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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ECOs hold successful youth turkey hunt

Oneida County Youth Hunt
The Federated Sportsmen Clubs of Oneida County and Region 6 Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) teamed up to hold its fourth annual Youth Turkey Hunt on April 26 and 27. The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Oneida County Sheriff Dept. and NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame and other interested sportsmen and women from the area assisted and supported the event. A total of 16 youths signed up from Herkimer, Oneida and Madison Counties to participate in this year’s hunt.
A Safety Day for the 16 youths and their parents was held April 12 at the Cassety Hollow Rod and Gun Club in Oriskany Falls. A presentation on turkey hunting safety and regulations was conducted by ECO Ric Grisolini. Mr. Tim Furner from Gander Mountain and the NWTF put on a small presentation on the setup of turkey decoys in the field and a calling demonstration.
In the afternoon each youngster patterned their shotguns under the instruction of ECO Mike Dangler, a certified firearms instructor. Each youth was partnered up with an ECO and mentor from their area. They talked about the equipment they had and what they might need.
On April 26 the ECOs and mentors took 16 youths out hunting. Four of the youths harvested their turkey on this day. They had three misses that day as well. Everyone had turkeys all around them that morning but many of the turkeys hung just outside the range of their guns, so those youths could not get a shot. The largest turkey harvested that day was 22 pounds, with one seven-inch beard and another one and one-half-inch beard on its chest and spurs that were one-inch long. The youths all had a great time and they received lunch after the hunt.
On April 27 the ECOs and mentors took out twelve youths out. The weather was cold and rainy but they harvested two nice birds. The largest bird that day was 20 pounds with a 10-inch beard and spurs of one and one-half inches long. The second bird was 18 pounds with a nine-inch beard and one-inch spurs. They also had three misses that day as well. The youths all had a great time and enjoyed lunch after the hunt.
The Oneida County Federation and the ECOs would like to give a big thank you to the following groups or organizations for their donations for this year’s hunt: NYS Conservation Officer Assoc., National Wild Turkey Federation, Gander Mountain of New Hartford, Bass Pro Shops of Utica, Otis Technology, Zink Calls, Mountain Hollow Game Calls, and Mr. Steve Heerkens.
The Oneida County Federation and the organizers of the event would like to give a big thank you to Environmental Conservation Officers and sportsmen and women mentors that took the time out of their schedule to take a kid out hunting.
Thanks also go to the cooks for the event, Brian Day and Larry Chandler, and the Cassety Hollow Members for the use of their Club for the Safety Day, and the two days of hunting.
Turkey Tales
The turkey season is a week old and a lot of nice birds have been taken. Typically the majority of hunters have had some excitement or frustration but haven’t bagged a bird yet. However, those who know turkey hunting realize that statistically the odds of getting a mature tom are less than getting a deer.
One thing that many hunters have commented on is the relative lack of gobbling on the roost and general scarcity of gobbling after they fly down from the roost. However if you do get a bird within hearing range, they are likely to respond to your calls with aggressive gobbling. Getting them to come within range, however, is another matter.
Dick Cooper has had a lot of excitement calling in gobblers but the big toms have stayed out of sight or out of range. “Coop” did pass up shots at jakes who wandered within range to check out his decoys. Glen Garver called in a nice tom on opening day but there were no hens to draw the big birds’ attention away.
Sue Bookhout got a big tom of 22 pounds, 8-inch beard, and one-inch spurs earlier this week, shortly after the tom came down from his roost across the road. I was successful early last week on Friday when I heard a lone gobble about 9:30 a.m. down at the bottom of the ridge I was sitting on. I called sparingly and about 20 minutes later two big toms snuck up the ridge silently. The one I bagged weighed 22 pounds with a nine and one-half-inch beard and one and one-quarter-inch spurs.
So far the story seems to be don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear one gobble on the roost. Be patient, call sparingly until you get a response, and be ready for one to sneak in silently.
SHORT CASTS
Vernon Rod & Gun Club Chicken BBQ: The Vernon Rod & Gun Club will hold a chicken barbecue on Saturday, May 17 from noon until done. Location will be at the clubhouse on Stuhlman Road across from Vernon Downs. Menu will include half a chicken, roll, coleslaw, salt potatoes and dessert. Meals are available for sit-in dinner or take out. Proceeds from this event will be used to fund the kids fishing derby in June.
Walleye Report: The cool, damp weather last weekend failed to dampen the enthusiasm of walleye fishermen on Oneida Lake and the tributaries. Windy weather made fishing conditions difficult, especially on Sunday with nasty waves creating rough boating conditions. Partly because of the weather, and partly because there were still a lot of the male walleyes in the tributaries, much of the boating activity was concentrated in Fish Creek. A considerable number of fishermen took keeper-sized walleye, although very few of the fish were large. Anglers generally had to put in a lot of time or miles on the lake for the fish they did catch.
Paddlefest: Adirondack Paddlefest, the largest on-water canoe and kayak show in the Northeast returns to Old Forge May 16–18. There will be hundreds of canoes and kayaks on sale, and all types of accessories available. Meet with manufacturers representatives, take skill classes for a modest fee and attend free seminars and demonstrations on everything from tandem paddling techniques to kayak fishing. Of course, this is also your chance to test paddle canoes, kayaks and stand up paddleboards, as well as try out various paddles.
There will be a special one-day contest of fishing for northern pike from a kayak on Saturday, May 17. First prize will be a Wilderness Fishing Kayak. There will also be many booths of various outdoor related organizations. For more information check the website www.AdirondackPaddlefest.com or call 369-6672.
Bass Pro Shops Go Outdoors Weekends: Local Bass Pro shops, including the North Utica store, will host two weekends of free workshops and activities May 16–26. The weekend of May 17-18 will include seminars on camping, survival, proper fit of PFDs and cooking demonstrations. The weekend of May 24–25 will be geared towards youngsters with BB gun shooting range, metal detector treasure hunt, scavenger hunt and crafts. There will be kids workshops on camping and water safety. See the website www.basspro.com for times and details.
L.L. Bean Camping Weekend: Local L.L. Bean stores will hold a camping weekend May 16–18. This will be a weekend long event at local L.L. Bean stores. There will be free clinics with expert staff on camping essentials, hiking and backpacking trips, and beginner birding. You can see product demonstrations and test gear in a wide variety of tents, chairs, sleeping bags, etc. There will also be fun games and crafts for kids of all ages. See the website LLBean.com for more information.
Oneida Lake Team Walleye Trail: The team tournament returns to Oneida Lake on June 1 with the Team Walleye Trail, sponsoring a one-day tournament. Winning team is guaranteed a minimum of $2,000 and the lunker prize is $750. Hours are 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. with the tournament based in Oneida Shores County Park in Brewerton. See the website oneidawalleyes.com for complete rules and details.
Paddlefest Fishing Tournament: A new event at Paddlefest this year is the inaugural Paddlefest Fishing Tournament with first place winning a new Wilderness Systems Fishing Kayak. The day is Saturday, May 17 and registration is from Friday noon or Saturday morning between 9 and 10 a.m. Preregistration must be in the mail by Monday, May 12. See the website www.AdirondackPaddlefest.com for on-line registration and details.
The contest will be for northern pike and will be a catch and release tournament. Pike must be caught from a kayak in the Fulton Chain of Lakes or tributaries. Kayak rentals are available. Second prize will be a carbon paddle valued at $355 and third place will receive a $75 gift card. Registration is limited to the first 50 participants. The event is sponsored by Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company, Adirondack Outdoors magazine and Wilderness System kayaks.

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