According to the weather forecasts, Autumn is about to hit us full blast. The honeymoon we have been enjoying is about to be over. That’s a depressing thought, but we knew it was coming. Early muzzleloader season came on the sixteenth. “Geezer Season” runs from the twenty-first through the twenty-third. That is when I am hoping to hunt. I still have a few balance issues from the Covid, but I have a stout walking stick. I might have trouble dragging out a deer, but I have my son to help me. I also have friends who say that all I have to do is call.
On another front, this is the time of year when many of us are planning out our deer hunting seasons, and are looking for places to hunt. The fact of the matter is that, although we have a great deal of public land on which to hunt, an awful lot of Pennsylvania hunting is done on private land. This makes landowner/hunter relations a vitally important topic. With more and more “No Trespassing” signs going up each year, we are forced to deal more and more with the issue. Sometimes, these signs mean that you will not be hunting on a patch of ground. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t. Some landowners will let you hunt if you ask permission. This gives them a way to sort of keep track of who’s on their premises. You must remember, however, that the landowner has the final say in the matter, and if the answer is “no,” then you just have to accept that. Don’t get into an argument or shouting match; just politely leave. There’s just no sense in giving the anti-hunters extra ammunition to use against us by being obnoxious.
In my personal opinion, it’s a good idea to ask permission to hunt on private land, even if there are no posted signs. It shows good manners and common courtesy on your part. It may also enhance the positive image of hunters in the eyes of the landowner.
If you are granted permission to hunt on someone’s land, for crying out loud, don’t abuse the privilege, and it is, indeed, a privilege, not a right. Don’t trample or run over crops, break down fences, or block access roads. Don’t injure or disturb livestock or family pets. And, whatever you do, don’t litter. Someone who is nice enough to let you hunt on their land should not have to clean up after you. In fact, it’s a good idea to carry a garbage bag with you so that you can clean up after some slob who may have preceded you onto the land. These might seem like common sense items, but a surprisingly large number of hunters ignore them. I personally know a farmer who had a prized, very expensive, cow shot one deer season. I have also come across items of trash that were simply too big to carry out, even if you bring along a trash bag to clean things up. You may be one of the people who would never litter on someone’s land, but you still have to pay the price of those who do. Sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies.
And finally, wildlife diseases are making the news more than ever. We are cautioned to wear rubber gloves when cleaning any game. Of course, CWD is at the forefront, although it is probably not transmissible to humans. Other diseases, like tuberculosis and tularemia are. Even small game can be affected, especially if you have a cut or other open wound. Better safe than sorry.