Hunt Magazine Spring 2024

Page 1

HUNT reaches THOUSANDS of households in Northcentral Pennsylvania and thousands more online via www sungazette com and ww lockhaven com

Spring 2024, Volume 3, Issue 1


Bob Rolley brolley@sungazette com


Nick Seitzer, Mike Reuther


Linda Stager


Timothy R Wertz Jr


Nick Seitzer


Chuck Smith


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A A hunti ng jour nal can preser r ve m meemooriies, asssist w with sttrra a te g y

few years ago, I was going through some old photos of mine that had been tucked away when I came across a stack of hunting pictures. As I flipped through the pile, I first came across a shot of me holding up a dead squirrel – my first ever kill in the woods, at 12 years old. Then, I came across some pictures of my first doe and some more of the first buck I shot, and so on. The more I flipped through the pile, the more memories kept flooding back to me of the successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) hunting experiences Iʼve enjoyed during my time in the woods.

That was when it dawned on me that Iʼve spent more than two decades as a hunter. This was initially a shock to my system, because I donʼt feel old enough to have been hunting for that long But the thought of it inspired me to do something that I had never considered before –starting a hunting journal

For me, the journal serves two purposes For one, it keeps me from forgetting the details of these great moments as I get older It can also, in many ways, serve as a guide for my future hunts

In beginning my hunting journal, I dug that old box of photos back out from under my bed and went through them once again This time, when I pulled a picture out, I tried hard to think about every detail I could of the featured hunt, and I put those memories down on paper I tried my best to remember the year of the picture, where I was hunting, who I was with, what gun or bow I was using, what the weather was like, and any other

details that stood out to me

As you might imagine, the older the picture, the harder it was to jog my memory about specific details But the newer pictures – especially the ones I had on my phone from more recent hunts – were much easier to write out details for

Nowadays, every time I return from an outing in the woods I try to jot down a few notes on the experience, even if I donʼt see or shoot anything I keep track of what my

strategy was going into the day, and how successful it was Where did I choose to hunt, and why? Was I standing or sitting? What kinds of calls or scents did I use? Who was out there with me? What did I see or hear? What times did I go out and come back?

When Iʼm lucky enough to harvest an animal, I not only answer the questions above, but also note the distance and angle of my shot I make sure to jot down where my

PHOTO PROVIDED HUNT editor Nick Seitzer poses with an 8-point buck he harvested during rifle season a few years ago.

shot landed – if it was a less accurate shot than anticipated, I speculate as to why that might have been. If I had to track an animal, I describe that process in detail by mentioning the width and color of the blood trail, and the direction and distance the animal traveled Lastly, I make note of how the animal was butchered and processed for consumption I get it, this all seems like a lot And maybe it isnʼt something most hunters are going to be itching to do, unless they enjoy writing as much as me But I will tell you it has made me a better hunter for sure Reading back through the passages of my journal has given me insights on the best places to sit at certain times of day on the properties I hunt It has shown me where I have been most successful on foggy, windy, snowy or rainy days I know which guns Iʼve had the best luck with And every time I skim through the pages, it reminds me what I love about hunting to begin with – the memories made


Keeping a journal is a great way to preserve your hunting memories through the years.


Though turkey hunting is never exactly an easy thing to do, there comes a time when experienced hunters can call in jakes d t within range of their sho relative consistency But some, the easier it gets to harvest a tur with a 12-guage, the less exciting the payoff can feel over time These hunter are seeking the thrill of an increased challenge, and bowhunting may be just the solution theyʼre looking for.

An average turkey hunter with a shotgun is probably pretty decent at calling birds about 20 to 40 yards away from them before they take a shot Any closer than that range, and their pellets wonʼt have enough time to open to an optimal level of effectiveness. But because of that, many of these hunters never really get to challen themselves on how far they can lure in turkey; 40 yards is one thing, but seven yards is quite another

To get a gobbler in good range of a bow is a labor of love that requires increased patience and skill Strategy becomes even more important, and the use of realistic decoys is practically a necessity Not to mention, your calling needs to be much more on point, because believable chatter is the primary reason a gobbler is going to be drawn to your decoys

For newer bowhunters, itʼs probably best to employ the use of a ground blind to stay undetected while drawing Itʼs also advanta-

geous to set up on the edge of a field, when possible, to increase the odds of catching a turkey while itʼs feeding or strutting. E if tti a bird close enough to draw on doesnʼt ght away, spending hours upon hours in will undoubtedly provide insight into the s of the turkeys on the property youʼre nting. Knowing when turkeys will be acve in a certain area will make it easier to position yourself the next time you go out

Along with patience and strategy, bowhunters need to make sure they have the proper equipment to down a turkey when they finally get one in range. While the preferred bow draw weight for turkey hunting can vary from hunter to hunter, the vast majority are probably somewhere in the 50ound range. That weight is sufficient for use of aggressive mechanical broads that can get through bone easier and e the odds of a fatal shot Since the vikey are so much smaller than other game being hunted with a bow, it is essential to use equipment that can provide a larger cut, turning a marginal shot into a kill shot

Bowhunting is certainly not for everyone If you favor mobility and are short on patience, it probably isnʼt for you. But if you want to mix things up this year with an additional challenge, and maybe learn something new about turkeys and yourself along the way, it might be worth a shot


For those who love bowhunting whitetail deer, few feelings can be more deflating than when they put themselves in great position to drop a big buck, only to have the moment spoiled by an errant shot. Whether the miss was caused by the wind, distance, buck fever, or poor mechanics, the disappointment remains the same. And for those who donʼt get a chance to redeem themselves later in the season, the deer that got away can haunt for a long time.

