Blogs > Oneida Outdoors

An online space for outdoorsmen from CNY and beyond. Tell us about the one you caught or the one that got away.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hunters eagerly await turkey season

May 1, the opening of turkey season is only a week and half away. Although it may seem like forever to eager turkey hunters, much like a child waiting for Christmas morning, it is really very little time to make preparations for the season. Scouting, patterning your gun and organizing your equipment are all vital components of your success in the upcoming season.
Many hunters have spent the past few weeks scouting for turkeys and planning their strategy for opening week. If you haven’t, you should make time this weekend or in the days to follow to try and locate birds as well as pattern them for your early season hunting.
Remember that birds are usually not where you saw them in February or March. Despite the snow earlier this week, at this time of year the hens will be concerned with the nesting areas which are usually pastures of woods with lots of undergrowth for cover. The turkeys will be frequently roosted in tall trees along a hillside where they can easily fly down to open areas directly from the roost. Somewhere in the vicinity there is probably an open area used as a strutting ground for the tom to impress the hens.
Since a turkey’s primary defense in its great eyesight, the gobblers like to strut in open areas. This may include a secluded field, an old pasture surrounded by brush or even a clearcut or woods roads in forested areas. If you are in the woods and fields, keep an eye out for these areas and signs like tracks, droppings or feathers. Be sure to wear camo and move slowly, using cover whenever possible. Use your binoculars to scout from a distance and avoid spooking birds. Avoid temptation and leave your calls at home.
Let’s assume you have located a gobbler’s roosting area and have identified likely strutting zones and morning feeding patterns. Give some serious thought where you want to set up near the roost or along the morning travel route. Too many of us head out to the woods and make a call or two, and when the gobbler answers we try to find a place to set up.
Locate likely spots where the birds will come within range with some subtle calling. Do you have an area where you can have good vision of birds coming in to your decoys or set up? You do not want too much brush or obstacles in your way. Have a large tree to rest your back against for both comfort and safety.
Are there obstacles that will cause a gobbler to hang up or not come in close to your calling area? In addition to obvious things like swamps, there are things like stonewalls, fences or small creeks that many a gobbler will refuse to cross when you are calling. Sure, they could cross them easily but remember that you are dealing with a bird that has a brain smaller than a walnut.
Take some time and pattern your gun. If you have not done so before, try different loads to see which pattern works best in your gun. Use a turkey head target to see if the gun is centering the pattern at the point of aim. Not all guns and loads will do this. Most hunters prefer size 5 or 6 shot, which should put about a dozen pellets in the area of neck and head.
Check your patterns to see which give you a tight pattern of pellets in the vital neck and head area, and also check to see the effective range of this tight pattern. The most popular gun is a 12 gauge, three inch chamber, and full turkey choke. The effective limit of this gun is about 40 yards, although many hunters limit themselves to 25 yards. Sure, the gun will reach out beyond the 40 yards, but there are too many holes in the pattern at those distances to be effective.
Check out all your camo clothing and have it ready for whatever the weather may be on May 1. Some people make a big deal out of having matching pants and shirt or jacket, as well as matching the habitat. But other veteran hunters say that as long as your camo breaks up your outline and roughly matches the type of cover in the area it will work just fine.
Take time to test and chalk your box calls or sandpaper your slate and pencil calls. Practice your diaphragm calls and make sure to rinse them with Listerine and store them in the refrigerator until time to use them. Practice your calls so you can make the sounds you desire easily when the time comes.
You need to be able to make a variety of sounds and have the volume or cadence that the situation calls for. Don’t worry too much about matching the exact sound on practice video. Many real hens make some awful sounds. Line up all your accessories like camo gloves, seats, etc. and get your turkey vest or jacket organized and ready to go. Be sure to get out the insect repellent since bugs will likely be out and searching for prey by opening week or shortly after. Next week we will pass along tips from various hunters, often learned from their mistakes!
Short Casts
Future Anglers Outreach: Once again this year the Future Anglers Outreach will hold its fishing clinic for youngsters and parents or guardians. This year the event will be Saturday, April 26 from 8 a.m. to noon at Marion Manor Marina. This year, due to construction, the group will be limited in size. There are a limited number of spaces still available. If you are interested, call Leo Maloney at 363-3896 by Friday, April 18.
This is not a derby or contest. It is a clinic designed to give youngsters and parents a basic introduction to fishing skills and information to help them be successful. It is designed for those families who have little experience or knowledge of fishing. Youngsters who are chosen will receive a free rod and reel to keep.
Youngsters must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. They should bring any snacks or drinks and be prepared for the weather that morning. Anyone interested in helping as a volunteer instructor should e-mail TDobs2@gmail as soon as possible.
Crossbow Regulations Coming: The DEC will be preparing guidelines to implement the new crossbow seasons. These should be ready and made public sometime in May. There will not be any meetings or forums but comments can be sent by e-mail or letter.
The DEC will utilize all aspects of the legislation passed in the budget round. They are bound by law so they cannot increase the season length, lower the age limit, modify restrictions of draw weight and size or open the entire season for seniors and those with disabilities.
Hunters will not need an archery license to hunt big game with a crossbow during the early archery season but will need a muzzleloader to hunt with a crossbow at that time. Yes, this does sound dumb, but that is what was negotiated during the budget. And keep in mind that even the common sense proposals favored by the majority of sportsmen were almost defeated by legislators who were listening to NYBow, Inc and animal rights fanatics.
