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Into The Outdoors: Squirrel Hunting

Well, it’s September. While summer doesn’t officially end for a couple more weeks, Labor Day marked the unofficial end of my favorite season. If we look hard enough, we can find some things to like about September. One of them is hunting. In fact, squirrel hunting opens up this month. That is one of the only things the Game Commission has done recently that I like.

A lot of folks see September squirrel hunting as a fruitless waste of time, due to the dense foliage still on the trees. Granted, this is a bit of an inconvenience. You have to get them on the ground. They spend a lot of time there foraging.

Perhaps the worst thing about squirrel hunting in September is the heat. We often get a really hot September in these parts. That can be troublesome in more ways than one. As far as game goes, the high temperatures pose a real threat to the meat. I can remember shooting groundhogs and seeing live maggots on them in a very short time. This would apply equally to squirrels. Maggots hatch very rapidly in hot weather. Of course, you cold gut your squirrels as soon as you bag them, but this will interfere with your hunting. Besides, the flies will attack them anyway. This is a real problem. Sadly, it is one for which I do not have a ready solution.

Heat related problems also need to be considered in September. It is pretty easy to get dehydrated. If you are out in the woods, far from help, this problem can be especially severe. Make sure to take plenty of water with you when you hunt.

Of course, bugs are still a big problem. Gnats are plentiful, but, for the most part, just annoying. Ticks, on the other hand, can pose a serious threat. Use a good insect repellent. My personal favorite is Sallyandere’s No Bite Me. It contains no DEET, and has always done the job for me. You can order it online.

Labor Day weekend is a big time for boaters. For some, it is the last shot for the year. With the heavy rains we have had, it can also be dangerous. This is especially true of flowing water. I have seen a lot of stuff floating in the Allegheny. Even more dangerous, however, are the objects just below the surface which you cannot see. The Fish and Boat Commission urges extreme caution, and with good reason. Here is an excerpt from their news release on the subject.

Boaters should refrain from entering high, fast-moving, and muddy water that offers low visibility and can prevent operators from seeing submerged obstacles like large rocks, downed tree limbs, and other debris. Use caution while walking along streambanks, which may remain muddy and slippery, and can lead to falls into fast-moving water. Keep children away from the stream-bank during periods of high, fast-moving water.

“If you do plan to go boating this holiday weekend, consider visiting a lake, where the impact of the storm may not be as great,” added Anders. “Always wear a life jacket. Unfortunately, there have been seven boating-related fatalities this year, and most of the victims were not wearing life jackets. We have seen these tragedies happen in even the most favorable of conditions, so boaters should take even stronger precautions around periods of inclement weather, including in the days following a heavy rain."

Have a great Labor Day weekend, but keep it safe.,

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