Wandering Aimlessly

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

Antlerless Application Schedule Changes

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

Crawdad Clamor

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Driftwood Pollution: From Ashes

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Mountain Lines

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

Driftwood’s Fog of War

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Weather Doesn’t Dampen Drum and Henry Fishing Derby Turnout

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

Mountain Lines

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

Anniversary of a Disaster

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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


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

Mountain Lines

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

Cloudy Waters

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

One for the Bear

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Call Me Ishmael

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

Mountain Lines

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Deer Fawn Down

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

Woodland Third Graders Release Brook Trout

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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


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

Pennsylvania Elk License Brings $85K at Auction

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

Earth Day Cleanup at Sizerville State Park

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

Erosion, Sedimentation Control in Our Forests Workshop

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

The Bad of Good Intentions

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Spring Cleaning and Female Fathers

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

Mountain Lines

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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


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

Mountain Lines

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

Magic, the American Kestrel Returns

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Mountain Lines

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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


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

Wandering Aimlessly

Bird Tracks: Winter 2016 by Phil Burkhouse In mid-January the Subaru headed southwest for a wedding involving a member from the Zoschg limb of the family tree. Weddings are such a fantastic opportunity to catch up with family members from all over the country. We all live such busy lives these days it can be […]

The Cabbage Cat

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

Mountain Lines

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

Additional ‘Eyes’ On Bat Caves

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

Apricot Creek Classroom

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

2015 Pennsylvania Bear Harvest Ranks Third of All Time

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

Wandering Aimlessly

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

The Illterate Authors?

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

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   The other day I saw 5 deer at one time. Not in 5-days. It was such an extraordinary sight if you live in a no-deer zone as I do. So special, I had to do a sketch of it. I thought that perhaps I had astral-projected myself into some deer […]

Ice From Down Under

    Ice is a beautiful thing to behold but only from the top side, not so nice from the bottom. I have intimate knowledge of this, because of the few things I’m good at, it seems that I excel at imposing the forces of gravity upon ice in a manner that cracks it. (Not […]

Emporium High School To Cameron Co. Christian Center

    by Phil Burkhouse, Wandering Aimlessly As I travel though life my perspectives on topics change as my education and experiences progress.  Everyone has different talents and abilities, and as I grow older, I grow more tolerant of people whose ideas clash with my way of thinking.  That is not to say my ways […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  An Elk Attack by Phil Burkhouse   It was Martin Luther King Day, and the youngsters were free from school to roam the Big Woods.  Big Jake and Isaac called in around 9 a.m. on that Monday morning to let Papa know they were up and about and had decided it would be an […]

Fire Whisperer

  by William Crisp   Being that it is January, I’ve been spending more time than I had been in July staring into fires and so, I’ve thought about them. Where would we be without fire? Not here, somewhere deep in the south. I used to take fires for granted, that they were easy to […]

Youth Ice Fishing Event Scheduled For Feb. 6

    The Bucktail Rod and Gun Club and Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA) are planning a youth ice fishing event scheduled for February 6th at Bucktail Lake in Sizer Run. The program is for youth ages 17 and under accompanied by an adult.  The event will start at 10 a.m. and last until […]

Trout Unlimited

  The James Zwald Chapter #314 of Trout Unlimited will be holding their January meeting at the St. Marys Middle School on January 26th at 7 p.m., in the library  room.

Gun Club Meeting Cancelled

    The Bucktail Rod and Gun Club meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 20, is cancelled due to renovations. The next membership meeting will be April 20.

Applications Being Accepted For Master Well Owner Course

    If you are interested in learning more about the proper management of private water wells, springs and cisterns and you are willing to share what you learn with others, you might be interested in applying for the Master Well Owner online course being offered by Penn State Extension starting on February 8.! The […]

Briar Scratch Grouse School

  by William Crisp   After decades of pursuing grouse, I have learned to instantly recognize prime grouse habitat from miles away. I have located prime briar patches at 55 mph rolling down freeways (easy) and from Boeing 747s at 5000 mph (still easy); it’s what I do. While some poor guys are good at […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  An 8-Point Fox Morning by Phil Burkhouse   The kids had off over two full weeks for their Christmas break and were chomping at the bit for excitement.  Bobcat season was in, and Jake was high on trapping a cat while Isaac was busy trapping beavers with his dad.  Jake and I set about […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Better Mouse Trap by Phil Burkhouse   Each fall our house becomes a target for rodent invaders known as mice.  Our house sits in a transition area between farm fields and woods and is an edge habitat ideal for many critters.  Field mice regularly invade our house looking for a warm place to […]

Desperado, The Phoenix Firearm

  by William Crisp   A few years ago, I wrote a story about a favorite gun of mine, an old 16 gauge double barrel I call “Desperado.” When last you heard of the gun it stood at the end of a lineup of all my guns for the annual cleaning and inspection. To help […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PENNSYLVANIA FLYING SQUIRRELS There are 2 species of flying squirrels in Pennsylvania; the Northern and the Southern Flying Squirrel and it’s not looking good for the Northern. A four-year study in Pennsylvania, ending in 2007 only found 33 Northern Flying Squirrels in Pennsylvania. Most were found in the Pocono Mountains, […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Wandering Aimlessly in the New Year by Phil Burkhouse   A year ago Big Jake informed me he would like to trap a bobcat, and I told him it should not be a problem.  Under Jim Harrison’s tutelage I have enjoyed consistent success on our wildcats, but last year and so far this year […]

2016 Predictions

  by William Crisp   The Sunday hunting issue will continue to grow traction. This issue will continue to get great support from those who simply want to hunt on Sundays because it is convenient. Surprisingly, they will find allies among sportsmen concerned that too many deer are killed each year. I’m ambivalent about the […]

Second Week of Deer Camp

  by William Crisp The second week of deer camp didn’t go exactly as I anticipated. First off, it was interrupted several times by that pesky, nasty, bad for my health habit I have of holding a job…or two. If they think playing contact sports and getting a knock on the noggin is detrimental to […]

Air Rifle Program To Begin In January

  The Cameron County 4-H shooting sports program will once again be offered through Penn State Cooperative Extension. The program teaches youth how to safely use and care for air rifles and other equipment related to shooting sports. The program offers competitive events at County, Region and State Levels. Youth between the ages of 8 […]