Hunters will be allowed to use a crossbow to hunt small game during those seasons, but not this spring (2014) turkey season since the regulations will not be in place yet.
Hall of Fame Banquet – Last Call: The NYS Outdoorsmen hall of Fame Banquet will be held Saturday, April 26 at the Rusty Rail in Canastota. Social hour will begin at 5 p.m. with dinner served at 6 p.m. Call 363-3896 or 829-3588 by Friday, April 18 for reservations. Meet with sportsmen and organizations from all around the state and help honor local sportsmen Paul Miller, George Franke, Tom Lenweaver, Fran Verdoliva and Rick McDermott among others being inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening.
O.L.A. Meeting: The annual Oneida Lake Associaton Meeting will be held at Cicero-North Syracuse High School on Wednesday, April 30. There will be exhibits, a brief business meeting, reports on topics of interest to people involved with Oneida Lake, and door prizes. See the website www.oneidalakeassociation.org for more information.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New York State budget contains money for sportsmen

By Leo Maloney
Outdoors Columnist
This week was the opening of trout season but few, if any, fishermen were out enjoying trout fishing on Tuesday. The streams were at flood stage so safety and common sense dictated that anglers bide their time for better conditions.
A couple friends asked me about fishing and wondering if the state had stocked any streams. Even before the flood stage levels of last weekend, the streams were cold and experiencing high water levels. Fishing in those conditions would be an exercise in futility.
Although some people saw on TV that Onondaga County was stocking fish last week, none of the local streams were scheduled for stocking. Onondaga County has its own hatchery and stocks the streams in Onondaga County with trout. Oneida, Madison, and other counties are stocked by the NYS DEC from the state hatcheries.
It is the DEC policy not to stock streams when the water is too cold or high. In those conditions the metabolism of the fish is slow and they are vulnerable to the flooding and high water conditions. Survival of the trout would be low so the state waits until more favorable conditions.
Usually the DEC stocks most of the local streams in early to mid April. Many area streams also receive a second stocking in May. You can see the list of stream stockings with month, number and species of trout stocked on the website at www.dec.nyh.gov/outdoor/30465.html.
Meanwhile Governor Cuomo took the occasion of the opening of trout season and the passage of the NYS Budget the previous to announce the details of the budget and how it affects sportsmen. The budget was passed and included new funding for fishing and other projects in 2014-2015. It also included a compromise crossbow provision that will make the crossbow a legal hunting instrument in New York.
The governor stated that the fishing industry supports an estimated 17,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of tourism dollars. The new funding is designed to expand fishing opportunities by improving public access to fishing sites and investing in critical infrastructure at state hatcheries. The state operates 12 hatcheries and stocks over 2.3 million trout in 309 lakes and 2,900 miles of streams. In addition to this it operates hatcheries for walleye and muskies as well as rearing facilities for them.
Included in the budget was money for boiler replacement at the Chautuaqua and Oneida County hatcheries, rearing pond improvements at several hatcheries and building repairs and expansion at the Caledonia hatchery. It provides for the purchase of 16 new stocking trucks and their life support systems.
Fishing licenses may now be purchased and printed from your home computer at http://licensecente.ny.gov. Licenses are now good for one year from the time of purchase. There is a slight reduction in short term license fees for both resident and non-residents.
Six million dollars has been approved for 50 new access projects for fishing, hunting, hiking and canoeing. The improvements include improved parking, new trails, repair of launch sites, etc. There will also be construction of a few new boat launches around the state although none in this area.
The other big news was the approval of a crossbow season that was included in the Governor’s budget proposal. After the wishes of sportsmen were thwarted by Assemblyman Sweeney of the Conservation Committee last year, Cuomo decided to bypass the normal legislative process and push for it in the budget bills.
It was almost killed again by Sweeney and a few other Assemblymen who were strongly influenced by the NY bowhunters, Inc. and some animal rights fanatics. A week ago it was not included in the budget bill version approved by the Assembly. Sportsmen who were upset by this disregard of the majority wrote and called their representatives and influential legislators.
The final version that appeared a week ago and was finally approved was a compromise. It was not what crossbow proponents or most sportsmen had hoped for, but it was acceptable and gives the sportsmen the chance they have hoped for.
The bill that was approved makes the crossbow legal for use during small game and any firearms season for deer. Obviously this is no big deal and it is unlikely that many will use it during this time. It does allow for crossbows to be used during the last two weeks of the southern zone archery season and the last 10 days of the northern archery season.
So in essence crossbow users will have a two week season to enjoy their sport while regular archery hunters will have about seven weeks. But considering the disproportionate influence of NY Bow, Inc. and the flaws of the NYS legislative system, it is still a victory for those who wanted a chance to enjoy the sport and cannot otherwise partake in normal archery.
The DEC has the authority to make the final regulations and will begin by holding a series of public hearings. Watch for announcements on the hearings and regulations once they are formulated.
SHORT CASTS
CNY Gunworks: Turkey season is less than a month away. Most people are checking out their camouflage and practicing their calls but they should also be checking their guns and practicing and patterning their shooting. The Gun Works of Central New York now sells licenses and has ammunition. And of course if your gun needs any work or care, now is the time to get it taken care of. They are located on Route 31 in Verona. Call Gary Donovan or his skilled staff at 363-7041 for information.
