Wandering Aimlessly

Destination: Square Timber Vistas by Phil Burkhouse I was talking with a fellow woods’ walker last week who informed me his good friend from an urban area stops in for an occasional visit and he remarked, “This place is lost in the 1950s.” My immediate thought on that comment was, “Perfect, a good place to […]

Fall Season Fashion

by William Crisp It is now past Labor Da,y which means it is time to put away the white purses, pastels and talk about football and hunting! I once did a September presentation at a sportsmen’s club which included a long talk about wonderful projects and controversial fishing changes that may cost money…topics that would […]

PGC Ruffed Grouse Film Wins Big

  Between 2001 and 2005, the ruffed grouse population suffered a 63 percent decline in Pennsylvania. No one was sure why but in 2015 through 2016, Game Commission biologist Lisa Williams and her team confirmed their suspicions about Pennsylvania’s state bird being affected by the West Nile Virus (WNV). Grouse chicks were hatched from eggs […]

Three Local Students Participate In Conservation School

  Potter County Junior Conservation School, Sponsored by Black Forest Conservation Association in Coudersport recently held their week long camp for ages 13-15 that was established to promote awareness of our environment and the principles of conservation. Twenty students were carefully selected by their sponsors because of their interest in learning about our environment and […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT UNIT 2-H DEER NUMBERS ON THE INCREASE This is the first time in 17 years I’ve actually seen “herds” of deer where I live in Wildlife Management Unit 2-H. I’ve actually seen the faint return of the browse line which warms my heart but sends chills down the spine […]


  by William Crisp One of the secrets to life is to find the advantage in every disadvantage. There is a ying to every yang and I try to go with it whenever I can figure out how. While this is not an article about deer I still must use hunting as a brief example. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Blaze Orange Chicken by Phil Burkhouse Hunting with a camera has many similarities to hunting with a weapon but also many differences. There is, of course, no gutting, dragging, skinning, and processing involved with a successful camera hunt, but there can be a lot of photo editing if the shoot was successful. One of the […]

Ned’s Mercs and the Bank Beavers

    A long time ago, while working for the Game Commission’s habitat crew under land manager, Ned Weston, we were assigned to help Ned remove some nuisance beavers from a stream. As is their habit, the beavers had domiciled high up on a relatively rural trout steam. The problem was that the beavers insisted […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  No Turkey – Big Fish by Phil Burkhouse   The last day of the 2018 Spring Gobbler season is this Thursday, May 31st, and we still have “no meat in the pot.”  Zeke is involved with Little League and Flag Football and has been out turkey hunting about six mornings.  We called in several […]

Herp Hoedown at Park

    Herp Hoedown at Sinnemahoning State Park features an afternoon full of fun educational programs about reptiles and amphibians. Join park staff and local herpetology enthusiasts in the Wildlife Center classroom on Saturday, April 28 from noon to 4 p.m. for a chance to learn more about these unique and often misunderstood animals. Kicking […]

The Missourian Fisherman

  by William Crisp   Recently we got a visit from a new member of the family, my niece’s fiance’ fresh off a year long deployment in the Middle East, courtesy of the US Army. He honored us with a visit; to fish. I’ll call him Luke because he said his name was Luke. Luke […]

Wandering Aimlessly

    Fish and Feather Time by Phil Burkhouse   Living in the headwaters region of freestone streams means water levels vary greatly depending upon precipitation.  The limestone spring fed streams to our south have a much more stable water level than our streams, as is evidenced by last week’s stream level fluctuations. The morning […]

From the Bleachers

  with RichSummers   The baseball and softball teams finally got on the field and with the change of the Port Allegany games to home games on Tuesday there were three days to spend at the Cameron County Little League. Although the weather on Tuesday was frigid, the Thursday and Friday games were played in […]

Da Beard

  by William Crisp   The only hair rule more steadfast than undercover cops must grow ponytails is that sportsmen must have beards. There have been times over my time of employment with two different outfits where I purposely looked like someone I was not. During those times I’ve been chastised professionally because it is […]

Life at the Duck Blind

Wandering Aimlessly   by Phil Burkhouse   My entire life I have lived in awe of our most beautiful duck, the wood duck.  Our Big Woods critters, other than my wife, that I feel a kindred affection for include deer, bear, turkeys, grouse, and the woody.  Each of these critters truly belongs to the Big […]

Hurray! Hurray! It’s Opening Day!

