Sportsman’s Journal

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Becky Riddle and Mark Haines are back in business operating 12 point Deer Processing.

Opening day of firearms season in 2017 was a bit slow but the weather was not optimum for sighting and harvesting deer. I seem to recall having snow on the ground on most opening days of deer season when I was a teenager, but that weather pattern seems to have changed dramatically in the last decade.

Wind and rain seem to be the norm, or if we do get snowfall it is knee deep at least in the higher elevations. The successful hunters I spoke with on Saturday said that weather wise it was not too bad in the morning with a few spots of light rainfall, but mostly cloudy and overcast.

There was a flurry of gun fire early in the morning, but by 10 a.m. that subsided. In town, a steady drizzle started around 12:30 p.m. and lasted into the evening. Looking for a report at some of the local clubs that sponsored deer contests, it was a no show at noon. Several hunters posted photos of their deer on line but it as a slow go. I checked in at 12 Point Deer Processing, located at 5887 Route 5 across from Lake Erie State Park, and spied a couple of decent bucks ready for the processor. Next in line was Jim Miller from Grand Island, who needed help with his dandy eight-point. Jim said that he was hunting on a friends property in Silver Creek. He was posted up in a tree stand and commented that early on, there was plenty of action. He spied about six or seven smaller bucks in his area, but he decided to hold out for something bigger. His patience paid off as a mature buck came passing by, and presented a decent shot. Miller put the cross hairs of his 30/30 rifle on the boiler maker and the buck dropped. After field dressing his prize, Miller called to his friend Keith Pelz for assistance. Checking the deers mouth, the hunters determined the buck was an older deer as the teeth were worn down to nubs. Miller estimates he has been deer hunting for 40 years.

Becky Riddle and Mark Haines have been operating 12 Point Deer Precessing for nine years. They were closed last year because they lost everything in a grease fire back on Dec. 13, 2015 that started in a smoker. Becky and Mark had to rebuild their operation , with the shell of the building put up by the Amish, and Riddle and Haines doing the rest by hand. They purchased their own sawmill, cut and milled their own lumber and put up all the siding themselves. The pair estimate they processed 38 deer during the entire archery season this year, which they thought was a slow year, due to the extremely warm weather. They also butcher cows and pigs during the year. One comment from Mark was that new hunters need to learn how to properly gut or field dress their deer. Too often organs are left inside and they charge a little extra if the deer is not done properly. Haines commented that he and most deer processors would gladly offer their expertise to hunter safety training courses to show the young hunters how to properly dress out their game. By 8 p.m. Saturday, the total for the day was at 16, but it’s a long season. Sunday could be a better day, and Thanks Giving Day is the next best day to be in the woods. Good Luck!


Submitted Photo Michael Gilbert displays his 8-point, 180-pound buck. He tagged the trophy Saturday morning in Steuben County.

Attention Big Game Hunters! If you need help locating a big game animal, after exhausting all attempts to find it, call Deer Search at 648-4355. This is a volunteer service that will help, whenever possible, with a high percentage success rate. Our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, The Lakeshore Long Beards, announced at the Wednesday meeting that the annual banquet/fundraiser will take place on Jan. 20, 2018. This is the 20 year anniversary for the Long Beards.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will continue this year with their Hunter’s Helping the Hungry program. Club members are urged to bring one non-perishable food item (canned food or water) on Tuesdays. This year, the need is greater than ever. Thank you for your help!

Correction* There will be a pistol course on Wednesday , Nov. 29, from 5:30 p.m. until 10:30 p.m. at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. There is a mandatory fee of $75 for this course. For information contact Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

There will be a gun show on Nov. 18 and 19 at the Hickory Post VFW 5550 East State Street US Route 62, East of PA 18, West of Mercer on 62, Hermitage, Pa. Show hours are Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4p.m.

On Dec. 16 and 17, there will be a gun show at the Harborcreek Fire Department, Social Hall located at 7275 Buffalo Road, US Route 20, located between North East and Harborcreek, Pa.

Monday night, free fly tying courses at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club are from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. Tying vises, instruction and materials are all provided free No registration is necessary. The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club is located on Mullet Street Dunkirk. Turn towards the lake at the Country Fair store located on Lakeshore Drive west (Route 5).

The Children of the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program will be starting its 18th year of providing weekly free fly tying and fly fishing classes to both youths and adults in our area. Classes will be on Tuesday evenings from 7 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Costello Community Room (P84) in the new addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia. You do not need any prior experience to attend these classes and the course is geared towards ages 10 and older. For more information contact Alberto Rey at 410-7003 or

If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or any 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, ext. 5, after 6 p.m. e-mail