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Wildlife Habitat Field Day Slated


The Susquehanna Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), in cooperation with Finch Hill Rod and Gun Club, will host a free wildlife habitat improvement field day on July 30.

Guest speakers and a walking tour of recent improvement projects will highlight the event at the Finch Hill club grounds in Harmony Township, Susquehanna County, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Over the past two years, Finch Hill Rod and Gun Club has cleared several acres of brush, treated five acres of land to control invasive ferns, planted several acres of food plot; planted over 100 new fruit and nut trees and undertaken several other projects.

The schedule for the day is as follows:

•10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Finch Hill Rod and Gun Club president Jerry Rusek and other club members will discuss past management efforts and the most current changes, including quality deer management efforts.

•10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.: Forester Bob Hobbes and logger Dave Sienko lead a walking tour of the habitat improvement projects, including areas where Sienko has been cutting 40-year-old evergreen trees.

•11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: lunch, provided by the club.

•12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.: Susquehanna Branch QDMA board members field questions about habitat improvement for whitetail deer.

•1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Jimmy Stickles, Pennsylvania Game Commission deer trapping team leader for Wildlife Management Unit 3C, discusses his activities the past three years.

•1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Dr. James Kroll and John Butler, owner of the Buck Forage Oats Company, talk to the group.

Rusek expressed his appreciation for the efforts made by Hobbes, a forester who helped the club create its Forest Stewardship Plan, and Sienko, who is also a QDMA board member, to the ongoing habitat projects.

“We would not have done some of this work if not for the funding we received from the local U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service office,” Rusek  said.

“We have a lot more work to do to improve the habitat to the level where it could be and to help us manage the area for the improvement for all wildlife from small birds to deer and bear.”

Noting that 55 acres of the property was open fields just 50 years ago, Bob Wagner, the Susquehanna QDMA secretary, said, “Our branch in cooperation with the Finch Hill club and the Susquehanna and Wayne/Lackawanna Forest Landowners Associations want to show those interested what type of habitat work can be done” on similar land.

“We believe that by seeing the habitat improvement projects many landowners will be encouraged to do similar improvement projects on their own properties.”

Rusek added, “The club members want to tell about the works of improvement and how it has invigorated the club members’ interest in hunting and managing the property.”

The club is located in the extreme northeast corner of Susquehanna County. For those with GPS units, the co-ordinates are North 42 degrees, 59.512 minutes, West 75 degrees, 29.182 minutes.

From I-81 in Hallstead/Great Bend, drivers should take Rte. 171 east to Oakland, through Susquehanna and on to Lanesboro. In Lanesboro, go straight at the railroad viaduct onto SR 1009. Follow SR 1009 to the village of Stevens Point, where you turn at the concrete bridge onto SR 1011. After a mile, the road comes to a Y, where you will bear right onto Mountain Road. After approximately 0.75 miles, turn left onto Lee Road. The field day site is 5/8 miles up Lee Road.

Signs will be posted at intersections along the route.

For more information on directions, call Wagner at (570) 278-9363 or Rusek at (570) 350-0966. 

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