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Ed, Todd and I rode over to Dillsburg to pick up our guns from Chad McCauslin. He’s a gunsmith, who used to have his shop on Beagle Club Road in Carlisle, but moved home to contain costs and help with schooling and such.

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It’s been a different kind of year. Last year at this time, I was helping teach fly tying to a group of people from age 8 to retired in the community room at Green Ridge Village. I guess the 8-year-old isn’t 8 anymore, but he started tying at age 8 without using a vise.

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Neva sent an email last night telling us she booked a campsite at Point Camp on Raystown Lake for the end of April. We’ve been trying to find the site for reservations, but the federal recreation site has been shut down until apparently just the other day.

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In another year, I would be looking forward to the Great American Outdoor Show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, but it’s been canceled by our governor. It might be best because in most other years there have been great crowds of outdoor folks roaming the aisles. 

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Todd got one, too. We hunted together two years ago outside of Patten, Maine, at Patten Hunting Lodge, and Bill Finney, the owner, just sent us a letter inviting us back to hunt grouse and woodcock.

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Ruffles came up lame the day after Christmas, so we haven’t been hunting her on pheasants and rabbits or ducks, which means we’ve been spending more time with her on the couch, and the cat in my lap in the lounge chair near the fireplace. It also means our pile of cherry cord wood on the por…

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We all seem to have our own needs for shooting our shotguns away from gun clubs, preferring the less formal way of backyard shooting.

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If you missed last week’s column, now is the time to buy a new fishing license because the old one expires Dec. 31. It’s also the time to buy a new dog license.

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Ruffles and I planned to hunt for ruffed grouse in our nearby mountains and chase some stocked pheasants on our game lands. We thought we’d wait, but the cold weather held on and then the Wednesday afternoon and Thursday snowstorm. Hopefully there might be a bit of melting, but there are dee…

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Andy, Bob and I worked on stopping the leak in a window Tom made for deer camp. We replaced almost the whole wall and thought we fixed it. Oh well! We didn’t, and found out last Monday morning when we sat in camp until almost noon before heading out into the woods and fields to find our deer…

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Black Friday has passed, and the rifle deer season’s opener has also passed. I still have a problem with writing this column. It’s not what someone once called writer’s block, in fact I wouldn’t have a problem writing this but deer hunters who read this will be days late from my hunt and pro…

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Last chance to hunt small game until after deer season. The game commission stocked pheasants on our game lands last week with pheasants, but there are still hens and cocks to be found, plus there are rabbits and squirrels to fill our game bags.

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George and I met Andy at camp. Andy was running the vacuum cleaner on a generator. There is no electrical power at camp, and that’s the way we like it.

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Errol, New Hampshire isn’t in Canada, but I think you can see it from there. We left our little farm about 8 in the morning, and 12 ½ hours later, we arrived at the Errol Motel, and took about an hour to unload the guns and gear for a week’s stay.

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Sometimes, some of us get together to shoot clay targets at the farm. Last Friday, six of us showed up to shoot, and as Todd uncased his Lefever 20-gauge, he apologized for making a reservation at a motel in Errol, New Hampshire, without first discussing it with me.

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Some things are different, but some stay the same.

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Walk with me. I’ll meet you on Park Hill Road, and we can walk the gated roads in the Game Lands. There probably won’t be any pheasants to flush until Friday when the stocking for the youth hunt begins the stocking for hunting seasons.

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We built a few fires in the fireplace a week or so ago. We put some morning wood next to the wood pile that is mostly wild cherry. What I call morning wood is just limbs and branches that I’ve cut with the chainsaw. On a farm, there’s always enough limbs and dead wood to make a small pile fo…

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Ollie moved from Georgia to Pennsylvania sometime around Christmas last year. He was about 10 weeks old, and sometimes Todd brought him along to the farm when he came to shoot clay targets.

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This Saturday marks a major change for squirrel hunters in the commonwealth. Instead of waiting until mid-October, squirrel hunters can now hunt squirrels beginning Sept. 12. According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission squirrels are an under-harvested species.

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I don’t know how many knives my grandfather gave me over the years, but I do know grandma took every one of them.

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We converted the old chicken coop into a storage shed when we moved to our little farm 40 years ago.

