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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.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Snowy owls numbuers increase dramatically this winter

If you are driving through the countryside and see a white object on a fence post, it is obviously not snow this winter. Take a closer look and you might be lucky enough to see a snowy owl. These big white birds are more easily seen this year due to the lack of snow on the ground.

Each winter we get a few of these white visitors from the Arctic but this year reports indicate that there are many more than usual. No one is certain why, but an abnormally large number of these fascinating birds have been seen all the way from the Great Lakes to Massachusetts.

Some biologists point out that last year was a very successful year for hatching and an unusually high number of young birds survived. This was directly connected to the large lemming population in the Arctic, which is the main source of food for these birds. Biologists theorize that many of these young males have migrated south to feed this winter.

In this area, the owls feed on a variety of small mammals and birds, especially voles (meadow mice) and geese. Good riddance to both. With the scarcity of snow the hunting should be easier for the owls.

By contrast, several years ago the deep snow throughout much of New York State sheltered the mice and voles and a large number of barred owls, one of our local owls, starved to death. Unlike most owls, the snowy owl and the grey owl feed a lot during the daylight.

The population of owls, like most other predators, is dependent on food supply and availability. They often migrate when there is a relative scarcity of food, or in this case a higher population of predators in relation to food supply. At times when there is insufficient food they will have smaller broods, fewer young will survive and many adults will starve.

Snowy owls are interesting creatures. They perch on posts or dead tree snags and rely on their excellent sense of hearing and sight to pinpoint their prey. Take a drive or walk in the country, be observant and you may experience the rare treat of seeing one of our visitors from the north.

CNY Sportsman of the Year: Congratulations to Andy Jeski. The Central New York Sportsman Show announced Jeski as the 2012 Sportsman of the Year last Saturday. Each year, the show judges select a winner from among the many nominations submitted from outdoor enthusiasts across central New York

Jeski has worked diligently to promote conservation and outdoor sports through his work with youngsters and handicapped sportsmen. He has also set a good example of ethics and sportsmanship. He has been active in this role for many years and has never sought recognition, only the benefit of others who enjoy the outdoors.

As an active member and president, of SHOTS (Sportsmen Helping Others Through Sharing) he has helped youngsters build turkey calls, and let them take them home at Carpenters Brook Outdoors Days. They have donated fishing rods to youngsters and purchased archery equipment for Holy Cross Academy to participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program.

The past several years he has been active in helping handicapped or ill hunters and fishermen realize their dreams. Andy took the lead in making arrangements for a hunter terminally ill with cancer. They raised the money and Andy handled bringing him to central New York at SHOTS’ expense where they provided him a hunt and the man fulfilled his wish of getting a deer.

Recently they helped a woman afflicted with MS achieve her lifelong dream of fly fishing in Montana. They provided arrangements and money for her and her companion to travel there and fish with an outfitter equipped to deal with handicapped anglers.

Andy Jeski and SHOTS helped provide money for Future Anglers Outreach which is a fishing clinic and instruction day for youngsters and parents where all youth receive a rod and reel. Naturally he rolled up his sleeves and did whatever work was necessary those mornings at the clinics.

He has often invited senior hunters to come and hunt deer with his family and friends and made sure to share venison with them if they were not successful. Whether working with a group or acting individually, Andy has epitomized the model of a sportsman.


VERNON NATIONAL CLAYS FLURRY: Vernon National Shooting Preserve in Vernon Center will offer the popular Five Stand Super Flurry this Sunday. It will be a team event, shooting at 50 clay targets. Practice is at 9 a.m. and shooting starts at 10 a.m. Call 982-7045 for more information.

BACKYARD BIRD COUNT: Once again Cornell University’s Backyard Bird Count will ask for your help in taking a survey of birds from February 17-20. All you need to do is count the greatest number of birds at any time in your backyard or environs. This year, with the open winter and lack of snow, there may be fewer birds at your feeder but the total numbers still give an overall picture compared to other years.

There is also a photo contest, prize drawings and other information available for bird watchers. Call 800-843-2473 for more information on how to participate.

CNY SHOW: Thanks again to Teri Maciag and the staff and students from Holy Cross Academy for putting on a super Central NY Sportsman’s Show last weekend. Their hard work and dedication paid off with a great show featuring a variety of exhibits, vendors and seminars. It created exposure for central NY sportsman’s groups and companies, provided a good time for outdoorsmen to get out and explore, and an opportunity to learn from the excellent seminars. More than 1,500 people came to the show and many people that we visited with at the Lake Ontario Outdoors booth commented what an excellent show it was.

ADIRONDACK OUTDOORSMEN SHOW: The 7th Annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show returns to the Johnstown Moose Club (109 South Comrie Ave/Rte 30A) on February 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on February 19. The show will be geared towards the tastes of hunters, fisherman and outdoors enthusiasts, with exhibits containing items for sale pertaining to hunting, fishing, gear, supplies, guns, archery, trapping, boating, camping, hiking, snow shoeing, guides, charter services, taxidermy, snowmobiling, collectable knives, antique hunting and fishing gear, wildlife art and books and Adirondack furniture.

In addition, many featured guests, authors and industry experts are scheduled to be on hand throughout the weekend to give seminars and discuss outdoors and hunting subjects. Door prizes of gear and equipment will be given away throughout the weekend. The Grand Door Prize will be a full-day charter with Chazman Charters fishing the waters off of Kodiak Island Alaska.

For more information on the event go to or contact Mike Hauser at 518-725-5565 or

STEELHEAD: Steelhead have been hitting in the Salmon River, especially in the pools in the upper river. Mid day when the water temperature warms a few degrees has been the best time to fish. Check with All Seasons Sports in Pulaski (298-6433) for up-to-date information on conditions.


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