Hamilton County Outdoors - 01/22/2014
By Dick Nelson

The ice is nice in spite of the thaw

Much has taken place over the past week. The on-again, off-again winter has been playing havoc with the ice. Not so much with its strength as with hardwater anglers slipping and falling. Carry creepers and wear them.

Despite last week’s thaw – and to be honest with you I hope we have a few more before spring arrives -- there is still more than a foot of frozen water on the Great Sacandaga.

Consuming his catch was the last thing Northville’s Jarred Atty was thinking about when he pulled a 40-inch, 15-pound northern pike from beneath the ice Wednesday. According to Dave Allen of Dave’s Bait and Tackle in Northville, Atty caught the trophy pike at 4 p.m. on a Hunt while fishing over 20 feet of water.

CHASING COTTONTAILS

If you’ve never hunted rabbits in the snow you’re missing out on one of life’s most pleasurable experiences. I’m not talking about tramping around in snow up to your kneecaps. No, I’m talking about a couple of inches of freshly fallen snow.

Fresh snow makes it easy to spot fresh tracks. It covers up and cancels out old tracks that in reality are meaningless to a brace of beagles. But a few inches of snow is ideal for a hound, simply because they can pick up the scent of a rabbit that much quicker.

Over the years I’ve hunted over some really good beagles. Some of my fondest memories are of guided snowshoe rabbit hunts in the Adirondacks. I’ve also spent a number of hours hunting over not-so-good hounds, and believe me, it’s a lot more fun if the hound you’re following doesn’t run deer.

The last beagle I owned never ran deer -- although on two occasions I did use her to follow the blood trail of a deer I had shot. Strangely enough each time she located the dead deer she would get sick, which may explain why she never took off after them when they were still on the hoof.

I had that hound for six years and never once did she take off on me. In fact I used to comment that I couldn’t lose that dog if I tried, which is why I thought it odd when a so-called friend I had let hunt with her said she ran away.

That was 30 years ago, but it was only recently that I learned he never lost the dog at all. He accidentally shot and killed her when he fired at a rabbit. Something he neglected to tell me.

Having died a dozen or so years ago this so-called friend has since caught up with my beagle, but even without knowing what really happened, I learned a valuable lesson -- never loan your hunting dog to anyone, no matter how much you trust them.

This is especially important when it comes to bird dogs. All it takes is a couple of hours of bad dog handling to undo years of training.

STILL IN THE HUNT

I don’t know what effect this will have on the DEC getting the deer harvest figures out, but in an effort to help control the deer population in and around the City of Ithaca (Tompkins County) the agency recently announced a special deer hunting season in that area through Jan. 31.

It’s part of the department’s Deer Management Focus Area program that expands the use of hunting to assist communities burdened with overabundant deer populations. The DMFA encompasses 60,000 acres of land in and around Ithaca, including the city and town of Ithaca, the villages of Cayuga Heights and Lansing, and parts of the towns of Danby, Caroline, Dryden, Lansing, Enfield, Newfield and Ulysses.

During the special January season in the DMFA, registered hunters are authorized to shoot two antlerless deer per day using a shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun, or bow (if they have bow hunting eligibility). Rifles are not authorized for big game hunting in Tompkins County.

To participate, hunters must register with the DMFA program and download a permit, carcass tags and a hunting activity log. Both the DMFA permit and carcass tags must be carried while hunting in the DMFA and are valid only within the DMFA. All DMFA hunters must record their deer hunting activity and harvests on the hunting activity log regardless of their success or hunting activity level, and are required to submit the log form to DEC by Feb. 7. Instructions are provided on the permit and log form.?

For additional information, including a map of the DFMA that includes boundaries, a description of available hunting lands or to register visit www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/82382.html.

NEWS AND NOTES

Describing five primary goals, the DEC recently announced its draft species management plans for black bears. The plan also describes the current and desired future status of bear populations in various regions of NYS.

The plan includes proposals to expand bear hunting in many wildlife management units, especially in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley where in recent years human-bear conflicts have become more common and pose a threat to human safety and property.

The plan can be read at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Comments can be submitted in writing through Jan. 31 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bear Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us, typing “Bear Plan" in the subject line.

I stand corrected on the number of rounds that can be loaded in a clip. In last week’s column I wrote that when making his decision on the SAFE Act, the judge declared the seven round provision unconstitutional and that you could now put “more than” 10 bullets in a magazine. Actually 10 rounds is all you can have in a magazine.

Dropping anchor ‘til next time.

