Wandering Aimlessly

  Fish, Tannerite and Food Plots by Phil Burkhouse   Over the summer months the grandsons and I have been doing some fishing and preparing for the upcoming archery season.  The boys got Summit tree stands for Christmas that enable the user to sit while ascending a tree.  This climbing method coupled with safety harnesses […]

Big-Buck Trail Cam Contest

    As we close in on a new slate of deer seasons, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is holding a big-buck photo contest to showcase some of the huge whitetails caught on trail cameras this summer and fall in Penn’s Woods. Procedures Submissions should be sent to the PGCtrailcam@pa.gov. Photo submissions – limited to 5 […]


  Pigma, Micron # 01, 03 and 05 on 8 X 10, Strathmore smooth, hot plate Bristol. A reader told me they saw a red fox carrying a dead rattlesnake. To me, that sounded like a drawing. The red fox is the fox of grassy openings such as agricultural areas, but it does, on a […]

The Odds of Faith

  by William Crisp   This is an outdoor column but I happen to think that proof of intelligent design has more to do with the outdoors than a lot of articles that are ostensibly about deer. I fall under the category of one of the types of guys who nods at the quote; “I […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  First Fork Valley – Early 1900s   In this year’s July 6th issue I had a picture of a structure protruding from the water and the question of the week asked you to identify the structure.  The answer in the following week’s paper identified it as the bridge abutment that is now visible since […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   HEAL-ALL Prunella vulgaris This time of the year, I had to search quite a bit to find a Heal-All still in a representative bloom to do a sketch. The plant is very common and goes unnoticed by the casual observer. In sketching, I did not find The plant simple or […]

Hunting Trips: Cubed Is Not Square

  by William Crisp   A few months ago I wrote about trying to set up an out- of-state hunting trip. If you remember, I had a bunch of guys agree to go last December when the idea was originally pitched. The same guys still agreed to go when I asked for a commitment in […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Baltimore Oriole by Phil Burkhouse   I do not like blaze orange clothing, never have and never will.  I fully realize the safety benefits of wearing blaze orange in the woods and, while I comply with it, I don’t have to like it.  When I hear statements such as, “If it’s brown, it’s down”, […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Berries and Fish by Phil Burkhouse   We scheduled our annual trek to the Bozberry Blueberry Patch near Turtlepoint last Thursday morning.  My little mother, our elder daughter, Julie, Mary, and I motored over and found the blueberry bushes in beautiful condition despite our dry weather.  We usually wander over earlier in the picking […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   INCREASE IN DEER HERD This summer dawned with a notable increase in the White-tailed Deer population in WMU2-G, H. Since I have, only on a few occasions, bashed the Pennsylvania Game Commission for the drastic reduction in our deer herd, I should, in all fairness give the Game Commission credit […]

Ginny’s Olympic Shoot

  by William Crisp   If you turned off the Olympics in Rio because you received PTSD from its bizarre opening ceremony, I don’t blame you. However, it is the Olympics, which is an event worth following. I have to say; on the good side they have been covering a more diverse slice of the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Milk Can Bear Trail Wrap Up by Phil Burkhouse   I received an interesting phone call from former Sylvania employee and fellow West Creek resident Mel Doverspike, who has attained the age of 90 and now resides in Florida.  Mel had some very interesting information about the derivation of the name of the road […]

Bantering Buck Philosophies

  by William Crisp   The camp bantering has continued from last November. My son has become pretty proficient at the game of giving what you get at camp. He’s been busting one of my buddies over their deer success last year. Nick, being raised under the theory of scientific management and the values of […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   THE AR PLATFORM It’s  ironic. In 1968 the Commander in Chief  of the United States Armed Forces gave me, a young, inexperienced  kid, an M-16….for free. He gave me all the ammo I wanted and then turned me loose in Southeast Asia for a year or so. Now, in 2016, […]

