Deer season over; Holiday season in full swing
The regular deer seasons ended last Sunday, although there is a post-season muzzle loading and archery season in the southern zone and a few select areas of the northern zone. Nasty weather in the middle of this week made it difficult to keep your powder dry if you were a muzzleloader hunter and not many hunters were out.
It’s too early to accurately assess the results of the season and the DEC report will not be available for many weeks. It’s safe to say that your opinion and assessment of the season depended on your experience. If you were one of the 1 in 10 hunters who statistically got a buck, it was good. If you were in the majority, it wasn’t so good.
More hunters than usual reported seeing fewer deer this year. Whether this is an indication of less deer, a result of less hunters afield or deer being even more nocturnal than normal is unclear. We will have some reports and statistics in a special column after the holidays.
At any time of year, but especially now with the end of hunting season and the onset of the holiday season, it is appropriate to remember the landowners who let you use their property with some gift. Some small gift will show your appreciation for them letting you hunt or fish on their property. It also helps mark you as a considerate and responsible sportsman and may go a long way towards getting permission to hunt or fish there again next year.
For the deer hunters who have been successful and are wondering what to do with the hide, Jim Ward of Oneida Trap Supply is again buying hides. Call Jim at 363-2913 for information and hours.
With the end of the season there is a tendency to toss all the gear out of the way and deal with it later. Avoid the temptation to do this with your guns. You have a sizable investment in your guns and they should be given good care as soon as possible. Make sure they are dry, cleaned and oiled before putting them away.
It is also a good time to have any repairs done or any special care. If you are not confident of giving them a thorough cleaning, you should have a professional like Gunworks of CNY do it. Gary Donovan and his staff perform any repairs or cleaning necessary. Autoloaders are especially in need of a periodic cleaning of the gas system that ejects and loads cartridges. Call 363-7041 or see www.cnygunworks.com for more information.
Congratulations to all those who got a deer. We are still looking for interesting stories of success or adventure. Remember as Dick Cooper always says, “Scouting for next season begins next week.”
You buy a wide variety of quality products for the outdoors that are made in the USA and many of them are made here in New York State. Here is a small sample.
I have always stressed shopping locally whenever possible. Local merchants and craftsmen are the ones who support our community and deserve your support, especially at this time of year. Shop at your local sport shop, marina, archery shop or gun shop. In many cases, you can buy directly from the craftsmen or producers. There is great quality and variety available and gifts to fit every budget.
If you are looking for an ultra light pack canoe that you can carry into the backcountry with one hand, consider the canoes produced by Lake Placid Boatworks. Slipstream Watercraft is another Adirondack company that manufactures lightweight canoes and kayaks. If you are looking for a workhouse canoe, consider the Marathon boat company which makes the successor to the famous Grumman aluminum canoe. For paddles for your kayak or pack canoe, check out Fox paddles which makes quality paddles in the southern tier.
For the fisherman in your family there are the famous Cortland fly rods and fly lines. If you are looking for walleye rods or the new innovation of rods for Center Spin steelhead fishing, you can’t go wrong with Bart’s Rods which are made locally. Bass and walleye fishermen are certain to be pleased with jigs made by Billy Alexander (www.billysmtolures.com) based on his tournament winning experience. Northern King lures are another NY product and have long been a favorite of Lake Ontario anglers.
Shawn Fox of Camden (www.foxscustomcalls.com) makes great hand crafted turkey, duck, goose and locator calls. Lou Pulverenti is a local call maker noted for his excellent diaphragm or slate and pencil turkey calls under the Boss Tom label. Gary Campanie of Oneida has won numerous national awards for his decorative turkey calls which are also effective working calls. Quaker Boy Company is based in western New York and makes a variety of waterfowl, deer and turkey calls as well as hunting accessories.
For gun cleaning accessories, one of the bright stories of business success is Otis Technology in Lyons Falls. Despite the move of some of their other firearms production to Alabama, Remington guns, including the iconic model 870 shotgun are still made in Ilion. Crosman BB guns and their newer air rifles are standards of quality that are made in western New York.
Havlick Snowshoes have changed ownership but they are resuming making a great product in nearby Mayfield. Peter Rickard Lures not only makes the lures popular with trappers and deer hunters, but has other related accessories.
A gift basked of seasonings and rubs from Iron Skillet makes a great addition to any kitchen. Dennis Dedek (www.ironskilletseasonings.com) makes over 30 products locally that provide great flavor for a variety of fish and game dishes. Check Joe’s Jerky on Route 5 in Sherrill for great jerky, a variety of other foods and rubs and marinades that are great with venison. Consider gift baskets with excellent New York State wines, cheese, maple syrup or similar food items.
These ideas only scratch the surface but they are designed to make you think that there is a great variety of gifts for every budget. But the main thing is that you put some thought into gift giving. Making it special and coming from you does not have to be expensive. Help make it a special holiday season for everyone and do not lose sight of the real meaning of the holidays.
I am often asked for suggestions for gift ideas or my preferences in outdoor gear. Based on my experiences and activities, here are some of my favorites that I might suggest for others.
Olympia RG850 flashlight. Everybody needs a good light and this is one of the best with its rugged, high intensity LEDs that produce 850 lumens. It has five modes, non-slip grip, USB re-chargeable port and is waterproof and impact resistant. [OlympiaProducts.com]
I put on a lot of miles during the hiking and hunting seasons and I need quality footwear. Wolverine boots are among the very best. My favorite (I have six pair) is the King Caribou III in Realtree camo and with lightweight rubber lugsoles. They provide great traction, arch support and are made with Gore-Tex and 800 grams of Thinsulate for cold weather hunting. [Wolverine.com]
Even outdoorsmen are increasingly reliant on electronic devices and there is always the problem of running out of power in remote locations. For camping, travelling, etc. the answer can be the Solar Pad 3000. The compact lightweight (8.7 oz) solar panel charges at camp, in car window, etc. and stores the energy for charging your electronic devices. [SecurProducts.com]
Quality socks are essential for comfort and warmth. Merino Compression socks are made with merino wool and synthetics that keep you warm despite their minimal thickness. They wick away moisture and the snug fit around the calf is designed to improve blood circulation and reduce muscle strain. [CEP Sportswear]