Saturday’s (Oct. 3) archery deer hunting season opener is the time when properly licensed bowhunters can take an antlered or antlerless deer throughout the state. And with temperatures forecasted to be in the mid 60s, it makes for a comfortable hunt. But the warm weather also creates a problem of bugs and ticks.
Bugs during this time of season are terrible. It’s tough to sit still in a treestand when bugs are flying around and onto the face and neck. And when walking to and from a stand site, it’s ticks hunters have to worry about. But modern science has come to the aid of sportsmen and outdoors folks with tick repellent like Permethrin that is sprayed on outer clothes, but not on the skin. For the skin, there’s the new Bug & Tick repellent (made by Clean Control of Robins GA – 800-841-3904) that is odor free. So hunters now have two products that can keep them, hopefully, bug and tick free while in the outdoors.
As far as new equipment is concerned, Rick Weaknecht, of Weaknecht Archery in Kutztown, said the hottest equipment this season seems to be in reverse limb crossbows. Horizontal bows made by Barnett (Buck Commander), Horton (Storm RDX) and Scorpyd (Ventilator) have been selling well and generating more interest over traditional crossbows. Why you may ask? Because of their non-traditional design, Weaknecht says reverse limbs are balanced better as the majority of their weight is in the center of the bow not at the end as on traditional crossbows. “Plus they are smaller and when drawn are more compact axle-to-axle making them more suitable and more comfortable when treestand hunting and carrying to and from the woods,” cited Weaknecht.
New arrows, compound bows, broadheads, sights and rests merely have new twists and enhancements to attract the bowhunter. Mathews, for example, has come out with a round cam compound bow after years of selling single cam bows. Round cams were popular years ago in fact yours truly still shoots an old one.
A new twist in attractants – and there are loads of them on the market – comes from Evolve Habitats (www.evolved.com) and their Dirt Bag dirt colored deer attractant. It has a dried molasses aroma and looks like dirt. It contains Glo-Cote that uses a UV enhanced visual attractant that is reportedly visible to deer but not humans.
If you’re a believer and user of deer scents, Bob’s Taxidermy in Orefield (610-398-7609) will again be selling fresh Urine-Luck doe and buck scents. He gets fresh, refrigerated batches of it weekly.
But the biggest predicament is where to hunt. In Lehigh County there’s the archery-only woodlot on Lehnert Road off Mauch Chunk Road in Whitehall Township. This small parcel is home to a number of deer that always seem to get hit when they attempt to cross busy Route 22 near Rothrock Motors.
Then there’s the Trexler Zoo’s (formerly called the Trexler Game Preserve) North Ridge where bow hunting is allowed. There’s also nearby State Game Lands (SGL) 205 off Route 100 in Lowhill Township that can also be accessed from Route 309 in Schnecksville. And of course SGL 217 on the Blue Mountain that becomes SGL 168 on the Blue in Northampton County.
Small woodlots should not be overlooked. Driving past the Fogelsville state police barracks there’s a wood line bordering a warehouse along Schantz Road where there are at least four deer living in there. Farther south on Schantz there’s a hill top woodlot (adjacent to a vineyard) where a small herd is always out grazing at dusk. If you can get permission to hunt these small areas, they can be productive and may reduce deer-car collisions to some extent.
The split archery deer season runs until Nov. 14 then starts up again Dec. 26 – Jan. 9 statewide. In WMU’s 2B, 5C and 5D, the first season ends Nov. 28 and also starts up again the day after Christmas with a Jan. 23 season end date.