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THE SPORTSMAN’S CHOICE FOR NEWS AND INFORMATION

NEW YORK

2016

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Dutchess County Tract Eyed as Part of National Refuge

VOL. 12, NO. 05

Turn In Poachers 1-844-DEC-ECOS Inside News

Another safe season

21

DEC Biologist a Leading Authority on Fisher, Marten

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Picking ‘Pockets’ on the Ausable’s Famed West Branch

39

Coyote Calling Tips: Bring in the ‘Yotes With These Tactics

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MARCH 4, 2016

No fatalities in 23 hunting-related shooting incidents Hope on the Hudson

Surveys show Atlantic sturgeon are continuing their comeback on the big river. See Page 5

Ivory Trafficking

A western New York man faces fines and prisons in an international elephant ivory trafficking case. See Page 8

NWTF Honors

New York’s state chapter president receives the National Wild Turkey Federation’s highest honor for a volunteer. See Page 11

Watch Your Label! EXAMPLE ONLY!

For details, see ad – Page 50

By Steve Piatt Editor Albany — New York state hunters had one of the safest seasons on record in 2015, with 23 hunting-related shooting incidents and no fatalities. Statistics from the DEC show the solid safety record of 2015 continues a three-year trend during which Empire State hunters recorded the three safest seasons afield on record. Last year was the first in which there were no shooting-related fatalities, DEC sportsman education coordinator Chuck Dente said in his annual report. (See Hunter Safety Page 13)

OPENER APPROACHES: Given the on-and-off ice fishing opportunities in New York state this winter, many anglers are now gearing up for the April 1 trout season kickoff, which could offer some fine early season fishing if the weather and water levels and temperatures hold. DEC typically gets some waters stocked ahead of the season opener. Photo by Rich Garfield

Bevilacqua, longest-serving CFAB member, dies at 78

his tenure on the state’s Staff Report Conservation Fund Advisory Syosset, N.Y. — Charles Board, which monitors expenA. Bevilacqua, a Long Island ditures from within the state’s sportsmen’s advocate and Conservation Fund and makes the longest-serving member recommendations on various in the history of the state’s programs. Conservation Fund Advisory Board, died last month. Bevilacqua was appointed by Gov. Mario Cuomo as CFAB’s Bevilacqua, 78, died Feb. 11 Region 1 (Long Island) reprefollowing a stroke. A Brooklyn-born ex-Marine, Charles Bevilacqua sentative in 1984, two years after it was created. It was actually Bevilacqua had lived in Nassau called the Conservation Fund County since 1950. And he spent the bulk of his life as a tireless advocate for Advisory Council at that time before its the state’s sportsmen and women, serving in name was changed to CFAB in 1994. “Charlie was a dedicated representative a number of capacities along the way. But Bevilacqua was best known for (See Bevilacqua Page 34

&

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Champlain smelt fishery rebounding DEC, Vermont officials reporting better numbers, fewer alewives

By Don Lehman Contributing Writer Crown Point, N.Y. — It’s been years since Norm St. Pierre, owner of the venerable Norm’s Bait & Tackle in Essex County, has had reason for optimism about the smelt fishing on Lake Champlain’s Bulwagga Bay. Ice fishing for smelt in the lake, for decades an institution that drew thousands to the lake’s westerns shores, went downhill in the mid-2000s, around the time that a competing baitfish, the alewife, became entrenched in the lake. Alewives are considered more aggressive, and smelt numbers seemed to drop steadily as alewife schools became more prevalent. Alewives also seemed to alter smelt behavior, keeping them from the bays where they (See Smelt Page 34)

Upcoming Events Walleye/Pike Seasons Close

March 15: Walleye, northern pike, pickerel and tiger muskie seasons close (statewide, general regulations)

Contents

Scott Murray, of South Wales, was jigging for perch on Chautauqua Lake on Feb. 20 when he caught this muskie. The fish was released after a quick photo.

News������������������������������ Pages 4-17 Columnists��������������������� Pages 18-20 Cuffs and Collars��������������������Page 42 Fishing Report����������������� Pages 44-45 Nature Page�������������������������Page 48 Calendar������������������������������Page 50

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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016


Opinion

March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 3

Flawed free license bill would hit fish/wildlife fund Legislation introduced by a state senator from Dutchess County could put a sting on the state’s Conservation Fund if passed and signed into law. Sen. Sue Serino (R-C-IP, Hyde Park) introduced SB6690, which would make volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses. Fortunately, at this point there is no Assembly companion bill and Serino’s proposal is sitting in the Senate environmental conservation committee.

Steve Piatt Editor

While her support for the efforts of volunteer firemen and ambulance personnel is laudable, her legislative proposal comes without a thorough examination of its impact. With thousands of volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel across the state, and many of them sportsmen and women, the potential impact on the state’s Conservation Fund – fueled primarily by sporting license revenues – could be serious, if not crippling. Serino, in recognizing the efforts of those volunteers, noted in introducing the bill that “volunteer firefighters and volunteer ambulance workers contribute their time, often while risking their own safety, to provide a vital service for their communities, and all of this is done without any compensation. Waiving the fishing, small-game, and big-game hunting license fees for these heroes and volunteers is a small but meaningful way of showing our appreciation for the services and safety they provide.” Yes, without compensation. That’s why they are called volunteers. Let’s be honest, too. There are varying levels of volunteerism across the state, notably within fire companies. I was a volunteer “firefighter” in a small, rural township for many years, but my efforts involved little more than setting up tables for the pancake breakfasts and maybe grabbing a broom during a grassfire. Not exactly donning an air pack and rushing into a burning home to rescue a cat, and certainly nothing that merited a free hunting and fishing license. As a sportsman as well, I have no problem contributing to our cause through my purchase of a lifetime Sportsman license and my annual $10 application fee for Deer Management Permits. It’s money that funds our fish and wildlife programs, despite the seemingly popular myth that it’s a pot of funds regularly raided and shoved into the state’s general fund for other uses. These kinds of flawed legislative proposals surface from time to time, and they come at a time when hunter and angler numbers are seen as declining – another reason to avoid trimming licensepaying customers from our roster. Too, in recent years there have been occasional rumblings that the state’s volunteer – there’s that word again – sportsman education instructors should be getting a little something for their efforts, such as a free hunting license. To their credit, the majority of sportsman ed instructors dismissed the idea as one that’s not necessary; the reward of building the ranks of safe hunters is quite enough. Chances are this bill will die a natural death without advancing out of the environmental conservation committee. And that’s a good thing. At a time when the state’s Conservation Fund has already been eroded by revenues lost through a license “restructuring,” this proposal is simply too costly. And my guess is if you ask these volunteers, most will say it’s not necessary. Volunteerism is just that. spiatt@outdoornews.com New York Outdoor News welcomes unsolicited fishing and hunting photographs. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of photograph to: New York Outdoor News, P.O. Box 108, Waverly, NY 14892-0108 E-mail: spiatt@outdoornews.com Web site: www.outdoornews.com/newyork

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“If I was a smallmouth I’d hang around those rocks over there...”

Commentary

Budget boosts Adirondacks

By William C. Janeway

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed 2016-17 state budget includes record funding for clean water, wilderness, wildlife and communities in the Adirondack Park. It is an ambitious plan that provides an historic opportunity for Adirondack Park stakeholders to work together. It is an historic moment, with local government officials supporting new lands for the Forest Preserve and conservation organizations supporting investments in infrastructure, community development and tax relief. Protecting our Adirondack legacy requires the kind of bold, transformational investments proposed by the governor for open space, invasive species, climate change, clean energy, tourism and community infrastructure. Strong funding, combined with strong policies and agencies, will protect the beauty, charm and allure of the Adirondacks for generations to come. Central New York viewers who tuned in for

ACTIVE MEMBER

ACTIVE MEMBER Copyright 2016

(See Commentary Page 16)

Letters to the Editor

Commentaries and letters are the opinion of the writers, not necessarily that of New York Outdoor News.

One-buck reg is best solution

I’ve been watching the debate over antler restrictions. I’m not sure why the DEC is fixated on them, where it seems to me, in general, they fail. It’s hard to tell in the heat of the moment whether there were three points or not, especially at a distance. Maybe when the hunter gets up to him... oops, only two points and it gets left in the woods. Also, I’ve seen many beautiful basket 8-pointers... a legal deer and perhaps the best genetics? You can’t please all of the people all of the time, and yet there does seem to exist a method to please most hunters. The answer is one buck. You only get to harvest one buck. You choose which weapon: bow, gun, rifle, muzzleloader or crossbow but you only get one. This way each hunter gets what he wants – the meat hunter is happy, the first-time hunter is happy, and the trophy hunter is happy. We will have more bucks around and hopefully they will get some age on them.

Lincoln Adams Berkshire

Resents archers get first crack I do not usually write letters to editor, but I am after reading the Feb. 5 edition of New York Outdoor News and the whining from the bowhunters because DEC is considering putting muzzle-

Online Opinions This issue’s question ---------------------------------------------------------Do you plan on fishing the April 1 trout opener? Yes No Not Sure

Online results from last issue’s question ------------------------How many sport shows do you plan to attend this winter? 49% None

THE SPORTSMAN’S CHOICE FOR NEWS AND INFORMATION

N EW YORK

governor’s combined State of the State and budget address, may have been surprised to see the smiling face of Newcomb Town Supervisor George Canon on their television screens. George has been critical of state land purchases in the past. But he thanked the governor for purchasing 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Co. lands that will be added the Adirondack Forest Preserve. State ownership opens the land to the public and ensures that Newcomb receives full tax payments on those lands. The state is not eligible for the timberland tax abatements Finch received for decades on these parcels. The Adirondack Park is a national treasure, a globally unique legacy that requires and deserves special attention. The budget plan calls for a $133-million increase in the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), which would grow to $300 million for the first

28% One

23% More Than One

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Attention Readers New York Outdoor News invites letters from its readers. All letters must have the writer’s name, complete address and phone number. (Phone numbers will not be printed.) Letters should be no longer than 250 words. Form letters will not be printed. New York Outdoor News reserves the right to edit. Address letters to: Letters to the Editor New York Outdoor News P.O. Box 108, Waverly, NY 14892-0108 E-mail: spiatt@outdoornews.com

loaders into archery season. How dare they. Well, I am a rifle hunter and have been since I was 16 years old; I am 71 now. I resent the fact that bowhunters are in the woods a month before rifle hunters, letting them get a crack at any nice bucks before anyone else. Why isn’t muzzleloading or rifle season before archery season? Well, DEC, why don’t we have one hunting season for all? Start it the third weekend in October and end it the first weekend in December. You pick the weapon of choice: bow, muzzleloader or rifle. Happy hunting.

Bruno Mazzotte Moriah Center

What are factors in deer kill dip? New York Outdoors News headline, “Deer kill down across New York.” How much is due to deer die-off from last winter? Coyotes killing fawns ? Or fewer hunters in the woods? Did anyone do a winterkill survey?

Rev. Mark J. Avens Chesapeake City, Md.

Waterfowlers hurt by city regs I read your paper often, and I realized there is not much reported about waterfowl hunting. With that said, I feel this topic needs to be addressed. (See Letters Page 16)


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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Survey shows concerns over deer-related problems, issues By Paula Piatt Associate Editor Waverly, N.Y. — Just over half the respondents to a DEC / Cornell University survey say the benefits of the Central Finger Lakes deer population are equal to the costs associated with the herd. Survey results were recently released as part of a two-part deer and deer management webinar series hosted by the two. Bill Siemer of Cornell’s Human Dimensions Research Unit presented the information. “We found that over half the respondents indicated they enjoy deer, even though they worry about the deer-related problems.

This suggests the deer-related problems were within tolerable levels for the majority of the residents in this unit,” he said. The area surveyed included the Central Finger Lakes Management Unit, an aggregate of three wildlife management units and portions of seven counties in the central portion of the state, including Seneca and portions of Wayne, Cayuga, Tompkins, Schuyler, Yates and Ontario. Designed to measure residents’ interests in and concerns about local deer numbers, the researchers also asked about perceptions of changes in the human interactions with deer;

Sounding Board n not to expand QUESTION: “Will DEC’s decisio in any additional mandatory antler restrictions ?” units impact your deer hunting

Ron Nadler Corinth (Saratoga County) “I don’t hunt in any of those units that already have antler restrictions. But a few groups I hunt with do it on their own and that is best, especially with the diversity of New York’s land.”

opinions on the importance of addressing deer-human interactions; and the perceived cost/benefit ratio of the deer herd. In the spring of 2015, 3,000 surveys were mailed to homes across the region, with a return rate of 51 percent. Additionally, follow-up telephone interviews were conducted with a sample of those who didn’t return the mailed form. Not surprisingly, those who were more likely to hunt deer or who owned rural land felt the benefits of the deer population outweighed its costs. Also no surprise was the response in WMU 7H (which includes the city of Ithaca and Cayuga Heights, which has long-battled a deer overpopulation problem), where people were more likely to believe that the costs outweighed the benefits. “There are a few communities in that area where tolerance has been exceeded for many residents for a number of years,” Siemer said. But generally, he said, folks in the area are positive about the local deer herd and wanted to know that the animals are healthy and “doing well,” although the greatest concerns where in the areas of health and human safety. About 60 percent of respondents

Some areas of central New York have high deer numbers and limited hunting access. 

Photo courtesy of Debra Weisberg

were concerned about getting Lyme disease or being involved in a car-deer accident (39 percent reported personal experience with a deer-related car accident). Damage to native plant communities and concerns for farmers were farther down the list. And, overall it seems, the majority of the respondents were not sportsmen, as only 30 percent were “extremely” interested in hunting deer.

Hunt of a Lifetime! The

When it came to interaction between deer and humans, concerns of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses topped the list. That was also the number one item respondents wanted deer managers to address (with 73 percent of respondents reporting it was “very” to “extremely” important to them). That was followed by deer health and well being at 66 percent, and deer-vehicle collisions (64 percent). Answers weren’t as clear when it came to questions about the changes in deer/human interaction in the past five years. With the exception of car-deer collisions, “don’t know” was the answer of choice when asked about the increase or decrease of deer hunting opportunities, damage to natural plants and forests, the number of deer harvested, the amount of crop damage or the number of cases of Lyme disease. The survey results provide a useful baseline as DEC begins a process of working with local residents on deer management issues. A 12-member stakeholder’s group is being formed from participants in the two-part webinar series; it will meet twice in March and discussions will help DEC set deer population goals for the area.

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Chuck Brownell Little Falls (Herkimer County) “It won’t impact me at all; we don’t shoot young bucks But I wish New York would put point restrictions statewide. The state does not care about conservation. All they care about is our hardearned money. For big bucks, it’s about patience and age. That’s all it takes.”

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Tyler Breen Honeoye Falls (Monroe County) “It’s not going to impact my deer hunting because I don’t really do much deer hunting. But I think earn-a-buck is the only way the DEC is going to improve the age class of bucks in New York.”

Jon Michael LaClair Wilseyville (Tioga County) “I don’t think it will directly impact my deer hunting. I personally started passing on deer that do not look mature enough a few years ago. This past year was a very poor year as far as deer sightings for me, but I passed pretty much any deer I saw. I hunt for many reasons, meat being one and older deer weigh more so I target them. Antlers to me are a bonus. Personally, I don’t find it as enjoyable to shoot a deer that hasn’t reached its potential.”

Brad Cimino Niagara Falls (Niagara County) “This won’t have any impact on my deer hunting, and I agree with the DEC in its efforts to encourage hunters to voluntarily harvest more mature deer. The only way for hunters to shoot bigger bucks is to let the younger ones walk. One or two years of antler growth makes a big difference.”

Jason Shaw Salem (Washington County) “It wouldn’t impact my deer hunting. I pass on the smaller bucks now, and hunt only six pointers or bigger.”

—Compiled by Steve Piatt

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March 4, 2016

Mixed Bag

Miranda Headlines Western N.Y. Show

Hamburg, N.Y. — Hunting legend Tom Miranda headlines the list of featured guests at this year’s Western New York Sport & Travel Expo, set for March 10-13 at the Erie County Fairgrounds outside Buffalo. The annual show occupies five buildings on the fairgrounds property, and also includes Magnum TV host Tim Herald and Capt. Dave Carraro of the National Geographic Channel’s popular TV show, “Wicked Tuna.” There are tons of vendors and exhibitors on hand, and numerous kids’ activities and past shows have also included a turkey calling contest. Seminars will include retriever training by Jim Beverly. Show hours are noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11-5 Sunday. For more information on the show go to www.eriepromotions.com.

Chapman to Appear at March 12 Event

North Chili, N.Y. — Nashville singer, songwriter and author Steve Chapman will be featured at the Saturday, March 12 “Outdoor Academy” presented by Pearce Sportsmen. The event will begin with over 20 workshops from 1-5 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:30 and Chapman’s presentation on “Hunting... Following the Trail to a Better Life.” Chapman is also the author of “A Look at Life from a Deer Stand.” A free will offering will be taken. For more information on the event, go online to www.pearcechurch.org/sportsmen.

DU Honors Landfill Facility

Seneca Falls, N.Y. — Ducks Unlimited recently honored Seneca Meadows Landfill in Seneca Falls with its Sponsor in Perpetuity Award. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to waterfowl conservation Seneca Meadows made in partnership with the Seneca Falls Chapter of the Ducks Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited approached the landfill to gain support for local conservation programming, and one of the ideas proposed was to engage youth activities outdoors and utilize this approach to address environmental conservation needs for future generations. Members of Ducks Unlimited’s youth program, Greenwings, placed duck nesting boxes on the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve. The efforts paid off this year when Greenwings found hatched eggs in the nesting boxes. “Seneca Meadows has a proven track record of protecting the environment for our future generations and our youth Greenwings program helps carry these ideals into the future,” said Mike Ernst, Ducks Unlimited’s area chairman.

Vienna Woods Plan Finalized

Annsville, N.Y. — A final Vienna Woods Unit Management Plan (UMP) outlining the improved recreational access and the management of two state forests and 12 parcels of detached Forest Preserve in southwestern Oneida County has been issued, DEC officials announced. The plan addresses DEC’s management of 1,299 acres on Stone Barn State Forest and Fish Creek State Forest located in the Oneida County towns of Annsville, Camden and Vienna. The UMP also covers 12 nearby parcels of detached forest preserve lands, ranging in size from six to 166 acres, located in the towns of Annsville and Vienna in Oneida County. The Vienna Woods Unit Management Plan is available for viewing or downloading on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/ lands/90760.html.

Falconry, Other Exams Set Albany — DEC has scheduled examinations for falconry, wildlife rehabilitator and leashed tracking dog licensing. The exams are scheduled for April 1, with the deadline to apply to take the tests March 18. The exams will run from 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC regional offices across the state. A list of DEC Regional Offices can be found on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. To apply for any of these exams, visit the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/359.html and fill out an exam registration form. You can mail, fax or email the completed form to: NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752. Further information is available by phone at (518) 402-8985 or via email at SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov. Applications Accepted for Pheasant Program Albany — March 25 is the deadline to apply for participation in the state’s cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership among DEC, sportsmen and sportswomen, 4-H youth, and landowners interested in rearing and releasing pheasants. Day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May or June. All release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program can be released on private shooting preserves. The program is funded through the State Conservation Fund from license fees paid by hunters, trappers and anglers. For more information on the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, including a downloadable “Pheasant Rearing Guide” and application, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7271.html on DEC’s website.

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 5

Sturgeon recovery on track in Hudson Joint 2015 survey shows numbers are at a 10-year high

Albany — Fisheries biologists are seeing a slow but steady increase in the number of Atlantic sturgeon in the Hudson River thanks to a long-term plan to protect the river’s largest fish. According to the DEC, the joint federal and state 2015 Juvenile Atlantic Sturgeon Survey shows the highest number of Atlantic sturgeon in the Hudson River in the 10-year history of the survey and the trend of the results show an increasing juvenile sturgeon abundance. “Juvenile Atlantic sturgeon are at the highest level recorded in the Hudson River in the last 10 years. These survey results are an encouraging sign for the recovery of Atlantic sturgeon,” said Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “We are cautiously optimistic that, with our continued vigilance and efforts to protect this species, Atlantic sturgeon will have a secure future.” Commercial fishing pressure in the late 1980s and early ‘90s led to a decline in the prehistoric fish, prompting New York to implement a harvest moratorium in 1996. Two years later the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) followed with a coast-wide, 40-year moratorium on sturgeon. The fish don’t begin to spawn before 10 or 20 years of age and the moratorium was designed to protect two generations. The additional protection of an “endangered” status was added in 2012 by the National Marine Fisheries Service. And now, as the fish come into their prime breeding years, biologists are seeing a steady increase in the population.

In addition to breeding populations, DEC also maintains publicly available records of sturgeon deaths to monitor the status and assess threats to the population. In June 2012, in response to the federal “endangered” listing of the species, DEC updated its website to direct all reports to a centralized location. Since improving data collection, the number of reported sturgeon deaths began to rise, which is likely related to the increase in outreach and centralization of sturgeon mortality reporting and the increased abundance of Atlantic sturgeon in the estuary, rather than a specific source or project. DEC continues to participate in the development of the ASMFC stock assessment for the Atlantic sturgeon, scheduled for completion in 2017. This assessment will summarize the current coast wide status of the species and identify opportunities to continue making progress toward the recovery.

Susie Jones and Jerry Harvey, of Westernville, teamed up on this moose while hunting north Maine woods Sept. 29, 2015


Page 6

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Staff Report Dover Plains, N.Y. — In an effort to save fast-disappearing shrublands from the eastern part of the country, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a new 10-area, 6-state national wildlife refuge that would include up to 1,500 acres in Dutchess County. The USFWS is now in the fourth phase – the public comment portion – of a nine-step process that would add the acreage in the eastern half of the county to the proposed Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. Other parcels in neighboring Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island have also been identified as potential refuge areas. “This proposal was developed through extensive coordination with our conservation partners, and would enhance our ongoing commitment to conserve species like the New England cottontail, monarch butterfly, and American woodcock that rely on shrublands and young forest,” said Refuge Manager Michael Horne of the Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in a press release. “Stakeholder input will ensure we direct our conservation efforts where they can make the most difference for wildlife and local communities.” Shrubland and young forests are the targeted habitats for the new refuge. Each have been disappearing at an alarming rate and are home to many species, including the threatened bog turtle, the whippoorwill and blue-winged warblers. The refuge would not only protect the habitat that is now there, but manage surrounding lands to encourage the growth of such habitats. As with all national wildlife refuges, visitors would be welcomed when possible and special consideration is given to hunting and fishing on the land. The public comment period on the plan

(which can be found at http://www.fws. gov/northeast/refuges/planning/lpp/ greatthicketLPP.html) ends March 14. If approved, USFWS would then begin working with landowners in the region to acquire the needed acreage through outright land purchases and conservation easements. According to the service, it works strictly with willing sellers and depends on funding availability to make purchases. Lands within an acquisition boundary would not become part of the refuge unless their owners sell or donate them to the USFWS. Additionally, the boundary has no impact on property use or who an owner can choose to sell to. One of the targeted species at the refuge would be New England’s only native rabbit and its habitat. “A new federal wildlife refuge in Dutchess County is a welcome step to protect New York’s New England cottontail habitat and conserve an important forested area that is home to a variety of fauna and flora,” said Acting New York DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “In addition to DEC lands and state park properties, this refuge dedicated to providing wildlife habitat for this uncommon rabbit would help secure the future of the unique species. We look forward to working with our federal partners to manage more lands for New England cottontails and other wildlife species dependent on young, regenerating forest habitat and making these habitats accessible to the public.” Comments on the plan may be emailed to northeastplanning@fws.gov with “Great Thicket LPP” in the subject line. Regular mail can be sent to Beth Goldstein, Natural Resources Planner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, About 1,500 acres in Dutchess County would be included in the MA; 01035-9589. Comments will also be proposed Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge. Map courtesy of USFWS accepted by fax at 413-253-8480.

Dutchess acreage targeted in national wildlife refuge plan

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that 29 full-time jobs were created by the tournaments. “When one considers the value added to the local economy, it is clear that the bass fishing tournaments represent a remarkable return on investment for the Plattsburgh community,” Henry said. Specifically, the study – sponsored by the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau – showed that each tournament participant represented an average of 2.43 travelers, bringing in an estimated 1,740 visitors to the community. Anglers stayed an average of 4.27 nights during each visit and 75 percent of the survey respondents made use of commercial lodging properties, including hotels, motels and campgrounds. That all translated into $2,168,655 generated annually in direct and indirect spending to the region. For every dollar invested in host fees and in-kind services, $88 was returned directly to the local economy. The ongoing media exposure of the tournaments on outlets such as ESPN was not factored into the study, but increases the potential economic impact on the region. “These findings just reaffirm that the professional bass tournaments are an economic boom for the area. Needless to say, we are happy to welcome the pro anglers back in 2016,” said Kristy Kennedy, director of tourism for the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau. Six tournaments are scheduled for Lake Champlain’s Plattsburgh access in 2016 including the Walmart FLW Tour, the Bassmaster Open and the Collegiate Cup Challenge. It’s expected that more than 2,500 anglers will compete for $1.5 million in cash and prizes.


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Plea agreement in major elephant ivory trafficking case Staff Report Buffalo, N.Y. — A 77-year-old western New York man is facing prison time and a fine of up to $250,000 after pleading guilty to federal charges of illegal wildlife trafficking. U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced last month that Ferdinand E. Krizan, of Franklinville (Cattaraugus County) pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr. to trafficking in prohibited wildlife. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Krizan, owner of Fred’s Antiques in Franklinville, in November of 2013 purchased two elephant tusks from an auction house in Montreal, Quebec for $4,320 Canadian dollars then had the tusks shipped to an address in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Later that month Krizan transported the tusks from Niagara Falls, Ontario into the United States through the Rainbow Bridge port of entry, violating the Endangered Species Act. Subsequently, on May 31, 2014, he sold the tusks, along with four additional tusks to a buyer in Massachusetts for $50,000 American dollars. “At the time of that sale, Krizan knew that the two elephant tusks had been improperly transported into the United States. At no time did the defendant apply for or receive a permit under the Endangered Species Act authorizing the importation, delivery, receipt, transportation, or sale of elephant ivory,” federal officials said in a news release.

A 77-year-old Buffalo man faces prison time and fines of up to $250,000 in connection with an international elephant ivory trafficking case. The investigation also revealed Krizan also illegally trafficked in other protected wildlife, including: • a Narwhal tusk, which he sold for $8,000 American dollars in violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act; • two elephant tusks, which he

sold for $66,000 American dollars; • a carved elephant ivory art object, which he purchased for $1,020 Canadian dollars; • one elephant tusk, which he purchased for $3,130.68 Canadian dollars; • one hippo ivory carving, which he sold for $1,400

American dollars; • one elephant ivory musician carving, which he sold for $2,525 American dollars; • one bronze and elephant ivory sosoon figurine, which he sold for $3,700 American dollars; • one elephant ivory triptix, which he sold for $2,700 Canadian dollars; and • one carved coral figurine, which he sold for $3,400 American dollars. The total value of the wildlife trafficked by Krizan is $141,877.00, officials said. As part of the plea, Krizan will also abandon approximately 100 pieces elephant ivory carvings. He faces formal sentencing May 19. “Elephants are being slaughtered daily by poachers for their ivory. Each tusk represents one step closer to their extinction, said Edward Grace, deputy chief of the office of law enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Our special agents and

wildlife inspectors are not only working tirelessly to investigate, apprehend and prosecute the illegal ivory trade in the United States, but we are also working with global counterparts to track criminals abroad. Ivory poachers and traffickers will understand that the U.S. is committed to stopping this heinous activity and we will find you. If the demand for ivory is not reduced, and the illegal activities continue, then these magnificent animals won’t be on our planet for future generations to enjoy.” Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos applauded the efforts of DEC officers and the other agencies in the case, and noted that Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 signed a new state law designed to “eliminate this illegal and immoral activity in New York and safeguard imperiled species of animals around the globe.” The plea was capped an investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the New York DEC.

Use of mating pheromone approved in lamprey fight By Howard Meyerson Contributing Writer Grand Rapids, Mich. — A sea lamprey mating pheromone used experimentally to manipulate lamprey behavior has gotten the green light from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It can now be used as a widespread management tool in the Great Lakes and other waters. “ U n t il n o w it ha s b e e n experimental,” said Marc Gaden, spokesman for the Great Lakes

Fishery Commission, which funded development of the male sex pheromone known as 3kPZS. “Its use has been in the lab or on a stretch of river like the Ocqueoc where there has been very limited use. We now have approval to use it on a management scale. This brings us one step closer to using it as management technique.” The EPA approved registration of 3kPZS as a bio-pesticide in December 2015. Researchers note

that it is the first-ever vertebrate pheromone bio-pesticide. It is not a compound that kills lamprey in the manner of TFM or Bayluscide, which are regularly used in New York waters. The pheromone has been tested as an attractant odor to draw sea lampreys into traps so they can be removed from river systems. Its use improved trapping efficiency by 53 percent, according to Dr. Weiming Li, the Michigan State University professor who discovered the pheromone.

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“I started to work on this in 1998,” said Li, E.J. Fry chair of environmental physiology at the university. “Previous research showed it’s often the male that gets to the spawning ground before the female. It was speculated that males were releasing pheromones (to attract the females). Many knew that males got to spawning grounds and started to build nests. The females joined them later. (Another researcher) showed on a small scale that females are attracted to males when they are sexually mature.” Li’s MSU laboratory isolated the pheromone and identified its molecular structure. Bridge Organics, a contract research and chemical manufacturing company in Vicksburg, then synthetically created 3kPZS for testing and approval. The company now will produce the pheromone for management use by federal agencies like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which handles sea lamprey control in Michigan. Great Lakes lamprey control efforts cost $20.5 million a year, according to Gaden. That’s the cost of research, conducting stream assessments, lamprey control, and maintaining lamprey control centers in Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, and Ludington, Mich. Lamprey management historically has been done using traps, barriers and lampricides like TFM, which is applied to infested rivers to kill off lamprey larvae. The GLFC funded lamprey pheromone research – with additional support from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative – hoping it could provide another tool to use for managing lampreys. Different pheromones are used to achieve different goals. Research on alarm-cue pheromones, for example – the compounds released when lampreys die – have tested the idea that they can be used to keep lampreys from migrating up certain streams. If so, the pheromones eventually could be used to keep them out of prime spawning habitat, while 3kPZS, or another attractant pheromone, is released to draw them up a different tributary where the habitat is not good, in turn reducing the potential need for expensive TFM treatments.


