Fewer Deer Reported
Inside the Outdoors, December 30,

It’s nice to know people think I’m an authority on wildlife. The problem presents itself, when folks come to me and ask, “Hey Pee Vee, what kind of bird is this? I took a picture of it flying using my smart phone, but as yet, no one seems to help me identify it. Can you help?”

As anyone knows me by now, if I can’t come up with an immediate answer I will research it first or tell the respective party to whom I’m speaking that I will look into the matter.

Just as some of these cell phones can be fantastic tools, if people like me don’t provide the right clue, people are no further ahead. So, I decided to do as I did years ago when I had a question about an eagle I spotted in a tree in the medium near Dugan Lane in Ligonier Township. I told the inquirer to contact either Powdermill or St. Vincent Nature Reserves for the proper identification.

The young lady saw this bird in question at St. Vincent Lake. She stated, “ As I sat there looking at it, it flew down from a tree and circled around me and then took off before I could get a close up picture of it.”

That same day, I was browsing my computer looking for some particular pictures I had taken in the past, when I spotted a similar bird mounted in the inside of the St. Vincent Nature Reserve building. I think I was on to something by telling her to visit the campus reserve for the right answer.

One tidbit of humor – I told this nature lover that until she finds out the true identity of it, why not call it a ‘UFO,’ an unidentified fly object!


I happened to be standing in a doctor’s waiting room recently when a woman walked in and sat down. As always, I try to get a conversation going so as to get one’s mind off of why he or she is there. It didn’t take long for several of the patients and I to get into some kind of discussion about some matter or other.

My usual lead question is, “So, where are you from?” That’s a no-brainer for most people I talk to. Sometimes, people won’t answer me, and I respect them for that. That’s their privilege.

Just after a lady came into the office and sat down in a chair across from me did I ask her the big question. “Pizza Barn Road,” she said. “Oh, I bet you see plenty of deer out and about that area,” I followed up. “Sure do. Lots of them.” She paused and then blurted out, “But you know, it’s funny. As many deer as I’ve seen on a day to day basis, when it came to hunting season, there wasn’t a shot to be heard, anywhere around my neck of the woods.”

That statement coincides with not only the comments I’ve heard lately, but also even an article I read in one of the sports columns. “A Pennsylvania Outdoor News reporter stated in the recent publication dated Dec. 16, 2016, that Game Commissioner Robert Schlemmer said that “opening day deer season once was an event, one that flooded rural towns with hunters. There are no first days anymore.” Two reasons seemed to point to work schedules and time commitments.

What’s seems to affect opening day participants is the increase in interest in archery season. “Many of the hunters are done for the season before statewide firearms season begins,” he said. Now those are words to ponder...

- Paul J. Volkmann
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