Game Commission does its best to keep all of us informed

Antlerless deer licenses again are on sale; did you remember to send in an application? Hunter-trapper education classes are filling rapidly, have you reserved spots for family members who will join the ranks this year? The deadline to report spring gobbler harvests has long expired, did your success go uncounted?

In a day and age where so many so often are so busy, it’s easy to forget things. But the Pennsylvania Game Commission wants to make sure outdoors enthusiasts keep close track of the issues important to them.

The Game Commission is offering sportsmen and sportswomen the opportunity to sign up to receive emails from the agency. There is no cost for the service, and registration is quick and easy. Just go to the Game Commission’s website and click on the blue subscribe to email box along the right side of the homepage. From there, enter your name, email address and choose from among categories of emails you’d like to receive. The latest hunting news and other helpful reminders will begin showing up in your inbox.

The above paragraphs are – word for word – from an email I received from the PGC and I got a really big kick out of it probably because it hit so close to home. I am at the “I forget everything” stage of life now and I make lists to keep myself on track and then can’t locate the list when I need it.

Enough of that drivel. I did remember to send for my antlerless license and trust I will remember when the first round of unsold (bonus tags) licenses go on sale Aug 5.

One thing most conservation organizations do in the summer is to engage in fund-raising events. Habitat work, raising trout or pheasants, education programs for youngsters are all expensive propositions so dinners, raffles banquets, turkey shoots, fairs, even yard sales are popping up this summer.

The Allegheny Mountain Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is about to have its annual fund raising dinner and that is always a big event. This year the banquet will be held Aug. 10 at the Bavarian Hall in Altoona.

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.

There is a silent raffle, a women’s raffle, a sportsmen’s raffle; Ned Smith and Dan Christ, Pa. NWTF art prints only. There will be numerous other art prints, sculptures, knives bronzes and more prizes too many to tell here.

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. You cannot believe how many turkey tales are spun at these affairs. I plan to be there so I’ll look for you.

If you would like 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.

Many years ago I used to participate in the Morris Rattlesnake hunt. The “bag limit” for snakes back in those days was unlimited but now, timber rattlers in our state have various protections and so the limit a snake hunter can take now is one. But enterprising clubs have turned these snake-hunting events into flea markets and fairs and picnics and motorcycle races and whatever they can think of. Now they are family events.

I have unearthed many a rock and climbed many a mountain searching for rattlers and I’ve caught my share in years past. It’s possible I’m one of the only women ever to receive a hand-made snake catching rod for an anniversary present. I can’t tell you what I got other years but that one, I remember well.