National Archery Tourney

    Cameron County School District (CCSD) recently held a local National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP)  competition with 22 students attending.  CCSD students, grades 5-12, had the opportunity to shoot in the tournament and are reaping the benefits of the lifelong sport of archery. NASP involves physical activity in which virtually every student […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  How To Kill A Turkey by Phil Burkhouse   It’s Thursday morning, March 31st, and as I look out the window at the bird feeder, I grin when I note the goldfinches are beginning to live up to their name—they are turning gold.  Mary strolls through the room with her usual sage advice, “It’s […]

My Dog Is Useless

  by William Crisp   This may be embarrassing to admit because it is a reflection of my pet ownership skills, but my dog is useless. Her name is Delta, but it should be “useless.”  Currently, she is lying right next to me as I write, watching me. She’s not guarding me. No, she is […]

Deal Would Create Revenue, Add 800 Acres To Game Lands

    A company’s plans to build a 435-foot tower on State Game Lands 34 in Elk County will provide the opportunity to hunt and trap on an additional 800 acres of game lands in nearby Centre County, based on a proposal approved by the Board of Game Commissioners recently. The land transfer is part […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Early Spring 2017 by Phil Burkhouse   Our unusually mild conditions in February were rudely interrupted in March when cold temperatures, snow, and wind made a comeback in the Big Woods.  I awoke in the wee hours of the morning last Thursday and noted it was starry out and a balmy 14 degrees.  I […]


  by William Crisp   Conservation work has changed a lot since I started in the biz. It has gotten a lot stricter with bureaucratic chains a lot longer, heavier and more entangling. There are some changes that have been good, some changes for the worse, some are just ugly and others are just changes […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Fox Sparrow Migration by Phil Burkhouse   Spending a week exploring the desert southwest certainly fired up my bird brain.  Finding and identifying many new species of birds in the arid flats, foothills, and mountains surrounding Tucson was exciting, but this is also an exciting time in Pennsylvania because the annual spring bird […]

Liming Made Easy

  by William Crisp   Back in 1993, I wrote a book on growing food plots called “Backyard Bucks” or something like that; I think there was another adjective in it but I’m not sure. You see I’m not familiar with my own title because while I wrote it, I never submitted the book for […]

Game Commissioner Releases Deer Harvest Report

    Pennsylvania’s buck harvest increased 9 percent, and the overall deer harvest was up 6 percent, in the 2016-17 seasons, which closed in January, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported today. Hunters harvested an estimated 333,254 deer in 2016-17 – an increase of about 6 percent compared to the 2015-16 harvest of 315,813. Of those, […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Southwest by Phil Burkhouse   Most of my wandering aimlessly adventures occur at the local level, but occasionally Mary and I will get an opportunity to wander off on distant adventures.  Leaving your local comfort zone and wandering into unknown places can be intimidating, but the rewards of having new and exciting experiences […]

Time Heals

  by William Crisp   Over the past few weeks I’ve been placed on injured reserve with a medical problem that is now resolved. For a period of time, I was uncomfortable but not too uncomfortable to fish. While I’ve been laid up, other guys have been busy with a major sap run and making […]

Fall Turkey Season Changes Move Forward

    The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners recently gave preliminary approval to fall turkey seasons for 2017 and spring gobbler dates for 2018. The board preliminarily approved a conservative, midweek fall turkey season in Wildlife Management Unit 5B, which long has been closed to fall-turkey hunting. The board also gave preliminary approval to reducing […]

PA Wilds Center Seeks Nominations For Champions of the Wilds Awards

    The PA Wilds Center for Entrepreneurship (PA Wilds Center) is now taking nominations for the “Champions of the Wilds” Awards. The awards will be presented at the PA Wilds Annual Dinner and Awards Banquet, to be held Thursday, April 27 at the DuBois Country Club. Do you know a person who has gone […]

