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

Friday, October 7, 2011

October forces hunters and fishermen into tough decisions

A quandary that many of us find ourselves in at this time of year is whether to go hunting or fishing. Throughout much of central New York there are opportunities for turkey and grouse hunting that we have been waiting for all year. But as the water cools, fishing for species like bass is often at its best. And of course the exciting sport of salmon fishing on Lake Ontario tributaries has a limited window of a few weeks.

What is the answer, especially we so many people only have a limited time to engage in these fun activities? Perhaps consider a “cast and blast” trip where you combine hunting and fishing activity.
Consider one case of combining salmon fishing with grouse hunting. Fishing some of the tributaries of Lake Ontario like South Sandy Creek is often best early or late in the day when salmon are moving upstream. On the other hand grouse do not like to get up early and are more likely to be feeding from mid morning through the afternoon.
Pack your waders and your fishing gear, upland hunting bots, clothes, and gun and head off in the direction of Altmar. The areas for the two sports are close enough so that you can fish the morning for salmon in the Salmon River or South Sandy Creek and then after lunch hunt some area like ‘Orton Hollow State Forest or Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area on the way home.
Perhaps your main desire is bowhunting or turkey hunting. You can easily combine those in areas south of here by going deer or turkey hunting early in the morning around Hamilton or Erieville. Change your gear, have an early lunch and spend the rest of the day fishing for bass in Lake Morraine, Eatonbrook Reservoir, or the lower Chenango River.
Maybe you would prefer waterfowl hunting and walleye fishing on Oneida Lake. Until the trout season closes on October 15, you can try some back country duck hunting for mallards or wood ducks on a beaver pond early in the morning. Later when ducks have stopped moving you can fish for brook trout at mid day. Northern zone deer hunters can get in their sport early or late on state land near Redfield or Osceola and find time in between to battle steelhead on the Salmon River or smaller streams like Orwell Brook.
Thanks to the abundance of public land in much of upstate New York and its proximity to excellent fishing waters for various species, it is possible to combine both hunting and fishing in the same day. If your time is limited and you can’t decide what to do, try doing both. A “cast and blast” outing can be productive and put something different and special in your fall adventures.
DEER – CAR COLLISIONS: This is the time of year when deer hunting gets underway with the opening of bowhunting in the southern zone and muzzleloading in the northern zone right around the corner. But it is also the time when deer are in the news in another less popular way – deer-car collisions.
There are close to 57,000 deer-car collisions in New York State annually and the majority of them occur in October and November. Not only is this a significant economic loss in automobile damage, it is a serious threat to human injury or even fatalities. Those of us who live in Central New York are aware of this threat. However there are ways we can minimize this threat.
Most deer travel in groups so when you see one, be alert for others that may follow. Many times the first may be aware of you while it crosses the road, but the others rush to catch up and are more likely to dash heedlessly into the path of your car. If it appears that you are going to hit a deer, resist the urge to swerve. That could turn a potential property damage accident into a possible fatal rollover.
Whenever possible drive with your lights on high beam. Be especially alert in areas where deer are frequently seen. Certainly you should not be texting or some other asinine activity when you need to devote full attention to your driving.
Most of us, especially sportsmen, are aware that deer are most active at dawn and dusk. Yet every year some bozo in an official capacity will warn people of the danger and blame the fact that “hunters are stirring the deer up.” If you hear that statement this year, remind that person that this is a foolish, erroneous statement and then give them a two-handed, over the head, wedgie!
All year long deer are most active just before and after sunset. And guess when our heaviest traffic, with most people coming home from work, occurs at this time of year? Yes, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when these two peaks coincide there will be more accidents.
If you should be unfortunate enough to have an accident, remain calm and pull over to the side of the road. Remember that you must call and report this accident to authorities. Don’t try to move the deer out of the road unless you are certain it is dead. An injured deer can inflict serious injury on anyone.
Hopefully this year you will not be a statistic and any deer that you come in close contact with will be in the woods while hunting.


CANOE & KAYAK STORAGE: For a lot of people this weekend represents the end of canoe and kayak trips. If you are getting ready to store your canoe or kayak for the winter there are some things you should keep in mind.
If at all possible store them inside a building since ultra violet light will cause the colors to fade. Don’t toss them alongside some building and cover them with a tarp since water will be trapped between the tarp and the vessel and cause discoloration or even damage, to the material.
Canoes can be stored upside down at the ceiling of a garage or shed since the gunwales or edges are the strongest part of the canoe. However kayaks should not be stored that way since they will take a permanent bend or “set.” The strongest part of a kayak is the side. The best way is to loop two straps through strong eye bolts on the side of the garage or shed and suspend the kayak. That way the bottom will be flush against the wall and the straps will be supporting the side, which is the strongest part.
SALMON FISHING REPORT: Last weekend marked the start of the long-awaited major salmon run up the Salmon River. By early this week all the major pools from Douglaston Run to Pulaski were loaded with coho and king salmon. Fly fishermen were reporting success on Comets, Wooly Buggers, and streamers while bait fishermen were doing well with egg sacks in blue, pink, or chartreuse colors.
On the Oswego River the water levels were high but there were a large number of fish in the river. Hot-n-tots, estaz flies, and egg sacks seemed to be the lures of choice. Be careful when fishing the river and heed warning signs and even wear a PFD.
Out west the major river that had large concentrations of salmon was the Oak Orchard River above Point Breeze. On other streams anglers were hoping that cold rains would bring an influx of fish.
MADISON COUNTY T.U. PROGRAM: The Madison County Chapter of Trout Unlimited will hold its monthly meeting on Thursday, October 20. Special guest speaker will be Ed Mills, the Director of Shackleton Point Reseach Station. He will give a presentation and answer questions from the audience. The meeting will be at 7 pm at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Main St. in Chittenango. The public is welcome and urged to attend.
LAKE ONTARIO OUTDOORS: The current issue of “Lake Ontario Outdoors” magazine features an article on getting started salmon fishing by noted guide and author Jay Peck. Other articles give insight on steelhead fishing, curing fish eggs, tying flies, and events on the lake. Read the account of Capt. Bob Walters getting the biggest muskie in many years on the St. Lawrence. Hunters are not neglected with Bill Saiff giving advice on backcountry duck hunting and deer hunting tips from Mike Seymour and Scott Locorini. Copies are available at Phildons, Hanifin Tires, Herb Philipsons, and Sweet Temptations Café.


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