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 9

DEC scales back fruitless search for elderly hunter By Don Lehman Contributing Writer Horicon, N.Y. — The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Jan. 20 that it was scaling back the search for an 82-year-old hunter who disappeared in the woods of the southern Adirondacks more than two months earlier. The announcement came days after the family of Thomas Messick spoke to the media for the first time about the massive search, saying they had no theories as to what could have happened to him. The agency announced the search for Messick was being placed in “limited continuous” status, which means that active searches will stop but DEC forest rangers will perform checks of the area when possible and conduct periodic training exercises in the area.

The decision was made after state forest rangers ran out of leads after one of the biggest search efforts in the Adirondacks in decades. “There’s nothing new. Our guys are stumped,” said DEC spokesman David Winchell. Messick, a Troy (Rensselaer County) resident, disappeared while hunting on state land near Lily Pond in the town of Horicon on Nov. 15. He was part of a group that was hunting deer, and when they reassembled at the end of the day he could not be found. He was supposed to have remained in a stationary post as others tried to drive deer toward him. His son, Thomas Messick Jr. of Troy, said the family has no idea what could have happened. Family members have been involved in the search since the first day, and kept vigil in a command post

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for volunteers at the Horicon fire station, but had not commented to the media. “We keep praying,” he said. Some of Messick’s family hunted with him that day, though Thomas Messick Jr. was not among them. During more than two months of searching, state forest rangers were joined in the attempt to locate Messick by environmental conservation police, state police and several other state and county agencies and hundreds of volunteers from search and rescue teams, fire departments, family and friends of Messick, and other volunteer searchers from as far away as West Virginia. More than 10,000 searcher hours were expended, most during the initial, intensive 10 days of the search. The DEC said more than 11 square miles of land were “grid” searched, with

searchers intently marking off areas in a grid pattern, and nearly 3 square miles were grid-searched twice. There were also 269 miles of linear searches and 156 miles of dog-aided searches conducted, and nearly 4 miles were searched by boat and 16 miles searched by all-terrain vehicle. Despite the efforts, none of Messick’s belongings were found. The State Police Aviation Unit helicopter searched thousands of acres with forest rangers on board as spotters and divers from the State Police Dive Team also searched Lily Pond as well as camps in the area. State police investigators looked into the disappearance and found no evidence of any foul play. Messick had a history of heart problems, and the mountainous area is rife with crevices and caves.


Page 10

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

READER RE A L

S TORI ES

of

t he

STORIES EVERYDAY

March 4, 2016

S POR T SM AN

KENTUCKY CHOCOLATE

By John Houck NYON Reader Bradford, N.Y.

WE

sat above the “holler,” glassing the nooks and crannies of the reclaimed coal mines of Kentucky, when our guide Brandon whispered excitedly, “There he is; there’s Chocolate!” As we followed his pointing gesture with our binoculars we, too, spotted the 6x6 bull elk grazing below us, 800 yards away. His dark “chocolate” antlers with polished tips were unmistakable from the three other bulls. My son Joe and I had frontrow seats to the best beguiling festival that Kentucky has to offer. The show lasted for two hours as we witnessed bulls, bugles and battles for the eight cows below us. As the sun set on a misty Kentucky night, we anxiously headed back to camp to plan our opening day strategy for the Kentucky rifle season. While both Joe and I are experienced hunters and have been on other guided hunts, this was our first elk hunt. What our experiences tell us is do your homework months ahead of time in regard to finding the right guide and outfitter. Once done, follow the lead of your guide and have faith in who you’ve hired. This strategy has served us well over the years. Sitting around the campfire, Joe couldn’t stop talking about that “chocolate” elk we saw that evening. So he asked his guide Brandon if we could hunt this particular elk, and Brandon confidently said “absolutely, if that’s what you’d like. I’ve been scouting him for several weeks and I’ll

Joe Houck had the hunt of a lifetime after drawing a coveted Kentucky elk tag, connecting on this chocolate-racked beauty while his father John watched it all unfold. 

do my best to find him and provide you with an opportunity for a shot.” We figured with a five-day hunt planned, spending a day or two after one specific elk would be a good choice. So, with our faith in our guide, that was our plan. This hunt actually started in May of 2015 when my son Joe received the news that he hit the lottery! I’m not talking about Powerball, but a bull elk tag for the 2015 Kentucky rifle season. I’m not sure who was more excited as Joe went on to say, “I hope you’ll go with me, Dad.” The planning started immediately. Season dates, rules and regulations, harvest statistics,and outfitters were at the top of the list. We left no stone unturned; we were determined to make the most of this per-

Photo courtesy of John Houck

haps once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After talking to what seemed like every outfitter in Kentucky, as well as numerous references, Joe decided on OMM Outfitters. Nathan Theriault heads up OMM Outfitters and he lived up to his reputation by exceeding all of our expectations. First class all the way. Brandon and John from Kentucky’s Bugles ‘N Struts Outfitters were our guides, and they knew the land, the elk, and even named one Chocolate. Their passion for the outdoors, the hunt, and our satisfaction was clearly evident. While there are many aspects to the making of a great outdoor experience such as the elk, guides, family, and friends, the catalyst of any hunt is the “camp.” This is where you can relax, re-live the day, share stories and break bread with people who share the same passion for the great outdoors. Joe and I met our camp hosts, Bernice and Willie, and we felt an immediate connection. Over the next few days that connection quickly grew into a friendship, making camp much more than we expected. The

icing on the cake was the food, all of which was cooked over an open fire and Dutch ovens. Last, but certainly not least, we had the privilege of sharing camp with Jerry and Jarred from the outdoor TV show “The Bucket List.” I cannot say enough about these guys. Great outdoorsmen, hunters and conservationists quickly come to mind when I think of them. It was truly an honor to share camp with such fine men. Once the hunt was booked, our focus turned to preparing ourselves both mentally and physically. Physical conditioning for any hunt is vital, and being prepared to hunt every day and all day will definitely make things more enjoyable. However, equally important is being mentally prepared. This is hunting, not shooting; stay positive, stay focused, and be prepared for “the shot.” After five long months of anticipation, opening morning arrived. We sat atop the “holler” and could hear the bugles an hour before sunrise. There were elk bugling in all directions as far as you could hear. Our guide stood in the pre-dawn darkness tilting his head every few seconds, as he

listened to zero in on the bulls’ locations. Free-ranging wild elk are just that – free ranging and wild – and the elk were gone from where we glassed them the night before. With bugles in the distance, and knowing the pattern of the elk movement, our guide made the call to head to the next “holler.” We moved about a mile to the south in search of elk, and as we glassed across the hollow we saw half dozen cows, a small bull, and to our amazement, there stood Chocolate! You can call it a coincidence, you can call it luck, you can call it anything you want; I’ll call it the value of a great guide. Now it was all up to Joe. All the planning and the practice on the range was soon to be put to the test. Joe immediately chambered a round, lay on the ground and prepared for the shot. While everything was unfolding very quickly, I had a front-row seat to my son’s hunt of a lifetime as he settled the crosshairs on a bull elk. All was quiet, and it seemed like an eternity before the Ruger .30-06 shattered the morning silence. The bull immediately bucked and ran 30 yards before stopping. He stood there for a few moments, then began to sway, and within a few seconds the 6x6 chocolate-antlered bull went down. For a few seconds, time stood still… nobody said anything. Finally I broke the silence. “Nice shot Joe!” Joe turned and looked at me with a grin and a nod. I cannot describe the connection Joe and I shared at that moment in time, other than to say, what a feeling. Back at camp there were high fives and congratulations from everyone. Joe said, “I can’t believe I shot a 6x6 Kentucky bull elk. Dad, it doesn’t get any better than this!” I smiled and nodded in agreement, while I thought to myself, “Oh, yes, it does get better.” A front-row seat at the top of the “holler” while looking over the shoulder of my son as he harvests an elk of a lifetime. Now that’s “better!”


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 11

N.Y. NWTF volunteer recognized with prestigious Latham award Nashville, Tenn. — A National Wild Turkey Federation volunteer from New York state has been awarded one of the organization’s highest honors. Bill Wilbur of Mexico, N.Y., received the NWTF’s Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Award for his efforts in “recruiting the next generation of outdoorsmen and women,” NWTF officials said in a news release. Wilbur received one of five Latham awards presented at the NWTF’s annual Sport Show and Convention last month in Nashville. “I am honored to receive a

Latham award,” said Wilbur, the president of the NWTF’s New York state chapter. “I am a turkey hunting addict, and that is how I was introduced to the NWTF. The more involved I became with the organization, the more I learned about what they did and the more I wanted to help.” Roger M. Latham Sportsman Wild Turkey Service Awards are given to NWTF members who are not employed as professional wildlife managers, but have made significant contributions to wild turkey conservation. “Bill has made a tremendous

Tree seedlings, shrubs available through the DEC Albany — More than 45 species of trees and shrubs from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools, Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced. “The seedlings from our Saratoga Tree Nursery help landowners create habitat and improve air and water quality in their backyard and schoolyard” Seggos said. “In addition, many types of trees and shrubs provide important food sources for bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects which have declined over recent years.” The program provides low-cost, native planting materials from New York sources to encourage landowners to enhance the state’s environment for future generations. The Saratoga Tree Nursery also offers a few non-native species which can enhance wildlife plantings and assist with stream bank stabilization. Species attractive to pollinators and offered by the nursery include maples, sycamore, buckeye, willows, bristly locust, roses, viburnum (highbush cranberry, arrowwood, nannyberry), dogwood, crabapple, sand cherry, buttonbush, wild grape, and, black cherry. The Saratoga nursery sells primarily bare-root stock for direct plantings, but a few species are available as containerized stock. Landowners can receive planting advice from their nearest DEC forestry office or private forestry consultant. The 2016 Tree and Shrub brochure can be found on the DEC’s website or by calling the Saratoga Tree Nursery at (518) 581-1439. Some species sell out quickly. To order seedlings by phone, contact the nursery on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at (518) 587-1120. Mail orders are also accepted and can be sent to the NYSDEC Saratoga Tree Nursery, 2369 Route 50, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. Orders may be placed through mid-May. Seedlings are shipped from mid-April to mid-May. Schools across New York are eligible to receive free seedlings for spring planting through the DEC School Seedling Program, which provides 50 tree seedlings or a mixed packet of 30 wildlife shrubs to any public or private school that would like to participate. The seedlings can be planted on school grounds or other community spaces, and offer teachers a great resource to enhance environmental lessons, officials said. Applications to participate are

available at the DEC’s School Seedling Program website, or by contacting the Saratoga Tree Nursery at (518) 581-1439. Interested schools can also contact the nearest DEC regional forestry office to request a “School Seedlings” brochure. Applications must be received at the nursery by March 31.

impact in his community and state,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “He exemplifies the NWTF’s mission of conservation and the preservation of our hunting heritage.” Wilbur has been a committee member of the Oswego River Chapter since 1997, is president and founding member of the Salmon River Strutters and also serves on the banquet committee for the Cortland Limbhangers. Since planning and hosting New York’s first NWTF Wheelin’ Sportsmen event – a turkey hunt for those who have disabilities – he has expanded Wheelin’ Sportsmen opportunities to include multiple fishing, turkey hunting, snow goose hunting and deer hunting events. Wilbur also is very involved in working with disabled veterans through Operation Injured Soldier and the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Drum. Wilbur also takes time each fall to mentor first-time hunters during the Cortland Limbhangers’ NWTF Women in the Outdoors fall turkey hunt. He also was the Oswego River Chapter’s JAKES (Juniors

Initiative. Wilbur, a 20-year NWTF member, has worked tirelessly to introduce hunting, fishing and an outdoor way of life to new audiences. Other Latham award winners this year hailed from Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Minnesota and Texas.

N.Y. callers, callmakers bring home awards

Bill Wilbur received the NWTF’s Roger Latham award at the federation’s annual convention and sport show in Nashville. Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) coordinator for 17 years and the Wheelin’ Sportsmen coordinator for 12 years. The NWTF determined this year’s award winners based on how their work strengthens the Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt.

New York’s Connor Warren, of Almond, earned a second runner-up finish in the Poults division (for ages 10 and under) turkey calling competition at the NWTF event in Nashville. And he wasn’t the only New Yorker to return home with awards. In the NWTF’s annual callmaking competition, Gary Campanie of Oneida placed first in the decorative box call (glued box) category in the decorative turkey call judging, and also earned a second place award in the laminated only category. Ernest Fetters of Campbell won second place in the turned barrel trumpet style division, while Scott Witter of Lockport had a pair of fifth place finishes in the hunting turkey call judging with his box call entries.


Page 12

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Pennsylvania’s 2015 bear kill ranks as third highest ever Harvest of 3,748 includes 68 over 500-pound mark

Harrisburg, Pa. — Pennsylvania hunters shot 3,748 bears in 2015, the third-highest tally in state history, the Pennsylvania Game Commission reported. And the Keystone State bear hunting season of 2015 won’t be known just for quantity: 68 of the bears harvested topped the 500pound mark. The harvest total is up from 3,371 in 2014, and the eight highest Pennsylvania bear kill totals have occurred in the past decade as bruin numbers continue to grow. The all-time high was recorded in 2011, when 4,350 bears were harvested. Hunters harvested 4,164 in 2005 and 3,510 bears in 2013. Hunters in 2015 harvested bears in 57 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties, an increase compared to 2014, when bears were taken in 56 counties. Bears were taken in 20 of the state’s 23 Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), and each of the Game Commission’s six regions saw a larger harvest in 2015 compared to the previous

Paul S. Mahon, of Montoursville, Pa., poses with the 561pound male bear he harvested in Lycoming County, Nov. 17, during the statewide archery bear season.  Photo courtesy of PGC year. The 68 bears harvested weighing 500 pounds or more represents a sharp increase from 2014, when 41 bears taken by hunters reached or exceeded the 500-pound mark. And 18 bears in the 2015

The second was taken Nov. 23 in Granville Township, Mifflin County, by Gregory A. Wilson, of Lewistown. Lycoming County, perennially among the top counties for bear harvests again led the way with 312 harvests in 2014, up from 286 the previous year. Among other top counties for bear harvests in 2015 were: Clinton, 265 (179 in 2014); Tioga 196 (275); Pike 180 (111); and Centre, 162 (117). The four-day general season again set the pace for the overall harvest, with 2,724 bears being taken during that season. But the extended seasons and the archery bear season also contributed to the totals. Statewide, 803 bears were harvested in extended seasons while 209 were taken during the archery bear season. The state’s bear population had held stable at about 18,000 from 2008 to 2014. But in 2014, harsh

weather greeted bear hunters in much of the state during the general bear season opener, and that likely contributed to the bear population bumping to an estimated 20,000 animals statewide, officials said. A record number of bear licenses – 175,314 – were sold in 2015 as well, continuing a trend of an increasing number of bear hunters. Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough said the growing interest in bear hunting isn’t surprising given the recent string of top harvests, and the future for bear hunting looks as bright as ever. a“It might sound like a broken record, but truly, there has never been a better time to hunt bears in Pennsylvania,” Hough said. “Each year, another top harvest is added to the record books, and the largest one yet very possibly might be around the corner.”

harvest topped 600 pounds. Two bears tied for heaviest in the harvest, each weighing an estimated 713 pounds. The first was taken on the Nov. 21 statewide opener in Blair Township, Blair County, by Richard A. Watt, of Gallitzin, Pa.

Bob Dragoon, of Plattsburgh, caught this 321⁄2-inch walleye using a blue and silver reef runner near Picton, Ontario, on Dec. 15. The fish weighed 15 pounds, 8 ounces.

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March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 13

A summary of the 2015 hunting-related shooting incidents Albany — DEC officers investigated 23 hunting-related shooting incidents in 2015.

Hunting-Related Shooting Incidents in New York State, 1960-2010 average incidents per year by decade

Small game/non game Sept. 14, Ontario County. Selfinflicted – The victim attempted to shoot a raccoon that was allegedly attacking him and discharged a round from his handgun into his foot. Sept. 26, Broome County. The victim was standing by his parked vehicle when another hunter shot at a gray squirrel in the roadway with his shotgun. Several pellets struck the victim in the eye, chest and wrist. Oct. 3, Jefferson County. Self-inflicted – The victim was attempting to load his shotgun while exiting his vehicle. Upon closing the action one round was discharged into his right foot, causing severe injuries. Oct. 6, Erie County. Selfinflicted – The victim was hunting raccoons when he slipped. While falling, he discharged one round from his shotgun into his foot. Oct. 10, Jefferson County. While pheasant hunting, the victim was struck in the face by two pellets from a shotgun. The victim spoke with other hunters in the area but did not get any identification and the incident wasn’t reported until that

“The number of hunters is declining, but the... incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling much faster,” Dente said in his report. “Since the 1960s, the number of hunters has declined by about 20 percent, while the incident rate has declined almost 80 percent. The current five-year average is four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.” The 23 hunting-related shooting incidents in 2015 is up from 22 in 2014 and 10 in 2013, and just above the five-year average of 22.8. New York state’s hunters have averaged 1.8 fatalities over the past five years. The statistics includes only hunting-related shooting incidents involving firearms, bows or crossbows. Injuries and fatalities related to other hunting-related activities such as treestand falls, ATV mishaps or hunter health-related incidents are not included. Of last year’s 23 incidents, 10 involved self-inflicted injuries and 13 were “two-party” incidents in which one individual was injured by another. Thirteen of the incidents occurred during deer seasons, while eight occurred during small-game or non-game seasons. Waterfowl hunting and spring gobbler hunting accounted for one incident each. Rifles were involved in 10 of the incidents, shotguns in nine, muzzleloaders in two and crossbows and handguns one each. Three of the incidents were recorded in Jefferson County, while two occurred in Chautauqua County. They were the lone counties with more than one incident. Three of the shooting incidents occurred while hunters were involved in a deer drive and one hunter fired a shot that struck another. Dente said a closer look at the two-party shooting incidents showed that in eight of the 11 cases the victim was not wearing blaze orange, which is not mandatory in New York state. “This indicates that not wearing hunter

140

137

120 100

102 85

80 60

66 26 2010s

40

38 2000s

20 1990s

1980s

1970s

0

1960s

FIGURES ARE 10-YEAR AVERAGE, EXCEPT 2010s WHICH IS A 6 YEAR AVERAGE

New York hunters have become increasingly safer over the years, with the safest seasons ever in this decade. evening. Oct. 11, Lewis County. Selfinflicted – While squirrel hunting, the victim attempted to climb a tree and reportedly discharged several rounds from his .22 rifle into his leg. Nov. 7, Delaware County. Two brothers were small-game hunting together. The victim was shot in the arm with a .22 rifle when his brother attempted to shoot a chipmunk. Dec. 25, Sullivan County. Self-

Hunter Safety (From Page 1)

spring gobbler hunting, the victim was struck by four pellets from a shotgun.

orange increases your risk of being involved in a two-party firearm incident,” Dente’s report noted. Dente praised the work of the state’s volunteer sportsman education instructors for their efforts in creating legions of safe hunters

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inflicted – The victim was squirrel hunting when he discharged his .22 rifle into his foot.

Waterfowl hunting Nov. 6, Herkimer County. A group of five hunters were surrounding a pond when a duck flew up between them. The shooter discharged two rounds at the duck and three pellets struck the victim in the head and hand.

Turkey hunting May 4, Saratoga County. While

across the state. The statistics were compiled from preliminary reports; final investigations by DEC officers may take several months in some cases.

Big-game hunting Nov. 8, Putnam County. Selfinflicted – The victim was hunting deer with his father. While attempting to de-cock his crossbow, he discharged the bolt into his upper thigh. Nov. 13, Franklin County. Selfinflicted – While attempting to remove a loaded shotgun from his vehicle, the victim discharged one round into his abdomen. Nov. 21, Jefferson County. The victim was inside his residence when a shooter discharged two rounds from his rifle at a deer. The bullet struck the occupied residence window, passed through the TV and struck the victim in the shoulder. Nov. 21, Chautauqua County. The victim was sitting in a deer stand when the shooter discharged one shotgun round at a deer. The slug hit the victim in the thigh. Nov. 21, Cattaraugus County. Self-inflicted – The victim was climbing up into his treestand when his rifle discharged and hit his thigh. Nov. 26, Wyoming County. Self-inflicted – The victim was sitting in his deer stand. He attempted to move his rifle when it discharged and struck him in the hand. Nov. 27, Chautauqua County.

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The shooter discharged his shotgun at what he thought was a deer. The slug struck his brother in the shoulder. Nov. 27, Tioga County. The shooter was in a party of eight deer hunters conducting a deer drive. The shooter discharged one rifle round and struck the victim in the leg. Dec. 5, Niagara County. Selfinflicted – The victim was hunting from a treestand. As he stood up he discharged his muzzleloader into his hand. Dec. 5, Genesee County. While attempting to unload her rifle, one round was discharged. The round struck the vehicle her husband was sitting in and fragments hit his leg. Dec. 5, Cortland County. During a deer drive, the victim was shot in the stomach with a rifle from another hunter in the same party. Dec. 13, Chenango County. Seven members of a hunting party were conducting a deer drive. As the victim entered a brushy area, a member in a treestand discharged one round from his rifle and struck the victim in the leg. Dec. 20, Oneida County. Two members of a hunting party shot at a deer and split up while looking for it. The shooter saw movement and discharged one round from his muzzleloader and struck the victim in the arm.

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Page 14

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Beyond New York

Ohio Homework Pays Off With Record Book Buck

For more Beyond New York visit outdoornews.com

Upper Sandusky, Ohio — A young man from Wyandot County in northwest Ohio did his homework on a massive buck and ended up taking him during this year’s muzzleloader season. Logan Newell’s 12-point buck green scored around 187, making it likely one of the larger bucks killed in Ohio this past season. Newell started seeing the massive buck in 2014 when his trail camera, on a property he has permission to hunt, started spitting out pictures of the animal. After watching the buck’s Logan Newell, of Upper movements for some time, Newell S a n d u s k y i n W y a n d o t found a 5-point shed from him in County, shot this 187-inch January of 2015. buck on Jan. 12 during “This past summer, I started muzzleloader season. Photo courtesy of Logan Newell getting (trail camera pictures)  of him again,” Newell said in a recent interview with Ohio Outdoor News. “I’ve got hundreds of pictures of him.” Pictures continued to roll in around August in velvet. “Then, I got hundreds more pictures of him all the way through October,” he said. Newell knew he was on this buck’s trail. “I couldn’t hunt the farm that this buck was on until after gun season because the landowner requested that,” Newell said. The landowner, Newell explained, wanted to hunt the property during gun season with his family members. Newell waited patiently and then started hunting the buck on the property around Dec. 15. All the while, Newell continued to get pictures of the buck. He ended up in the right place at the right time and killed him on Jan. 12 during muzzleloader season in Ohio.

Wisconsin Bill Would Eliminate Minimum Hunting Age Madison, Wis. (AP) — Assembly Republicans are pushing a bill to eliminate Wisconsin’s minimum hunting age, raising questions about how young is too young to fire a gun in the woods. The measure’s supporters say parents should have the power to decide whether their child is ready to hunt. Opponents counter that young children aren’t physically or mentally ready to wield long guns and could hurt themselves or others. Right now, children as young as 10 can hunt in Wisconsin without passing a safety course if they’re accompanied by a mentor. The mentor must remain within arm’s length of the student and they can have only one weapon between them. The number of mentored hunt licenses has steadily grown, from 19,054 in 2010, the program’s first year, to 31,250 in fiscal year 2014, according to the Department of Natural Resources. Under Rep. Joel Kleefisch’s bill, anyone of any age could hunt without safety training alongside a mentor, and the mentor could carry his or her own weapon. Kleefisch said the bill will give parents the ability to

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Ohio Muzzleloader Kill Dips With Regs Changes Columbus, Ohio (AP) — More than 12,000 white-tailed deer were checked by hunters during Ohio’s muzzleloader season for a decrease of more than 1,000 from last year. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said 12,505 deer were checked in the season that ran from Jan. 9 through Jan. 12 compared with 13,724 deer last year. Department officials say bag limits were reduced and antlerless-permit use was eliminated in most counties to help stabilize deer populations for the 20152016. State wildlife officials are revising Ohio’s deer population goals and have asked hunters for their input in a random survey.

Vermont Fall Turkey Take Pushes 6,000 Mark Montpelier, Vt. — Vermont wild turkey hunters had safe and successful spring and fall hunting seasons in 2015, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. A total of 5,874 turkeys were taken by hunters during Vermont’s three hunting seasons – the spring youth hunt, the regular May spring season, and the fall hunt. Young turkey hunters mentored by experienced hunters took 510 bearded turkeys, which are almost always males, during the youth turkey hunt on the weekend before the regular spring season.

Hunters took 4,460 bearded turkeys in the May 1-31 regular spring turkey season. Fall turkey hunting during October and November produced a harvest of 904 turkeys, a mix of hens and toms. “Although turkey reproduction was above average in 2015 and on par with the average in 2014, severe winters and wet springs over the past couple years may have contributed to a lower than average harvest this fall,” said wild turkey project leader Amy Alfieri. “In addition, a highly variable mast production year this fall may have made turkeys harder to finder in some areas.” Vermont’s wild turkey population is estimated at 45,000 to 60,000 birds.

Illinois Deer Harvest Up; Tally Tops 155,000 Springfield, Ill. (AP) — More than 155,000 deer were harvested by Illinois hunters during the 2015-2016 deer hunting seasons. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says about 155,130 deer were harvested this year, compared to 145,720 deer last year. Hunters took about 56,730 deer during the archery season from Oct. 1 to Jan. 17. Young hunters harvested about 2,840 deer during the youth season from Oct. 10 to 12. Nearly 86,900 deer were taken during the traditional firearm season from Nov. 20 to 22 and Dec. 3 to 6. Hunters harvested 2,375 deer during the muzzleloader-only season from Dec. 11 to 13. About 6,345 deer were harvested during the two late-winter seasons from Dec. 31 to Jan. 3 and Jan. 15-17. Of the deer taken this year, 46 percent were female and 54 percent were male.

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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 15

Declining white deer herd will see preservation partnership Portion of former depot property will be used to maintain whitetails

By Jeff Murray Contributing Writer Romulus, N.Y. — A group that hopes to preserve the white deer herd at the former Seneca Army Depot got some frustrating news in recent weeks, followed by a dose of good news. An aerial survey conducted by Seneca White Deer Inc. indicates the legendary herd roaming within the fenced in confines of the sprawling property is shrinking. The group was dealt another setback when the Seneca County Board of Supervisors voted down a proposal to have the county take possession of the property to protect the unique white deer herd. But on the positive front, the town of Varick, where more than 3,000 of the depot’s 10,000

acres lie, has agreed to partner with Seneca White Deer Inc. to develop a white deer preserve on depot land within the township, and also to create a white deer brand to boost the local business economy through tourism. “We look forward to working with (Seneca White Deer) to protect the white deer and improve the economic engine of Seneca County, therefore, we will be offering SWD a significant portion of the over 3,000 acres within the town of Varick following approval of the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency, which owns the former army depot,” Varick Town Supervisor Robert Hayssen said in a prepared statement. The partnership, which is expected to boost Seneca White Deer Inc.’s efforts to maintain the white deer herd, comes none too soon as a recent census conducted by the group shows significant declines in deer population on the property. “We hired a helicopter and we

The unique herd of white deer roaming the former Seneca Army Depot property is declining, according to a recent aerial survey. Photo courtesy of Seneca White Deer, Inc. took off and flew like sardines in a can and we traveled up and down the north-south loop back over the depot,” said Seneca White Deer Inc. President Dennis Money. “I knew the depot pretty well and I asked the pilot to go here and there. We picked a perfect day – no snow, no sun and no wind. The deer stood out in stark contrast

Henry Diamond dies; first DEC commissioner Staff and AP Report Albany — Former New York environmental commissioner Henry Diamond, the original head of the nation’s first state environmental protection department, has died. He was 83. According to Beveridge and Diamond, the Washington, D.C., environmental law firm he co-founded, Diamond died Feb. 21 at a Washington hospital. A cause of death wasn’t given. In 1970, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller named Diamond the commissioner of the newly created Department of Environmental Conservation. Two years later, he led a 533mile statewide bicycle tour to support passage of the Environmental Bond Act. The Chattanooga, Tenn., native served as DEC commissioner until 1973. In a statement released following his death, the agency referred to Diamond as “a pioneer and steadfast champion for the environment.” Acting DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos noted that Diamond was appointed by Rockefeller on the first Earth Day celebration, and called him “a pioneer and steadfast champion for the environment during a period when government agencies were slow to recognize the need to combat air and water pollution. “In his capacity at the DEC, he combined all New York State resource management and antipollution programs into the nation’s first environmental department. Henry was at the forefront of creating programs to deal with mercury pollution and solid waste management, initiatives which later became models for many other states. “For more than 60 years he devoted his life to public service and protecting our natural resources with a focus on leading by example. It’s clear that New Yorkers and the environment are better off because of his efforts, and when the history of New York state environmentalism is written, the name Henry Diamond should be at the forefront,” Seggos said in a prepared statement. While in private practice, Diamond remained an advocate for land and water conservation.

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to the barren landscape. We counted 75 to 80 white deer. The largest group was seven. This is significantly lower than the last aerial census done eight years ago, when they counted up to 800 deer. It’s probably due to a variety of factors. The IDA never listened to us when we said we have to do habitat improvements. There’s probably starvation, coyotes, poaching and who knows what else.” The remaining deer do represent sufficient seed stock to rebuild the herd if a preservation and management plan can be developed in the near future, Money said. One solution the group pushed for was a takeover of the property by Seneca County.

But the county board rejected that measure, while at the same time officially recognizing the importance of preserving the white deer herd and perpetuation of their habitat. The county decision means the bid process for sale of the depot property, which started last year, will continue as planned. Seneca White Deer Inc. has been raising funds in an effort to purchase at least a portion of the depot property to create a sanctuary for the deer. The decision by the town of Varick to become a partner in the effort is a big boost, Money said. “Working with the town of Varick to develop the 3,000-acre parcel serves as a new beginning for Seneca White Deer and the white deer,” he said. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to be able to realize a dream that was born in the hearts of our organization over 18 years ago. We thank Bob Hayssen and the town of Varick for helping us see this vision through to a successful conclusion. It will be a definite boon to the local economy and its scores of local businesses.”

