In my travels it has been apparent that the deer movements are on the upswing. Sightings during the morning and evening hours are common, and I have seen several grazing in the shade during midday. A look at any of the area roadways would quickly confirm these movements as many deer have been struck in the past week. Seeking a quiet area to fawn is often the reason for movement, but any disturbance can send deer looking for greener grass.
It is always discouraging to see deer wasted alongside the road after they survived hunting season and the long, cold winter. While most whitetail at this time of year are educated as to when and where to cross, their hooves on pavement are not the best for traction. On Sunday I watched as a doe attempted to cross four lanes of traffic on Route 422 at Moraine State Park. After making three lanes, the doe attempted to juke, lost her footing and landed on her side. Luckily, she then spun 180 degrees and went back the way she came without being struck.
Despite the potential for a collision at almost any time, the bulk of motorists give little consideration to wildlife. Turkeys also are suffering mortalities via motorists, although their movements are beginning to taper off. The other day while I was landscaping around a small pond, a hen turkey casually walked up to my co-worker. At 30 feet away, she paused at the pond to take five drinks of water before heading downhill to, in all probability, her nest.
With most hens now fully engaged in their nesting efforts, it is important to take any step necessary as to not disrupt them. Pushing a hen from her nest at this point in the season could possibly eliminate the chance of producing young. While there are still some gobblers around, hunting pressure has reduced the bulk of those to breed hens if they had an unsuccessful nesting. I often hear complaints on small turkey poults in the fall, but I would much rather see them than none at all.
The hunting season runs until May 31, but yet many have already given up or tagged out for the year. For those looking to still chase a long beard, chances are good of doing so with little to no competition. Now that hunting is permitted all day, there is a better chance of getting out after work and enjoying the spring woods.
• It doesn’t take much time outside to realize that crows are everywhere. Seeking out food for their young, the black bandits are hard to miss, with many now refusing to fly even when traffic buzzes by. With the season opening July 1, it will be a while to start blasting, yet taking note of roost sites or travel paths at this point in the year is good knowledge.
Once the young crows begin to fly, they are somewhat na?ve to man methods and can be harvested easily at times. Wild crows can reach 20 years, making them one of the more intelligent adversaries in the outdoors. Much like the coyote, battling wits with crows can be some of the most challenging and rewarding hunting opportunities available.
• Low stream levels have made trout angling tough, but there are still fish in the water. Stockings continue, and the hatchery-fresh fish at Little Mahoning last week wasted little time in feeding on insects floating on the surface.
Until it rains, combat-like care must be taken on the smaller streams to ensure that the trout are not alerted to anglers. On the deeper water there is less need to be stealthy, although sloshing around in waders and kicking rocks would not help the cause.