Early Angling

  by William Crisp   March is here and, on cue, the good people of America will start thinking about fishing again. It won’t be long that bacon smoke will be rolling out of the camps and residences along the Driftwood Branch, the First Fork and other creeks during the wee hours of the morning […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Wandering Aimlessly Swinging Bridges by Phil Burkhouse   Saturday, February 11th, was overcast and quite mild for a mid-winter day.  There was eight inches of wet snow on the ground, and I had cabin fever.  I said to Mary it would be a good day to go to Lick Island and get some winter pictures […]

Hunters Could Get Chance To Use Semi-Automatic Rifles

    Semiautomatic rifles soon could be approved for Pennsylvania hunters participating in most seasons in which manual rifles can be used. The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners recently gave unanimous preliminary approval to regulatory changes that would permit the use of semiautomatic rifles and shotguns while hunting big game, small game and furbearers. A […]

McDonald Aspen Cut

    A 20 acre aspen cut was done on the Elk State Forest along McDonald Run Road, an administrative road off of Dents Run Road. The area consisted of a 45-year-old aspen stand with scattered American beech, chestnut oak, white oak and ironwood. All of the aspen and beech were cut while all other […]


  by William Crisp   There are eight official wonders of the world; most are natural, some are man-made. I have my own wonders about the world that don’t match the contemporary great eight.  Things I wonder about include but are not limited to, “Why do choosy mothers choose Jiff? What do choosy fathers choose? […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Wandering Aimlessly Goodbye February 2017 by Phil Burkhouse   Last week was a great respite from winter, and Mary and I were able to catch up on outside work in short sleeves with temperatures in the 50s, 60s and 70s.  It’s a small wonder our snow drops are in full blossom and the daffodils and […]

2016 Pennsylvania Bear Harvest Ranks Fifth All-Time

    Hunters in Northcentral Pennsylvania counties continue to be the most successful at harvesting bears during hunting seasons. A total of 1,287 bears were taken this season from the northcentral region, comprised of the counties of Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga and Union. Last year, 1,436 bears were taken in […]

Funny February

  by William Crisp   It is the lull in seasons. There is still stuff to do.  Horn hunting is starting, snowmobiling is around. There is room for “outdoorsmen” to politic to get ATVs to be able to drive to bars shoved down the throat of too much of the county.  I went to Marienville […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Last Week’s Wanderings by Phil Burkhouse   About the time our grandkids began getting their permanent teeth it became obvious that I had to carefully consider my priorities in life and make some adjustments.  The ten years following my retirement I had spent doing things I enjoyed doing, which mainly consisted of sharing my […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Northern Mockingbird by Phil Burkhouse   Several weeks ago a local resident asked if I would take some of her guests from Florida on a wandering aimlessly adventure.  They were from Tampa, and we enjoyed an elk excursion and an afternoon firing a variety of 22 firearms.  The 12-year-old thoroughly enjoyed these adventures; they […]

Desperado: Back in the Saddle

  by William Crisp   Several times I have written about my ol’ 16 gauge shotgun, “Desperado.” The quick catch-up story is that Desperado was a hand-me- down Springfield side-by-side that I fell in love with despite its ugly appearance and disdainful flaws from our first hunting trip together back in 1991. It was a […]

Game Commission Live Eagle Cam

    Let the eagle watching begin. The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Eagle Cam is back online. The Game Commission today launched the latest rendition of its Eagle Cam, which enables viewers worldwide round-the-clock access to live video and audio captured at a bald-eagle nest in Hanover, Pa. and streamed in real time via the internet. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Kinzua Bridge Viaduct, Part 2 by Phil Burkhouse   This week I will finish my article on a destination you should definitely consider, the Kinzua Bridge Viaduct.  Last week I mentioned the original iron viaduct was constructed to shorten the time and distance needed to deliver raw materials from areas south of the bridge […]

