ZEKE WILSON: Autumn urgency sets in
Prior to the official start of autumn, I had already noticed the urgency of the changing seasons.
Sunday night, Forest County had a freeze warning, and news like that can quickly add a few chores to the list. Anything that needs done is best done before fall or the chance of snow engulfing the task becomes a possibility. Perhaps if the best hunting, trapping and fishing did not all coincide with the changing of the leaves more could be accomplished.
Arrows and possibly a new sight are the only items I would like to pick up before the opening day of archery. As close as the opener is, both should have been addressed weeks ago, but many wait until the day prior to discover some bow case disaster.
While practice is why so many love archery, with today’s modern-day compound bows, a lot of first shots of the year are right on the money. Shooting instinctively rather than with the aid of a sight allows for more shooter error, especially when out of practice.
The bulk of archers in Pennsylvania will carry either a compound or a crossbow on the first day. While these advancements in technology have allowed for less practice, moving parts and planned obsolescence can allow for mechanical error on occasion.
Hunting from an elevated platform is dangerous alone, and it becomes only more so with a quiver full of broad-head tipped arrows. Care should be given to where your bow is laid when climbing the tree because it makes little sense to have it there to break your fall. The bulk of accidents happen when entering the tree stand, so it only makes sense to use a safety restraint system from the ground up.
• Wildlife is on the move, and a flock of perhaps 500 black birds working their way down the bypass the other day was tough to ignore. Many migratory birds have learned to follow highways that run north to south. This group appeared to be working the cherries along either side of the fence rows for whatever fruit still hung.
Strong winds from the south had a flock of resident geese struggling as their desperate honks initially drew my attention. Far from their typical V-formation, this flock had young-of-the-year geese doing all they could to keep up. At one point a group of six fell and maple-leafed their way down in search of a better path. In the months to come these same birds will become built for flight and eventually their own migration.
• The cold evenings and diminishing daylight are drastically changing the outdoors. Just as the geese have begun to feed with purpose, so too have the squirrels, deer, coon and so forth.
Weeds are losing seed, and for those who have yet to address the issue, the use of roundup or generics often requires 70-degree temperatures.
Some camp owners are winterizing and closing things up, while others continue to stack wood and wait for the upcoming hunts.
Squirrel and grouse are not too long away, with most camps offering at least one species within walking distance. Oftentimes these early hunts can allow a good look at the available big-game food supplies.