Friend’s obsession with frogs born on foggy night

The first week in May is an anniversary date for this columnist, who has had the pleasure of writing stories that pertain to the outdoors since May 1988. Here are two more I hope you will enjoy!

Jacob Lesch, who is 14 years old, tagged a nice gobbler last Sunday while hunting at the special Youth Turkey Hunt.

Jacob’s mentor, and licensed, adult, hunting companion, was Andy Joy. It seems like just yesterday when Joy was the recipient of the National Wild Turkey Federation scholarship presented to him by our local chapter of the Lakeshore Longbeards.

The two hunters did their scouting and found where some birds were active on the Lesch Farm in Fredonia. The next morning at 5 a.m., the guys set up some decoys and hid behind a brush pile waiting for sunrise when the birds came looking for hens. Joy worked his magic with his turkey call when three birds came into view. At 25 yards, Jacob selected his target, and with one well-placed shot, downed a 17-pound gobbler sporting a 4-inch-long beard with 1/4-inch spurs. Another young turkey hunter has caught the spring fever! Congratulations!

On Friday, April 19, I was saddened to read the OBSERVER Obituaries and see that a friend of mine, John Dickenson, passed away on April 16.

Dickenson was 68 going on 21, and always had the spirit of a much younger man. The obit remarked about his love for music and commented that he collected all things frog-related. I was with him when he formed that obsession back in the early 1970’s.

Back then, Dickenson drove a yellow Opel sports car similar to a mini Corvette. I did not drive yet and would catch a ride back to Dunkirk with Dickenson after attending evening courses at Jamestown Community College. It was after 9 p.m. when we were heading home on a warm spring evening that was damp with fog and rainfall, when we arrived at Red Bird Corners on Route 380. The road was literally covered with all types of frogs for about 100 yards, possibly more.

We stopped the car and were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of the amphibians. Dickenson stated that if we had boxes, he had a plan for some of them, but we ended up plowing through and never saw the scenario again.

Shortly after this occurrence, the B-grade horror flick “Frogs” came out, which of course we both had to see. Our guess is that the frogs were attracted to the pavement which was warmed earlier in the day by the sunlight, they were migrating or possibly a combination of the two. I remember Dickenson had a “killer” sound system with a large collection of The Doors, as well as numerous other artists. He showed me an appreciation for percussion, using Santana as an example and was one of the best friends I never got a chance to fish with. I will miss you buddy, but never forget you! Ribbet!


The Lake Erie lunker bass season opens May 4 and allows anglers to harvest one bass – 20 inches in length minimum – per day until the third Saturday in June. Note this is for Lake Erie and tributaries only! Starting on May 4, the walleye limit for Lake Erie will be six per day. For the rest of the state’s waters, the limit will remain five per day.

Spring turkey season opens May 1. I will be looking for stories and photos to publish. Call 366-1772, 467-2079, or the OBSERVER at 366-3000, ext. 5 after 5 p.m. Good luck and be safe!

Note the Conservation Club Monday night fly tyers will conclude their 2012-13 season on Monday. Some special presentations will be in order, so try to attend. They meet at 6 p.m.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host a 3-D archery shoot on May 5 from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., as well as Sunday, May 19. They will also offer a special night shoot, featuring raccoon targets, on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. Watch for their special rifle shoot on June 9, featuring a 200-yard open rifle shoot from 8 a.m.- 3 p.m. For more information on these shoots, or on the Bear Lake Club, call either Rob at 485-3773, Tom at 680- 0209 or the club house at 595-3334. All shoots are open to the public.

The Jamestown Rifle Club will hold a pistol class today. You must be 21 years old and a resident of Chautauqua County to participate. The class begins at 1 p.m., and lasts around four hours. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.

If your club is hosting a hunter safety training/archery/trapper/pistol course, turkey shoot or any event that pertains to the outdoors, call 366-1772 or 366-3000 ext. 5 after 5 p.m.

Just a reminder that all entries for the Chautauqua County Sports Fishery Advisory Board Essay Contest should be submitted by April 26 to: CCSFAB, Office of the County Executive, Gerace Office Building, 3 North Erie St. Mayville, NY, 14757.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Take A Kid Fishing Day is set for June 8. Sign-up sheets will be available at the Club on the weekends.

Saturday, June 15 marks the first time the Fish and Wildlife Festival will be held in Dunkirk. This event is a sister event to the one held in Buffalo since 2001. More information to come.

The Cassadaga Lakes Association will host their 20th annual Lew Mead Youth Fishing Tournament June 29 at the DEC boat launch on Dale Drive in Cassadaga from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. This event is free for all youth ages 16 and younger. If you would like to donate a door prize, volunteer or are looking for more information, call 595-3950

Several safe boating courses are being offered in the area. These classes are New York state-approved boater safety classes required for anyone between 10 and 18 years old to operate a motor boat and everyone age 14 and above to operate a personal watercraft like a jet ski. There is no pre-registration required for any of these courses. All registration will be done on site. Parents of attendees under the age of 18 must sign a release form. There is a course May 4 at the Cassadaga American Legion, 228 Maple Ave., Cassadaga. The course starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Bring a bagged lunch.

The course on May 11 will be at the Lawson Center, 73 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch provided.

On May 18, the course will be at Southwestern Middle School, 600 Hunt Road, Jamestown from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bring a lunch.

Finally, on June 15, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will host the course at 1 North Mullet Street. The course is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with lunch provided. These courses are free to anyone ages 10-17. Those attendees age 18 and over will have to pay a $10 fee to New York State prior to receiving the certificate card.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to