ZEKE WILSON: Hunting licenses on sale
June 11, 2013 10:40 AM

Hunting licenses went on sale Monday, but they will not be needed for any hunting until July 1.

The launch of license sales for the upcoming seasons also serves as a reminder for Pennsylvania hunters who hold senior lifetime hunting or furtaker licenses. While those hunters need not pay a license or transaction fee, they must still pick up new licenses and harvest tags.

• Over the weekend I got the chance to do some fishing, and it didn’t take long to put some bluegills in the bucket. Other panfish such as perch and crappie remained elusive, but a few rock bass were caught. Talks with another angler revealed fishing on other local lakes for bluegill has been good and that the bass also are feeding well.

Saturday is the opening day for bass, and from what I have seen and heard, catching a limit of legal fish at most of the local lakes should be a good proposition. On most waters the limit of bass is six with a size requirement of 12 inches. However Big Bass regulations govern a number of area waters, where a minimum size of 15 inches is required and only four fish can be kept.

In our area, Yellow Creek Lake and Keystone Lake are the most notable for holding things to a higher standard with the Big Bass program.

If you plan on making dinner out of your catch, it is best to always consult your current regulations digest. Although not nearly as common as the Big Bass waters, some water bodies have panfish enhancement programs with minimum size and reduced creel limits in place.

• Timber rattlesnake and copperhead season opened Saturday and is in until the end of July. A minimum size of 42 inches is required for rattlesnakes, and only males may be harvested.

It is unfortunate that society still has a “kill-’em-all” mentality in regard to native snakes. Most reptiles and amphibians in our state are protected or endangered, and with the way the world is going, they appear to be fighting an uphill battle.

Snapping turtles and bullfrogs are still plentiful, with seasons opening July 1. Although cleaning and processing a snapping turtle is tough work, a daily limit of 15 allows a good yield for the effort.

Only 10 bullfrogs may be harvested per day, but they require less preparation getting them to the table.

With crow season also opening on July 1 an outdoor enthusiast could easily create some wild meals this summer.

• In my travels I had the luck of stumbling across a large flock of turkeys out in a freshly planted field. Eight or nine birds were in the group, and interestingly, all appeared to be jakes.

I have seen only a couple fawns, with both appearing healthy but neither having a twin. Others that I have spoke with indicated seeing more fawns than they could remember in years past.

• The Pennsylvania Trappers Association held its annual rendezvous recently, and despite rainy weather for the show, there is much excitement surrounding the upcoming trapping season.

Operating a trapline typically consumes much more than just the couple weeks of actual trapping, and many chose the summer months to tweak their traps.

Catching bait and preparing locations for the upcoming season also are summer activities, and with improving prices making a profit might even be possible.

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