop the car and onto special and expensive kayak roof racks, could be trying at the end of a fishing day. And if not using a kayak cart with wheels, carrying one over your head could be problematic and tiring if the waters’ edge requires a hike (like Promised Land’s two lakes).
A kayak’s portability allows you to launch anywhere you can stand, even 60-degree river banks, common on the Lehigh and Delaware rivers. Leaser Lake, however, now has a kayak launch dock that’s at the dam end of the lake and it makes entering the water considerably easier.
STRIPER ACTION HOT
According to On the Water Magazine, stripers in southern New Jersey are being caught along the beaches including a 30-pound cow that was taken on a fly from the surf. Stripers up to 30 pounds are being hooked off Ocean County and are migrating up from the south.
In northern New Jersey, stripers are hot in Raritan Bay and up into the Delaware and Hudson rivers. Smaller linesiders are showing up in the surf throughout NJ.
The Tackle Box in Hazlet reports bass fishing is fantastic throughout Raritan Bay and all the way into the back bay, near the Naval Pier, at West Bank and Old Orchard. Anglers are throwing shads, Mojo’s, bunker chunks and livelining. Loads of bunker are being reported in the rivers and bass have been right behind and gorging on them.
According to the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, on April 6, 2019, angler Jeff Bonawitz, 54, of East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County launched his boat from the Muddy Creek public access area located south of Lower Bear Island on the Susquehanna River in York County. Fishing in 22 feet of water, Bonawitz baited a live bluegill onto his medium duty 8-foot spinning rod and reel fitted with 25-pound monofilament line. The soon-to-be-record catch occurred at 2:30pm.
We had already caught several 30 pounders to that point, so it had been a good day,” said Bonawitz, who was fishing with his friend, Bryan Bruce of York. “We were running low on bait, so I decided to use the biggest bluegill we had left. I had a bite and let the fish toy with it for a few minutes. When I finally pulled, it just bent the rod straight down. I could tell it was big. It kept hanging down deep and when it finally came up to the top, we thought it might be a mermaid,” joked Bonawitz. “I’ve fished the Susquehanna for years and I’ve never caught anything quite like it.”
Following a 25-minute fight, Bonawitz brought the fish aboard his boat. After taking some initial measurements, Bonawitz suspected it could be a contender for the state record, which had been previously set in 2006 when a 48-pound, 6-ounce flathead catfish was caught in Blue Marsh Spillway in Berks County. Unable to immediately locate an operational certified scale on which to weigh the fish, Bonawitz kept the fish alive in an aerated container at his home until the following day. On April 7, the fish was officially weighed at Columbia Bait and Tackle located in Lancaster County, where it tipped the scales at 50 pounds, 7 ounces, unofficially setting a new state record for the species.
As is required for state record consideration, Bonawitz contacted PFBC law enforcement officials and arranged for an in-person identification and examination of the fish. Waterways Conservation Officer Jeffrey Schmidt conducted the inspection and verified the weight. A completed state record fish application including color photographs was reviewed by PFBC officials and confirmed. State record fish are judged only by weight and must exceed the previous state record by at least two ounces.
Upon weighing the fish, Bonawitz with assistance from his nephew, Dylan, 8, released the flathead catfish alive back to the Susquehanna River beneath the Wrightsville Bridge.
“It was such an amazing fish,” said Bonawitz. “I thought the best thing to do was put it back so that maybe the next guy could catch it. I have a feeling this record may not last very long.”
A list of current Pennsylvania State Record Fish, official rules and application can be found at www.fishandboat.com
In my opinion, there’s no bird as interesting and fun to watch as hummingbirds. And they’re on the way through the area right now as they’re on their way north, according to the Birding Wire. In fact, ass per Perky-Pet’s birding website, a Rufous Hummingbird was spotted on 4-29-19 in Media, PA, and on 4-26-19, a Ruby-Throated was seen in Nesquehoning.
If you share this interest in hummers, and maintain feeders, now’s the time to clean your hummingbird feeders if you haven’t already. Then fill them with fresh sugar-water nectar, either homemade or purchased. Then wait it out for one or more to appear.
Spring migration, says the Birding Wire, can be an exciting time at hummingbird feeders with migrating birds stopping by for a short visit while others may wait it out with the idea of setting up a territory for nesting. It’s interesting to study their behavior and appreciate the journeys these tiny birds make.
You can follow the northward migration of different species hummingbirds, including on a national level through the Perky- Pet migration map site at www.perky-pet.com/advice/bird-watching/hummingbird-migration. Here, you can zoom into the state and local level – even down to your street – to see when the first hummers may arrive. But, it’s suggested, don’t wait too long as they can literally appear overnight.
Since it’s still early in the year, it’s hard to plan to have your yard’s flowering plants ready to greet migrating hummers with the hope of attracting them to stay. But you can probably buy some greenhouse-grown plants as it’s easy to keep them in a pot and move them where you want to attract hummers, like near a window or windows where you can see them. Tubular flowers seem to be best, especially red, orange and yellow colored flowers. Trumpet vines, one of their favorite flowers to get nectar from, are about to bloom as witnessed by those in my next-door neighbors’ yard. There’s also bee balm, cardinal flowers, trumpet honeysuckles, salvia – even red petunias may work. From this choice, the hummingbird experts say you can always add, remove and experiment with different plants. It’s all part of the fun of watching these speedy, fascinating and attractive birds.
PGC WILL STUDY THEIR DECISION TO MOVE THE RIFLE DEER HUNTING OPENER TO A SATURDAY INSTEAD OF MONDAY
According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, they will be studying their decision to move the deer hunting opener from the Monday after Thanksgiving to Saturday after the holiday.
This comes amidst much controversy from hunters who are against it while others are for it.
The PGC Commissioners will be looking to see if there’s evidence the Saturday opener increased hunting license sales and hunter success. And they’ll be gauging the opinion of hunters who have taken part of in the state’s first Saturday opener since 1963. Their findings will determine if their recent decision will provide the most benefit before they set an opening day for the 2020 firearms deer season.
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.