TribLIVE

| Sports

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Outdoors notebook: Habitat key to finding ducks

TribLIVE Sports Videos

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, 10:33 p.m.
 

If you want to find wood ducks, go north and look for beavers.

Duck season is here — it runs through Saturday in the state's south zone and through Nov. 30 in the north zone — and as always, beautiful wood ducks will be a favorite target of hunters.

The birds are certainly doing well. Despite five years of having a three-bird-per-day limit, populations “remain healthy,” said Kevin Jacobs, waterfowl biologist for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Pennsylvania's northwest counties are about the best places to find the birds. Roughly 14.5 percent of wood ducks taken across the state last year came from Crawford County. No other county came close to that.

Mercer County accounted for 7 percent of the woodies taken by hunters, Lawrence County 3 percent and Butler County 2.

Wherever you hunt wood ducks, seek out newly flooded beaver dams, Jacobs said. Beaver dams less than 5 years old offer the best spots for wood duck habitat, he added.

Lake Wilhelm

Anglers have been complaining over the past few years about how hard it is to catch fish from Lake Wilhelm in M.K. Goddard State Park in Mercer County.

Blame it on the alewives. Fish and Boat Commission and park officials said populations of the minnow-like fish have exploded, reducing panfish numbers and making it hard to tempt gamefish into biting.

At a recent meeting, though, commission officials said they've tried to address the problem by stocking the lake with fingerling walleyes and largemouth bass this year to introduce more predators. The park is studying how and where it might reduce the nutrients that are flowing into the lake and supporting the shad.

Newcomers

More people tried fishing for the first time last year than ever before.

Research done for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation found that 4.5 million people cast their first lines in 2012. That was part of a trend that saw more people fishing overall. According to the survey, 47 million Americans fished last year, up from 46.2 million in 2011.

New records

A 12-year-old boy recently caught the Maryland record largemouth bass while fishing a farm pond. It weighed 11 pounds, 6 ounces.

A Virginia man caught the world record snakehead in that state. It weighed 17 pounds, 6 ounces, topping the previous record, which came from Japan, the species' native range.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Outdoors

  1. Some species overlooked more than ever by Pennsylvania hunters, anglers
  2. Outdoors notebook: Local college anglers reach FLW conference championship
  3. Fishing report: Fishing picking up with better weather
  4. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission looks to create premium trout fishing opportunities
  5. Frye: Changes in the outdoors scene
  6. Outdoors notices: Audubon Society to host hiking, geocaching workshop
  7. Walleye stocking effort takes a hit in Pennsylvania