How Hot Is It?

  by William Crisp   Well it’s supposed to be summer and in fact, it is currently warmer than winter here in the Big Woods. So, I guess it is as good as any time for a, “How Hot Is It?” contest.  Sooner or later we will get our annual one day of summer and […]

PA Doe Licenses On Sale Now

    Pennsylvania deer hunters who want to better their chances of obtaining an antlerless license will want to send in applications during the first round of sales which kicked off on Monday, July 13. During the first three weeks applications are accepted, only Pennsylvania residents may apply. Nonresidents may apply beginning Monday, July 27. […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   This year I’m seeing a lot of doe without fawns. It’s been that way for several years. It could be due to infertility, a harsh winter or mortality due to predation. This year it correlates with a slight rise in coyote population. The Game Commission wouldn’t believe my observations. If […]

Hunters Can Purchase DMAP Permits

    The licenses county treasurers will place on sale Monday aren’t the only option hunters have for tags to harvest antlerless deer. Antlerless permits through the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) remain available for some properties, and can be purchased through the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS). DMAP is a Game Commission program designed […]

Nationals Coming To Ridgway Rifle Club

  by Phil Burkhouse   The Ridgway Rifle Club was founded in 1927 and was originally called the Ridgway Rifle and Pistol Club.  Its name was shortened to the Ridgway Rifle Club in 1935. Their first outdoor rifle range was located at the bottom of Grant Road near the west end of Ridgway.  In 1937 […]

Assessing the Woods On Daily Basis

  by William Crisp   There isn’t a sportsman that I know of who doesn’t assess woods on a daily basis. Good woods, bad woods, huntable and non-huntable woods that have a good feel and woods that have a bad feel.  We do it when we are walking or driving and we do it when […]


  by William Crisp   My Dad passed away at seventy-one years of age the other day- there is a part of me that expected him to beat yet another challenge and call me so we could laugh about it. But my phone is quiet and my doorstep is empty; it’s starting to feel permanent.  […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Poison I-V by Phil Burkhouse   A great asset to have for a photographer or hunter is a good eye; a good eye is also nice to have when avoiding poison ivy patches.  I am very allergic to toxic odendrous radicons, commonly known as poison ivy, and use my eyes to stay as far […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  May Flies by Phil Burkhouse   Insects are not one of my strong suits; many of them I enjoy squishing between my thumb and forefinger, especially mosquitoes.  Mayflies are, however, an insect I enjoy, although I do often squish them with my windshield—but not by choice. Mayflies are aquatic insects that hatch from our […]

More or Less

  by William Crisp   The fishing continues to be tremendous this summer. There had been a slight lull when the fish shut down at the beginning of the month. My theory on that was that waters changed and warmed during that period and oxygen changes and temperature changes slowed the bite.  Also, cold nights […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PARTRIDGEBERRY Mitchella repens FLORACACHE #2 N  41* 28’ 28” W  078* 10’ 00” You won’t need to pack a lunch to find this wildflower but it is a steady, 460-foot climb for           1.11-miles depending on your chosen route. A tiny but refreshing mountain run is […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Three-Story Robin Nest by Phil Burkhouse   If I were to be given a dollar for each correct response that a thousand people chosen at random would give when asked to identify a bird in a picture, the bird picture I would choose to use would be a robin. The robin is a […]

Summer’s Opener

  by William Crisp   It might not be the biggest opening day and it may not be the most popular opener either, but to those who participate, their passion is as great as the diehard trout angler or whitetail stalker. It is also the most unique opener and it is something that belongs to […]

Hunting Licenses On Sale Now

    Hunting and furtaker licenses for Pennsylvania’s 2015-16 seasons are on sale now. New licenses are effective July 1, and are valid through June 30, 2016. All license fees remain unchanged. Licenses can be purchased online through the Pennsylvania Automated License System (PALS) website, Licenses also can be purchased over the counter at […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  How Do They Do It? by Phil Burkhouse When the tribe gathers together over a holiday I am regularly questioned by council members, “How are those boys catching all those big fish?”  When I was a lad I fished often, and now at the ripe old age of 68 I can honestly say I […]

Spring to Summer

  by William Crisp All good things come through grace and June comes from May.  The change just isn’t rolling up the colander to a new page nor is it in name only.  June is real and tangible and some fish proved it today. My old haunt produced nothing; the water was warmer, clearer and […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas A field sketch in graphite and colored pencil of a couple of gray fox I’ve seen lately. In fact, I’m surprised to see any gray fox this spring and in such good condition during child-rearing season.  For some reason this harsh winter was tough on the gray fox.  During my winter […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Lucky Morning #22   Big Jake and I have been hunting gobblers one or two mornings before school each week and on Saturdays, but we have yet to succeed.  We have had several close encounters, but Jake has not fired a shot and is not happy with the fact he might be going to […]