VNSP Opens: Vernon National Shooting Preserve announces that it will be open to the public and its members on Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. On Sunday, April 6 will be the Flurry of the Mountain which is open to all.
Save the date of May 25, 2014 for the annual Wounded Warrior Event. Details and registration will be available online next week. For information on VNSP call 982-7045 or e-mail ronacee@aol.com.
Brown Trout TV: Outdoor Passion TV will broadcast its show filmed last year on Lake Ontario near Oswego. “Brown Trout Rising – Oswego County” will feature early season brown trout fishing with Capt. Kevin Keller of Fishchopper Charters. It will be shown on the World TV Network on Saturday, Apr. 5 and 9:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Apr. 10 at noon and 9 p.m, and Friday, Apr. 11 at 2 p.m.
Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Banquet: The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame (NYSOHOF) will hold its annual banquet on Saturday, April 26 at the Rusty Rail in Canastota. Registration and social hour will begin at 5 p.m. with dinner served at 6 p.m. This year there will be nine new inductees including well known local sportsmen including Paul Miller of the Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club and award winning artist Tom Lenweaver.
George Franke who is active in many sportsmen’s organizations, Rick McDermott the founder of the Crossbow Coalition, and Fran Verdoliva the head of the DEC hatchery at Altmar who has been responsible for much of the success of the salmon fishery will also be inducted. Nina Schoch who founded the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Society will also be honored.
In addition to the inductees, the NYSOHOF will honor ECO Ric Grisolini for his outstanding work with the youth mentor program for turkey and goose hunting in Oneida County. Most of the major sporting organizations from around the state will be in attendance that evening.
The public is invited to attend and help honor these sportsmen and women who have done much to preserve our outdoor heritage. Enjoy an evening of fine food and meeting with fellow sportsmen from around the state. Call 363-3896 for reservations by April 19.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Trout season opens next week

Next Tuesday is the opening of trout season, a date that also happens to be April Fool’s Day. Although we have been dreaming of pleasant spring days on our favorite streams, the reality is more likely a gray day with cold rain or snow, cold water, possibly high and muddy streams and a lack of fishing action. Nevertheless, the opening of trout season marks a beginning of spring activity and hope for better days to come.
There isn’t as much drama associated with the opening of trout season or the number of trout fishermen that there used to be. There are several factors that contribute to this including the fact that there are now opportunities to fish during the winter or early spring on several streams. The number of anglers has been declining and of course many people realize that the season is long and there will be more pleasant days and better fishing conditions in the weeks to come.
This week there is still several inches of snow covering the ground in this area and even more snow in the higher elevations, making it likely we will face tough fishing conditions. But even if the fishing conditions are not very good, many will get out next week or in the following week to celebrate a rite of spring.
Cold water temperatures mean that the fish will not be very active because their metabolism is slower in cold water, regardless of other conditions. If the streams are high, fast and cold, then fishing will be even tougher. In fast water the trout will seek shelter in side eddies, under cut banks or behind boulders. The current at the bottom of deep pools is not as strong and there are usually rocks to break the current and provide shelter.
Temperature at the deeper areas of pools will be less affected by cold weather and run-offs from snow or rain. During mid-day the water in shallow eddies or the inside of bends in the stream may warm a few degrees. These areas will probably have temperatures closer to the optimum 60-65 degrees that trout prefer.
Trout will not only seek shelter from swift current, but from the mud and silt which can clog their gills. Thus areas behind rocks or other protection are more likely to hold trout in early season high water conditions.
My advice is usually fish smaller local waters, wait until mid-morning before going fishing and use bait such as nightcrawlers or salted minnows. Use only a minimum of split shot to get your bait down and tumbling along the bottom slowly and naturally.
Normally the local streams are your best bet in early April. But many of them such as Oneida Creek are still feeling the effects of the ravaging floods, especially the big one in June of last year. Fish populations suffered a big loss in many areas and it will take some time for them to recover.
At this time of year the smaller streams are your best bet for finding fishable water conditions and cooperative trout. Chittenango, Cowaselon, Oriskany and Sconondoa Creeks are always popular spots. Save the bigger waters like Mad River, Fish Creek or West Canada Creek until later.
But even if fishing is challenging it is an excuse to get out and probably meet some old friends along the stream. It is a chance to see if your skills are as rusty as the hooks you forgot to take out of the pocket of your fishing vest. It whets the appetite and gets up your spirits for the season to come. Fishing season is here again!
NYSOHOF Recognizes ECO
The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame (NYSOHOF) honors those who have made a significant difference in conservation and enhancement of outdoor sports with induction into the Hall of Fame. This is typically an award based on many years or even a lifetime of service.
The Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Association also recognizes other individuals who have made noteworthy achievements, typically over a shorter period of time. These special awards are not considered an induction into the Hall of Fame but they are still significant honors. One such special award is the Dave Pierce Memorial Award, named after the late sportsmen’s advocate who did much for the cause of conservation and outdoor sports. This award is given periodically to a person who has done an outstanding job of working with youths.
This year the Dave Pierce Memorial Award will be presented to Ricardo Grisolini, a DEC Environmental Conservation Officer, for his outstanding success with the Oneida County Youth turkey Hunt. Several years ago Grisolini approached the Federation of Sportsmen of Oneida County about having a Youth Turkey Hunt. This program has given many youngsters who did not have a family member or adult mentor the opportunity to learn turkey hunting and hunt with an ECO as a mentor.
