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Hamilton County Outdoors 12/04/2013 By Dick Nelson

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - Updated: 9:39 AM

There was a time when Thanksgiving Day was the second most productive day of the season. Even if you had filled your own tag, you spent the better part of the day helping family and friends fill theirs, either by walking around trying to spook a deer in their direction or by organized drives, which still account for a good portion of the total statewide harvest.

So why don’t 21st century deer hunters hunt as hard as their forefathers? I can sum it up in five words: football and electronic video games.

With no less than three professional football games on what is no longer called “the idiot box,” for many football has become as much a part of the Thanksgiving tradition as turkey, pumpkin pie and a six-pack; while for the age 20 and under crowd it’s the latest in video games such as Killer Instinct, Blood of the Werewolf, SimCity and Forza Motorsport 5.

But with a fresh cover of snow blanketing the forest floor in many locations, deer will stand out like a sore thumb, and hunters have been taking advantage. Even the guys and gals who already called it a season will be suiting up in their red, blaze orange and camouflage garb, with some turning to snow camo to be even less conspicuous.

Cold temperatures should keep much of the snow from completely liquefying so bucks – even those with a bit of grey on their whiskers – will have to use all their wits if they want to make it through the end of the season.

That of course includes the late bow and muzzleloading seasons, which run from Dec. 9-15 in the Northern Zone and through the 17th in the Southern Zone.

News and Notes: Speaking of deer, the recently reminded us that last Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of when Saskatchewan hunter Milo Hanson bagged the world’s largest typical whitetail buck. Boone and Crockett gave the buck a score of 213-1/8.

· Deer hunters who want to hone their skills can now take an online “Deer & Deer Hunting Education” course. Topics include bow hunting, camping and survival skills, deer rut, hunting regulations and more. An expert in the field leads each session and is available to answer questions throughout the duration of the course. The best part is hunters can work through the materials at their own convenience and their own pace.

Participants can log on morning, noon or night to read lesson material, submit assignments or post questions and remarks to the ongoing discussion boards. The cost varies depending on the curriculum and includes select hunting gear and instructional deer hunting DVDs and books. For more information visit

· If boundary maps of wildlife management units pictured in the 2013-14 hunting and trapping guide have you guessing, guess no more. Written boundary descriptions of all the WMUs are available on the DEC website at

· In the meantime, the DEC is reminding anglers that Saturday is the final day they can catch and keep black bass and muskellunge. However, the statewide catch and release season opens for smallmouth and largemouth bass Sunday and will remain open until June 20, 2014.

· Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Secretary Jack Smith tells us the flyers for the Jan. 25 Ice Fishing Contest should be in bait shops and other familiar locations by mid-week. Smith is also advising icemen not to be too anxious to do any hard water fishing. The temperature may have dropped, but lakes and ponds are far from safe.

· DEC Bureau of Wildlife Chief Gordon Batcheller was in a head-on collision in Ithaca last Sunday, and while the car was totaled he miraculously only suffered a sprained left knee. He expects to be out of work for at least two weeks. I mention this in the event he was expected to appear at an area function.

· Bob Kazmierski tells me the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum, 3747 State Highway 30, Broadalbin, is now in its fall and winter hours of Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is also home to the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame. For more information call (518) 762-7925.

· North Country Friends of the Second Amendment President Patrick Morse will give a presentation on the NY SAFE Act at the Ilion Fish and Game Club Monday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. The topic will be on pending legislation with a brief overview of the laws. It will be followed by a Q& Asession. The club is at 1276 Barringer Road, Ilion, (315) 894-2938 or

To contact Dick Nelson with an event or club news or to send a photograph email: or Events should include the what, when, where, and cost (if any). Photographs should include name of subject(s), town of residency and a brief description of the photo.


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