Nothing To Do

  by William Crisp   Either as a blessing or as some sort of punishment of Karma for crimes committed in a past life, I haven’t figured out which one, I am around a lot of kids of various kid ages of non-varying stages of annoyance. One of the things they seem to have in […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Red-Eyed Vireo by Phil Burkhouse   I strolled across my mother’s yard with the weedeater running on idle.  I had been eating weeds and was headed back toward my truck with my quota of whacked weeds completed for the day.  I noticed a low hanging limb that was dangling slightly above head height and […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   DEPTFORD PINK – Dianthus armeria Standing alone in a grassy field, border or right-of-way, the bright pinkish-red flower of the Deptford Pink always catches my eye this time of year. It likes a dry,  compacted, clay soil in full sun making forest openings and abandoned logging roads a favorite habitat. […]

Where Are The Walleye?

  by William Crisp   I hate to bring this message. As Sophocles said, “None love the messenger who brings bad news.” On the other hand, I don’t want to be a critic and place blame.  As Tyne Daly mused, “A critic is someone who never actually goes to the battle, yet who afterwards comes […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Wandering Aimlessly Wild Parsnip – Ouch by Phil Burkhouse   The woods in our area and across most of Pennsylvania is becoming a more hazardous place to wander in recent years.  I am not referring to hazards like rattlesnakes, rabid critters, bees, ticks, and animals infected with mange.  I am referring to smaller and less […]

Antlerless Application Schedule Changes

    Hunters who are Pennsylvania residents traditionally have been able to apply for antlerless deer licenses a full two weeks before nonresidents. But the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners voted to shorten the time between resident and nonresident application periods to one week, allowing nonresidents to apply the third Monday in July each year. […]

Crawdad Clamor

  by William Crisp   June has been a beautiful month. Every day has been sunny and warm with clear skies. The saying, “Nothing in this world is free,” is coming around. The price has been our streams have dropped in level and now the fish are starting to stress. Recently, I had a number […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Children’s Poor Farm, Mason Hill by Phil Burkhouse   This week I will finalize the history and tales of the Children’s Poor Farm/Orphanage that operated on Mason Hill from 1912-1920.  In talking with Fannie Belle’s descendants and reading the remembrances of former boarders, Raymond Birney Coon and June Hugar were very interesting for me. […]

Driftwood Pollution: From Ashes

  by William Crisp   Part Three The third day of the pollution did not bring any relief for the stream. We had realized that we had lost all of the Portage and Driftwood as well as part of the Sinnemahoning, at least. Of course, Norfolk Southern’s  contractors and contacts did not agree yet, so […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Children’s Poor Farm, Part II by Phil Burkhouse   Last week I gave you a preview about the Poor Farm/Orphanage that was operational on Mason Hill from 1912-1920.  As I mentioned last week, the orphanage portion of the name is a misnomer since all of the boarders had at least one living parent.  During […]

Mountain Lines

by Nelson Haas   WOODLAND JUMPING MOUSE Living with two Rodent Control Specialists, I am, at times presented with a fresh ball of fur neatly placed on the front step. I’m supposed to look down and say: “Good Kitty.” Half of the time, the ball of fur is the Woodland Jumping Mouse because I live […]

Driftwood’s Fog of War

  by William Crisp   Part 2 “It seems too logical; I’ve missed everything, even my death.” Cyrano de Bergerac As I looked over the old notes and reports for last week’s part one of the Driftwood series, it occurred to me how clean and neat everything appears, after the fact, as far as what […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Cameron County Poor Farm by Phil Burkhouse   Mary gave me the label shortly after I retired from teaching back around the turn of the century.  The phrase she labeled me with was “Wandering Aimlessly.” I have a varied number of interests and can head in a different direction at any time, so the […]

Weather Doesn’t Dampen Drum and Henry Fishing Derby Turnout

      The weather was less than perfect for this year’s Drum and Henry Kids Fishing Derby. A rainy day did not stop the many families from attending this annual event.  The Derby celebrated its 62nd year of providing the area youth a fun-filled day of fishing and refreshments. The local Boy Scout Troop […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   Search and Rescue Teams study lost-subject behavior including the reasons they became lost in the first place. Separations, both accidental and intentional, rank in the top three. In fact, this year already we’ve had 2 searches caused by separation. Some hikers and hunters separate intentionally. One hiker needs a little […]

