Finishing up our review of 2021 with a look back at outdoor news in the latter half of the year …

Bird lovers were asked to stop feeding feathered friends and providing water in bird baths as a mysterious health condition continued to kill songbirds. Species reported to be affected include blue jays, European starlings, common grackles, American robins, northern cardinals, house finches, house sparrows, Eastern bluebirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, Carolina chickadees, and Carolina wrens. Birds were tested for toxins, parasites, bacterial diseases, and viral infections. The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) lifted its recommendation in August as the number of deaths diminished. No definitive cause was determined and we got back to feeding and watering our bird-brained friends.

One of the most impressive displays of sportsmanship and teamwork for wet-and-wonderful wildlife was at it again on the fly fishing-only stretch of the Conewago Creek in late July. The Adams County and Northern Virginia chapters of Trout Unlimited got together to put some muscle into making the stream better. Stream improvements included updating a mud sill, installing stream devices to control erosion, clearing invasive knotweed, and trimming the walking path and stream access points.

I would not qualify for the level of physical disability that used to be criteria for using a crossbow. But I crossed over in August when the new deer-slayer was still in the box, in the basement. In early November, the Ravin took down a nice 7-point in the archery season.

The PGC’s livestream camera in elk country was up and running in late summer. The camera was in a field on State Game Lands 311 in Elk County, typically a hub of elk activity.

In September we learned that Pennsylvania hunters can now download and carry digital versions of their licenses, in place of paper ones. Paper harvest tags must still be carried and used at the appropriate time. Those who buy licenses in the future will be emailed PDF versions of their licenses. This applies if they buy licenses online or at issuing agents. Harvest tags will not be emailed. A screenshot of a fishing license viewable on an electronic device is acceptable for anglers.

Wild and domestic rabbits in Pennsylvania were threatened by Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) and in October, the PGC issued an executive order prohibiting the import of any wild lagomorph. That is a group that include rabbits, hares, and pikas. A pika is a small, mountain-dwelling mammal that looks as much like a big mouse as rabbit. The virus is often fatal and results in large, localized mortality. It can easily spread between domestic and wild populations. RDHV2 is highly contagious and cannot infect humans.

Hunters should remember that if they don’t respect the Purple and go where they shouldn’t, the law is gonna Rain down! Pennsylvania’s Purple Paint Law gives landowners the option of using purple paint, rather than signs, to post their properties and alert others that their lands are private. That means trespassing is not permitted.

The Second Annual David L. Grove Memorial Clay Shoot was held in his honor on Thursday, Nov. 11, at Orvis Hill Country in Fairfield. PGC Warden Grove was murdered in the line of duty by a deer poacher on Nov. 11, 2010, in Adams County.

In October it became official that in the future there will be a single, statewide Opening Day of trout season — the first Saturday in April. A single, statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will now occur one week prior to the regular statewide Opening Day. Accordingly, the next statewide Mentored Youth Trout Day will be Saturday, March 26, 2022. The next statewide Opening Day of trout season will be Saturday, April 2, 2022.

The mandatory cold weather life jacket requirement kicked into gear Nov. 1. Through April 30, all boaters on boats under 16 feet in length, including all canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards, are required to wear a life jacket.

Gettysburg hunter Bill Anders was one of 77 hunters who drew permits to pursue cow elk, and 32 others were permitted to go after bulls during the general elk season, Nov. 1-6. On the morning of the last day, Bill drilled a big cow elk in Potter County.

The PGC’s live-streaming bald eagle cam on a nest near Codorus State Park in Hanover, is up and running again. It can be found at Hdontap.com. Near Hays in Pittsburgh, a camera is operational, courtesy of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, at www.aswp.org.

Eggs typically appear in mid-February. Action picks up in January as prospective parents make last-minute preparations.

Late in 2021, John Mahn, Jr., was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf and confirmed by the state Senate, to join the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Board of Commissioners. Mahn, of Charleroi, Washington County, will serve a four-year term and is the first African American appointed to the Board of Commissioners.

Top Tweets: “Apologies if you’ve already seen a puppy riding a chicken today.” — Theo Shantonas. “Noting to see her...just litTle avoCado tequila” – Tom Brady

Send your wild thoughts, hunting tales, and photos to bjsmall@comcast.net.

Contact Josh Martin at jmartin@gettysburgtimes.com. Follow on Twitter at @JoshMartin33

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.