Pennsylvania’s fall hillsides – nature’s best mix of deer, beauty
In my front yard sits a big old silver maple tree. Most of the leaves are turning red, yellow, rust and a sort of reddish-purple. They are a natural color-mix pleasing to the eye.
When I leave my home during this time of year and head toward one of my deer hunting spots, I don’t travel far before I pass a small section of woodlands. They are actually lowlands, through which a small stream weaves along, requiring me to cross a bridge. The scattering of woods here are filled with tall and sturdy shagbark hickory trees, their leaves are already dark red, hanging thick, soon to fall and scatter atop the earth where they grow. It is an impressive burst of color, impossible to miss for anyone traveling past.
Heading toward the hunting spots, I enter one of the two main highways that run through the entire area of my homeland (two lanes — one each way only). In the distance, and in every direction, lay hillsides of woods, most of them already starting the change of colors that can only mean the true fall season is slipping into forests just recently green and lush.
I know when I reach one of my spots and move toward a stand I have already fastened to a tree, I will be climbing and sitting in woods that deer perceive as home. At any time, they may pass by within my field of vision, adding to the perfect beauty of these soon to be color-laden hillsides.
This is the scene of my southeastern Pennsylvania homeland, but across all of the state this color change is happening. I’m well aware some places hold mountains of abrupt steepness, because I’ve hunted many of those places. Yet, they remain hillsides with the rich color of fall, and better yet, places where whitetails roam.
If I learned nothing else through a lifetime of hunting, I’ve learned that every minute I spend in the outside world reveals the deep beauty of nature, and all her perfection. My appreciation for that only grows, and I need not to see quarry continually, for I’m truly entertained with just seeing what grows around me.
Still, I remain at heart a hunter, and these brilliant and vivid colors always stir the feeling within me that it is time to be archery hunting, and that only my entering woods with bow in hand will satisfy my need to be within these changing colors.
We are extremely lucky to be people of Pennsylvania and its changing seasons. And I would like to believe that these hillsides with their beauty of blazing fall leaves are a reason to draw archery hunters almost as equally to these places as well as the prospect of hunting the deer that live there. I know that is true for me.