Indiana, PA - Indiana County

ZEKE WILSON: It's hard to get around

by on June 10, 2014 10:30 AM

Venturing outdoors now can be difficult, with vegetation impeding legs and eyes.

Walking into a new area in the weeks to come will quickly reveal underbrush and insects, both intent on ending the outing.

One benefit of weeds waist-high is that it is easy to see where deer and bear wade through the really thick stuff. Often the hunters find themselves on the game trail because the briars and terrain gave no other option.

Running coon hounds at night in the summer can be downright dangerous, with one not knowing what the next step might bring. Junked cars and sinkholes have stopped my momentum during summer training sessions.

While not as common in our region, barbed wire from days gone by can be easily overlooked among the lush plant life. Much of the Midwest is bisected by barbed wire, making things tough on man and his best friend alike.

Looking ahead in an attempt to pick a path is all but impossible in the forest, with the canopy blocking vision in all directions. At night one can read treetops against the sky and identify openings more easily with the right elevation.

Regardless of the hour, you do not need to go very deep into the woods before you are totally surrounded by it. Being lost locally or in another county is easy enough when you can see only green in all directions.

In the weeks to come navigating the fields and forests will continue to be a challenge.

• Despite things being less than ideal, contact with nature is needed year-round. The other evening as I worked into the dark I was reminded not once but twice of just that. As I looked out across a field toward the fading sunlight, a woodcock circled the field twice.

Once darkness fell I donned a headlamp, and while tidying up some scrap lumber, I discovered a black salamander with yellow spots hiding beneath one of the rotting boards.

If you are not experiencing the outdoors regularly, it can be easy to not appreciate its wonder.

• In my travels, rabbits and squirrels are abundant, although it will be months before either is in season. Sadly, a September squirrel season will not happen this year despite research indicating it doesn’t impact the population. Politics as to archers crying and the unknown surely came into play, yet proposing to further utilize a resource and then deciding not to is foolish.

I am an archer and always thought it was silly that I could shoot deer legally and not a squirrel whose tree I unknowingly climbed in early October.

With hope, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will realize more squirrel hunting opportunities is nothing but positive.

• Many of the possession limits have changed for the upcoming license year to allow three days’ limits rather than two, with consideration given to nonresident license sales as well as utilizing our wild game resources.

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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