Here in upstate New York our ice generally begins to get mealy, porous and increasingly unsafe by late March, even if the temperature occasionally goes below freezing. After March 15 it could present a problem just getting a snowmobile or ATV out there to get the shanty back to shore, especially if you consider poor ice conditions, ice heaves and perhaps even some open water near shore.
Ice shanties half buried in snow and ice are tough to remove and will eventually become hazards to navigation. Failure to remove them in time could result in a $100 fine.
It has been an unusual winter in many respects, though not a difficult one so far. We had our normal complement of warm weather, snow, frigid weather, ice and what seems to me an inordinate amount of wind. Here in the North Country we escaped some of the heavier snow that hit other parts of the state Friday, though I awoke that morning to find my driveway covered by about four inches of the heavy, wet stuff.
In any event, I hope this is the last, though I'm sure it will not be. Still, for snow lovers there's plenty of snowmobiling, snowshoeing, downhill and cross-country skiing time left. I still enjoy all those wintertime activities, but admittedly, the older I get the less I do of them.
A NYS Supreme Court justice recently accepted a constitutional challenge to Governor Andrew Cuomo's abortive SAFE Act and is directing the guv and several legislative leaders to show cause in court. They have until April 29 to respond. If they don't the court will issue an injunction against implementing the Act.
There are a number of issues involved in this matter so I'll leave a further discussion for a later date, after we all review the judge's decision once it's made. Incidentally, Franklin County has now been added to the list of those asking for repeal of the SAFE Act.
The big game and most small game seasons are now closed, but have you ever wondered where the sportsmen of the U.S. direct their purchasing dollars? Southwick Associates has been tallying such results for years and recently announced the brands hunters purchased most frequently during 2012. These results were compiled from 35,081 Internet-based surveys completed by hunters and shooters who volunteered to participate last year in HunterSurvey.com and Shooter Survey.com. I won't give you all of them, just the major categories, because the list is too long.
The top rifle brand was a tie between Remington and Ruger; the top shotgun brand purchased was Remington; the top muzzleloader was CVA; top handgun brand - Sturm Ruger; top crossbow brand - Barnett; top air rifle brand - Crosman; top rifle ammunition brand - Remington; top shotgun ammunition brand - Winchester; top handgun ammunition - Winchester; top blackpowder brand - Pyrodex; top bow brand - Hoyt; top arrow brand - Carbon Express; top broadhead brand - Rage; top release brand - Tru-Fire; top archery sight brand - TruGlo; top decoy brand - Mojo; top game call brand - Primos; top binocular brand - Bushnell; top scope brand - Bushnell; top spotting scope brand - Barska; top range finder brand - Bushnell; top knife brand - Buck; top cover scent brand - Wildlife Research Center; top lure scent brand - Tinks; top shooting target brand - Shoot-N-C; top tree stand brand - Guide Gear; top hunting blind brand - Ameristep; top trail camera brand - Moultrie; and top gun safe brand - Stack-On.
Very shortly, in a few weeks, the DEC should be releasing the results of the 2012 deer season.