    Upcoming this Saturday will be the end and the beginning of the season which never ends. It’ll be marked by celebrating its second opening day for the same species over two separate consecutive weekends. If that seems confusing, ask an outdoor writer to explain it; if you can find one. Even after all […]

‘Tis a Busy April

Wandering Aimlessly   by Phil Burkhouse   Mentored Youth Fishing day, last Saturday, dawned snowy and a balmy 25 degrees.  I knew Big Jake was going to drive and mentor the Bear, and that was a scary thought.  Jake is 17 and can’t fish as a youth, but he could fish and mentor Wes.  Wes […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   WILDFIRES As a Forest Fire Warden for over 30 years, I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that debris burning is the leading cause of wildfires. Please consider the following: Wildfire season begins in March and lasts until green vegetation takes over the landscape. • Compost yard […]

Road Nomads

by William Crisp “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness I agree with Ursula. On hunting and fishing trips, the journey is as fun as the destination. While travelling with the guys […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Robins, Sumac and Gold by Phil Burkhouse   Last week’s wanderings were concentrated in the down county area where we did a little horn hunting and continued to enjoy the waterfowl migration.  On Thursday Mary and I heard honking from high in the sky and were thrilled to see a large V of tundra […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Wandering Aimlessly March Idles On by Phil Burkhouse   On Tuesday, February 27th, Mary and I sat in the Subaru observing one of my favorite backwater spots for migratory waterfowl.  We had just left the dam and were actually about a mile into Potter County at a swamp just to the left of 872.  This […]

Chin-Chili Spirit

  by William Crisp   Recently, I took a short trip to Florida to conduct some business and to get a little relief from the late Pennsylvania winter. I didn’t get the hunting in that I wanted but I did get to do some fishing or at least I participated as a fishing spectator and […]

Hunter Ed. Class

    A Hunter Ed. Class will be held at the Woodland Elementary School on Saturday, March 24th from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is to be done online at PA Game Commission’s website. Students must be 11 years old to attend. Pizza and drink will be provided for lunch.    

SSA Coyote Hunt Attracts 432 Entries

    The Sinnemahoning Sportsmen’s Association attracted 432 entries for its mid-February coyote hunt. According to the club’s website, nine coyotes and 23 foxes were brought in by hunters in the 13th annual event. The top cash prize of $2,592 was claimed by an Ohio hunter who entered a 43 pound, 7 ounce male. Josh […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   SHOTGUN CHOKE and WAD COLUMN Every year I hear numerous stories of missing a spring gobbler …with a shotgun. How can that happen with a cartridge that puts 296 missiles  in the air in a 40-inch circle? My theory is: today we are over-choking our shotguns, producing an exceptionally narrow […]

Old School Hunter

  by William Crisp   Recent documentation and conversation has revealed that we may be old school hunters around here. I’m not that old but I learned my techniques from guys who were considered old school hunters. While many hunters are open to new things and find ways to incorporate new techniques and strategies into […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Attu, Adak and Spring Migration by Phil Burkhouse   Last week’s question dealt with the “Holy Grail” of rare North American birding, Attu.  A few readers might be familiar with the island of Attu, but only if they are really into birding, American history, or were stationed there with the Coast Guard. Attu is […]

Game Commission Plants Seed For Environmental Learning

    The Pennsylvania Game Commission once again is helping students learn about the vital role trees play in the environment. The Seedlings for Schools program provides tree seedlings to classrooms so students can plant them as part of projects to improve wildlife habitat. Orders placed as part of the “Seedlings for Schools” program are […]

