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Into the Outdoors: Inspecting Rifles / Hunting Gear

The photo was captured by Dave Lewis on one of his trail-cams. It shows a nice buck with something protruding from its neck. It appears to be a piece of antler, probably the result of combat with another buck. At least, that is what it certainly looks like. There are a few other possibilities, but the antler piece seems to be the most likely.

This, of course, begs the question of what will ultimately happen to the buck. The piece will probably eventually fall out and that will be that. There is, however, the possibility that it could lead to a massive infection, thereby bringing about the deer’s demise.


Wow! It’s hard to believe that another rifle deer season is about to open. Although the Monday after Thanksgiving opener has been destroyed, another hunting tradition biting the dust, it is still an eagerly anticipated day.

Now is the time to make preparations for what, despite the Game Commission’s best efforts, still amounts to a holiday in Pennsylvania. That way, things won’t be so crazy the night before opening day. It’s probably the best time to sight in the old shootin' iron. That way, you’ll have time to correct any faults you may have developed with your shooting, or any mechanical problems with the gun or scope. If you wait until the day before the season opens, and I know this from experience, you’ll possibly face a lot of crowding at shooting ranges. If you have a private place to sight in, of course, this will not be a problem. Also, if there is a gun problem, it can be pretty hard to find an available gunsmith on the day before deer season. I also think it’s a good idea to give your gun a good cleaning before you hunt with it. In addition, I like to apply a light coating of rust protectant to the external surfaces, to help protect the finish against any rain or snow so often encountered in deer hunting.

In our zeal to cover all bases regarding guns, we sometimes tend to overlook our other gear. For example, boots are worthy of a checkup. A lot of hunters, myself included, like the felt-lined models with rubber bottoms and leather uppers. Rubber is subject to dry rotting, no matter what you do to prevent it, and, I’ve heard, the thread stitching the tops to the bottoms can give out, resulting in separation. That would be a nice surprise on opening day morning. Other clothing, such as coats, gloves, hats, etc. should be checked out as well. A lot of things can happen over the course of a year in storage.

Last week, we looked at some of the walleye fishing opportunities available at this time of year. It’s also a good time to go after panfish, which are still actively feeding. There is nothing quite like sitting down to some nice panfish filets in the dead of winter. They can be right in there with turkey and ham, representing a refreshing change of pace. The usual baits will work, but, just like with walleyes, you might have to proceed a bit slowly.

And finally, be extra careful when driving. Deer will become even more active in rifle season, and collisions will be more likely.

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