Grouse Season - Average
Inside the Outdoors, November
23, 2012

The Pennsylvania Game Commission predicts that the statewide ruffed grouse season this year will yield an average harvest of these game birds. According to Lisa Williams, grouse and woodcock biologist. Approximately 100,000 hunters will be searching through Penn’s woods up until Saturday, Nov. 24. Then the season resumes once again Dec. 10 to the 24th finalizing Dec. 26 to Jan. 26, 2013.

“Conditions for over-wintering, incubating and brooding should have supported good reproduction this year,” she said, “however, our Game Commission field staff observed fewer adult grouse and grouse broods this summer compared to prior years. Those sightings are often the best predictor of the season, so I advise hunters to hope for the best but keep their expectations realistic. Find areas of good dense cover and abundant food supply and you’ll put yourself in the best position for success,” she said.

Grouse, as well as other species of wildlife, are feeling the effects of loss of forest habitat. In addition, the forests are aging over the decades. Grouse have depended on these habitats. As a result, management plans have been put into action with hope that there will be an increase in bird sightings in the years to come.

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Those who do not hunt or have not obtained a hunting license in the last several years are bypassing not only being out in the beautiful forests of our state, but also missing out on the Pennsylvania Hunting and Trapping Digest information that has improved this free document.

In a story written by Dr. Christ Rosenberry, Jeannine Fleegle and Bret Wallingford, the PGC Deer Team, titled “Deer by the Numbers,” certain facts have been collected that, hopefully, will be of interest to you.

Here are some of them:

  • “During the 2007 deer season, PGC agers pulled teeth from adult bucks to obtain accurate ages. Of the more than 5,000 bucks aged, 73% of adults were 2.5 years-of -age; 19% were 3.5 years-of-age; and 5% were 4.5 years-of-age. Of the remaining 3%, the oldest buck was 10.5. It was born in 1997 and was content to live in the big woods of the Quehanna woods of the Quehanna Wild Area in Wildlife Management Area 2G.”
  • “The number of deer captured during PGC studies in the last decade was 4000 plus. In the last decade. These deer have been captured in WMUs 2D, 2G, 3C, 4B, 4D and 5C”.
  • “The percentage of deer mortalities that can be attributed to hunting is 70.”
  • “The typical harvest rate of adult bucks is 50%.”
  • “The harvest rate of adult females on public lands prior to the hunting seasons in WMU 2G is 4%. In other words, for every 100 adult females on public lands prior to the hunting seasons, four of them were harvested by hunters.”
  • “The longest movement by a yearling buck is 42 miles.”

Maybe next year you will apply for a hunting license just to get this amazing booklet. Of course, continue reading this column. Such trivia may pop up now and then.

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Anyone visiting Lower Twin Lakes to receive blessings by catching some of those stocked trout have not come away disappointed. Seems mealworms are the top fish bait these days, with waxworms and maggots following close behind. Top lures have included Rapalas, especially baby fish imitations, Worden’s White Rooster Tails (0), and a spoon that was new to me called a Chunky. I have no idea what manufacturer makes it. One fellow told me he picked several up in the sport’s department of Wal Mart. The gent told me when he was younger his father introduced to this lure to him and it was successful then and it seems it still is. “When no other lure worked,” the angler said, “this one always produced.” Sure sounds promising to me.

By the way, I have received a report that several of the large, tagged trout have been landed, leaving many more to catch. If you missed a prior news release on this subject, 400 large rainbow trout were stocked in both the upper and lower lakes weighing one and one-quarter to three pounds a piece. One man from West Mifflin caught one of those on a mealworm, but returned it to the waters to be caught by someone else.

The state stocked some real beauties – brown trout, which are plentiful, in as much as few anglers are trying for any of the fish. I am told that there are lots of anglers fishing Keystone State Park. According to an official at the Keystone State Park office, “Fishermen must think their chances are greater since there is little water to be had.” No one there has received any reports of fish being caught.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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