There was a lot of headgear on display at the Sportsmen's Show at S&S Taxidermy in Springville Saturday. Bob Turk gave this columnist an invite to attend and check out the events. He and his son, Bob Jr., were on hand along with other official deer antler scorers from the New York State Big Buck Club. The Turks, along with Pete Labushesky and Don Haseley, took official measurements of deer antlers to see if the hunters' prized antlers measured up to be qualified in prestigious record books like the Boone and Crockett (guns) and Pope and Young (archery). The group also measured bear skulls to see if they qualify for their respective record books. Many readers may recall hunting season, when a reference will be made about the size of the deer rack being "green-scored" at around 145.
To become an official measurement, the antlers (or skull) must be kept intact and allowed to air dry for at least 60 days after the animal was tagged and taken from a field. The skull or rack cannot be frozen or stored in a freezer during that period. Then, after the mandatory 60-day drying period, the official scorers will measure the antlers using a strict regiment of instructions to arrive at a final score. To enter the record book, gun bucks must be a minimum score of 140 for a typical rack or 165 for a non-typical rack. For archery, the minimum scores are 120 and 145, respectively, and for muzzleloader, 145 and 165. Shed antlers also have their own division so non-hunters can also participate in seeking out a trophy of their own. By the time I left the event, one of the highest-scored set of antlers was a 160.1 rack taken during gun season.
I also got to meet Christian "Hoot" Gerling and his mom, Lynn. "Hoot" and his mom have undertaken a growing business manufacturing real fur hats. Gerling has been involved in the fur trade industry for 29 years while his mom has been a seamstress for most of her adult life. "Hoot" purchases raw furs , deer hides, and a complete line of trapping supplies as well as fur tanning products. A couple of years ago, "Hoot" thought it would be a good idea to wear a fur hat at fur auctions so he traded an Amish trapper for one he was wearing. It was a hit.
Lynn Gerling, left and her son Christian “Hoot” Gerling displaying their own version of Easter bonnets as they model real fur hats they make and sell.
Bob Turk Jr., right, and Bob Sr. measuring a nice set of antlers at S&S Taxidermy.
Lots of people asked him where they could get their own fur hat. Hoot took the hat home to his mom and asked if she could make her own hat, replied she could. Since that day the Gerlings estimate they have made, and sold, over 1,000 fur hats and the calls keep coming in. Most hats take between 2-4 hours to make. The hats vary in price with the most exotic one - the bobcat fur "mountain man" cap - the most expensive. The skunk hat is the most popular with red fox and beaver hats right behind. Opossum hats are also en vogue. Gerling commented that fur is now back in fashion with the Russian and Chinese market showing a large demand for real fur. Even Playboy and Sports Illustrated models have been featured recently displaying fur fashion.
For more information on Hoots Furs and fur hats, go to www.hootsfurs.com or call (716) 397-1315.
Just a reminder that New York State Opening Day of trout and salmon season is tomorrow.
The Southtowns Walleye Tournament is June 8-16.
The New York State Walleye two-day team event tournament, the AMARA-CAN, is scheduled for July 13-14.
The Jamestown Rifle Club will hold a pistol class 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 on April 18-19. This is a mandatory two-day course that will run from 5-10 p.m. both evenings. This course is free.
There will also be a pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on April 20. There is a $55 fee charged 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.
The Westfield Fish & Game Club, located on Ogden Road, will conduct a hunter safety firearms class starting Monday, April 15 from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m., The course will resume on Saturday, April 20 starting at 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Students must be at least 12 years of age and attend both days. For more information call 326-3218.
There will be a firearms hunter safety course at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club on Friday, April 12 from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. returning on Saturday, April 14 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Call Rich at 595-3917 for pre-registration.
The 20th annual State of Lake Erie Meeting will be held April 11 at the Southtowns Walleye Association Club House located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. The meeting is scheduled from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. Lake Erie Fisheries Unit Leader Don Einhouse will speak on the warm water species, while Senior Fishery Biologist Jim Markham will focus on the cold water species. Dr. Chris Pennuto will cover invasive species and N.Y. Sea Grant representative Helen Domske will be the moderator.The meeting is free and open to the public.
For details on the State of Lake Ontario meeting that was held earlier this week, go to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27068.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Personnel will apply lampricides to Cattaraugus Creek to kill sea lamprey larvae burrowed in the stream bottom. Tentative dates for application (weather conditions permitting) began last Tuesday and will run until April 5 in accordance with state permits. Application would be complete in about six days.
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.: 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 supplied for birdshot and deer slugs. The .22 Caliber shoot, which will be held indoors, is a bring-your-own-ammo event.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.
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
Setting your sights ahead for Youth Events:
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Take-A-Kid-Fishing Day is tentatively set for June 8. 2013.
The Lake Shore Longbeards JAKES Day event is set for July 15. The Longbeards are looking for people that have a talent related to the outdoors or outdoor activities that they would like to share/display at this event. Call 934-4538.