ECO Grisolini has worked hard to secure property for the Youth Hunts to take place and organizes a Safety Day for the youngsters to learn about safety, turkey hunting techniques and patterning their gun. These sessions are conducted by ECO Firearms Instructors. This year’s hunt will take place on April 26 and 27, prior to the opening of the regular turkey season.
Ric Grisolini has actively recruited ECOs and some expert turkey hunters to assist in the program and serve as mentors while hunting. With the growing success of the program there is an increased need for mentors. He has also actively sought donations to help fund this program. His hard work, organizational skills and dedication to the idea of helping young people enjoy the outdoors epitomize the spirit of the statewide honor.
Grisolini will be honored and presented with the award at the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Annual Banquet to be held on Saturday, April 26, at the Rusty Rail in Canastota. Social hour and registration will begin at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6 p.m. Friends and other sportsmen are cordially invited to attend and share this moment of honor with Ricardo Grisolini. Reservations may be made by calling 829-3588 or 363-3896 by April 19.
SHORT CASTS
Mentor Program Annual Youth Turkey Hunt: The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation and ECOs are teaming up to give youngsters a great experience during the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, April 26 and 27.
Youngsters eligible for the youth hunt and who do not have the opportunity to learn from a family member or an adult mentor will have the opportunity to go turkey hunting with a mentor. Call 829-3588 for details. Youngsters must complete the application and submit it by email sfcf@tds.net by April 1.
DU Dinner: Utica Area Ducks Unlimited will hold its annual banquet on Friday, April 4 at Harts Hill Inn, Whitesboro. Doors open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. There will be a live auction, silent auction and lots of door prizes. Sporting goods and artwork, as well as other household and outdoor items will be featured. For more information call (315) 726-1932.
Adirondack Outdoors: The Spring issue of Adirondack Outdoors magazine is now available at many area locations. Spring turkey hunting, ice out fishing, hiking and destinations are featured in many articles. There are also articles on Placid Boatworks, Black Flies, Search and Rescue and Adirondack issues affecting sportsmen. Free copies are available locally at Sweet Temptations Café, Hanifin Tires, Herb Philipsons and Shari’s Diner in Sherrill.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Walk in the winter woods

For a lot of the winter, the Polar Vortex or serious wind chill factor kept a lot of normally active people inside. Although this weekend is expected to see more of the same, there should be a lot milder winter weather as we progress into early March. If you haven’t enjoyed your normal winter activities like snowshoeing or cross country skiing, the next few weeks should be the ideal time to do it.
The thaw last weekend settled the snow and the following cold snap made for a solid base of snow cover beneath the recent snowfall. It will make for good conditions for skiing, snowshoeing or just taking a walk. Take a walk in the winter woods or fields. It is an opportunity to get exercise and fresh air, see some interesting things, and enjoy the woods from a different perspective.
Take a long or short walk down your favorite hiking trail. Travel some old railroad bed, a log road, unplowed roads in a state park or even some seasonal road through a state forest that is devoid of vehicular traffic this winter. Dress properly, set your own pace and be observant to some of the rhythms of nature in winter.
To some people the woods or fields may seem cold, barren and desolate in winter. But if you are observant and curious, a whole new world may be unveiled to you. The landforms and objects that were hidden by summer’s lush foliage are now revealed, showing some rock formations, streams or other natural features that you did not know were there.
With or without snow cover, the old roads and trails are now evident. Ruts or sculpted terrain show signs of a long ago farm or log road. Deer trails that were hidden by thick briers, vines or weeds are now evident.
Combine the walk with deer scouting. Trails and other signs such as rubs are now more evident. If there is a lack of snow cover you may be lucky to find some shed antlers. Frequently scan the area ahead or on either side and you may be fortunate to see several deer. They are likely to be seen in south facing slopes where the sun will melt the snow sooner.
To some people it seems that the woods are devoid of life because most of the birds that inhabited the area have gone south for the winter. However, if you are near an evergreen thicket you may see and hear plenty of winter residents such as blue jays, juncos, chickadees and others. You may be lucky and see less common birds such as a snowy owl feeding in the open field in daylight or even an eagle near open water.
More likely you will see the signs of wildlife if you know what to look for. If there is a light snow you can study the tracks of the unseen inhabitants. A fox’s tracks that end in a flurry of snow shows where he pounced on a field mouse for lunch. If you see what appear to be dog tracks, they may well be coyote tracks. A coyote’s tracks are usually in a straight line with paw prints in a line. By contrast a domestic dog usually leaves tracks that wander all over and paw prints rarely line up.
During the warmer weather squirrels will emerge from their sleep and scurry about in search of food they have hidden. Both a squirrel when bounding, and a rabbit in its normal hopping pattern will leave prints where the hind paws land in front of the front paws. However, if the tracks end at a tree, you can safely bet that it is a squirrel.
Going alongside a stream with steep banks can sometime reveal a worn area where some critter has been sliding down the bank into the water repeatedly. This is a sign that an otter or two has been frequenting the area and taking a break to have some fun. A random pile of feathers or fur without nearby tracks shows that some hawk or owl has been “dining al fresco” on a hapless rabbit or squirrel.
