Pennsylvania hunting seasons – please hurry

Mourning Dove

Back in mid-March I wrote of the need to spend time — basically alone-outdoors — through walking, observing wildlife and generally being with nature, as a way to separate oneself from the danger of crowding with other people. Given the way the novel coronavirus virus could be spread. I also meant this practice of “outdoor isolation” as a means to keep a sense of one’s sanity in difficult times,

For myself, from that point on, trout season eventually opened, spring gobbler season began on schedule — along with more trout fishing —plus plenty of spring’s seasonal home-time duties, all of which kept me abundantly busy as life eased into early summer.

Summer has been different. Although I do about a two-mile walk just about every morning, I do little else. A prolonged spell of high heat and humid air, plus the random outbursts of extremely heavy rain have kept me indoors far too much.

I suppose there were times I could have fished with summer in full swing, especially after a heavy rain filled the local creeks with some cooler water. But since I had no plans to kill any fish, I simply kept to the thinking that any hooking and fighting I would do to a fish would only stress them beyond what they now face and likely kill them after release, no matter the fish species, and chose to leave my rods alone.

So August is now here. It has brought with it the heat and humidity of July, and my daily routine has not changed. Along with that weather pattern, is the alarming fact that America is no closer to getting a handle on COVID-19 as confirmed growth of cases registers across sections of the country, and death rates rise accordingly. It is a distressing trend no matter where blame is placed, and plays on my mind constantly.

However, beyond all the gloom, boredom and worry of these current times, there is one significant difference that comes with August that is already lifting my spirits significantly. Simply stated, I’m that much closer to September, and that means hunting seasons begin, and my mind can turn to thoughts of better times.

I drive a short distance from my home to reach a long tractor path that runs through the farm owned by a close friend where I do my morning stroll. This lane of dirt and matted grass offers safety from walking the nearby back-country roads that too often have speeding vehicles zooming through. These walks along thickened fencerows and lush fields of grain and grass also offer close encounters with various forms of wildlife that easily catch my eye and make delightful the work of hiking.

I haven’t hunted mourning doves in the past few years, mainly because I just haven’t had the urge to do so as I did during my more youthful times. But I’ve been taking notice of plenty of doves flying about when I walk the farm, even to the point of seeing definite patterns of their feeding and relaxing, and where good ambush spots will be. Come September, I’ll once again be hunting these swift and tasty birds.

Resident Canada goose hunting with my companion waterfowl hunting friends has gone by the wayside over the last couple of years, also. That’s mainly due to greatly reduced numbers of the home-grown birds that fly locally, plus stiffer early season competition. But much like the sightings of doves, small flocks of geese pass near me on my morning walks. I am able to see some little spots they dip into on certain mornings, places where other hunters may not know of, providing hidden spaces I might be able to sneak to and spread a couple decoys, and enjoy some serious goose hunting as the season rolls on.

Where I live, there is also another tempting hunting possibility to consider that I’ve failed to do up till now, and that is the fact that archery season for whitetails opens mid- September around my home. I have yet to climb a tree in September woods in pursuit of deer through all they years this season has been available, but that may well change this coming season. The time spent archery hunting in September could fill a good deal of hours that I’ve not been hunting in the past, instead of just sitting home as I do now, suffering.

And although I’d be hard pressed to take a doe escorting fawns this time of year, just seeing some would be wonderful. If luck is with me, I may happen to catch sight of a real monster buck, that even if a shot never presents itself, I’ll at least know of that deer in that spot, and of any others that might pass me by.

So, yeah, I’m disappointed and bored and in a rather bad state of mind at the moment, but I’m getting better, thinking of September with all the hunting I can do, and cooler weather, and maybe some fishing, too. So come on September, get here quickly!

Categories: Bloggers on Hunting, Pennsylvania – Ron Steffe

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