When I was browsing the PGC’s website today I found this:
“BOARD APPROVES EXPANDED USE OF CROSSBOWS
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners today gave final approval to expand the lawful use of crossbows to include both the archery deer and bear seasons for the 2009-10 seasons…”
Awhile back I had heard they were going to try to get crossbows approved and now it seems they did. While shooting with a crossbow would probably be more consistent it will still not be quite the same as rifle with a scope, because “magnifying scopes” will be prohibited on bows and crossbows during deer and bear archery seasons.
Another change the board approved was to stop the use of crossbows during muzzleloader season. “…also would remove the lawful use of crossbows during the October muzzleloader or late flintlock muzzleloader season…”
The full article and more detailed information can be found on the PGC’s site here.
After the weeks of snow and cold the fox have been out for the past few days. Yesterday, I found an abundance of fox tracks near a hay set that I had removed the traps from back when the weather had started getting bad. Of course, I reset those traps, but only to have freezing rain and snow today.
Today, I caught a cat, which is a first for me. Releasing him was a simple matter thankfully, because he was so tame. All I had to do was to talk to him and pet him, then I just reached down and let him go. However, when I let the cat go it did the opposite of what I expected it to do; instead of running away it just stood there and continued to let me pet it. The cat even let me examine its paw to see if it had any broken bones, which it did not. So, the cat went through the experience unharmed and hopefully a little wiser.
For anyone out in Pennsylvania looking for places to sell their fur, the PTA (Pennsylvania Trappers Association) lists their upcoming events, which includes fur auctions here:
The word is that fur prices are down this year, because of the economy. Some say it might be best to freeze hides till prices go up. There is a list of fur prices from district 4 sale that I asked the compiler of the data for permission to post here. The list really illustrates how much prices have gone down from last year, so I hope I will get permission.
For a week or so the weather seemed to have been keeping the fox holed up. But now after the snow storms have retreated leaving behind a foot and then some of snow the fox have ventured out again.
Today when checking my traps I saw tracks of probably two maybe a few more fox. One set of tracks actually walked on the path a cable restraint was on, but it missed being caught in it. Another set of tracks started up a field road towards another cable restraint only to turn back to the woods.
It was very encouraging to see tracks again, but even more so that my cable restraints seem to be in the right area.
I am considering increasing my number of cable restraints from 6 to 18, another catch would probably help me decided in favor of expanding.
Earlier on in the year I bought a used FoxPro ZR2 for predator hunting. While I have previously gone out a few times with it I never saw anything. Then tonight when I looked outside and saw how well the moon lit up the snow covered ground I decided to go out.
My choice of guns for this hunt was the .22 revolver with the .22 magnum cylinder put in and a .22 magnum / 20 gauge over under shotgun. As I walked through the woods by my house I put the rifle/shotgun on my shoulder and upholstered the .22 magnum and carried a flashlight in my other hand. While I walked through the woods I noticed that the wind was blowing into my face so that was good, because the spot I wanted to hunt from was in the field beyond the woods.
When I exited the woods I walked until the roll in the field allowed me to see some of the field. Then in a strip of picked corn I thought I saw a shape of an animal, about 100 yards away, with its head down; without giving it any thought or planning I turned the flashlight on. After a couple seconds the shape lifted its head up to reveal to a set of glowing eyes in the beam of light. The size of the animal I thought was a little big for a fox. While I could see what I thought was a long and thick tail I wanted to be 100% sure that it was not a deer, so I waited. Soon, the animal broke into a run, with its course leading it slightly closer to me for a time. As soon as it started running I knew it was a canine by the way that it ran, so I fired at it with the gun that was still in my hand–the .22 magnum revolver. Its path of escape lead it within 50 yards of me, while I fired three more times at it. Before I could get a fourth shot off at it, however, it disappeared over the sky line.
Later that night when I followed the tracks in the snow I realized why I thought the animal looked a little big for a fox, the tracks were made by a coyote!
This was the first time I actually saw a targeted animal when I was predator hunting. The hunt could have been successful, if I had thought the situation out better. For example, the coyote had not seen me until I shone my flashlight on it also the wind was in my favor, so I had time to make a plan. What I should have down would have been to sit down next to the row of corn which would have partially hidden me, then used my caller to do a few quiet mouse squeaks, also I could have had the .22 magnum rifle read to use which would have given me much better accuracy at 100 yards!
Today after I lost a set of fox tracks that I was following, I decided to walk through a nearby brushy spot that seems to always have a rabbit in it. So, pulling out my Heritage Arms Rough Rider .22 revolver, I walked about half way through. Then a rabbit jumped about 5 feet away from me I fired twice. After making my way through the brush to where I had shoot at it, I found the rabbit laying there dead. The amazing part of it is that later when I was skinning the rabbit out I found that I had actually hit it with both shots–once in the front shoulder and once in the head. Normally I have enough trouble hitting a stationary tin can with that gun, let alone a moving target!