Wandering Aimlessly

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

2016 Pennsylvania Bear Harvest Ranks Fifth All-Time

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

Funny February

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Desperado: Back in the Saddle

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

Game Commission Live Eagle Cam

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Wild Dogs; Domestic Tricks

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

Mountain Lines

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

Mountain Lines

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

Sub-Freezing Pleasing

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Mountain Lines

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

The Breakfast Club

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Old Dog, Old Tricks

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Mountain Lines

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

4G Easy

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Road Trips

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Overgrown Places

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Mountain Lines

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

Hunters Sharing the Harvest Benefits from Youth Hunters

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

Crazy Season

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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


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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Mountain Lines

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

Youth Hunt

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Senior Pheasant Hunt

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

Dog Days

by William Crisp I really enjoy running with dogs. I have trained a couple and have hunted over many in my years, and know friends who have worked with dog trainers Southampton to help raise them. I have made mistakes and had success with and over those dogs. These October, golden sun-splashed days are the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Youth Pheasant Hunt

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

The Haunted Hunt

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Operation Game Thief Efficient, Effective

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

Women Bolster Hunter Ranks

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

So… It Begins

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Science of The Hooker Man

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

Ground Blinds and Tree Stands Rules

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

Elk Cam Goes Live

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

9/11 Hunt

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Don’t Get Cited For Baiting

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

The Best Parts

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

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 [email protected]. 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 […]