Anniversary of a Disaster

  by William Crisp   It is June 2016, which marks the tenth anniversary of the Norfolk Southern train wreck between Gardeau and Keating Summit. This is part one of a two or three part series on the environmentally tragic incident that garnered national news.  The event occurred at the end of the month on […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The RBGB by Phil Burkhouse   The rose-breasted grosbeak, one of our prettiest birds and greatest singers, has been arriving into our area over the past month.  The RBGB migrates into the Big Woods in late spring and is an easy bird to identify. The male RBGB has a brilliant red V or chevron […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Maine 2016 by Phil Burkhouse   Our local doctor turned 87 last week, and a happy birthday goes out to the “Doc.”  If you are a lifelong resident of Cameron County over the age of 30, there is a good chance the good doctor was present when you made your earthly debut.  As I […]


  by William Crisp   “It makes no difference what men think of war…war endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting the ultimate practitioner.” Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian I’m enjoying a tall glass of “Ranger Milk” on […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PINK LADY’S-SLIPPER GRAPHITE Createacolor, Fine Art Graphite #160 4B, 4H on Bee, 132 Lb. Stipple Paper Attempting a graphite drawing of a colorful wildflower like the Pink Lady’s-Slipper is a foolish endeavor for the artist but for the viewer it is an exercise in imagination, adding your own colors to […]

Cloudy Waters

  by William Crisp   Stevenson Dam is scheduled to undergo a dredging project soon. The lake has already been drained down and once again the First Fork flows freely by Brooks Run.  The plan is to attempt to remove 4’ to 6’ of silt from the upper, exposed, portion of the lake. This project […]

One for the Bear

Wandering Aimlessly   by Phil Burkhouse   On the one-day Youth Spring Turkey Hunt, Saturday, April 23, Gary Clark, Big Jake, Isaac, and I had headed down county; I wrote about that escapade earlier this month.  Little Bear Wes and his dad headed up county for the youth day hunt and had endured a painfully […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Musky Man – Part Two by Phil Burkhouse   Last week I gave you some insight into the world of the muskellunge, the huge fish that inhabits rivers and lakes in our vicinity.  I also mentioned Todd Deluccia, Watershed Specialist, Conservation District Manager, musky fly fishing guru, and 2014 Musky Fly Fishing World Champion. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Musky Man – Part Two by Phil Burkhouse   Last week I gave you some insight into the world of the muskellunge, the huge fish that inhabits rivers and lakes in our vicinity.  I also mentioned Todd Deluccia, Watershed Specialist, Conservation District Manager, musky fly fishing guru, and 2014 Musky Fly Fishing World Champion. […]

Call Me Ishmael

  by William Crisp   “Call me Ishmael.” “For there is no folly of the beast of the earth which isn’t infinitely outdone by the madness of Man.” Herman Medville, Moby Dick 1851. Recently, I celebrated one of my favorite weekends of the year, “Euchre Camp.” Euchre (pronounced:  you-ker) is an old card game, traditionally […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   Science Attacks the White-Tailed Deer . . . Again Living far from academia, I truly cannot comprehend the continual  assassination  of the  white-tailed deer as a villainous destroyer of our natural world, but here it comes again. As you know, the white-tailed deer has been under a drastic reduction program […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Woods Is An Interesting Place by Phil Burkhouse   The three grandsons spend most of their fishing time in the big water in quest of hatchery-reared lunkers.  Last year we only spent one day fishing for native brookies because, even though they are beautiful, they are small.  Last week, much to my surprise, […]

Deer Fawn Down

  by William Crisp   This is an odd time of year because during no other season do sportsmen and their quarry meet out of order. You see, during May is when it is most likely that a fisherman will see a deer; up close. Early May is when doe begin to give birth to […]