Spring Sprung

  by William Crisp   I know its February and spring doesn’t come, officially, until April but I think Spring is here. At the minimum I’ve seen signs of Old Man Winter losing his grip. It’ll still be cold, the weather crummy, and there will be more snow. Yet, he can’t stop the birds from […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  It’s Time by Phil Burkhouse   Mary and I did a fair amount of wandering aimlessly last week; it seemed like a necessary thing to do.  We weren’t looking for anything in particular during our outings, and we also were in no hurry finding it. We cruised down county several times in hopes of […]

Family Center After School Express Learns About Owls

    Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities was the presenter for the Family Center first week of 2018 spring After School Express. This is a wonderful program that the Family Center invites new presenters to each week and introduces young students to a wide variety of educational programs. The spring program consists of 3rd grade […]

Nihilistic Solutions

  by William Crisp   Yet another politically advantageous, at the best time for anti-gun activists, shooting occurred last week. An unprecedented streak of convenience in favor of its agenda has followed the Brady campaign since its inception. Another lunatic has attacked innocents yet again in a place where they can be least defended. What […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Bird Brains by Phil Burkhouse   One of the sayings often used to describe someone who does not eat very much is:  “You eat like a bird.”  In reality birds, for their size, consume a huge amount of food daily.  If humans did eat like a bird, we would be grotesquely overweight in a […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   I’M A HUNTER PART II I’m a Hunter. Probably the last one in Pennsylvania. I’m not a sportsman, a participant, a member or stakeholder as the Game Commission likes to call me. Hunting is not a sport. I don’t keep score. Weights, measurements and bag limits are nothing. Sometimes a […]


  by William Crisp   When we venture forth into the woods a lot of detail is placed on certain gear. However, one pair of gear that we need to place premium attention to is footwear.  A good pair of boots is worth its weight in gold. The impacts of cheaper or mis-fitting shoes may […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A January Elk Shoot by Phil Burkhouse   Most of you who know me are aware my present weapon of choice on my wandering aimlessly adventures is a Canon 70D loaded with digital cards and barreled with an assortment of interchangeable lenses.  I love to photograph nature and will shoot anything that is “cool” […]

St. Marys Sportsmen’s Lucky Dog Coyote Hunt

    The St. Marys Sportsmen’s 15 Annual (Lucky Dog) Coyote Hunt is scheduled for February 16th, 17th, and 18th. This event has been scheduled to coincide with other local Coyote Hunts, Mosquito Creek, Rolf Beagle Club, and the Sigel Sportsmen for example so hunters have a chance to register for all area hunts that […]

St. Marys Sportsmen’s Ice Fishing Derby

    The St. Marys Sportsmen’s Club Annual Ice Fishing Derby will be held on Sunday, February 11th from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the St. Marys Reservoir, if there is at least 8 inches of ice on the reservoir. There will be prizes for the three largest fish caught by an adult and […]

Scopes, Calibers, La De Da Da

  by William Crisp   I spent the week discussing calibers and scope choice and while it was playful banter, looking back I could have spent my time discussing something more meaningful but it is fun to play. A buddy of mine doesn’t agree with my scope choices and thinks he can do better for […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Big Year by Phil Burkhouse   Most birders begin with basic bird identification and evolve into being able to identify more and more birds as their addiction spreads.  Most people, even though neophyte bird brains, can identify robins, cardinals, and crows.  If interest progresses, a field guide and binocular are purchased and you […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   COYOTE  SEASON According to Pennsylvania Outdoor News there will be around 26 organized coyote hunts this year  between January and March. Sponsored by rod and gun and other sportsman’s clubs, these hunts break up the post-deer-season lull in hunting seasons, make money for the different organizations and give hunters the […]

