Out­stand­ing out­doors of­fer­ings in October

The Community Connection - - SPORTS - By Tom Ta­tum For Dig­i­tal First Me­dia

For the poet T.S. Eliot, April may be the cru­elest month, but for out­doorsy types like us, October is, far and away, the best of the best. For folks who want to hunt, fish, hike, camp, bike, en­joy the fall fo­liage, ex­plore our great out-of-doors and cozy up with Mother Na­ture, October of­fers per­fect, crispy cool weather. That brisk cold snap that blew through our neck of Penn’s Woods late last week ar­rived right on cue.

I ush­ered in the month by ped­dling, pad­dling, and pac­ing in the Mar­shal­ton Triathlon which I’ve done on the first Sun­day of the month (with a few ex­cep­tions) ever since the triathlon’s in­cep­tion. My part­ner this year was broth­erin-law Daryl Rob­bins, an avid biker and nine years my ju­nior. We were among the 1,600 folks who par­tic­i­pated in this pop­u­lar fundrais­ing chal­lenge that day. De­spite some se­ri­ous nav­i­ga­tion prob­lems on the ca­noe leg of the event, we both man­aged to fin­ish in the top ten of our re­spec­tive age groups and en­joyed a per­fect day in the Ch­ester County out-of-doors. Bik- ing, pad­dling, and hik­ing are all great out­doors pur­suits, but there’s plenty more to do on our October bill of fare.

Archery deer hunt­ing. With the sum­mer’s heat and hu­mid­ity fad­ing in their rearview mir­ror, bowhunters should find con­di­tions more to their lik­ing, and as the white­tail rut picks up steam later this month, lovesick bucks and does will be on the move and more likely to mosey by any at­ten­tive archer’s tree stand.

Muz­zleloader hunt­ing. Bowhunters will get some com­pany in the deer woods when the state’s muz­zleloader sea­son for antler­less deer only kicks in from Oct. 14 through 21, and the antler­less deer only Special Firearms sea­son for Ju­nior and Se­nior li­cense hold­ers, Men­tored Youth, ac­tive duty mil­i­tary and cer­tain dis­abled per­sons runs from Oct. 19 through 21. Statewide, our archery deer sea­son runs through Nov. 11. Here in Wildlife Man­age­ment Units 5C and 5D, it goes through Nov. 25.

Small game hunt­ing. October also fea­tures a broad range of hunt­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for small game with Ju­nior hunts for squir­rel and rab­bit hav­ing opened this past Satur­day, Sept. 30, and run­ning through Oct. 14. For pheas­ant, the ju­nior hunt runs from Oct. 7 through Oct. 14 with the reg­u­lar sea­son on ring­necks set for Oct. 21. Don’t for­get that a pheas­ant per­mit is now re­quired for all adult and se­nior pheas­ant hunters. Penn­syl­va­nia’s reg­u­lar sea­sons on rab­bit, squir­rel, bob­white quail and ruffed grouse all open on Oct. 14. Hunt­ing for rac­coons and foxes be­gins on Oct. 21 and the trap­ping sea­son for rac­coons, foxes, coy­otes, opos­sums, striped skunks, and weasels starts on Oct.22.

Duck and dove hunt­ing. And as if Penn­syl­va­nia hunters didn’t al­ready have enough to do in October, our early duck sea­son here in the South Zone is set run from Oct. 14 through 21. Al­though the early sea­son on Canada geese here in the At­lantic Pop­u­la­tion Zone closed back on Sept. 25, it will re­open on Nov. 15. The first stage of our three tier sea­son on mourn­ing doves ends this week on Oct. 7 but stage two be­gins on Oct. 14 run­ning through Nov. 25 with shoot­ing per­mit­ted all day long, not just start­ing at noon as in the first stage.

Turkey hunt­ing. October also her­alds the fall turkey sea­sons with open­ing day be­ing Oct. 28 in most WMUs. Ex­cep­tions to this are WMU 5B which opens Oct. 31 and closes Nov. 2, WMU 5A which runs Nov. 2-4, and WMUs 5C and 5D here in the south­east where there is no fall turkey sea­son.

Fresh wa­ter fish­ing. Fresh wa­ter fish­ing is also in the October air. In Ch­ester County the Penn­syl­va­nia Fish and Boat Com­mis­sion (PF&BC) is slated to stock the De­layed Har­vest, Ar­ti­fi­cial Lures only stretch East Branch of the Brandy­wine Creek this week on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 4. The PF&BC will also be busy in Berks County this month with trout stock­ings sched­uled for Scott’s Run Lake on Oct. 16 and Tulpe­hocken Creek on Oct. 17. In Mont­gomery County, Pen­ny­pack Creek is set to get a fresh batch of PF&BC rain­bow trout on Oct. 10.

The PF&BC now re­ports that on the Schuylkill River in the Black Rock area small­mouth bass and large­mouth bass fish­ing near the Cromby Power Plant out­flow has been good this sea­son. Crankbaits and live bait are still the best pro­duc­ers. Cat­fish­ing the past month has also been good with anglers tak­ing large flat­heads on bluegills and night crawlers. Chan­nel cat­fish have been caught us­ing the standard fare of chicken liver. When fish­ing at the Black Rock Dam stay clear of the fish lad­der area. Vi­o­la­tors caught within 100’ of the fish lad­der will be cited. Re­spect the river and wear a PFD while on­board a boat. Anglers are also re­port­ing catch­ing Small­mouth Bass in the Schuylkill River in the Birds­boro area on tubes and plas­tics.

Wildlife view­ing. And if you’re look­ing for some unique wildlife view­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, October is also the month for you. I’d highly rec­om­mend a visit to Hawk Moun­tain Sanc­tu­ary in Kemp­ton, Pa., to watch spec­tac­u­lar mi­gra­tions of so many species of rap­tors. An in­fi­nite va­ri­ety of hawks, ospreys, vul­tures, and ea­gles will be sail­ing over­head for your view­ing plea­sure. For more info on Hawk Moun­tain events and lec­tures, go to their web­site at http://www.hawk­moun­tain.org/.

A lit­tle far­ther away (but def­i­nitely worth the trip) is the Elk Coun­try Vis­i­tor Cen­ter in Benezette, Pa. This time of year the bulls should still be bugling and chas­ing cows across the coun­try­side. It’s al­ways fun to chal­lenge these hypedup bulls by call­ing them in with your own med­ley of elk calls. For more info check out their web­site at https://elk­coun­tryvis­i­tor­center.com/ or give them a call at 814-787-5167.

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