More information To learn more about the effort to preserve the Seneca Army Depot white deer herd and to support the project, contact Dennis Money at 585-944-3015 or email him at whitebuck47@ yahoo.com.

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Page 16

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Letters (From Page 3)

I hunt Cayuga Lake often for ducks during the second half of duck season, Dec. 26-Jan. 10. This past December, I and another hunter were in my boat, hunting below the high-water mark. Early that morning, around 8 a.m, the local ECO called to us from the shoreline, asking to see our licenses and duck stamps. Nothing unusual about the request, so my hunting partner got out of the boat and showed him these items. The ECO then told us the City of Ithaca recently passed regulations stating we could no longer hunt the area we were hunting. After a brief conversation the ECO advised us he would not ticket us, but the Ithaca police could. We soon left the area. Keep in mind, we were hunting in the lake, on state water. I’m also going to contact my state senator about this matter. My concern is, if Ithaca can do this, other areas of the lake may also be closed to duck hunting! The second half of duck season is only 15 days long. Any duck hunter who hunts in the Finger Lakes should be concerned about this matter.

William Rusinko Berkshire

Crossbows have plenty of support

In a January edition of New York Outdoor News there was a letter from Michael Sallazzo, Sr., from Portville addressing crossbow regulations. I recently addressed this same issue with the DEC (Jeremy Hurst) and our senator, who both agree with me that crossbows should be and could be used the entire

bow season. I also talked to my assemblyman, who had one of his people call me. They all seemed to agree with me and thought this issue might be addressed by our Legislature this year; they are the ones that make the rules and understand hunting the least. Anything you could do to help with this issue would be greatly appreciated. I am 75 and had a shoulder operation several years ago and now with arthritis I can no longer use a compound bow. I dearly love to hunt, particularly in the early season as it is much more comfortable and you see nature in its natural setting.

Duane Horton Apalachin

Several reasons why deer kill is down

According to the article appearing in the Jan. 22 edition of New York Outdoor News, the “brainiacs” at the DEC have come to the conclusion that the deer kill was down all across the state. Well, let’s look at this for a moment as to the multiple causes. A very severe winter with a high mortality rate, 3-point rule in most areas where hunter concentration used to be highest, an early rifle season during the first week of bow season for young hunters, a no-buck rule for the first two weeks of the early bow season as well as the late muzzleloader season. What hunter with a bow is going to sit and watch a possible buck of a lifetime walk by and not want to take the shot? I, for one, and others who have bowhunted for many years would rather stay home. A doe is taken by hunters after a buck has been taken, not before, or at the very end of the season. This, coupled with a low hunter

turnout due to the decline of deer on most state lands that are available to hunt, and concentrations of deer on farmland or in urban areas that are off limits for most bowhunters unless they are lucky enough to secure landowner permission to hunt, has added to the decline in the deer kill. Also, the ridiculous restrictions on crossbow use is also a factor. I am soon to be 70 years of age and have been hunting deer since I was 16. Never in those years have I seen such a mess with these new regulations in this state that seem to increase year after year. The DEC needs to lighten up on all these restrictive regulations and listen to the hunters for a change.

Greg Ceresko Baldwinsville

TV promoting gun violence As I view my television channels to check the latest news, weather and sports, I find commercials that are very upsetting. These commercials involve the promotion of the latest movies. A large percentage of these commercials display all sorts of guns, gunfire, and more gun-related violence. Nowhere have I seen or heard of any opposition to this type of advertising. I’m sure there is good reason for this – money. Every Monday the morning news indicates the millions of dollars the weekend movies have generated. I’m supposing a large portion of the moviegoers are young people. It seems as if all the gun violence involved would tend to influence some of these viewers in an adverse manner, as they are led to believe that guns and

March 4, 2016

ammunition are a part of everyday life. Let’s see what can be done to eliminate these gun/violence-type commercials.

Ed Kohler Hubbardsville

Youth should always get a DMP The DEC should give 14- and 15-year-olds a Deer Management Permit even if they are restricting them in certain areas. I took my 14-year-old grandson hunting during the youth hunt in October. We saw four deer the whole weekend

but nothing he could get a shot at. During the regular season in November, opening weekend we saw 35 deer, again nothing to shoot at because they were all does and neither one of us had a DMP for WMU 9P. It was very frustrating for him (and myself) to watch four does standing in front of us about 40 feet away for 20 minutes and not being able to harvest one. To keep 14- and 15-year-olds interested in hunting they should be issued a DMP even if others are being denied.

David Munnings Scottsville

Commentary

(From Page 3)

time. The fund supports environmental capital projects. If approved by the Legislature, the EPF would provide $40 million for new park lands and open space, which would constitute a 50 percent increase from this year’s $26.5 million appropriation. The EPF’s support for invasive species controls would rise to $10 million (currently it is $5.8 million). Farmland protection funding for conservation easements would increase from $15 million to $20 million. State land stewardship would increase from $18.5 million to $28 million. The EPF also contains a new, $32.5 million climate change category that will fund community projects to improve community resiliency ($20 million); create a new Climate Resilient Farms program ($2.5 million); and encourage smart growth ($2 million). The governor’s budget plans also add $100 million to the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, for a total of $250 million over two years, to rebuild and improve aging wastewater and sewage systems plaguing the Syracuse area and the park. The governor also proposed more funding for tourism,

OZONE PARK, QUEENS

which helps all of Upstate New York. In addition to major statewide funding, several budget items directly benefit Adirondack communities. The central Adirondack towns of Newcomb, Indian Lake and Minerva will receive $660,000 of EPF money for waterfront revitalization grants. Also, Essex County will receive $300,000 and Hamilton County $150,000 in grants aimed at landfill closure/capping costs and landfill gas management. Another $500,000 is set aside in a separate capital projects account for pre-closure and post-closure costs at Adirondack landfills, in accordance with an agreement with Essex County. Both counties’ landfills are closed and capped. Unfortunately, the governor’s proposed funding for staff at the Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental remains flat. We are pleased that the governor recognizes that the park is poised for change and requires his attention right now. (Editor’s note: William C. Janeway is executive director of the Adirondack Council in Elizabethtown.)

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March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 17

Road salt a growing concern in Adirondack streams, lakes Fisheries impact being studied

By Paula Piatt Associate Editor Lake Placid, N.Y. — In the past 35 years, six million tons of salt has been trucked into the Adirondack Park – one ton for every acre. Destined for the highways and streets with some of the state’s toughest terrain and weather, it seems to have found another home inside the Blue Line. The park’s water. Testing shows high chloride levels in several ponds and lakes, but perhaps more alarmingly in streams, including tributaries to the famed Ausable River. “Along the Ausable, most of the sites we’re monitoring have elevated salinity levels — higher than what we would expect and higher than the (monitored) locations coming out of the forested watersheds,” said Brendan Wiltse, science and stewardship director for the Ausable River Association (ARA), a Wilmington (Essex County)-based group which monitors water quality in the watershed. One of their biggest concerns are the summertime increases in salinity. While they would expect to – and do – see spikes in the spring as snow melts and runs into streams from the sides of the heavily salted roads, the high summer concentrations point to a more permanent problem.

“In August, those streams are fed by groundwater. We believe this is a indication of widespread groundwater contamination that’s occurring as a result of the salt that’s being put down on the roads,” Wiltse said. Over at the Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) at Paul Smiths College, executive director Dan Kelting agrees there’s strong evidence of groundwater contamination, which could not only affect fish and wildlife, but is a human health issue as well. According to Kelting, studies have shown that fish – particularly salmonids – can be quite tolerant of salt. That would make sense, he says, given the populations that live in areas with naturally high salt concentrations, such as the Finger Lakes. The problem, however, arises when the fish’s food chain is affected. “The potential effect on the fisheries can be seen through salt levels in the food chain,” he said. “What are the potential impacts on different components of the ecosystem? If there’s an impact on a key component, then it’s reasonable to think there is an impact on the fishery.” And while the streams are of greatest concern (Kelting says some concentrations have been measured at 3,000 to 4,000 parts per million or milligrams per liter), there are several lakes in the region that also show high chloride levels. A recent study of Mirror Lake in downtown Lake

Placid showed extraordinarily high salt concentrations. At 39 milligrams per liter, the chloride content of the lake puts it in the 97th percentile (the top five) in lakes in the region. Average concentrations in non-affected regional lakes are .25 mg/L.

The studies are in the very early stages and scientists are just beginning to look at the possible ramifications of road salt use, which, of course has been ongoing for decades. “The lake chemically stratifies in the summer,” said Wiltse, meaning that the denser spring run-off settles to the bottom. “In the fall, that breaks down and the lake is fully mixed. Our concern is that if the density difference becomes large enough, it can inhibit the ability for the lake to mix.” High salt concentration are also concerning for small plant and animal species – phytoplankton and zooplankton – in the lake. According to Wiltse, lab studies have shown that high salt levels can kill both links of the food chain and that Mirror Lake’s salt numbers are well above those levels. It starts a chain reaction that can be hard to stop. The lake is known for

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its quality rainbow and lake trout fishing and is stocked by DEC annually. “If you have a drastic reduction in zooplankton, that can free up other phytoplankton that aren’t being impacted by the salt and algae blooms form. When they die, they settle to the bottom of the lake and that uses up more oxygen,” he said. “It’s just another way road salt can impact fish.” The studies are in the very early stages and scientists are just beginning to look at the possible ramifications of road salt use, which, of course has been ongoing for decades. Watersheds in the region have been mapped according to road density; AWI and ARA are working with local towns and villages as well as the state departments of transportation and environmental conservation. And a working group has been formed to look at alternatives to heavily salting roads in the winter. “We’ve all heard about the problems with acid raid and it is a big pollutant, but twice as much salt has been brought in

as acid rain deposition, and we don’t know that much about it. Comparatively, we know little about its ecological impacts,” Kelting said, adding that they are now seeing changes in the water and starting to look at consequences. “We’re monitoring invertebrate populations and fish populations and we’ve invited collaboration from DEC and others to do more monitoring.” NYDOT is also tracking the amount of salt used in areas where monitoring equipment is deployed to see how the streams are responding. In terms of Mirror Lake, Wiltse says the ARA is working with the village of Lake Placid and the town of North Elba to monitor stormwater runoff into the lake, get baseline data and find out what solutions are working. He says the health of the lake, right now, is still pretty good. “The major concern is road salt getting into the lake,” he said. “We feel Mirror Lake is getting to the precipice in terms of road salt, but it’s still early enough where if we take action, we feel like we can turn it around.”


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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

t’s funny how your interests twist and turn. I remember a time when fishing for trout with a nymph seemed like a tedious last resort. These days, it feels like the top level of the game. Of course, I was raised on a diet of writing about the excitement of catching trout on floating flies. You step to the edge of a stream or a pond and find disturbances at the surface that can only be made one way: fish daring to feed at the border between their world and ours. It’s a fascinating phenomenon that most people never see. The few who do see it tend to suddenly get the appeal of fly-fishing. Non-anglers tend to think of fishing as dull and non-participatory: throw a bait, real or fake, into the water and hope a dumb fish eventually comes along and eats it. But watch someone who’s spotted a rising fish get into position, select the right fly, make a cast that won’t spook the fish and get the fly to float just like a real insect, see the sudden swirl at the surface, see the line tighten and the rod bend, and the light bulb goes off. This isn’t sitting around, hoping something will happen. This is a game. I still get a charge out of seeing fish rise to a hatch. We’ve all spent considerable time and energy learning when and where and why it happens, and

March 4, 2016

March: Month of the nymph ON THE FLY

B Y M ORGA N   LYLE

Everybody enjoys taking fish on top, but there’s a feeling of accomplishment from hunting for Morgan Lyle photo them down deep with nymphs.  there is a real satisfaction in hav- Behind that rock? Along that fishing itself requires intense ing figured out something about seam? How will I get a nymph concentration. I’m on high alert nature. down there? How will I know if for a twitch of the leader, a barea fish takes? ly perceptible tap or tug. But dry-fly fishing is no longer my happy place, my default Thirty years of hanging I’m always surprised when it daydream at work. With all due around creeks has given me works. respect to everyone who has some sense of where the In a way, March is the month spent hours happily lost in the fish can probably be found. of the nymph. At no other time pursuit of rising fish, the dry fly Experimenting with different of the year are so many immafeels a little boring to me now. flies and the rigs used to drift ture aquatic insects to be found them has given me enough con- in the water. All those hatches I mean, the fish have already fidence to get my hopes up. The and spinner falls last spring and solved the biggest part of the puzzle for me. They’ve shown me where they are. They need to eat these mayflies, and in doing so reveal their location. • Eli Mercado, 50, of Utica, All I have to do now is show fined $350 plus a $150 court them a fly. surcharge for failure to Nymphing, on the other hand, immediately release a foulis all mystery and challenge. hooked fish. Mercado was cited in

summer created the next generation of mayflies and caddis flies, and they’ve been quietly waiting through the winter months for their turn. In another month or so, all these critters will get active, and the annual parade of hatches will begin. I will fish dry flies, and I’ll enjoy it. But I’m most looking forward to hunting for those trout that haven’t tipped me off to their presence, guided by my own hunches about location and depth. You never know what you’ll find, down there among the rocks. I might even connect with one of the larger models – my favorite kind of surprise.

Several anglers cited for snagging DEC enforcement during fall trout and salmon run

Albion, N.Y. — A Ridgewood, N.Y., angler was fined $450 plus a $150 court surcharge for illegally fishing during the fall salmon run in Oswego County, DEC officials reported. Adam M. Klich, 35, was cited in connection with an Oct 3 incident in the town of Albion. He was charged with fishing with weight hanging below the hook and failure to comply with a lawful order of a conservation officer. Klich’s fishing setup is generally associated with the illegal snagging of fish. He was one of several anglers cited by ECOs during the popular fall trout and salmon run into Lake Ontario tributaries. Others cited were:

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connection with an Oct. 4 incident in the town of Albion. • J. Stanislaw, 63, of Bristol, Conn., fined $300 plus a $125 court surcharge for snagging and failure to comply with a lawful order of a conservation officer. He was cited following an Oct. 3 incident in the town of Albion. • Pawel Posluszny, 32, fined $250 plus a $75 court surcharge for snagging, fishing with weight below the hook and using more than one hook. The citations stemmed from an Oct. 3 incident in the town of Albion. • Christopher A. Jackson, 26, of Sullivan, N.H., fined $250 plus a $50 court surcharge for failure to release a foul-hooked fish and snagging in connection with a Sept. 22 incident in the town of Albion. • Andrzej Chrostowski, 38, of New Britain, Conn., fined $200 plus a $50 court surcharge for use of more than one hook and snagging in connection with an Oct. 2 incident in the town of Albion. Other citations handed down and their cases resolved were:

• Ronald J. Cardinal, 53, of Beaver Falls, fined $700 for taking antlerless deer without a permit and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling. Cardinal was cited in connection with a Nov. 28, 2014 incident in the Lewis County town of New Bremen. • Matthew W. Brown, 31, of Gouverneur, fined $400 for taking bear except as permitted by fish and wildlife law. Brown was cited in connection with a Sept. 21 incident in the St. Lawrence County town of Edwards. • George J. McIntyre III, 42, of Gouverneur, fined $400 for taking bear except as permitted by fish and wildlife law. McIntyre was cited last Sept. 19 in the town of Edwards. • Bruce R. Love, 37, of Winthrop, fined $500 for hunting deer with the aid of bait, possessing a rifle during muzzleloader season, and taking deer during closed season. Love was cited in connection with a Dec. 11, 2014 incident in the town of Brasher (St. Lawrence County). • Patrick R. Fleming, 21, of Newton Falls, fined $400 for taking black bear during closed season. Fleming was cited following a May 21, 2015 incident in the town of Clifton (St. Lawrence County).

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March 4, 2016

L

New AGE might come of age

ast month we harped upon the lack of gun-owner friendly political people in office and on the candidate stump. That misery will continue well past Election Day, but along with candidates’ gun stances we have to endure the usual start-of-thenew-year flap about weight loss. Walking up that hill to deer, turkey or small-game hunt a bit more taxing for you this past year? Know that you need to shed a few pounds? How about those post-New-Year’s ads offering all kinds of help? While losing weight is a most desirable goal for outdoors folk, especially hunters, the stats just don’t seem to show we’re benefiting from pills, exercise devices and even medical procedures that promise, often temporarily, a weightloss outcome. Just after New Year’s, and even before Santa arrived this past year, the TV hawkers began selling pills and programs. So far this season the slim-down sell has continued later into the year. Marie Osmond has graced TV screens later into the year, and pill pushers have increased the numbers of “successful” users well into mid February. One drug vendor now has 20 million seemingly happy losers. Yes, losers. Exercise machines abound and even stomach staplers start out with painful procedures that often result in binges that

separate staples and restore the weight patients wanted to remove. Counting calories helps; exercise should help stamina, even if it is not a serious source of weight loss. But no pill, meal program, stomach surgery and exercise device or routine will work if eating habits – volume and content – are not changed for good, as well. While ads showing svelte, younger women and men extolling virtues of drugs and drills later and later into the winter weight-loss sell game, a recent government survey noted that in the past five years the average human in this country has seen a slight weight gain. One need not read data from a national study to see that we, even involved outdoors folk, are adding pounds and inches year round. Part of the problem is the weight-loss pitches wane in early March, but every party and holiday ad from Valentine’s Day to Thanksgiving turkey and Santa’s sleigh arrive with all kinds of accessory sweets I dis-affectionately referred to as “garbage” in a Taking Aim column produced three years ago this month. That droll column promoting weight loss was the result of diabetes scare a year or two earlier at a weight just below 250 pounds shortly before deer season that year. Avoiding sweets and excess salts, the weight dropped some 50

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pounds to slightly below 200 pounds by the following summer. Stamina, as well as flexibility improved, but regular exercise still remains necessary to retain endurance, as shown in recent hill climbing and long-range hunts. As a result of this personal push, and knowing no pill or program sell worked well into any year, I playfully offer the acronym AGE as a personal program for weight loss. AGE, which stands for “Avoid Garbage Eating,” resulted in the response success expected from column content. Well behind crossbow, mandatory orange or DEC media relations, the AGE weight-loss column received some feedback – but not very much. Clearly, it was not a reference to candy and other sugary and super salted carbohydrates as garbage that offended folk. It simply comes down to adopting a personalized regimen akin to a cancer- or coronary-suffering patient’s resolve

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

to change one’s lifestyles most folks see as daunting. A lifelong program such as AGE to alter one’s food intake is akin to condemning coffee drinking or desserts such as mom’s apple pie. But a walk up Pennsylvania hillsides last hunting season convinced me that weight gain, even a few “extra” pounds, curbs the quality and enjoyment of a hunting trip, or even a stream-walking foray for fish. Without pushing it to a Karen Carpenter extreme, food intake is an individual’s problem, requiring personal solutions. For outdoors folk, goal setting is slightly easier but rarely simple. Valentine’s cherries, berries and chocolates are sweet; summer ice creams up north add another sweet flavor or two each year; year-end holiday meals sweeten entrées (e.g. yams) even before dessert is served. Portion control is even more a personal choice/quest. Sizes of meat cuts, selection of veggies and frequency of eating each day are options only an

Page 19

B Y W ILL   ELLIOTT

individual can choose to do. If one truly decides to avoid eating “garbage” such as candy, sugary baked goods, creams and sauces, it has to be a year ‘round thing with a strong-minded pursuit that results in better functions afoot and afield. The AGE agenda works at any age. But it must come with a desire to fish that pool farther up stream or the satisfaction of comfortably sitting in a turkey or deer blind well up the hill and/or into the woods. Plates of well-cooked venison or fish fillets taste even better when harvested with less the blubber and more stamina that hunting and fishing season. Good luck losing……


Page 20

F

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

No need to explain in Nashville

or a few days each February, I don’t have to try to explain my passion for spring gobbler hunting. Nor does Paula,

who gladly accompanies me to the National Wild Turkey Federation’s annual Convention and Sport Show in Nashville, even though I’ll

Reggie Klahn, of Ellicottville, arrowed this 10-point buck near Mansfield Oct. 31.

somewhat sheepishly admit she’s not a big fan of country music. It’s there we’re surrounded by like-minded sportsmen and women who understand, who don’t walk away shaking their head in amusement or even disbelief, who instead nod in agreement when we chat about past hunts and plans for this spring. We’re probably hunting’s version of the legion of Trekkies, those devotees of the Star Trek TV series. And if we ever care that we’re looked upon as something teetering toward weird, that’s all put aside for a few days each February in Nashville. We’re surrounded by folks who are just as passionate – or intense, or crazy, or whatever adjective you choose to describe us – about spring gobblers. They understand. There’s no need to explain how we feel when we stand in the darkness, impatiently awaiting the sunrise, listening for a distant crow that might trigger a booming gobble, or straining to hear some soft hen

talk as the birds tapdance on the limb, ready to fly down to begin their day. There’s no need to articulate what we feel when that gobble rattles the woods from a location that tells us he’s closing the distance. Or the heart thumping that kicks in when a longbeard makes his appearance, every step closer to shotgun or bow range, seemingly glowing in the early-morning sun and burning another spring memory into your brain. At the Nashville gathering, the sport show, obviously, carries a turkey-hunting theme. Calls – yelps, clucks, cutts and even gobbles – resonate through the sprawling space at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center. The industry’s heavy hitters – folks like Primos, Drury, the Mossy Oak gang, Waddell, Knight & Hale, Pittman and others – are on hand, showing off their new products but also chatting up fellow turkey hunters ahead of another spring. Although Paula and I enter the show with media badges, these guys are no more

March 4, 2016

B Y STEV E PIA TT

accessible to us than they are to fellow showgoers. They’re there, eager to talk turkey with anyone. Exhibitors showcase the latest in turkey hunting gear, from calls to shotguns to camo to all sorts of accessories designed to assist in your gobbler-getting process. Wildlife agencies tout the superb turkey hunting available in their respective states, nudging spring gobbler pursuers who are always looking for a good road trip. Guides and outfitters offer their services to hunters, many of them looking to finish off their Grand, Royal or World slams by tagging another wild turkey subspecies. Callmaking competitions and auctions had attendees eyeing and trying tables full of box, pot and trumpet calls ahead of the buying spree. In the calling competition

Missouri’s Billy Yargus won the NWTF Grand National Turkey Calling Championship for the second straight year. Photo courtesy of the NWTF

hall, turkey hunters sat quietly, listening to the yelps, kee kees, clucks and purrs as if they were attending a performance by Pavarotti, trying to pick up the faintest of flaws that may separate one competitor from the next in the ears of the judges. This year’s grand national championship, won by Billy Yargus of Missouri to complete back-to-back victories, attracted standing-room-only crowds to listen to the top 12 callers in the country. The friction, gobbling and owl hooting events had their own followings, and in the hallway some transactions occurred where spectators were able to purchase some of the calls used and made by the competitors. It’s an annual gathering of turkey hunting friends in many cases, and you can count on meeting and returning home having acquired more friends every year. Folks who are just like us. Hunters who live for the spring. Who understand.


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

DEC ‘rock star’ keeps tabs on unique species Staff Report

rom early on, Paul Jensen knew that his would be a life spent in the outdoors. As a youngster growing up on a small farm in Lisbon (St. Lawrence County), Paul would venture out with his shotgun, hunting for small game and trapping the muskrats and beaver found on the land. Today, those years spent as a boy wandering the woods have taken Jensen to a career as a wildlife biologist, specifically as the furbearer leader of the New York State Department of Conservation (Region 5) out of Warrensburg. How is his career coming along? Well, you could ask Gordon Batcheller, who retired from the DEC as chief wildlife biologist just last year. In a New York Outdoor News story, Batcheller described Jensen as one of the “rock stars” who work in his department. Batcheller had high praise for Jensen’s work as an expert on both the pine marten and fisher. “He’s probably the pine marten expert in the country, and he brought some really heavy-duty science to our program,” Batcheller said. Jensen is about as humble as one can get when it came to talking up his credentials, but he had equally high praise for Batcheller. “He was a champion for sportsmen, involved in trapping early as a viable sport within the state. He was a staunch supporter of hunters and trappers and a big turkey hunter,” Jensen said. “He had the

have a lot of good memories trapping muskrats back in the swamp,” he said. These days, with a young family and work, there is less time for trapping. Jensen is an avid deer hunter and goes into the woods with a bow, a rifle and a muzzleloader “It seems like I have good intentions. I buy my trapping license every year, but I really try to get a few deer in the freezer so I don’t have all that much time. It was probably back in 2004 when I last did any serious trapping,” Jensen said. Working for the DEC since 2003, Jensen is now a senior wildlife biologist who specializes in pine martens and fishers, both closely related and members of the weasel family. But Jensen wants everyone to DEC wildlife biologist Paul Jensen with a pine marten captured and know that the pine marten should be correctly identified as the American released for an ongoing study. Photo provided marten. And Jensen is aware that he

Page 21

is one of only a handful of biologists who focus on these two critters. “Very few people actually work on these species. The bulk of their geographic range is in Canada and Alaska,” he said. Both species are quite similar, but their range of territory is limited for one and wide open for another. Martens are found only in the Adirondacks, while fishers have “pretty much a statewide distribution” throughout New York, Jensen said. Both martens and fishers are territorial, so the males will tolerate females in their home range but will not tolerate another adult male. An adult marten male will weigh in at about 2 pounds, a female about 1 pound. Fishers are much bigger predators, with a male going anywhere from 8 to 15 pounds and a female

respect of the men and women and of sportsmen’s groups. He was very progressive, very pro-research and a very well-respected biologist, both within the department and outside the department, as well as across the nation.” Jensen, a 45-year-old resident of Chestertown (Warren County), has roamed the woods and waters around his home with his older brother Greg, since he was 13 years old. “We trapped beaver and muskrats as kids. We

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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Stock photo

Jerky is a great option, especially for geese. A successful goose hunt provides lots of meat and makes it worthwhile to invest the time it takes to make a batch of jerky. Just cut the breast fillets into halfinch thick strips or so, spread them on a cookie sheet, and season them the way you’d like. You can use a commercial jerky seasoning, like Hi Mountain, or create your own. I like to use a recipe my friend Jeff Stawiarski gave me that uses salt, garlic powder, spice (like McCormick’s Montreal Steak seasoning) white sugar, brown sugar, and maple sugar. I often add a little liquid smoke to the mix. Let Early in the season, Gnatkowski likes to breast out ducks the meat marinate overnight and then because of an abundance of pin feathers. Photo by gnatoudoors.com spread the strips on foil on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven on the lowest setting By Mike Gnatkowski with the door cracked just a touch. After a Contributing Writer couple of hours, flip the meat over and keep checking it I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someoccasionally for the right texture. People won’t believe one say, “I don’t like duck,” I’d be living high it’s goose. on the hog. People who claim they don’t like Even ducks that are considered less palatable than duck tell me that they heard it’s greasy and “gamey.” others can treat your taste buds when prepared with a The key word here is “heard.” Many people who claim little creativity. they don’t like duck have never actually tried it. I recall a waterfowling trip I took with friends to A duck doesn’t have any more fat on it than a chickCanada. Even though we’d driven all day and all night en. In fact, ducks shot in the early season have little fat. to reach our destination in central Saskatchewan, the Granted, if you’re a person who only likes the white lure of thousands of ducks and geese had our adrenameat on turkey or chicken, you’re probably not going to line pumping. Sleep was impossible at that point. like duck. Both duck and goose meat is dark. But if you Pat LaPorte and Dick Pulse jabbered impatiently like dark meat, fowl can be a tasty change of pace. and stared wide-eyed in bewilderment at the sight of Early in the season, waterfowl are likely to have lots pothole after pothole filled with waterfowl. Seasoned of pin feathers – small, immature feathers that are difwaterfowlers, Rick Morley and I had been there, so we ficult to remove. For that reason, I usually breast out could only chuckle at Dick and Pat and their unbridled early season birds. Doing so it easy. It’s like filleting a enthusiasm. The prospects of getting in an afternoon fish, only easier. Just cut along each side of the breastshoot precluded sleep, so we quickly stashed out gear bone and fillet the meat off. Depending on the species before heading to the marsh. of duck, you’ll have a fillet that is from half to the same A road bisected the marsh. An incredible assortsize as the palm of your hand. Save the legs, too, as they ment of gadwall, pintails, shovelers, and teal paddled make for tasty hors d’oeuvres. unaware in the ditch beside the road. At our approach, I like to take the breast meat and cut it in 1-inch-wide they just flushed and landed a short distance out in the straps across the grain of the meat. With a wigeon or marsh. We quickly unloaded the canoes and decoys. teal, this might just mean cutting the fillet in half. With a Dick and Pat elected to head out on the south side of the good-sized redhead or mallard, you should get several road. Rick and I elected to try the north side, reasoning strips of meat. Add some olive oil and butter to a frying that we could keep the birds trading back and forth pan. Dredge the duck in dry batter, like Drake’s, and between the marshes. add the strip to the pan once the oil/butter is hot. Rick and I barely had the decoys in the water when Brown the meat lightly on both sides. Move it from the we heard the first volley of shots. A second barrage folpan to a plate and keep it warm in a 170-degree oven. lowed closely, and then another. Green-winged teal and Once you have all the duck browned, add some sliced shovelers strafed our hide non-stop, but knowing there onion and mushrooms to the pan and brown them. would be a lot of targets during the coming week, Rick Once browned, add the duck back to the pan with and I decided to hold out for bigger, better-eating birds. about a quarter cup of red wine, cover, and simmer for “Well,” I said looking at Rick, “How many shovelers 10 minutes. I guarantee it will be the most tender, flado you think Dick and Pat have?” vorful duck you’ve ever had. “A bunch,” Rick replied. Another great use of duck or goose fillets is for fajitas. Shovelers are not considered the most palatable or Just cut the breast fillet in strips and brown it using desirable ducks on the table. a little spicy creole seasoning. Add lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, olives, sour cream and hot sauce and you have The sun was just slipping below the horizon as Rick the makings of a great meal. and I picked up the last of the decoys and began paddling toward the truck. When we arrived, Dick and Pat Later in the season is the time to pluck ducks for roasting. Fat, late-season mallards are the best for pluck- were waiting, sporting wide grins. ing. Mature birds won’t have any pin feathers, and it’s “How’d you guys do?” they queried excitedly. easy to dry-pluck birds for the roaster or slow cooker. “I think we got seven,” I replied as I slung the strap of One of my favorite ways of cooking plucked birds is pintails and gadwalls up on the grassy bank. to stuff them with a mixture of hot pork or venison “We got 15!” Pat spouted boastfully. sausage and Uncle Ben’s wild rice. Mix the uncooked “How many of them are shovelers?” I asked. sausage with the cooked rice, season it, and add dried cranberries, cherries or raisins or apple slices and onion “I think we got 11 shovelers,” Pat said. Rick and I and stuff the mixture in the individual birds. Figure one looked at each other and grinned. per person. You can roast it at 350 degrees in the oven “Great. Now what are we going to do with them?” I for three hours or put them in a large slow cooker and asked. cook them slowly all day. Either way, they’re going to Back at the lodge, Pat took the filleted breast meat be delicious.

of the ducks, including the shovelers, and cut them into cubes. He then skewered a chunk of duck to a water chestnut and wrapped it in a half slice of bacon and secured it with a toothpick. He said the mini duck kabobs were called rumaki. The rumaki was then allowed to marinate in a 50/50 mixture of Worcestershire and teriyaki sauce overnight. The rumaki was then placed on a hot grill and cooked until golden brown. It was a big hit at the lodge, and you couldn’t tell the less-palatable shovelers from the supposedly better-tasting pintails and gadwalls. I think Dick and Pat knew what they were doing all along. For more recipes like these, check out Wild Game Simple at gnatoutdoors.com

If

Duck is delicious, especially when slow-cooked in a crock pot.

