Bob Frye / Trib Total Media
Why walk when you can ride? Additional roads have been opened for hunters on public land this fall.
What’s that they say about real estate? It’s all about location, location, location.
With hunting, it’s access, access, access.
Hunters need to get to where the wildlife is to be successful. Sometimes, that means lots of walking.
Opportunities to find game with a little less foot travel are here, though.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission opened some additional game lands roads, some of them leading to “deer hunter focus areas,” places where the commission has cut timber and done other habitat work and now wants sportsmen to harvest a few whitetails to allow for forest regeneration and other growth.
The commission’s goal initially was to identify those sites and prove sportsmen with maps in time for the statewide early muzzleloader season. That didn’t happen.
But everything’s going live now.
The commission has identified the game lands with deer hunter focus areas. In the southwest region, they are game land 51in Fayette County, 111 in Fayette/Somerset, 174 and 262 in Indiana, 223 in Greene and 108 in Cambria/Blair. In the northwest region, they are 74 and 283 in Clarion, 24 in Forest and 86 and 143 in Warren.
Maps are coming next.
“We are shooting to have all the maps done in PDF format as well as having them available on our mapping center as a feature by the end of this month,” said David Gustafson, chief of the commission’s forestry division.
Jack Lucas, land management group supervisor in the commission’s southwest region office, said some maps are already done, and include GPS coordinates for parking lots, roads and the like.
In the meantime, the state’s bureau of forestry opened additional roads in 18 of 20 state forest districts.
More than 3,000 miles of road opened for the start of archery season on Oct. 3 and will remain open – with exceptions – through fall and into winter. Some roads will be open only for the second week of the traditional rifle season because they cannot withstand the expected heavy traffic of the first week of that season, officials said. Others will be open for two to three months, if there is minimal threat of damage or deterioration to road surfaces or forest surroundings.
Particularly bad weather can force the temporary closing of some road sections, as can Marcellus Shale-related activities.
But with the openings, more than 90 percent of state forest land will be within one-half mile of an open road.
Hunters are encouraged to contact managers of the forest they’ll be hunting for particulars.
Likewise, hunters can contact Allegheny National Forest to get details on the roads its recently opened, some of which will remain accessible through Jan. 11.
The roads are ones typically gated. Some are open to everyone; others only to those with a disabled persons hunting permit. Like state forest roads, all are subject to temporary closures based on weather or other factors.
A full list is available by contacting Allegheny National Forest at 814-362-6000 or 814-927-5700.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.