Spring offers diversions of many colors

Pennsylvania spring offers diversions of many colors

May 4, 2013

The Trilliums are blooming. The hillside of the wooded area round the Dormont-Mt. Lebanon Sportsmen’s Club is covered with Squirrels Corn and Adders Tongue.

Those who like to view the wildflowers should go to the Enlow Creek valley. I haven’t noticed if the Virginia Bluebells are in bloom yet, but I would bet that the hills and valleys will be covered with a wide assortment of wild flowers.

Don’t forget to throw a fishing rod in the trunk. There are trout in both Enlow Creek and Templeton Fork.

The wife can admire the flowers while her husband fishes.

Often while I’m viewing the flowers, the hillsides will echo with the yelps and gobbles of wild turkey. Of course, it just might be a hunter imitating a hen turkey in an attempt to lure a big male to his demise.

There is a lot going on at this time of year. While I think that hunting pressure is light – at least where I live – I know of at least two hunters who have downed exceptional birds.

Steve Scott lives on Davis School Road and took a big 20-plus-pound bird in the Eighty Four area on the first day.

If you remember way back, the local clubs used to run what was called a sportsmen’s Olympics, Entries had to shoot a handgun, a rifle and shotgun in various events.

The goal was to reward a person who could do well with all forms of shooting. Most shooters succeed with one form of shooting or another.

The champ at the Olympics had to be one who was competent with a handgun, rifle and shotgun. Scott was the winner more than once.

The other big bird was taken by Jake McEwen of Linnwood Road. Again, this bird was more than 20 pounds and was taken in the Eighty Four area. I have measured and entered a buck in Pope and Young for McEwen.

• I remember when a box of of .22 rimfire ammo could be purchased for less than $1.50. Now, you can’t find a box or brick at any cost – or should I say a reasonable cost?

While at the last gun show at Arden, I saw a private sale where a single box of .22 cartridges was sold for $18. That was a box of 50, not a brick of 500. And it wasn’t match ammo.

But ammo is so scarce, and certain ones such as .22s are just not in stores.

This ammo shortage puts a hardship on rifle teams, and I know of at least one shooter who can’t practice because he is saving his limited supply of ammo for matches and hoping it will last.

When a small supply of ammo appears in a store, it goes out the door almost as fast as it was delivered. Most stores are obtaining rimfire ammunition and limiting sales to one box per customer.

Others who use .22 ammo are meat cutters and landowners who are having problems with wildlife.

I have witnessed more than one farmer leave a store disgusted because he couldn’t get .22 ammo.

Why is there a shortage and where did all of that ammo go? I can understand the shortage of .222 (5.56) ammo. It is used by the military.

The same can be said of 9 mm, 45 and 7.62 calibers. But why .22s?

I don’t think we are attacking Syria with rimfire-chambered rifles.

The answer could be hoarding.

The election of an anti-gun president was like turning on a switch. Gun sales boomed and with them, so did the ammo sales.

I can’t help but think there are a high number of pro-gun residents in the area who feared that this would happen. Despite the anti-gun crowd saying that gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Ammendment are in the minority.

The high number of firearms sales and the shortage of ammo suggest otherwise. These people are not all criminals – though they should have left some ammo for me.

George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.



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