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Amid the hustle of hanging around trout trucks before the season opens at the end of this month, I had the opportunity to think and learn about deer and hunting.

It was at the Hunter-Trapper Education Course instructor refresher workshop at Shippensburg.

A lot of time was spent bringing instructors up to date on the plight of Pennsylvania’s whitetailed deer population amid the threat of chronic wasting disease. Most of the latest bad news has already been reported, specifically about CWD’s discovery in Lancaster County and the disease management area that will be set up there.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission wants its volunteer instructors to be able to address the growing CWD crisis so new deer hunters understand what is required of them.

Otherwise, here’s a bit of HTEC trivia.

Did you know:

About 790 hunter ed classes were given in Pennsylvania last year.

The last seasons were relatively safe for most. There were 21 hunting accidents in 2017, compared to 28 in 2016. The average age of offenders is 44. So the youngsters are doing it right.

Twenty-four percent of the accidents were self-inflicted. Crossbow hunters are advised not to rest their bows against their boots when the safety is off.

Successful completion of the HTEC is a requirement for getting the first license, and future hunters and trappers can take the course online if they are 16 years and older.

If attending in person, registrants must be at least 11 years old the day of the course. Lunch is often free.

For more information and to sign-up for other courses, go to the Pennsylvania Game Commission website, pgc.state.pa.us.

Here are locations, dates and times for HTEC in this region.

  • Plenty of seats are open, as the Mechanicsburg Sportsmen’s Association at 493 Sample Bridge Road hosts the class from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 17.
  • Game Commission headquarters at 2001 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, is the place for HTEC from 6 to 9 p.m. April 6; 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 7. Students should take their own lunch. A portion of the course will be outside.
  • Mt. Holly Fish and Game Association at 205 Oldtown Road, Gardners, will host HTEC on from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 21.
  • South Mountain Fish and Game at Loop Road in the Village of South Mountain will host HTEC from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21.

Trout going out

The trout trucks continue to roll and I hope to get to Children’s Lake next week to see the tasty torpedoes for myself.

Here again is the Fish & Boat Commission trout stocking schedule for Cumberland County waters. Schedules for all counties can be found at the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com.

Volunteers are always welcome.

Specifics and schedules for all counties can be found at the commission website at www.fishandboat.com.

Listed are waterways to receive fish, and dates, times and meeting places. Past dates are included as well, so you know when your favorite waterway received its preseason stocking.

Mentored Youth trout fishing days are March 24 and April 7. The regional opening day for the rest of us is March 31. Opening day statewide will be April 14.

  • Big Spring Creek: 9:30 a.m. March 26, April 12 and May 10, meet at the Newville Post Office.
  • Childrens Lake: 9:30 a.m. March 20, meet at Boiling Springs Post Office; 9 a.m. April 5 and 27, meet at Huntsdale Hatchery.
  • Doubling Gap Lake: 9 a.m. March 15 and April 5, meet at Huntsdale Hatchery.
  • Fuller Lake: 9 a.m. March 12 and April 5, meet at Huntsdale.
  • Green Spring Creek: 9 a.m. April 21, meet at Huntsdale; 9:30 a.m. May 10, meet at Huntsdale.
  • Laurel Lake: 9 a.m. March 12, April 5, May 4, meet at Huntsdale.
  • Middle Spring Creek: 9 a.m. March 15, meet at Huntsdale; 9:30 a.m. April 12, meet at Huntsdale.
  • Mountain Creek: 9 a.m. March 19 and April 2, meet at Huntsdale; 9 a.m. May 4, meet at Huntsdale.
  • Opossum Lake: 9 a.m. March 16 and April 16, meet at Huntsdale.
  • Yellow Breeches Creek: 9 a.m. Feb. 21, March 30, April 20 and 27, meet at Huntsdale; 9:30 a.m. March 23, April 11 and 28, meet at Huntsdale.

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Send your wild thoughts to bjsmall@comcast.net or follow him on Twitter @Arrows2010.

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