Big Game Records Book

Pennsylvania’s official all-time ranking of trophy big-game animals has been updated for 2013 and is available for sale from the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The new edition of the Pennsylvania Big Game Records book includes nearly 200 new entries. And to make them easier to identify, and to show where they stack up historically, entries from […]

Wandering Aimlessly

The Woolly Bear by Phil Burkhouse I suppose in some parts of the world if you asked a child what critter roams their area that has stripes with a black/rust color combination, the answer might be a Bengal Tiger, but in our area the answer would probably be a Woolly Bear. Woolly Bears are one […]

An Autumn Song by William Crisp

      My well-earned paranoia prevents me from being too specific about how and where I sleep. It is sufficient to say that I lay with a clear view of the sky and breathing fresh air, year round. I see the stars, comets, clouds and lighting. I hear coyotes sing. On Saturday night into […]

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

    PENNSYLVANIA LONGBOW Pen and Ink:  black India tech pen and Faber Castell, sepia PITT artist pen stippled and cross-hatched on the NW Keating 7.5 minute series topographical quadrangle. When I first saw a modern crossbow mounted with a telescopic sight, my first impression was: “I gotta get me …..a longbow.” Kind of like […]

Wandering Aimlessly ,Moon Talk

by Phil Burkhouse The archery season for deer begins this Saturday, and many shaft slingers will be hanging from trees with visions of trophy bucks dancing through their heads.  The grandsons have been sharpening up their shooting skills and doing some preseason scouting; anticipation is a wonderful thing and keeps many hunters’ excitement levels raised, […]


by William Crisp   The school year is well under way. I’m not of school age anymore, but today we are always being “educated” in one way or another. Recently, the media and government sponsors spent a lot of air time telling me that Americans and others like me are too stupid to be able […]

Mountain Lines ,Dumbing-Down the White-Tailed Deer

by Nelson Haas Sitting securely upon the throne of superior human intellect, we constantly degrade the white-tailed deer’s ability to detect scents, especially human scent. Hunting publications and their advertiser have grown a multi-million dollar industry pedaling snake oils to eliminate or compromise (Full story in the Cameron County Echo on the news stand)

Wandering Aimlessly, Twiggy, by Phil Burkhouse

Forty years after the Roaring Twenties came the Swinging Sixties.  Rock-n-roll marked the mid-‘60s and also the appearance of a skinny English supermodel who went by the handle of Twiggy.  Twiggy might have received her nickname from the original twiggy that is an insect in our area, whose real name is the walkingstick. (Full story […]

Good News.. Sort of by William Crisp

  It has been goose season all this month, hurray. The strangers you see creeping up and down the local highways at twenty miles per hour, under the speed limit, with sudden stops and parking in ridiculous and dangerous places are back. Those are not goose hunters, they are elk peepers. When there is an […]

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

  The Great Dovonian Sea As I Remember It I live along the shoreline of the Appalachian Basin, a North-South finger of the Great Devonian Sea. (Full story in the Cameron County Echo on the news stand)

Wandering Aimlessly Sept. 15 Conclusion

by Phil Burkhouse As I mentioned in last week’s article, Jake, Mary, and I departed Winslow Hill as darkness was creeping into the valley.  We had quite an adventure and had sighted one deer and close to 100 elk.  Jake had captured some excellent elk shots with the Canon, and I was anxious to get […]

The Zen of Muzzle Loader Maintenance

by William Crisp Even though I’ve managed to impress some metrosexuals, I don’t consider myself a handy kind of guy. I can do some basic plumbing and electrical. I can weld as long as you don’t need the weld to look nice or save a life. I was once a professional carpenter but I was […]

Wandering Aimlessly Sept. 5, 2013 – It’s On

by Phil Burkhouse The first week of September traditionally marks the kickoff of the elk rut in our area, and while it is early in the season, the excitement begins building in my old bones.  Last Thursday the weather channel had posted a frost advisory for northcentral Pennsylvania, and I knew the cool weather would […]

