By Bob Garrett
For The Daily Item
“It is solved by walking.”
Participating in the annual Christmas Bird Count is an excellent way to get out-of-doors while learning more about our feathered friends and meeting some great people who share our enthusiasm for conservation.
This is an invitation to join tens of thousands of volunteers in the Audubon Society’s 114th Annual Christmas Bird Count that takes place tomorrow through Jan. 15.
You can learn more about the local bird counting efforts by visiting www.sevenmountainsaudubon.org. This web site is packed with lots of interesting information, narratives and statistics from previous year’s counts and bird identification guides.
When the annual counts are combined with surveys such as the Breeding Bird Survey, it provides a picture of how populations have changed in the past century.
Additional information on bird counts may be obtained from Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count web site at www.audubon.org/bird/cbc, or on the Pennsylvania Society for Ornithology’s site, www.pabirds.org.
Outdoor gift shopping
If you’re still looking for a perfect gift for the outdoor enthusiasts on your list, you may want to check out the “The Outdoor Shop” on the Pa. Game Commission’s web site www.pgc.state.pa.us.
Your gift shopping will also help wildlife because a portion of the revenue from any purchases made from the Game Commission supports local programs.
One gift that’s always in demand is the Commission’s full-color calendar, which sells for $8.95. The 2013 calendar features a year’s worth of dramatic wildlife photos. The subjects in the calendar include: screech owl, muskrat, Carolina wren, male turkey, Eastern bluebird, black bear, a pair of bald eagles, trio of white-tailed deer, bull elk, drake wood duck, ruffed grouse, and a beautiful buck.
In addition, the 2013 calendar includes tentative hunting and trapping seasons, a reminder about National Hunting and Fishing Day, and many other interesting bits of information about wildlife and the outdoors.
A friendly reminder
The two-week statewide general deer season closed Saturday so now it’s time to do your part in Pennsylvania’s deer management system and report your harvest.
Take the time now, before all of the holiday preparations become overwhelming, to report your deer through the online reporting system, or through the new toll-free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) telephone reporting system or by using the postage-paid report cards that you got with your hunting license.
Carl Roe, the Executive Director of the Pa. Game Commission reported earlier this week that, “Unfortunately, based on more than 20,000 deer checked by Game Commission deer aging teams last year, less than 40 percent of hunters who harvested deer took the time to report that harvest.”
Frankly, if the Game Commission’s biologists and statisticians have to extrapolate more than half the sample size to come up with accurate harvest statistics, none of us may be happy with the results. “Proper and timely reporting of deer harvests is one way in which hunters can contribute to deer management efforts,” Roe said.
So why not do your part and report a harvest today?
You won’t want to miss it
“Where to Go for Trophy Trout” is the title of a presentation that Mike Klimkos will make at the Trout Unlimited-R.B. Winter Chapter meeting Wednesday. His talk will focus on Pennsylvania’s fishing holes but will also include some of the best trout fishing spots worldwide.
The evening begins with a meal at 6 p.m. followed by a short meeting and the presentation at 7 at the Towne Tavern Shanty in Lewisburg. There will also be information available on the upcoming Rivers Conservation Camp for young people that will be held in June.
Outdoor show season
You will be hearing more about the upcoming outdoor shows in upcoming columns. But in the meantime, I thought you might like to know that Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show will be adding hundreds of new exhibitors, features and celebrities this year. The show takes place on February 2-10 at the State Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.
There will be a new “Tactical Gun and Accessory” section added to the Wild West Hall, and two complete archery halls this year.
In addition, there will be a variety of calling and other outdoors type contests that attract contestants from all over the globe. A few of these competitions are: the 22nd Annual Northeastern States Elk Calling Contest; owl hooting; turkey calling for all ages; the Pennsylvania Fly Tying Championship; decoy carving; taxidermy; and photography contests.