Here are a couple of reminders for my outdoors friends and followers that you should know about at this point in the year.
No. 1: Doe license
On Monday, applications for bonus tags will be accepted so if you have forgotten to do it, get that application filled out and mailed today.
The Game Commission has made it easy to see before you mail in that bonus application exactly how many licenses are available in every Management Unit.
To check on the status of an application, go to the Game Commission's website, and click on the blue Buy a License box in the upper right corner of the homepage: That click will take you to The Outdoor Shop, where the first option on the page begins Purchase Fishing and/or Hunting License Permit.
You then will need to enter identifying information, and click Continue. Next, verify whether you are a resident or nonresident, then scroll to the end of your personal information and choose Check on the status of an Antlerless Deer or Elk Application.
I remember well when we had to send in our doe license bonus application and then had to wait for weeks to find out whether we got one or not. Now you can know before you apply anywhere whether that Management Unit has any to offer.
No. 2: Turkey talk
The Allegheny Mountain Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is about to have its annual fund raising dinner this coming Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Bavarian Hall in Altoona.
It's always an exciting and fun event. All sorts of games and raffles and door prizes and turkey conversation happens that night.
There will be an opportunity to get the 2013 NWTF gun of the year at this banquet. A special box call raffle will be held the evening of the banquet to win this Browning A-Bolt Medallion 30.36 caliber, upgraded walnut stock, engraved. The price of the ticket includes the dinner of course but also a member ship in the National Wild Turkey Federation, which includes the gorgeous Turkey magazine filled with tips and stories about hunting these birds.
These banquets are the highlight of the year for most of us in the Turkey Federation because it is just a good old-fashioned good time. I plan to be there so I'll look for you. For more information or to reserve a ticket contact Kevin Kunsman at 317-7535.
This chapter uses what it raises to do serious habitat work in the county and we have done plenty of habitat projects over the years. It's possible you have hunted on or near one of these large projects. Believe me, they involve more than just sticking a few trees or bushes into the ground.
After digging holes and planting there is year-round care. Trees must be fenced to keep deer from girdling them. Fertilizer, pruning and spraying are all things that are done by chapter members throughout the year.
The chapter has cooperated with the Game Commission and the Bureau of Forestry to do habitat improvement work. As we see some game populations reduced for various reasons, these kinds of projects become important to their very survival.
No. 3: Go shopping
Several months remain for yard and rummage sales, and I urge you to consider looking there for items needed for hunting season especially for young hunters.
Every year, I purchase one or more pairs of boots at yard sales because someone paid big money to buy boots for a new, young hunter in the family. The boots were worn a few times and then - you guessed it - by the next year they no longer fit.
So they put them out in a yard sale for a dollar or two and someone gets a terrific buy on them.
This summer so far, I have purchased just such a pair of boots, for a dollar with felts inside. What a bargain! Also I have purchased a gorgeous pair of camouflage hunting trousers. They are fleece outside but then lined with a waterproof lining. I will use them because for one thing, they have an all-elastic waist, which I prefer. Easy up and down, that's for me, when it comes to visits to the bushes.
I stopped at a huge yard sale and saw an obviously hand-knitted orange hat for sale. The lady who sat beside the table and I began to converse, and I asked her how much for the hat. She said 50 cents. I didn't need that hat, I probably have 20 of them at home, but I particularly liked the look and the size of this one and I wanted it. As I paid her for it I thought I noticed she was a bit misty-eyed and it struck me that she had probably made that hat for her husband.
I wondered if this woman was feeling what I felt earlier this summer when I lost my mother. After the funeral there were things to do: dispose of clothes, close out bank accounts - it was as if we were trying to wipe out every trace of her life - and it was hard to accept. So I wondered if this woman was feeling that same thing.
So I asked her if that was the case and she said yes. I told her that she could be assured that I wanted and admired that hat because it was hand-made and that I would be wearing it this deer season, and I will be, God willing.
Other necessities include socks, handwarmers, boot laces, flashlights, gloves - I've bought two pairs for hunting season so far - turkey box calls and decoys, soft gun case, a red dot sight for my shotgun, another pair of hunting trousers that I love, a soft, green wool.
The list could go on and on but you get the point. There is much money to be saved by looking for these finds. Especially if it is a new or young hunter that you are not sure will enjoy hunting and may choose not to go again.
My orange hunting coat that I have worn every deer season for the last seven years, I got at a yard sale for 50 cents. You still have time go on these hunting gear scavenger hunts. It's fun. Every Friday and Saturday morning is the time. There's still a few weeks left.