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Hunting season is officially underway with wing shooters enjoying dove and geese now as an outdoor option.

Abundance of food and warm weather can impact the flights, and while the hunting is at times slow, it is still

hunting. Each outing will allow a chance to create a lasting memory and put meat on the table. Having an eye toward the sky or on

harvested agricultural land is the best way to discover a potential hunt.

Finding other hunters who share the same interests will allow several to be

scouting for the next feed or flight path. The cost of goose decoys can be

significant and sharing the investment with several can allow a

bigger spread at a smaller cost. In the early season, geese are largely still in family groups, and arranging decoys in groups of eight to 12

distanced from other groups or alone will best resemble what is occurring naturally. As the migration begins later in the year, flocks will gather and more decoys are required to fool fowl.

For one reason or

another, popularity of

September hunting is

minimal, but there is great benefit for getting afield early in the year. The simple

routine of gathering essential equipment along with basic survival gear is always more complicated at the beginning of the season. Preparing for an evening or morning

migratory bird hunt or two before all-day, big-game hunts become the norm helps one work out the kinks of packing. As the season

progresses, a number of essentials are slowly removed from the day pack as one begins to realize what is needed and what is not.

Our area allows one to never be far from camp, home or vehicle, but entering the woods unprepared always carries risk. It can be just as dangerous whether on the back 40 for an evening hunt or a weeklong adventure in a wilderness area.

While it may take a week or more to starve to death, water is an essential part of survival, and it’s importance is exaggerated on the warmer days typical of September. While many prefer to camel up, drinking in advance of an outing and carrying at least a minimum of water is

common sense.

Sadly, many of the water sources in this area are

contaminated, and drinking unfiltered water can come with dire consequences. While I have never been experienced beaver fever, or giardia, as it is better known, a good friend has confirmed that it is ill-advised to take a drink as the indigenous

people once did regularly. Investing in a portable water filter will allow one to drink water found in the

environment should the

situation require.

Squirrel season opens Sept. 15 and offers a great chance to enter the woods. With ginseng season underway, the benefits of hiking mature forest are twofold. Filling the game vest with a few fat squirrels or a handful of medicinal roots will help one feel more connected to the land. Ginseng is largely used in Asia, although many in Appalachia believe in its strength.

My first hunts were for squirrel, and there is little doubt that a young hunter capable of harvesting squirrel will be ready for larger game this fall. The chance for action is great, and a youth can be guided as to safe gun handling and outdoor knowledge with each step taken.

Antlerless deer licenses will become available over the counter on Sept. 13 at county treasurers across the state. Mail-in applications will also be accepted beginning

Monday. Checking online will reveal an accurate count of the remaining licenses

available.