The leaves crunched underfoot as I travelled through the woods to my favorite spot. I remember the smell of fall released by each footstep through the red, yellow, orange and brown carpet. The morning light was just coming up and a multitude of birds were singing.

Today might be the day I see Mr. Big Buck, or it might not, but just my being here is what makes this a good morning.

This is what I remember most when I think about the hunt. It is the smells and the sounds of rural western Pennsylvania during the deer season. This year finds me still excited to go out and look for deer. I might be a little slower and I might not be able to go exactly where I want to go, but I am outside and in the hunt.

This year, the deer herd looks to be in pretty good shape. I have reported to you that we have been seeing good numbers in our area and they appear very healthy. This is good news going into the season. I cannot say I have seen a lot of big bucks, but they always disappear right before the first day.

This year’s hunt is certainly a refreshing change from being stuck in during all this pandemic. I think people everywhere need to get out in nature and away from the television and the bad news. On that note this week, I was thinking about the kids at school who must either be on the computer all day long or go into school with a mask on. Maybe this is a good year to get those youngsters out on a hunt. I remember taking my kids on many hunts. After you take them out on a few good hunts, you can be sure they will remember this time with you.

We had been watching a field for quite a few days early in the spring and counted a lot of deer. Eileen got a bright idea that we should take the kids up to sit in the edge of the woods in this field. Now they were young, so we decided to chop some apples up and take them along. This was not a deer hunting trip but a deer watching trip.

We sat them in our apple pile to disguise noise and other kid type things that might occur. Well guess what happened that evening? The deer came right up behind us. Two spotted fawns stood and looked right at them. They were so close we could smell them as well as count whiskers. Those two kids learned a lot of fun facts about deer that night. For years after, the wife and I laughed about her great idea.

The George Block Conservation Scholarship is alive and well. This year’s applications are at all the Guidance offices of the local high schools. If you know of a person, 18 or under, in Washington and Greene County who loves the environment and is conservation minded, have them send a paragraph about what they have done and why they feel they should be awarded with the form. With this virus and all the stress, now is a good year for our young people to be outside doing conservation work. Anyone who needs a form and cannot find one, Johnsons Sporting Goods in Eighty Four has some.

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