Pennsylvania waterfowl hunters have it pretty good
This past weekend, portions of Pennsylvania saw the beginning of both duck and Canada goose seasons. Separately, the Lake Erie Zone will begin in a couple more weeks, and here in the southeast, where I live, a one-week special season for ducks only, begins next Saturday, with a regular season for ducks beginning in mid November that includes two separate goose hunting seasons for the Atlantic Population of Canada geese.
There is also snow goose hunting, which is basically an Oct 1 to April 22 season with a different starting date of Oct. 28 for the Resident Population Zone versus the other two zones.
While many hunters regard Pennsylvania waterfowl hunting scattered and iffy at best, I know many other hunters who find that not to be true.
One important factor to keep in mind is that our state is a huge fly-through zone for migrating waterfowl. Big rivers that do not freeze over till later in winter are spread across Pennsylvania in abundance, providing great resting areas for weary migrants. There is Lake Erie as a northwest boundary, and the mighty Delaware forming the eastern edge. The Susquehanna, with its flow toward the Chesapeake Bay, will at certain times, rival any river anywhere for its attractiveness to ducks and geese.
Throw in the huge number of smaller lakes, streams and creeks that are sprinkled around the Keystone State, plus the vast areas where farming operations leave spilled grain in many harvested fields – both being places that offer rest and fuel for energy required during migration – and it becomes easy to understand why ducks and geese find Pennsylvania a first-rate stop-over.
Here in the southeast corner of the state we look forward to that early week of duck hunting. Local streams, ponds and lakes where good numbers of mallards and wood ducks were raised, will see their fair share of hunters moving birds in all directions during that week.
On a nearby farm property where my buddies and I hunt, a huge corner of a field often holds lots of water. If the conditions are right and enough water sits undisturbed – not a certainty at the moment for lack of rain – birds spooked from all the other pools of water in surrounding areas, will provide easily decoyed birds for our spot.
If the weather cooperates and the hunt takes place, we will as in past years, take a couple of young hunters along, and allow them their fill of shooting – with the occasional downing of fast-flying ducks.
More often than not it is a great morning filled with action, laughter and learning, along with some harvested ducks to show to proud parents. All of this occurs because Pennsylvania is a pretty good place to hunt waterfowl.
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