Woodland Third Graders Release Brook Trout

    The third grade students of Woodland Elementary recently visited Sizerville State Park. The event was coordinated by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA). The first order of business after arriving was to release several dozen brook trout fingerlings in East Cowley Run stream. This was the end of a yearlong adventure for the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  0 For 4   The one-day Youth Turkey Season was set for Saturday, April 23rd, and the youth in our tribe were anxious to go.  We had scouted and the plans were for Isaac and Ralph to head down county, Big Jake and I would also go down county, and the Little Bear Wes […]


  by William Crisp   While standing behind a nice large tree the other day, I started thinking about places to relieve one-self. This subject is considered sophomoric and  not polite and I agree. However, the issue of, “Where can one go?” has been big news in the Nation over the past few months. During […]

Pennsylvania Elk License Brings $85K at Auction

    Pennsylvania’s reputation as a prime elk-hunting destination continues to get stronger. The state’s Special Elk Conservation Tag – a license created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and auctioned off by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to benefit wildlife – commanded a stunning $85,000 at auction March 26.  

Earth Day Cleanup at Sizerville State Park

    Sizerville State Park is looking for volunteers to join employees on Earth Day, April 22nd, for their Adopt a Highway Cleanup of Route 155. There will be a safety discussion at the Park Office at noon and volunteers will need to complete a volunteer form. The cleanup will start promptly at 12:30. Gloves, […]

Erosion, Sedimentation Control in Our Forests Workshop

    The Conservation Districts of Cameron, Elk, McKean, Potter, Tioga, and Warren counties, in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and the PA Lumber Museum, are sponsoring a day-long workshop for foresters, loggers, logging contractors, and private landowners.  The workshop will be held on Thursday, April […]

The Bad of Good Intentions

  by William Crisp   There are a lot of things that are in camp that we don’t enjoy but it is part of camp. For example, mice wars are legendary in camps around the world. There are red squirrel wars, porcupine wars, bear wars and so on. It’s a good thing these critters can’t […]

Wandering Aimlessly

    Destination: Ricketts Glen by Phil Burkhouse   Taking a road trip to view wildlife is always a risky wandering.  Wildlife is unpredictable, and oftentimes you arrive to hear the old adage—“Should have been here yesterday.”  Although you plan your wanderings to yield the highest percentage of success, it is still advantageous, when wildlife […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  4-H Shooting Sports/Dogwood by Phil Burkhouse   The 4-H Air Rifle Program began in Cameron County in 2013 with twenty-one local kids shooting from January to mid-March every Thursday on the second floor of the Emporium Moose Lodge.  The kids, ages 8-18, learn gun safety, gun care, gun parts identification, and shooting techniques.  Current […]

Spring Cleaning and Female Fathers

  by William Crisp   When spring takes off, it takes off like a jet. Easter has come, trout stockings are in full swing, the canoe race is Saturday, horn hunting is reaching its tail end already and if you like working the earth this has been a good time to take advantage of the […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PEN & INK BOTANICAL DRAWING The entire drawing was done with Copic Miltiliners, XP #0.05 and the lettering with a #3, 5 and 8. The drawing is mostly a line drawing with little hatching in the old-style of botanical etchings. Background shading with a #6B pencil smoothed and blended with […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Antelope Buck by Phil Burkhouse   If you know me or question close friends, you will learn a few things about my personality and character traits that I try to camouflage, often unsuccessfully.  Synonyms such as hard headed and stubborn will probably crop up in the discussion, and those are some of my […]


  by William Crisp   One of my favorite articles of the year came out in Quality Whitetails magazine again this year. For the spring issue one of the writers from the magazine goes to the Southeastern Deer Study Group. That is a two-day event in which deer managers get treated to the results of […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   Pen and Ink woodscape, crosshatched and stippled. PEN: Copic Multiliner SP on Borden & Riley #234, 108 Lb. paper, crosshatched and stippled, time: about 6 Hrs. I don’t do pen & ink woodscapes often because they take a very long time to do and the results are most times not […]