Tips of the Trade

  by William Crisp   The fishing has been pretty good this year in my opinion and that matches a lot of the feedback I’ve received. Of course, there is always a group of experienced anglers who fish hard and don’t have the luck they feel they’ve earned with their expertise. However, in their case, […]


  Potentilla simplex The Cinquefoil is just starting to bloom. Find any field, woodland border or opening and Cinquefoil will be there. Over 300 sub-species of Cinquefoil are found world-wide. “Peterson” lists 11 species in Northeast and North Central America. I’ve found The Common, Dwarf, Rough-Fruited and Shrubby Cinquefoil growing in Cameron County. Common Cinquefoil […]

Fourth Grade Visits Sizerville Park

    The fourth grade students of Woodland Elementary recently made their annual field trip to Sizerville State Park. The event was coordinated by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA). After arriving at the park the students were greeted by Don Bickford of CCOYA.  After welcoming them and discussing some of the park’s history, the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Hammond Lake 2015 by Phil Burkhouse   Our Tioga County adventure to Hammond Lake for crappies has definitely matured into a traditional annual event.  Mary and I joined a crew of former fellow teachers and former students, some of whom have now reached retirement age, and their families for a week of camping at […]

The Trout Trucker

  by William Crisp   I was hitchhiking down Route 80 when I caught the eye of a trucker in a white, six-wheeled freighter. He had a wild look in his eye but he pulled in.  I was so happy to get a ride I could cry. He said, “Where ‘ya headin’?” I answered, “Nowhere […]

Drum and Henry Fishing Derby June 7

    Get the kids’ fishing equipment ready for the Drum and Henry Fishing Derby. It is the 61st year that this event has provided Youth 14 years old and younger the opportunity to enjoy a fun filled day of fishing.  This year’s event will take place June 7th on the Bucktail Rod and Gun […]

125 Pheasants Hatch In CCSD Classrooms

    Incubating pheasant eggs has become a tradition for students of Cameron County School District thanks to the coordination efforts of Third grade teacher, Ben Porkolab. Once incubation has started the hatch dates are pretty predictable.  This year there was potential that eggs may start hatching during a weekend so arrangements were made to […]

Wandering Aimlessly Opening Day 2015

  by Phil Burkhouse   The anticipation had finally reached its pinnacle; it was early Saturday morning, April 18th, the opening day of fishing season.  The day was forecasted to be a beauty, but the beginning was a chilly 40 degrees with fog hanging in the valleys.  It was 7 a.m. and lots of little, […]

Interview With a Neophyte

  by William Crisp   Many opinions are thrown around about a Pennsylvania opening day, so much so that they ought to consider referring to it as “opinion season.”  Actually, maybe it should be called “opinion(s) season” as that would be more accurate because the perceptions of the individual are more diverse than the swarm […]

Hunter – Trapper Education Classes Available Now

    Those who plan to purchase their first hunting license this year will need to make plans to attend a Hunter-Trapper Education course, and classes are being held at locations across the state, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Because the fall hunting seasons – and the corresponding rush for new hunters to become […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Gold Is Arriving by Phil Burkhouse   The transformation of our male American Goldfinch is presently occurring in our area.  All winter both Goldfinch sexes have shared a drab wardrobe of tan to gray plumage with a tinge of olive.  Their wings and notched tails are predominantly black with some visible flashes of […]

2015 Trout Opener

  by William Crisp   The 2015 trout season opener came with a bang. Pleasant temperatures and sunny skies brought out anglers in droves who stayed out all day; all weekend. Paths along our “wilderness” streams are already pounded and connecting fishing hole to fishing hole.  The predicted death of our fishing population has been […]

Casting Competition at Youth Salt Run Fishing Event

    Plans are underway for the Annual Salt Run Kids only fishing event on the first day of fishing season April 18 at the Andrews Farm. The event is sponsored by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA) and all youth are invited to attend.  Youth 12 years of age and under will be permitted […]

Opening Days

  by William Crisp   We have had opening days for hunting and fishing pursuits since the beginning of regulating sporting. There is nearly an opening day to everything, even spectator sports such as the season opener for football, baseball, racing…you name the sport or holiday; it has a season that starts with an important […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Progress On Elk Mountain by Phil Burkhouse   One of my favorite sayings I employ when I hear someone pointing out some person’s faults is:  “Yes, there are not many of us perfect ones left.” Obviously, at least to my way of looking at life, everyone is born with strengths and weaknesses.  As I […]

Wandering Aimlessly

First and Second Fork by Phil Burkhouse   On Thursday, March 19th, Mary and I combined an early morning horn hunt/bird walk with a stop at the Sinnemahoning State Park Office and Wildlife Center for the second presentation in the series “Stories of Our Past.”  The first presentation on “Preserving Our Heritage” was held on […]

