ZEKE WILSON: Hopping into spring
April 15, 2014 10:40 AM

After a long day of landscaping and digging trees, the sun seemed to hang on the horizon for hours. Finally, as the day grew dark, I called it quits and headed for the house.

With an outdoor column deadline on my mind the work day would continue. However, upon arriving home I was unable to enter the driveway and engaged the hazard lights to resolve the issue. A hopping racquet-ball-sized toad was out on the prowl and attracted to the freshly moistened travel way.

Backing into my driveway would have meant death for the amphibian, so carefully I picked up the little guy and placed him on what hopefully was the preferred side. Most motorists would have crushed it without a thought, but as an outdoorsman, all species are seen as special and of value to me.

A bumper sticker that I have run for more than 250,000 miles proudly states, “Kids who hunt, trap and fish don’t mug little old ladies.” With the world going the way it is, encouraging youth to learn and understand the ecosystem will give them better appreciation for living things and also mold them into healthier individuals.

• A special youth fishing day was rescheduled due to weather and will now occur from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10. Certain waters will be stocked for mentors and those under 16 with a youth fishing license that costs $2.70.

For each license sold, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will receive $5 in federal funding to further promote youth fishing. Adults must possess a license and trout stamp to participate. In our area Cloe Lake in Jefferson County and Twin Lakes in Westmorland County are selected waters for this youth event.

• For those serious trout anglers, in-season stocking is under way, with many streams and lakes receiving fresh fish well into the month of May. Logging on to the PFBC website, www.fish.state.pa.us/, will reveal the stocking list, or one can stop by your local state representative’s office and acquire a hard copy.

Reductions in the number of stocked trout have eliminated many second and third stockings on certain waterways. The current system still provides outstanding opportunities, although knowing when and where is always nice when planning an outing.

Many of the approved trout streams were running swift for the first day, allowing trout to remain in the water.

With the opening-day crowds now gone, enjoying solitude should now be possible. Reading the water and focusing on individual fish is easier when you are not worrying about tangling with several other anglers’ lines.

• A trip to Potter County trout camp yielded zero turkey sightings, but my local travels have indicated better numbers than anticipated. Although the season is still weeks away, making time to get out and scout should become a priority. Looking and listening are the two best ways to scout, with calls best left at home.

Observing the natural pattern of the flock is instantly compromised when calls are made. In the early spring, gobblers need little encouragement to sound off.

Roosting and strutting locations are key ingredients to intercept a bird and can allow for a tag to be filled early in the season.

With a harsh winter one should be prepared to hunt harder and cover more ground in certain areas that experienced mortalities due to the snow and ice.

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