Magic, the American Kestrel Returns

    Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA) recently visited Mrs. Tamburlin’s 4th grade class to talk about American Kestrels, our smallest Falcon. Don Bickford of CCOYA  read the book “The Return of Magic,” a story about an American Kestrel family and their full circle of life.  Thanks to Sinnemahoning State Park for the use […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Middle Creek by Phil Burkhouse   Last week’s question dealt with the location of the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area located near Kleinfeltersville. Kleinfeltersville is a small town in southeastern Pennsylvania located several miles north of I-76 and approximately fifteen miles north of Lancaster.  I, also, asked if you can get […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   RAVEN – Corvus corax PEN & INK, Copic, Multiliner SP, #0.1, 0.3, and 0.7 on: 108 Lb., Borden & Riley, #234 Paris, bleedproof paper. Time: 3.0 Hrs. The raven was made for the black and white artist, the only exception is: the raven is seldom observed sitting on the ground. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Winter Bear Tale by Phil Burkhouse   I heard an interesting bear tale through the grapevine that happened to one of Mary’s cousins in the northern climes of Cameron County almost exactly a year ago.  As most people who are woods walkers are aware, bears go into slumber in late fall and, while […]


  by William Crisp   We are rounding the corner out of February winters and into March…winter…but another step closer to nice weather; it’s not so much the cold but the noise at night.  I can hear the salt and chemicals from roads eating metal; that keeps me awake.  Maple taps are in and buckets […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Bird Tracks: Winter 2016 by Phil Burkhouse   In mid-January the Subaru headed southwest for a wedding involving a member from the Zoschg limb of the family tree.  It does a woods walker good to spend two days in a city to see how the urbanites live, and it also serves as a wakeup […]

The Cabbage Cat

  by William Crisp   “A skunk sat on a stump, the skunk thunk the stump stunk and the stump thunk the skunk stunk!” (Author is unknown; or afraid to fess up.)  Perhaps you’ve noticed the smell of skunk in the air as you travel down the highways this February. You can plan on hitting […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   123                                              02-19-16 A sudden warm spell in February, 1973 melted the ice and brought the beaver dams and streams to above normal levels.  I was in a rush […]

Additional ‘Eyes’ On Bat Caves

    As part of its Core Values & Beliefs program, the Williams Company recently donated $2,400 to the Pennsylvania Game Commission to be used for camera-aided enforcement to protect bat caves from intrusions. The funds will go toward adding six new cameras in two new sites. Currently, the Northeast Region has two and the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Winter Bird News by Phil Burkhouse   December 20th, seventeen hardy birders hit the fields and forests in our annual Emporium Christmas Bird Count.  Another ten birders monitored feeders with a total of thirteen hours (4 a.m. to 5 p.m.) being logged by participants.  The nocturnal birding was for owls, and temperatures ranged from […]

Apricot Creek Classroom

  by William Crisp   Recently, I had been informed that all people, even the brilliant minds, after years of discussion about weapons couldn’t possibly imagine the simplest weapons advances of the future. Let me tell you, that made me feel good about myself. I’m pretty average but I can imagine a bunch of stuff, […]

2015 Pennsylvania Bear Harvest Ranks Third of All Time

    It was a large harvest, and a heavy one. Pennsylvania hunters harvested a total of 3,748 bears in 2015, the third-highest tally in state history, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported today. And a whopping 68 of those bears topped the 500-pound mark. The harvest total represents an increase compared to 2014, when 3,371 […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Golden Eagles by Phil Burkhouse   Ben Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our national symbol, but he was overruled and our symbol became the bald eagle.  The bald is a gorgeous bird and very identifiable since it is the only raptor that in adult plumage has a vibrant white head and tail.  […]

The Illterate Authors?

  by William Crisp   The Second Amendment has come up in topics again lately. Most of the time so much propaganda regarding the document is so easily dispensed as fact that I end up spitting my coffee across the room.  For example, a writer remarked in a moment of academic arrogance that the Constitution […]