Use of Tree Stands
Inside the Outdoors, October 11
, 2013

The Pennsylvania Game Commission recently released a heads-up concerning the use of tree stands of which all hunters should be aware. It involved the dos and don’ts of the use of these elevated platforms that many archers may be using this archery season.

It was interesting to note that tree stands and climbing devices can cause damage to trees. As the PGC points out, “Tree stands or tree steps penetrating a tree’s cambium layer cause damage and it is unlawful to build or occupy tree stands screwed or nailed to trees on state game lands, state forests or state parks.”

The release went on to state, “Hunters are reminded that Game Commission regulations limit the placement of portable hunting tree stands and blinds on state game lands from two weeks before the opening of the first big season – which is the archery deer season – to after the close of the last big game season – which is the late archery deer season – within each respective Wildlife Management Unit, excluding the spring gobbler season. Stands must be removed from state game lands two weeks after the late archery deer season.”

It concluded, “Tree stands and climbing devices that cause damage to trees are unlawful to use or occupy unless the user has written permission from the landowner. Hunters need to remember that placing such a structure on state game lands does not reserve a hunting area. The first person to arrive in a certain spot has the right to hunt that area.”

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I received some questions recently from one of the local anglers enjoys the sport of fishing. It seems when others catch sight of me coming toward me on the street, in the supermarket or sometimes even at church, curiosity seekers want to know, “Hey, I understand they stocked trout. What do I use to catch them?” I automatically state, are you fly, spin or bait fishing?” and then proceed from there.

This Latrobe resident said he loved to spin fish. That narrowed it down quite a bit. He is a big fan of Worden’s Rooster Tails. I told him he might want to stick with the lure he used in the past. Last year he caught 20 stocked trout in one hour using the silver and white-colored lures. It is often said that if the water is clear, use this color. If not, go to the black-colored ones. I, for one, recommended the use of these smaller minnow imitations. They started me on a roll and were the only ones I ever used any time of the year. It kept life and particularly expense simple.

But recently, I found that the use of either color was not cutting it in Lower Twin Lakes, the place where the angler caught 20 trout.

What we discovered at this body of water wasn’t only our sightings alone but the observation of other anglers I talked to who also fished there. One gent stated, “I can’t use lures there anymore. The water is too muddy.”

It is murky. I will agree to that. I too tried lures. I tried a new lure, a black-colored Niti-1 thrown toward the shore along a bank near a bush and did get a small bass.

There are two approaches one may choose to catch these aquatic species. One approach may be fly fishing on the lakes. Rich Rohrbaugh, owner of The Angler’s Room , a Complete Fly Shop, located at 333 Route 217 in Latrobe, recently told me that anglers are using a number 20 blue-winged olive fly to catch

trout. “Of course, there are some of those orange caddis flies seen every once in a while. They are good for trout, too.” I can only surmise that small hooks would be the preference while using these imitations as well. My friend Karl Morrison swears by waxworms which has always been a favorite of trout. I can vouch for the fact that they have proved their worth on Lower Twin Lake.

Other baits that will draw the trout in are the redworms or dug worms and their larger relatives, nightcrawlers, as well as maggots, meal worms and butterworms. I always pieced my crawlers, sometimes using only one-third of the worm. The carp master, Frank Miedel, told me he has gotten some amazing results using them whole. Whether the length intimidates the fish still remains in question.

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Finally in the recent “Trout” magazine published by the Trout Unlimited organization, I read some points of interest that all anglers should keep in mind. “When holding a fish for a photograph, do so quickly, having the person holding the camera ready to zero in and taking the picture. Then return it to the water quickly. Otherwise, the fish won’t be able to breath. Also be careful how the fish is held so as to not affect the scales or slime on its body. You want the species to be returned to the water quickly so as to resume life without harm or injury,” – words of every good angler to live by.


- Paul J. Volkmann
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