Goose breast can be prepared several ways, including blackened and served with noodles or other starch. Photos by gnatoudoors.com


HIBERNATION

March 4, 2016 By Joe Shead Contributing Writer

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

F

or species such as black bears, chipmunks and other critters, hibernation is necessary for winter survival. Some species, such as chipmunks, ground squirrels and other small mammals, experience extreme drops in body temperature during hibernation. The body temperature of a chipmunk in winter is less than 40 degrees! As such, these animals have to awaken every few days just to warm up. At that time, they also eat cached food and defecate. For years we often were taught that a bear wasn’t a true hibernators because its body temperature didn’t drop to such an extent as that of a chipmunk and other small mammals. However, biologists have dropped that old philosophy and, in fact, now classify bears as true hibernators. Although the over-winter body temperature of a black bear only drops about 12 degrees from its normal temperature of about 100 degrees, many other amazing physiological responses occur during cold weather. Prior to denning, bears feed heavily in late summer and early fall to build up thick fat reserves. These reserves, along with an incredibly dense layer of fur, will carry them through the winter. Bears prefer to eat high-energy foods such as berries, acorns and other nuts, but will feed on whatever is available. The length of hibernation, den digging and other related factors vary greatly by geographic region. In the far north or in mountainous regions, hiber-

How it works

File photo

nation can last 6 to 7 months. Closer to home, our bears hibernate about 4 to 5 months. Den digging usually occurs in September or October, but that, too, varies with weather and by an individual bear’s amount of winter preparation or lack thereof. Den sites vary widely. Some bears dig a den into the side of a hill, scooping out dirt to create an opening just large enough for them to squeeze into. However, some bears den in hollow trees, under root balls, in culverts, or even completely exposed, nestled in a clump of cattails or under a pile of leaves. Bears line their dens with leaf litter, branches, cattails or other natural materials to give them some insulation from the ground. Even in a cave-type den, the air temperature inside is about the

same as it is outside. With the onset of cold weather, and particularly before a heavy snowfall, bears enter their dens. Some will arouse during winter thaws and may even venture outside to forage on warm winter days if food is available. However, some may not leave the den until spring. That also means they will neither eat nor drink until spring. This amazing ability to survive without eating or drinking fascinates scientists, and many are curious to learn how the hibernation process works so they can apply their knowledge to treat human ailments. As mentioned, a bear’s body temperature drops from about 100 degrees down to as low as 88 degrees. This small drop in body temperature relative to that of small mammals still

allows bears to conserve energy, but also allows them to wake up faster in response to danger. Metabolic processes slow, as well. A bear’s metabolism drops 50 to 60 percent. Heart rate and breathing also decline. While the heart of an active summer bear may beat 40 to 50 times per minute, the heart rate during hibernation drops to about eight to 19 beats per minute. Breathing drops from six to 10 breaths per minute to one breath every 45 seconds. As a bear sleeps, it still requires energy to breathe and stay warm. Instead of eating, a bear begins to deplete its fat supply. As fat is digested, waste is produced. However, rather than needing to defecate or urinate, the bear recycles waste urea produced from the fat digestion process. The urea R PE ON SU UP CO

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is broken down into nitrogen that the bear uses to maintain muscle mass. Even though a bear may lose 15 to 40 percent of its body weight during the course of the winter, it maintains its muscle mass and bone structure. Scientists hope to better understand this process in an attempt to treat osteoporosis. Another fact of medical research has to do with cholesterol. While a bear hibernates, it metabolizes fat, which elevates its cholesterol level to twice its normal rate, yet no hardening of a bear’s arteries occurs. If scientists could understand this, they might be able to treat arteriosclerosis. Although bears mate in late spring or early summer, usually in June, cubs are not born until late January or early February. Black bear cubs weigh about a half-pound or so at birth. The cubs do not hibernate, but snuggle close to the sow for warmth and to nurse frequently. By the time they emerge from the den, cubs weigh 4 to 8 pounds. Depending on the weather, bears leave their dens in March or April. Males emerge first, followed by cub-less females. Sows with cubs are the last to emerge. Bears hang around the den area for a few days while they get used to living active lifestyles once again. Soon, they begin feeding to regain lost body weight. Hibernation is much more complex than just sleeping. Some pretty incredible physiological activities occur while a bear sleeps. Scientists hope to better understand these processes so they might be used to treat human ailments.

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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

The benefits of

OLD SNOW to the deer hunter

By Steve Heiting Contributing Writer

S

tanding ankle-deep in snow last December, I was wet and tired, but there was a big smile across my face because I knew exactly where I would put my bowhunting stand for the 2015 season. Almost 10 months later, I stood in the same spot, looking for the start of the blood trail that would lead me to the largest buck I’ve killed to date with archery gear. The benefits of off-season scouting cannot be overstated. Without a tag to fill you are free to walk in places where otherwise you dare not tread for fear of spooking the deer you’re hunting. Add “old snow” to the mix, and you’re essentially looking at a road map to your next deer stand. What is old snow? It’s the white stuff that fell days or weeks earlier and has not been freshened by additional snow. Every track and trail and dropping made by deer is plainly evident, and the longer the snow cover remains the same, the more accurate your scouting efforts become. You can walk deer trails as far as you want, taking note of how they follow landforms and forest types, and where they go through pinch points that funnel the deer as they go about their daily routine. Bedding areas become obvious, and you won’t miss any rubs – the reflection of light off the snow makes them glow. You can look at potential entry routes to find out if you will disturb deer on your way into the woods to hunt. If you hunt forested areas, you can learn what the deer eat by finding pieces of the food lying atop the snow – buds and chewed branches become obvious rather than blending in with forest duff. If no snow has fallen since hunting season, you can find where other hunters placed their stands so you can give them a wide berth later. The perfect scenario occurs when snow is on the ground at the conclusion of the gun and muzzleloader seasons. Deer resume their normal behavior within days in lightly hunted

It was at this intersection of deer trails in “old snow” that Heiting shot the buck he called “Extra Point.” His stand tree is in the background. Photos by Steve Heiting areas, or within a week or so in more heavily hunted regions. The longer the time period between the close of hunting and the next measurable snowfall, the more that will be revealed. If you’re willing to scout at this time, consider yourself among the few. New York’s late muzzleloader and archery season typically closes the third week of December, and the hustle and bustle of the coming holiday season often keeps hunters out of the woods. Add the notion of hunting season “burnout,” and you’ll likely find your tracks the only ones mixing with those of the deer. You can still scout in the snow

With light reflected off the snow, rubs seem to glow.

during the remainder of the winter, but it’s best to do so close to the conclusion of hunting seasons because then the patterns will be more similar to what you’ll see while hunting. Last fall, a huge snowstorm buried the northwoods I hunt two weeks before gun deer season, but little additional snow fell until nearly Christmas. The 18 inches of snow that had fallen in November settled, melted some, and was about half its depth when I scouted at the conclusion of muzzleloader season. With a month’s worth of activity etched into its surface, the snow revealed much. I went into the day knowing I probably had to change a bowhunting stand despite killing a 9-pointer from it just weeks earlier, during the rut. The tree where I typically hang my stand offers a great vantage point, as well as enough cover that I’ve never been spotted by a deer while in it. I snowshoed to the very spot where deer would occasionally walk my way, but “hang up.” Sometimes they would reach this spot, which is an intersection of two deer trails only about 30 yards from my stand tree, and then melt back into the woods. It didn’t occur all the time, but just enough to make me concerned. I wear scent-containing clothing, wash with scent-free soap, and hunt the wind, yet every now and then I’d be busted. I looked to the tree where I placed my stand and it was obvious the deer couldn’t see me. Pulling out my compass, I was shocked to realize that the more westerly a northwest wind blew,

the greater the likelihood my scent would blow directly to that very spot. How did I miss this before? As difficult as it was to admit, I knew I had to find a “better” tree for my climber. It was time to start backtracking the deer trails. The first trail, which followed a slight ridge between a bog swamp and a clear-cut, headed south for nearly a half-mile before turning southeast. Eventually the trail led to a slight knob overlooking the clear-cut, where dozens of beds melted into the snow confirmed what I had suspected: This was indeed a bedding site. Unfortunately, along the way there were no trees suitable for a climbing stand. Returning to the intersection, I followed the other trail, which ran easterly across the ridge and into the clear-cut before branching off to a small knob that was littered with beds and droppings. The other fork of the branch led to a low ridge that runs through a hardwoods stand. At the intersection were dozens of red pines, and one stood out because it was close enough to the intersection yet shrouded by branches of other trees. I knew I could reach the right height in my climber and be concealed enough to kill a buck. Even better, this “new” tree was suitable for hunting in anything but a south wind. Almost exactly 10 months later from that very tree, I killed the buck I had nicknamed “Extra Point.” Now you know how old snow helped make the difference.

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March 4, 2016

By Brett Carlson Contributing Writer

A

new fishing reel is at or near the top of many wish lists any time of year. Unfortunately, many who search online or visit their favorite brick and mortar store are ill-equipped to purchase the correct reel. The abundance of options proves too perplexing. For the serious fisherman, a new reel is not an all-encompassing piece of angling equipment. Instead, it’s a specific tool – a tool designed to perform best for certain applications. The key to purchasing the correct reel is not about brand or appearance, but instead understanding a reel’s gear ratio. What is gear ratio? Quite simply, gear ratio is how many times the spool turns for each turn of the reel’s handle. The number listed before the colon refers to the spool turns. For example, 6 to 1, or 6:1, is a fairly common gear ratio. With each turn of the reel’s handle, the spool turns six times. In the past, 6-to-1 was considered a high-speed reel. This is no longer true as manufacturers now produce reels with 8-to-1 and even 9-to-1 ratios. The next step is to take this knowledge of gear ratios and apply it to those aforementioned applications. When do I want to use a high-speed reel and when do I want to use a low-speed reel? And more importantly, why does it matter? For bass fishermen, one of the most common ways to probe shallow-water cover is by flipping and pitching. Anglers often cast a jig or softplastic bait to a target, lift the rod a time or two, and then quickly reel it back to the boat. With a high-speed reel, anglers receive the benefit of more casts, which means more water is covered. In addition, a highspeed reel helps with pulling bass away from treacherous cover such as docks, stumps, and lay-downs, and into the boat. Walleye fishermen, who often prefer live-bait angling, value the ability to reel up slack line quickly when a bite is detected. Lures that are burned, or reeled fast, are also fished more effectively with highspeed reels. This includes spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs, buzzbaits, and even lipless crankbaits. High-speed reels are also advantageous for situations when an angler has to impart the action by twitching or pulling the rod tip. This includes top-water baits such as poppers, prop baits and walking baits. Jerkbaits, although not fished on top, would fit this same category. Generally speaking, any baitcasting reel with a gear ratio of 7-to-1 or higher is considered high speed. For spinning reels, anything with a ratio of 5.5-to1 is considered high speed. Low-speed bait-casting reels, which have gear ratios ranging from 5-to-1 to 6-to-1, also have

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

their place. By and large, low gear ratio reels have the most torque or cranking power. Therefore, low gear ratio reels are ideal for heavy lures such as swimbaits and big, deep-diving crankbaits where keeping the bait in the strike zone is paramount. Oftentimes when anglers are attempting to match the hatch, they look to low-speed reels to mimic the natural movement of baitfish. This is especially true when fishing cold water as metabolisms, and thus movements, across the food chain are slowed. Ice fisherman will use straight line reels with 1-to-1 or 2-to-1 gear ratios, although bringing a crappie up from a 30-foot basin can take a considerable amount of time. Lowspeed spinning reels will have

a gear ratio near 4-to-1. In between low and high are medium gear ratios, between 6-to-1 and 7-to-1 for baitcasters. The vast majority of reels fall in this category and the 6.4to-1 is perhaps the most common gear ratio for a baitcaster. Budget conscious anglers can perform many applications with this reel. However, it’s best suited for shallow- and medium-running crankbaits, squarebill crankbaits and swim jigs. The next time you’re purchasing a new reel, consider the reel’s primary purpose and then choose one with the appropriate gear ratio. The end result will be an appropriately selected tool that maximizes on-the-water performance.

Anglers should think of fishing reels as tools that can be used to accomplish specific tasks. Photo courtesy of Clam

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Page 26

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

J

By Dave Carlson Contributing Writer

ohn Strand could have picked any of the 1,000-plus-1 Internetadvertised ways of using discarded wine corks. He chose poppers. Strand, 64, started tying flies for panfish and trout when he was 14. A retired county sheriff’s deputy, in his off-duty hours he developed and marketed one of the most popular regional springtime panfish poppers, a bumblebee pattern. However, making and distributing thousands of the flies through local sport shops cut into his own fishing time, and gradually he ceased mass production. For another hobby, over the years Strand and his wife, Cheryl, delved into wine-making. Producing enough for their own consumption, the Strands soon found themselves with a mounting pile of wine corks. Looking for a way to recycle the corks, Strand again turned to fly tying, but this time with bass as his primary target. “They’re sustainable, they’re affordable, and they’re very effective,” Strand said as he sawed, sanded, and glued several poppers for demonstration during an interview in his basement workshop. Wine industry sources say most of the world’s cork comes from the Mediterranean Basin, some 52 percent grown and harvested in Portugal. Cork oak forests keep about 6.6 million acres of the basin from becoming a desert and absorb millions of tons of carbon dioxide each year in supplying oxygen to the planet. Highly buoyant and impermeable, cork’s uses range from wine closures to flooring, even life vests. Unlike synthetic or metal screw-cap bottle closures, cork is biodegradable. A wine and spirits research group based in London reported that the world produced an estimated 38.4 billion bottles of wine in 2013. The United States and United Kingdom are the world’s largest wine customers, with the U.S. consuming 339 million cases. The Cork Forest Conservation Alliance estimates there is enough cork to close all of the wine bottles produced in the world for the next 100 years, adding that “cork forests are being sustainably managed more than ever and new plantings always ongoing.” Assured of an infinite supply, the cork popper fly tiers share their techniques in high-quality, home-spun videos drawing thousands of views on YouTube. Novice to veteran fly tiers simply search “how to tie wine cork poppers.” Not counting drying time, Strand estimates it takes about 10 minutes to produce a wine cork popper. Not counting sizable investment in shop tools (which he uses for other projects), he estimates each fly costs about 20 cents. That compares with commercial poppers selling for up to $3.50 to $4 each. “They are very durable,” Strand said. “They can stand the occasional pike bite, too.” And, there’s that matter of the value of pride in product. “You’re making something that is going to fool fish, just like any other bait maker,” Strand said. “When you’re doing it, you can see the strike, the boil, the excitement in the fish’s eyes. “There’s a whole lot of satisfaction in that. And it’s a pretty good way of spending part of winter.”

Strand’s time-tested, field-proven methods are outlined in these steps: STEP 1: Square off one end of the wine cork on a band saw, leaving about 11⁄2 inches of cork for the body.

STEP 2: Use a 1⁄8-inch high-speed round ball bit to begin cupping out the squared-off end of the wine cork. (Wear a dust mask.)

STEP: 5 : Cut a slot in the “belly” of the cork body to insert a kink-shanked 11⁄2-inch 2/0 Mustad hook. With two-part epoxy, glue the hook into place with the eye exposed in the cuppedout face. “As long as the slot is straight, there’s no issue with tracking,” Strand said.

STEP 3: On a drill press, sand out the concave depression in the cork with a 3⁄4-inch round sanding ball. STEP 6: After five minutes of drying time, fill in the slot with Bondo. When dry, scrape and sand off excess.

STEP 4: Use a 11⁄2-inch drum sander on the drill to taper the body, front to back, giving a frog-like contour to the cork. Finesse it the way your artistic talent interprets Strand’s approach. STEP 7: Apply two coats of paint to the body. When dry, apply “eyes” with different size nail heads. Use the same method to put different spots on the popper’s back. Paint the narrow belly-strip area white, front to back. After drying, add two to three coats of marine varnish for a hard and shiny finish. STEP 8: For added attraction, whip-knot hackle feathers and/or synthetic hair to the hook. (Strand does not add a monofilament weed guard.) John Strand hand-paints his homemade wine cork poppers. Strand, 64, started tying trout and panfish flies when he was 14 and began making bass poppers about 25 years ago.  Photos by Dave Carlson


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 27

Trout-holding hot spots abound on West Branch

By Vic Attardo Contributing Writer

A

nnounce on the streets of New York City that you’re going out to pick some pockets and you’ll likely get into a heap of trouble. But say the same thing on the West Branch of the Ausable River and like-minded fisherfolk will nod their heads and wish you luck. The Ausable’s famed West Branch, like so many streams in the Empire State, has important stretches of water that are dense with pockets, and these pockets are often full of trout. And you shouldn’t land in jail fishing them. In common fishing parlance, pocket water is rocky, often bouldery, high-gradient water where a noisy flow gushes and foams creating confined, sometimes deep, spaces where trout lurk. Except in extreme flood stage, the tops of pocket water boulders should be higher than water level and bigger than toilets, and refrigerators, and sofas, and beds. There are boulders on the Ausable the size of a school bus but that’s really taking it to the extreme. You might look at pocket water and think there’s no way a trout would want to live there, but they do. The fact is pocket water creates a morass of eddies, miniature pools, seams and swirling holes where trout thrive because their food supply gets trapped in these very places and is easy to grab. If you want to see an extreme piece of pocket look at the Wilmington Flume on the West Branch and know that some anglers will scramble along its kong-sized megaliths and catch trout. Me, I prefer going downstream a bit and working the wider steps with flatter levels – still technically pocket water, but not like the base of a volcano, or Devil’s Tower if you’ve ever seen that. And that’s the thing about fishing pocket water: how you work it depends on its specs. It also depends how close and where you can stand in relation to its gushiness. Breaking it down somewhat, there are two fishing positions for pocket water: one being rather at angle, almost across, from the target; the second directly downstream of X. Obviously, some pocket water is so extreme that you really can’t get behind it, or at least none but the very end. In these places it’s necessary to work across stream. Say you’re looking at a big boulder located about 10 feet out. There are multiple targets in this scenario. The first is the hydraulics in front of the stone; the second and third are either side of the boulder; the fourth is directly behind the obstruction and the fifth (if you’re still counting) is the wash somewhat downstream. All of these places, and due to your proximity, lend themself to the (half) high-sticking, shortline presentation. The first conquering element is a leader festooned with tiny

Photo by Rich Garfield

strike indicators. Here is where I use a necklace of 1/16-inch hollow fly line pieces placed every 18 to 20 inches, in intervals from three feet to the top of the leader. I keep two of these fully rigged indispensable instruments in my travel kit for just such situations. Naturally, I’ll be nymphing

and I’ll use a size 10 stonefly as my dropper attractor and some spaced split shot, but more likely a heavily weighted, beadhead caddis stick-home type fly – think Casual Dress pattern but mine is called the Beaverkrat, made with beaver, mink and muskrat – as the point fly

The approach and rod position is everything. I roll/flip the rig several feet ahead of the boulder then with a leader-only line nearly straight from rod tip to the bottom bouncing fly, I manipulate the fly rod higher and lower as the fly swings from the front of the boulder to the downstream flat.

I don’t allow the actual fly line to touch the water; at least not very much of it. Trouble comes in this short-distance high-sticking when the weight of the fly line actually drags the heavy line back through the guides. You need to keep control of the leader-in-the-water (See Pocketwater Page 50)


Page 28

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

2016 Wood Duck Challenge

For young people under the age of 18. 1. Build at least one wood duck nesting box according to an approved plan. 2. Install the box, preferably on a pole with a cone guard as diagrammed. Lip of cone should be at least three feet from ground. Trees are difficult to make predator-proof, but if you choose a tree, wrap a three foot strip of sheet metal below the box, four feet off the ground. Add another strip above the box if there is access from another tree. In time, gray squirrels are usually the first to beat the tree wraps. 3. Have a photo taken with you holding the box, or a photo of you with the installed nesting box in the background, and send it to: New York Outdoor News Wood Duck Challenge 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271 before May 15. You can also submit photos online at www.outdoornews.com/Wood-Duck-Challenge/ Here’s what you get: 1. Satisfaction for helping one of nature’s beautiful creatures. 2. An iron-on 2016 Wood Duck Challenge patch and a Gander Mountain decal. 3. Your photo published in New York Outdoor News.

Sponsored by

See instructions on Page 29

For more information on Wood Ducks and to submit your photo go to www.outdoornews.com/Wood-Duck-Challenge/


March 4, 2016 NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS Page 29 • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS •

STEP-BY-STEP DIRECTIONS

Photo by Stan Tekiela

For Constructing Your Wood Duck House

Editor’s Note: The Wood Duck Society and the staff at New York Outdoor News agree that mounting wood duck houses on trees creates an unnecessary predation hazard for the birds. Following the pole-mounting procedure should reduce wood duck predation by raccoons (and other predators) and produce more young wood ducks. he most common drawback of using wood to build duck houses is that when poorly constructed, they will last only a year or two before they literally weather apart at the seams. That is why Outdoor News recommends using cedar (rough side out), overlapping and sloping the roof, insetting the bottom, blunting or pre-drilling and setting all nails (Sheetrock screws also work well), as well as using thin “grip” or “anchor” type cedar shake nails 21⁄2 inches long (except to attach cleat spacer to rear wall, where 11⁄2-inch nails are used).

mergansers prefer this snug, 8-by-8-inch interior box dimension, and it can make the boxes much lighter and easier to carry and install.

Cleaning and accessibility

Duck safety

Since annual cleaning and inspection are an important part of wood duck house projects, easy access is a must. Hinges add expense, and houses with roofs that open up for cleaning are not very strong. Plus, the nest material is a long, sometimes dangerous, reach from the top of the box to the bottom. The simple side wall access door pivoting on two nails permits convenient, safe side access and a much sturdier box. An added benefit of the side access door is how it simplifies post installation. Note: Placement of the cleaning/access door on the right side wall as you face the front of the house makes installation handy for a right-handed person.

A 3-by-4-inch duck entrance hole and an 18-inch distance from the bottom of the duck entrance hole to the bottom of the house (17-inch inside distance) are important dimensions to frustrate raccoons and help the hen or the nest survive an attack. Never add a perch to the front of the house. Ducks don’t need it, and raccoons use it for a better grip during an attack.

T

Efficiency Traditional wooden duck house designs have wasted some wood and created a real “monster” when it comes to carrying and mounting the heavy beasts. Female woodies, goldeneyes and hooded

Material sources Nest Box: Cedar kits (Helmeke design – side door) Minnesota Waterfowl Association; 907 First St. N.; Hopkins, MN 55343. Phone: (952) 767-0320 or www.mnwaterfowl.com. Poles: Eight-foot treated landscape timbers (flat on two sides) from any lumber yard. Discarded steel sign posts sometimes available free to conservation groups from highway departments. Sheet metal cone guard: Use tin snips, or furnish a heating contractor with a pattern. Commercially cut cones and support

Installation Select a relatively open area to pole mount duck boxes. Face the boxes toward an open “flight lane” where woodies are likely to fly by and see the entrance from a distance. Placing the boxes near or over water accomplishes this, as well as being close to where woodies are more likely to spend a lot of time. Don’t rule out posts not close to water. Early morning observation during the nesting season often will reveal pairs of woodies searching favorite areas for

brackets available through Prairie Pothole Chapter of MWA; www.prairiepotholeday. com or by mail: P.O. Box 14; Willmar, MN 56201. Angled support brackets: Purchase 1-inch steel right angle brackets and bend to 40 degrees, or purchase ready-made through Prairie Pothole Chapter at above address. If 4-by-4-inch square posts are used, brackets can be omitted by ordering MWI style cones. MWI cones have four “wings” that are bent up and attached to post. Questions? See www.prairiepotholeday.com. nest sites some distance from the closest water. Since raccoons are notorious shoreline predators, these more distant nest locations may be less bothered by raccoons. Also, don’t be concerned about placing your nest box close to your home or other human activity. Woodies and other cavity-nesting ducks are very tolerant of human comings and goings. Install your house via the relatively low pole-mount method described also in this issue.

Drawing details 1. Use a square to align rear “hinge nail” with front “hinge nail.” 2. Use a wood rasp to round out “finger groove.” 3. Drain holes are not recommend in this house design.

Lumber 1. Use grade 3 cedar, rough one side. 2. Sides/front/back/floor 1 inch by 10 inches (actual 3⁄4 by 91⁄4). 3. Roof —1 inch by 12 inch (actual 3⁄4- by 111⁄4 inches). 4. Rough surface goes out on completed house. One “side” will be smooth unless you make an even number of houses and alternate the direction of your cross cut.

Final considerations

Safety tips 1. Everyone in the woodworking area should wear safety glasses. 2. Adults should closely supervise the use of all tools. Power saws should involve “hands on” adult supervision – if not actual completion by an adult.

1. Have you attached your quarter-inch mesh exit ladder? (A staple gun works great!) 2. Add 4 inches of cedar shavings as nest base material. For additional information, contact the Wood Duck Society at (651) 429-8007, or www.woodducksociety.com.

ATTENTION CROSSBOW HUNTERS! Do you believe crossbows should be:

• Classified as Archery Equipment as they are in the majority of other states? • Used with a Bow Privilege instead of a Muzzleloader Privilege? • Permitted to be used by anyone with a Bow Privilege during any season and for any game other Archery Equipment is used? • Permitted to be used during the Columbus Day Weekend Youth Deer Hunt? • Permitted to be used in ALL Archery Only Areas? • Permitted to be used for Bowfishing?

Are you satisfied with:

• The current crossbow season dates? • Not being permitted to begin hunting on October 1st with other archers? • Draw weight and width restrictions placed on crossbows that eliminates many models of recurve and reverse limb crossbows?

March 10th - 13th NYCC will have booths at both the WNY Sport and Travel Expo in Hamburg, NY and The World Fishing and Outdoor Expo in Suffern, NY and April 1st - 3rd at the Big East Camping and Outdoor Show at the Turning Stone Casino, Verona, NY.

Stop By and Say Hi, Get Yourself a Tee Shirt or Hat, Join or Renew Your Full Membership. Get Tickets for a PSE Dream Season RDX 365 Crossbow Raffle Drawing March 20, 2016

SHOW SPECIAL COUPON

Present this coupon at one of the NYCC Booths and receive $2 off any tee shirt or hat or $5 off any tee shirt or hat when you pay for your Full Membership, Full Membership Renewal or by extending your current full membership for an additional year at the booth. Only one coupon per person. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Coupon valid only in 2016

First Name ______________________________ New York State’s, Non–Profit, Non-Discriminatory, Full Inclusion Archery Organization is not satisfied and believes that crossbows are archery equipment and should be classified as such, without special restriction! Incorporated in March 2012, NYCC has led the charge for legalized crossbow hunting in NY. With our lobbying efforts, supported and paid for by our membership, along with the grassroots efforts of our members contacting their legislators requesting crossbow legalization, NY had its first crossbow season in 2014 that incorporates a portion of the early Archery Seasons, all of the regular firearms seasons and all late muzzleloader seasons, as well as all small game hunting. New York Crossbow Coalition is presently pursuing legislation that will classify crossbows as archery equipment. This would give crossbows the same rights and privileges as all other archery equipment. If you support crossbow hunting and believe as we do that a crossbow is archery equipment whose use should be permitted anytime, anyplace and for any game all other archery equipment is permitted, please consider joining us as a Full Member. Your $20 membership is an investment in the future of crossbow hunting in NY and will help strengthen our voice in Albany.

Online Membership applications are available with a Paypal option Or by mail using the form attached

Last Name _______________________________ Address

_______________________________

_______________________________

City______________ State______ Zip Code________

Home Phone # Cell Phone #

( (

) ______ -_________ ) ______ -_________

Birthdate: M ______ D _______ Y _______ County of Residence : ________________ Email Address ____________________________ Y __ N __ Do you currently Crossbow Hunt? Y __ N __ Do you currently Bow Hunt? Y __ N __ If not a current Bow Hunter, are you a former Bow Hunter? Y __ N __ Do you believe crossbows are a form of bow and should be allowed in all seasons and areas archery equipment is permitted? Y __ N __ Do you believe crossbows should ONLY be permitted for seniors and handicapped persons To join fill out this application and mail a check for $20 to NYCC PO Box 316 Pulaski, NY 13142 www.nycrossbowcoalition.com or find us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/groups/nycrossbowcoalition Sign up for our email newsletters at our web page.


