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CWD spreading in Pennsylvania

Commentary

Despite facts and statistics from other states that have been battling CWD even longer than has Pennsylvania, many sportsmen refuse to believe or accept their findings.

Agree or not, facts show that CWD is spreading in our state just as it has in other states, such as Wisconsin and West Virginia.

The number of deer found and tested has increased each year since the disease was first discovered in 2012. In 2018, the number of new cases of CWD was 123. And of course, we live in the very heart of the disease-affected area. So the area of disease management areas has been greatly expanding in the state, bringing the total to more than 6,000 miles.

One thing is for sure: we cannot keep pretending that this monster is not among us. And it will continue to get only worse.

Can it be true? The Game Commission has announced that when hunters purchase their 2019/2020 hunting licenses, we will once again be given copies of the Pennsylvania Hunting & Trapping Digest. I’ll find out later this week when I purchase my new license.

Add to the calendar

The Ruffed Grouse Society has a couple of notable events upcoming for members.

n The first is the Red Fern Banquet, which will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at The Red Fern Banquet & Conference Center, 421 Old Kersey Road, SR 255 Kersey, PA 15846. For directions, visit: www.the-red-fern.com.

A host of great events are promised during this conference time, including actual hunts and all the usual raffles and sportsman’s packages.

n This event is local and coming up soon. The Susquehanna River Valley Chapter will have the chapter’s third habitat fundraising shoot on Aug. 3. This year’s shoot will take place at Thunder Ridge Sporting Clays & Game Farm in Middlebury Center. Funds raised through this event will fund public lands young forest habitat projects in our region.

Shooters will be shooting at a total of 100 sporting clays targets and have three different levels of difficulty to choose from. Water, sports drinks and soda will be available along the course, and a hearty lunch and beer will be provided post-shoot.

Everyone who registers to shoot by July 22 will also receive a free Habitat Shoot T-shirt. Awards will be presented to the top shooters, but this is much more a fun personal challenge than a competition.

Like other events, it’s the goal that everyone have a safe and very enjoyable time.

Shooters are welcome to bring their own carts, ATVs or UTVs, but it is a very walkable course. The course is set up on a gravel road with plenty of shade.

Events, such as these, make the summer pass faster.

Finding gear

One productive way I pass the summer is to hunt yard sales, looking for bargains on hunting clothes and gear. Camping gear and supplies are also offered at great prices.

I found at a yard sale last week something I have been looking for a long time, a camouflage backpack with straps across the chest to keep the thing from sliding off my shoulders all the time. So I walked into a sale, and there was not only the perfect backpack, but also a like-new hat that proclaims “Pennsylvania Outdoor News.” I am proud to be a contributing writer to that great publication and was overjoyed to find that hat, which appears to have never been worn.

I’ve often joked that I own 40 pairs of hunting boots, all bought for about 50 cents each at various yard sales. But it is true. Folks buy their teenager new boots for deer season, but by the next deer season, they are now too small so they go out to the yard sale. Along I come and buy them.

I also just bought a small canvas chair that I can use in my friend Joanie’s blind because it is lightweight, easily toted with me and has a back that is a support for my injured back. This chair will greatly lengthen my time waiting in that blind for turkeys to appear.

A few years ago, I walked into a yard sale and noticed an older woman who sat at the head of the table looking very sad. Well, I rustled through the stuff on the table and found an orange knit hat, obviously hand-made, so I took it up to that lady. I sensed her pensiveness and asked her if she had made the hat I was holding.

She nodded yes. She had made it for her husband who had just recently passed, she said. I told her that I was a hunter and that I would proudly wear it in the woods in his honor, and I have done just that many times. She seemed pleased to know that the item made especially for her husband would indeed be used by someone who appreciated its role. Whenever I don that hat, I remember that dear lady.

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