The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

November 27, 2013

Bob Garrett's Talking Points: Valley shop joints harvest program

Daily Item

---- — "Good news to a hungry person is something to eat."

A huge thank you and a welcome to the folks at Kratzer's Meat of Winfield for joining the Hunter's Sharing the Harvest Program as the Central Susquehanna Valley's newest donated venison processor.

To become a designated Hunter's Sharing the Harvest Cooperative Processor, Harry Kratzer and his team had to demonstrate that they consistently use "best practices" while butchering the deer that are brought to their shop. Kratzer's is located at 134 Shirley Drive in Winfield and you can contact the shop by calling 570-524-4252. Additionally, Kratzer's will process the donated venison at a reduced price. Their generosity is a win-win-win for everyone involved. Hunters get their deer butchered for a great price, Kratzer's get additional business and, most importantly, the hungry people in our valley will get to enjoy low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-protein, grass-fed, free-range protein.

Bear harvest lags

At just past the midway point of the 2013 statewide bear season, the preliminary harvest totals are lagging from the recent record-setting years with 2,308 black bears harvested through this past Tuesday evening. Bears have been harvested in 51 counties during the statewide season, so far. Here in our valley the preliminary, midway totals by county are: Lycoming, 155; Clinton, 101; Union, 23; Snyder, 11; Columbia, 10; and Perry, 12. As of last evening, no bears were recorded for Montour or Northumberland Counties.

The largest bear, so far, was a male estimated at 772 pounds that was taken in Covington Township, Lackawanna County, by Daniel J. Beavers. For comparison, this year's midway preliminary harvest compares with 2,442 in 2012, when hunters harvested 3,632 bears which was the third-largest harvest in state history. The largest harvest, 4,350 bears, happened in 2011, when preliminary two-day totals numbered 3,023. Our four-day bear season ended last evening but hunters with an unfilled bear license may participate in extended bear seasons in specific Wildlife Management Units. This extended season will run concurrent with all or portions of the first week of the firearm deer season. For those deer hunters who didn't purchase a bear license, but are headed to an area where the extended bear season is being held, bear license sales reopen today and run through Sunday.

Rock snot on the move

What could be worse than "Rock Snot?" How about "Sea Snot?" According to National Geographic, a slimy combination of dead plankton, gelatinous sea creatures and their feces fall to the ocean floor and become nutritious food for deep-sea organisms. National Geographic scientists found that shortly after the "sea snot" drifted to the bottom of the ocean, the activity of the deep-sea creatures increased. The most active part of the ocean is its surface which is where algae and phytoplankton use the sun's energy to photosynthesize.

Jellyfish-like animals called sea salps feed on the phytoplankton. The sea salps and their supper eventually die and sink to the ocean's floor creating the gooey sea snot. Just so you know, this research on sea snot is being conducted about 145 miles west of the coast of California between Santa Barbara and Monterey. Much closer to home, staff from the Susquehanna River Basin Commission staff have documented another outbreak of rock snot or Didymosphenia geminate in the West Branch of Pine Creek in Potter County. This means that Didymo has migrated from the main stem of Pine Creek, near Waterville in Lycoming County. Our local "snot" is a highly invasive alga that has caused environmental concerns worldwide. As a reminder, if you have fished, boated or come in contact with rock snot-infected waterways, you are encouraged to disinfect your gear to prevent this invasive from spreading.