Ten days after the Game Commission began accepting doe license applications, someone mentioned to me that they thought they had better get their application around and send it in. This hunter was amazed that the deadline had passed; he thought he had until August to get it in.
Wrapping your mind around deer hunting in the middle of a July heat wave takes concentration but I assured my friend that he could probably still get a doe license if he acted now. The process for finding out that status of doe license applications just got easier, accomplished from your computer. Here's how to do it.
Go to the Game Commission website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), and click on the blue box (Buy Your License) in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Click on the Purchase Fishing and/or Hunting License Permit and or Application/Replace License and or Permit option, which includes the ability to check on the status of an Antlerless Deer or Elk Application, scroll down and click on the Start Here button at the bottom of the page.
At this page, choose one of the identification options below to check your records, fill in the necessary information and click on the Continue button. Click on the appropriate residency status, which will display your current personal information. At the bottom of the page, choose the check on the status of any lottery application button, and then hit Continue.
While this may seem like a lot of clicking and box checking to get to the information, the system is designed to protect an individual's personal information, while at the same time enabling that person to check on the status of his or her application.
As county treasurers process doe licenses, a license buyer's application status will be updated in the system and consequently can be checked online.
Between bear damage complaints and reports of wild animals acting strangely, Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCO) are busy day and night. As you hike, camp, fish, pick berries, swim, picnic or whatever you do in Pennsylvania's woods and waters you must be vitally aware that the threat of being bitten, scratched and thus infected with the rabies virus is very real this summer.
The simple formula for protecting yourself is to remember that any wild animal that allows you to get close to it is suspect. An animal acting strangely such as staggering, lethargy is to be avoided. True wild animals, in their environment, are innately afraid of humans and will not allow you to get close enough to pet them or pick them up. Never, never handle any wild creature that lets you touch them.
Reports this year show that some animals infected with rabies will get aggressive to humans, such as the beavers that swam toward a fisherman and deliberately bit him. Children will just naturally be attracted to any "cute" little creature they come upon. The will reach down to pick up a wild animal or bird that allows this. It's a real danger this year.
I've always been leery of any wild animal that gets too close to me. If you allow a wildling to approach too close and then startle them, they will react instantly, striking out to scratch or bite.
This last spring gobbler season a large fox squirrel scampered down the opposite of the tree trunk I was sitting against. It stopped at a distance of about 12 inches away and regarded the strange, camouflaged image sitting there in its territory. So it proceeded to try to make me move. He'd charge headlong toward me on a fallen log and when he'd get just a few inches from me he'd stop and chatter and jump away.
Then he'd charge from another direction and stop and cock his head this way and that. He just couldn't make up his mind if I was friend or foe and he put on a truly funny display.
I admit to being a little nervous myself. I'm not afraid of squirrels, obviously, but it is not a good idea to let any wild creature get too close. If startled, they often will react by striking out in defense. You could get scratched or bitten in the process and contract any number of diseases.
In the outdoors, one savors the atmosphere of being alone to enjoy, of quiet and serenity, of being as close to nature as one can be in our world. But the illusion is shattered when you run into cans and bottles discarded by others. I pick them up tuck them into the back of my vest to tote out. Sometimes I have arrived back at my truck with more cans bottles and other refuse in my vest than hunting gear.
Then, the final insult is to see the many places where slobs have discarded whole loads of garbage on state game lands or other private lands. This stuff can cut, suffocate or poison wild creatures that are attracted to such places where they root around for easy food.
I put these garbage dumpers in the same category as poachers ... scum!