Turning the calendar page this week will reveal plenty of outdoor adventures available for the month ahead.
Pigeon and goose seasons open on Thursday, offering the opportunity to shoot the wing. There are liberal bag limits early in the season and a hunter can experience a great shot while out in the field.
While we all look forward to the perfect hunt on every outing, September can sometimes disappoint. Abundant food, warm weather, and small family groups can make hunting early in the season an unpredictable proposition. Trying to establish patterns in feeding activities can be unsuccessful and frustrating. Large flocks of birds can attract multiple groups of hunters, which can make patterning a flock even more problematic.
Harvested grain fields are good places to check for migratory birds. Finding feed in the field is important because under ideal harvest conditions little or no waste is left behind. Once a group of birds is discovered using a food source, plans can be made to hunt it.
It is important to be exactly where the birds want to be so that the shots are at close range. If permission cannot be obtained where the birds feed, hunting as they approach or leave the area may offer a passing shot. Shot birds can sail away from the point of impact, and hunters must be prepared to retrieve all downed birds. Pigeon hunters should find clean ground, if possible, to hunt, as stubble and weeds can easily hide a downed bird.
Last I checked, shotgun ammo was in stock at most retailers. Additional pigeon or goose licenses are required for those considering a wing release this week. Backcountry pigeon or goose hunting requires minimal equipment and the Pennsylvania Game Commission provides managed hunting areas throughout the state.
Squirrel season begins on September 10, allowing hunters a chance to grab a fresh bite to eat. Various species abound in this area and finding huntable populations should be easy. Last year I found concentrations of squirrels in pecan trees in production. A good grove can be hunted several times during the season.
If one has a camp or likes to camp, traveling to hunt squirrels adds some flavor to the sport. Harvesting a unique black phase gray squirrel this season is a goal that would put more focus on hunting locations and plans. Spending time in the field looking for squirrels should provide a lot of information about where deer, turkey, and bear may be when they open their seasons.
Archery hunters should practice their shooting as some western seasons are already underway. Practicing your archery now will allow for better odds of hitting the perfect shot this October. Built muscle memory will allow for a stealthier draw and the ability to stay in the full draw for longer.
Sharp points are important for a clean kill and good blood trails; The thick vegetation and undulating terrain can make it difficult to track an animal after it has been shot, forcing the hunter to follow its blood trail.
While it takes a bit of walking to pull arrows, hunters should make an effort to start training for upcoming hunts. Exercising in preparation for the more difficult hunts allows them to enjoy themselves more. Exploring or hunting squirrels in the woods this month will put your body in better condition
Hornless license sales continue through the application process in their final round. As of Monday morning, WMU 2D had 6,138 tags remaining, while WMU 2E offered 9,558. Unsold licenses will be available over-the-counter or by mail starting September 12.