Pennsylvania – Mark Nale

Expanding your outdoor horizons enhances enjoyment

A stream outing with my daughter a year ago led to the discovery of ripening black raspberries — lots of them!  The trout fishing was good, but three days later, we were back toting containers to fill with berries instead of carrying our fishing rods.  We harvested several quarts of delicious fruit with minimal effort. On another early morning fishing…

In a huff over WMU makeup

Discourse really heated up on May 29, at the Pennsylvania Game Commission work group session. Based on Bob Frye’s story in the most recent issue of Pennsylvania Outdoor News (6-8-12), I guess that I missed an exciting meeting. The boundaries of our wildlife management units provided the focal point for the “heat” — specifically, whether or not they should be…

Secret Streams…

The stream conditions in Central Pennsylvania — the real central Pa., not the Harrisburg area, which is actually more southeast — have been superb and I’ve been out taking advantage them. The good flows and great water temperatures make it perfect for visiting some of my smaller wild trout waters — my secret streams. During the past week I’ve cast…

Quantifying the trout resources we have …

I just returned from a two-day trout fishing trip with my brother to the mountains of North Carolina – something that I had wanted to do for many  years. The scenery was  breathtaking, and it would be difficult to find wildtrout streams more attractive than Fires Creek and the Bradley Fork—two of the streams that we  fished.  Rhododendron- and laurel-lined,…

House Bill 2034 – Legislation that should go nowhere

By now, House Bill 2034, Rep. Mike Hanna’s Antlerless Deer Harvest Committee bill, and reactions to it, have been covered by several Pennsylvania Outdoor News stories, columns and blogs. I think it’s a bad bill that doesn’t have a future. If passed, House Bill 2034 would initiate two main wildlife management changes – both bad. It seeks to mandate Pennsylvania…

Inconsistency the Pattern for Fishing License Buyers

I know some people think that I am out of touch, but recent revelations really make me feel that way.Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission research into fishing license buyers found that only 8 percent of license buyers have purchased a fishing license during each of the past five years. I would have guessed over 75 percent.I have purchased a fishing…

Trout Hatchery Savings?

Each year, it costs more for the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission to raise trout, while at the same time fishing license sales decrease. No license or trout stamp fee increase is even on the discussion table – and in this economic climate, it probably shouldn't be. Expenses that increase and revenue that decreases – it is obvious that something…

ATVs in the Pennsylvania Wilds: Fun, or Irresponsibility?

A recent Pa. Outdoor News (8-19-11) letter to the editor by Lee Williamson got under my skin. He commented that Outdoor News columnist Ben Moyer must be “non-motorized.” Williamson called on DCNR to provide more “motorized recreation” in the Pa. Wilds in order to make the concept a success. He would like to see additional ATV recreational trails within the…

No Deer in Pennsylvania?

I really, really get tired of listening to all of the “no-deer” complainers. We had a power outage a few evenings ago — happened at dusk. My son-in-law John suggested that we go spotlighting for deer. That sounded like a great no-electricity pastime, so off we went. We took a 55-minute drive, checking out the farm fields in about a…

PGC jumped the gun on Sunday hunting issue

Whether you are for or against being able to hunt all game animals on Sundays, the Board of Pennsylvania Game Commissioners recently took a position that will not help them in the long run. They voted 4 to 3 in June — passing a broad measure supporting legislation that would allow additional hunting on Sundays (that is, in addition to…

Individuals do make a difference

All across Pennsylvania, volunteer organizers and activists plan events, lead habitat projects, tirelessly head sportsmen’s clubs, or rally for cleaner water, land preservation or hunting/shooting rights. These are the guys and gals who step up and say, “I’ll be president for another year,” “Let’s preserve and improve this river,” or “There is no reason why we couldn’t have a world…

Land preservation – What the PA Game Commission does best

We have two wildlife agencies in Pennsylvania – the Game Commission and the Fish & Boat Commission. I gladly buy licenses and therefore “support” both agencies each year. Many of you do the same. Since I favor long-term lasting gains over short-term thinking, I’m not always happy about where my license money goes.If we were having an inter-agency contest –…

Stocked Trout – at what cost?

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission has two serious problems that they seem to be unwilling or unable to address – disappearing stocked trout and how much their hatchery system actually costs license buyers. Raising stocked trout is a big business for the PFBC. They spend millions of dollars to raise and stock adult hatchery trout. This year, approximately 3.2…

Big-money outdoor sports contests and the polygraph

During my writing career, I have covered many hunting and fishing contests.  The events are certainly exciting and draw large crowds. However, without fail, grumblings and accusations about some type of foul play are heard at every contest. The organizers must attempt to prevent and deal with suspected cheating. It is not an easy job.Take something as traditional and sporting…

Misplaced Anger

One month ago, in a 22-page decision, Commonwealth Court dismissed the lawsuit filed against the Pennsylvania Game Commission by the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania.  The lawsuit had claimed that the agency was using fraudulent science to manage deer. It also alleged that the deer herd was not being managed in the best interests of hunters or the deer themselves. This…

Winter Trout

Since New Year’s Day, I have been anxious to do some winter trout fishing, but central Pennsylvania has had a colder than average winter. Any remotely possible weather day just never suited my schedule. Finally, on Feb. 16, we had a day with great potential for winter trout fishing.Freestone or limestone stream  — there wasn’t really a choice. Bald Eagle…

Doe Season Length & Structure

One oft-debated “Deer Wars” topic here in Pennsylvania is the length and timing of antlerless deer season. Hunter views run the gamut from supporting 12 days of concurrent buck and doe season, favoring 7 or fewer days of concurrent, to 1 to 3 days following buck season or just being against doe season entirely.  I began hunting during the era of…

Boop’s Pain

Hunting, fishing and just getting out is the fun part of this job, but unfortunately many of the decisions that greatly affect our favorite sports are made in meetings. One such event was the Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 PA Game Commission meeting in Harrisburg. The official news releases tell everyone what happened – a longer bear season, altered turkey seasons,…

Dismantling the PGC deer program – piece by piece

We are only about a week away from the Pennsylvania Game Commission Board of Commissioner’s meeting, which will be held in Harrisburg, Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. This is the meeting where commissioners will give preliminary approval to the seasons & bag limits for the coming hunting seasons.  As always, the big topic will be deer. Last year at this…