Be sure to take your camera for some interesting and unique shots of scenery. Carry water, snacks, sunglasses and possibly hand warmers or toe warmer packets. Wear proper footgear and avoiding getting wet feet. In summer it can be inconvenient; in winter it can be a lot more serious.
If you are not familiar with where you are going or are taking a longer hike, be sure to have a map, compass or possibly GPS unit. Carry a small emergency kit in your fanny pack or pocket and be sure to include space blankets. These fold into compact little packets but are essential if you should become stranded.
Dress sensibly and be prepared for changes in weather. It is best to dress in layers that you can add or remove depending on your exercise level and weather. Just remember to add or remove a layer before you get too sweaty or too cold. A light day pack to carry your unused clothing and extra gloves is recommended.
Make it a point to explore or investigate some new area or even revisit a familiar one for a new perspective. Don’t just sit home and wish for spring. Take a walk in the winter woods.
SHORT CASTS
Mentor Program Annual Youth or Women Turkey Hunts: The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation and NWTF are teaming up, with the assistance of other groups, to give youngsters a great experience during the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, April 26 and 27 2014. Youngsters eligible for the youth hunt and who do not have the opportunity to learn from a family member or an adult mentor will have the opportunity to go turkey hunting with a mentor.
During the weekend of April 12, 2014 - prior to the weekend of the hunt - youngsters will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors. Eligible hunters are youths 12-15 years of age, holding a junior hunting license and a turkey permit with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.
Youngsters who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity will need to have completed their hunter safety course and have the permission of a parent or guardian. Youngsters must complete the application and submit it to the address below or by email sfcf@tds.net by April 1, 2014:
Youth/ Women Turkey Hunt
C/O Mr. Scott Faulkner
3720 Wells Gifford Rd,
Vernon Center, NY 13477
Phone 315-829-3588
Some women may want to learn or participate in turkey hunting but do not have family members or someone who are experienced turkey hunters to learn from. The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation mentors will again provide this opportunity. This year’s hunt will be May 17, 2014. Prior to the hunt, women will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors.
Eligible hunters are women 16 years of age and older holding a valid small game hunting license and a turkey permit. The bag limit for that day is one bearded bird.
Women who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity will need to have completed their hunter safety course by that date. They must complete an application and submit it to the address above by April 1, 2014 or by email to sfcf@tds.net. Those chosen for this program will be notified.
X-Bow Status: Many sportsmen were encouraged by the governor’s inclusion of a crossbow season in his budget proposal. However, if you are in favor of this crossbow season regulated by the DEC, now is not the time to be complacent. The budget must still go through committee meetings and there is still room for political maneuvering by the opponents of the crossbow season (i.e. NY Bowhunters, Inc.)
If you are in favor of a crossbow season that would be determined and regulated by the DEC, not some sham set by the NYS legislature, then you need to act in the next few weeks. Contact your legislators and the legislative leaders and let them know that you are in favor of the budget provision as proposed by governor Cuomo. You can find information online or contact the NYS Crossbow Coalition (nycrossbowcoalition.com).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Staying warm in cold weather

Even though we are used to cold and nasty weather in winter, it seems that this year it was more difficult to enjoy outdoor activities due to unpleasant conditions. One of the factors in addition to sub zero temperatures was the wind chill factor.
One of the considerations when the temperature gets this cold is always the danger of frostbite. Exposed flesh can suffer frostbite, or at least frostnip, when the temperature drops this low. Even other extremities such as hands and feet are in danger because the body constricts it circulation when it gets this cold, so make sure they are warm as well as covered.
The key is dressing in layers and choosing the right clothing. Staying warm starts with a proper base layer of synthetic underwear. Unlike the polypropylene of previous years which could not be washed normally and retained odor, today’s synthetics can be washed as long as you do not toss them in the dryer.
Many like the Under Armor line come in different weights for different activities and temperature extremes. This should fit snugly to provide warmth, yet it wicks away moisture and keeps you dry and warm no matter what your activity is. There are other brands that are also effective but I personally find that Under Armor is the warmest most comfortable.
Adding a sweater of flannel, wool or synthetic fleece keeps in the body heat. Choose the proper outerwear of wool or synthetic coat and pants to keep you warm, depending on your activity.
Choosing the right clothing is a matter of preference for fit and determining the activity that you are planning on doing. Obviously, a sport like cross country skiing where you are active and burning up calories does not require as much protection as a sport where you are inactive and subject to wind chill like ice fishing or snowmobiling.
Today there are a lot of synthetics that can provide warmth without adding bulk or weight. The old standby wool is still effective warm clothing, and is preferred by many people for certain activities like hunting. The difference now is that we have synthetic underwear and vests underneath, so the outer layer of wool pants or jacket isn’t as heavy or burdensome as it once was. Wool has the added advantage of being able to keep you warm even if it gets wet (although that is not a desirable outcome in winter weather!).
Of course we know that staying warm in winter involves more than just choosing the proper clothing. We should “stoke the body furnace” before venturing outside in cold weather. Eat a hearty meal of pasta or bread or similar carbohydrates that are easily digested. These will help keep your body warm.
Coffee isn’t really goof for winter warm ups, although it may feel good going down. Caffeine constricts the blood vessels making it more difficult for your body to keep the circulation going. It also is a diuretic, which may leave you thirsty and slightly dehydrated also having a negative effect on circulation. Instead try some hot cider or beef broth and leave the other “remedies” until you are back from the outing.
