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, […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   THE TREE-WALKER BEAR Last year I cut his track about three-quarters of a mile from the house along a thick laurel patch. I was just out for a little exercise but I had my license and was packing a large bore handgun and it was the second day of bear […]

Twenty-Five Bulls Taken In One-Week Elk Season; Harvest Total 88

    More than 82 percent of the hunters participating in Pennsylvania’s 2014 elk hunt have taken home a trophy. The Pennsylvania Game Commission recently announced 88 elk were taken by hunters during the regular one-week elk season that ended Nov. 8. And for those licensed to hunt antlered elk, also known as bulls, the […]

Silent Hunts

  by William Crisp   Last Veteran’s Day I was able to fulfill a little tradition as I took a walk with my gun in the vicinity of where pheasants are supposed to be. Because my (not) bird dog Delta likes everything about hunting except the use of a gun, I left her home and […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A One Porcupine Night by Phil Burkhouse   The people in the know say the peak of the deer rut is not the optimal time to be spending all day perched in your tree stand.  It seems the week to ten days leading up to this peak breeding time actually produces more buck sightings […]

Banner Bear Year Nearly Here? Populations Are Up, Food Is Plentiful

    Recent years have been some of the best on record for Pennsylvania bear hunting, and one expert says there’s potential for that trend to continue. The annual statewide bear seasons again are about to kick off. Leading the way is the statewide archery bear season, which opens Monday, Nov. 17. And after that […]

The Gales of November

  by William Crisp   As this newspaper settles in on top of your other mail, cozied inside your mailbox, I will be striking out for my first major opening day of the season. There are other openings that are near and dear to me like archery and small game but nothing is like buck […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Ticks – You Be Careful Out There! by Phil Burkhouse   Mary and I motored to DuBois last Wednesday for my annual appointment with the dermatologist to get the latest crop of uglies removed from my beautiful face.  I live the outdoor lifestyle and spend most of my waking hours in some endeavor exposed […]

Fall Turkey Season Underway In Most Parts of State

    One of Pennsylvania’s most exciting seasons began Saturday as hunters headed afield in pursuit of one of fall’s most coveted game animals, the wild turkey. But hunters really need to focus on the varying season starts and lengths throughout the state’s 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs). Hunter compliance protects the resource and ensures […]

Saving Pets?

  by William Crisp   Pennsylvania, the NRA and pets got embroiled in negative national news last week. House Bill 1750 didn’t go through. On the surface, the bill seemed harmless enough. It was to outlaw the consumption of pets. Personally, I don’t think that there should be a law as there are cultures that […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  A Change In Priorities by Phil Burkhouse   Our youngest grandson, Isaac Boone Grovanz, turned 7 in August and already has killed two bucks with his crossbow.  His father, Ralph, began working with Isaac at a very young age, and at 5 years old Isaac was able to steady his crossbow on a tripod […]

Camp Cautions

  by William Crisp   It is mid-October, the greatest month of the year. The first frost hit and the bucks will start screaming. Grouse are ready to be jumped, turkey need scouted and bear sign found. Yet, I sit here inside typing. It’s Sunday, though, and there’s a reason for a Sunday hunting ban […]

Hunting In Disease Management Areas

    Archers hunting and harvesting deer within any of the state’s three Disease Management Areas (DMAs) must comply with special rules aimed at slowing the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Pennsylvania. High-risk deer parts – essentially the head and backbone/spinal cord – may not be transported outside the DMA.  

Andrews Farm Youth Pheasant Hunt A Success

    The annual Youth Pheasant Hunt was recently held on the Andrews Farm. The event is sponsored by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA) and Russell Hollow Hunt Club. It was a beautiful day for the event and 22 young hunters participated, including some coming from Smethport and Latrobe.  

Andrews Farm Youth Pheasant Hunt Set For October 11th

    Plans are underway for the annual Youth Pheasant Hunt scheduled for Oct 11th. The hunt, sponsored by Cameron County Outdoor Youth Activities (CCOYA), is for Youth ages 12-16 who have passed a Pennsylvania Game Commission approved hunter-trapper education program. The event will take place 1 ¼ miles north of Emporium just off Route […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Wandering Aimlessly by Phil Burkhouse   The Caribou Bull         Land Managers by William Crisp   Recently, John Dzemyan, a local land manager for the Pennsylvania Game Commission retired after a long tour of duty and an excellent career. Land managers are an enigma to many people outside the conservation profession ranks […]

Cameron County Echo’s Wandering Aimlessly

  Preachers’ Meat by Phil Burkhouse   When I was a kid I stayed at my grandmother’s house in the summer, which was located near the suburbs of Hazen.  While visiting Grammy there was one phrase that would send me into the panic mode; “The preacher is coming to visit.”  Grandma was a strict Methodist […]

Cameron County , Lessons of Skynyrd

    Being a country boy, I have received an education from many diverse sources. Surprisingly enough, I’ve managed to receive and attain some socially acceptable and certified forms of education and those have been helpful but not my most valuable lessons.  I have learned lessons classically and in very unorthodox ways from a variety […]

Cameron County Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   ELK BUGLING SEASON Living on the fringes of Pennsylvania’s elk region, I never have to look at my calendar to know it’s  September. If I don’t hear the bugling first, the juvenile coyotes let me know with their excited yelps and howls instigated by the high-pitched calls of the elk. […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Hooded Warblers   They are strikingly gorgeous, hyperactive, energetic, and add great pleasure to my woods walks as I peer through my binoculars trying to identify them.  These brightly colored, active birds comprise the family called warblers and are generally smaller than sparrows. Hooded Warblers are small migratory songbirds that breed across the eastern […]

Ten Bugles

    This area has something very unique for the east coast:  A wild elk herd. Although I understand and share in its popularity, it is still amazing how popular elk viewing has become.  Seeing a couple of bull elk in rut is truly inspiring and an awesome sight that is usually reserved for Westerners […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   This time of the year, the fields of goldenrod are visited by thousands of pollinators, mostly bumble bees. They seem to be absolutely frenzied in their harvest, completely ignoring me as I plow through them.

