Depending on who you talk to, opening day of the firearm portion of deer season was on the slow side, at least in northern Chautauqua County.
This columnist was unable to participate, but did circle much of the county after 5 p.m. to observe the field conditions. At the lower elevations like Fredonia, Sheridan, Brocton, etc., snow was gone, especially with the warm temperatures we had on Friday and again on Saturday. However, there still were a few inches of the white stuff up in Arkwright and Mayville. There is a full moon out, but clouds moved in to darken the skies. I saw does roaming and crossing the roads in each town I mentioned.
Young Devon Clark, of Perrysburg, tagged a nice doe while hunting with his father Dan Clark. Devon reported there was a lot of shooting up his way in the morning, but not a lot of deer tagged. Devon did tag a nice buck during the Youth Hunt on the first day of the Columbus Day weekend. Again, Devon was walking with his dad when they heard movement and noticed a buck working it's way up a ravine on their property. When the deer was about 60 yards in front of them, Devon put the cross-hairs of his scoped 243 single shot rifle on the buck and dropped him in it's tracks.
Ryan Ruiz, left, and his father Jaime. The duo had a successful hunt recently as Ryan shot a 10-point buck and Jaime an 8-pointer 10 minutes later.
Elsewhere, Edwin Pagan tagged the biggest buck of his bow-hunting lifetime on Oct. 30. Pagan had been hunting for 10 hours in his tree stand when a buck showed up chasing a doe. The doe came within 10 yards of his stand, but the buck stayed further away, attempting to cut off the doe just left of his stand.
As he described it, the chess game continued until the buck started quartering away at 40 yards and he had to take the shot. Placing the 30-yard sight pin at the top of the bucks back he launched a flat line carbon arrow tipped with a muzzy broadhead and the arrow smacked the buck right in the pump.
Pagan then watched as the buck stiffened and trotted about 20 yards, sat down and tipped over. A quick, clean kill. The hunter was so excited he had to wait 15 minutes to calm down before climbing down and claiming his prize. Pagan called his two buddies Dan Salerno and Steve Galardo, who came with their four wheelers and helped Pagan take his 148 pound, 9-point buck out of the woods.
Another successful hunting story comes from Ryan and Jaime Ruiz of Dunkirk, as the father son duo hit the bow-hunting daily double on Nov. 4. The father and son team tagged two nice bucks within ten minutes of each other, with Ryan, the younger Ruiz, taking a 10-pointer and Jaime tagging a nice 8-point buck.
It's been warm lately and hunters just might see a bear while afield. Check page 33 of your hunting regulations booklet, but be aware that the season on bears is open in the southern zone from Nov. 17 until Dec. 09. You cannot shoot cubs, or any bear from a group of bears, or shoot or take a bear from it's den.
There is a lot of time left to fill a deer tag or two. If you have a story, or would like to share a photo of your successful hunt, call 366-1772 or 467-2079 or call 366-3000, ext. 5, after 5 p.m.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will continue its non-perishable food collection "Hunters Helping the Hungry" during the big-game hunting season. Club members are reminded to bring their canned goods to the club for donations to be distributed during the upcoming holiday season. Times are hard and the need is greater than in years past.
Free fly-tying and fly-fishing classes have resumed on Monday evenings at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, from 6-8 p.m. Fly tyers at all stages are invited to attend. The Monday night tyers will provide fly tying vises and all materials for anyone who would like to learn how to tie a fly or how to start fly fishing. Ken Hollander and Willie Fedrick, along with guest tyers, will provide the know how, in a safe, enjoyable facility located at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, on Mullet Street, in Dunkirk. Note: Participants will get to keep what they tie and will receive one-on-one attention. No registration required, so just show up!
The Forestville Fire Department will offer a 'Deer Hunters' breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash-browned potatoes, coffee and juice for a friendly price, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Proceeds will be used to purchase firefighting equipment and gear. This breakfast special will be available for take-out, or dine in, on every second Sunday of each month. You don't have to be a deer hunter to stop in and enjoy.
If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.
The Federation of Sportsmen from Sullivan County are hosting a three-day Coyote hunt from Feb. 7-9. They offer a $2,000 grand prize for the heaviest coyote weighed in for the three-day hunt, a $200 daily prize for the heaviest coyote in each of the three days of the hunt, a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a youth (12-15 years old) and a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a female hunter during the three-day event. $100 will be awarded for all other coyotes weighed in during the three-day event. Early registration post marked by Jan. 27, will be $30 per hunter, which will include the three-day hunt, a weigh-in dinner held at White Sulphur Springs Fire House, located on Route 52 (exit 100 off Route 17). After Jan. 27, the entry fee is $40 with the deadline of 7 p.m. sharp on Feb. 3. For details, visit the website at www.sullivancountysportsmensfederationny.com.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com.