Wild Dogs; Domestic Tricks

  by William Crisp   Living where I do I have become accustomed to all kinds of noises in the night. I even expect weird noises seasonally. Porcupines make a mating racket in June, coyotes get active now and really get vocal in February and bears even make some weird noises. I enjoy the noises […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   After many years of tracking both man and beast, I soon learned that the apparent ease of tracking in snow can produce a false sense of security where your concentration levels are not up to maximum and you’re going to make a mistake. Of course snow tracking is fast and […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   SWEETFERN     Comptonia peregrina Against a white, winter background, the dark foliage of the sweetfern is quite artistic. Sweetfern is actually a semi-woody shrub with fern-like leaves and belongs to the Bayberry family. It’s not a fern. It is commonly known for its distinctive aroma, which I would describe […]

Sub-Freezing Pleasing

  by William Crisp   So far the New Year has been pretty cold. It’s January; bird and flintlock season is winding down and things to do are getting few and far between. I personally have been frozen to my couch watching NFL playoff football, but soon that will wax and wane down to four […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Destination: The Kinzua Bridge Viaduct, Part 1 by Phil Burkhouse   Deer in our area can take a break after this Saturday, which marks the end of the extended archery and flintlock deer season.  A few diehards are still trapping, grouse is in until January 21, and squirrel, pheasant, and rabbit is in until […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   A RIFLEMAN I’ve known a lot of riflemen. I grew up with them; WWII veterans and their children. My father brought home a 7.7 Jap. I bought a .303 British for $25.00 and my high school  hunting partners had 6.5 Italians, 95 and 98 Mausers and if you were lucky, […]

The Breakfast Club

  by William Crisp   So, for some reason many of us; family, friends, and citizens of fly-over America feel like Judd Nelson’s character, John Bender, at the end of the movie “The Breakfast Club” as he pumps his fist while walking across a field in the last scene. For those who have missed the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Friendly Thunderbird by Phil Burkhouse   Perhaps you have heard stories about woods walkers who have experienced strange encounters with our state bird, the ruffed grouse.  Grouse are permanent residents that thrive in thickets and areas of very heavy cover.  Grouse feed on tree buds, berries, seeds, leaves, insects, and will occasionally gobble […]

Old Dog, Old Tricks

    by William Crisp   I remember watching my family’s hunting dogs react to a groundhog that would show up in the field behind the house. The dog would see the hog and charge the door, even if closed. When let out, he’d charge straight up the hill barking at the groundhog. When the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Patience and Persistence Gene by Phil Burkhouse   The spike and a group of does came in slightly above me and started milling around.  I raised the 300 Savage and steadied the crosshairs on the neck of the spike, the end of another successful season.  I was in my mid 20s, and a short […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   141     12-04-16 700 When I started drawing for publication in April 2003, I never thought I’d finish drawing #52 but here I am just wrapping up #700, a drawing of my favorite model, the White-tailed Deer. I learned a lot in 700 drawings. I learned that the Woodland […]

4G Easy

  by William Crisp   In my own opinion, one of the valued skills to be acquired by a hunter is the ability to be patient. The most patient hunters have the most regular success. It does take a skill set to be able to sit still and wait for days and weeks, waiting for […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  2016 – The Year of the Bear by Phil Burkhouse   The Chinese calendar says we are presently enjoying the year of the monkey, but I have reservations about that choice of animal.  I would have to say that with the hunting success Wes has been blessed with, this is definitely the year of […]

Road Trips

    Recently, a Wildlife Conservation Officer was on the news in Pennsylvania for shooting a bull that was along I95, within the Philadelphia limits, for public safety. I happen to know the guy and know that he is a good officer, a Philadelphia native (not used to bulls) and a nice guy and that […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Raven: A Bird of Ill Omen by Phil Burkhouse   My woods walking buddy, Gary Clark, called me in early October with news of a road killed deer he had just seen along Route 120 between Cameron and Sterling Run.  He said the deer was lying on the far side of the creek […]