CWD Test Results Continue To Come In

    Pennsylvania’s statewide deer seasons have come to a close, and within the next several weeks, final chronic wasting disease test results will return from deer harvested by hunters in the 2017-18 seasons. The Pennsylvania Game Commission collects samples from deer harvested across the state and tests them for chronic wasting disease (CWD), as […]


  by Bill Crisp   We are entering what is, to me, the worst time of the year for the hunter and angler. After the high of summer fishing rolling into the glorious golden days of October into December the tenor and pace of hunting and fishing comes crashing down during late winter. This time […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Big Woods Trophy by Phil Burkhouse   I was recently talking with George “Mick” Kamats, the oldest child of George and Clara Zoschg Kamats.  George and Clara raised 11 children on their small farm located just above the intersection of Route 155 and the Gardeau Road along the Portage Creek.  Mick told me […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PILEATED WOODPECKER Nothing will wake up the silent calm of a sleepy forest than the flight cackle of the Pileated, our largest woodpecker. They can tear up a dead tree, leaving piles of rotted wood around the stump in search of carpenter ants and other insects. At times you can […]

Youth Ice Fishing A Huge Success

    The Youth ice fishing event sponsored by Bucktail Rod and Gun Club and Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities was a huge success. There were 38 young people that registered to participate the day of the event. The weather cooperated this year with temperatures in the 40s and full sun. “We have not been […]

Accessorize Your Merchandise

    Guns and women; what do they have in common? Both enjoy accessories. So, you don’t have to buy another gun, instead you can accessorize the one you have. I don’t want to get carried away with the idea of just one gun though. You should certainly have more than one because if you […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  It’s For the Birds by Phil Burkhouse   In the 1800s there was not a Christmas Bird Count; instead, there was an annual Christmas or Holiday Shoot.  People would compete in a hunt, and whoever shot the largest pile of birds and animals was declared the winner.  Time and education increased conservation awareness, and […]

Game Commission’s Eagle Cam Is Back For 2018

    It might be cold outside, but you don’t have to leave your cozy confines for a round-the-clock opportunity to view bald eagles at close range. The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Eagle Cam is back online, offering viewers worldwide 24-7 access to live video and audio captured at a bald-eagle nest in Hanover, Pa. The […]

Mountain Lines

by Nelson HMountain Lines by Nelson Haas Last year, bucks were still carrying their antlers into March, an unusually long time in Wildlife Management Unit 2-G and 2-H. This year it seems to be just the opposite. Shed antlers were found in the first week of rifle season and numerous, one-horned bucks were spotted. Many […]

Thirteen Trips

  by William Crisp   With the start of this new year it is time to plan out the year and put in for vacation day trips to take during 2018. So far, I’ve got it narrowed down to 13 trips that I have to take; although I can say without a doubt that I […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Bearded Ladies and Ice Jams by Phil Burkhouse   Last week’s question involved the evolved dinosaur known today as the wild turkey.  The picture depicted a bearded turkey with head erect and turned and asked if the turkey was a gobbler or a hen. Neophyte turkey hunters might have been uncertain or thought it […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Colorado – Finale by Phil Burkhouse   As I mentioned last week I had my muzzleloader resting over a large log and I could hear elk hooves rapidly pounding in my direction.  The two bulls had made a brief appearance at 150 yards before plunging into the ravine that separated us.  They were coming […]

Tears, Fears and Careers

  by William Crisp   It’s November, thank goodness, my favorite time of the year.  However, this month has come in on a tough bit of news. One of my colleagues was assaulted while working and was injured, then had to shoot his assailant. The good news is the good guy came home; bullet dodged.  […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   IT’S THAT SIMPLE A recent article in “Bowhunter magazine: Nov./Dec. Whitetail Special 2017 issue,  Dr. Dave Samuel, Conservation Editor, starts his article: “Deer Summit 2017”, page 20, with this profound statement: “We all know that deer drive the financial backing of our state wildlife agencies. Losing deer or losing deer […]

Changes Change

  by William Crisp   These days it seems as if change is the norm and any change, even change for the sake of change, is good. I happen to disagree with that one-sided premise and happen to believe there are good changes, bad changes and change that is unavoidable; so it doesn’t matter if […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Colorado Elk Hunt I by Phil Burkhouse   In a previous century I taught high school math to kids in nearby Ridgway.  I, also, sponsored an archery club that constructed an archery range in the basement of the school, and we shot daily throughout the school year.  Few academic students have stayed in contact […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Salt Run Youth Pheasant Hunt by Phil Burkhouse   I arrived at the Andrews Farm near the mouth of Salt Run and pulled into the parking lot.  I glanced toward the barn and surrounding farm fields to view a large group of people, many toting shotguns and adorned in blaze orange, milling about enjoying […]

