The March meeting of the Western New York Environmental Federation was held last Sunday at Hoak's Restaurant in Hamburg. Representatives from around Region 9 were on hand to give reports, including Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Wildlife Manager Mark Kandel.
Kandel reported that due to a pair of nesting bald eagles, there will be a 330-foot buffer zone on Strawberry Island in the Niagara River. This area will be enforced both from boaters and on the beach area. When asked how the DEC arrived at the 330-foot designation as opposed to more or less area, Kandel replied from previous experience that the planned distance appears to be adequate. When asked about nesting eagles on private property, Kandel said that because eagles are a protected species, a case could be made against the property owner if the eagles abandon the nest as a result of people getting too close. However, if the property owners comply with the buffer restriction and the eagles abandon the nest, there is no case. Note that the buffer zone on Strawberry Island will be posted by the DEC.
Kandel also reported that the fisher research study the DEC initiated earlier is showing good results. The DEC had 58 sites set up with game trail cameras and 41 of them have shown signs of fisher activity, either with photo evidence or hair samples.
There is still plenty of ice cover on Lake Erie as you get closer to Buffalo. Note the windmills in Athol Springs in the background.
A bobcat season is in place for hunting and trapping from Oct. 25 until the Friday before deer season. A permit will be needed to harvest bobcat.
The deer season results for 2012 have not officially been tallied but, from all indications, it would appear that the deer take was up by seven percent from the previous year. The deer take in the Southern Zone may have been as high as nine percent higher due to an increase in deer management permits. Kandel also gave the deer take from the DEC-controlled bait-and-shoot sites. Clarence took 200 deer while Amherst had 150, Cheektowaga claimed 131, and Lackawanna recorded 50. When asked if any bucks are harvested during these projects, Kandel said, "Yes." However, most of the deer are does and if the bucks are sometimes taken they have already lost their antlers. Sometimes a dominant buck may be targeted because, by nature, a big aggressive buck may chase away other deer from the food source - preventing the shooters from achieving their goal. The DEC claims killed animals and the meat from the harvest is processed and distributed to food pantries in the surrounding area. It does not go to waste.
The bear harvest for Region 9 was around 137 bears. That figure was lower than last year - which was a record year - but still was a good amount of bears for the region. The DEC visited bear dens in Allegany and Steuben counties earlier this month to check on the population and to replace radio collars on bears. One den had four cubs, which is unusual, while the rest of the dens had three cubs. The sows are immobilized while the researchers examine the cubs. While immobilized the sows also are given a brief physical and their vital signs are monitored. The cubs also are examined and returned to the den. The bears will likely emerge from their dens in late April.
The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will meet Tuesday at Liberty Vineyards Winery, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The meeting will start at 7 p.m., and the agenda will include upcoming events. This meeting, like all Longbeard meetings, is open to the public.
The Southtowns Walleye Tournament is from June 8-16.
The NYS Walleye two-day team event tournament, the AMARA-CAN, is scheduled for July 13-14.
The Jamestown Rifle Club will hold pistol classes today and April 28. You must be 21 years old and a resident of Chautauqua County. All classes begin at 1 p.m., and last around four hours each. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.
There will be a Hunter Safety Training Course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club April 18 and 19. This is a mandatory two-day course that will run from 5-10 p.m. both evenings. This course is free.
There will be a Pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club April 20. There is a $55 fee for this course, which will run from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. To register or for more information, call Gary at 366-3397.
Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department will host their Sportsmen's Show at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds, Route 353, Little Valley, on April 13-14. Call 938- 6928 for information.
Lander, Pa.'s Sportsmen's Show will be April 20-21. Call 814-757-9466 for information.
The Westfield Fish & Game Club will host its annual Ham & Steak Shoot on April 14 at their clubhouse located on Ogden Road. The event will be held rain or shine. All legal centerfire firearms will be permitted. Ammo will be supplied for birdshot and deer slugs. The .22 Caliber shoot, which will be held indoors, is a bring-your-own-ammo event.
The 18th annual Friends of the NRA banquet will be on Saturday, April 27 at the Samuel Derby Post in Frewsburg. For tickets and information, contact Tom Kelly at 736-4386.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.