Hunting begins now

Ron SteffeHere in the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania the summer has been exceptionally good. Rain has been plentiful, and even a stretch of hot weather was partnered with humid conditions, leaving nighttime moisture on everything green when the sun came up.

Crops have responded well to that pattern. In all directions from my home, corn is tall and thick with tassels on growing ears. Soy bean fields are filled with still growing plants as high as I can ever remember.

The woods and fields of wild flora are also lush, easily hiding and feeding any and every wild creature that lives within. Nature, as she can be, has been kind to all through her growing season.

Still, there are signs that summer is preparing to move on. Daylight is slowly decreasing. Nights have cooled a bit, leaving me to open some windows and turn off the air conditioners. Having lived this unhurried transformation many times, it becomes easy to recognize another time of year is coming.

I must admit that when a anterless license came through the mail last week, it stirred some feelings to again be hunting, a feeling put aside since spring. The sentiment was weak, but when I stood outside in the light of early morning this past Saturday and heard the chatter of a passing flock of geese, I was moved enough to know it was time to get into the wild.

Any time in the outdoors is always time well spent, but for hunters with anticipation forming for September seasons, August can provide a terrific rekindling of the spirit.

Resident geese will be flying early from roost to feeding areas. This morning I watched a flock pitch into a freshly mowed alfalfa field to pick away at tender new shoots. Within a couple of weeks farmers will begin chopping some of their corn fields for silage, adding to feeding-and hunting-spots the big birds with visit.

From a good vantage point I’ll watch those chopped fields for geese and for doves, because often doves will feed in the same fields as the Canadas. In the case of doves, I’ll also search for watering spots they visit when their crops have filled with grain and seed.

Somewhere between their food and drink will be a good choice for pass shooting.

The deer woods in August are also enjoyable for walking and scouting. The hours spent now are valuable for future times. Already my closest hunting companions have cameras alongside trails, with photos in hand of a couple nice bucks in thick velvet a reward for their effort.

Those same companions and I already are practicing together with bow and arrow, a yearly ritual that will last till October, when archery begins.

My friends are a bit ahead of me in the category of “anxiety for hunting," but I’ll soon catch up.

All it takes is a couple more sightings of geese with locked wings, of darting doves zooming above a chopped field, or the fresh track of a big whitetail I find now along the same muddy path I’ll be watching, perched from a tree, in the fall.

Categories: Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe

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