Mentoring the Mentors

    Pretty soon it will be mentored youth fishing day. Ironically, what we really need is a mentored adult day or a mentored mentor day. When I was growing up you didn’t need much mentoring to fish, it was actually a pursuit we did to GET AWAY from adults. Big time fishing on big […]

Annual Youth Salt Run Fishing Event April 18

    Plans are underway for the Annual Salt Run Kids only fishing event on the first day of fishing season, April 18 at the Andrews Farm. The event is sponsored by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA) and all youth are invited to attend.  A donor has made a donation to CCOYA to sponsor […]

After School Express Learns About Wildlife Conservation

    Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities recently presented a program at the Woodland School for 3rd and 4th grade students. The program was for students who signed up for the Afterschool Express program through the local Family Center.  Students first saw a Conservation DVD titled Un-Endangered Species. The program helps educate students about the […]

The Lures That Got Away

  by William Crisp   It’s been well documented that I am a member of fishing lures addicts anonymous. I can’t hide my problem nor can I resist having fishing lures around me. I love finding, handling and using new lures. Fishing tackle are perhaps some of the most beautiful pieces of art created. Not […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Dino Bird by Phil Burkhouse   It was the fall of 1966, and I was leafing through the college catalog trying to find a course to fill in an elective slot in my upcoming spring schedule.  I was twenty years old, and most of the course listings sounded as appealing as having a […]

Cherished Hunting Memories of Days Gone By

    by Steve Nelson While I have been hunting white tailed deer for thirty- eight years now, I had always hoped I would get that one “big one” someday like one of the ones on my grandfather’s wall. When I was a young boy, my grandfather would take me deer hunting in rifle season. […]

Ice Breaker

  by William Crisp   On March 15, 2015, one day after Pi day (3/14/15) for you math nerds, it finally started. The ice broke out of the creeks.  It started early in the morning and by early afternoon the Driftwood was a torrent of crushed ice and trees flowing down a turbid lane towards […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Making Art Out of Antlers by Phil Burkhouse   They sit in my basement in a varied assortment of containers, collecting dust and taking up space.  Mary yells at me occasionally about getting rid of them, but they are precious reminders of earlier times; being a sentimental old stinker, I can’t bring myself to […]


  by William Crisp   Unseen, I watched two guys stop their truck on a remote forestry road. A few yards from them, a huge buck was standing on the edge of the forest; it was in full rut so refused to move. This was an opportunity of a lifetime. All they had to do […]

Mountain Lines

  Mouse-Ear Chickweed by Nelson Haas   Staring at winter’s cold, bleak canvas of frozen white, I took artistic liberty to present a most common, yet little-known wildflower of late spring and summer that  might warm your eye and awaken your mind  to the coming seasons. I couldn’t describe the plant any better than A. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Fork – Stores of the Past by Phil Burkhouse   Our family simply refers to the area as “the Fork,” although the correct name is the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning.  The stream and its drainage area run almost due north from the southwest corner of Cameron County and extend well into Potter […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Migration: South 2015 by Phil Burkhouse   I have generally looked down my nose at those people, loosely classified as snowbirds, who turn tail and run to the southern climes for the winter.  I have more or less classified them in categories characterized by terms such as sissies, pansies, or wimps. As my life […]

Hungry Days

  by William Crisp   It’s been cold and I’m getting old. I’ve been spending time burning wood. Even though it’s usually an indoor activity, burning wood is a connection to the outdoors. Besides the process of cutting and splitting and handling the product of trees, it is the releasing of hardened sunshine that is […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PENNSYLVANIA BEAVER Standing in the wide, swampy openings where streams are born, overlooking the workings of beaver, I’m often overcome with a primitive feeling that I am truly in a wild place. I am fascinated by the beaver’s engineering abilities; not only of the animal’s ability to construct dams and […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   SNOWSHOEING If someone tells you snowshoeing is fun, you may be assured this person has not snowshoed any great distance. Snowshoeing is an excellent means to travel in deep snow and you might experience joy realizing that you are in good shape, have determination and made it back alive but […]

It’s So Cold That

It’s So Cold That by William Crisp   As a person who has held an outdoor job as long as I’ve been working, I’ve become an expert in two things; cold weather jokes and how to stay warm. I’ve been a paperboy, farmhand, carpenter, soldier, farmer and a warden and, at times, several of those […]

Wandering Aimlessly

A Forester Bird by Phil Burkhouse   Boisterous, loud, obnoxious, gluttonous, and gregarious are some of the terms that flash through my brain when I conjure up visions of our jay with the intense and iridescent blue coloration.  Blue jays, our large, showy, and noisy songbirds, can reach a foot in length and are a […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Winter Fort: Kids’ Version   by Phil Burkhouse   As I watch our five little grandchildren grow, I am beginning to realize the term “little” might not be the appropriate term to be employing when describing them.  The pictures I glance at occasionally hanging on the hutch doors make me shake my head in amazement […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   TRACKING COYOTES I was working a coyote track up along the Cameron-McKean County line in about a foot of new snow. I wasn’t on a serious hunt; just a fun walk, trying to learn the coyote. Around mile-7,  the track transitioned into a straight line nearing the top of a […]

