Turkey Hunters Posing For First-Place Votes

Visitors to the Game Commission’s Facebook page will pick the two winners of the agency’s inaugural Turkey Harvest Photo Contest. Entrants who make it to the finish line will receive a personalized, engraved box call. The Game Commission received hundreds of photos of excited hunters with their 2017 Pennsylvania spring gobblers. They are competing in […]

Opening of Stevenson Dam Delayed Four Weeks

Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks, Sinnemahoning State Park has announced that sediment removal from the George B. Stevenson reservoir has been completed but weather conditions have slowed progress of paving and modifications being made to mooring and launch area. Park officials have extended the opening of the lake from July 4th to August 4th, 2017. […]


by William Crisp In my decades of being paid to carry guns, I’ve come to recognize that there are different kinds of shooters. This recently came up in conversations at an annual mandatory fire instructor’s qualification and workshop. People can really only communicate to reach another’s level of perception. Unfortunately, at times, what people perceive […]

Wandering Aimlessly

A First Tom For Kamden by Phil Burkhouse It was the night before the 2017 Youth Spring Gobbler hunt and Seth Fragale’s seven-year-old son Kamden was preparing for his first-ever turkey hunt.  The crew would be hunting in Cameron County, had done some scouting, and knew there were gobblers in the vicinity.  Accompanying Kamden were […]

Glory Days

  by William Crisp   We just celebrated the opening day of snake season and bass season; my twenty second such adventure of overseeing the magical second Saturday in June in a row. Before that there were such weekends that I partook more so than just observed and as I ventured through the forest and […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Duck Wars by Phil Burkhouse   I never believed it would happen to me, but as I progress through the journey of life the time has come that I now understand more clearly the views expressed to me by some of the elder hunters I crossed paths with during my younger years. I vividly […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Aliyah’s Hunt of a Lifetime by Phil Burkhouse   On Saturday, May 6th, the Cameron County Long Beards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey federation held their 10th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet.  There are a myriad of fundraising banquets organized by focus groups to support a variety of different wildlife species.  In our area […]

Tackling the Box

  by William Crisp   I’ve finally made it. I have achieved a lifelong milestone that has been a personal goal since I was a young boy. It wasn’t easy and it took years of hard work, scratching and saving but I’ve finally hit the pinnacle of my own perception of manhood. Yes, by now […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   CINNAMON FERN – Osmundastrum cinnamomeum A large fern of wet woodlands is in full “bloom” now. The fertile, spore-producing leaf stalks in the center of the plant are a rich, cinnamon-colored brown. They grow from a dense, dark, wiry root ball called osmunda fiber which is used by horticulturists to […]

Mountain Lines

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas   FIELD ANTS On a recent turkey hunt, I sat next to an old stump. Petals from Choke Cherry trees were falling like snow from an adjacent clear-cut. Next to me in the leaf litter  I noticed a small ant carrying one of the petals. I’ve often seen leaf-cutter ants […]

Transmission From Camp

  by William Crisp   I’m transmitting from deep in the forest, disguised as a moonshine runner. I’ve changed my name and have shacked up with other like-minded pretend miscreants. Muddy is hanging from a tree, waiting for turkeys to land on a nearby limb where he can talk them into letting him shoot one. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Papalio Continued by Phil Burkhouse   This week I will conclude the story about the elusive Prohibition bootlegger Joseph Papalio, the murder of Charles Ludwig, and the prosecution of corrupt sheriff Bucky Norris and Joseph Papalio. As stated last week Papalio took leave from the Cameron County Jail, with the help of Sheriff Norris, […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   HOBBLE  BUSH Viburnum lantanoides I dropped down into a steep ravine where Rhododendron grows along the stream. There I found a striking, white -flowering shrub growing in contrast to the dark foliage surrounding it. I surmised it was one of the Viburnum but I’ve never noticed this April-flowering verity before. […]

Fishing Vests

  by William Crisp   Fishing vests have a very unique purpose in the outdoor garment world. They don’t keep you warm or dry, nor do they shield you from the wind. They don’t find fish or even look fashionable; in fact, they are very unfashionable. I’ll prove it. You can see sportsmen and hipsters […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  First For the Zeke by Phil Burkhouse   As I related last week, about 8 a.m. on the Youth Mentored Spring Gobbler Day, Jake’s ears detected a distant shotgun report.  He said to Gary and me, “I think that was in the general direction of Zeke.” Isaac, aka Zeke, is our youngest grandson. and […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Good Morning by Phil Burkhouse   There is a feeling of awe I will never lose about being in the woods as dawn makes its appearance.  Each new day officially begins at midnight, but for me the new day begins as light seeps into the woods.  Trees become barely visible, and you can […]

Tabernacle of Agendas

  by William Crisp   I don’t want to alarm you but feel the need to warn you that there is a great environmental change coming. We are about to endure massive global environmental fluxes. These changes will be palatable in the deciduous forests around here as bare branches will begin to sprout leaves and […]

Fishing Etiquette

  by William Crisp   Last week I read an article called the, “Six Unwritten Rules of Bass Fishing Etiquette.” I really enjoyed the article until I got the sinking suspicion that the author was serious. Then I thought maybe bass fishermen were different than trout fishermen. The more I think about it, the more […]

Wanderin Aimlessly

  Scouting For Fish by Phil Burkhouse   The month before fishing season I keep busy doing a variety of tasks:  some fun and others not so much.  Pruning apple trees, rototilling the garden, planting onions, cutting and splitting firewood, and trying to get the lawn mower running fall into the not so much fun […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Umbrella Rock: Revisited by Phil Burkhouse   Mary and I have indeed been blessed with the wandering aimlessly bug.  Some people are happy living their lives in close proximity to their birth place while others experience itchy feet and the urge to travel.  Many years ago I hunted with an elderly gentlemen in the […]

Opener Warmup

  by William Crisp   It is the week before the regular trout opener. If you’re confused about what and where that is there is no excuse to be. It is easy to figure out which opener is “regular.” Just get out a sundial, an abacus, your Chinese lunar cycle calculator and a summary book, […]

Bird Presentation at Gun Club

  A membership meeting of the Bucktail Rod and Gun Club will be held on Wednesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. at the clubhouse on Sizer Run Road. On the agenda will be a presentation about birds by Randy Flament; discussion of club and range work; an upcoming spaghetti dinner and shoot; and the yearly […]

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 […]