As the antlerless archery hunting season kicked off Sept. 21 in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, veteran bowhunters wisely opt to stay out of the woods until the antlered season gets underway Oct. 5 (at that time archers can take either a buck or a doe).
Savvy hunters refrain from hunting their favorite stands during the early antlerless archery season for fear of spooking the big one. From experience and from many campfire séances where hunting buddies recall seeing the buck of a lifetime during that first day, but never seeing it again over the entire season, is reason enough to stay home.
“Trophy bucks get wise quickly and will become purely nocturnal or vacate the area entirely,” said Orefield resident Bob Danenhower of Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy. And he hears those stories often when hunters bring in capes for mounting that aren’t the chosen one.
“Let’s face it, although the game commission wants to reduce the deer herd in certain locales, for every doe killed there’s the potential loss of two more deer and possibly a buck or two for future seasons,” Danenhower opines.
And the near future looks good for nice bucks. Three weeks ago while driving northbound on Cedar Crest Boulevard and passing the entrance to Lehigh Country Club, there stood what appeared to be a hefty, 8 or 10-point buck standing on the hillside. Its antlers stood out when the light from my headlights grazed it. A week after that a road-killed doe laid on the side of the road north of the entrance to Cedar Crest College, evidently coming from the woodlots of Cedar Creek Parkway.
At dusk there’s always a small herd of three or four deer grazing in a homeowners’ yard north of the covered bridge on South 24th Street in Allentown. And we all know about the large herds resident on the former Trojan Powder Company land, including those on the hillside of Huckleberry Road just west of Kratzer Elementary School in South Whitehall Township.
These sightings go to show how deer have adapted to city life, so to speak.
When hunters go afield on Oct. 5, Archery Business Magazine says that there should be more than 309,314, the 2012 figure derived from archery licenses sold in Pennsylvania. Actually, Pennsylvania is probably has the second highest archery license sales next to Michigan which recorded sales of 325,424 in 2012.
Insofar as this years prospects, all indications are that mast crops have been good and as you can see driving around our farm areas, soybean and corn crops are tall and full due to the large amount of rain we had over the spring and summer months.
If you’re new to the Allentown, Lehigh County area, there are a few hunting spots that are open to the public.
Beginning with State Game Lands #205 located off Route 100 in Lowhill Township, there are open food plot fields and numerous woodlots that harbor deer. However, once hunters enter the woods, the deer take off and take up residency on Kids Peace properties that are adjacent to sections of the game lands.
Close by are the posted for “archery only” hunting areas of the Trexler Game Preserve that was designated as such by former county executive Don Cunningham. There’s loads of autumn olive
there (an invasive species) and few tall trees to hunt from. Hunting there is either by stalking or setting up a ground blind. The area, to the best of my recollection, is on Mill Creek Road off Route 309 in Schnecksville. Some small food plots have been planted there as well by the PGC.
There there’s the wooded tract on Lehnert Road off Mauch Chunk Road in Scheresville, immediately past the tennis courts and adjacent to the baseball field in Whitehall Township. It borders the back end of Rothrock Motors property. A permit is required from the County of Lehigh.
Part of Allentown and Salisbury Township has a good bit of wooded acreage that is located off Constitution Drive. If I recall correctly, a permit it needed from Salisbury Township to bow hunt there. Guns are not permitted. There are also a good number of wild turkeys there as well.
The aforementioned hold deer but may be legal to hunt within close proximity to the city of Allentown. I hear there are also deer on the wooded sections adjacent to the Lehigh River and the canal path that runs from Northampton through Allentown and beyond.
Elsewhere within the outlying areas of Allentown, you wouldn’t expect to see deer in North Catasauqua. Yet my aunt lives on Locust Street in that borough and frequently has deer come in her back yard to feed on birdseed she puts in her feeders. Those deer come from the area around Fuller Farms and Willowbrook Golf course that is owned by Fuller in North Catty.
As there’s another solid week before the state wide antlered season opener, it’d be a good time to do some extra practicing to avoid missing that buck of your dreams. And to attempt to get permission to hunt some of the areas mentioned. Bowhunters will often get permission to hunt areas that gun hunters will be denied.
To automatically receive outdoor news and views from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.