Deer Report: Without a Parachute

by William Crisp So, after a spring and summer of perusing the woods for furry critters, I’ve gathered enough information to share and maybe help someone this season. To mention good deer hunting in Pennsylvania, publicly, is risky business…pretty much like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. It would be a lot easier […]

Wandering Aimlessly Late August 2013

by Phil Burkhouse During summer our wandering aimlessly takes a back seat to wo-wo-wo-work projects.  Gardening, mowing grass, working on food plots, cutting firewood, and home repairs curtail my daily wandering, but by late August my blood begins to change from red to green as I head more frequently to the forest edges and ridges. […]

War Drums and Peace Dogs

by William Crisp As I write this we are on the eve of the start of hunting season. Things will start ramping up pretty quickly towards the pursuit of feathers, and furs. Also, as I write, while the clamor that we can’t be trusted with guns has grown mostly silent, don’t think those anti’s have […]

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

      ANOTHER DEER STUDY The Pennsylvania Game Commission in conjunction with DCNR, Bureau of Forestry, Pennsylvania State University and the U.S. Geological Survey is conducting ANOTHER deer study.   (Full story in the Cameron County Echo on the news stand)

Wandering Aimlessly

New Tactical Blade In Town by Phil Burkhouse Going to a yard sale is very similar to going to the woods hunting; you quickly survey the available habitat and hone in on the most likely spots that might contain your quarry.  The quarry that draws me, like iron filings to a strong magnet, are tools; […]

A Fisherman Born

by William Crisp “Come on! Let’s go…we’re gonna get in trouble,” My brother beckoned. I knew It was late…too late, especially when my brother wanted to quit fishing. He picked up his gear and started walking. A shiver of fear ran down my back; as his big brother I knew I would really be in […]

Wandering Aimlessly Hellgrammite to Dobsonfly

by Phil Burkhouse This week’s column is devoted to one of many anglers’ favorite insects, the hellgrammite.  If you check out the picture of the hellgrammite that has transformed into an adult dobsonfly, several words might come to mind, such as fearsome and vicious.  If you knew, as most anglers already know, that a pinch […]

Summer Fishing

  by William Crisp   Summer fishing is still an exciting venture here in the Big Woods. You can catch beautiful, and large trout. Even though they’ve had to work hard at it, our Walters boys have proven that without a doubt. The bass anglers are enjoying the Driftwood again and the Sinnemahoning and First […]

Instructors Needed

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission is looking for experienced hunters and trappers who are interested in becoming volunteer instructors for the agency’s basic Hunter-Trapper Education (HTE), Successful Bowhunting, Successful Furtaking and the Successful Turkey Hunting courses, as well as future courses under consideration. (Full story in the Cameron County Echo on the news stand)

Wandering Aimlessly, Doll Hill

  by Phil Burkhouse I am addicted to yard sales because it’s as close to prospecting for gold as I can get in the Big Woods—excluding searching for the Civil War mother lode in Dents Run.  Like prospecting you never know what you might find; it’s a gamble.  At a recent yard sale in Prospect […]

Rowdy Randy and the Fishercism

  by William Crisp   What a bright face and smile the boy had. My son and I were in the middle of a “two for one operation” picking worms for fishing while digging potatoes from the garden. Nick was holding up a worm in one hand and a potato in another, proudly displaying each […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   COYOTE SCHOOL You’ve probably noticed a lot of coyote drawings in my column. That’s because I’ve spent a lot of time with the beast and my DNA runs high on the Canine side. I’m even allowed up on the sofa now. I started coyote school in the winter snows of […]

Wandering Aimlessly 24: Big Orangee

by Phil Burkhouse The deadline for my column is Friday, but I discovered the paper is not actually laid out until Sunday evening.  This fact, of course, indicated my deadline could actually be extended to Sunday evening, which allows me two more days to procrastinate.  Procrastination, or what I prefer to categorize as delayed deep […]

