2016-02-13 / Outdoors

Wolf Tracks

There may be something to the notion of the winter blues or, in our neck of the woods, “cabin fever.”

Seasonal affective disorder (with its appropriate acronym, SAD) is a type of depression that corresponds to seasonal changes in light.

It most commonly occurs in late fall and lasts into spring. It’s not uncommon to feel “down” during the winter months, but people with SAD are not able to function normally during these months. It often begins during adolescence or young adulthood.

Researchers say it is clearly related to changes in seasonal light. Lack of light during the winter months can throw off levels of hormones and brain chemicals. This could contribute to the symptoms of SAD. Scientists are also researching if SAD is related to lack of the chemical serotonin in the brain.

There are differences of opinion as to the severity and treatment of SAD, but a remedy that’s often prescribed is exposure to sunlight.


Follow the example set by many species, including the always-hyper gray squirrel, and get out to soak up some sunshine as a remedy for cabin fever. Dave Wolf photo Follow the example set by many species, including the always-hyper gray squirrel, and get out to soak up some sunshine as a remedy for cabin fever. Dave Wolf photo So there you have it – doctor’s orders to don your winter gear and get outside. It’s good for what ails you.

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Another effort is being made by some lawmakers in Harrisburg to merge the Game Commission with the Fish & Boat Commission.

Rep. Martin Causer, a Republican whose district includes parts of Potter, Cameron and McKean counties, is leading the charge. He cites the results of a study by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee that examined the feasibility, impact, and economics of a single agency managing the state’s wildlife and aquatic resources.

Causer pointed out that Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation with two separate, independent agencies with management and oversight of fishing, boating and wildlife activities. He said the study forecasted a savings of at least $5 million annually, primarily through elimination of redundant upper level positions and duplication of services.

In the past, hunters, anglers, other outdoor enthusiasts and conservationists have fought a merger. They point out that many of those states that have combined agencies also dedicate tax dollars to that agency.

It has been a long-held belief that if these agencies would merge, the next step would to bring them under the umbrella of the Pa. Dept. of Conservation and Natural Resources.

But, like with the proposal to allow Sunday hunting, a good rule of thumb is this: don’t hold your breath.

(Dave Wolf may be reached by email at wolfang418@msn.com.)

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