Deer Season Upon Us
Inside the Outdoors, November 26, 2010

In case you may not have heard, regular firearms season for deer begins Monday, Nov. 29 and will run until Dec. 11, two weeks. Nearly 750,000 individuals will take to the woods in search of trophy deer.

I have only one thing to say to these sportsmen. I hope you will scout the areas you intend to hunt before taking to the forests. Searching for food areas and where deer may be hiding may help you find these animals quicker. Being able to locate deer prior to opening day may mean the difference between getting chilled because of being under-dressed in the cold weather too long as opposed to getting to the spot where deer feed and then harvesting the animal, removing it, and then heading home.

The good thing about today is the fact that you still have time to take to the woods or fields and find food or nesting areas that will clue you in where your four-legged friends may be roaming.

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, “The fall food survey suggests wildlife food abundance is quite variable this year. Some areas have good acorn crops; others have few or no acorns. So, as always, pre-season scouting can improve a hunter’s chance for success this year, particularly in the week leading up to the start of the season.” Does that sound familiar? Today, tomorrow and Sunday, quietly head toward your hunting grounds and look for indicators, such as acorns or other food sources that may lead you to the place where both bucks and does are bedding down or hanging around. Knowledge of just where they may be staying may mean the difference between getting your deer this season or coming away cold, in every sense of the word.

Recently, I decided to take a friend up on top of Laurel Mountain and show him the bog. We stayed there until late afternoon and then decided to return around 5 p.m. As we were heading back to State Route 30, we slowed to a stop when I heard Mark Ludwig’s whisper, alerting me as to the fact that three deer were seen around a pond that was elevated above the road. As we stood and stared at them, they did likewise, staring back at us. But the fact of the matter, they were at a food source – water.

Many times while fishing along the banks of Loyalhanna Creek, I have come upon deer tracks of every size. It’s hard to imagine that these animals could come down to the areas where I discovered the tracks. But that’s the point of what I’m trying to convey. Where there is going to be food, in all probability, deer.

It was interesting to read in the press release put out by the PGC that “During the two-week-season, rifles are not permitted to be used in Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties. Deer hunters in Philadelphia may only use bows or crossbows.”

Need to know traffic and road condition in advance? There is a telephone number one can call for this information. Simply push (dial) the keys 511 and you can find conditions for more than 2,900 miles of roadways.

I can’t say enough about Hunters Sharing the Harvest program that has been going on for a number of years now. How this works is that sportsmen who have killed their game can take them to participating butchers who in turn will give the meat to local food banks, soup kitchens and needy families. It is said that our state’s program is recognized as one of the most successful among similar programs in about 40 states.

For the convenience of local hunters, I have listed participating processors. These include: Custom Deer Processing, New Alexandria, 724-668-8950; Espey’s Meat Market, Scottdale, 724-887- 3226; G. Karas Packing, Export, 724-468-5811; Golden’s Deer Processing, Ligonier, 724-238-4910; Hoffer’s Ligonier Valley Packing, Ligonier, 724-238-7112; Nasser Foods, Apollo, 724-727- 7503; and S & S Deer Processing, Inc., Saltsburg, 724-422-1503.

By now, all of you have heard of the tragic killing of Wildlife Conservation Officer David L. Grove. He was shot in the line of duty.
The FOP Conservation Police Officer Lodge #144 has established an account for anyone wishing to make a contribution to WCO Grove’s family to assist with immediate expenses associated in Dave’s passing. Those interested may send their donations to:

FOP Conservation Police Officer Lodge #114, WCO David Grove Memorial Fund, 2445 Waldman Drive, Williamsport, PA 17701. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

- Paul J. Volkmann
You can contact me by email