Page 30

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Alone March 4, 2016

but not

lonely

Anglers may fish by themselves, but they rarely alone, and they don’t harbor feelings of loneliness while on the water. Photos by Angelo Peluso By Angelo Peluso Contributing Writer

It

was Thanksgiving morning. The turkey was in the oven and all the “fixin’s” were being prepped. Waves of aroma from pumpkin and apple pies filled every corner of the house. A freshly-made carrot cake sat atop the counter, beckoning me forth like a seductive siren of the sea to come and taste. But too many eyes were watching, and I knew that if I stole an early slice of pie or dipped a finger into the cream cheese topping of the cake I would be reprimanded and banished from the kitchen. Since the holiday guests were still hours away from arriving, I chose to avoid any further temptations and go fishing for a short while. I grabbed a surf rod and surf bag filled with artificial lures, and I swapped out a pair of casual shoes for some comfortable hiking boots. I’d be taking a nice long walk. If nothing else, the trek would be good exercise before the impending feast that would surely fill my belly to the limit. And if I were

lucky, I might even hook a few late-season striped bass. As expected, the Long Island beach I chose to fish was empty. I’d have this sand and surf all to myself for the morning. Well... almost. Shortly after reaching the spot I intended to fish, the white bucktail did its job and my line came tight to a solid Turkey Day striped bass. I released the fish and extended my usual “thanks” for making my day; an especially appropriate gesture on this holiday. As it turned out many more bass were still willing to play in the seam water currents caused by the ebbing tide and a moderate northeast wind. For a while it seemed as if each cast brought a solid hit; certainly a lot for a fisherman to be thankful for. I had just caught and released another bass when I felt an odd sensation that I was being watched. It wasn’t the kind of feeling one gets when a strange angler is eyeing you at your favorite fishing hole. This was much more primal. It touched a latent sense deep within me. I turned around on my rock

perch and scanned the beach and open ground. I saw nothing and swung back around to keep fishing. But the unusual feeling persisted, and beckoned me to seek its source. I again spun around and continued looking. This time I saw it. The large bird was sitting atop a weathered piece of driftwood, watching my every move. Its large, piercing eyes were riveted on me as its head rotated to extreme angles to lock in the best view and to engage its superior hearing. It was a magnificent creature that had now captivated my total attention. As if with magnetic power, I was pulled closer to it. Oddly, the bird did not take flight. I reached for a camera, instantly realizing I had left it in my truck. I sat down on a log and soaked in the magical moments. Drawn to this bird, I had forgotten about the bass I was catching. While I had seen snowy owls before on the Alaskan tundra, this was the first sighting on my home turf on Long Island. The owl and I sat staring at each other for almost five minutes.

It was a young bird and I may have been the first human being it had ever seen. It didn’t appear at all frightened, and I am sure it was as curious of me as I was of it. The low profile I had assumed seemed to put the bird at ease but I didn’t want to overstay my welcome and frighten it off. Its journey from the Arctic had been challenging and the owl needed its rest. I also had to get back home for holiday festivities. I eased out from my position back onto the sand and began my walk to the truck. After rounding a bend on the beach my visual connection to the owl had been broken, but its image stayed strong and its effects remained on my psyche. It struck me that once again, here I was alone on an empty beach along the north shore of Long Island, but not at all lonely. The majesty of nature on this morning was my sole companion, as it has been on many other solo fishing outings. That seems to be the way it always is when I venture to the water. Whether I am on a remote Alaska peninsula beach, a sand flat off the Gulf of Mexico or a piece of beach along my home waters of the Long Island Sound, the scene is always the same and the experience is always about more than

just fishing. Finding one’s slice of seclusion on a densely populated suburban island is often a challenging, if not futile, endeavor. But with a little effort, planning and persistence it is possible. It seems no matter where I have lived, I have always somehow managed to discover my own hideaways and sanctuaries. While far from offering the isolation of an exotic atoll in the middle of the ocean, many outof-the-mainstream places I find have two things in common: an opportunity to become intimate with the outdoors away from crowds; and the prospect of interacting with the natural world in a way in which I can become one with the surroundings. There is a lot to be said for the old adage that fishing is first and foremost a contemplative sport. In its purest form the game has always been about the angler and the fish. Never am I more at ease with life... and with myself... than when I am connected in a primitive way to a creature of the sea. The process of enticing a fish to eat a baited offering, and then being attached to that creature via a tenuous line is as primal as it gets. (See Alone Page 36)

2016 Great Lakes Walleye School & Expo Weekend! Hosted by the Lake Erie, PA Charter Boat Assoc.

April 2nd & 3rd NEW LOCATION! St. Johns Banquet & Conference Hall

1001 Main St. Girard, PA

SEMINARS INCLUDE: VENDOR TABLES STILL AVAILABLE!

April 2nd • Seminars April 3rd • Expo EXPO IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! 10am-2pm, FREE admission School Seminars held on Saturday, April 2, 2016 (the day before our Walleye Expo)

Walleye School Hours 8:30am - 4:00 pm. Doors open at 7:30am

BOAT SETUP MONO TACTICS DIPSY DIVER TACTICS DOWNRIGGERS LEAD CORE DIVE CHARTS BAIT SELECTIONS FISH FINDERS GPS NAVIGATION WALLEYES... WHERE, WHEN, WHY

Walleye School seating is limited to the first 200 student registrations. First come, first serve. Once we hit 200, the registration process will be closed. Cost of attending the School is $80 and you receive the following: • A full day of instructional seminars combined by 10 expert instructors • Coffee and donuts in the morning (Saturday) • Free catered luncheon (Saturday) • Door prize bag full of effective walleye tackle upon arrival to School from our sponsors • Free admission ticket to the Expo the following morning (Sunday) • Free 2016 Walleye School full color T-Shirt upon arrival to School

Registrations for 2016 Lake Erie Walleye School ONLY accepted at http://epacba.com/school.htm


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Time-tested fly still popular a century after its creation By Vic Attardo Contributing Writer

I

magine a piece of technology so perfect it endures for 100 years. These days when phones and other digital devices are obsolete nearly as soon as they become marketable, that’s a difficult concept. But 100 years ago this May, an astute and avid trout fisherman in New York’s Catskill mountains created a pattern – or at least gave one to a friend – that not only is still being used but its very name is linked with the insect it imitates, thus saving thousands and thousands of fly fisherfolk the trouble of learning Latin. If the historical record is accurate, it was in May 1916 when New York “game warden” Roy Steenrod – a student of Theodore Gordon, the renowned father of the American dry fly – tied a Catskill-style dry fly and gave it to his friend, A.E. Hendrickson. A regular in the Catskills, the fly and a pool on the Beaverkill eventually was named after Albert Hendrickson. Then as things evolved even the natural mayfly – Ephemerella subvaria – was tagged with the Hendrickson nomenclature; so these days, when fly-fishers travel to a spring stream they hope to meet the hatch known as the Hendrickson, now with many different patterns and tying styles to the label. Last year I went on a mission to fish the Hendrickson (the Steenrod-created pattern) not only at its historical birthplace but along some New York waters where the mayfly is known to thrive. As the Hendrickson appears for a week or two anywhere from April into May but is unpredictable, I managed to find it on East Canada Creek on the edge of the Mohawk Valley, the Beaverkill near Roscoe and the West Branch of the Delaware River above Balls Eddy, in that order. If I had any questions whether or not the Steenrod pattern was still effective 100 years later, I shouldn’t have. I fished the Catskill pattern exclusively and it produced some wonderful trout in all three places. However, my partners fished other patterns, most notably a Comparadun Hendrickson, also a Tri-Point Hendrickson Dun and a Hendrickson parachute with a trailing Antron shuck. At three streams I faced a wide range of weather, both peaceful and testy. On East Canada Creek I was smacked with 30 mph gusts, which made the mostly overcast day a physically trying experience but the catching terrific; on the Beaverkill there was sudden return to cold weather, but not cold water, which forced the

The Hendrickson hatch is the most consistent and widely seen early season arrival on many New York trout waters. Photos by Vic Attardo

Hendricksons to linger on the surface. And then on the West Branch I encountered a warm, pleasant day but with a water temperature that made my legs ache and kept all but a few very determined trout from rising to a delayed spinnerfall. It was a wide meteorological range and through it all I caught some terrific trout on Mr. Steenrod’s a pattern – or as close to his pattern as modern dubbing and waterfowl-hunting wood duck feathers mimicked.

The original recipe called for a body of “pinkish urine-burned red fox fur” or “vixen belly;” a wing of lemon wood duck flank and a medium blue dun hackle with the same for the tail, and yellow silk if an egg case was desired. Well, you might visit the outhouse and attempt to make “pinkish urine-burned red fox fur” after eating some red licorice or jelly beans, but I’ve been satisfied with Rumpf Beaver Dubbing. Most importantly, this anniversary quest renewed my appreciation for Ephemerella subvaria, which can be as capricious as a mangy cat. Indeed, over the years I’ve faced blanket Hendrickson hatches, but because the mayflies were rising while snow was falling, no trout came to them. I’ve also dodged cold raindrops when a spinnerfall seemed more flushed from the trees than a biologically scheduled event. But hey, that’s what Hendricksons are all about, so last year’s ups and downs weren’t anything unnatural. What I remembered most

about Hendrickson activity is that you want to spend a full day on the water and what happens one day can greatly impact the next. For instance, I’ve often read that the Hendrickson hatch occurs around midday, weather depending, and the spinnerfall in the early evening. Whoever writes that has not seen the full range of Hendrickson activity. That windy day on East Canada Creek was a wonderful case in point. I was fishing with John Wainwright of White Dog Trail Company when a sporadic but important spinnerfall began about 10:30 a.m. I was upstream and had just noticed a few Hendrickson flakes falling from the sky when Wainwright ran up and reported things were really happening about 150 yards below me. He had already caught two trout on Hendricksons. Rushing along, what I saw downstream was not a spinnerfall blizzard but intermittent blasts of size 12 spinners floating into the mouths of aggressive trout. The strong wind was

Page 31

knocking the adults out of the air and onto the water, where a pod of roving trout picked away. I needed the power of my Loomis GLX 5 weight to punch the blow. After we caught a few fish – me on the full-hackle Catskill pattern and Wainwright on a comparadun – the veteran of many East Canada encounters said the spinnerfall action was quite typical in midmorning and he expected a hatch to follow in midafternoon and conclude around 4:30 p.m. So with the spinnerfall over, we ate lunch and waited. Then around 3 p.m. we got the first inklings of Hendrickson duns rising from the rumpled water. By 3:30 we were in the midst of a strong hatch, which continued past 5 p.m. But before it concluded we packed it in, exhausted by the tempest and slippery rocks. The East Canada is not an easy place to fish. During the hatch, as they had done in the spinner stage, the trout were roving. Not content to stay in one lane, they moved from bank to bank, picking off duns. I’ve seen this before where there’s no surface or near-surface structure to anchor the fish. Wainwright and I called back and forth and the consensus was these trout were really roaming. They’d appear in one spot, disappear to another, come back again, perhaps (See Hendricksons Page 36)


Page 32

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

was truly serious then fly-fishing is in real freaking trouble. But perhaps I misread the meaning of entertainment. All through their Internet debate I considered the pro-side of the argument psychologically revealing. Back when I taught clinical psychiatry at the Deadwood School of Advanced Thinking, I advocated that those who don’t like doing something don’t do it because they can’t. To put it more stately, their abilities, or lack thereof, eventually worm into prejudices that are then reinforced by strict a priori tenants. (You can see

By Vic Attardo Contributing Writer

I

have a friend who is a very good small-stream brook trout fisherman. He is a great dry-fly guy and even though he’s not a snob about one or the other, he readily admits he doesn’t do well nymph fishing. That drives me crazy. Last summer we were on a deep powerful flow where the rainbows would sooner look up a hungry mink’s butt than rise to the surface – water I loved and he hated. After a short time, my friend became very frustrated, started cussing like a truck driver at a dead end, and soon walked off with no fish under his belt. Later, at the brew place, I brought up the subject. “I just don’t fish nymphs good,” he said in sudsy syntax. “Well, why not?” was my quick rejoin. “I don’t know,” he shot back angrily. “I just don’t.” “Well, freakin’ learn,” I blurted. “What are you, a one-horse fisherman?” Fly-fishing, I have come to accept, is not like playing professional sports. On the football field, basketball court or about any contested ground you’d note, it’s the coach’s job to put their players, “in the best possible position to win.” When a coach creates tactics he designs to the player’s strength – and those that don’t soon get fired. Fly-fishermen don’t have that luxury. The fish are out there and no single way will catch them every time. To nab trout you have to be versatile and be confident in your versatility. A guy who says he’s not a good nymph fisherman, or a good streamer or a good dry fly guy is going to miss out on a lot of fishing. If you don’t mind missing out then just continue excusing your inadequacies and forget we ever met. But in a better spirit, consider this a sort of pre-season pep talk. “Now,” yells the coach, “it’s time to change!” This winter a couple of fly-fishing writers spent their down time debating the use of strike indicators and whether or not there should be waters where “bobbers” aren’t permitted. I sincerely hope this argument was a result of off-peak hours because if it

why I turned to fly-fishing to escape such profound arguments.) In any case, not liking a particular technique is a poor excuse for being unable to execute it, or vice versa. I realize it’s the inferior coach who, after diagnosing the problem, doesn’t offer solutions for fixing; allow me, then, to be informative. Say you’re not very good at dry fly-fishing, or nymph fishing, etc. Then I suggest you take yourself to particular water, most likely an appropriate section of a stream or river, and practice, practice, (See Game Page 42) Photo by Vic Attardo

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March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Dry Rub Venison

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Page 33

Taste of the Wild

from Outdoor News

Dry Rub Ingredients:

Chef Eileen Clarke

Photos by Eileen Clarke

About the Chef:

Eileen Clarke is the author of nine critically acclaimed wild game cookbooks, including Slice of the Wild, an all biggame bullet to fork guide, and Sausage Season, a step-by-step foolproof guide to making wild sausage. Check them out at riflesandrecipes.com or call 406-521-0273 to order. Years ago a friend asked me if he salted his deer steaks, before cooking, if it would make the meat drier. He’d read it somewhere. My answer was no, it made no difference. But years later after making a lot of sausage, I wish I had another chance to answer that question. It does make a difference. But it’s a good difference. Sausage makers know that letting salt sit on the meat for 24 hours before mixing, breaks down meat proteins. In sausage, the breakdown creates the bond between fat and lean and signature creamy texture of good sausage. In a dry rub, it tenderizes the meat, noticeably, letting you use pretty tough cuts for fast-cooking dishes instead of the same old boring stew and chili. The salt does nothing for hard sinew—the stuff you can’t see through, so you still have to trim that stuff away, but salt does an amazing job on the actual meat. This recipe is a great example. Apply this rub to some tough old steak you’ve been avoiding--48 hours should work. Then treat yourself to a gooey, delicious dinner of tender, tasty venison with creamy smoked Gouda, piled on a Portobello mushroom. Even people who don’t like mushrooms love this.

Cooking Instructions:

1 pound venison steaks 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon dry leaf marjoram ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder ¼ teaspoon coarse ground black pepper Mix the dry rub. Slice the meat into thin strips, sprinkle the dry rub over both sides of the strips, then cover tightly and refrigerate 48 hours.

Additional Ingredients: 2 tablespoons oil 1 onion, sliced thin ¼ cup chicken broth 6 Portobello mushrooms Sauerkraut 6-8 ounces Smoked Gouda, sliced thin Honey mustard

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat, add the dry-rubbed steak strips. Cook until the first side gets nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes, then turn them and add the onions. 2. Continue cooking until the onions start to brown. Add the chicken broth and let that cook down until most of the liquid has gone, but the meat and onions are still quite moist. About 8-10 minutes, total. Remove the meat/onions from the heat. 3. To assemble: rub the outside of each mushroom with a bit of oil. Set stem side up on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and remove the stem. On each mushroom, spread 2 tablespoons of honey mustard, then 2 tablespoons of sauerkraut (drained a bit so it’s not soupy). Divide the meat/onion mixture among the mushrooms. There are at least two ways to slice an onion. If you’re not using the whole onion at 4. Bake about 5 minutes, uncovered, once, the leftover part will stay fresher longer if you cut from the stem end first, and leave the root intact. (Wrap that in plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate.) then place a slice of smoked Gouda on each mushroom. Continue cooking But cutting it across the grain means short pieces of onion, and I love long strips of onion in dishes like this (it’s just look more dramatic). The only way another 8-10 minutes, until the cheese to get nice long strips of onion is to slice them from pole to has melted. Serve hot. Find us on at www.facebook.com/OutdoorNewsTasteOfTheWild pole. Since the meat is already in strips, it just makes the Find more recipes and share yours today! Visit the COOKING tab online at www.outdoornews.com onions look like they belong.

Tips from the chef on slicing onions:

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Page 34

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Bevilacqua

(From Page 1)

for sportsmen and women in New York,” said DEC Major Timothy Huss. “He dedicated much of his adult life to defending sportsmen’s rights and the traditions of hunting, fishing and trapping. He was also a staunch supporter of conservation laws and environmental conservation law enforcement. He will be sorely missed.” CFAB Chairman Jason Kemper called Bevilacqua “a valuable asset to this board and the sporting community. He will be greatly missed.” Bevilacqua was also a past vice president of the New York State Conservation Council, where he served as a longtime director in Region 1. He was a member of several key council committees, and over the years also served as president, vice president and director of the Nassau County Fish and Game Association. He was also a past president of the Manhasset Bay Sportsmen’s Club and was involved with both the Nassau and Suffolk county sportsmen’s federations. An avid hunter, angler and competitive target shooter, Bevilacqua was a life member of the

Wyatt Herdman, of Angelica, arrowed this 10-point buck near his home Nov. 12. The rack green-scored 132 with an 18-inch inside spread.

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Smelt

(From Page 1)

would be found each winter. That was bad news for St. Pierre, who is near Bulwagga Bay in the town of Crown Point. The bay annually became a small city of ice shanties each January and February as schools of smelt came in to the bay. Fishermen would walk away with buckets of the small but tasty fish each day. Though ice conditions have

National Rifle Association. Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, which serves as the New York affiliate of the NRA, called Bevilacqua’s passing “definitely a sad day for New York state. Charlie was in the forefront of both outdoor and gun rights issues, someone who was firm and absolute in his beliefs.” Bevilacqua was active in his community as a former Scoutmaster; a fundraiser and assistant coach for the Syosset Spartans Young Sports Program; a member of the Nassau County Forest Practices Board; a Region 1 member of the New York State Open Space Advisory Committee; and the New York State Conservation Council/New York Power Authority Joint Task Force on Energy and Natural Resources. He was associated with Nassau-Suffolk Realty and held various management positions with Lisa & Company. He attended Nassau Community College and the American Management Institute. Funeral services were held in Syosset.

been affected by warm weather, this winter’s return of good numbers of smelt has been reason for optimism, he said. “It’s getting there,” St. Pierre said last month. “I had a guy catch three pounds the other day. We’re seeing some large schools of smelt, but they aren’t biting yet.” St. Pierre said he hasn’t seen any alewives in the gullets of fish he has cleaned this winter.

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“I’ve been cutting perch all winter and haven’t seen a single one,” he said. Lance Durfey, the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s regional fisheries manager, said Vermont fisheries biologists have been monitoring smelt catches and have been getting similar reports from anglers about more smelt being caught and fewer alewives being found. Both smelt and alewives are fish that have up-and-down population cycles, Durfey said. “As the alewives taper off, the smelt will come back,” he said. Bernie Pientka, a biologist for the Vermont Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, said his agency surveyed smelt and alewives in Lake Champlain last summer. He said smelt schools seemed to have stabilized since the apparent drop when alewives took hold a decade or so ago. “We did see more smelt,” he said. Whether the increase is just part of the up-and-down cycles that both baitfish species seem to undergo remains to be seen, he said. Smelt are also present in other waters around New York, including the Great Lakes, Finger Lakes and Lake George. Fishing for them is banned on Lake George because their population is not as strong as they had been, with their spawning activities seemingly hampered by development along streams that flow into the lake. Fishing for smelt is allowed on many other lakes.

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March 4, 2016

By Al Cornell Contributing Writer

H

ere’s the hardest part to translate into the present: We went the entire season without seeing a deer, and it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm to hunt deer. The return of the whitetailed deer to the area where I grew up was the most exciting event of my childhood. When I was 11 years old, I was out by the smokehouse-turnedtool shed on a late-November day graced by a snow-covered landscape. The blast of a rifle shattered the cold air. A buck bounded from the hill in the cow pasture just up the draw from the house. Ted and Toby, the beagles, seemed to add an octave to their rabbit-chasing voices as they tore off in pursuit. Then a rifle-toting man in red plaid followed the tracks down the hill. That was just the third deer I’d ever seen. Two years later, my older brother turned 16. He bought a shotgun that he still deer hunts with and hunted local hills and valleys every day that he was allowed to for the season. Somewhere, a couple of miles from home, he saw deer tracks in a muddy bottom. Three years later, when I reached that magic age, deer numbers had increased and I did see at least one deer every season. The previous year, I traversed the hills trying to stir up a buck for my brother. I chased out a nice buck and two does. They went the wrong way, but my brother had shot a yearling buck by the time I got to him. Then there was a red fox in a sleet storm. I got so close that I slung a hickory club at him. For most country boys and a few girls, deer hunting was more highly anticipated than getting a driver’s license. No one had ever heard of hunter recruitment. When I started college in the fall of 1965, there were 500 freshmen boys in the natural resources program. Most of them came from rural areas. Most dropped out or followed advice to change to a major that offered better potential for employment. And by the way, there was one girl in that class. In one of the large freshman classes, the forestry professor said he knew a girl in Idaho who got a forestry degree. She couldn’t get a job but had done the next best thing. She married a forester. The girl in our class didn’t survive that culture, but things have changed. Back then, kids were toting “sporterized” guns. Gadgets were unknown, and deer-hunter success may have reached 10 percent. Footwear wasn’t as reliable, and my feet took a significant frostbite on a bitter-cold opening morning. Dad had let us tag along on some squirrel and rabbit hunts. I remember taking a couple of target shots with the (See Recruitment Page 45)

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

.22 when the stock protruded behind my armpit. As soon as I could, I was hunting every Saturday from October to January. Today, hunting lacks that appeal for most kids. Yet, it remains those kids who are brought up in the heart of the hunting heritage who constitute the majority of new hunters. Numberswise, those kids are not replacing old hunters who are hanging up the gun or passing on. Today, hunter recruitment is vital. I’m learning from my grandkids about their interest in hunting. Bree Moericke is my oldest grandchild at 13. Her dad, Matt, taught her to fish, and I took her on a successful turkey hunt last spring. She loves to run in the woods with our golden retriever every chance she gets. She wants to turkey hunt again and to eventually hunt deer. However, she is a devout competition swimmer, and that eats up an immense amount of time. When I was a kid, competition sports never

Dad passed on his love to hunt. Here, LeRoy “Butch” Cornell holds a coyote he plinked with his .22 while squirrel hunting in 1952 when coyotes were extremely rare. Photo courtesy of Al Cornell

competed for weekend time. My son-in-law, Bruce Clarson, is an avid bow shooter and deer hunter. The grandsons, Bryson, 11, and Brenden, 10, exhibit the normal sibling differences. I took

Bryson turkey hunting for about three hours two years ago, but we didn’t see anything. He hunts deer occasionally with his dad, but may prefer squirrel hunting. He’s into snakes and bugs. Brenden turned 10 in October and has shot bucks. If you know Brenden, it’s OK to tease him about where the first two .243 shots hit. Have you ever heard of a holes-in-the-horn buck? For both boys, hunting time competes with soccer and basketball time. Even after successful hunts, some young hunters decide to pursue other interests. I think Brenden was hooked from the start. The hunting culture continues to be the most successful at bringing new hunters into the sport. However, more needs to be done. Nationally, more than $30 million is spent annually on

Page 35

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Page 36

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Hendricksons

March 4, 2016

Alone

(From Page 31)

closer, then go away. We figured this out with the relative size of individual trout in a group and the fact we didn’t see more than two pods at a time, though you’d swear they were trout all across the surface. We later admitted that a major factor in our success were the extreme winds. These blasts made casting (and wading) difficult but we also thought the roiled surface disguised our leaders and tippets. Whenever the trout got close enough to reach, we had little trouble hooking them. During the late-afternoon hatch, Hendricksons came off quickly (air temp about 50F, water temp several degrees above) and rapidly took to the air, but the gusty winds knocked many down. This scenario set up a killing field. The wind was so nasty Wainwright said two of his trout chased his fly downstream for several feet. With such a heavy hatch, Wainwright and I were passionately eager to be in the same spot the next morning; however, a prior fishing engagement drew us away. As it happened, Wainwright called a friend and this lucky dude and his friends made it to the spot the next morning. With a little more sun and warmer air temperatures they enjoyed the fruits of yesterday’s hatch as soon as they reached the slot around 10 a.m. I was jealous as hell, but very thankful to Roy Steenrod for the pleasure his pattern provided last year.

(From Page 30)

Although many contemporary anglers engage in the social aspects of fishing, such as tournaments, club outings and group trips, there is something quite special about the simple one-on-one contest between angler and fish. When you are with others the experiences are obviously shared. And while those are, nonetheless, treasured times in one’s outdoor life, there is much to be said for encounters that are shared with no one other than yourself and your quarry. It is those times that linger most in one’s memory and tend to have the greatest personal impact as Zen-like epiphanies. I’ve often had those same experiences in a tree stand and duck blind. Solitude with nature as a singular companion has a way of opening up one’s inner self to the surrounding natural world. And that, in turn, creates an extraordinary level of self awareness. That connection has been strongest in the course of my own outdoor endeavors when I’m engaged in the act of fishing. Some of the most challenging times of my life have been made more bearable while fly-fishing

along a beach, and being calmed by the hypnotic drumming beat of waves against the shoreline. There is an emotional and mental freedom that comes with that which is comparable to no other. So, too, have been those instances when I am at full draw on a buck whitetail or focused on a mallard with cupped wings as it drops into the decoys. And following a good gun dog through the woods or fields yields similar results. The intensity of focus that comes with getting in the necessary mental zone often frees and opens the mind from worry, from stress and literally from any other thoughts but those relating to the immediate task at hand. Nature has a unique way of allowing us to see the most fundamental elements of our own existence on the “big blue marble” and our place in the hierarchy of natural order. So it is that solitude when afield or on the water is always a welcomed partner. Releasing a large striped bass back into the surf with no witnesses, sitting alone with a downed trophy buck and paying due respect to the quarry or sharing a moment with just your dog and a limit of timberdoodle all amplify the meaning of those achievements. With no other distractions than your own thoughts and contemplations, being “alone” takes

The outdoors offers places that allow for personal fulfillment and enlightenment in spectacular settings. on a whole new definition. There is no loneliness in that equation, but rather a sense of personal fulfillment and enlightenment. In a society that indulges not only in instant gratification, but in incessant social media sharing of life’s experiences, there needs to be places where intimacy and privacy remain totally personal. The grandeur of the outdoors can offer those places... sanctuaries where we can escape to be alone but not at all lonely.

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March 4, 2016

reflections on life and death

From

Dan Small holds a newborn lamb, “Ramalama Ding Dong,” as “Buster” looks on. Photos by Shivani Arjuna By Dan Small Contributing Editor

As

hunters, we do most of our killing at a distance. As close as we might feel to an animal we have taken, there’s often a sense of detachment from it. We might appreciate the beauty of a wild turkey’s iridescent feathers, or the majesty of a whitetailed buck in his prime, and we might offer thanks to the animal or a higher power for the gift of this life that will help sustain our own. But, in the end, we have seized a chance opportunity to reduce a wild animal to a possession, and now we must deal with the business of making meat. Through most of my early hunting career, my taking of game was rather methodical. I was respectful of the deer or rabbits I hunted, but did not give much thought about the life I had just terminated. I tried to make a good, clean shot, in order to put an animal down quickly and humanely and damage as little meat as possible, and then I set about field-dressing and processing the carcass without delay. Then on two occasions, I reached a buck I had shot just as it was dying. In both instances, the deer was down and not moving, but there was still life in its eyes – akin to what Aldo Leopold called “a fierce green fire” in the eyes of a wolf he and his companions had shot during his early years as a ranger in New Mexico. “I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes – something known only to (the wolf) and the mountain,” he wrote. Leopold went on to say that watching that green fire die was a life-changing moment for him. From that experience, he went on to adopt an ecological view of nature and man’s place in it, and he came to understand the important role all creatures, including predators, play in a balanced ecosystem. My experience of watching the life fade from those bucks’ eyes was not an epiphany as great as Leopold’s, but I came away from each of those incidents knowing I had just taken a life, and that I would never know what that animal had seen and known. In some way I could not explain, I felt closer to the deer, even if its life remained a mystery.

field to farm NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Both of those incidents occurred more than 30 years ago. In that same era, I had similar experiences with several snowshoe hares that I shot and reached in time to watch

the life fade from their eyes. As with the deer, I felt somehow closer to these dying hares as they were expiring, and was left wondering how they had experienced their short lives and what they were experiencing in their final moments. There is an element of surprise in most hunting. You spend long hours on stand, then a deer suddenly appears. When hunting upland birds or small game, a flush or the sudden appearance of game is often startling, even when your dog’s behavior tells you to expect it. Taking the shot in these instances is often a reflexive move, without a lot of forethought. In contrast, shooting a turkey often feels like an assassination. Most of the time, a gobbler sounds off in answer to your hen yelps as he approaches. He comes in deliberately, and you (See Field to Farm Page 38)

Page 37

Dan Small has developed a greater appreciation for the lives of animals since he became a farmer.

