By Bailey Kozalla, sports editor and Jalisa Norr, staff writer
Dust off those bows ladies and gents, it’s time to let those arrows fly. The 75th annual Pennsylvania archery season is only one day away. Bowhunters statewide are scrambling to complete their last minute preparations for opening day.
Other than shooting her bow and checking her stands, family/consumer science teacher Mrs. Heather Patton is ready to go for the 2016 archery season. “I love the excitement of deer coming in right under me,” Patton said. After many seasons of experience in the field, Patton explains her favorite bowhunting memory:. “My favorite memory was having my three- month old with me. A doe came in right as she started crying. The doe continued to come in due to the fact that an infant’s cry isn’t too far off from the cry of a fawn.”
Seventh grader Logan Oblinski said,. “I’ve been setting up deer stands mostly and target practicing.” Obkinski invested 20 hours throughout the year in practicing, fine tuning, and getting comfortable with the shootability of his bow. He hopes his time will pay off with filled tags this year.
Similarly, freshmen Nathan Barner practiced roughly 20 hours for the season. “I’ve been shooting my bow, making sure it stays sighted in, and checking arrows to make sure they’re not bent. I want to have my mindset on where to shoot the deer and where not to shoot.”
Others have recently taken up a new aspect of bowhunting. Junior Owen Chess decided to convert his crossbow skills into using a compound bow for the upcoming season. “It’s more challenging to use a compound. I’m excited to have the opportunity to hunt deer with it,” Chess said.
Along with several updates regarding the hunting and trapping seasons, the price of each additional license privilege has increased $0.20 due to a higher fee charged for the use of the Pennsylvania Automated Licensing System, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. This means that archery hunters are now paying $16.90 compared to the $16.70 from the previous year for a license. Hunters are also asked not to carry an expired license with them in the field. This new law is to address the problem of hunters using expired tags on game they harvested over the limit. They are reminded to remove their expired license and tags from their license holders or wallets when they are in possession of their new license.
In order to be successful this Fall, the educated bowhunter knows that he or she needs a game plan. Many hunters want to know exactly what deer are in the woods they hunt. Scouting and trail cameras work well for this strategy. Others tend to use the run-and-gun strategy and go in blind. This usually happens when a hunter travels to a number of different hunting areas with a limited amount of time. Topographic maps work really well for this strategy. Using the aerial view of a plot of land, the hunter is able to identify funnels and pinch points to find the best area to hunt, when scouting isn’t available.
According to a Pennsylvania Pressroom interview, Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said, “Those hunters who, during the preseason, thoroughly scouted the areas they hunt, greatly improve their chances at early season success… when the season begins, there’s simply no substitute for getting out there and seeing for yourself what’s happening in the deer woods, and having a great time doing it.”