Luckily, there is a way to greatly reduce the odds of being left with this gut-wrenching feeling: preseason practice and preparation.

With winter now behind us, most area archers are likely to hang their bows up until just before the next season begins. But a bow collecting dust is a lot less useful than one on the practice range.

Being a consistent archer out in the woods starts by building good form through repetition. So, instead of waiting until two weeks before the fall season starts up to get your practice in, why not start that process much sooner?

Towards the end of spring, when the weather is starting to really get nice, archers can benefit greatly by getting out to shoot blank bales at least once per week. This underrated form of practice allows the archer to give full attention to their shot sequence, building muscle memory along the way, by not worrying about hitting a specific target.

As the season draws nearer, bowhunters can tran-

sition from practicing with blank bales to practicing on bag targets, and then finally 3D targets. But the practice range isnʼt the only place these shots should be taken.

Since most archers hunt from a tree stand, and not the ground, practicing from one is also an essential part of preseason work. Youʼre only going to get good at shooting something from an elevated position by getting up in your stand and doing it. Itʼs also important to consider the various angles you might be forced to shoot from, and to get regular practice shooting from those angles – not too many big bucks are going to walk right in front of you for a broadside shot.

For hunters that really want to take their practice to the next level, getting out in different lighting and weather conditions is a great way to stay prepared for any situation that might come up. And for the sake of realism, itʼs also not a bad idea to wear your hunting gear while doing this, as clothing can have a big impact on your comfort level while shooting.

While the adage “practice makes perfect” may sound a bit trite, there simply is no substitute for good preparation. In the case of archery hunting, the difference between wounding a deer and killing one is knowing which shots you can hit with consistency. With so many obstacles standing between you and your next trophy buck, donʼt let your own inaccuracy be one of them.



Ididnʼt learn to fly fish from some old reclusive guy living in a streamside shack who everyone said was the best angler in seven counties I had no mentor or anyone else urging me to take up a fly rod

It was that 1992 film, “A River Runs Through It ” A roaring trout stream set amidst the natural splendors of Montana Gorgeous hefty trout An allegorical story by Norman McLean lifted from American Literature

I was mesmerized by the movie which is believed to have ushered in a new era of fly fishing, popularizing it as never before It took a few years after the film for me to make the transition from live bait to flies, but sure enough it happened

Maybe I just grew tired of carrying around nightcrawlers and losing fourdollar lures in streams

I recall the moment I decided I was going to make the switch for good: A sunlit afternoon on the Youghiogheny River when I hooked my first trout on a fly rod Almost 30 years later, Iʼm a grizzled, honest-to-goodness fly fisherman, if far from an expert one

But hereʼs the thing: You donʼt have to be an expert to catch trout, bass,

panfish or many of the other species of fish lured by artificial flies

YouTube videos of well-outfitted anglers waving rods on gorgeous mountain streams, unleashing graceful long casts, and reeling in monster fish can dissuade anyone from thinking they are up to becoming any kind of competent fly angler

Fly fishing can appear difficult, a recreational pursuit many perceive as relegated to the rich, the elite But fly fishing is not all about trips to Gold Medal trout streams teeming with big fish and expensive fishing lodges tucked away in the mountains of Colorado Fly anglers from all walks of life are everywhere, from the brawling rivers of the American West to narrow mountain brooks and farm ponds

Like any discipline or pursuit in life, fly fishing takes practice to become better You donʼt head out to the local creek having never tossed a fly line and expect to unleash perfect casts and reel in plenty of fish

I cringe when I think back on the fumblings, clumsy casts, and tangled lines of my early fly-fishing outings I taught myself to use a fly rod, so the learning curve was a mite long. Itʼs best to take a lesson from someone, prefer-

ably a certified instructor, to come to grips with at least the basics of casting

Of course, thereʼs more to fly fishing than becoming somewhat competent at getting the flies out on the water

Thereʼs that whole business of learning about flies

Numerous different sorts of insects buzz about the streams, and plenty of others prowl the various depths of the water They come in many shapes and sizes and show up at different times on the calendar A novice fly fisherʼs first glimpse of a hatch chart posted in a fly shop may appear like a dizzying maze of Algebraic equations

But hereʼs another tip: You donʼt have to know everything there is to know about bugs Start simple with a few basic patterns Many fly anglers catch plenty of fish on just a few different go-to flies

But one may ask: Isnʼt fly fishing expensive?

