The Western New York Environmental Federation met at Hoaks Restaurant, in Athol Springs, on March 12.
Delegates from across our region, as well as representatives from the Department of Environmental Conservation, met to discuss wildlife issues. Mark Kandall, DEC Wildlife Manager, discussed the proposed fish ladder on Cattaraugus Creek.
This has been a long ongoing project that is still in the discussion phase and looks like it will be years before a decision will be reached. The fish ladder would be located near the Gowanda Dam. Some of the concerns with the project include sediment issues and sea lamprey invading the upper reaches of the Cattaraugus Creek. The fact that the dam is a county structure and not a state structure, is another issue to be discussed.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Mike Clancy was Department of Environmental Conservation representative at the Western New York Environmental Federation meeting held in March.
Kandall reminded those present that the winter turkey flock survey would conclude on March 31. Early indications were that less birds have been sighted this year due to the mild winter. Turkeys have been able to forage further in the woods this year, rather than close to roads where they are more visible. The summer flock survey indicated that statewide, the turkey population is down to 2.6 poults compared to the five-year average of 3.2 poults.
Winter eagle sightings were up to 55 in our region, which is a conservative figure. People who locate a pair on nest in a new area are asked to contact the DEC. Note that the eagles primary food source is fish.
The DEC has started their bobcat survey and have already received over 3,000 comments. The DEC has also been surveying the bat population, due to concern about the white nose disease that stimulates bats to leave hibernation early, and ultimately leads to their demise. DEC counts have found only 100 bats in traditional survey areas which normally showed as many as 2,000 back in 2008. Bats have been disappearing across the state at an alarming rate.
The deer harvest has been published and the figures remain close to what they were the previous year. The big news was the bear take.
This last season was the first year where bear could be taken on the opening day of deer season. There were 353 bear taken statewide compared to the previous record of 193. Two Hundred-four bears were taken in Region 9 alone. Kandall commented that there were increasing bear/nuisance complaints and that last year there were 27 bear/car kills, so the change of the season opener proved to be a positive.
As of March, there was already one bear killed by a car.
Both DEC biologists agreed that the mild winter should be beneficial for wildlife reproduction this year.
A report was given on an area called Carton Hill, a horse trail through wildlife area. The conflict was resolved when Emilio Rende went to bat and informed Senator Galvin that the area was paid and maintained. Pittman Roberts funds the trail, which will be open to horses from Memorial Day until Columbus Day. Horse riders must remain on trails.
Free fishing clinics have been limited to four per day (free fishing at that area for the day). The Governor will consider more days due to the popularity of the events.
There was an issue at the fish hatchery that resulted in the loss of one million stockies. It was a temperature/feed issue. There is enough fish for stocking this year, but the DEC will try to get surplus brown trout, steelhead and possibly coho's.
Applications to become a wildlife rehabilitator of a falconer can be found by calling (518) 402-8985 or emailing email@example.com. or go to dec.ny.gov/about50230.html. Deadline for applying is April 13, with the exams scheduled for April 20 at DEC regional offices across the state.
Waterfowl hunters interested in making suggestion for changes in the waterfowl seasons can do so by contacting DEC Western Region Waterfowl Task Force members. Locally, call Darin Katta at 785-0713 or Ken Zolnowski in Cheektowaga at 836-2239.
There will be a pistol permit class at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Saturday, April 14 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will host a Hunter safety training course (firearms) April 18-19 from 5-10 p.m. Two-day attendance is mandatory. Class size will be limited.
Ellery Rod & Gun Club will host a Hunter safety training course April 20 from 5-9 p.m., returning April 21 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Note: Registration for this two-day mandatory course is April 14 from 10 a.m. until noon. The course and registration is at the Ellery Club located on Pancake Hill Road.
Bison City Rod & Gun Club, located at 511 Ohio Street, Buffalo, will host a Hunting & Fishing Flea Market on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Call Dick Hurd at 725-8805 for information.
The Bison City Rod & Gun Club will host a "Teach Me to Fish" program for kids and parents April 29. Lots of freebies and hands-on demonstrations will take place. For information, call Dave Barus at 597-4081.
The Lake Ontario Counties Fishing Derby is from May 4-13. For information, call 888-REEL-2-IN or www.loc.org.
The Southtowns Walleye Association annual one-day Perch tournament will be May 19. Weigh in is at the Southtowns Walleye Club and fish time is from 6 a.m.- 2 p.m. Best five yellow perch by weight win. For information, call 549-3515.
Special People fishing days will be May 7 and May 12. This program is for handicapped youths and adults who would like to fish. Call Dave Woodworth at 549-3515 for information.
The Jamestown Rifle Club, located at 2882 Busti-Stillwater Road (Route 380), Jamestown, will be holding pistol classes for those interested in receiving their New York State Pistol permits. There is a $40 fee per person for these courses. All classes begin at 1 p.m., and will last approximately four hours. Course dates will be April 29, Aug. 26, Sept. 30 and Oct. 28. Contact Pat Hayes at 484-9301 to pre-register.
If your club is hosting an event which pertains to the outdoors (classes, courses, turkey shoots, etc.) and you would like to pass along the information, or your favorite hunter/fisherperson has a good story to share, contact the OBSERVER at 366-3000, ext. 5 after 5 p.m.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.