Wandering Aimlessly

  Pleasantly Surprised With Rails to Trails by Phil Burkhouse   For the past two months I have been watching from our porch as the workers toil on transforming the railroad grade that runs from Emporium to St. Marys into a trail.  This trail is to be a hiking/biking/snowmobile trail and is heralded to attract […]

Shooting Cats by William Crisp

      If you are a cat person you may want to avert your eyes from this story.  Once upon a time, in a place where I was trying to break into the conservation trades, I did a lot of volunteer work with various government agencies assigned to protect the resource(s). At that time […]

Mountain Lines by Nelson Haas

      SPOTTED TOUCH-ME-NOT JEWELWEED Impatiens biflora It’s been a good wet year for Jewelweed and it’s blooming everywhere this time of year. It reminded me of a request I had from a reader to draw the Jewelweed, so here it is. Jewelweed earned its common name from the appearance of water droplets on […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Beautify the County by Phil Burkhouse During the mid-‘60s I spent four summers working as a grunt for the PA Department of Forests and Waters, now known as DCNR.  One fellow laborer, whose name I will withhold but who went by Bill or Bogie, had a saying he would scream out from the forested hillsides […]

Warden Stories: Bridge No More

by William Crisp As promised, this is the second article of a series regarding some of the funniest or most interesting things that the truly great wardens I’ve met over several decades have done. This one concerns Ned Weston, who was a Wildlife Conservation Officer and a Land Manager in the Northwest region of the […]

Mountain Lines

  by Nelson Haas   PALE CORYDALIS I found this plant along a new logging road. It is slightly rare in our area. The last time I saw it was in 1994. Pale Corydalis, sometimes known as Pink Corydalis or Rock Harlequin is a biennial. It thrives in an open, rocky woodland on burned or […]

Mansfield Summer Baseball Camps

If you are looking for the perfect place to have fun and improve your baseball skills this summer, look no further than the 2014 lineup of Mansfield University Baseball Camps. The upcoming Mountaineer Day Camp June 17-20 is becoming one of the more popular sessions offering four days of quality instruction with emphasis on player […]

Wandering Aimlessly

Our Flaming Scarlet by Phil Burkhouse One of our permanent residents, the cardinal, is perhaps the most easily recognized bird in our area.  Even non birdbrains can usually identify this colorful red songbird and perhaps even its strong, clear, whistling voice.  For the past six weeks our area has seen the return of another brilliantly […]

Wandering Aimlessly

White Wing and A Jake by Phil Burkhouse   Big Jake and I were driving up a back road to our opening morning hot spot for the regular spring gobbler season opener.  The Youth Spring Turkey Hunt had occurred the previous Saturday, April 26th, and at the end of the morning the three grandsons had […]

Wandering Aimlessly

New Residents – Mason Hill by Phil Burkhouse In mid-March I did an article I titled “A Regular-The Barred Owl.”  Old “eight hooter” is a nickname derived from its cadence of “Who cooks for you—who cooks for youall.”  This songster is one of my favorite permanent Big Woods residents. Barred owls look large because of […]

Old warden Stories

  by William Crisp   “The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion. By the transgression of a land many are its princes, but by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.” Proverb 28:1. I’ve been working in the conservation field in some way for […]

Drum and Henry Fishing Derby Sunday

    Get the kids’ fishing equipment ready for the Drum and Henry Fishing Derby. It is the 60th 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 1st on the Bucktail Rod and Gun Club […]

Wandering Aimlessly

    Caleb and Dylan’s Youth Spring Turkey Hunt 2014 by Phil Burkhouse   The Rieder crew of five live in lower Rich Valley near the mouth of Eddy’s Run.  Father Wes and mother Stephanie are raising three rambunctious sons ages 15, 12, and 10.  The boys, in order of age are Derek, Caleb, and […]

The purist Purists

  by William Crisp   I’m not the first one to say it but I believe it. There are angling purists but there is only one group of anglers who are pure. This demographic is special for a number of reasons.  First off, few anglers get as excited about fishing season as they do and […]

Wandering Aimlessly

  Long-Tailed Oldsquaw Duck by Phil Burkhouse As most readers have been able to deduce by now, I can be classified as a “birdbrain,” and one of my most enjoyable times to be wandering with my bird book and binoculars in hand is during the spring waterfowl migration.  During March and most of April many […]

The Stocking Stalkers

    The debate is over. The notion that it is not trout season has been settled; it is. Or more accurately, it must be, you never want to get too specific on your scientific predictions or create a baseline, that stuff is for kids in “Bio 101.” I got an inkling about what time […]

Mother’s Day Birds, Brunch

    Mother’s Day – Birds and Brunch Pontoon Boat Program will be held Sunday, May 11 at the Sinnemahoning State Park, Lake Day Use Area from 10 a.m. to noon.    

Hummingbirds In Your Backyard

    Join Sinnemahoning State Park staff at the Driftwood Senior Center for Hummingbirds in Your Backyard. The program will be presented on Wednesday, May 7 from 11 a.m. to noon.  

Wandering Aimlessly

  Early Fishing, Youth Spring Turkey Season by Phil Burkhouse When I watched the grandkids prepare for the fishing season opener I was treated to a first class seat to observe youthful enthusiasm and optimism.  The Thursday evening before the Saturday opener I mentioned to Jake and Wes, “Let’s go play a little ball.”  Horror […]