From the “Fins” archives of 1986 come these outdoor clips rerinted as written. Keep in mind, a few things have changed, and some haven’t, in the last 35 years.
Last year, almost 26,000 deer and 116 bears were killed on this state’s highways and it doesn’t only happen in darkness. Sav-A-Life Inc., of New York City has been marketing a Deer Alert System that increases an animal’s odds of co-existing with four-wheeled meat grinders. The system looks like a small pair of jet engine pods that fit easily into the palm of your hand. Mounted on the front bumper of the car, these whistles for wildlife let animals know you’re coming.
The price that Harry A. Naylor Jr.is paying these days for red foxes still on the carcass isn’t what it used to be, nor is what the Gardners fur dealer is getting for the pelts. Foxes that were worth $26 to local trappers last year are worth $18 now. Naylor said the drooping market overseas has driven the price of fox and other pelts down.
Trout season will open April 12 and it looks like Adams County won’t have its own fish warden. Warren “Barney” Singer patrolled our waterways for 16 years before leaving last month to work closer to home in Bradford County.
In mid-January, golden retriever Tanner and I came upon what first appeared on the battlefield to be a weathered cardboard box. That is until it raised its wobbly head and looked more like an antlerless deer. We’d come across an anesthetized deer from the night before as part of the count to determine whether deer should be removed from the Park. I was very concerned for her in the bitter cold. Those who ascended on us were more concerned that my dog wasn’t on a leash. I learned that they’d counted upwards of 470 so far, the Penn State study was costing $70,000, and the battlefield had a leash law. It was a good walk spoiled. The look in the deer’s eyes ruined my day.
Michael A. Dubaich, the county’s new game protector, was pleasant and polite with a cropped haircut, neat uniform, and calculated answers to my interview. From Aliquippa, Mike is a recent graduate of the Game Commission’s 19th class and came to the county when Gary Becker announced his retirement.
Larry V. Boor walked in the door, as replacement for Barney Singer, as the new Fish and Boat Commission waterways patrolman. Larry has been on our doorstep for a good bit of his 14 years with the Commission, spending time in Franklin, Mercer, and Cumberland counties.
New hunters and trappers in Adams County will now be trained together in a 10-hour course. It used to be that the novice outdoorsmen had their own blocks of instruction set aside before they could get a license. Among the mounds of offseason paperwork for county game protector Larry Haynes has been the Game Commission’s latest proposal. Emergency field first aid will be taught in basic form and a medic will be called in to give the lesson.
Tired of kamikaze sparrows ruining your early-morning run? First, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and second, draw a set of eyes on the back of it. It seems birds avoid the eyes of something that may harm them, so baby blues aimed at where you have been might stop a sneak attack from the back.
Pennsylvania’s 1985 deer harvest was one of the best ever. Records showed that 161,428 deer were killed (76,097 bucks and 85,331 does) and the Game Commission is pleased with the numbers. (In 2019-20 the harvest was 389,431 deer: 163,240 bucks; and 226,191 antlerless deer).
Local anglers were ready for trout season. Don Trostle of Biglerville vowed to get back to the sport this year. Tim Guise works at Community National Bank in Gettysburg is a bait man and will “dabble” more with flies this season. Trout get fresh bread from Charles Weikert of Littlestown. Dave Metz has been tied down at the hardware store in Fairfield and planned to drown a few extra worms this year. Mike Trostle of Biglerville is satisfied using mostly with nightcrawlers and minnows. Phil Orendorff of Gettysburg fishes Marsh Creek and will be using old-reliable worms and corn. Rodney Little of Hanover retired two years ago and stands behind cheese and little marshmallows on the end of six-pound test.
Want to catch more nightcrawlers? Apply quick pressure with your thumb to the nightcrawler where it meets the ground to cut off its escape. Now you have plenty of time to bring in the index finger, get a grip and pull him (or her) from the ground.
We should thank Adams County Fish and Game Association for many of the trout we reel in today. The group put 10,000 fish into Big and Little Marsh, Middle and Opossum creeks and the Orrtanna ponds in two stockings so far.
Betsy, a 24-foot blown-up British beaver, visited the state Capitol this week to lobby for passage of a bill that would ban the use of leghold traps in Pa. (The House defeated the bill).
Next Friday, Game Commission wildlife biologist Gary L. Alt will give a free public presentation on bear population management.
