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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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cold weather doesn't dampen enthusiasm for southern zone deer opener

The Southern Zone deer season opened in frigid temperatures across most of the region. Temperatures in the teens were the rule in higher elevations of the southern tier on Saturday morning but that did not keep the legions of hunters home. However, later in the day it did send many of them home early even if they did not have success.
There is no accurate gauge on if the weather had any impact on the harvest or not. Judging by reports at processing plants like Phil Roe’s in Hamilton or some other deer cutting shops, there was an average amount of deer killed and brought in.
If you check with individual hunters, it naturally depends on whether or not they were successful. There were also reports from different local areas that indicate that the hunter activity and amount of shooting on nearby properties was lighter than normal. Friends say that areas near Vernon Center, west of Canastota and East Hamilton were much quieter than most opening weekends.
Typically on the days after opening weekend I get quite a few calls from people that I know asking how I did. Of course that is really a lead in to tell me that they were successful. This year I haven’t had very many so I’m assuming that my contacts weren’t as successful as other years.
But overall there were probably a significant number of bucks and does taken. In the next week or two we will probably have lots of individual tales to share with you. Ken Cronn continued his string of success with a buck taken near home. Blaine Cook was actually hunting at his home and took a four-point buck. Of course, earlier that day he was at his house warming up and looked down the field to see an eight point buck crossing by his tree stand.
Pumpkin Gang Trifecta
The three original members of the “Pumpkin Gang” (nicknamed for their orange hunting vests, not their body shapes!) hunt together throughout the bow season and through the gun season. Bob Washbon, Dick Cooper and Terry Yardley have hunted together for 40 years but last Saturday was the first time that they have all gotten bucks on the same day. On opening day all three of them got nice bucks in different spots within half an hour of each other.
It Only Takes a Few Seconds 
Sunday evening I was comparing results and hunting stories with my friend Bill Batdorf. As we discussed our opening weekend results, Bill mentioned that he had not seen many deer but missed a great opportunity on Sunday. He climbed up in a tree stand and was watching a hunter on nearby property and then turned the other way to see a nice buck bounding off into the woods. Apparently it was bedded down nearby and when Bill was looking the other way it jumped up and ran away. It only took a few seconds of looking away for a missed opportunity.
It Only Takes Seconds – Part II 
The few seconds that make the difference between success and frustration hit home for me earlier this week. Terry Yardley and I were hunting near Hamilton in frigid conditions on Tuesday. With temperatures in the teens and wind chill factor in single digits we decided to move and hunt towards each other around a small valley. We met along an area where last summer’s wind shear had knocked down many trees. After we talked there for several minutes I moved towards the blowdowns to see how the mess might affect next spring’s turkey hunting. Less than 30 yards away up sprang a big buck that had been bedded down in the tree tops all that time. In my surprise I hesitated and then by the time I had gotten my gun up the big buck bounded away through the tangle of trunks and limbs with only the sight of those big antlers visible!
Make Your Opinions Known
Several people have spoken to me about making their comments on the Open Space Plan or the Adirondack Railroad. At a recent presentation at the Oneida’s Club, I promised to make the addresses available again.
The Open Space Plans are the priorities or projects of the DEC to conserve a valuable resource, increase public access or create a new area. Two possible projects that are of interest to local people are the Seneca White Deer and the Keesler Boat Launch on Hinckley Reservoir.
Creating a park or Wildlife management Area out of part of the Seneca Army Depot would help preserve an important part of our military heritage, save the rare Seneca White Deer herd, and create a nature viewing area for the public. Tell the DEC that this is more important than creating another landfill!
The Keesler Boat Launch would provide a much needed larger boat launch on Hinckley Reservoir and be named after an important person who did much to publicize the outdoor world.
E-mail comments to or send them to:
Open Space Conservation Plan
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233 
Deadline is Dec. 17.
The Adirondack Railway Plan would offer several options. At the recent hearing in Utica it was revealed that rehabilitating the tracks would cost less than the “superhighway” biking and hiking trail that many of the greenies want. It is possible to have hiking and biking access along the present track right-of-way and preserve the railroad.  An operating railroad from Utica to Lake Placid would give tourists access to beautiful backcountry that they would never see otherwise. It would make rail travel to Lake Placid possible and help tourism and the economy. It would provide access for sportsmen to be dropped off for camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting, etc. in remote areas that are otherwise inaccessible.
Indicate your support for the Adirondack Railroad operating all the way to Lake Placid by sending an e-mail to: by Dec. 15.
Subject: Venison vs. Beef - The controversy ends
Note: This satire has made the rounds before but it is worth repeating with the peak of the deer season upon us.
Controversy has long raged about the relative quality and taste of venison and beef as gourmet foods. Some people say venison is tough, with a strong “wild” taste. Others insist venison’s flavor is delicate. An independent food research group was retained by the Venison Council to conduct a taste test to determine the truth of these conflicting assertions once and for all.
First, a Grade A Choice Holstein steer was chased into a swamp a mile and a half from a road and shot several times. After some of the entrails were removed, the carcass was dragged back over rocks and logs and through mud and dust to the road. It was then thrown into the back of a pickup truck and driven through rain and snow for 100 miles before being hung out in the sun for a day.
It was then lugged into a garage where it was skinned and rolled around on the floor for a while. Strict sanitary precautions were observed throughout the test, within the limitations of the butchering environment. For instance, dogs and cats were allowed to sniff and lick the steer carcass, but were chased away when they attempted to bite chunks out of it.
Next, a sheet of plywood left from last year’s butchering was set up in the basement on two saw horses. The pieces of dried blood, hair and fat left from last year were scraped off with a wire brush last used to clean out the grass stuck under the lawn mower.
The skinned carcass was then dragged down the steps into the basement where a half dozen inexperienced but enthusiastic and intoxicated men worked on it with meat saws, cleavers and dull knives. The result was 375 pounds of soup bones, four bushel baskets of meat scraps, and a couple of steaks that were an eighth of an inch thick on one edge and an inch and a half thick on the other.
The steaks were seared on a glowing red hot cast iron skillet to lock in the flavor. When the smoke cleared, rancid bacon grease was added, along with three pounds of onions, and the whole conglomeration was fried for two hours.
The meat was gently teased from the frying pan and served to three blindfolded taste panel volunteers. Every member of the panel thought it was venison. One volunteer even said it tasted exactly like the venison he has eaten in hunting camps for the past 27 years. The results of this scientific test conclusively show that there is no difference between the taste of beef and venison.


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