Local woman takes two black bears

While winding down the 2012 Big Game season, with last minute stories and photos, I got a tip from Bob Turk about a black bear that was taken late in the year during the dwindling days of the late muzzleloader/bow season.

The bear was reportedly taken in Arkwright, and Turk, who does the official scoring for deer antlers and bear skulls in our area, thought he could find the name and phone number of the lucky hunter. True to his word, Turk connected this columnist with the hunter and a story you readers might find interesting.

The bear was a female with a large head that weighed in around 200 pounds after it was field dressed. It was taken by Josette Peck, who resides in Cassadaga with her husband Randy Peck. Both husband and wife are avid and accomplished hunters and pursue deer locally as well as in the Adirondacks during the early deer season.

Josette had filled a couple doe tags during the various seasons, but still had a buck tag she was hoping to fill during the late season. Armed with a 50 caliber in-line muzzleloader, she was heading down a tractor path on some familiar territory in Arkwright.The day was warm for December with no snow on the ground. The Pecks had permission to hunt the area and knew that there was a possibility of sighting a bear because several bears had been spotted nearby, when the corn was being harvested.

As Josette was moving along, someone started up a chainsaw nearby to cut up some firewood. She figured the noise would spoil her chances for taking any deer, when she spied a large dark shape moving quickly through a swale or swampy area. She touched off her one shot with the smoke pole and recognized that she had a good hit on her target, but the bear kept moving. Josette called her husband and together they tracked the wounded bear.

The bear left a good trail and soon they were upon it, where Josette, with her reloaded muzzleloader, was able to dispatch the bear at 15 yards. With the aid of her stepson, Randy Peck, a neighbor and her husband, they were able to field dress the bear and bring it home. Josette plans on having her bear made into a rug. This was the second bear she had taken in 2012.

Josette and Randy often hunt Indian Lake in the Adirondacks during the early bear and deer seasons. If you check the Big Game Hunting regulations book (page 33), you will find the early season on bear runs from Sept. 15 through Oct. 12. Hunters can also use any un-filled deer and bear tags from the previous year and last year’s license is required when hunting prior to Oct. 1.

Josette took a male bear that weighed 175 pounds on Sept. 28 while she was hunting an old apple orchard and spotted the bear feeding on apples. She dropped that bear at 15 yards using a 30.06 rifle. That bear will be made into a 3/4 taxidermy mount. Her husband added that Josette also took a doe and later a turkey on the same hunting trip. The Pecks process all their wild game themselves and enjoy the bounty that they are able to harvest. 2012 was quite a year for Josette Peck, I’m sure you would agree!

If you are travelling through Derby, stop by and wish Lee Weber of Weber’s Bait & Tackle a Happy Birthday!

Lee showed me a neat gizmo called “Aqua View” that will allow anglers to see what’s below the water down to 50 feet. The device weighs less than two pounds, is about the size of a pack of cigarettes, and costs less than $300. The picture is unbelievable for the price. Cool!


On Jan. 19, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Southtowns Walleye Hall, there will be a flea market-type sale of used fishing and hunting equipment, with free parking, free entry and food and drinks available. Tables are $20, with reservations due by Jan. 17. Call 649-8202 for information.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lakeshore Longbeards, will host its next meeting on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20, in Sheridan. Topic of discussion will include the upcoming membership banquet to be held on Feb. 9, 2013, at the Kosciuszko Club, in Dunkirk. Also on the agenda will be scholarship submissions. All local high school seniors are invited to participate. For more information, find the National Wild Turkey Federation online, and look for scholarship information. The deadline for scholarship submission to be eligible for statewide and national awards is Jan. 15, 2013.

Announcing the NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series: There are three Main Tournament Events scheduled (If the ice cooperates) The first is on Tupper Lake, from Jan. 4-6. The second is on Chautauqua Lake, and is scheduled for Feb. 15, 16, and 17. The final event is on Sodus Bay, from Feb. 22-24. There are three divisions: Professional (1-2 anglers per team). The entry fee is $160 per team. There will also be an Amateur Division, which will be for singles or pairs. The entry fee is at $90 per team. The Open Division, which is for single anglers, is the final division. The entry fee is $40. Check the official tournament website at www.NYSiceproam.com. The official Tournament email address is info@FK sportfishing.com

There will be a Fur Handling Seminar on Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Collins Conservation Club located on Conger Road, Collins. This FREE event will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Learn better ways of preparing your pelts. There will be kids games, prizes, raffles and the kitchen is open. There will be a fur buyer available after the event. Call Hoot at 532-2457, or Patti at 337-2556 for information. This event is sponsored by the Erie County Fur Trappers Association.

The Northern Chautauqua Beagle Club will host its annual rabbit hunt on Sunday, Jan. 13. The hunt is open to all area hunters. You can enter the day of the event at the club house located 8455 Fredonia Stockton Road in Fredonia from 6-8 a.m. Entry fee is $5. Awards and hot food available at the club around 3 p.m. For information, call Pete Criscione at 366-8989, Liz Dorman at 595- 3993 and John Depew at 789-5522.

For those of you interested in taking a NYS Pistol Permit Class, there will be one held locally on Jan. 26 from 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. For information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

The Jamestown Rifle club will hold Pistol classes on Jan. 27, Feb. 24, March 24 and April 28. You must be 21 years of age and a resident of Chautauqua County. All classes begin at 1 p.m. and last around four hours. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.