Pair of local hunters find success in area woods
It sure has been a cold week.
Ice fishing is probably on the minds of hard-water anglers, but caution is advised for novice and veteran anglers alike. The Department of Environmental Conservation advises those who intend to head out that a minimum of three to four inches of solid ice is usually safe for anglers heading out on foot.
Just a reminder that muzzleloader season for deer, of either sex, concludes on Tuesday, Dec. 20, in the Southern Zone.
This deer season, I have been asked by a number of people, “What was the best deer I have seen so far?” I can honestly say that 2016 has produced some of the biggest, and best, trophy buck racks I have ever seen since I started writing this column.
Depending on personal opinion, people judge what is “the best” by the number and length of the points, symmetry, gross scoring, or deer weight. But for the die-hard hunter, what often sets the mark for excellence is inside spread, or the distance between both antlers at the widest point.
On Sunday, Nov. 20, Jerry Rogers was hunting in Cattaraugus County with his father-in-law Robert Mardino. There was some snow cover, so Jerry decided to post his father-in-law aloft in a tree stand and put a one-man deer drive on towards him. Rogers picked up a track that headed into some thick brush and a big buck jumped up in front of him, but Rogers held off taking a shot because he thought it was a one-antlered buck that had been seen in this area.
The swirling wind prevented the big buck from locating Rogers position, and when it turned its head, Rogers put the sight on the buck standing at 65 yards away. The 20-gauge Remington pump shotgun was accurate and the bruiser buck went 12 feet and dropped.
Rogers has taken a number of good bucks from this area with the same gun, but as he closed the distance on his quarry, he realized this buck was extra special. The buck was a 14-pointer with an inside spread of 22-1/8 inches. It is being mounted at Crossley’s Taxidermy. Ruth Ann Rogers, Jerry’s wife, insisted that he send us a photo and story, and I sure am glad she did.
Local 23-year-old hunter Sean Richardson was checking his trail cameras in Irving on Dec. 12, at 4 p.m. when he spied an 11-point buck about 200 yards away at the edge of a field. The buck was busy corralling a doe and the hunter stood still for nearly an hour until the buck closed the distance to 100 yards.
It was the shot Richardson had waited 11 years for and the muzzleloader did the job. This was his third deer this season, but by far the best he has ever taken. Richardson also intends to have his trophy buck mounted. Congratulations.
There will be a pistol course offered at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Dec. 21 from 5:30-10:30 p.m. There is a $75 fee for attending this course. To register or for more information, contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397.
Deer Search of Western New York will once again be offering a $1,000 scholarship to a high school student who will be attending college in 2017-18. This year’s scholarship is awarded in the memory of Greg Delio, a member of Deer Search from East Otto, who passed away this year.
To apply for this scholarship, students must: Have a valid hunting license, a parent/guardian who is a member in good standing of a sportsman’s club that belongs to one of the county’s sportsmen/conservation clubs (like the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club or Westfield Fish & Game Club), include an essay of 100 words or less that states their college, field of study and why they should be considered for this scholarship. Applicants must also have proof of college acceptance and their application in by Jan. 1, 2017.
Applications can be sent to: Deer Search of WNY, P.O. Box 251, Lancaster NY 14086. Be sure to include a contact phone number and/or email address. Any further questions can be directed to Eric Vail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that the purpose of this scholarship is to help enhance wildlife appreciation and environmental awareness.
The Lakeshore Longbeards announced its annual membership/fundraiser will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Kosciuszko Club, located in Dunkirk. Banquet tickets would make a nice Christmas gift for the turkey hunter on your gift list. The next meeting of the Longbeards Committee will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 27, at Liberty Vineyards. All are welcome to attend. For tickets, or more information, contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397, Gary Burmaster at 672-4520, Bob Turk at 934-4538 or Scott Dibble at 595-3897.
Erie County Trappers Association will be offering a free Fur Handling Seminar on Saturday, Dec. 31 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Collins Conservation Club, located at 2633 Congers Road, Collins NY. The agenda will include better techniques for preparing pelts, and instruction on how to pelt, flehing, stretching, drying and sizing for beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon, fox and coyote. There will be events for the kids, and the kitchen will be open. For more information, contact Hoot at 532-2457 or Patti at 337-2556.
Free Monday night fly tying classes have resumed at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, located at the foot of Mullet Street, in Dunkirk. All materials, including tying vises, are provided free. The course is from 6-8 p.m. No sign up or registration is necessary. Students get to keep their flies, too. Bring a friend. Scout leaders are encouraged to stop by and bring their charges. This course is geared for pre-teens and those older, and is connected with Kids on the Fly. Instructors will be on hand to guide novice and veteran fly tyers. Note that often there are delicious homemade cookies too!
Alberto Rey announced the Children in the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program will begin its 18th year of providing free fly fishing classes to children and adults on Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. The program is currently underway and will continue until June 13, except for Dec. 19-26, Jan. 2, Jan. 16, March 13 and May 29. Classes will be in the Costello Community Room (P84) on the first floor of the addition to Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. For more information, contact Rey at email@example.com. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. All materials are provided. This is great for beginners and veteran tyers alike.
If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or other outdoors event and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second Street, Dunkirk, N.Y. 14048 or call the Sports Dept. at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 6 p.m.
Note: If you have a big game fishing or trapping success story you would like to share, call 366-1772, or 467-2079 and leave a name, phone number and a time you can be reached. You can also call 366-3000 after 5 p.m. at ext. 5.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org