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Opening day of deer season is upon us

OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek Larry Kuczenski, 75, harvested a monster 14-point buck on Nov. 11 with a crossbow.

Possibly the most anticipated day on the outdoors person’s calendar arrives today, the opening day of deer season, or the regular/firearms season.

The Department of Environmental Conservation predicts that there are plenty of whitetail deer available with a good number of trophy bucks that survived last year’s relatively mild winter. Most hunters will be out afield by the time this column arrives, but following are a few reminders for all hunters from the New York Conservation Council: present a positive opinion of hunters in the public’s eye; ask permission before hunting on private property; no littering; do not cut trees on private land; stay out of other people’s tree stands (they might even be unsafe); ask if anyone else is using the property; stop by after the season and report to the land owner if you harvested a deer, or what game you might have spotted. A friendly visit after the season might be a nice touch and continue longer term friendly relations; Gun safety is always important. Treat every gun as if it is loaded; never point a gun at someone; Be sure of your target and what is beyond; never climb a tree stand with a loaded gun; wear at least some hunter orange, like a hat, vest or gloves or all of the aforementioned; the older you get, the more you need to slow down; and when parking your vehicle by the road, pull off the pavement as snow plows will be out soon.

Have a great season!

Larry Kuczenski of Dunkirk had a great season already. The 75-year-old hunter has been deer hunting since he was 16. During that 59 years, he has harvested more than 16 bucks, including some wall hangers, but Nov. 11 was special. Larry was 10 feet up in his tree stand in the Sheridan area enjoying the unseasonable warm temperature. He had a good spot, and had seen a 4-point buck the previous day, but could not get a good angle for a shot, so he passed it up. Shortly after daybreak, a large deer walked under his stand, coming in from behind. It happened so fast, he could barely find the “pump house” in the crossbow scope’s cross hairs, because the deer was so close. Reacting quickly, he found the mark and fired watching as the Victor bolt, tipped with a muzzy-fixed blade broad head, zipped right through the vitals at 8 yards. The buck barely reacted and piled up about 40 yards away.

When Larry climbed down to investigate, his heart beat quickened when he saw the rack and the size of his deer. The brow tines were enormous with a fork on one and a triple tine on the other. Realizing the deer was more than 200 pounds undressed, he decided to seek help. At the road, he spied a friend taking a walk, and asked Mike Tofil if he could help drag out a “small buck. “When they came back to the scene, Mike walked up to the buck and exclaimed, “You call this a small buck.” Larry chuckled. He was afraid Mike would change his mind if he told him how big it was.

Together the two guys got the deer out and loaded onto Larry’s truck. He had the deer weighed at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club with the assistance of Peg and stopped by the columnist’s house for a photo. After packing the body cavity with bagged ice, he called Brian Noody the taxidermist for a head mount and Brian instructed Larry to bring the deer over so he could cape it out. When he saw the magnificent buck, Noody proclaimed it was one of the nicest racks he had ever seen. Congratulations! I hope I can report many other success stories, no matter the size of the deer or bear. Good luck!

CALENDAR:

¯ Note that the City of Dunkirk docks were pulled last week at the Chadwick Bay Boat Launch.

¯ Duck season’s split season is reopening Nov. 28 and running through Jan. 3.

¯ Gun shows: Harbor Creek, Pennsylvania, Dec. 12-13 at the Harborcreek Fire Dept. Social Hall, 7275 Buffalo Road-US Route 20 , Saturday 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

¯ Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania. Jan. 23-24, 11861 Sportsman Road (off Route 18) Conneaut Lake, Saturday 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. For information contact, Larry Spicer at (716) 792-9972 or go to LRgunshows@gmail.com Tables are available.

If you have a story or a photo you would like to share call 366-1772, or 785-3659 or 366-3000 extension 3 after 6 p.m. Leave a name and number and a time you can be reached .

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