You should drink lots of water, since dehydration and lower blood volume will impair your body’s ability to circulate blood and heat. This is especially true for people who are involved in active sports like cross country skiing or those who are subject to intense wind chill factor like ice fishermen.
Proper headgear, gloves or mittens and insulated boots are essential. Footgear is vital since it not only keeps you comfortable, but prevents serious problems like frostbite. Wearing too many socks can be dangerous because that can restrict the circulation and cause heat loss. Adding hand warmers or toe warmers can help, especially in situations where you are not as active.
A little common sense and modern technology will go a long way in keeping you warm this winter. Proper preparation and a little cooperation from the weather will enable you to enjoy the last month of winter sports.
Mentor Program Annual Youth Turkey Hunt and Womens Turkey Hunt: The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation and NWTF are teaming up with the assistance of other groups to give youngsters a great experience during the Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend, April 26 and 27, 2014. Youngsters eligible for the youth hunt and who do not have the opportunity to learn from a family member or an adult mentor will have the opportunity to go turkey hunting with a mentor.
During the weekend of April 12, 2014, prior to the weekend of the hunt, youngsters will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors.
Eligible hunters are youth 12 to 15 years of age, holding a junior hunting license and a turkey permit. Youth 12 to 13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or relative over 21 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14 to 15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or an adult over 18 years of age, with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.
The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular season bag limit of two bearded birds. A
second bird may be taken beginning May 1.
Youngsters who are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity will need to have completed their hunter safety course and have the permission of a parent or guardian. Youngsters must complete the application and submit it to the address below or by email sfcf@tds.net by April 1, 2014
Women will also have the opportunity to learn to hunt with an experienced mentor. This year’s date will be May 17, 2014 with a rain date of May 18, 2014.
Some women may want to learn or participate in turkey hunting but do not have family members or someone who are experienced turkey hunters to learn from. The Oneida County Sportsmen’s Federation mentors will provide this opportunity. During the weekend of April 12, 2014, prior to the hunt, women will learn from experienced mentors the basics of turkey hunting and practice their marksmanship at a shooting range under the supervision of certified instructors.
Youth or Women interested in the mentor assisted hunts should contact: Youth Turkey Hunt/ Womens Turkey Hunt, C/O Mr. Scott Faulkner, 3720 Wells Gifford Rd.,Vernon Center, NY 13477. Phone 315-829-3588.
Great Backyard Bird Count: Last weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count showed many of the common species at bird feeders were among the most
reported. Most people had cardinals, juncos, mourning doves, blue jays, tufted titmice and goldfinch on their lists. It also showed that the numbers of most finches were drastically down. Very few redpolls, purple finches, crossbills and pine siskins were reported. Apparently there has been plenty of seeds in the Canadian north for these birds so they did not have to migrate to this area as they have for the past two years.
One visitor from the far north that has shown up in great numbers is the snowy owl. Thousands of sightings, including several in this area, have been reported. My friend Sue Kiesel recently sent me some great photos of one that she spotted in her travels.
It isn’t know what has caused so many to come down from the arctic. Some theorize that it is food shortage if the lemming population has crashed. Or it may just be that population increases in recent years have sent excess numbers south in search of prey. They are most likely to be found in open areas where they normally feed on small animals and birds

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Central New York Sportsman Show returns this Saturday

The popular Central New York Sportsmans Show returns to the Oneida Kallet Civic Center this Saturday, February 8. It is a chance to escape the winter doldrums, take advantage of bargains in sporting goods and have a chance to learn more about your favorite sports.
It will be fun for the entire family with the Utica Zoo presenting a seminar on Wildlife Live” and other exhibits for youngsters. Have them stop by Dan the Snakeman, Trout Unlimited and other colorful exhibits to see ducks and deer mounts.
This is your chance to support a local school as well as many local businesses. Vendors range from tackle shops, antique lures, clothing, game calls, cooking supplies and more. Whether you are a hunter, fisherman, paddler or photographer, there will be something to see, learn or purchase.
Meet and learn about many of the conservation organizations that work to preserve hunting and fishing opportunities in upstate New York, including Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club, NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame, Trout Unlimited and CNY Wildfowlers.
Once again the show will offer visitors the opportunity to meet with guides covering Lake Ontario and other popular inland waters such as Otisco Lake, as well as Adirondack adventures. Even if you don’t sign up for a charter on Saturday you should stop and visit and find out the details of fishing and what the expectations are. Later you can discuss this with family or friends and make reservations for an exciting and productive trip.
Stop at the Lake Ontario Outdoors & Adirondack Outdoors booth to say hello, pick up free copies and samples and have a chance to win door prizes. Visit with salmon and sttelhead guide Chris Mulpagano, a former local resident who is featured on the cover of the current issue of Lake Ontario Outdoors.
A full day of seminars will include Adirondack Brook Trout Fishing (9:45 a.m.), Retriever Training for Duck Hunting (10:15 a.m.) and Wildlife Live – Utica Zoo (10:45 a.m.). Others will be Coyotes & Coyote Trapping (11:30 a.m.), Deer Hunting –QDA (1:00 p.m.), Wildlife Photography (1:30 p.m.), and Benefit of Sporting Clubs (2:45 p.m.).
Deer hunters can talk to renowned Adirondack deer hunters Tony and Pat Salerno, who have been featured in North American Whitetail magazine. You will also have the opportunity to visit with authors of deer hunting books, learn about the NYS Big Buck Club, NY Bowhunters, Inc. and Whitetail Management Coalition.
