Muzzleloader Season Next
Inside the Outdoors, October 15, 2010

No sooner do I get a report that archery season is off and running, but beginning Oct. 16 to 23 we have muzzleloader season. I know without question that there are people within Latrobe that will be making sure their weapons are in prime condition to hunt deer with these firearms.

Shortly thereafter, a two day period, Cot. 21 to 23 has been set aside for junior, senior, active duty military and certain disabled hunters.

So all in all, make no doubt about it, hunting season is here. And the cool temps we have been experiencing tell us also, hunting is in the air.

According to Carl G. Roe, Pennsylvania Game Commission executive, “Although the October antlerless seasons increase hunting opportunities, their harvests still are controlled by antlerless deer license allocations, which are set to remove a pre-determined number of antlerless deer from a Wildlife Management Unit (WMU),” he said.

One should search where deer might be hang out prior to opening day. One area muzzleloader told me recently that these animals love soybeans and to look for deer around these premises. Also, they can be found where certain types of nuts exist.

It was noted that last year, according to the agency’s Game-Take Survey, the 78,000 hunters who participated in the early muzzleloader season took 10,000 deer (12,000 in 2008). The 58,000 participants in the special firearms season harvested 5,000 deer (5,000 in 2008). Those figures compare with 10,000 in the 2007 October muzzleloader son and 6,000 in the special firearms season. The combined total of both October firearms seasons comprised less than 10 percent of the 2009 antlerless deer harvest, which was 200, 590, statewide.

For the requirements for muzzleloader hunting, hunters must have a general hunting license, muzzleloader stamp and a valid antlerless deer license or Deer Management Assistance Program antlerless deer permit. Hunters may use in-line, percussion and flintlock muzzleloaders during the early muzzleloader season. They also may use scopes, peep sights and other lawful sighting devices on muzzleloaders during the October hunt.

Concerning the two-day hunt, Oct. 21-23, hunters must have a general hunting license and a valid antlerless deer license, and qualify in one of the following license categories: resident junior or senior license holders; non resident junior license holder; non resident adult license holders age 65 or older; hold a disabled person permit to use a vehicle as a blind; be residents who are serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces; or qualify for license and fee exceptions under section 2706. Sporting arms permitted include: manually operated center-fire rifles, handguns and shotguns; 44-caliber or larger muzzleloading handguns; long, recurve or compound bows; and crossbows.

These two antlerless deer seasons are not open to participants of the Mentored Youth Hunting Program, which was created for those under the age of 12, because mentored youth may not harvest antlerless deer.

On another note, trout stocking occurred last week at the various area lakes, so anglers this is a good time to get out and enjoy the fall temps along with catching some nice fish. Last year I was invited on a friend’s boat, and we did quite well. My ticket for catching rainbows – a black rooster tail, number 0. I trolled one through the water, and cast and retrieved the other around the same locale. Picked up two in no time at all.

And closer to Latrobe, a friend and I attacked the Loyalhanna Creek recently near Legion Keener Park. In no time at all, I hooked into about a dozen large and smallmouth bass all on one lure, a Blue Fox Vibrax. It seems that fish can’t resist this lure – one thing anglers love to hear.

So, now is the time to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you are muzzleloader hunting, fishing for trout, or landing bass, there is something for everyone who enjoys any of these sports. Enjoy ‘em now before it gets too cold.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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