Overgrown Places

  by William Crisp   As you read this I will be well into my annual cross country “Egg McMuffin tasting tour,” otherwise known by some as “hunting trips.” I will be living on Egg McMuffins as I chase the wily, white-tailed deer across the Midwest, from Michigan, back to Pennsylvania, out to Iowa and […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Iz and a Cameron County 11-Point by Phil Burkhouse   It was Wednesday evening, October 26th, and Mary and I had one grandson at football practice and two grandsons perched on the ridges in tree stands.  Big Jake clamored out of his tree stand at quitting time and informed me he had seen numerous […]

Mountain Lines

    140    11-5-16 Chert is a hard limestone rock formed during the Devonian Period about 290 million years ago when a great part of our Mid Atlantic states were a large, inland lake known as the Great Devonian Sea. Cameron County sits along the shoreline of this inland sea. Although the waters are […]

Hunters Sharing the Harvest Benefits from Youth Hunters

    During Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities’ (CCOYA) recent youth doe hunt, all seven participants were excited to donate their first deer, if successful, to the Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program.  After spending two evenings in the big woods a total of three doe were harvested by the young hunters. The hunters learned […]

Crazy Season

  by William Crisp   It is crazy season. Emotionally driven sycophants are running around blindly following leaders who will take them to their doom. These short sighted mindless hordes will literally run off a cliff or into traffic all the while still sniffing the air and cheering for their demise, fully believing they have […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Elk Season: 2016 by Phil Burkhouse   The grandsons began hunting deer when the Pennsylvania Game Commission introduced the Mentored Youth Program, and I gave up guiding elk hunters to hunt with the little guys.  I really enjoyed the elk hunts, but after guiding for 10 years, my priorities changed.  Little people rule. A […]


  by Bill Crisp   Recently, I took a hunting walk with my dog, Delta. After years of work, Delta finally has me trained. When we go hunting, I don’t bring my gun. If I do bring my gun, she won’t hunt but she loves to hunt when I’m unarmed. So off we went into […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Skinhead For the Little Bear by Phil Burkhouse   Little Bear Wes is now 13 and well on his way to becoming a full grown bear.  Wes had been involved with the Junior High football team, and with games every Thursday and practices the other week nights, his hunting time had been limited […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   Having trail-cams out this time of the year not only helps identify the range of bucks hanging around; to an artist it also catches a ton of does in just about any position imaginable providing me with a field day of sketching, trying new and different pens and pencils, papers […]

Youth Hunt

  by William Crisp   Earlier this month when I was hanging around the wrong place at the right time my son, Nick, was invited to participate in the early season youth hunt event. Cameron County Youth Outdoor Activities participated in the hunt by sponsoring and educating some kids while allowing them to hunt a […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Way To Go, Dinah! by Phil Burkhouse   I chose to spend most of my adult life working with kids.  Some of my friends inform me that is because I never grew up, and perhaps they are right, but I take delight in the enthusiasm and eagerness kids possess. Kids come in two sexes, […]

Senior Pheasant Hunt

    The 7th annual Senior (Old Geezer) Pheasant Hunt is scheduled for Wednesday, October 26th. Seniors ages 70 and older and who have a Pennsylvania hunting license are eligible. The event will take place one and a quarter miles north of Emporium just off Rt. 155 at the Andrews farm at the bottom of […]

Dog Days

  by William Crisp   I really enjoy running with dogs. I have trained a couple and have hunted over many in my years. I have made mistakes and had success with and over those dogs. These October, golden sun-splashed days are the prime time of running hunting hounds. I’ve seen good dogs and bad […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The County’s Best Kept Secret by Phil Burkhouse   Since Mary lived her early childhood years in the Fork, we spend a lot of leisure time at the Zoschg Homestead near Lick Island.  We really enjoy spending weekdays in the Fork since tourism seems to peak on weekends, but any time is a good […]

Youth Pheasant Hunt

    The annual Youth Pheasant Hunt was recently held at the Andrews Farm. The event is sponsored by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA). Although it was a rainy day, 18 young hunters, including three young lady hunters participated in the hunt. Many of the pheasants released for the Youth hunt are hatched in […]

