HELLO THERE — A young buck on trail camera appears to taunt the author months before the archery season starts.

Like anyone else, I enjoy a good walk in the woods.

But when it comes to the days and weeks before deer hunting, I prefer to stay out of the area so not to leave evidence that a two-legged predator has been in there.

I cannot be sure that some other person, an angler going in or out of the nearby stream, or another looking for their lost dog, has not left footprints and human stink behind.

But an ambush is not an ambush if the target gets a warning. White-tailed deer, especially the older, more mature ones, are better at reading human signs, than we are at interpreting theirs.

I give you Exhibit A in the photograph today made by a trail camera not far from a couple of well-used trails and one of my better ambush locations.

He’s a young buck and the smirk on his face seems to say, “I see you; I know who you are, and I know where you are.”

He may be right.

We will see if he remembers me in a little over two months when I am posted in there with sticks and string.

Looking at his headgear makes me think he will not be a legal buck then.

Hm. Maybe he is also taunting me about that with that grin of his.

Still, social distancing in the deer woods made for good preseason scouting.

This homework is not done virtually!

Going there, it felt strange to wear pants for the first time since winter.

Long pants.

The last summer is ideal time for a little pruning to open access to deer stand sites.

I expect to make one more return visit before opening day to take a more critical look at the conditions of ambush locations.

A lot can happen in the last two months before the season and it usually does.

In early August, I am usually capturing images of shooter bucks on camera that then vanish when it is time to die. Considering that lately, I am seeing mostly does and one smart-ass little buck, when the tide turns maybe Bullwinkle will be there.

Anyway, I hope the selfie I get in early October is of me, a good buck, and his glassy stare.


The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners met recently, which triggered potential changes for hunting and trapping in the Commonwealth.

Commissioners gave preliminary approval to allowing handheld and sporting-arm mounted night-vision and infrared optics to be used while hunting furbearers. The change must be adopted at the commission’s next meeting in September.

The board also changed regulations to require hikers and other nonhunters to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent-orange clothing on the head, chest and back combined, visible from 360 degrees, when visiting game lands at any time during hunting season. This does not apply to those using shooting ranges.

The proposal to make 24-caliber the minimum caliber for hunting deer and bear with centerfire rifles was voted down unanimously.

Commissioners also gave preliminary approval to extending the time period to year-round when farmers and landowners can destroy Canada goose nests and eggs on their property.

The period when properly-permitted agricultural producers can kill small numbers of adult geese causing crop damage, was extended to April through August.

A final vote must still be taken.

The extensions would bring Pennsylvania regulations into line with recently changed federal guidelines.


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Send your wild thoughts and photos to bjsmall@comcast.net. Follow on Twitter at Arrows2010.

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