Zeke Wilson

Licensed anglers who are interested in hunting rattlesnakes may obtain a venomous snake permit at any licensing agent.

The season opened Saturday with permit holders allowed to harvest either a copperhead of any length or a rattlesnake that is 42 inches in length or longer and identified as a male.

To determine if it is a male snake it must be handled alive so that scales between the vent and rattle are counted with 21 or greater indicating a male.

Snake boots, chaps, snake tongs are all that is needed to go enjoy the hunt.

A clear plastic tube can be used to force the snakes head and neck into so it can be measured and sexed while minimizing the chance of being bit.

Thick vegetation can make seeing or catching snakes difficult, which poses the risk of stepping on or near an unseen snake.

Like most critters, snakes will share good habitat, so when you spot one, be careful of any others that may be between you and your target.

Tagging along with someone who has caught snakes before would be the best way to get into the sport.

Power Lines and pipelines offer the edge habitat that harbors much of a snakes diet. The almost constant buzz of the cicadia this year could make hearing a rattler difficult in some areas.

• Bass season is soon to begin and anglers should have little trouble finding a place to fish Saturday.

Our area has several lakes that are open to public fishing with Yellow Creek and Keystone power dam being the most notable.

Other waters such as Cloe Lake, Cummings Reservoir, Mahoning Dam and Hemlock Lake also offer good opportunity for bass in addition to panfish.

Being on the water early or late in the day will allow for better angling in most instances as the high sun often puts fish into thick cover.

A variety of artificial baits and lures are on the market to catch bass and are what most bass anglers now use.

Live bait still works well but must be purchased fresh, kept alive and presented properly to the fish. Fishing from a boat helps combat the thick shoreline brush although bank anglers can still experience success with a bit more bushwhacking.

Insect repellent is all but essential when it comes to enjoying the outdoors at this time of year, yet special care should be taken to not contaminate baits or lures with the repellent as it works equally well on fish as it does insects.

Boat registration is something that is often checked at boat launches so it will pay to have all paperwork in order before hitting the water.

• The Pennsylvania Trappers Association will hold its annual convention this year at the Washington County Fairgrounds.

The event will take place June 27-29 and offers nearly anything trapping-related along with a host of other outdoor products both new and used. Demonstrations from professional trappers are held over the entire event to help share the knowledge needed to consistently catch fur.

This event is perfect for introducing someone to trapping as all questions could be answered in person by experts.