This weekend (Oct. 26) signals the start of the traditional small game season when rabbits and pheasants become legal game. And the following weekend (Nov. 2), fall turkey season kicks off but only in selected Wildlife Management Units, and is closed in WMU 5B, 5C and 5D.
As for rabbits, it was said before and will be said again, there are more cottontails in the city of Allentown than there are in suburbia. Reason being, hawks, owls, Coyotes and foxes curb, and in some cases, decimate any rabbit populations. I can’t remember the last time I saw a rabbit in the fields or forest edges during the archery deer-hunting season. They’re just no longer there.
And for pheasants, they are an endangered species. If it wouldn’t be for the PGC’s pheasant stocking program, there would be no long tails to hunt. And for the ones that are stocked, the aforementioned predators do a number on them before opening day.
But if you insist on pursuing ring-necks, but don’t know where to hunt, the best bets are state game lands. Here in Lehigh County, it’s SGL 205 located off Route 100 in Lowhill Township. Of course there are also farm-game co-ops that are stocked and allow hunting. To find them look for the yellow and green signs with the blue PGC logo on it. The signs read “Public Access Cooperator,” and are often mounted on utility poles next to the cooperators’ farmland. That, or the orange safety zone signs also designate a possible pheasant stocked property. But by all means, ask permission to hunt before traipsing onto the property.
To better hone in on additional pheasant hunting locations, the PGC offers online cooperator property maps that get you in the general vicinity of the land. To find them, access the PGC’s website and look for the mapping center. There’s an instructional video on how to use the mapping center. For starters, click on the binoculars icon (search) then when the box appears, click on the icon showing the binoculars and the blue dot (selected features). In the drop-down (search layer), you can select “hunter access point” then select a shape tool and highlight the area you want to search. Obviously, and understandably, addresses are not provided but as said, it will get you in the general vicinity.
According to Cheryl Trewella, PGC Southeast Public Information Officer, “We don’t give exact locations or stocking dates due to safety and overcrowding situations that have occurred in the past.” What Trewella is perhaps referring to was that in some past years, slob hunters would follow the stocking truck and shoot at the birds while they were flying away from their holding crates. Similar in practice to trout stockings.
WEEK THREE RUT REPORT
Bob Danenhower, of Bob’s wildlife taxidermy said, “As reported last week, the rut seems to be coming on earlier than normal. If the bucks aren’t coming into rut earlier, than the hunters sure are.
As such, fresh doe-in-heat urine has been flying out the door as fast as we can fill it, and we’ve just received another fresh shipment in today.”
There have been numerous reports of bucks coming into trail-cams all swelled up in the necks with dark hawks. Scrape activity too, has become heavier, said Danenhower.
He goes on to say, “Bowhunters coming in to reload on fresh urine are seeing lots of chasing activity. Some bucks are coming into rattling, grunting and following the draglines - to their demise, or being allowed to pass. And there are big bucks being reported from all over the area. When they start moving around looking for those hot does, your neighbor’s monster buck might show up right under your stand.”
A taxidermy shop is a great indicator for when the rut heats up as some really nice bucks are usually brought in for mounting. Danenhower says he already has several that are over the 120-inch class. But he warns, “Be patient and wait for that perfect close shot. There’s nothing worse than fat coyotes and finding the remains of a poorly placed shot later in the season.”
CABELA’S FROM FIELD TO FREEZER SEMINAR
If you’d like to save some money on deer processing and have the inclination to do it yourself, Cabela’s in Hamburg is hosting a “From Field to Freezer: Deer Processing 201 seminar on Sunday, Oct. 27 at 1:00 in front of the store.
According to Harold Luther, Cabela’s Retail Marketing Manager, Rick Fetrow, a professional butcher and chairman of Hunter’s Sharing the Harvest venison donation program, will demonstrate how to save both time and money by processing your own deer. Topics include: Basic Field Dressing; Basic Skinning/Caping; and Basic Steak Cuts. While veteran hunters may have been processing their deer for years, this free seminar may teach an old dog some new tricks.
2 MILLION BULLETS NATIONAL CHALLENGE
The deadline is approaching for Under Armour’s Next Generation Challenge wherein our Allentown-based Camp Compass is in contention to earn a $20,000 grand prize if they organization conjures up more donations than other youth-based organizations. In fact Camp Compass, headed by Allentown schoolteacher John Annoni, is in fifth place to date.
Help lift Camp Compass to the top by making your donation before the Oct. 29 deadline. To help the cause and make a donation go to www.crowdrise.com/campcompass.
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