The end is near and many a heavy-antlered whitetail can hardly wait.
The firearms season for whitetailed deer ends today with an extended eight-day season open for archery and muzzleloaders. With the extended warm spell, hunters may still be able to find bucks with both antlers intact, rather than missing one or both, which they usually shed late in the season.
It was just an informal survey, but many hunters were disappointed in the "hype"about the reported abundance of deer in Western New York. It seems we go through this every year, but by the time the Department of Environmental Conservation agencies get done crunching the numbers, the deer take will be about the same or slightly higher than last year.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Hunters will be looking to fill remaining tags during the late muzzleloading and bow season.
If your favorite spot was sparce this year, odds are it will pick up again by next year.
Bob Elliott of Brocton was nice enough to share his bear hunting success story with us. Bob was hunting on the ground on Opening Day (Nov. 17) looking out for a nice deer when he noticed he was being watched by a very dark shape. Elliott remarked it was too dark to be a deer, but the spot kept looking at him.
"Bears have poor eyesight, but a great sense of smell and as the dark spot moved it's head I notice the ears," Elliot said.
Elliott placed the sights of his 30.06 rifle on the bear which he estimated to be at 125 yards and touched one off as the bear started to move and put one through the boilermaker. The bear made it about 40 feet into the redbrush and piled up. Elliot could hear it groan a bit which many hunters describe as a death moan. He saw his prize was dead so he used a length of rope to pull it out of the brush and went home to get his tractor and trailer to haul the prize home.
Elliott is making a head mount and tanning the bear hide by himself, which is an industrious venture for the 73-year old hunter. The bear was a male that dressed out to 220 pounds and may have been four years old according to Bob Ritcher, who came and took teeth samples and measurements of the bear.
Elliott didn't know the bear was on his property but had heard of one located about two roads up from his place and a neighbor had a bear get into their bees recently. Another neighbor had spotted some large paw prints in their grapes but didn't know for sure what made them. Elliott commented with a laugh in his voice, "We sure had a lot of company in our driveway that day I got my bear!" Congratulations!
If you are unhappy with the current crossbow bill, which is set to continue for two more years as is, call the governor's office at (518)-474-8390 and urge him to veto it. Crossbow advocates are getting hosed if it passes.
When you have legislation that poses a threat to your rights for hunting, fishing, trapping or right to bear arms, "Who you gonna call?" Try the New York State Conservation Council. Made up of a group of knowledgeable men and women who donate their time and efforts to protect the sportsmen's rights, the NYSCC still requires money to pay the rent, utilities and postage to alert the sportsmen, and their allies. Having said that, the organization will be holding a fundraiser/roast beef sandwich platter supper at the Southtowns Walleye Association Clubhouse located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. The event will be held from 3:30-6:30 p.m. on Dec. 15. For tickets or more information, call Zen Olow, (640-2776), Joe Fischer (684-5826) or Dan Tone at (655-0975). It's like giving yourself a present.
The monthly meeting at the Southtowns Walleye Association will be on Thursday, Dec. 20 and will feature Timothy Thomas, President of NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.
Also on Jan. 19 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Soutowns Walleye Hall there will be a flea market-type sale of used fishing and hunting equipment with free parking, free entry and food and drinks available. Tables are $20 with reservations due by Jan. 17, 2013. Call 649-8202 for information.
The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lakeshore Longbeards, will host its next meeting on Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20, in Sheridan. Topic of discussion will include the upcoming membership banquet to be held on Feb. 9, 2013, at the Koscuisko Club, in Dunkirk.
Also on the agenda will be scholarship submissions. All local high school seniors are invited to participate. For more information, find the National Wild Turkey Federation online, and look for scholarship information.
The SAREP Youth Fly Fishing Program will continue its 14th season of free fly tying and fly fishing classes on Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m., at the Fredonia Middle School Cafeteria. Field trips will occur shortly afterwards. Classes are free and are open to children and community members. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The classes will continue to meet every Monday until early summer.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will conclude its annual Hunters Helping the Hungry program, on Tuesday, Dec. 11. Con Club members are asked to bring a non-perishable food item with them. All donations will be distributed to the needy in the community through the efforts of the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Youth Organization during the Christmas season. If you have forgotten until now, be generous.
The Northern Chautauqua Beagle Club will host its annual rabbit hunt on Sunday Jan. 13, 2013. The hunt is open to all area hunters. You can enter the day of the event at the club house located 8455 Fredonia Stockton Road in Fredonia from 6-8 a.m. Entry fee is $5. Awards and hot food available at the club around 3 p.m. For information call Pete Criscione at 366-8989, Liz Dorman at 595- 3993 and John Depew at 789-5522.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.