Combo Platter

  by William Crisp   Yet another study is being paid for to see if it is fiscally efficient to combine the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) with the Game Commission (PGC) or (PFGBC?)…again I say, “Yet another study paid for in order to save money”… I’m sorry this article is  long, but I […]

Wandering Aimlessly

by Phil Burkhouse When I use the term “woody” I am usually referring to our gorgeous feathered bird known as the wood duck.  We also have another Big Woods’ creature classified as a reptile that could also go by the handle “woody”, the Wood Turtle.

Turtle and Target Season

by William Crisp   Other than the debate on whether Independence Day brings us a day of freedom or if it means we can have it all year; July brings with it turtle season and target season. I have friends who look forward to the opening day of turtle season like we look forward to […]

Wandering Aimlessly 21 – 22 – 23

by Phil Burkhouse You math whizzes should be able to figure the average of these three numbers very rapidly since the average and median for this group is the same: 22.  The 22nd of June is also the day the three Walters’ boys each landed brown trout from our local streams that measured  21, 22, […]

The ‘Hyper’Male’

  by William Crisp   A friend of mine sent me an article about hunters and hunting in Alaska. It was published in the Hamilton (Canada) Spectator then published on line in “” It was written by a gentleman named Jim McDonald, a citizen of Canada…(until he wants to quit working, then he may immigrate […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   Lensatic compass Also known as the Engineer’s Compass. According to its manufacturer: “This compass is known throughout the world for its precision, reliability, versatility and ruggedness. It has helped to save lives in times of war and provided many with recreational and commercial usefulness in times of peace.” (Full Story […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Turtle Times by Phil Burkhouse This is the time of the year the holes begin appearing throughout our area.  Groundhogs obviously dig holes for their dens, and skunks, God bless them, dig out bee nests in yards, but the holes I am presently seeing are not being dug by mammals.  We presently have several reptiles […]


by William Crisp There are a few quiet moments in my yard that force me to think back to my youth with retrospection. I’m currently having one of those moments. I was one of many sons who spent much of my young life, when not grounded or in detention, playing in the woods. What boys […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Throwing the Hawk by Phil Burkhouse I realize with my addiction to birds that many people will glance at this week’s title and think I am writing about our winged predators of the sky, but actually I am writing about a tomahawk that is winged through the air by people power. (Full Story available on […]


by WilliamCrisp   I enjoy hunting deer in PA and enjoy success or opportunities for success every year. Annually, the Pennsylvania Deer Wars fascinate me. Like the Civil War, the topic pits brother against brother and even father against son, if not man against dog. For decades I felt compelled to pick a side but […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Wandering Thru May by Phil Burkhouse The 2013 Spring Turkey Season expired last Friday and not a moment too soon.  Big Jake and I hunted several days a week throughout the month long season including a morning hunt on the last day, but he will have to let his gobbler grow until this fall.  I […]

Nature’s Pace

  by William Crisp   Some of the best times I’ve ever had were while drifting down a river. This is the time of year when you can really enjoy spending a day at nature’s pace; mostly because during the other times of the year you’ll freeze too fast. (Full Story available on the newsstands, […]

Reps. Sankey, Gabler Attend QIDC Meeting

The Quehanna Industrial Development Corporation (QIDC) held its regular monthly meeting, May 20. It was a very busy meeting, with many subjects covered, including the coal industry. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Wandering Aimlessly

Crazy As A Loon by Phil Burkhouse The call came from Ted and the two crazed fishing fanatics we fondly refer to as Big Jake and Little Bear; they had sighted the “Spirit of Northern Waters” at the Y where the Driftwood Branch and the Portage collide.  For those of you not familiar with “Spirit […]

A Tail Of Three Seasons

During the last week of turkey season one of my hunting buddies, Muddy, who annually visits here from the great Northwest to kill the deer we say aren’t here and catch the fish we don’t stock, was back for the turkeys that we don’t complain too much about. He’s been successfully raiding Pennsylvania for a […]

