Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 64

Seasons and Cycles

B

EFORE DAWN on the first morning of buck season, I climbed a ridge I've
ascended countless times. I know this ground by its pitch and lean, by stars I can
or cannot see along the horizon at this precise time of year. Near the crest, I can veer
left or right and top out above deer trails that skirt good cover. My son Aaron and I
had agreed I'd take the left route, and he'd go right.
I found the oak that I sit against, but made commotion
getting settled. My light flashed around as I arranged gear. I
fiddled with my seat pad, and I readied my coffee bottle for an
early cup. I knew going in that I was more intent on Aaron's
success than my own. My desire to hear his rifle was keener
than my hope for a buck.
The sky brightened above the graceful line of Chestnut
Ridge, fiery orange at first, then gilding through salmon and
rose to gold. A dark mass in the canopy caught my eye. That's
an odd place for a squirrel's nest, I thought. Generally, they're
tight against the trunk, entwined within vines. This mass was
distinct, silhouetted against the dawn.
I looked away, not wishing to compromise my woods-sight at that early hour.
When I looked back the mass had changed its shape. As I watched, it sprouted a broad
fan, then two wedges of wing protruded below, and a long neck craned outward. That
opaque mass was no nest, but a roosted turkey, most likely a gobbler.
My eyes searched the trees for other birds. I picked out three more orbs that
could be turkeys. The nearer bird paced its limb, fanning and strutting. A long beard
dangled, visible at times against the sky.
As light bled into the woods, the turkeys clucked gravely, first one, then another.
I wanted to see them bail out at fly-down, but I'd also begun watching the deer trails
with typical vigilance.
Soon, that familiar rush of wings pulled my gaze back to the gobbler. He was
sailing and wheeling down through the branches with the easy grace of a seabird, his
fan tilting and his wings weaving their way. He hit the ground just ahead of his five
companions. I'd missed seeing two on their roosts.
A little after 8 o'clock, a shot cracked from Aaron's direction. It had that telling
sound of finality, coolly aimed and lethal. Later, I learned I had been correct.
I like to imagine that when I climb that ridge in search of a gobbler this spring, I'll
encounter a buck sprouting knobby growths that will be next autumn's antlers. That
would be a fitting meeting, rounding out another cycle of seasons on the ridge I love
to hunt.

64



Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018

Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Intro
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover1
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Contents
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 2
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 4
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 5
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 6
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 7
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 8
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 9
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 10
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 11
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 12
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 13
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 14
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 15
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 16
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 17
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 18
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 19
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 20
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 21
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 22
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 23
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 24
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 25
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 26
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 27
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 28
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 29
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 30
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 31
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 32
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 33
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 34
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 35
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 36
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 37
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 38
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 39
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 40
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 41
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 42
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 43
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 48
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Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 53
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 54
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 55
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 56
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 57
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 58
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 59
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 60
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 61
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 62
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 63
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - 64
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover3
Pennsylvania Game News - March 2018 - Cover4
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