Two area bassmen find themselves in the thick of the chase for the $100,000 top prize in the Red Man Bass Championship and there’s plenty of time for two others to get into the running. Stu White and Roland Bosley of Hanover have earned legitimate shots at advancing. Bosley, Bob Ford and Jim Bievenour of Gettysburg are fishing in the Northeast division. White chose the Piedmont circuit.
Bassing tips for the day. Stu White of Hanover says, “Look for the off-color water.” Jim Bievenour of Gettysburg knows that “You have to fish slow.” Roland Bosley of Hanover agrees, “Take your time and look ahead to where you are casting.” Bob Ford of Gettysburg rigs a worm by starting with a bullet weight on the line just above a 2/0 hook. Warren Rudisill of Gettysburg likes crankbaits as water conditions dictate.
“First, ya gotta have plenty of chicken livers,” my old pal Artie said, stopping by the newspaper office with some catfish pointers. “Use ‘em as bait. They’re even better if you let ‘em sit out on the porch in the hot sun fer a week. Catties just love ‘em like that.”
The Governor (Dick Thornburgh) signed the first codification and major revision of the often-amended Game Law of 1937. There is no increase in license fees but issuing agents will get 75 instead of 50 cents for most hunting and furtaking licenses. Hunting or trapping while intoxicated used to cost $25, now you’ll pay a $300 fine and lose your privileges for a year. Littering of game lands used to cost you $25 and now will be a base fine of $300 for illegal dumping and $50 for littering. Deer, bear, and woodchuck hunters must wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange on the front and back combined. The amount used to be 100 inches.
The local chapter of Trout Unlimited and another from northern Virginia have adopted Conewago Creek, and this weekend (July) they are pooling their resources to build a 400-foot cribbing structure that will stabilize the bank.
Have a tough time getting rid of that fishy smell after a good day at the lake? Try toothpaste. Work a dab through those smelly palms and then wash. It works and the fluoride helps prevent callouses.
Hunting and trapping licenses are on sale now at the office of Adams County Treasurer George W. Stock at the courthouse. The 1986-87 hunting license fees are: Adult resident, $12.50; junior resident, $5.50; senior resident, $10.50; archery, muzzleloader, antlerless deer, $5.50; non-resident, $80.50; adult resident furtaker, $12.50; senior resident lifetime hunting license, $50.50.
Ground has been broken for the Game Commission’s new central headquarters, training school, and warehousing facilities on Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg.
Winning the Times’ new “Tell On Your Buddy” contest would earn you a $50 gift certificate, to be published in the special Outdoor Section. Stories must be no longer than three typewritten pages.
The Game Commission has authorized 100,000 licenses for the three-day bear season and a drawing will be held if more than 100,000 applications are received.
Laverne Crawford learned the taxidermy business from his father and experience at one of the oldest such shops in Adams and York counties. The business started in 1924 in Hanover and later moved toward Littlestown along Route 194. During our interview, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched.
Grover “Doddie” Thompson and wife, Dottie, got a his-and-her archery buck. Dorothy shot a good five-point while hunting in Cumberland Township. The deer then ran 300 yards and stopped in front of Mr. Thompson, who stopped it in its tracks. It was the first buck she ever shot at, and the 11th Pennsylvania deer in the last 14 years for him.
Jim Bievenour gave it his best at the Red Man Bass Championship at Wallenpaupack, finishing 62nd overall in a field of 1,500 anglers.
Game protectors Larry Haynes and Mike Dubaich split up crates from the Loyalsock Game Farm and headed for game lands and private property to set them free.
Hunters struggling to get their deer might go to Richard Becker’s house in New Oxford for dinner. Richard and four friends spent a glorious week at the Groten Plantation in South Carolina in late November. The five came back with 18 deer, a bobcat, and a wild pig.
Hunters (five locals) at McCloskey Run Lodge in Clinton County, did their fair share of thinning the deer herd. Nineteen hunters downed nine bucks in a day-and-a-half. “It was a well-organized hunt,” New Oxford hunter Dewey James said. The camp was formed in the 1930’s and based in Reading, where James’ family originally comes from. The record for bucks had been eight, set in 1975.
Not a day goes by now (December) that I don’t take a minute or two to peek through the sliding door into our backyard to see if we have visitors. Feeding birds is the best way to enjoy the great outdoors from indoors.
(Thirty-five years later, it is a different backyard, but I will be seeing cardinals pick up black oil sunflower seeds out there today.)
• The American Birding Association has “pecked” the Pileated Woodpecker, emblem of both the wild woods, as its 2021 Bird of the Year.
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