Extended Archery/Flintlock Nears
Inside the Outdoors,December 18,

It won’t be long that the extended archery season and the corresponding flintlock seasons get underway beginning the day after Christmas, Dec. 26, and ending Jan. 9, 2016.

Statewide, one will be able to hunt for antlered and antlerless deer.

As always, the Pennsylvania Game Commission recommended scouting ahead prior to all seasons, particularly these two. If one is to hunt for deer, then food sources should be located in abundance. Equally important is to figure out which food sources are these animal’s preferences of consequence, target those areas.

Each year, the PGC has suggestions that may serve as help aids for hunters pursuing deer with bows. These include:

  1. Take only responsible shots at deer to ensure a clean, quick kill;
  2. Take a shot 20 yards or less at a deer;
  3. Make sure you tell someone where you will be hunting, including a hunting partner;
  4. Pack a cell phone, make sure it is energized and know how to use it before taking it with you;
  5. Always use a fall-restraint device – preferably a full-body harness when hunting from a tree stand;
  6. Always carry a whistle to signal passers-by in the event you become immobile. A compass, matches or lighter and tinder also are essential survivor gear;
  7. Pack a flashlight, with an extra bulb;
  8. Use a hoist rope to lift your bow and backpack to your tree stand;
  9. Don’t sleep in a tree stand;
  10. Always carry broad-tipped weapons in a protective quiver;
  11. If a mechanical release is employed, always keep one’s index finger away from the trigger when drawing;
  12. Practice climbing on one’s tree stand prior to opening day.

For the flintlock enthusiast, William Hovey Smith, in a website, www.wportsmansguide.com, in an article, Twenty Steps to Flintlock Success posted some of his recommendations:

  1. Purchase quality, a gun as good as one can afford;
  2. Test the lock for strong mainspring;
  3. Trim the flint to proper length to fit square to the face of the frizzen;
  4. Always hunt with a new flint;
  5. When tightening a flint, take up the lack to firm everything up;
  6. Carry the gun with the frizzen back and the hammer down in the pan to prevent unintentional discharges;
  7. Prime the gun when safely at the stand position or immediately before a shot;
  8. Experiment with different amounts of powder;
  9. Use a prick to make sure that the touchhole is open;
  10. Select a heavy barreled gun for one’ flintlock;
  11. And, shoot from solid rest or from the most stable position;

Gun dealers will aid in one’s understanding of using flintlock weapons also for the non-experienced.

These are just some of the basic tips one should take under advisement when one heads out into the field.

Googling ahead to find out what the weather conditions may be, I found out (pleasantly, may I add), that the temperatures will be well above normal. That may be great for the old timers, but for outdoor sportsmen, particularly hunters who usually pick this time of year to down their game, it could be a real problem.

According to the PGC, “Improperly field-dressing a deer carcass and warm weather can impact the quality of venison quickly if a harvested deer isn’t handled properly,” warns Dr. Walter Cottrell, PGC wildlife veterinarian.

After the kill, tag one’s deer. Then proceed from there.

He continued, “Great care should be taken to remove entails without rupturing them and hunters should drain excess blood remaining in the cavity. Do not wash out the deer in a creek. Wipe down the cavity with a dry cloth,” he suggests.

In discussing the warm weather, he stated, “In warm weather, the cool-down process begins when you field-dress the deer. To improve the cool-down process, consider skinning the deer and hang the carcass in the shade, refrigerating it or placing a bag of ice in the body cavity. Never place a deer carcass – with or without the hide on it – in direct sunlight.”

Remove the hide from the animal working from the back quarters to the front pulling it as close to the base of the skull as possible, and then cutting it away with a clean saw. The trachea is now ready for removal.

The carcass should be wiped off immediately. If water is used, the area applied should be dried as soon thereafter. “Wet or damp meat,” Cottrell stated, “spoils more quickly and is more prone to cultivate and nurture bacteria,” he said.

Look for clumps of hair, blood clots and large fatty deposits. All should be removed at this time.

The final goal is to get the remains to a refrigeration area just as soon as possible. If the weather temp is below 40 degrees, take it to another locale and clean the deer there.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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