The author’s table will allow you to meet and obtained signed copies of books by Bob Elinskas, Dick Borden, Jay O’Hern, Nancy Best, Spider Rybaak, Michael Kelly, Eric Dresser, and Todd Mead. These topics cover everything from fishing and hunting to wildlife photography and cooking.
Do you have questions about guns, ammo or shooting sports? You can ask the experts at Gunworks of CNY as well as arrange for later work or purchases. If turkey hunting is your sport, you should not miss the opportunity to learn from experts like Gary Campanie or Shawn Fox at their respective booths and purchase some of their quality products.
Be sure to visit the NYS Sturgeons for Tomorrow booth to find out about these potential monster fish that are making a comeback in Oneida Lake. Tom Lenweaver’s wildlife art is a must stop if you enjoy fine art and outdoor subjects. Sample some of Dennis Dedek’s great offerings on the grill and take home a supply of Iron Skillet seasonings.
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. As always the key to the success of the show is the variety of exhibits and vendors and the fact that all booths are outdoor-related. The show will culminate at 4 p.m. with the presentation of the CNY Sportsman of the Year Award. See you at the Show!
SHORT CASTS
Great American Outdoor Show – Harrisburg: The Chittenango Rod & Gun Club invites area sportsmen to join them on a bus trip to the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, February 8. They will leave Shoppingtown Mall, Dewitt at 5 a.m. in a luxury coach and return to the mall around 10 p.m.
Cost per person is $60 and includes admission to the show. Cal Bruce Berean at 315-439-0260 or email bbcaddy@aol.com to reserve your seat.
Gunworks of CNY: A lot of our guns have been sitting in the closet since the holidays or the end of deer season. You probably had big plans to do some coyote hunting, or small game hunting but the bitter cold weather convinced you to change your plans.
If you haven’t given your guns a thorough cleaning, now is the time to do it. Or better yet, have some professionals like Gunworks of CNY do it. Autoloading shotguns and rifles are more complex and many of us lack the skill to do a thorough job on them. The interior gas system gets fouled up, accumulates grease and oil and collects dirt, weed seeds and other debris from being afield.
Not only will Gary Donovan and his skilled crew do a professional job on cleaning and lubricating all parts of your guns, they will be alert for little problems or conditions that can become big problems if they are not taken care of. Stop at their shop on Route 31 near Verona or call 363-7041. You have a lot invested in your guns. Give them the care they deserve.
Great Backyard Bird Count: This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by Cornell University Lab of Ornithology will be February 14 – 17. It is easy to participate; all you have to do is count the different species of birds in your backyard or other area on a given day and report it to the Cornell website. It can be a fun, family friendly way to discover and help the birds in your community. Visit the website www.birdcount.org to learn more about this event.
Save the Date - Adirondack Outdoors Show: Next weekend, February 15 and 16, is the Adirondack Outdoorsman Show in Johnstown. Location is the Moose Club on Route 30A (Comrie Ave) in Johnstown. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The show is all outdoors related with an emphasis on the Adirondack experience. Booths and vendors including guns and accessories, trapping and taxidermy, fishing supplies, knives, Adirondack gifts and collectibles, artwork, gloves, marine and boating supplies, exotic game meats, antique hunting and fishing gear, charters, guides and resorts. There will also be authors with book signings, seminars, raffles and door prizes. Visit www.adkshow.com for details.
DEC Summer Camp Program: The NYS DEC is now accepting online applications for its 67th Annual Summer Camp Program. The 2014 camp season begins June 29.
Parents may register campers only through DEC’s convenient, online registration system and pay by credit card, e-check or with a sponsor code. Fees for the 2014 camp season remain $350 per one-week session per camper. Camp dates and a link to the online registration system are posted on DEC’s website: www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html. Families without internet access should call the camp office at 518-402-8014 for information on how to register for camp alternatively.
Youth 11 through 17-years old enjoy week-long adventures in conservation education at DEC’s residential summer camps. They participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and optional hunter safety education.
New DEC License System: The new DEC licensing system is up and running. After a temporary shutdown sportsmen are now able to report harvesting or purchase the new licenses at the new reduced fees. Access this system by calling 1-866-933-2257 or at https://aca.dec.accela.com/dec/.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Super recipes for your Super Bowl party

The cold and windy weather has frequently curtailed many outdoor activities. And this weekend is the biggest party day of the year. Even if you are not a football fan, the Super Bowl is a great excuse for a party. What better way to prepare for the “Big Game” than to use some wild game recipes. Show off your skill in hunting and fishing, along with being a cook and a host with the following recipes.
Turkey Poppers: Try jalapeno turkey poppers for snacks as well as cleaning out the sinuses. If you don’t want smoke coming from the nostrils of your guests, substitute yellow banana peppers.
Cut off the ends of the peppers and hollow them out with a thin knife. Chop up turkey into small pieces and mix with cream cheese, onion powder and Mozzarella cheese. Stuff the hollow peppers with the mixture and bake in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Wait before serving because cream cheese mix will be very hot.