The Haunted Hunt

  by William Crisp   The following is a Halloween article from several years ago. I am re-submitting in order to honor several requests for it: Happy Halloween. It was a Friday during late October circa 1985, I wanted to hunt but I had to finish work first. My boss at my first job needed […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Archery / Elk Report by Phil Burkhouse   The news from the deer woods is things are going very slowly.  Jake and I had scouted most evenings the two weeks prior to the archery season opener on October 1st since he can only hunt for deer during October.  Jake is into basketball, and his […]

Operation Game Thief Efficient, Effective

      The Operation Game Thief program continues to efficiently route record numbers of tips about poaching and other wildlife crimes to Wildlife Conservation Officers statewide, Game Commission staff told the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today. Operation Game Thief was launched in late September 2015, and its first three months handled a whopping […]

Women Bolster Hunter Ranks

    You might say Jillian Katchko was born to hunt.  “Hunting was all around me from the time I was born – literally,” the 13-year-old from New Freedom, York County, said. “Dad shot a wide-racked 9-point buck when I was 5 months old, and he took a photo of the buck next to me […]

So… It Begins

  by William Crisp   October 1st is here, the opening day of hunting season. I wait all year for a season that will go by too quickly. Sure, there are some hunting seasons that open in September but for most of us, this is the “real” beginning. Archery season is the coronation of the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Youth Duck Hunt – 2016 by Phil Burkhouse   Some things are inexplicably burned into your cranial appendage for an entire lifetime.  Things of great significance including births, weddings, historic happenings, and passing of friends and family occupy some of my memory space.  Much of this space is also filled to capacity with outdoor […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Elk Rut Ritual – Perfuming by Phil Burkhouse   The last week in September has arrived, and my brain is focused on the elk rut.  The rut normally runs from September 10th through early October, and during this timeframe my eyes pop open at 4 a.m., and it is time to head to Winslow […]

Science of The Hooker Man

  by William Crisp   Last week’s article of my experience with the legend of the Hooker Man created some stir and understandably cynical response. I can assure you that my tale is a true story, but as proof I can only offer that my imagination is not rich enough to create the story.  Thinking […]

Ground Blinds and Tree Stands Rules

    The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Elk State Forest office would like to remind all hunters planning on hunting on State Forest about the rules and regulations pertaining to ground blinds and tree stands. Ground blinds and tree stands may be left for any length of time within the period beginning two […]

Elk Cam Goes Live

    Each September, thousands of visitors make their way to Pennsylvania’s elk country to experience for themselves the wonder of the bugling season. And while there’s nothing quite like seeing a giant bull up close, or feeling your rib cage resonate as it lets loose an ear-splitting bugle, the opportunity again has come to […]

9/11 Hunt

  by William Crisp   On the fateful day of September 11, 2001, I was hunting out west. It was the last day of a 10-day archery hunt on BLM lands in western Colorado. It was a beautiful day with a crystal clear sky. We could only hunt the morning on the last day because […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  by Phil Burkhouse The Cross on the Hill   September is nearly half spent and the time for change has arrived in the Big Woods.  The chirping evening crickets escalating and the screeching blue jays signal change is at hand.  Birds are beginning to flock together preparing for their southward journey, and the elk […]

Don’t Get Cited For Baiting

    Fifty-pound sacks of shelled corn sit stacked at the end of the aisle. On the bottom shelf, an assortment 25-pound salt blocks, some of them apple-flavored or advertised as high-protein varieties, are wrapped in plastic, next to gallon jugs of liquefied mineral attractants. Any or all of these products are perfectly legal to […]

The Best Parts

  by William Crisp   I’ve changed though and what I enjoy the most about hunting has changed. Sure I still want to see that sneaking buck during the first crack of light of opening day or any day but there are other parts of the hunt that I really take in and bring home […]