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

UPCOMING EVENTS

Jan. 24-26 -- The 20th annual Fly-Fishing Show, Garden State Exhibit Center, Somerset, NJ. Many celebrity anglers. Hours: Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission is $18 ($10 active military), $28 for two-day pass and $38 for three-day pass and $2 for children ages 5-12. For information call 866-481-2393. Web site: www.flyfishingshow.com.

Jan. 25 -- Fuel n’ Food 6th Annual Walleye Challenge Ice Fishing Derby, Great Sacandaga Lake. Registration closed with 1,750 entries.

Jan. 25 -- Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Ice Fishing Derby, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registration is $20, ($25 day of contest until 10 a.m. only). Contact Randy Gardinier at 518-848-7248.

Jan. 25 – Wells Fish and Game Club, annual Sportsman’s Swap Meet, Wells Community Center, 1438 Route 30, Wells from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Buy, sell, barter or trade. Tables ($15) available. Admission is $2 with children admitted free. Refreshments will be available. Contact Nancy Lewis at 518- 924-2110.

Jan. 25 -- The Almost Annual NYS Crappie Ice Fishing Derby, Dorchester Park, Whitney Point. Entry fee is $2 for those over 12 years, and free 12 and under. Cancelled in 2012 for unsafe ice, the 2011 purse was $13,500. Contact Dave Hughes at 607-692-3263, email: nyscrappiederby@aol.como, or visit: www.crappiederby.com/.

Jan 25-26 -- Albany Gun Show, Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Albany. With more than 400 tables of modern and antique guns, knives and memorabilia dating back to the Civil War, this is by far the largest gun show in the region. Hours: Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults ($5 seniors) and free to children under age 12 when accompanied by an adult. Call 607-748-1010.

Jan. 27 - Feb. 2 -- Twin Tiers Predator Hunt, Danby Pirates Club, 1248 Fisher Settlement Road, Spencer. Entry fee: $25 for participants age 16 and older and $5 for junior hunters and trappers. Cash awards in two divisions calling/trapping and hounds. Contact Darrick Johnson at 607-727-1996.

Feb. 1-9 -- Great American Outdoor Show, State Farm Show Complex, 2300 N Cameron St, Harrisburg, PA. Produced by the National Rifle Association this show is without a doubt the largest consumer event of its kind in the northeast. If you plan to visit this show, plan on spending at least two days. Show hours: Weekdays 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday’s 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday’s 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 seniors, $6 for children ages 6-12. A two-day pass $20, group (10 or more) $10. For information call 1-800-672-4868. Web site: www.greatamericanoutdoorshow.org.

Feb. 7-9 -- Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County 7th annual statewide Coyote Hunt Contest (hunting only). Entry fee $30 ($40 after Jan. 27). Along with a $2,000 grand prize and $200 daily prizes the entry fee includes a banquet dinner on Sunday from 1-3 p.m. at the WSS Firehouse, Rte 52, White Sulphur Springs and a free $5 gun raffle ticket. Registration applications available online at: www.sullivancountysportsmensfederationny.com. Contact Kay or Jack Danchak at 845-482-4987 or Linda Loughrey at 845-482-4985.

Feb. 8 – Fish House Fish and Game Club Walleye Ice Fishing Contest, Great Sacandaga Lake, 6 a.m. – 4 p.m. Registration $20 prior to Feb. 7, $25 on the day of the event. Flyers at area bait shops. Contact Tom Ferguson at (518) 883-6533 or visit: www.fishhousefishandgame.com.

Feb. 15 -- Reid Hill Fish and Game Club Third Annual Ice Fishing Derby, Wally’s Driftwood Park, Mayfield, 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Contact Clem DaBiere at 518-843-2063 or Ray Fyfe at 518-843-3451.

Feb. 15-16 – Ninth Annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show, Johnstown Moose Family Center, 109 S. Comrie Ave (Route 30A North), Johnstown. Hours: Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission: $5 for adults and $1 for children age 15 and under. Contact: Mike Hauser, 518-725-5565; email mhauser@frontiernet.net. Website: www.adkshow.com.

Feb. 20-23 -- 31st Annual Springfield Sportsmen and Boat Show, Big E Exposition Center, Springfield, MA. Hours: Thursday 3-9 p.m.; Friday noon-8 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $13 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, and free to youngsters age 5 and under. Contact 413-467-2171. Website: www.osegsportsmens.com.

Feb. 27-Mar. 2 -- 37th Annual World Fishing and Outdoor Exposition, Rockland County Community College, Suffern, NY. Hours: Thursday, 2-8 p.m., Friday, 1-8 p.m., Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $13 for adults, $3 for children under 12, with children under age five admitted free. Directions: New York Thruway, Exit 14B, Airmont Road and follow signs. For information call 603-431-4315. Web site: www.sportshows.com.