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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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The Roving Sportsman… Tagged Out — Now What?

Let’s say that you are one of the lucky hunters who have tagged a bear, or perhaps tagged a buck and/or doe and is now finished trying to obtain wild game for the freezer and dinner table. The bear skin is at the taxidermist to become a rug and your buck’s antlers are being prepared

Let’s say that you are one of the lucky hunters who have tagged a bear, or perhaps tagged a buck and/or doe and is now finished trying to obtain wild game for the freezer and dinner table. The bear skin is at the taxidermist to become a rug and your buck’s antlers are being prepared for a European mount. The meat is at the processor being made into steaks, burger, chipped steak and bologna. You are all set — finished for the season. Or are you?

Over the next few days, until the actual regular firearms deer season ends on Saturday, December 8, there are a number of good reasons to continue to spend time in your deer stand. If your deer hunting is over, you can now relax and learn about deer movement, hunt for coyotes and observe what other game travels through your area.

Over the few remaining days of the deer season, particularly on Saturday, there will still be hunters in the woods moving game. Use the time in your stand to note just where the more heavily used trails are. Every outdoorsman should always be carrying a journal or notebook to write down their observations. Noting the more heavily used travel routes will be good information to refresh your memory just before the next season. Don’t forget to record where you saw scrapes and rubs, as they will be another good starting point for next year. Jot down any new growth that is occurring in any of your established shooting lanes. When you return just after the season to remove these obstructions, you will also be providing some browse for the deer.

Black bear in Pennsylvania account for more mortalities of fawns each spring than any other of our predators. Coyotes take their fare share as well, not just the fawns in the springtime, but the occasional adult deer also. A lighter caliber scoped rifle would be good firepower for coyotes this time of year. A tree stand or hilltop observation point will allow the best opportunity to spot an incoming coyote. Don’t hesitate to use a coyote call from time to time, but as with all calling, try to limit the amount of calling you do so as to present a more realistic sound. If you are interested in targeting a bobcat as well — and if you have the required permit — the hunting season for them is January 12, 2019 to February 6, 2019.

Take your camera with you on these days afield. Reviewing your photos will reinforce what trails deer are using and where you may have observed other game, such as a flock of passing turkeys. If you come across a set of tracks or some scat that you cannot identify, by taking a photo, you can later identify it with the appropriate book or by looking it up on the internet.

In the upcoming weeks, as we get a fresh snow, take time to hike through your favorite hunting spots. The most heavily used travel routes will be easily identified and you’ll get a really good idea of just what game is in your area. You may even see a set or two of buck tracks which will let you know that some of the bucks made it through the season.

Finally, if you have filled your tags, think about spending some time either guiding a friend on the final days of the season or mentoring a young hunter who might not have another adult to help them learn the ropes. It is through the efforts of helping other hunters that we can each insure the future of the sport that we enjoy.

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