Metaphorically Speaking II

  by William Crisp   It is definitely visitor driving season, which really is problematic if you’ve got somewhere to go by a certain time around here. We don’t have much in the way of passing lanes. I’m fairly certain some vehicles are being driven by peddling.  Suffering through the current traveling situation means I’ve […]

Cameron County Hunters Help Fight Hunger By Sharing the Harvest

    Cameron County is again involved in Hunting Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program. Thanks to hunter generosity and certified butcher participation, the 97,000 pounds of donated ground venison is now providing about 450,000 meals to hungry Pennsylvanians.  Buddy Wolfe, of Valley Meats is designated butcher for Cameron County.  Anyone wishing to donate their deer […]

Wandering Aimlessly

It Takes A Tribe by Phil Burkhouse When Mary and I headed west in early September, Big Jake only had one question. Will you be back in time to scout for archery season? I assured the boys we would be back for a week of scouting before the September 30th opener. We arrived back in […]

Combo Platter; Second Helping

by William Crisp Recently the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced changes to the upcoming spring trout stocking schedules. Unfortunately, as it currently stands, a number of local streams in the Big Woods area, including Cameron County, are proposed to be eliminated from the schedule, including the Driftwood Branch, Jerry Run and Wykoff Run […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Acid Mine Drainage Treatment by Rich Summers   Most locals have heard of May Hollow since there is a Sportsman’s Club and hunt club located on 13,000 acres of land presently owned by Hancock Investments.  Most readers are probably more unfamiliar with names such as Finley, Portable, and Bender unless you are a native […]


  by William Crisp   During the fall of 1978, I was playing football and getting ready for archery season: the two passions don’t mix well, each being demanding lovers. Not much has changed in thirty-nine years. Today, I coach football and am preparing for archery season, still juggling my passions. Kids haven’t changed much […]

Game Commission Offers Free CWD Tests For DMA-Harvested Deer

    Those hunting deer within the state’s Disease Management Areas (DMAs) will have the opportunity to have their deer tested – free of charge – for chronic wasting disease (CWD), and at the same time help the Game Commission fight this deadly disease. The Game Commission is installing large metal bins at 26 locations […]

Wildlife Leadership Academy Graduates Visit Penn State DuBois

    Faculty and staff at Penn State DuBois welcomed members of the Wildlife Leadership Academy (WLA) on Sept. 18, providing a look at educational options available to those looking to start careers in wildlife conservation and research. In all, 15 students between the ages of 14 and 17 visited the campus to learn more […]

Of All; Leaf Fall

  by William Crisp   Archery season opens here very soon; the official beginning of a glorious hunting season. In my estimation half of the hunters hoped to see a buck, one quarter of the hunters hoped to see a buck or doe and the last quarter hoped to see nothing at all but all […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Dy-no-mite Finale by Phil Burkhouse   Last week’s question asked which Pony Express rider began his career at age 15 and became the most famous of all the riders.  The answer, correctly supplied by Bill Bogart, is William “Buffalo Bill” Cody. Over the course of the past three issues I have written about the […]

Youth Pheasant Hunt

    Plans are underway for the annual Youth Pheasant Hunt scheduled for October 7th. The hunt, sponsored by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA), is for youth ages 12-16 who have passed a Pennsylvania Game Commission approved hunter-trapper education program and have a current Pennsylvania Jr. Hunting license.  The event will take place 1 […]

Quackers Now Available For Annual Duck Derby

    A major fundraiser for the fireworks that light up the sky in Cameron County is set for Saturday, October 14 in conjunction with the First Fork Festival at Sinnemahoning State Park.   The Firequacker Duck Derby will be held at Forty Maples Day Use Area starting at 2 p.m. on the 14th.   […]