ZEKE WILSON: Lost and found
Antlerless deer license applications will begin to be accepted July 8. On Monday I paid my dues for the year to hunt and trap in Pennsylvania, and I am eagerly waiting for the many seasons to come.
With the new automated license system, it is easy to forget something like migratory bird or bear licenses in the transaction process. Luckily, adding something on at a later date or acquiring a replacement license is easier than before. I can remember standing in the now-leveled Trader Horn and watching a sales associate flip through the stack of issued license books in search for the original carbon copy of my license to obtain a replacement license.
When getting a doe license was a rarity, losing one typically meant just that. Those with mountain camps couldn’t afford taking a day off work and driving to the county-in- question’s courthouse to seek a replacement.
Losing something is never easy, but at least now losing your license is the easiest. A misplaced knife, rifle clip or rangefinder typically requires more thought and effort, and there is little chance of recovery.
Bow hunting from a stand makes it easier to return to the lost gear, as does snow on the ground. Twice I have lost my phone while exiting the vehicle with it on my lap to inspect wildlife tracks in the snow along access roads. In both instances, the snow allowed for finding the phone once I realized I no longer had a phone.
More times than I care to recollect I have taken the trip back to the entrails of a harvested big game animal for a forgotten knife and have always found it.
Perhaps the worst thing to lose while hunting is the spot you plan to be in when it is legal shooting time. Climbing tree stands allows for mobility, but locating a tree in the dark is tougher than locating a tree with a stand already attached. For non-hunters this could easily be demonstrated by checking any public ground in the dark.
The amount of reflective thumbtacks and surveyors ribbon that is used emphasizes how bad losing your spot or yourself can be. Despite the use of compasses and GPS, getting lost is just as easy as it’s always been. Technology now allows hunters to go somewhere that they never would have prior to GPS. When so much faith is put into the GPS, the failure of it or the batteries can cripple an outing.
• Crow will become fair game on Friday, and when the heat isn’t horrible, it’s tough to beat summertime wing shooting. Family groups of crows are predictable at this point in the year, and establishing a flight path should be easy enough.
Setting up along the flight path with good concealment should allow for some shooting. Locating a preferred perch tree can allow for incoming shots, if you can beat the crows to it in the morning.
The forest canopy makes hunting inside the woods next to impossible, making tree lines and field edges areas to focus efforts.
Freshly cut hayfields are a magnet for crows allowing for the use of decoys, if desired.
Vocalizations work well on crows, although a flock quickly can learn to identify the ruse. Hand calls are cheap and effective, especially when a flying crow is in the air.
Hunting an area with good vantage of the skyline can allow the hunter to locate and then call to flying crows in hopes of them responding. While vocal, crows do not always talk in the air so a hunter must constantly scan the sky, much like duck or dove hunting.
• Bullfrog and snapping turtle is now legal and on the menu for those looking to eat wild.