Grilled Venison Cubes: Take four pounds of venison cut into small cubes. Mix the following ingredients and marinate for 24 hours – 1/3 cup cooking oil, ½ cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon celery salt, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon garlic salt, 1 tablespoon parsley flakes, 1 tablespoon crushed rosemary, 1 bay leaf. While meat is being grilled, baste frequently with tomato juice mixed with Tabasco sauce to taste. Serve with hot Italian bread.
Salmon Appetizer: 12 ounces beer, 1 cup flour, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon paprika, skinned salmon fillets cut into chunks. Mix batter ingredients together, dip bite sized chunks in batter and drain. In deep fry pan heat oil to 375 degrees. Fry the chunks five or six at a time, until golden brown. Test to see that they are moist and flake easily. Serve with lemon slices and hot mustard.
Poor Man’s Shrimp: Place skinless perch fillets in a saucepan of water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for about four minutes. Drain the meat and add cold water to cover the fish. As water warms, change to fresh cold water and place in refrigerator to cool. Drain the pieces of fish and dip in cocktail sauce. A variation called Poor Man’s Lobster is to steam the perch fillets or nuggets in melted butter and serve hot.
Duck Roll-Ups: Four large duck breast fillets, one each red and green bell pepper, one large shitake mushroom, one sweet onion, lemon pepper mix, wild game marinade. Cut breast fillets lengthwise into ½ inch strips and marinate for at least three hours. Cut bell peppers, mushroom, and onion lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips. Place strip each of duck fillet, onion, mushroom, and each pepper color and bacon together and dust them with lemon pepper mix. Roll them all up with over-lapping wraps of bacon so that entire kabob is covered. Hold bacon in place with toothpicks. Cook over grill at medium heat until bacon is fully cooked (20 – 25 minutes). Serve as a hot appetizer.
Teriyaki Venison Burger “Sliders”: Use ground venison to make mini burgers or “sliders.” Make Teriyaki burgers to add variation to this popular appetizer.
Ingredients: 2 pounds ground venison, 1/4 cup sautéed and diced onions, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1/4 cup soy sauce, one egg.
Preparation: Combine and mix all dry ingredients, combine egg and soy sauce, mixing thoroughly. Combine all the ingredients and meat and mix thoroughly. Press meat into slider sized patties. Place on a hot grill turning over once while cooking. Cook until thoroughly cooked and serve on miniature buns or slices of French bread.
SHORT CASTS
Great American Outdoor Show – Harrisburg: The Chittenango Rod & Gun Club invites area sportsmen to join them on a bus trip to the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, February 8. They will leave Shoppingtown Mall, Dewitt at 5 a.m. in a luxury coach and return to the mall around 10 p.m.
Cost per person is $60 and includes admission to the show. Cal Bruce Berean at 315-439-0260 or email bbcaddy@aol.com to reserve your seat.
Crossbow Update: Most people are aware that Governor Cuomo included a key provision in his budget bill that would establish the crossbow as a legal hunting implement and give the DEC authority to regulate it. If you want to see a crossbow season in New York, now is the time to act. You can bet that the opponents of crossbow season are busy working on legislators and thinking of strategies to alter or water down the provision.
If you are in favor of legalizing the crossbow, then you should write to key legislators such as Sheldon Silver, Dean Skelos and your local legislators. Keep the letter simple and ask them to support the Governor’s budget bill with the provision to allow crossbows and give the DEC the authority to regulate the crossbow as a legal hunting implement.
Mention the fact that it would have a positive economic impact and would allow many more sportsmen to participate. Don’t add your personal views about how you can no longer pull a compound bow, etc. This will only confuse the legislators and perhaps cause some to try and add amendments to the bill.
I do have the addresses of legislative leaders and some sample letters provided by the New York Sportsmans Advisory Council if you need these. But the important things are to use your own words, keep it simple and act now.
Hinckley Reservoir: Today is the final day to urge the DEC to hold public hearings on the proposed increased water withdrawals from Hinckley Reservoir. Submit your comments by e-mail at r6dep@gw.dec.state.ny.us or call 793-2555 and ask that a public hearing be held before this potentially damaging action is approved.
Central New York Sportsmans Show: Save the date of February 8 for the always popular CNY Sportsmans Show. There will be the usual mix of tackle vendors, conservation groups guides, and exhibitors. You will have the chance to meet and talk with expert deer and turkey hunters, as well as various anglers. There will be new attractions as well as the return of the popular ones such as the Salerno Brothers, Trout Unlimited, NYS Big Buck scorers and Fish Creek Atlantic Salmon Club. The new lineup of attractions and seminars will be publicized in the next few weeks. Meanwhile don’t forget to submit your nominations for Sportsman of the Year.
Great Backyard Bird Count: This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count sponsored by Cornell University Lab of Ornithology will be February 14 – 17. It is easy to participate; all you have to do is count the different species of birds in your backyard or other area on a given day and report it to the Cornell website. It can be a fun, family friendly way to discover and help the birds in your community. Visit the website www.birdcount.org to learn more about this event.
DEC Summer Camp Program: The NYS DEC will be accepting online applications for its 67th Annual Summer Camp Program starting January 22. The 2014 camp season begins June 29.
Parents may register campers beginning January 22 at 10 a.m. only through DEC’s convenient, online registration system and pay by credit card, e-check or with a sponsor code. Fees for the 2014 camp season remain $350 per one-week session per camper. Camp dates and a link to the online registration system are posted on DEC’s website: www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html. Families without internet access should call the camp office at 518-402-8014 for information on how to register for camp alternatively.