Great Squirrel Migration 2

  by William Crisp   No one knows why great squirrel migrations occur and many don’t believe they are even a real event. I’ve never seen one but I trust a few of the sources that claim to have. I’ve written about them before and since then have spent hours sitting in the woods during […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  The Coy-Wolf by Phil Burkhouse   I shake my head as I watch the little people hammering away on their digital whatevers and allow my mind to drift back to earlier times in North America.  It is obvious early Americans lived closer to nature, probably out of necessity, and this closeness coined many of […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   COLT PYTHON .357 I never owned a Python but had the occasion to shoot and handle a few and I believe, like many gun-writers, that the Python was the “finest production revolver ever made.” When cycling a Python, you can hear the clear, crisp movement of the internal parts, giving […]

Bad Agenda

  by William Crisp   Recently, in a major outdoor publication I read a wish list of issues that an individual felt should be addressed during this new year. He directed it at sportsmen’s clubs to take up the list and push for change. The writer indicated that they were things that have been hanging […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Changes To Mentored Youth Program? by Phil Burkhouse   I have been reading with interest about the upcoming agenda for the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners.  It appears that very little change is planned for deer hunting seasons and licenses.  Almost every hunter I talked to in our area is quite unhappy with the […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Dec. 11, 2014 – A Good Morning by Phil Burkhouse   I was up well before light and delighted to note we had finally received several inches of wet snow.  Although the temperature was in the mid-twenties, I figured the snow would not be crunchy; it was going to be an excellent morning for […]

Current Events

  by William Crisp   This has been a busy news cycle to start the year 2015. Last week twelve people who were satirical editors and artists as well as two police officers were killed in a broad daylight, military style attack in a busy upscale part of Paris, France. The gunmen took their time […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   WE DON’T HUNT Nobody hunts anymore. It’s not because the younger generation is not filling the ranks as hunters. It’s not because hunting license sales are down by 1.1% in 2014 in spite of a major publicity campaign by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It’s not even because many hunters spend […]

Picture Your Hunting Photo On Television

    You’ve seen the GoHuntPA ads on TV. Now is your chance to be in one. The Pennsylvania Game Commission is inviting hunters to submit photos of their favorite hunting moments for a chance to star in the next GoHuntPA TV commercial. Photos can be submitted through the GoHuntPA website – The initiative, […]


  by William Crisp   What is my resolution this year besides a 1600 X 2100 screen resolution on a nice flat screen television I hope to get next Christmas? It is tough for me to make a resolution anymore at New Year’s Day, when you’ve broken 30 or 40 already; why beat your head […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  DMAP Doe For the Little Bear by Phil Burkhouse   In my December 10th article I discussed how Big Jake and I found ourselves airborne in the predawn darkness of opening morning.  Surviving this ordeal, Jake and I sat on the ground, and an hour and a half later Jake tagged a Cameron County […]

Hunting For The Perfect Holiday Gift?

    While hunting is often challenging, bagging the perfect gift for the hunters in your life is as easy as placing a phone call or logging onto the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s website. Among other gifts available this holiday season, the Game Commission is offering two new books that already are selling briskly and being […]

Closing Out Camp

  by William Crisp   One of the most melancholy days of the year for me is the last day of deer camp, as you have to wait 50 weeks each year for one of the most joyous days of the year; the first Monday after Thanksgiving. You wait all year anticipating the excitement of […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Jim’s Wildcat Escapade by Phil Burkhouse   Several weeks ago I shared with you one of my favorite Jim Harrison stories concerning the cub bear in the trap adventure.  These are the types of incidents you occasionally encounter in your Big Woods adventures if you belong to the tribe that has outdoor blood pulsing […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  An Original Jim’s Big Woods Adventure by Phil Burkhouse   As most of you know, my very dear friend, Jim Harrison, passed on earlier this year at 91 years young.  Jim made the most of his time on earth and was still actively hunting, fishing, and trapping at age 91.  Of the big three […]

The Shape of Hunting

  by William Crips   The first week of deer season is during the wrong week. I am definitely not in shape for hunting by the time the first Monday after Thanksgiving rolls around. In fact, it is the worst week of the year for me physically. First, there is Halloween, then Thanksgiving with leftovers […]

Preliminary Two-Day Bear Harvest Results

    Hunters harvested 417 bears during the second day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season, increasing the total harvest to 2,040 over the season’s first two days, according to preliminary totals released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Archery and other early bear season harvest data still is being entered into the Game Commission’s database, […]