October – the month made for Pennsylvania’s hunters and fishermen
The morning of Oct. 1 was overcast with light rain. A cool wind was swaying nearby trees and hustling through slightly open windows in my home. There loomed a threat of a strong hurricane moving up the Atlantic coast that will at a minimum, bring heavy rain and strong winds into the region.
Yet none of this troubles me. That is because this particular day has always been distinctive to my thinking since my teenage years, and unpredictable weather or gray skies are merely an accepted part of that thought progression.
October marks a phase of the year that is so very different from all other seasonal segments on the yearly calendar. Now begins the cooler evenings and days with deep blue skies and predominant northwest winds. Leaves will start to change from green to the wonderful bright variations of tints and shades that make them so appealing to the eye.
Those northwest winds will also down those leaves and scatter them across forest floors and fields in October, opening the woods for the vision of hunting visitors.
For the hunter in Pennsylvania, this month is packed with game season openings that we dream of when these special times are not with us. Archery hunting for deer will be open for bucks and does across all of the state, with a multitude of archers heading to a favorite spot hoping to catch sight of whitetails close to their stands.
By mid-month the season for squirrels and grouse will start, both offering some fast-paced action with tasty rewards. Early duck seasons, plus some regular duck and goose seasons at various areas within Pennsylvania’s boundaries will also open, affording waterfowlers a chance to connect from places of water and harvested crop fields.
Toward the end of the month small game really gets into full swing with the opening of pheasant and rabbit seasons. I can hardly wait to head to nearby state game lands with a hunting buddy and his springer. The dog’s a year older and a full year wiser, and the thought of lugging a game pouch filled with a couple of vibrant colored cocks she flushed for her companions, is tremendously exciting.
By late October, whitetail bucks are changing too. They can be seen digging scrapes, and rubbing trees violently, or even chasing other deer, all these actions being a part of the preparation for the breeding season.
Fall fishing is here too, and for many an angler it never takes a back seat to hunting seasons. Streams and lakes see little pressure now, and the changing scenery makes time on the water just as wondrous as being afield. Add to that a recent “good news” release that the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has added 40 Class “A” wild trout streams, and a additional 102 wild trout destinations across the state to the ever growing list of spectacular waters with wild trout living within.
All people, just not outdoor minded ones, should thank organizations such as Trout Unlimited for their tireless work in locating and making certain solid protection is applied to these waterways, because the benefit of clean water is priceless to all life.
There is just no denying October is a special and spectacular month for people who enjoy the outdoors. Keep that in mind if you plan to ring my phone, because I won’t around much to answer.