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Page 38

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Field to Farm (From Page 37)

have plenty of time to draw a bead on his head. Your heart races as he closes the gap from 100 yards to 50, then 30, then maybe 20 as he finally steps into the clear and raises his head. You struggle to control your breathing and wait for just the right moment to pull the trigger on the unsuspecting bird. You certainly don’t know the gobbler as you would a friend, but there is no question that you have connected with him for a brief time and fooled him with your calls. A skilled waterfowl hunter can have a similar experience, as he calls and decoys ducks and geese to the gun. Deer hunting, especially with a bow or crossbow, can sometimes elicit the same reactions, if the hunter gets a long look at the deer as it approaches his stand. What deer hunter hasn’t experienced “buck fever” in one form or another? In my case, my heart rate usually increases after I shoot because deer surprise me more often than not. My outlook on animals’ lives took a surprising turn several years ago when my wife and I moved to a small farm and started raising goats, sheep, and chickens. I knew from the beginning we would kill and eat some of these animals, but I

did not know how that process might affect me. Several friends warned me, perhaps from their own experience, not to name the animals we planned to eat, but we named them anyway. Most of their names just popped into one of our heads, sometimes right after they were born, but often weeks or months later. One of these critters was a ram we named “Edgar.” When Shivani’s plans shifted from dairy sheep to dairy goats and she started buying a smaller breed of sheep, we no longer needed Edgar. Most sheep are skittish at best, but Edgar was downright sociable. He would come looking for a treat when I approached his pen. He liked to have his ears rubbed, and he would gently paw at my leg with a front hoof for attention. Like most rams, you had to keep an eye on him because if you turned your back, he might butt you. Other than that fault, he was more like a dog than a head of livestock. I even tried to teach him to shake hands when he pawed at me. We do our own killing and butchering because it spares the animals the trauma of a trip to a slaughterhouse, it saves money, and we get exactly the cuts of meat we want. Doing so also

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Dan Small and Richie Galindo Edgar’s carcass. affirms our connection to our food, a connection I already felt with wild game, but came to understand more deeply with our own animals. The inevitable time came to slaughter Edgar, as it made no economic sense to keep him around. We had already slaughtered a number of chickens, some of which had names. I found it difficult to kill the named roosters, but we did so as humanely as possible, putting them in a plastic cone and cutting their jugular veins with a sharp knife, then holding them as they bled out. Shivani recited a prayer for each bird before we killed it. Every one of them provided delicious, fresh meat that we relished. When we led Edgar to the tree where we would skin and butcher his carcass, I thought about what I have heard some people say about their opposition to killing animals. Most anti-hunters see hunting as a barbaric practice, even though many of them have no problem eating a steak or drumstick. Some nonhunters, even avowed carnivores, squeamishly avoid even thinking about the steps between live animal and packaged meat, let alone taking a cleaver and cutting chops from a lamb quarter.

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lead Edgar the ram on his final walk. Small prepares to skin Photos by Shivani Arjuna

I am reminded of another Leopold quote: “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is tsupposing that breakfast comes from the store, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” As much as I agree with Leopold, putting a bullet into Edgar’s head at point-blank range as he trustingly gobbled corn from a bucket was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. A friend helped me with the process, as Edgar weighed 150 pounds, but I declined his offer to shoot him for me. We skinned and dressed his carcass, then let it age for a week or so in our root cellar, which is the next-best thing to a walkin cooler, and then I cut and wrapped the meat. Throughout this process, I was aware that this had been Edgar, but I steeled myself to the task. When Shivani and I sat down to a meal of fresh loin, I opened a bottle of wine and lit a candle to celebrate our first supper of farm-raised lamb. She said a prayer of thanks, and then I wept like a baby. All the feelings I had repressed came out in those tears. “Are you OK?” she asked. “I will be,” I answered. In a few minutes, I was over my grief, and we dug into a delicious meal. Since then we have slaughtered and eaten two more sheep – last year’s breeding ram, “Windsor,” and Edgar’s off-

spring, “Buster.” We sold two others (“Red” and “Harold”) to friends who did the same. Killing each was easier than the one before, but along with the gain of many meals of organic, grass-fed meat, I felt regret and loss each time I pulled the trigger. The fact that the rams and wethers are the friendliest of our sheep doesn’t help. We have two sheep in the winter pasture destined for freezer camp – this year’s ram, “Badger,” and a wether we neutered last spring I call “Ramalama Ding Dong” because he broke one of his horns sparring with another lamb and it grew out at a weird angle. If Badger did the job we acquired him to do, our nine ewes will have as many as a dozen lambs this spring. The males, and perhaps some of the females, will all become meat. This is the way small farmers have lived for centuries, and the way we will continue to live on our little place. We will likely keep naming our animals – it makes it easier to identify and talk about them, and they do all have distinct personalities, some of them endearing and some not so much. And we will keep eating them because that is one reason we got into farming in the first place. As a hunter, I already had respect for the animals I killed. As a farmer, I have come to a much greater appreciation of the lives we take to sustain our own.

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C IN MORE O T Y T E S March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

THREE TIPS for ALLING

By Gary Clancy Contributing Writer

he first coyote I ever called in was bedded down about 100 yards from where I sat. I was on the edge of a slough choked with nasty tangles of stunted willow and red osier, all intertwined with stubborn vines and splattered grassy patches here and there. Such cover is a favorite place for coyotes to both hunt in and bed down in for the day. Of course I had no idea the coyote was so close, but it is just for such possibilities that I always start out with a mouse squeaker. A louder call might well have scared the coyote and sent him running. This one came hurrying to the squeaking and did not stop until he stood facing me at about 30 yards. I put the crosshairs square on his chest and gently nudged the trigger. When the .25-06 went off, the coyote flipped over backwards and that was that. I was so pumped up about finally calling in a coyote that it was days before I was able to put together the main factors that led up to my first kill, and many since. I share them with you so that you can avoid some of the mistakes I made. Mistake No. 1. In my book, that would be calling in a section where there may or may not be a coyote within hearing distance of your call. That’s a

big waste of precious calling time, in my book. When you have time for only two or maybe three sets in a morning or evening of hunting, time is crucial, so don’t waste your precious calling time by calling to a nonexistent audience. And how do you confirm there is at least a 75 percent chance there are coyotes in the section you are calling? My favorite way is to drive around sections a day or two after a fresh snow and look for tracks in the ditches. This works best if you and a buddy team up. That way, you are covering both sides of the road in one pass. A pickup truck works better than a car because it sits higher, making it easier to spot tracks in the ditches and those going out across a field. Other good sources are farmers, rural mailmen, school bus drivers, and anyone else who spends time on country roads early and late in the day. Mistake No. 2. OK, you have a few farms you are going to hunt. What now? Many hunters make the mistake of rushing in with no idea of where they want to set up and no idea how they can get there without being picked off by the coyote they had hoped to call in. I can tell you from experience that if a coyote sees, hears, or smells you as you are getting to the location you hope to call from that you

can forget about that coyote coming to the call. It’s important to get out there and lay down some boot leather to determine your best approach. Look for the places where you want to set up, and remember what each spot looks like. Then take a hard look to see how you are going to get to each spot. Stay as low as you can and take pains to not “skylight” yourself, no matter how

When hunting in an open field within range of cover, Clancy prefers to wear all white and shoot a rifle.

far you need to go out of your way. In a nutshell, try to be as sneaky as you can and you will call in more coyotes. Mistake No. 3. Ignoring the suburbs and city fringes. If you live in a developed and don’t have the time or money to drive to the country to scout, consider calling on the outside edge of the suburbs. Get a city map or county map that clearly shows the bound-

Page 39

Photos courtesy of Gary Clancy

aries. Visit the sheriff’s office and police station to see if they have had complaints from any homeowners regarding coyotes. Speaking to your local conservation officer can also lead to some good hunting. While visiting with an ECO, I always give him the description and license of my truck and that of any buddies with whom I might be hunting. This makes the ECO’s job a little easier.


Page 40

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Our bird dogs are capable of plenty; we just need to give them the chance to learn By Tony J. Peterson Contributing Writer

W

hen I started training my last dog to find shed antlers, I wondered if it would affect her bird-hunting skills at all. I didn’t wonder too hard, however, because she didn’t set the world on fire in the field. Still, I wasn’t sure if switching gears as soon as grouse season ended to find something totally different from a living, breathing bird would adversely affect her. What I quickly found was that, at least with shed hunting, it did nothing but add to her value. We spent more time on training drills and out in the woods, looking for something that – if found – made us both happy. Pretty simple stuff, really.

That experience opened my eyes some, but it has been the sporting-dog experts I’ve run across since then that have truly opened my eyes to what dogs are able to do. The answer is, a lot. I know a trainer in Wisconsin who has trained bird dogs to be therapy dogs that help soldiers afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder. I recently interviewed a diehard pheasant and waterfowl hunter who trains dogs to compete in dock-jumping events. When I asked him what he looks for in a dock dog, he simply said, “I look for a dog that should be a good hunter. The dock work comes easy to good hunting dogs.” Fair enough, but what does

Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of your dog.  Photo courtesy of Tony Peterson

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encouragement. In fact, I’ve been running some serious shed antler refresher courses with Luna lately now that the bird-hunting season is over. She’s into antlers big time, because retrieving anything is what takes her to a happy,

happy place. I’ve been training her for antlers since I picked her up when she was 8 weeks old, so this comes as no surprise to me, but now I’m also kicking around the idea of this dock-diving activity. I can’t imagine it will help with any hunting a whole lot because she loves water so much as it is, but the obedience necessary won’t hurt anything. And I have to believe that the girls would think it was pretty cool to handle a dock jumper. After all, they love nothing more than telling Luna what to do and then praising her for even getting in the ballpark of the many, many directives they issue to her. A black Lab streaking across a dock and then transitioning to a stretched-out leap is pretty fun to watch, and Luna is already somewhat on her way. She jumps off any dock I ask her to, although by my estimation, she is probably about 18 feet short of what most dock-dog owners would consider a good jump. If not dock jumping, I might look into something else so I can have more fun with my dog, and just as importantly, she can have more fun with me. I am leaning hard toward the dock jumping thing, though, because I feel like it might lay the groundwork for getting the girls seriously involved in something dog-wise. If that happens, I might be able to bring home another puppy in a year or two and not suffer the wrath from my bride quite like I would right now if I were to have a moment of total weakness and pick up a new puppy. Should that happen, I’m sure I’ll try to find a few new things to teach it as well, because after all, it will be a working dog, too.


March 4, 2016

I

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Page 41

Load your own shot slugs

By John Tertuliani Contributing Writer

started loading slugs in the early 1970s, handpoured “pumpkin balls” that were essentially a 1-ounce hollow cone of pure lead. Accuracy was awful. But if you hit anything, it was hit hard. A shotgun slug is one of the most formidable bullets ever made. Deer hunters love the knockdown power, although many are not in favor of the cost, which is why the interest in handloads is growing. Slugs can be difficult to load without the equipment and loading components. The easiest mistake to make is to think once you buy the components you will have a ready source of cheap and effective slugs. To a point this is true, but you really have to know what you are doing if you want hunting accuracy. On the other hand, if you like shooting slugs at close range, then, yes, handloading is an option. Many shooters like to pour their own; they love handloading. The only thing they like more than handloading is shooting the handloads. Handloaders who get good at loading are just as good if not better at shooting; they can shoot just about anything with reasonable success. Perhaps the best way to start loading is by buying a slug kit. The easiest way to lose accuracy is with piecemeal slugs put together as components. A slug kit will have slugs, wads and the shells. Some kits have just the slugs and the wads. Slugs with attached wads tend to be more accurate. The attached wad is also used as a tailing device to keep the slug on course and prevent keyholes downrange. Another important factor is the fit of the slug in the shell. Not only do you want a tight fitting slug in the bore of your shotgun, you also want a tight fitting slug in the shell. Any looseness of the slug in the shell can reduce accuracy as much as the looseness of a slug in the barrel. Once you have found quality components, it’s time to come with powder and primer. This is not the time to experiment, either. The supplier of the slugs often has the suggested make and amount of powder. If nothing else, check the powder manufacturer’s website for tested loads; it’s the safest way to load and it’s also the smartest way to load. I learned that more powder in heavy field and magnum loads will crack your stock and teach you how to flinch. More powder does not mean more accuracy. You may lose accuracy with ultrahigh velocity slugs, especially in a rifled choke tube. The last thing to consider is the crimp. Rolled crimps are used for a reason: accuracy. Rolled crimps are more accurate because they are rolled back past the front of the slug, which does not interfere with the launch of the slug. You can star crimp over a slug but the final crimp better be even

Putting a roll crimp on the shells and finding quality components are two challenges to consider before investing in the equipment and supplies to load slugs.  Photo courtesy of John Tertuliani

to maintain potential accuracy. An uneven or deformed crimp over the slug can open slightly off-center as the slug comes through. A slug coming out off-center is the same as a worn crown on a rifle – the bullet is going to take the path of least resistance, which is the most worn side of the crown. Depending on the loading press and the shell casing used, a crimp loses a little more integrity with each reload. When I was a kid, we used to put roll crimps on a shell with a drill press. Today, it is still done the same way, but many handloaders simply use a portable drill and arm strength. Maysville Engineering, better known for MEC reloading presses, makes a press to load slugs. It

comes with a star crimp. You do not have to have a dedicated press to load slugs, nor do you have to use a roll crimp. Loading a slug in a shotshell for your shotgun is about as easy as it is to load shot, until it comes to the crimp. If you want a roll crimp, the job just got harder. Sure you will save money loading your own slugs. Too often though, you trade cost for accuracy. Do not be surprised if your groups are four inches at 50 yards. Handloaded slugs are not as accurate as factory slugs, especially past 50 yards. However, at 50 to 70 yards even factory slugs start to drift. Beyond 75 yards, accuracy with factory loads is difficult unless you have a (See Slugs Page 42)

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Page 42

Cuffs & Collars

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

(Editor’s note: A criminal charge is merely an allegation that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the state of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.) Persistence pays off (Clinton County) ECO Matthew LaCroix had received reports of a baited stand for the last three years in the same spot. Each year LaCroix checked the stand and was unable to apprehend anyone in it during the early bow seasons. Each season it would have fresh bait. Finally, on opening morning this past season, he apprehended a hunter in the stand and ticketed him for hunting over bait, placing a salt lick on lands inhabited by deer and for failing to carry his hunting license and tags when deer hunting. Baited stands and illegal crossbow (Saratoga County) During the week before the 2015 early bow season, ECO Stephen Shaw patrolled for baited stands in the town of Moreau. He located two stands in the same general area that were baited with corn and salt products. On the opening morning of the Northern Zone’s special bow season, he walked in at sunrise and located individuals hunting in both baited stands. One individual was illegally using a crossbow. Multiple tickets were

Field

reports

issued to the illegal hunters and all charges were pending in Moreau Town Court. Bow opener poachers (Jefferson County) ECOs Steve Bartoszewski and Shea Mathis responded to an anonymous complaint of an individual hunting deer over bait with a crossbow in the town of Ellisburg. The officers encountered two hunters coming out of the woods, who said they had shot a buck. The hunter who said he shot the buck claimed to have done so in the swamp where the deer was recovered. The suspected crossbow hunter claimed that he was not hunting and was not carrying a bow. As the hunters dragged the deer out, officer Mathis found a deer stand in the immediate vicinity baited with corn. After interviewing the hunters, one admitted to shooting the deer over bait while the other reluctantly recovered the crossbow he had hidden in the weeds near the truck. Both hunters were issued tickets for hunting deer over bait, hunting with the wrong implement for that season, and illegally taking a whitetailed deer. Bear over bait (St. Lawrence County) ECO Joe Munn received a phone call from a concerned citizen about the possibility of two bears shot over bait. The caller stated

Long blood trail (St. Lawrence County) ECO Bret Canary responded to a complaint of shots fired that occurred in the early morning hours of Sept. 25. The complainant did not call until he observed drag marks the following day coming from his uncle’s field, where it appeared a deer had been dragged out to the road. Canary followed that and another drag mark he found in a nearby field, which turned into blood droplets on the roadway approximately three-quarters of a mile to a residence where more blood was observed in the driveway. The officer interviewed the resident, who showed him two deer (one 5-point buck and an antlerless deer). Both were gutted and in the process of being butchered. He stated that he and another man had gone out between the hours of 2:30 and 4 a.m. with a spotlight and shot the two deer in the locations Canary had found. The second man was called to the residence to be interviewed. Both men admitted to their actions after all the evidence was explained to them. They were issued tickets for hunting big game without a New York state hunting license, possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, taking deer out of season and taking deer with the aid of an artificial light. Additional charges for shooting over/from a public highway, taking deer with the aid of a motor vehicle and other violations were pending.

GAME (From Page 32)

practice. And do not leave the technique until you’ve put at least one ball through the uprights. I further suggest that you walk to the water thoroughly prepared to fish in the way you feel most uncomfortable. By this, I mean have your fly rod prestrung with a nymph leader and nymph – if that is your foible – or a dry or a streamer leader and corresponding fly if those are your inadequacies. The one thing I’ve noticed about those who can’t is that they try to make do with stuff that won’t. Nymph fishing, for example, requires a distinctive setup, and if you try to drift a strike indicator on a delicate piece 6X dry tippet, you’re not using the best product on the shelf. The same thing goes for presenting a size 22 midge with a leader and tippet that has nymph knots made by King Gordius himself. Remember, Alexander the Great found the solution to the Gordian knot by cutting through it with a sword, thus becoming the ruler of Asia. Sometimes direct action is best. Either that or training wheels. It’s my habit to approach trout rivers, when access and convenience permits, with two rods. One is rigged for dry fly-fishing and the other for nymph or

from

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This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest.

Report of the weeK Clinton County

Each year ECO LaCroix checked the stand and was unable to apprehend anyone in it during the early bow seasons. Each season it would have fresh bait. Finally, on opening morning this past season, he apprehended a hunter in the stand and ticketed him for hunting over bait, placing a salt lick on lands inhabited by deer and for failing to carry his hunting license and tags when deer hunting. that he had observed some photos on a Facebook page of two different individuals, each with a black bear that they had shot. He also stated that there were trail camera pictures on the Facebook page of bears eating and laying on corn. The officer stopped at the residence of one of the individuals and found no one was home at that time. However, he did observe several empty bags of corn, empty bottles of honey, maple syrup, peanut butter and a couple of jugs of grease in plain view, and ATV tracks leaving the house. As he was about to leave, an ATV returned form the woods. The officer interviewed the operator, who confessed that he had been baiting for bear all summer and that he did, in fact, shoot his bear over bait. Both he and a companion were charged with hunting bear with the aid of bait and with the illegal take of a black bear.

March 4, 2016

o ff i c e r s

Clarence man was charged with unlawfully taking a wild bird for which no open season is established by law or fixed by regulation. Herons are protected under both federal and state laws. Returnable container law enforcement (Nassau County) ECO Denise Ferraro conducted a compliance inspection of a store in Hicksville. Upon entering the store, she found 68 cases of unstamped Poland Spring water being offered for sale. The cases, clearly marked in red, displayed “Not for sale in bottle deposit states.” The cases were seized on site and two citations were issued. During her interview with the store manager, she determined that the business was also in violation of New York state tax law as it was not collecting sales tax on several items. This information was promptly relayed to the state Office of Taxation Enforcement, which has opened a separate investigation. Additionally, information was forwarded to DEC Region 2 officers for follow-up at the store’s location in Queens. Morning air (Kings County) ECO Kevin Cummings woke up to the sound of idling trucks. When looking through the window he observed multiple tractor trailers parked on his block, idling,

one of them parked next to a school playground. The tractors were waiting to deliver concrete slabs to a construction site on another block. Cummings got his kids ready for school and kept notice of the time. By the time he was leaving to drop his kids at school the trucks had been idling for over an hour. After dropping his kids at school, he observed the trucks for another continuous 15 minutes, and wrote down plate numbers, which put idling time at close to two hours. He changed into uniform, signed on duty to start his day and came back around the block in his work vehicle, issuing summons to three drivers for allowing an heavy-duty diesel vehicle to idle in excess of five minutes. Orange in Orange County (Orange County) ECO Matt Burdick investigated a complaint of a rental property that was draining sewage into a local stream, which is a tributary to the Shawangunk Kill. After investigating it was determined that there was a drainage pipe leading from the septic tank of the property to the stream, which the officer confirmed with an orange colored dye test to be originating from the home. It was later confirmed that the landlord had the septic system worked on earlier this summer and had not addressed this problem. The landlord was issued tickets for making use of an outlet discharging to waters of the state without a permit and polluting waters of the state in contravention of standards.

Facebook bear (Fulton County) On the opening day of bear season in the Northern Zone, ECOs Matthew Clemens and Shane Manns received a call about a bear that may have been shot over bait in the town of Johnstown. The caller told the officers that there were numerous pictures and information being posted on a Facebook account showing the recently harvested bear. The officers responded to the area and immediately recognized that the bear was likely harvested in the Southern Zone where bear season was still closed. After gathering evidence and interviewing a possible subject, it was determined the subject’s son actually shot the bear while hunting without a license. The father had then used his license to tag the bear. A total of five tickets were issued to the father and son, which included charges of taking bear during the closed season and hunting big game without a license.

Not my koi fish (Erie County) ECO Mark Mazurkiewicz responded to a complaint of an injured great blue heron that had been received by the town of Clarence animal control officer. A local resident had found the distressed bird. A veterinarian exam and x-ray identified metal fragments in both of its wings, which were badly broken. Unfortunately, the bird was badly injured and had to be humanely euthanized. Checking the surrounding area Mazurkiewicz eventually spoke with a nearby pond owner, who admitted to killing the heron, saying it had been eating his koi fish. The town of

streamer fishing. If you favor training wheels, I suggest a similar approach, spending pleasant time with your favorite modus operandi, then knuckling it out with the less familiar entity. In this way you can still enjoy the Zen quest that is fly-fishing while opening yourself up to the obligatory lesson in kickboxing. My next suggestion is the attendance of a personal coach – but not me. I’ve seen that the helpful eyes and mouth of someone well versed and comfortable in a technique can be a real boon, improving the foibles of those who are hesitant to tackle to a particular tactic. I’ve even watched my dry fly friend give another guy a well-grounded lesson in hackled presentation and, at the end, the ignorant student saw the errors of his ways and made vast improvements. (Which makes it even more confounding that my friend has not tried to improve his own nymphing inadequacies.) I, however, am no longer the one to offer personal instruction. Do not call me. Having spent many hours teaching sub-novice anglers the rudimentary fundamentals of this pursuit, I have lost all calm and patience with the clumsy and unlearned. In short, I yell too much.

Some will testify that I’ve even frightened my friends who were just approaching the sport in their senior years. Be that as it may, if you can’t find a suitable instructor at least stand behind one who is good at something and watch how they do it. (But do not stand within backcast range.) I admit that when I was a kid I hawked an older fly-fisherman who I thought knowledgeable in streamer presentations and studied him for many ticks of the clock. Eventually, however, he got ticked off at my adolescent staring and waded away. “Hey kid, get lost,” was his last utterance. But by then I had gleaned a few secrets and, immediately putting them into practice, found their fruition. The bottom line is that we should never be satisfied not being able to do the things we can’t, at first lick, do. Admittedly, I missed out on certain biological components that would have allowed me to finger roll the rock into a hoop, but I have no such physical deficiencies when it comes to fly-fishing, and not many do. The bottom line is that trout demand you master the entire game, and so you should.

Slugs (From Page 41)

dedicated slug gun with scope and rifled barrel. There will be challenges in finding quality components that are accurate in your barrel. By quality I mean consistency in the weight and diameter of the slug. Any variance in weight and especially slight differences in diameter will affect accuracy. The diameter of the wad or tailing unit is important, as well – the wad or tailing device should have a tight fit in the shell. So, if you think you’ll use the same loading supplies that the ammunition companies use, the actual components are not available for retail sale. You’re better off to look your for own source of supplies at companies that sell reloading supplies. Handloaded slugs may not give factory-level accuracy, but you will be able to load all you want for a lot less money. In time, your shooting skill will improve to the point where the difference in accuracy won’t matter; you’ll be shooting better than ever. Keep your shots within your effective range and enjoy the fruits of your labor.


March 4, 2016

By Jason Mitchell Contributing Writer

T

here can be some surprisingly solid fishing for panfish on lakes and reservoirs that might lack the classic weed growth. From an ice angling perspective, good weeds in the wintertime often correlate with good water clarity. Poor water clarity, turbidity, or exposure to strong winds might create panfish water that offers at least shallow weedbeds during the summer, but by winter most of the weedbed is down. There are also some reservoirs, particularly in the Great Plains states, built to provide irrigation and the drawdowns prohibit good weed growth from ever developing. Many anglers mistakenly believe that most great panfish water has good aquatic vegetation, but that is not always the case. Lakes that are devoid of any aquatic vegetation, though, often require completely different strategies. In some ways, water that lacks the classic weed cover can be easier to fish because the fish often concentrate on whatever cover is present. Some reservoirs have submerged timber that can hold fish. As a general rule of thumb, many flowages, reservoirs and natural lakes that don’t have good weed growth have submerged brush piles or cribs that attract fish. Some of this fish habitat planted by state agencies actually has GPS coordinates available to the public. The legality of planting brush piles and tree clippings varies from state to state, but even on water where it is illegal to plant fish-attracting cover, brush piles and cinder blocks miraculously show up on the bottom of some lakes. Typically, this man-made structure becomes a lot more attractive to fish if the water lacks

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

natural existing cover. If you can find these locations and fish them through the ice, there is usually no shortage of fish. The toughest aspect of catching fish in these environments is finding these locations. Perhaps the easiest way to find them quickly is to run the water during the summer with side-scanning sonar. Sunken trees, manmade brush piles, cribs and any other cover that can hold fish show up fast with side scanning. Mark waypoints and return when the water freezes. Finding these locations on the ice can be much more daunting. If water visibility allows, this is a scenario in which underwater cameras shine. Typically, good spots hold good numbers of fish. Brush piles, cribs and fallen trees that have a lot of branches that vary in size hold more and larger fish. Good spots are relative in that we have seen what looked like 50 or more crappies holding next to one single branch coming off a tree lying on the bottom. That particular scenario had a barren lake bottom that was virtually void of any cover. Water that has more options typically gives the fish more choices and fish have a way of finding the best locations. Even on a single brush pile, there often is a sweet spot that really seems to attract the fish. It might be a spot where the branches are higher or denser or it could simply be the side of the brush pile facing deeper water. From my own experience fishing these types of locations, this is not always a situation where you run and gun, hitting several spots. But, often, you do have to drill several holes to get positioned over the spot perfectly. Again, the best way to do this is by using an underwater camera.

Page 43

No weeds? No problem. Not all great panfish water has an abundance of vegetation. But if you look for other cover options, you can get into some good fishing. Photo courtesy of Jason Mitchell Often, what we find is that these locations will recharge very well if you are alone on the location. That is, set up over the sweet spot and let the fish come to you. You initially catch the fish that are living right below you and new fish seem to set up on the spot to take the place of the fish that were caught. Because you are stationary over a key location, you have to be almost surgical in identifying the spot. You have to spend some time to figure out where to drill a hole in the exact right spot and then wait out fish movements. It’s a perfect scenario to camp out for longer periods of time with a portable shelter and underwater camera. The disadvantage of a camera for ice fishing is it takes longer to set up compared with just dropping a transducer down the hole and sending down your

lure. In some ways, you have to commit to a spot because of this extra time, but this type of scenario is where the camera can give you a huge advantage because you can watch how fish respond to your presentation much more distinctly and you can sort fish more effectively. On lakes, reservoirs and flowages that are devoid of weed growth or don’t offer ample flooded or submerged timber to hold panfish, taking the time to find other cover options can pay huge dividends. Of course, these more barren environments can have fish patterns over soft basins, main-lake structure, the sides of creek channels, and even rock. Any type of cover is a fish magnet in these particular ecosystems when the targets are bluegills or crappies. The effort to discover these types of locations is time well spent.


Page 44

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

Ice fishing season takes another hit heading into March Western New York

Lake Ontario and tributaries: Best bet at last look was Eighteenmile Creek and Burt Dam at that end of the lake. Fish a small jig under a float. Tip the jig with a wax worm and you should be able to catch some fish. It will be dependent upon water conditions. Rains should drawn in more steelhead and brown trout. No other reports were available. Dates for the Lake Ontario Pro-Am Tournament have been set for May 20-22. Early information and entry form has been posted on www.lakeontarioproam.net . Lake Erie and tributaries: First there was snow, then rain. Fishing options may be limited. Try the fishing platform in Dunkirk for trout with minnows under a float. You can also cast hardware. With warmer temperatures in the forecast, snow will be melting and filling those tribs up. Fishing should be good when things settle down. Upper Niagara River: Slush and ice was hampering casting consistency. Nothing new to report. Lower Niagara River: The Lower Niagara River continued to be very susceptible to high winds on Lake Erie and conditions can change overnight. If that water is too muddy, look for the shoreline to clear first. However, the river had 18 inches of visibility and a nice green color at last look and if the winds aren’t too bad you should be able to catch fish when things warm up and

the launch ramps aren’t a problem. The only other unknown will be the run-off from rain and melting snow that could create some clarity problems. Shore casters can do well with spinners or spoons. Eggs or egg imitations like beads will also work for you. If the water is stained, use brightly-colored baits. From boats, minnows or Kwikfish/mag lips will work off three-way rigs.

Report from the Dock A forecast and summary

I

Lake Alice was still iced over but with the warming trend it was unsafe at last check.

Central New York

It’s been a challenging year for ice anglers, and with the season winding down and the weather continuing to warm use extreme caution and your own good judgment if deciding to venture out. Also, a reminder that from Nov. 1 to May 1, all persons regardless of age, aboard a pleasure vessel less than 21 feet in length, must wear a PFD while underway.

side. There is also public access on the northeast side at village of Perry Public Beach, if there is safe ice.

sunfish and northern pike fishing, and was also stocked with breeder trout in fall.

Honeoye Lake: The south end of Honeoye Lake had about 6 to 7 inches of ice but it was going fast. South end anglers reported there were plenty of sunfish and yellow perch around, but they were tight lipped. Jigs with grubs or plastics generally work well for perch and sunfish. Set tip-ups with shiners to target largemouth bass, pickerel and walleye. Anglers can access the south end at the Honeoye Lake Public Boat Launch.

Orleans County: The more up than down temperatures and some recent rains have caused water levels and flows on all of the tributaries within Orleans County to be at high levels, with visibility less than a foot in most cases. It has also caused most of the tributaries to clear the majority of ice they have had. With precipitation in the form of both rain and snow, water levels should remain high. On Oak Orchard Creek, the turbines at the Waterport power station seemed to be running full bore, which means the turbine channel should contain most of the fish on the

Cuba Lake: If the ice is holding up, Cuba Lake can offer fair fishing for walleye, crappie, yellow perch and sunfish. Chautauqua Lake: The southern basin of the lake seems to be your best bet, especially around Rock and Grass islands. Also off the Mayville launch to the north around the flats in 8 to 10 feet of water. For walleye, try off Long Point in 20-32 feet of water with a small black jig tipped with a salted minnow. Keep an eye on ice conditions, which may be iffy – or worse.