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Ruffles, our springer spaniel, turns 8 in December, and of all our dogs, she seems to have a mind of her own. We bought her at seven weeks old from Amos King, son of Amos King. We reserved the pick-of-the-litter back in October, and since we were traveling in our little motorhome through the…

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I spent a little time working at the woodpile, building the ranks again after they collapsed. We have about a cord of wild cherry, some of the split wood is several years old, so I guess I’ll have to build a new woodpile away from the ranked wood so I can use it up before getting into the ne…

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Our son, Cris, and his son, Max, came for a short visit over July Fourth. After turning the grill over to the two of them, I asked what else Max wanted to do while visiting our little farm. He told me he and his dad brought their side-by-side shotguns and would like to shoot clay targets ove…

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I spoke too soon. We camped with friends at Laurel Hill State Park in Somerset County. There were plenty of unused campsites beginning last Tuesday, and even Friday night campsites near us were empty, but Saturday morning, more campers came in filling some sites.

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We took our little motorhome to Raystown Lake a few weeks ago. We reserved a site across the road from the waterfront sites, but noticed that as the week moved on, more and more campsites filled, until most sites on the first three tiers of the Senoia Campground were filled.

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There’s a tiny little mayfly that shows up like clockwork on our spring creeks on July 5 every year.

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Each year about this time, I hear about a black bear wandering through a neighborhood. So far this year, friends have told me about seeing bears on Stillhouse Hollow Road and Big Pond Hollow, but the closest to us was Davy, who had a black bear on their front porch the other night.

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We had several camping trips canceled because of COVID-19, I guess to keep employees safe because social separation already separates campers from each other. Things have opened up recently and we made reservations at Senoia Campground at Seven Points on Raystown Lake.

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Do you remember seeing Wallace Beery in the movies? He often played cowboy and soldier roles during the 1930s, and most of the time, he played the role of a drunk.

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A few friends have been gathering at our farm to shoot clay targets. Usually only four to six friends show up, and we keep socially separated, which is easy to do since we are outdoors in a big space at the upper edge of our meadow. But for a while, Walmart sold out of Champion Biodegradable…

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I spoke with the folks at Seven Points Marina on Raystown Lake at Hesston. They told me I could put our pontoon boat on the dock we rent at the marina and take it out whenever we wanted, just as long as we wore a mask in the common areas of the marina.

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Not knowing something isn’t the same as not wanting to know when something changes. I always thought or was told that rattlesnakes didn’t leave their den areas until the last threat of frost was gone, and I didn’t give much thought to where I walked in the mountains until after Memorial Day.

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I bought a Remington 870 shotgun several years ago. It was chambered for 3-inch magnum shotgun shells and a screw-in choke system. I bought it for the few times I find myself in a boat or duck blind, and I would prefer not taking my better shotguns where they might fall in.

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Have you been out to hunt turkey? I must confess that I haven’t been in the woods with a shotgun so far, but I might go to some favorite spots later in May, when we can call gobblers during the afternoon.

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Walk with me. We can meet in the side yard between our kitchen and the garage. It’s where the dogwood and redbud trees are in full bloom. When we bought the little farm, it was where the previous owner kept her chickens. We don’t house our chickens in the coop.

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Two areas of the United States were the first to develop Fly Fishing for trout. One was the Catskill Mountains and their strong flowing streams of clean water supported by anglers from New York City. The other was our Cumberland Valley with many spring creeks and mills to provide clean water…

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Since the Fish and Boat Commission opened trout season, have you been out fishing for stocked trout yet? I guess I’ve been a bit leery about hanging out in crowds, and if anglers fished as they have in past years, I’m not sure I want to yet.

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About this time of year before the trout fishing rush and even after, I try to get out to a pond or small lake with my Uncle Reg Morgan’s fly rod to catch some bluegills.

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Walk with me. We probably should stay separated by 6 feet, according to the coronavirus task force, but that’s OK. There’s lots of space in the outdoors.

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We just received a cancellation notice for our campsites at Seven Points for April 19 to 25. That’s an Army Corps of Engineers Federal campground and isn’t managed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. All state campgrounds are also shut for the foreseeable future.

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Kings Gap Environmental and Education Center canceled all activities from March 13 until April 30 due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. All other Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) programs including training, events and all public programs at state parks t…

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I browsed through a copy of Fly Fisherman magazine the other day, and found an ad for Off insect repellent, which isn’t unusual. However, instead of DEET, Off now contains Picaridin. I like Picaridin because it’s a safe product, but still extremely effective against mosquitoes and ticks, alo…