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Time for rifles, rods and recurves

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    Contributed photoA fisherman holds up a nice fall large-mouth bass he caught recently.
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    Contributed photoVets and Volunteers of "Project Ringneck".
September 21, 2018 11:00 pm

DEC just announced that bow season, small game season, and a variety of youth hunting seasons are fast approaching.

Archery season for deer opens in the Northern Zone on Sept. 27 and on Oct. 1 in the Southern Zone. October 1 is opening day for grouse, pheasant and other small game hunting in most areas. It’s also the deadline for applying for your Deer Management Permit (DMP).

For youth seasons, today, Sept. 22 is the Youth Waterfowl opener for both the Southeastern and Northeastern Zones. Youth Waterfowl opens in the Lake Champlain Zone on Sept. 29, Oct. 13 in the Western Zone and Nov. 10 in the Long Island Zone. That’s not to mention Youth Pheasant Season opening locally next Saturday on Sept. 29.

Finally, DEC announced the 2018 Youth Big Game Season is set to take place over Columbus Day Weekend. That coincides with the waterfowl opener for all ages on Oct. 6.

If that seems like a lot to take in, it is! It’s a good problem to have, though, and bodes well for the ample hunting opportunities that exist in New York. Kudos go to DEC who do relentless work in this area. Not to mention the sportsmen who work with them to help shape our vast and varied hunting seasons.

Now, one way to plan your hunting activity is to prioritize what you want to do, then look up individual seasons and regulations. Those under 50 can use web or app-based programs and, for everyone else, you can simply get ahold of the old fashioned, hard copy Hunting & Trapping Guide.

I should note ongoing early goose and bear seasons in selected Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), and didn’t even mention that other favorite outdoor activity; fishing! Black bass are actively foraging and can be caught at all times of the day fattening up for the long winter.

A friend and I have been catching good-sized large mouths in some open water where, before, they held tight to the weeds. As always, location where you fish is key. For pike, fishing in the North Country on a crystal-clear lake this week, I hooked three pike within 30 minutes with the biggest being a hefty 30-plus incher.

It’s late September and the Salmon run is heating up, as well. Whitakers in Pulaski reported Thursday, Salmon River fishermen “…having another very good day in the lower end of the river. Anglers reported getting into a mix of kings and cohos in the Ballpark, Longbridge, Staircase, Black Hole and the DSR.” (Douglaston Salmon Run).

They added successful fly fishers are using a variety of leeches, wooly buggers and glo-bugs with spin fisherman having success bouncing blue egg sacs. Last, but not least, New York’s state fish, the brook trout, is getting ready to spawn and with that comes more aggressive feeding behavior.

An added bonus is seeing them with their brilliant fall spawning colors while enjoying the changing fall foliage in the North Country or wherever you may find them. Stream conditions have been low up north, but trout pond fishing should really be turning on.

So, not sure whether to grab the rifle, rod or recurve? Why not grab all three plus a shotgun and plan some memorable early-fall hunting and fishing adventures.

Happy hunting and fishing until next time.

News and Notes

— National Free Hunting & Fishing Day is today, Sept. 22, and no license is required to fish the freshwaters of NYS.

— Russ Burton of the Greene County Federation of Sportsmen and the National Wild Turkey Federation, is once again coordinating the Youth Pheasant Hunt on the first day of the 2018 Youth Pheasant Weekend on Sept. 29 at 7:30 a.m. in Durham. The hunt will be at the Sutton Farm located on Sutton Road. Duly licensed youth hunters, 12-15 years of age, accompanied by an adult parent/guardian can participate in this free event. Required permission slips are available on DECs website ( Bring high brass #6 shotgun ammo, and a hunter orange ball cap and vest. No camo allowed. To sign up and for more information, send an email to

— The Hunting Expo will be held again this year at the Westkill Community Hall on County Route 6 in Lexington on Saturday, Sept. 29. Contact Taris Clarisonic at for more information.

— Hunter Safety Courses will be held at Young’s Hardware in Prattsville from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. Go to the DEC website ( to sign-up and for required homework to be completed prior to attendance.

— The Kalicoontie Rod & Gun Club is holding a firearms Hunter Safety Course at their club on Oct. 6. You must register for this class through DEC’s website ( and complete the homework prior to attending. Use this website to locate the many gun and bow classes being offered now so you can take advantage of the fast approaching 2018-19 hunting season.

— The Kinderhook Sportsmen’s Club is holding an “Open House” on Sept. 30. All ranges will be open free of charge except the trap range which will only cost $4 per round. There is a 28 target, bow, rifle and pistol range. Those who wish to shoot pistol must possess a valid NYS Pistol Permit. Club Grounds are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event with breakfast and lunch available with a chicken barbeque at 4 p.m.

— The Kalicoontie Rod & Gun Club will be holding its fall Turkey Shoots on Sunday,

Oct. 7 and Sunday, Nov. 4 at the Club located at 333 Schneider Road in Livingston. All shoots start at 10 a.m. Competitions held using 12 and 20 gauge birdshot, slugs, center-fire rifle, .22 caliber rim fire pistol, and .22 caliber rim fire rifle. You must bring your own slugs and center fire ammo. Entry is $3. Frozen turkeys, hams and pork loins will be awarded as first prize. Second prize includes Kielbasa or a selection from the prize table. No turkeys will be harmed at this event! The Raffle drawing for the fall raffle will be on at the November shoot. Tickets are $2 each with five chances to win. Tickets can be purchased at either shoot or from members or by contacting Scott at 845-758-4300 (day) or Joe at 518-537-3997.

— Remember to report poaching violations by calling 1-844-DEC-ECOS.

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