Wanted: Clubs To Host Junior Pheasant Hunts

    After more than a decade of success, the Pennsylvania Game Commission is working to expand its Junior Pheasant Hunt Program and is seeking partners to do so. The commission is asking sportsmen’s clubs and other conservation organizations to meet an increasing demand created by the youngsters who want to participate in the program. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Fraser Who For Christmas? Christmas 2013 is about seven months away, but I am presently thinking about Christmas 2020 because that is approximately when the seedlings I have been planting will be ready to harvest for Christmas trees. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Benghazi, the NRA and Guns

by William Crisp A lot of controversy has arisen out of an incident that occurred last September in a little town in Libya called Benghazi. An American consulate building and CIA annex was attacked by terrorists. In the ensuing hours of fighting, four Americans were killed, including the US Ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens. While there […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   In 2011, the Pennsylvania Game Commission finally realized that Gary Alt’s deer management program was a resounding failure in Wildlife Management Unit 2-G, which lies in the center of the traditional deer hunting capital of Pennsylvania; the large wooded ridges of the Alleghany Plateau, where for years, hunters have flocked […]

Wandering Aimlessly The 357 Magnum Fish

by Phil Burkhouse Mary handed me the phone saying, “It’s your oldest grandson, and he wants to talk with you.”  I said, “Hello Jake,” and tried to decipher a coded message delivered in a high pitched voice with extreme velocity and vibrating with excitement.  I said, “Jake, slow down; I can’t make out what you […]

Boston and Gun Control

by William Crisp Last week the most publicized and latest Senate gun control bill (one of over fifteen) H.R. 1565 or the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Protection Act” in a rare, real, bipartisan effort was defeated. This defeat brought some real outrage from the anti-gun community and the Administration. (Full Story available on the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

A Little Bear and A Turkey The 2013 Youth Spring Gobbler hunt was slated for last Saturday, April 20th.  Big Jake and the Little Bear Wes were rearing to go; Isaac, at age 5, was still reluctant about shooting the scattergun and decided to wait for 2014. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this […]

Flower Power and Nuts

by William Crisp   We’ve been getting our April Showers lately. I think it has been enough to bring our May flowers. I like showers and flowers. I once made the mistake of telling that to a psychologist (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Trap Field Open

  Bucktail Rod and Gun Club trap field is open for shooting Mondays from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Cost is $3.00 per round for members only, please. Applications available. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Wandering Aimlessly Spring 2013 Openers -Fishing, Turkey and Discovery

    by Phil Burkhouse   It is amazing how our stream levels fluctuate over a short period of time.  The weekend of the canoe race levels in the Driftwood Branch were approaching the marginal level for canoeing and were perfect for fishing.  Several inches of rain during last week brought on a Flood Watch […]

The Dress Of / And Duress

by William Crisp In the past, one of my typical fishing tips has been the suggestion of wearing dark or camouflaged clothes rather than bright colors while fishing. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Wandering Aimlessly DiscoveryTV Event, Spring, and Fishin’ Anticipation

  by Phil Burkhouse   During the fall of 2010 and 2011, I had the opportunity to spend seven weeks working with award winning nature photographers from all over the globe.  I served as guide/equipment bearer for photographers from Africa, Scotland, England, and the United States.  I had a great time and got paid for […]

Beginning of the Non-Ending Season

by Bill Crisp The second Saturday of April in Pennsylvania, officially, is the beginning of the season without an end; fishing season. The Big Woods is a target of many weekenders’ migrations to pursue trout placed and grown in our pristine waters. I’ve heard many a comment that resources generated from fishing should be focused […]