The long answer? Yes That is, if you plan on outfitting yourself with top-ofthe line equipment, which can include waders, boots, vest, fly rod and reel

You donʼt need a lot of money

Again, keep it simple

Check around for the best prices.

Iʼve picked up used fly rods at the


price of less than a tank of gas at antique stores You will need waders and boots to walk about in chilly mountain streams, but these arenʼt items that will break your bank

Most of all. Have fun. Donʼt try to be an expert. Trust me. There will be people out on the streams with more experience and skill than you.

But with diligence, practice, and, perhaps most of all, patience, the skills will come.

Youʼll even catch fish.

After a time, youʼll wonder what all the apprehension and fuss was about.

On some triumphant day, when youʼre reeling in fish on seemingly every other cast, youʼll get cocky and think youʼve crossed some kind of mysterious line.

You might, I dare say, even declare yourself one heck of an angler and that you have this whole business of fly fishing figured out.

But we wonʼt wade into those waters.

Mike Reuther is a local fly fisherman, freelance writer, and author. His most recent book,

My Fly-Fishing Days, was recently released.


rea deer hunters that failed to harvest a buck last season are no doubt disappointed they weʼre unable to bring home a nice rack to hang on the wall But they may yet get a chance to do just that Now that spring is finally underway and the coldest weather of the year is behind us, the time is ripe to do a little shed hunting, and find those racks from the bucks that survived winter

“I have had the best luck shed hunting in late winter and early spring,” said Jeff Myers, of Hughesville “As soon as the final snow melt has happened, and the forest floor is no longer white seems to be the best contrast for them to stick out

Shown on top, are tools created by Jeff Myers, of Hughesville, that were made from antlers he has found through the years. At left, are two buck sheds Myers discovered on his family farm in Picture Rocks.


“I would say that January through April is when I have the best luck finding them,” he added.

Myers, who has been an avid shed hunter for years around his familyʼs Christmas tree farm in Picture Rocks, said heʼs had the good fortune to find them about seven or eight times in his searches. His best discovery was a pair of five-point sheds he found in one spot, that were dropped from a 10point buck, he said

“I think that is pretty rare (to find both sides of a rack),” said Myers “I have found singles about 100 yards apart from each other ”

Unsurprisingly, many bucks will drop their sheds in feeding areas, around water, and where they sleep Anywhere they are spending large amounts of their time are good places to find them Myers said that when he goes out looking, he usually starts by searching for sheds around evergreens, where branches are the lowest

to the ground.

“I believe the deer use those (branches) to protect themselves. So thatʼs always the first place I look, low evergreen growth,” said Myers. “Then I kind of work my way onto deer paths with low-hanging branches. Any sort of deer path where there are branches between four and six feet off the ground, they seem to knock them off the deer the most.

“And Iʼve noticed them in stream crossings, where the deer actually has to jump,” he added “I think that impact from them hitting the ground across the stream has them drop a lot ”

Though it would be nice to find a shed every time youʼre searching, the odds of spotting them are slim Looking with a group of friends or a trained dog are great ways to increase your odds Those with trail cameras are also at an advantage, as they will know when the bucks on their property start dropping racks

PHOTOS PROVIDED These tools were created by Jeff Myers, of Hughesville, with deer antlers he found while shed hunting.

But sometimes you just get lucky Myers said that his quickest experience finding a shed took him about five minutes after getting out of his car, when he was walking into the woods and looked down to find a shed sitting under a Christmas tree on the edge of his field

“That was fun because we found one going into the woods, and then coming out along the same trail we spotted a second one in almost the exact same location,” he said

For Myers, the excitement of finding a shed during a hike rivals the jolt he gets when seeing a buck in rifle season, he said

“I think the excitement almost overrides the feeling of seeing a deer (while hunting) because I think it is rarer to find a shed,” said Myers “The likeliness of finding one intact before rodents or any woodland animals find it and eat it for the nutrients is rare. They only lay on the ground for a month or two and then mice and other small animals nibble on them.

“It is very thrilling when you do find one,” he added

As a crafty person, Myers likes to use the sheds he finds in a practical way He will often make buttons out of them by slicing them into pieces, drilling a few holes, and then polishing them Heʼs also used some to create coat hangers and tools Many other shed hunters simply display the racks

“whatever your eye catches in the forest that is white.”

The biggest tip Myers has for anyone that is thinking about getting into the hobby, is to get out in the woods right after winter ends and pick up

“Even if there is a chance it is a white stick, you should still check it out because you might have a shed,” he said.


1965, Employees of the state game farm at Loyalsockville have been busy stocking forests in the area with birds—23,000 of them A game, commission employee is shown scooping up pheasants in the fishnetlike gadget used to transfer the birds from pens to packing crates.


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