Local youths have success turkey hunting

Most of the turkey hunters I have heard from recently have commented on hearing birds – and lots of bugs – working in the distance, but haven’t yet tagged up. Be happy! I spoke with an operator in Minnesota on Thursday and, while commenting on our beautiful 70-degree weather, she replied that it was 35 degrees out and they had five inches of snow.

The second time is the charm for two young local hunters, who both bagged their birds April 21 during the special youth turkey weekend. Trent Hartloff of Forestville missed a bird at first light on Saturday but did not let it get him down. Teaming up with his father Duane Hartloff, who did the videotaping, and friend Rich Eggleston, who did the calling, the trio lured the bird within 20 yards and Trent sealed the deal with a perfect shot to tag his first bird ever. Trent’s trophy weighed 18 pounds and sported an eight-inch beard.

Also, at 13 years of age, young Kaitlyn Dalton of Westfield is already a veteran turkey hunter. Kaitlyn was unable to hunt on Saturday, but on Sunday she was able to share the turkey hunting experience with her friend Ally Cassman, also of Westfield, who was able to watch the approach of the 20-pound gobbler coming in at full strut to within 20 yards before Kaitlyn downed the bird with her 20-gauge shotgun at 8:15 a.m. Vince Luce, Kaitlyn’s mentor, used decoys, some aggressive cutting and yelps to pull the bird in close. Kaitlyn also tagged a gobbler last year on the first day of the youth turkey season. Congratulations.

The Monday Night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers use turkey feathers and material from numerous other sources to create artificial “creatures” that imitate life and often fool finicky fish. To fish is to live, to tie flies is to create! Mentors Ken Holander and Willie Fedrick used materials and equipment furnished by Monte Kennedy from a former youth fly-tying program called Kids on the Fly. Kennedy, along with friends Chuck Begert from Maple Grove, Greg Little from Sinclairville and the “Con Club gang,” donate their time and all materials to teach area youths and their mentors how to tie their own flies and how to use them to catch fish and enjoy nature. Kids on the Fly has worked with more than 500 area youths according to Kennedy. The gang will spend the rest of the warm-weather months fishing , but plan on helping out at the Con Club Take A Kid Fishing Day June 8. Sign-up sheets are now available at the club. The fly tyers will be back again on Monday evenings in the fall. For more information on these programs, call Kennedy at 763-1023, email fly-fisher67@yahoo.com or contact Greg Little at 962-3635.

Calendar:

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a chicken barbecue today from 1-3 p.m.

The Lake Erie lunker bass season opened on 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. The walleye limit for Lake Erie is six per day. For the rest of the state’s waters, the limit is five per day.

Spring turkey season opened May 1. I am 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!

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun club will host a 3-D archery shoot today 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, Saturday 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.

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.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Take A Kid Fishing Day is set for June 8. Sign-up sheets are now available at the Club.

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 on 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.

Saturday’s course will be at the Lawson Center, 73 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point from is 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. 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 sports@observertoday.com.