Vector Fish & Game Activity Tables are tables indicating when fish, game and other species will tend to be in daily feeding and migration patterns. The tables indicate peak times based on the sun and the moon.

of hunting and fishing

at Yo gi Ber ra’ s mo st t’s one of bas eb all gre could apply to the memorable phrases, and it son of the winter sea ing up-and-down ice fish of 2015-16. It’s not over ‘til it’s over. as of the state, it is, in But at this point, in many are fact, over. waters up north where Sure, there are still a few ler coaster weather rol safe ice exists, but the heavy rains and warm pattern, including some e seriously hampered temperatures recently, hav too late to recover at this be y ma it the hard water. And point. e nor th to spo ts like Lak Un les s you ’re hea din g you er, Riv ce ren Law the St. Champlain, Black Lake or the flag and getting ready for ite wh the g vin wa be y ma . April 1 trout season opener

Buffalo Small Boat Harbor: The inner harbor had 4 to 5 inches of ice but may not be fishable now. Harbor anglers have been catching the usual small yellow perch, but there has been an uptick in keeper-sized perch caught. There were also some sunfish and smelt catches being reported. Not much action on tip-ups. Silver Lake: Anglers were catching smaller yellow perch lakewide, especially over deeper water. But ice conditions are deteriorating and it may not be fishable by now. Small jigs with grubs will catch mostly smaller perch around 6 inches long, but keeper perch have been tough to come by. To target larger perch, try jigging spoons and lures tipped with grubs, a piece of minnow or perch eye if you can get on the ice. Tip-ups or a dead stick with small minnows to bass size shiners are also better for bigger perch. The bluegill bite at the south end has been slow, and tip-ups produce the occasional northern pike. Ice anglers can access the south end at Silver Lake State Park on the west side or by Mack’s Restaurant on the east

move. Steelhead should still be the most prevalent fish in any of the tributaries, followed by brown trout and we’re still getting reports of an occasional coho being caught. Some fishermen are having some success on Johnson Creek now that it has pretty well opened up from the ice pack, but no reports of what is being caught yet.

Cattaraugus County lakes: When conditions permit, number of small lakes in Cattaraugus County have good ice and offer a variety of ice fishing opportunities. Case, Harwood, Allen, New Albion and Redhouse lakes offer fishing for smaller yellow perch and a variety of sunfish. There is also an opportunity to catch large breeder trout in all but Harwood Lake, fish that were stocked in the fall by the Randolph Fish Hatchery. Quaker Lake offers decent

Photo TOHFE Week

A number of county websites offer good information on fishing in the area, including bait shops, guides, etc. A few examples are: Onondaga County (fishonondagacounty.com); Oswego County (visitoswegocounty.com); and Wayne County (waynecountytourism.com). Oswego and Wayne counties also have a weekly fishing hotline on their web pages as well. Tip of the week: Make sure you are wearing waterproof boots if going out on the ice. On those waters where safe ice exists, it’s often slush covered and sloppy. Standing in slush all day will really test how waterproof your boots really are. Lake Ontario: Most of the tributaries were up from rain and snow melt, but when they come back down to fishable levels try egg sacs for steelhead

(See Fishing Report Page 45)

Sunrise, Sunset Hours +8 +4

0

-4

-8

-12

Malone Plattsburgh Canton

Elizabethtown

Watertown Lowville

Lake George

Oswego

Albion Lockport

Utica

Lyons Canandaigua

Buffalo Warsaw

Lake Pleasant

Rochester Syracuse

Batavia Waterloo

Warnpsville

Herkimer

Hudson Falls

Johnstown Fonda

Auburn

Ballstone Spa Schenectady

Geneseo

Troy

Schoharie

Penn/Yan

Cooperstown Cortland

Norwich

Ithaca Mayville

Bath

Little Valley

Watkins Glen

Delhi Catskill

Hudson

Belmont Elmira

Owego

Bingharnton Kingston

Monticello

Poughkeepsie

Goshen

Carmel New City White Plains

Mineola

Riverhead

March 4: March 5: March 6: March 7: March 8: March 9: March 10: March 11: March 12: March 13: March 14: March 15: March 16: March 17:

6:35 am /5:58 pm 6:33 am /5:59 pm 6:31 am /6:01 pm 6:30 am /6:02 pm 6:28 am /6:03 pm 6:26 am /6:04 pm 6:24 am /6:06 pm 6:23 am /6:07 pm 6:21 am /6:08 pm 7:19 am /7:09 pm 7:18 am /7:10 pm 7:16 am /7:12 pm 7:14 am /7:13 pm 7:12 am /7:14 pm

The exact times of rising and setting of the sun in every county cannot be precisely computed. Therefore the times published will be the official times used and enforced.

SHOP PROFILE ADDRESS: 257 E 14th St. Elmira Heights, NY 14903

Barrett’s Bowhunting

CONTACT INFO: 607-733-7773 barrettsbowhunting.com HOURS: Mon. – Fri. 11 a.m.-7 p.m Sat. – 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun. – noon-3 p.m.

Charles Baechtle of Lake Katrine arrowed this black bear that weighed in at over 300 pounds while hunting in Forestville, Quebec, Canada last June. The bear, his 15th, made the Pope & Young record book with a skull measurement of 18 inches.

At the Shop: When Donnie Barrett went looking for a new bow eight years ago, he realized that the region needed a fullservice pro shop dedicated to archers. A taxidermist, Barrett initially planned to do both out of the same shop, but the need for the archery shop was so great, it was soon apparent that the small shop was not going to hold everything sportsmen needed. In 2010, the move to a 10,000-plus square foot building in Elmira Heights gave Barrett the room he in needed to become the fifth largest Mathews bow dealer in the country in 2014. Barrett’s displays over 200 bows and customers can try them out at the indoor range. And pro shop staff are on hand to walk sportsmen and women through the purchase process, so they’ll get what they need at a price they can afford. And the 90-foot wall of accessories has anything an archer would need – from beginner to seasoned pro. At Barrett’s, Donnie wants to give you the best possible experience, whether you’re buying your first bow or just tuning up “old faithful” for another season.


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Fishing Report (From Page 44)

in Maxwell and for brown trout and steelhead in Irondequoit Creek. Oneida Lake: Use extreme caution if going out, especially near the shoreline, road culverts and other areas of flowing water. Rain and warm temps last week didn’t help things, but anglers at last report were getting out in many areas and picking up perch and panfish. Oswego River: Shore fishing was a challenge with high flows. Anglers were getting steelhead and brown trout on egg sacs or beads. Remember, the bridge to Leto Island is closed and there are mandatory PFD zones on the river. Salmon River: Not a lot of activity on the river of late, with the extreme cold temperatures, then rain and back to being cold again. Steelhead fishing has been slow for the anglers who have been out. For steelhead, try salmon egg sacs with blue, pink or chartreuse mesh, pink trout worms, single egg pattern flies or nymphs; bottom bouncing or float fishing these baits are both productive, depending on the day. Irondequoit Bay: Not hearing anything after last week’s rains. Sodus Bay: No report, which is unusual for this time of year and tells you how frustrating an ice season it has been. Sandy Pond: Snow and slush were making walking difficult. Use extreme caution if going out, especially near the shoreline, road culverts and other areas of flowing water. It may not be fishable now.

Finger Lakes/Southern Tier

Cayuga Lake: Nothing to report. Anglers are now pointing to the April 1 trout opener in the tributaries. Seneca Lake: Yellow perch fishing can often be good this time of year on Seneca, but so far no reports of how anglers have been doing. Canandaigua Lake: Nothing happening. Owasco Lake: No report. Otisco Lake: There was ice reported on the north end but walking was difficult due to slush. Ice may not even be safe now, especially near the shoreline, road culverts and other areas of flowing water. Skaneateles Lake: The state launch is closed for the season. No safe ice to report. Susquehanna, Chenango, Tioughnioga and Unadilla rivers: Rivers are up from the recent rain and snowmelt. When rivers go down try for walleye in the deeper holes with jigs tipped with minnows ahead of the season closing date of

Page 45

Pro Tip of the Week

March 15.

— Never ice fish on big water without having a GPS.

Whitney Point Reservoir: Not hearing anything.

Brandon Stanton

Adirondacks

Schroon Lake: Lake trout action has been good. Find the smelt and the lakers shouldn’t be far away. It’s a big weekend on the lake with the March 5-6 derby. Lake Champlain: Ice was still available and anglers were picking up perch up north, panfish and pike down south. South Bay was also offering safe ice but no detailed fishing reports. Tupper Lake: Good ice at last check, but be aware of current where the ice conditions can deteriorate.

Long Island/NYC

Overall, the fishing was quiet this report period as many anglers stayed off the water due to the cold temperatures. Too, some of the open boats have been hauled for maintenance. Saltwaters Bait and Tackle reported that there were a few white perch caught in Santapogue Creek in West Babylon. The best bait was grass shrimp that were caught using a small meshed dip net run along canal bulkheads. A good secondary bait was night crawlers. The shop also reported that a few trout were caught in the Carlls River and at Bubbles Falls. Bernie’s Bait and Tackle reported that a few herring were caught at Magnolia Pier, Coney Island Pier and the 69th Street Pier on Sabiki rigs. The herring fishing has slowed with the drop in water temperature and should improve with toward the middle of March when the water temperature begins to warm. The codfish boats running out of Moriches Inlet and Montauk Point reported slower action than during the prior report periods due to the colder water. Also, rough seas have silted up the water, forcing the boats to search for clean water further from shore. Boats that did find fish averaged a few cod per angler between 6 and 10 pounds, along with a few pollock and ling. Your local tackle shop is likely to be slow this month, so if you haven’t done so now is the time to bring in your gear for servicing, repairs and fresh line. Guy Zummo flyfishguy@optonline.net

Capital District

Lake George: Some spots were still offering up safe ice at last report, but use caution and watch for bubblers. Perch were running hot and cold, but anglers were picking up some land-

Years guiding: 7 Years fishing pro: 7 on the Michigan

Walleye Tour. “It is not safe to be on the ice on big water without a GPS,” Stanton said. “It can guide you on and off the ice. You can mark bad spots like rivers and springs that you should avoid. “On big water, there will always be cracks. You can mark those cracks on your GPS so you know where you can cross them on your way back off the ice.” Stanton said there are other benefits to having a GPS. “You can see humps and valleys Brandon Stanton and the general contour of the Team Gunsmoke Sportfishing bottom so you know where to start fishing,” he said. Stanton used his GPS on Lake Erie two years ago when he had his best day of ice fishing, catching a pair of double-digit walleye. Contact Brandon at (989) 963-0215. locked salmon and marking a lot of smelt. Saratoga Lake: Panfish and plenty of pickerel, whether you want them or not.

Southeastern New York

Ice conditions took a huge turn for the worst recently with rain and warm weather. So we’re not hearing much and many anglers have waved the white flag and are gearing up for the April 1 trout opener.

Catskills

It’s that time of the year when the trout crowd starts checking stream conditions ahead of the largely ceremonial April 1 opener. So far this winter the weather has been warmer than normal with little snow, but frequent rains. River conditions are good and if things remain relatively unchanged it could be a good early kickoff for trout anglers. www.catskillflies.com

Thousand Islands

St. Lawrence River: Ice was safe but sloppy at last report, but may have frozen over and offered better footing in some areas. Not hearing much

on the fishing aside from northern pike and some perch. Black Lake: Richard at Chapman’s Sport Shop and Marina reports the ice is a solid 8-10 inches and has frozen on top so it’s not sloppy. Anglers were picking up crappie, a few bluegill, northern pike and the occasional walleye, and the panfish bite should continue after the closure of the pike and walleye seasons March 15. That said, expect an early end to the hard-water season; Chapman says the ice is about the thinnest he’s seen for early March, when then is usually 20 inches or more. www.chapmansblacklake.com Chaumont Bay: Ice was safe and solid on top, with about 12 inches reported near Johnson and 8 inches out near Herrick at last check. Walleye were being found in the 15- to 30-foot mud flat range and were not very aggressive. Perch were up on and near Johnson Shoal. Looking ahead, the second annual T.I. Fishery and Chaumont Hardware Derby is set for March 5, with divisions for pike, pickerel, walleye and perch. chaumonthardware.net

Recruitment (From Page 41)

Most R3s are great positive experiences with limited recruitment potential. Learn to Hunt programs end up with about 80 percent of the participants having already been involved in hunting. Holsman refers to an exception in which nine young women from the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources were mentored on their first hunt. He said, “It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career as a college professor.” Yet he realizes that a life-changing experience seldom comes from one event and wonders how many of the nine will become hunters. Adult hunter recruitment has a higher chance of making a life-changing impact, but that change seldom results from one event. R3 program developers in the various states are working at a nationwide level to come up with programs that will change the culture for people who are somehow influenced to try hunting. They are seeking to get the best return on dollars invested into R3s. The present trend is toward fewer hunters, with fishing starting down the same slope. A nasty result is that the voice of hunters is being more consistently drowned out by big dollars when it comes to land-use choices. I was a manager of a confinement hog farm for seven years, and I assure you that we don’t need one anywhere with woods and waters. Whose voice will be heard and for how long? Recruitment? I fully support the R3s even though in some states we have seen greed and politics attempt to undermine the value of one of those programs. Most recruitment will be done by current hunters, trappers and fishermen. More than ever, each seasoned hunter has to grasp each opportunity to help develop a hunting interest in a friend or family member. The place for, and value of, wild critters will benefit from a continuation of this awesome outdoor heritage. Increasingly, more people are losing track of the negative impact that lower hunter numbers will have on wildlife. The woods themselves have begun to mourn this decline.

(From Page 21)

weighing from 4 to 8 pounds. “Both species are primarily nocturnal, but they can be active at any time of the day, particularly in winter,” Jensen said. The two species can occupy the same geographic area, but that scenario can be fatal to the smaller marten. “Fishers will prey on marten,” Jensen said. “The current thinking is that a higher abundance of fishers can limit the marten population. You only have martens where the fisher population is at low density. We see that very clearly in the Adirondacks. In the central Adirondacks, we have a marten population that is doing very well. We think that it’s because most of the population is above 2,000 feet in elevation. And because the winter conditions in those higher elevations is severe, with snow and low temperatures, those conditions limit the fisher populations.” Of course, both species depend on a variety of prey for their survival and both inhabit those places where that prey is most abundant. “Martens prey on small mammals – mice, shrews and voles. Because martens are smaller, they can exploit those small mammals found underneath the snow,” Jensen said. “Fishers prey heavily on snowshoe hare and make use of winter deer kill.” Jensen has been involved in comprehensive field work to study both species to better understand their place in the order of things. “For our current work, we are conducting non-invasive surveys where we don’t live-trap the animals. Instead, we’re getting photographs by using trail cameras and a hair snare (small-caliber gun brushes). We have bait out and the brushes are strategically placed. When their bodies rub up against the brushes, it snags the hair. The hair pulls out and we can use the hair samples to extract DNA. Then, we can identify individuals from those samples. We can make population estimates by using that

Martens typically prey on small mammals such as mice, shrews and voles, taking advantage of their small stature to burrow under snow to capture their prey. genetic data,” he said. By using multiple camera stations, with anywhere from 30 to 40 cameras out and using capture and recapture data, DEC biologists can estimate population abundances. Jensen’s primary responsibilities as the furbearer biologist for Region 5 is the management, research and regulations for trapping of furbearing species. And he takes his work seriously. He also admires both the marten and the fisher. “I have great respect for both of them,” he said. “They are so similar ecologically. These are awesome predators that can take down prey much larger than they are. A marten can take down a snowshoe hare. These two predators are constantly on the hunt. They are driven by their stomachs.”


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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

ON THE SET: Dave Morgan, left, and Brad Wilcox wait for video to roll as the crew at Rush Outdoors prepares for another show. The show recently aired its 50th episode on nine television Photo provided networks in New York state. 

N.Y. show will remain intact; national offering set for 2016 By Paula Piatt Associate Editor

Weedsport, N.Y. — Fifty episodes of a successful home-grown television show. A well-established, well-attended annual sportsmen’s expo. A team of eight pro staffers, three field staffers and untold budding videographers around the state. A network of nine local TV affiliates (soon to be 10). A national TV show beginning this spring. Not bad for a bunch of part-timers. But that’s what passion will do. Norm Wightman and John Lenox bumped into each other eight years ago. Both had a passion for the outdoors. Both had backgrounds in TV, video, marketing and business. Both thought it would be a good idea to work together on their next project. Now both can look back on the Rush Outdoors brand and smile. But they won’t do that. Well, they are smiling, but they’re not looking back for too long. After a brief pause to contemplate the milestone 50th episode for “Rush Outdoors,” the weekly TV show that showcases New York state and all its outdoor glory, both Wightman and Lenox are looking forward. “We’re not done growing in New York. We try to expand one or two networks a year. We’re going to continue to define the outdoor story in New York,” said Lenox after taking a few minutes to reflect on the past. But it’s that past, so well planned and methodical, that has brought Rush Outdoors to where it is today – and where it will almost assuredly be in the future. For both Wightman, president, and Lenox, vice president, it’s been a deliberate, arduous process. “It’s been a wild journey,” admits Lenox, who grew up hunting in the foothills of western New York’s Allegany Mountains with his dad. That’s where his journey started and, for the most part, continues to play out. “We’ve always stayed true to our roots. People just don’t realize the strong outdoor tradition that New York has, and we’ve set out to tell those stories.” Wightman agrees that the show’s New York base is all-important. That, and the “regular guy” attitude they take into the field each episode. “Our guys are really doing this all as a one-man band,” explained Wightman of the solo hunters who serve on Rush’s pro and field staff. “It’s hard enough to take a trophy whitetail with your bow and arrow, but then try to film it yourself. It just boggles my mind. But the majority of our viewers, the real guys that just hunt the weekends, they can relate to that.” Some relate so well they quickly become members of Rush Uncut, a non-profit sportsmen’s group. Each week the popular show segment highlights adventures from around the state, with video shot by sportsmen with the same passion. Pulling it all together on the air is host Tim Andrus. “One of the most real, down-to-earth people you’ll ever meet,” Lenox says of Andrus, who has been with Rush from the beginning. “Tim is heaven-sent,” said Wightman, who has

known Andrus for a couple of decades. “I was always trying to get him to come our way and he finally said ‘yes.’ He’s a real pro.” For Andrus, being able to “come home” and host Rush Outdoors has been “very fulfilling.” Eight year’s ago you could find him on The Outdoor Channel, contributing segments to “Outdoor America,” and “Deer City USA,” but the seven-hour drive to and from Lansing, Mich., for taping was wearing on him. Like all the other Rush Outdoors staff, it’s a part-time gig. “It was a chance to be a host; there was no sev-

en-hour drive,” he said. “We started out small, just on Time Warner Sports, but I never looked back. Now we’re on nine networks and in the spring we’ll be on The Hunt Channel, reaching another 15 million homes.” Yes, about that national show. Neither Lenox nor Wightman set out to “go national.” “We always held off on the national level. We didn’t want to abandon our New York roots. But we received such an opportunity from The Hunt Channel,” said Lenox. Fans of “Rush Outdoors” needn’t worry, however. The New York flavor of the statewide show isn’t going away anytime soon. The crew will, in essence, be producing separate programs. “Our New York show will never go away and that will always be top dog,” Lenox said. Wightman adds that 13 fresh New York shows will be cut and then 13 different shows (dubbed “The World of Rush Outdoors”) will be created for The Hunt Channel. “The shows will be totally different; we may have some of the same content, but they will be edited differently.” Again, not bad for a bunch of part-timers. “I work a full-time job for someone else and I co-own three businesses,” Wightman says. “All of our staff is very dedicated and we all have that passion for the outdoors.” And understanding families. “We all work daytime jobs, 8-5. I get up and try to get an hour or hour and a half in the office before I (See Show Page 49)

Weedsport, N.Y. — It didn’t take long, they didn’t have to think about it much and they all came up with the same answer. That must mean Rush Outdoors’ 50th episode is pretty special. “We have a core group of values that we live by and work by. And we diligently stick to those values,” said Rush vice president John Lenox. “The North Country Troopers Assisting Troops program fits us so well. It’s something we believe in.” So it was no surprise that both Lenox and company president Norm Wightman, along with Rush Outdoors host Tim Andrus, named the episode chronicling the wounded warriors day on the water as their favorite. “I’m 50 years old and I can’t remember crying in 20 years, but I was crying that day,” remembers Wightman. “It was such a powerful day. Just having the American flag there, all the troopers and all the troops and it being the 50th episode. It was pretty emotional.” Based in Clayton, N.Y., this year’s event saw 23 professional guides treat nearly 90 servicemen to a day on the St. Lawrence. There’s was plenty of fun and fishing on the water that day, capped off by the parade of boats, including the U.S. Border Patrol, the local fire departments and the New York State Troopers, honoring the warriors with an escort to the dock in Clayton. Dinner, live music and fellowship rounded out another great event. “It’s something the guys look forward to every year,” said Wightman. “We’re already asking about next year’s dates.” Undoubtedly, next year’s Troopers Assisting Troops will be another favorite episode when it comes time to get back out on the water Looking ahead to the next 50 shows, there’s still so much to do. “We’ve all got bucket list hunts, but more importantly, we want to continue to define the outdoor story in New York,” says Lenox. “We’ve fished a lot on Lake Ontario and we want to do more with Lake Erie in western New York and we want to do more fishing in the North Country. We also want to do more hunting in the North Country. And then you’ve got the Adirondacks; we want to do little more over there and really, in the eastern part of the state.” Lenox and Wightman are constantly raising the bar, whether it comes to adding networks, reaching out to more sportsmen or improving their video and editing. “We’re always pushing ourselves,” says host Tim Andrus. “‘Just OK’ doesn’t cut it with us.” Of course, they add, not one of the 50 episodes would have been possible without the sponsors. Herb Philipson’s, a group of nine sporting goods stores in central New York, is the title sponsor for both the TV show and the New York Sportsmen’s Expo. The store, along with Orleans County Tourism and Shadow Hunter Blinds have been with Rush from Day One. “They are such powerful partners; they started out as sponsors and now they’re family,” said Wightman. “We couldn’t do it without them.”

INDOOR SHOOT: Rush Outdoors’ host Tim Andrus prepares for another segment of the popular TV show. 

Photo Provided


March 4, 2016

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

prime time for walleyes, but the weather tends to warm and stabilize.

By Brett Carlson Contributing Writer

I

ce fishing season, albeit a frustrating one, is still going in New York, and for most outdoorsmen popping holes, handlining rattle reel fish, and triggering finesse strikes from a flasher are enough to whet the angling whistle. To be sure, ice fishing is both a popular and growing outdoor activity. But for some, it just doesn’t cut it. In New York, there are actually a few open-water options in the winter. But another move is to head south and take a warm-weather fishing vacation. These five destinations promise to adequately scratch the open-water itch.

Lake Fork

Located about two hours east of Dallas, Lake Fork is known as the big bass capital of the Lone Star State. Two thirds of the top 50 bass in Texas history have come from Fork and its 27,000 acres. While some of the Rio Grande River impoundments are experiencing an angling downturn (Lake Amistad and Falcon Lake), Fork continues to produce at a steady rate. In the winter, Fork’s biggest largemouths won’t likely be positioned near the bank. Instead, they will set up on staging areas in approximately 15 to 25 feet of water. While it can be difficult to locate these spots, the fish are grouped up once you do. Points, manmade brush piles, bridge pilings, and standing timber all hold staging fish. If you go: Pack deep-diving crankbaits and Carolina rigs. Most of the staging areas contain snaggy brush and/or timber. Get used to getting hung up; it’s just part of the process in looking for a Texas lunker.

Disney lakes

Yes, it’s possible to take the family to central Florida’s Disney World and also experience world-class fishing. Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon are two privately managed lakes that lie completely within the Disney property. While visitors are required to use guides, it’s a trip worth taking as these connected, manmade waters are teaming with largemouth bass. While fish up to 10 pounds are present, anglers can expect to catch a few dozen in the 2- to 6-pound class. Live bait in the form of shiners is provided, but artificials also can be used effectively. Two types of boats are offered – pontoons and bass boats. The recommendation here is to go with the pontoon as the cost can be reduced with up to five guests. The blazing fast bass boats aren’t really needed as the lakes are quite small. If you go: Book the early morning trip at 7. Not only is it the family friendly decision, but the bite is best at dawn. Floridastrain largemouths get a little lethargic once the sun pops out and the mercury rises.

Lake Havasu Planning a warm-weather trip to Las Vegas or Arizona? Lake Havasu, an impoundment of the Colorado River, is a unique fishery in that it holds not only largemouth and smallmouth bass, but also record-breaking sunfish. Havasu recently yielded a 5.78-pound redear sunfish. Biologists say that Havasu produces record redears thanks to the presence of invasive quagga

Page 47

Lake Guntersville

Ice fishing is about the only game in town in New York during the hard-water season, but there are some good open-water options for anglers who are willing to travel. Photo courtesy of Bill Lindner Photography mussels. Redears are commonly referred to as shellcrackers, as the fish crack open the shell with their powerful jaws and then dine on the mussel. If you go: Learn to fish the western way by drop-shotting, either with plastic or live bait. A drop-shot is simply a bell weight with a hook tied via a Palomar knot, which positions the hook perpendicular to the line. Drop-shots keep the bait near the bottom at all times and are effective for both bass and

sunfish. On Havasu, keep the leader length short, somewhere around 6 inches.

Bull Shoals Lake

A trip to the Ozarks to visit Bull Shoals Lake is a good choice. An impoundment of the White River, Bull Shoals boasts excellent trout, bass, and crappie fishing. Bull Shoals also possesses a healthy walleye population, particularly for big fish. Most anglers recognize Greers Ferry as the Arkansas lake that produced the 22-pound,

11-ounce, world-record walleye. Presently, Bull Shoals is the better walleye fishery and still kicks out double-digit-weight fish. Just as you would back home, focus on gravel points and bars. Fishing jerkbaits on these points can produce walleyes, trout, and bass. If you go: Consider trailering your own boat. Bull Shoals is a relatively easy drive that can be completed in less than 10 hours. Your best bet is to wait until early March. Not only is that

There might not be a lake in the country that receives more fishing pressure than northern Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. Despite its popularity, the Tennessee River impoundment produces at a baffling rate. Guntersville is famous for its big bucketmouths, but it also boasts excellent crappie fishing. February is a great time to shoot under and around docks with 1 ⁄16- or 1⁄32-ounce jigs. Deeper docks tend to produce better and the best ones typically have homemade brush piles. Guntersville has both black and white crappies, and it isn’t uncommon to coax a kicker of 3 pounds or more. Bass anglers can fish grass with lipless crankbaits and ChatterBaits or they can target the more isolated, deeper staging areas. If you go: Throw an Alabama rig. Guntersville is the birthplace of the famous five-wire contraption, designed by Alabama anglers Andy and Tammy Poss. Paired with a handful of paddle-tail swimbaits, these rigs are particularly effective on staging bass.


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NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

N A T U R E  NOTES

Photo by Larry Smith

• It’s red fox mating season. Listen for barks and screams during the night. • Robins survive on sumac and hackberry fruit until earthworms appear. • Wood duck pairs begin searching for nesting cavities.

Coastal Redwoods

C

alifornia is known for sunny beaches, Hollywood, Disneyland and majestic mountains. I believe the state has some of the most beautiful places on earth and most amazing wildlife. I am always searching for the unusual thing that’s less flashy, so I headed for the coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) – the world’s tallest trees! You really need to stand at the base of these magnificent trees to understand their grandeur.

FRIENDLY FINCHES. A flock of some 50 common redpolls has been enjoying Steve and Marge Kulik’s hospitality all winter. “About a minute after I fill the feeders, the birds fly in,” Steve reports.

FRUIT FANS. A group of ruffed grouse (can you see all four?) spent some time swallowing hawthorn fruits in Charlie Huber’s tree.

ICY EYES. Rita Tepley snapped a common grackle, unusual in this region in winter, with ice crystals around its eyes, the only part exposed on a very cold day.

‘PILEATED CORNER’ STEELY GAZE. This male pileated woodpecker seems to be challenging Bob Drieslein to take his photo.

Because of the desirable wood, over-cutting nearly wiped out the redwoods. Few coastal valleys contain redwood trees today. Fortunately, the U.S. government has preserved most of what remains for future generations to see and admire.

TRUNK TOUR. Art Christenson caught these two female pileated woodpeckers (they lack the male’s red mustache) spiraling around a tree.

My visit to these sentinels of the forest left me awestruck. Just imagine what these massive trees have seen in their 1,000-plus year lives!

I

Decibels Rise n LaVancher

Photo by Shau

walked out the back door early on a February morning and was almost bowled over by a male northern cardinal’s enthusiastic calls. He was perched nearby in the pre-dawn light and made it known that this was his territory. I enjoyed his loud, jackhammery calls, and if I were another cardinal I would certainly have paid heed to this sound – and the cardinal’s lovely springtime song, the “wha-cheer,” repeated from the top of a tree. This, too, is an announcement that “this real estate is taken” to other males, while the message to females is something like, “I’m a strong, healthy bird and will be a good provider.” After a long, silent winter, birds are starting to sing again. One of the most extravagant songsters at this time of year is the male house finch, whose operatic notes can brighten any day. Goldfinches are vocal as they feast on birch catkins and cling to feeders, communicating about the food, their flock, and their place in it. Juncos are chattering away and soon will be moving north to breed.

Woodpeckers aren’t songbirds, but they make themselves heard: Males drum on resonant surfaces (hollow trees, metal flashing, wood siding, etc.) to draw a female in and warn other males away. This springtime drumming is very important to their courtship ritual and generally doesn’t make holes in trees or homes. Woodpeckers also engage in early spring chases, with males attempting to drive off male intruders or entice females.

These giant trees produce amazingly small cones. Each year in January, the trees produce thousands of tiny pollen-bearing male cones and even smaller seed-bearing female cones. Redwoods also clone themselves by underground roots. If the mother tree dies, tiny nodes on the roots will sprout around the base of the dead parent tree. When this happens, a so-called fairy ring grows because new trees sprout around it. New trees can grow over 6 feet in one year with suitable moisture and light. Don’t confuse coastal redwoods with the giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), a similar tree that grows only in the Sierra Nevada mountains, mostly at Sequoia National Monument and at a handful of other national parks. All of these locations are well away from the coast. The giant sequoias are just as massive and as old, but can withstand freezing temperatures, unlike the redwoods.

• Goldfinches are beginning their spring molt and are eager for extra calories.

