Generally speaking, the spring turkey season may be less than productive in most areas of the state, simply because our turkey population is at a low ebb right now, and that'll be reflected in the overall take. Regions to the west and south of the North Country may fare a bit better because of the environment and the sheer numbers of birds available, though turkey numbers in those areas will also be down this coming season. Statistically though, they'll probably be the best producers again.
Another upcoming date in which you'll be interested is May 4, opening day of the statewide northern pike, pickerel, walleye and tiger muskie seasons.
DEER HARVEST UP
According to figures recently released by the Department of Environmental Conservation, hunters harvested approximately 243,000 deer during the 2012 deer season, about 6 percent more than the previous year. Here in the Northern Zone the total take increased by some 15 percent, showing a total take of about 19,400 and an antlerless take of about 11,400.
Hamilton County recorded a total take of 1,022 deer, including 867 adult bucks. The take by township (from most to least) was: Long Lake - 226 with 188 bucks; Indian Lake - 191 with 166 bucks; Wells - 148 with 115 bucks; Lake Pleasant - 133 with 117 bucks; Arietta - 120 with 112 bucks; Hope - 64 with 48 bucks; Morehouse - 63 with 61 bucks; Benson - 45 with 34 bucks; and Inlet - 33 with 26 bucks.
Other Northern Zone counties also fared well (the antlerless take is in parentheses): Clinton County 844 (547); Essex County - 1,467 (1,061); Franklin County - 1,634 (1,108); Fulton County - 1,031 (704); Herkimer County - 3,349 (2,147); Jefferson County - 7,506 (3,793); Lewis County - 4,170 (2,663); Saratoga County - 3,399 (1,545); St. Lawrence County - 5,456 (3,676); Warren County - 831 (642); and Washington County - 4,270 (2,300).
Statewide, the first annual Youth Deer Hunt, held over the Columbus Day weekend, yielded 1,411 deer - 744 bucks and 667 antlerless. During this special hunt, 14- and 15-year-old youngsters could take one deer, antlered or antlerless, with a firearm, if accompanied by a licensed, experienced mentor.
The top five counties in total take in New York state during the 2012 season were Steuben with 11,524, Chautauqua with 9,208, Cattaraugus with 8,931, Wyoming with 8,626 and Orleans with 8,297.
THE SHOW GOES ON
I don't suspect many of you attend the show, but in the event you aren't aware of it the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg, Pa. was canceled this year after its promoter, Reed Exhibitions, banned the sale or display of assault rifles and their accoutrements. As a result, vendors threatened to boycott the expo.
The National Rifle Association has now become the new promoter of the annual outdoors show at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pa., replacing the now-cancelled Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show.
The announcement was made at a press event last Tuesday. The NRA is dubbing the event the "Great American Outdoor Show" and it'll run Feb. 1-9, 2014.
The NRA says it aims to make the event a national show, and aims to offer country concerts as well.
The Harrisburg Regional Chamber said the NRA's involvement could offer an even larger economic impact than the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show, which had been a decades-long tradition. The old show had an estimated impact of $88 million.
The Hershey Harrisburg Regional Visitor's Bureau had said there was potential to make the show a much more appealing event throughout the region. The NRA had the strongest proposal to build the brand of the show, according to the visitor's bureau.