Promising Spring Gobbler Season

The cool spring so far throughout much of Pennsylvania may lead to increased gobbling for hunters planning to take part in the state’s spring wild turkey season. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Wandering Aimlessly, March 14th, A Good Day

by Phil Burkhouse Mid-March marks the peak of March Madness: the elk horn hunting season.  A few of the older bulls will drop in late February, and many mature bulls will have shed by March 10th, but the Ides of March through the end of the month marks the optimum time to be in the […]

Third Month From the Fun

  by William Crisp   It’s March again. The best thing about March is that it is only a month away from April, two months from May and six months until hunting season. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   TURKEY VULTURE Cathartes aura There is no bird soaring over the Americas so aptly named as the Turkey Vulture. Its first name, Cathartes comes from the Greek word: kathartes, meaning “the purifier” and aura, from the Native Mexican name for the bird: Auroura. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in […]

Wandering Aimlessly, Horn Huntin’

by Phil Burkhouse Jake mentioned several weeks ago that he had not found an elk horn in two years and that he was determined to find one this year.  He said he was going to work really hard at it, and he knew it was going to pay off.  I looked at the “little guy,” […]

Skinning Cats

  by William Crisp   Individuals among your friends, family, strangers or neighbors may have cooed in your concerned ear, too. “They’re not going to take your guns.” (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Wandering Aimlessly

Utah CCW Permit by Phil Burkhouse The National Park System has always stressed that when you are in grizzly bear country, hikers should do the following: wear small metal bells that attach to your shoes so they jingle while you walk, carry pepper spray that comes in an aerosol can, and talk as much and […]

If We Don’t Change

If We Don’t Change by William Crisp   I have over twenty-one years of service in conservation jobs with one agency or another as of this year. Every day there are reminders of what has changed in the past five and ten years, let alone in the last twenty. (Full Story available on the newsstands, […]

Game Commission Offers ‘Seedlings For Schools’ Program

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced the agency again will be helping Commonwealth school students learn about the vital role of trees in the environment through its “Seedlings for Schools” program, through which students plant a variety of tree seedlings at home, on school grounds or in their communities. (Full Story […]

Wandering Aimlessly Gun Economy Picking Up

by Phil Burkhouse I was sitting in a Spit and Argue chair, not one of the original ones near Henry’s Hardware, discussing the gun control issue with several friends.  Naturally, there was much agreement in our thoughts on the subject, but one fellow said something that caught me off guard, and he was exactly right.  […]

An Honst Chat

  by William Crisp   The news of the PA Fish and Boat Commission closing hatcheries came as a big shock to everyone. As the old saying goes, ‘Nothing is closer to immortality than a government program.” (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Mountain Lines

by Nelson Haas     EXTERNAL FRAME PACK If I were to choose a pack for carrying heavy loads over long distances, it would be the external frame pack. Here’s why: (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)

Bagubas Fall In Dual Match Finale

  by Rich Summers Cameron County Echo The Cameron County High School Red Raider Baguba varsity wrestling team completed their dual meet season last Tuesday in Curwensville against the Golden Tide. Despite pins by Rusty Setzer, Tony Olivett, Jack Karsten, and Hunter Azzato, Curwensville prevailed by a score of 36-27.     (Full Story available […]

Wandering Aimlessly Late Season Snowbirds

by Phil Burkhouse It was 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 10th, and the thermometer in the car read 2 degrees.  I had packed a pair of shorts and was wearing blue jeans; we were headed toward the equator, so our Cameron County clothes we layered with during the winter were left behind. (Full Story available […]

Big Woods Valentine

  by William Crisp   On the eve of the major holiday called Valentine’s Day and right before the weekend of the big coyote hunt, my wife and I lay tucked in our bed ready for a long winter’s nap. However, as it turned out, we would not get much sleep that night. (Full Story […]

Mountain Lions Elimination Ecology

    by Nelson Haas   The Pennsylvania Game Commission has proposed the elimination of all feral hogs in the commonwealth; both wild and penned. (Full Story available on the newsstands, in this week’s Cameron County Echo)