Once again a cold front has fallen across the region, making outdoor adventure complicated. Modern gear will allow for comfort even in the bitter cold, although most prefer to stay inside.
A plethora of indoor events are scheduled for this time of year, tailoring to the boredom of winter. The upcoming gun show at S&T Bank Arena offers a local chance for some entertainment.
Many will seek out specific shows geared toward the hobby of most interest. I know of several muskie fishermen headed to this weekend’s show in Columbus, Ohio. Crossing state lines is often necessary to stay up on the current trends and latest gear.
With the newly configured sports show in Harrisburg this year being promoted by the NRA, many manufactures and vendors will be coming here to the Keystone State. Although it is a significant drive, there are few other places where so much outdoor interest is under one roof.
• Deadlines for mail-in applications for many of the upcoming coyote hunts are fast approaching. In my travels, I have seen some coyote signs, yet in the dead of winter home ranges can cover eight to 10 square miles. As it is for most game, food and cover are high on the Wiley Coyote’s list of what is necessary for survival. Both often are found along highways, and other than the drone of traffic, most of these brushy patches see little activity by man.
Overgrown farms are often a hotspot, although increasing grain prices have reverted many wildlife sanctuaries back into crop rotation. Regenerating clear-cut forests are where many of the northern-tier coyotes call home as these places offer the rabbit, rodents and whitetail to hunt.
Snow cover can allow for an assessment of the population of both coyotes and food. Because of the coyote’s large home range, one must check miles of territory in order to locate coyotes. In my experience with coyotes, it is usually seven to 10 days before they return to the area. However, heavy snow and abundant food will concentrate coyotes much like deer, and often they will be found together.
Deciphering tracks where deer have yarded up is often difficult, and focusing on the edges will offer the best chance at finding a coyote track. Once it has been established that coyote are in the area, one can hunt more confidently.
• Those who trapped or hunted furbearers this year are now marketing their catch. Local fur buyers have become hesitant to purchase additional hides with the international auctions yet to establish a firm price structure. In a market largely influenced by the Chinese, it is one of the few times a coon trapper and stock broker share the same concerns. With any hope the prices that were predicated prior to the season will be seen, although things often go downhill in the fur market.
• The weekend looks to be warmer, offering ice anglers and small game hunters a more enjoyable outing.