A TAD EARLY? The eastern bluebird who appeared during a storm in Richard Carlson’s backyard either has returned early or stuck around all winter, dining on dried fruit.

The coastal redwoods grow along a narrow band of the coast for about 450 miles, from the northern border of California down to just south of San Francisco. The trees are restricted to what is called the “fog belt,” a strip of the coast extending inland about 25 miles where dense fog forms from the clash of the ocean water temperature and the warm air above it. The fog bathes the landscape and the giant trees for a good part of the year. The water in the fog condensates on the surface of the needles and drips off to keep the soil moist, allowing these drought-sensitive trees to survive.

One of the oldest-living trees, many redwoods easily reach 1,000 to 1,200 years old. Some top 2,000 years. (The record was approximately 2,200 years!) During this long life, they produce wood at one of the highest rates of all trees. A 1995 study figured that redwoods produce about 1,400 metric tons of wood per acre. The wood is strong and decay-resistant, making it desirable for all sorts of items, such as outdoor furniture, fencing, and roofing.

• Skunk cabbage pushes through snow in the woods.

FLYING SOLO. Phyllis Terchanik calls this peregrine falcon her town’s “most eligible bachelor”: He’s been arriving in winter, and leaving each spring. He was hatched in an unmonitored nest in the wild, as evidenced by his lack of leg bands.

The sound of claws scratching on tree bark is another pre-spring sound, as gray squirrels engage in lengthy tree-trunk chases. Males run after other males to drive them away. Any day now we’ll hear the familiar “thock, thock” call of the eastern chipmunk, and we’ll know those little rodents think spring has arrived. Nature’s sound level is increasing, and that’s good news for all of us waiting for the start of the coming season. Your photos are welcome. l images to Send prints to address below and digita Val Cunningham’s email address.

FEISTY FALCON. “Punching above its weight,” a male kestrel chases a red-tailed hawk out of its territory, and Terry Werneth was lucky enough to be on hand for the show.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

valwrites@comcast.net • Stan@naturesmart.com New York Outdoor News: Attn: Backyard and Beyond P.O. Box 108, Waverly, NY 14892-0108


March 4, 2016

Show

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Outdoor Market Weed Gator

(From Page 46)

leave for my daytime job,” says Lenox. “I get home at 5:30-6, grab something to eat, kiss my wife and then I’m back out in my office until 10-10:30.” Because it’s not only the TV show. Rush Outdoors sponsors the New York Sportsmen’s Expo, held every January at the state fairgrounds outside Syracuse. Wightman and Lenox got into that, really, on a whim a half dozen years ago when the previous promoter dropped the show six weeks before the curtain was set to go up. “Half tongue-in-cheek, Norm tells me that we should call the fairgrounds to see if we can get those dates,” Lenox said. “The rest, well, that’s history.” It’s a perfect marriage, however, for the TV show and the expo – both feed off and promote each other. “It’s about the people,” Andrus says. “It’s really a celebration of what we do as sportsmen.” As is this 50th episode for Rush Outdoors. And they are celebrating, a little bit, before getting back to work. Episode 51 is next and it’s time to get back to work; part-time, that is.

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Page 49

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Soft cover book fully illustrated. Only $15 including S&H. Send to B. Tremblay, 3982 Rt 37, Constable, NY 12926

READERSHOT PHOTO FORM Please include this form with your photo. Photos with this form included will receive first consideration to be published. PLEASE INCLUDE SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE IF YOU WANT YOUR PHOTO RETURNED. (PLEASE PRINT ALL INFO.)

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_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ PLEASE DO NOT PUT SUBSCRIPTION FORMS IN WITH YOUR PHOTOS.

Photo composition is the most important aspect of a good shot. No beer cans or cigarettes/ cigars in photos. Do not hold fish by eyes or gills. Stringer shots and hanging deer shots are not accepted. Shirtless subjects not accepted. Outdoor News receives large numbers of photos and will attempt to publish* every photo, but it may take a while. This form is for general reader photos. Specific photo contests will have their own form. Send to:

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P.O. Box 108, Waverly, NY 14892-0108

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Gear & Gadgets

CRESTLINER DISCOVERY Announcing a newcomer to the Crestliner line, the new Discovery series. It’s practical and functional for multi-species fishing. Available in 14-foot and 16-foot tiller and side console configurations, it’s easy to trailer and easy on the wallet. Comes complete with an 11-gallon bow livewell, large bow deck with multiple storage compartments, and a spacious cockpit with in-floor rod locker that can accommodate up to 9-foot rods in the 1650 and seven-foot rods in the 1450 Start your next adventure with the Discovery from Crestliner. From bow to stern, you’ll find practical and functional features to help you go further, and with Crestliner’s all-welded aluminum hull construction you get durability you can count on. Begin every outing with confidence in the Discovery. Crestliner fishing boats and aluminum boats are ideal for fishing and family fun. Our boats range from professional bass and walleye fishing boats to value working obats, hunting, family and fish and ski boats. For more information on the Discovery and their complete line of boats, visit www.crestliner.com.

YAMAHA PORTABLE OUTBOARD Yamaha Marine Group announced today the introduction of a new 2.5-horsepower four-stroke portable outboard. The new Yamaha F2.5 is now certified with three stars from the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.) for “ultra-low emissions,” due to internal improvements that make combustion cleaner and more efficient. New Yamaha F2.5 clean-burning features include a new intake manifold, new combustion chamber design, a four-degree cylinder offset, an enlarged water jacket for more consistent engine temperature control and a two-stage exhaust gas recirculation system. The new Yamaha F2.5 is easier to carry. Its new ergonomic carrying handle can also be used for assistance in steering when in reverse. In addition, boaters can store the F2.5 virtually anywhere. A new oil leak prevention system allows the outboard to lie flat on one of three sides or it can be stored vertically. Yamaha’s unique decompression system makes the new F2.5 easy to start, while even more convenient operation results from F-N shift and 360-degree steering for reverse. Similar to other Yamaha portable outboards, the F2.5 has a large, twist-throttle grip, and the starter knob, gearshift and choke all fall readily into hand for the operator. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com for more information.

NEW GLOW AND UV SERIES KASTMASTERS FOR 2016 The Acme Kastmaster, produced by Hard and Soft Fishing, has been an icon in the fishing industry for decades. No attention to detail has been spared in the jewel-like-finish that catches all species of fish in fresh, salt, hard, and open waters. But now, they are taking that jewel-like finish and making is shine even brighter! New for 2016 are the Glow and UV Series Kastmasters available in 1⁄24 to 3 ⁄8 ounce models. Months in testing has led ACME’s field testers to believe that these spoons could be one of the best new baits around. Whether fishing deep, in stained water, or at night the new GLOW and UV Kastmasters are going to produce. Forget about adding tape to spoons or doctoring them up. They are ready to go right out of the box in sizes that will catch anything that swims. Natural daylight will “energize” the spoons but anglers can also speed up the process by shining a bright flashlight on them, or even using a light from a cell phone. Fish can see the baits for a long way and will come in ready to pulverize. Hard & Soft Fishing represents nearly every tackle category on the market for both ice and open-water fishing. For more information go to www.unclejosh.com.

ZEKE’S SIERRA GOLD FLOATING TROUT BAIT FROM ATLAS-MIKE’S WITH Sierra Gold Floating Trout Bait fish don’t just bite…they aggressively strike! Sierra Gold Floating Trout Bait, the original floating bait that has been proven season after season since 1962, features a special combination of scents, amino acids, glitter and vibrant colors. The bait has a soft, but elastic texture that easily molds and holds to your hook. It won’t easily cast or wash off when fishing. A powerful scent and flavor attractors are slowly release into the surrounding water to attract trout from near and far, stimulating fish to strike. Simply put…Trout can’t resist Sierra Gold! Try it…You’ll Like It...Trout Do! Trout, Salmon and Steelhead anglers have been counting on Atlas-Mike’s to help fill their stringers for years. AtlasMike’s Bait, Inc. has been field testing, developing and marketing quality products to fishermen for over 80 years and are still going strong! Salmon eggs, floating trout baits, marshmallow baits, fish attractants, bait cures, and salmon/steelhead accessories have long been a part of their product line up. In addition to all the tried and true products, check out all the new items too. Every angler is looking for an edge; tip the odds in your favor with Atlas-Mike’s! For more information on the complete line of products, visit www.atlasmikes. com.

ICE FISHING’S MOST VERSATILE TIPDOWN Stealth Tip Down was originally designed to mount on a five gallon bucket, be more compact, affordable, and most important be able to use your rod and reel as a tip down. By definition a tip down should set up at 45 degree angle, and the rod falls down by its own weight at the half way point. The Stealth Tip Down does exactly that, watch the video that demonstrates how it works. Adding another bend and a second hole makes this tip down more versatile than any other tip down simply by what position the bracket is attached. It can be attached to most anything you will have with you on the ice, bucket, vehicle, lawn chair, four wheeler, snowmobile, auger, shanty, etc. The rod holders which turn 360 degrees simply snap into the holes. Balancing the rod is as easy as moving it forward or back and snapping it in the rod holder. Once the fish is on you simply pull the rod out and play the fish on your rod and reel instead of hand lining the fish in like most tip downs. If hand lining is your preference or choose a rod without a reel the Stealth Tip Down will work for that style of fishing also. The Stealth Tip Down puts a lot of fish on the ice from pan fish to walleyes. It’s easy, fun, affordable and its made in America. Contact us at sales@iceonlinesolutionz. com to learn more!


Page 50

Almanac Calendar of Events

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Season Dates

NY Shooter Supply Reloading Classes, 6 p.m., 1st & 3rd Tuesday. For more info call Matthew Musto, 518-456-6383.

March 5: Canada goose season reopens (South Zone)

Dog Events

March 10: Canada goose season closes (South Zone)

March 19: American Hunting Basset Assoc. World Hunt, 7 a.m., Corning Beagle Club. For more info call Ben Marley, 607-237-6244.

March 10: Snow goose season closes (Long Island)

Shoots

March 15: Walleye, northern pike, chain pickerel and tiger muskie seasons close March 15: Beaver trapping season closes (portions of western New York) March 20: Varying hare season closes (Northern Zone) March 27: Coyote hunting season closes

Shows March 5-6: Niagara Frontier Gun Shows, Springville Fire Hall, Springville, NY, 716-5429929. www.nfgshows.com March 5-6: Twin Tiers Outdoor Expo, First Arena, Elmira, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10-4 Sunday For more info go to www.twintiersoutdoorexpo.com. March 6: Midstate Arms Collectors Oneonta Gun Show, Holiday Inn, Route 23 Southside, Oneonta, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more info call Sandy Ackerman, 607-748-1010, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 10-13: World Fishing & Outdoor Expo, Rockland County Community College Fieldhouse, Suffern, 2-9 p.m. Thursday, 1-9 p.m. Friday, 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 9:30-5 Sunday. For more info go to sportshows.com March 10-13: Western New York Sport and Travel Expo, Erie County Fairgrounds, Hamburg (Buffalo), noon-9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11-5 Sunday. For more info go to www.eriepromotions.com. March 12-13: Niagara Frontier Gun Shows, The Knights, Columbus Hall, Cheektowaga, NY, 716542-9929. www.nfgshows.com March 19-20: New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Association Gun Show/Arms Fair, Saratoga Springs City Center, Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 9-3. For more information go online to www.neaca.com. April 1-3: Big East Camping & Outdoor Show, Turning Stone Resort Casino Events Center, Verona, 2-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 10-4 Sunday. For more information go online to www.bigeastshows.com

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Pittsford. Info Peter Castronovo, 585-889-8599. March 5: Sportsmen’s Venison Dinner (to benefit the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum at Vail Mills), Johnstown Moose Club, 5 p.m. For more and tickets info call Bob at 518-762-7925. March 12: Western NY Whitetails Unlimited Banquet, 5 p.m., Carousel Banquet Facility, Hamburg Fairgrounds. For more info call John Hunter, 607-426-8292. March 12: Heritage Baptist Church Sportsmen’s Dinner, 6 p.m., at the church, Palmyra. For more info call Tim Young, 315-597-2222. March 18: Chemung Valley Ridgerunners NWTF Chapter 15th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet, Elmira Holiday Inn Riverview, 6 p.m. For more info call Chad McDonald at 607-734-5288. March 19: Genesee Valley Pheasants Forever Annual Banquet, Lodge on the Green Party House, Rochester, 5:30 p.m. For more info contact Kevin Long at 585-334-5054. April 2: Lake Ontario Whitetails Unlimited Banquet, 4:30 p.m., VFW Post 6778, Palmyra. For more info call Jim Cavallaro, 315-573-3330.

April 16-17: New York State Arms Collectors Association Syracuse Gun Show, New York State Fairgrounds Expo Center, Syracuse, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 9-3 Sunday. For more info call Sandy Ackerman, 607-748-1010 (10 a.m.-5 p.m.) or go to syracusegunshow.com

April 2: Calvary Baptist Church of Sullivan County Sportsmen’s Dinner, Loch Sheldrake Fire Hall. For more info call John Whiteman, 845-985-7230.

April 17: North Eastern Arms Collectors Association Antique and Modern Gun Show, American Legion Hall, Babylon, 9 a.m. -3 p.m. For more information call Carly at 631-6436347.

April 9: Niagara Frontier Friends of the NRA Banquet, Salvatore’s Italian Gardens, Depew, 5 p.m. For more info call Georgina, 716-866-7656.

April 23-24: New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Association Gun Show/Arms Fair, Kiwanis Ice Rink, Saugerties, Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 9-3. For more information go online to www.neaca.com. Aug. 14: Midstate Arms Collectors Unadilla Gun Show, Unadilla Rod and Gun Club, Butternut Road, Unadilla, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more info call Sandy Ackerman, 607-748-1010, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 17-18: New York State Arms Collectors Association Gun Syracuse Gun Show, New York State Fairgrounds Expo Center, Syracuse. For more info call Sandy Ackerman, 607-7481010, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

April 8: Oak Orchard NWTF, Orleans County Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Carlton F.D. Rec Hall. For more info call Bob St. John, 585-682-4495.

April 9: Adirondack-Catskill Chapter of SCI Banquet, Holiday Inn, Oneonta, auction 3-5 p.m., dinner 6:30. For more info call Larry Steiner at 607-988-6334. April 16: Stonybrook Whitetails Unlimited Banquet, 4 p.m., Loyal Order of Moose Lodge, Dansville. For more info call Shannon Griese, 585-739-1779. April 16: Adirondack Sportsman’s Alliance Banquet, Heritage Hall, Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, 3 p.m. For more info call Richard Besthoff at, 518-761-2644. April 17: Finger Lakes Friends of NRA Banquet, 4 p.m., Harbor Hotel, Watkins Glen. For more info call Toni Dragotta, 607-738-9509.

Oct. 9: Midstate Arms Collectors Lisle Gun Show, Lisle Fire Co., Route 79 North, Lisle, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more info call Sandy Ackerman, 607-748-1010, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

April 23: Cortland County Whitetails Unlimited Banquet, 4:30 p.m., Ramada Hotel & Conference Center, Cortland. For more info call John Hunter, 607-426-8292.

Oct. 23: North Eastern Arms Collectors Association Antique and Modern Gun Show, American Legion Hall, Babylon, 9-3 p.m. For more information call Carly at 631-643-6347.

April 23: Schoharie Valley DU Banquet, 4:30 p.m., Settles Hill Banquet Hall, Altamont. For more info call Michael Hoffman, 518-928-6992.

Nov. 6: Midstate Arms Collectors Oneonta Gun Show, Holiday Inn, Route 23 Southside, Oneonta, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. For more info call Sandy Ackerman, 607-748-1010, 10-5 p.m.

Banquets/Fundraisers March 5: Upper Hudson River Valley QDMA Banquet, 5 p.m., Elks Club, Greenwich. For more info call Ray Purdy Jr., 518-222-4075. March 5: Wyoming/Genesee Pheasants Forever #843 Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Alexander Fire Hall. For more info call Tom Kelsey, 585-591-0609. March 5: Finger Lakes Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet, Burgandy Basin Inn,

Education/Seminars

March 20: DEC Region 6 Youth Camp Indoor 2-D Shoot, Lillie’s Agway & Archery Shop, Holland Patent. For more info call Ian Brucker, 315-865-8105. West Canada Creek Association in Newport offers trap shooting every Wednesday, 5 p.m. *** T h u r s d ay E v e n i n g s : W h i t n ey Po i n t Sportsmen’s Association. Trap Shoot, 6 p.m. For more info call George, 607-692-4843.

Tournaments/Contests

. March 5-6: Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club Ice Fishing Derby, Schroon Lake. For more info call Drew Hanchett, 518-532-7953. April 17: Finger Lakes Friends of NRA Tournament, 4 p.m., Harbor Hotel, Watkins Glen. For more info call Toni Dragotta, 607738-9509. *** Northeast Team Bass Fishing Tournaments 2016. For more info call Tracy Hanchett, 518-532-7953. June 12, Aug. 14: Lake Champlain, Ticonderoga Launch. June 26: Sacandaga, Northville Ramp. July 16-17: Oneida Lake, South Shore Boat Launch. Aug. 28: Mohawk River, Schoharie Crossing Launch. Sept. 18: St. Lawrence, Massena Intake Launch. Oct. 1-2: Tournament of Champions, Oneida Lake, South Shore Boat Launch.

Special Events March 11: Salmon Symposium, Noblewood Lodge, Willsboro, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Preregistration is required and can be made by calling Justin Drinkwine at the Willsboro Town Hall at 518-963-8933. March 12: Pearce Sportsmen’s Outdoor Academy, Pearce Memorial Church, North Chili, workshops from 1-5 p.m., dinner at 5:30 followed by a program featuring Steve Chapman “Hunting: Following the Trail to a Better Life.” For more info go to www.pearcechurch.org/sportsmen. March 12: Eastern Lake Ontario Salmon & Trout Assoc., Nautical & Fishing Tackle Sale, 9 a.m.1:30 p.m., Brewerton Fire House. For more info call Bill Pingel, 315-515-8278. March 20: Whitney Point Sportsmen’s Assoc. Black Powder Shoot & Flea Market, 8 a.m. For more info call George, 607-692-4843. April 9: Fulton Montgomery Fur Harvesters Fur Auction, VFW, Herkimer. For more info call Paul Johnson, 315-429-2969. Sept. 10: Wolcottsville Volunteer Fire Company 11th Annual Gun Bonanza, Akron, 1-6 p.m. For more info and tickets call Bob at 716-957-2115 or Laverne at 716-628-4015 or email rgroff29m7@rochester.rr.com or wolco6344@aol.com.

Meetings

March 6, April 3: Tioga County Trappers Assoc. Meeting, Tioga County Sportsmen’s Club, Owego, 7 p.m. For more info call Bob, 607-687-2196. Chesterfield Fish and Game Club Indoor Archery Range, meets Tuesdays, open from 7-9 p.m. Club is located at 359 Grange St. $3 for members, $5 for nonmembers.

April 2: Federation of Fly Fishers, ElmiraCorning, Learn to fly fish in 1 day, 8 a.m.5 p.m., Campbell. For more info call Steve Harris, 607-973-2509. *** (DEC has established a new website where registration for sportsman education programs can be made online. To find a course near you, go to: http://www.register-ed.com/programs/new_ york

Pocketwater (From Page 27)

length to prevent this. All those diagrams you’ve seen where the illustrated angler is superhigh sticking the rod tip angled like the side of a pyramid are way too silly. Instead, keep the rod tip just high enough so the line doesn’t come sliding back through the guides. Okay, maybe sometimes you can pretend you’re in Egypt, but not that often. Footwork is important. With baby steps, work your way downstream so that you can maneuver the leader with as straight as possible dip through all the trout-holding spots. Keep facing the boulder and work both sides, also the pit behind the rock and finally the flattened wash downstream. Throughout it all watch the necklace string of indicators, the most important being the one at near water level, which will change according to depth. If that piece jumps or stalls or moves forward raise the rod and set the hook. Always be cognizant of which direction you will pull the rod to set the hook. For instance, if the strike occurs ahead of the rock, pull the rod up and also hard upstream; if it happens just behind the rock, pull the rod up and angled downstream. In other words, pull in the opposite direction of where the fish struck. Think, think, think before the strike occurs how you will set the hook and be ready to act accordingly. In one fine point on the Ausable, I frequently use the cover of a chest-high boulder to work another boulder and pocket out in the flow. Boulder camouflage. A whole new nymphing game is played if you can manage to gain a position downstream of the pocket target. Here, I use a single yarn indica-

18. ___ flash- very quickly (2 words) 20. It’s looked after by a keeper 21. Catches fire 25. Negative vote 26. Deep south state where Lake Marion is, abbr. 27. Tree offshoots

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tor, one weighted fly, perhaps a shot for heavy water, and usually a 9-foot leader with six more inches of tippet. Where with the parallel method I lob my flies into the water, here I’m actually casting, and doing some fancy casting at that. Knowing that trout hang out above the boulder, I need to perform a reach cast above the rock so that the fly sinks upstream of the target. Just before the fly hits water, I flip the rod to the right side (for a right-hander). I want the leader to curl around the upside of the boulder and drift down its right side. As the fly comes closer I pull in line from the bottom rod guide and lift the rod tip. I always want the yarn indicator to be on the surface and the fly bouncing beneath. Between casts frequent adjustments are made on the indicator position. Also, I only want the fly line on the water that I’m forced to leave, so by raising the rod tip I will have a long slope from the tip to the indicator. The important wash area behind the boulder will likely be shallower than the pocket directly behind the boulder, so I’m keeping the fly line out to the side so it doesn’t drift over the trout’s head. Rather than try to make some super-professional backhand reach cast to glide the fly down the left side of the boulder, it’s so much easier to do some minor footwork and get in a better position for an easier cast. I have to add that I execute a lot of body English when working pocket water. You’ve seen those good Tai-chi positions like The Crane and such; well, practice up because they help one manipulate the rod. Just because you’re fishing pocket water doesn’t mean you have be sew into it.

CROSSWORD PUZZLE

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March 4, 2016

Across 1. Natural hiding area for a hunter 4. Apache ____ fish 7. Standing 8. Tropical lizard 10. Place where game can hide

13. Away from home 14. Gun lubrication fluid 15. “Zip it!” 16. Cry from a dog 17. Pitch in

Down 1. Sound made by does and fawns 2. Dropping a line through frozen water (2 words) 3. Red ___ sight 4. It’s used to track birds and animals 5. Wild turkey species 6. Took the horse out at a slow pace 9. State where Acadia National Park is 11. Person who paddles a lot 12. Peak 15. Wind catchers? 19. Promotional effort 22. ___ stick pan 23. Compass direction, abbr. 24. Call for help See Answers on Page 49


March 4, 2016

By Joel Nelson Contributing Writer

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

Photo courtesy of Casey Heinze

Of

paramount importance to any hobby is knowing what you’re working with. Just like a golfer doesn’t take a shot without knowing wind speed and direction, distance to the green, or pin location, you’ll probably do a whole lot better at ice fishing if you know what species just showed up on your sonar. Each species has different biology, behaviors and bite triggers. It’s easier to play the game when you’re armed with species-by-species knowledge. Underwater cameras are a great way to determine fish species, but what if you don’t own one, you’re hole-hopping, or you’re dealing with camera-shy fish? Enter Tony Roach, a man who has seen just about everything that swims on a host of ice fishing electronics units. “That’s a walleye,” he announced as we recently jigged for bluegills. “See it bellyto-bottom, then come up, then drop down? It’s done it about three times in the past 30 seconds.” How did he know it was a walleye, when we had landed nothing but bluegills for the previous 10 hours? What are the tell-tale signs, species by species, that will help determine what we’re fishing for, and ultimately what bait to present and how? Let’s answer some of those

questions. There’s no substitute for seeing multiple varieties of fish in a host of depths, structure, and cover to help you accurately ID a sonar mark once you see it. These are generalities meant to help you start looking for clues to tip you off to fish species, such that you can present the right bait in the right way to them. That said, there are a few guides you can use to get started. If your sonar is worth a darn, big marks are big fish, small marks, often denoted by colors other than dark red, are small fish. If small fish look big, and big fish look the same size, it’s time for an upgrade. Use zoom mode if you can for the depth and application you’re fishing to get the most resolution from your flasher possible. This is especially important for fish that hang on or near bottom. Crappie targets often are a function of the depth you’re fishing. Crappies move slowly

and methodically, usually in large schools while suspended over deeper water. “Those things grow bigger and smaller on the (flasher) as they mill around down there,” Roach said. “And they usually show up at the same level as the bait or just below if the screen was previously clear of fish.” Usually, schools are segregated, so large marks mean large crappies in most natural lakes. The best part is that the marks don’t lie. Big marks are big fish,” Roach says. Bluegills are probably the easiest to identify, especially big bluegills. They tend to emerge on the sonar near bottom and will almost always slowly rise to your bait, stopping inches away to study it, making you guess whether or not they sucked in your offering, or are still staring it down. Smaller bluegills do look small on sonar, whereas big bluegills can be mistaken for bass or larger predators if studying just the size of the mark alone. Either way, jigging too aggressively, especially as the fish closes, can also cause it to leave quickly. Speaking of bass, they typically show up at the same level as your lure, making the mark from your bait “grow” exponentially in size. Their attitude in

Page 51

According to Tony Roach, walleyes often show up on a flasher looking like they’re part of the bottom. Then they’ll rise to the bait or lure. Photo courtesy of Ben Larson – In-Depth Media Productions winter is often ho-hum, so think have time to react to any strike. big bluegill mark, only larger. Expect them to do the unexpectAs a bass inhales the bait, the ed and have your drag set! bite is slow, soft, and causes the Walleyes are an easy one, rod tip to generally sink a good often showing up connected to deal. Seconds in, you’ll know bottom. It appears as if it just what you’re dealing with and got ever so slightly shallower. can adjust for additional fish Said Roach, a particuthat look and act the same way larly astute walleye angler: throughout the day. “Eventually, that mark sepaPike show up where they rates from bottom to come up to please, and are often very large your jig, and either hits, or not.” marks due to their length. A The retreat and reappear here large mark that appears well are key to species identification, above a bait, at any depth, tends as walleyes typically move up to be a pike. In shallower water, and down a few times before say less than 10 feet, they can committing and hitting. come in so fast that you barely


Page 52

NEW YORK OUTDOOR NEWS

March 4, 2016

W ilson H arbor (T uscarora B ay ) – N iagara C ounty

Map provided courtesy of:

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Wilson Harbor (Tuscarora Bay) a fine fishery all its own Valley Stream

Freeport

Lindenhurst

Long Beach

Lake Ontario launching point offers plenty of opportunities By Steve Piatt Editor

Wilson Harbor will probably be tough to locate on a map, simply because it’s not officially known by that name. While most anglers in the area will refer to it as such, a map will call it Tuscarora Bay, a winding inlet of Lake Ontario in Niagara County which serves as a launching point for scores of boats heading out into the big lake each year in search of trout and salmon. But you can have some superb fishing right in Wilson Harbor itself, both during the open-water and ice fishing seasons. There are a lot of different reasons why Wilson Harbor stands as a fishing hole all its own, even though many boaters simply ease their way out of the harbor into the Lake Ontario, often heading west to the Niagara Bar, a fish magnet for salmon and trout.

One of the chief reasons Wilson Harbor is a go-to spot all its own is the presence of a major tributary, the East Branch of Twelvemile Creek, which sees a good run of steelhead each spring. And depending on stream flows, Twelvemile also draws solid runs of chinook salmon, brown trout and steelhead in the fall. A healthy trout stocking program also makes the harbor a popular fishing spot, notably in the spring when the trout plantings take place. Wilson Harbor typically sees about 22,180 brown trout stocked each year, as well as about 12,500 rainbows. While these fish don’t typically hang in harbor (they head out into the big lake) many return for a spawning run up Twelvemile Creek and will be available to anglers. Too, the East Branch of Twelvemile Creek receives, in a normal year, a stocking of about 18,000 steelhead, although this year only 12,760 were planted due to shortages of chromers. A pen-rearing project for steelhead is also conducted in

Lake Profile Wilson Harbor (Lake Ontario) Nearest town:........... Wilson Maximum depth:...... 15 feet Fish species present: Chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, steelhead, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, bluegill, brown bullhead, For information: DEC Region 9 office 270 Michigan Avenue Buffalo, NY 14203-2999 (716) 851-7000 fwfish9@dec.ny.gov The Slippery Sinker 5780 Main Street Olcott, NY 14126 (716) 778-0713 Niagara County Fishing Information (877) FALLS-US www.niagara-usa.com the harbor, further assuring solid steelhead runs into the harbor and up Twelvemile’s East Branch. The harbor is also known for a solid largemouth bass fishery, and a lesser known

northern pike factory. Matt Yablonsky, a well-known guide on the big lake (Wet Net Charters), took advantage of the waterwolf action in the harbor to win a small tournament used to raise funds for the fight against cystic fibrosis while other competitors fished the lake and river. In the spring, bullhead fishing is popular, and yellow perch and sunfish have also been known to provide solid action. It has been a frustrating winter for hard-water anglers, but Wilson Harbor in a typical year is an ice fishing hot spot. Anglers generally catch perch and panfish after accessing the harbor’s western end from the state boat launch site at Wilson-Tuscarora State Park. But each season some solid steelhead, brown trout and northerns are pulled through the hole. Wilson Harbor is managed under Lake Ontario and tributary regulations: • Brown and rainbow trout (including steelhead), chinook and coho salmon – year-round fishing with a three-fish limit in any combination (not

to include more than one rainbow or steelhead), with a 15-inch size minimum (21 inches for rainbows and steelhead). • Lake trout – open Jan. 1 through Sept. 30, with a twofish limit and no more than one fish between 25 and 30 inches. • Atlantic salmon – Open all year, with a one-fish limit and 25-inch size minimum. • Northern pike – First Saturday in May through March 15, five fish daily 22-inch minimum size. • Bass – Third Saturday in June through Nov. 30, five-fish limit, 12-inch minimum size. • Walleye – First Saturday in May through March 15, three fish, 18-inch size minimum. • Yellow perch, sunfish – 50-fish daily limit. Access is available through Wilson-Tuscarora State Park as well as several private marines in the harbor. The town of Wilson provides a boat launching ramp on Twelvemile Creek, and there is public access to the popular Wilson Public Pier at the mouth of Tuscarora Bay.

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