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The Roving Sportsman… A Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving weekend is recognized as the most heavily traveled weekend of the year. Over the next several days, thousands of people across our state and across the nation will fly or drive to meet up with friends and relatives to share some quality time together. There will be football, lots of food, and plenty of conversation as we catch up on what has been happening in our lives over the past year. Some folks will do some hunting or take a traditional hike through the woods to help our stomachs settle after a belly full of turkey and all the wonderful side dishes!

Thanksgiving is the perfect time of the year to take a few minutes and reflect on what has happened throughout the past year and what lies ahead. It is a time to analyze the struggles of the past and the hopes of the future, remembering that if you focus too much on the past, it might cloud the promise of the future.

It is a great opportunity to inventory all the good in your life and thus realize all of the bounties that you currently enjoy.

Residing in or visiting Lycoming County and the surrounding area allows each of us some spectacular outdoor opportunities. From hunting to fishing, whether hiking, biking, or kayaking, and when bird watching, elk viewing, or taking in the splendor of the fall foliage — our “neck of the woods” is very special and unique in many ways.

Need a place to recreate or enjoy your sport? You don’t have to look far.

Within the borders of Pennsylvania, State Game Lands and State Forest Lands encompass more than 3.7 million acres, and they are available for us to use! State Game Lands 335 is located in Sullivan County in the Sonestown area and consists of 49,528 acres — that is over 77 square miles. State Game Lands 75 includes 27,505 acres, extends throughout Lycoming County, and is centered around English Center. Tioga State Forest, in Tioga County, consists of 160,000 acres.

If you want to forage for wild edible plants and mushrooms in the spring, you don’t have to travel far. If your passion is to fish for native trout in a nearby secluded mountain stream, it can be found in our area. Some of the best whitetail deer, black bear, and wild turkey hunting in the country are right here in our surrounding counties. Accessible logging roads and trails provide the perfect location for a winter hike to locate and identify the tracks in the snow of our resident wildlife.

I believe that I am truly fortunate to have grown up in the rural setting of Northcentral Pennsylvania, to have spent my formative years of education in the Montoursville School District and at Lycoming College, and to have served in the Air Force, which enabled me to have a greater understanding and appreciation for this unique and magnificent country of ours and my bountiful home state of Pennsylvania. To have had struggles and challenges in the past to work through and learn from has helped me to realize how to better manage the present and the future. I reflect on the past only to recall the lessons learned and recognize how they will aid in successes in the coming days.

There is little doubt that, if you are honest with yourself, doing an inventory of what you have to be thankful for will quickly make you realize just how fortunate you are. Considering your age and stage in life, just what does your personal inventory tell you? I’ll bet that the realization of all of the good things you have going on in your life will help you put behind you the negative things that we all let drag us down at times. At some point this Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, take time to reflect. After that delicious feast of turkey and all the trimmings, where friends and family surround you, adjourn to your favorite easy chair by the fire in the fireplace. Or wander off on a solo trek along a nearby logging road that brings back great memories of times with family and friends. Then, while you are settled back in the easy chair or pausing on the hike and sitting on an old oak stump — reflect and be thankful.

Reflect briefly on the past, inventory all the good in your life, and daydream about the things on your bucket list and the satisfaction that completing your wishes will bring you — Happy Thanksgiving!