Indiana, PA - Indiana County

ZEKE WILSON: Opportunities abound in fall outdoors

by on October 22, 2013 10:40 AM

It is the time of year when the possibilities of outdoor activities outweigh the hours in the day.

After a dinner of wood duck and grouse breasts Sunday evening, I gathered my salmon tackle in preparation for the next adventure.

Throughout the Great Lakes, trout and salmon are making their way up the tributaries, and rains over the weekend were all the convincing I needed to sign up for the trip. I was in search of king salmon, and a five-hour drive to New York and a $15 one-day license along with some nontoxic sinkers was all that is required. With hope, the trip will be successful, and a limit of three will be added to the season’s harvest.

The bounty of wildlife to be taken is tremendous at the moment, and filling the stringer or game vest is often easy. Squirrels are abundant, and the upcoming cold weather will have them on the move.

When I was on a recent wood duck hunt, acorns seemed scarce, with much of the bounty already appearing to have been consumed. Walnut and hickory trees are always good spots to find for squirrels, and with a liberal limit, they offer good return in the way of table fare.

Grouse are always an option and make for excellent cuisine, although most licensed hunters ignore the species. Thick cover, rough terrain and more misses than hits all factor in to why many pass on pursuing our state bird.

With rabbit and pheasant seasons coming in Saturday, the chances of jumping or flushing legal game is great.

The inline doe season and duck are in until Saturday, with archery continuing into November.

Trapping and hunting seasons for fox, coyote and raccoon also open over the weekend as well.

Despite constant persecution in the county, the coyote population continues to expand, allowing for an exciting pursuit. In the early fall, young of the year coyotes can at times be downright dumb, allowing for the best chance at one.

With so much going on in the outdoors it is inevitable that conflict between users of the land will arise. In most instances, both parties could continue their hunt, although most do not like to be crowded. Luckily, with amount of public ground in our area, there is always a Plan B if things are too crowded at the preferred spot. Oftentimes farming practices, firewood cutting, ATVs or even the neighbor walking the dog can foil a hunt just as easily as competition.

In the weeks to come the leaves will continue to fall, allowing the terrain and target species to become more evident. Some of the more marginal covers will quickly lose holding capabilities as fence rows and tree lines become transparent.

Corn and crab apples are both being keyed in on by deer at the current time. Scrapes are beginning to show up with regularity, and I have already seen some buck out cruising the fringes of their territory.



Zeke Wilson is an outdoors writer for The Indiana Gazette. His columns appear Tuesday on the Outdoors page and in the Indiana County Area Sports section on The Indiana Gazette Online.
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