Cwiklinski offers advice on feeding deer

For many of us getting ready now for deer season might seem a tad early. But after listening to Paul Cwiklinski at the Southtowns Walleye Association monthly meeting last week, now could be the right time. Especially if you own property out in the country, or have access to even a small plot of land.

Cwiklinski had a number of impressive trophy-deer mounts on display and divulged that he has been hunting for decades, but has been giving his seminars for only a handful of years. Equipped with a slide presentation Cwiklinski presented his “Deer Factoids” about how much protein a deer’s diet should contain and how, with limited effort, a land owner can improve the habitat to maintain and attract deer year round.

Deer really like crab apples, so try to thin out the limbs to afford more sunlight to increase the fruit yield. In a maple forest, consider cutting saplings to a height of four feet to create “bushes of browse” for the deer, which consume about 2,000 pounds of browse annually. Bucks lose a lot of weight during the rut and food plots play an important role in resupplying them with fuel for survival. He went on to explain that nutrition is important for does as they supply 60 percent of the genetic line in their offspring.

Cwiklinski has been planting food plots on his 13 acres of property for a number of years. He maintains a food plot which is 1-1/4 acres large and he plants it in strips with a variety of seeds. Including seed and fertilizer, Cwiklinski estimates the cost of his food plot is $282 annually.

Cwiklinski maintains you can plant them in irregular shapes, but you want an area that will receive four to five hours of direct sunlight daily. Cwikliinski will clear the land and, take a mower to cut down grass and weeds, then hit the same area with a weed killer. After the green has died (about 2-1/2 weeks) he will till the soil with a small tiller. Then he will test the soil to see how much lime will be needed. You can purchase testing kits at many agriculture, plant or farm stores for less than $30. The test results will tell you how much lime to use and Cwiklinski has found granular lime works best for his plots. He also will hand broadcast seed while applying lime. Once the seed germinates and sprouts, he will add fertilizer and has found that 10-10-10 is almost full-proof. Cwiklinski plants a variety of seed in strips at his residence in East Aurora. The emergent growth attracts all forms of wildlife year-round. He has written a “How to” book loaded with photos for the novice food plotter at an affordable price, and it is not too late to get started now. For more information call 716-652-0136 or 716-479-2824. You may also email Cwiklinski at invitefpf@gmail.com, or visit his website at www.invitefpf.com.

Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend, be safe and use the time to take a kid fishing.

Calendar:

The spring turkey and walleye seasons are open. I will be looking for hunting and fishing 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 special rifle shoot on June 9, featuring a 200-yard open rifle shoot from 8 a.m. to 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.

There will be a pistol course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on June 5 from 5-10.p.m. There will also be another pistol course at the “Con Club” on July 6 from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. There is a $55 fee for only the pistol courses. For information, call Gary Dudek at 366-3397.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Take A Kid Fishing Day is set for June 8. Sign-up sheets are now available at the club. Sign up by June 1 to assure getting a T-shirt that fits.

The Southtowns Walleye Association of WNY will host their annual walleye tournament starting on June 8 and ending on June 19. Deadline to enter is Friday June 7 at the Southtowns Walleye Club house, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. Entry fee is $50 which includes a memberships and tournament fee. Optional Calcutta fee is $20, and walleye wallet is $5. You can sign up locally at Bill’s Hook’s or at their June monthly meeting on June 6 at 7:30 p.m. The club has changed a lot since they got their own club house so check it out.

Saturday, June 15 marks the first time the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Festival and the Great Lakes Experience (GLE) will be held in Dunkirk. This event is a sister event to the one held in Buffalo since 2001. For more information email Jennifer Colon at colon@fredonia.edu .

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 water craft like a jet ski. There is no pre-registration required. All registration will be done on site. Parents of attendees under the age of 18 must sign a release form.

On June 15, the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will host a course at 1 North Mullet Street. The course is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with lunch provided. The course is 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.

Note there was NO event calendar printed this year for Hunter safety courses/Trapping/ or Archery Courses. In addition there will be a limited number of courses with limited seating . So attend the earliest course possible or you may have to do some traveling. There will be a mandatory two day Firearms hunting course at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club on Friday July 19 from 6-10 p.m. returning on Saturday July 20 from 8:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Call Rich at 595-3917 to pre-register. Limited to 30 students. The archery training course is August 17 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Call 595-3917 to pre-register.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Firerarms course is also a two day course on August 15 & 16 from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. both days. Call Gary at 366-3397 to pre-register. Bow course at the “Con Club” is September 21 from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. The Trapping Course at the “Con Club” is September 28 from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Pre-register at 366- 3397 or 595-3917

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