Outdoor activities make for great Christmas gifts

Today is the final day of the regular firearm’s season for deer and bear in the Southern Zone of New York.

Note the late bowseason and muzzleloader season will open Dec. 9 and run until Dec. 17. Check page 28 of the NY Hunting & Trapping regulations booklet for rules and requirements during this season. This column will accept quality photos of deer or bear harvested during this late season or I can be contacted to take the photo and information for a successful or eventful hunt.

There are less than three weeks until Christmas Day, so here are a few suggestions for gifts for the outdoors minded person on your Christmas list.

Any youngster will put a smile on their parent’s face if they tell mom or dad they would like to spend some quality time with them doing an activity that pertains to the outdoors. Try birdwatching, a ride around the city pier looking for ducks and geese, or watching the fishermen on the pier. Looking and identifying wildlife tracks in the snow in the back yard or park or making plans for a future outdoor adventure when the weather warms are two other options. Finally, reading a book, magazine or watching an outdoors channel together is always a nice gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be wonderful.

I like fishing, especially for yellow perch with family and friends. When I can’t fish, I like reading about it and my favorite magazine is the In-Fisherman. A year subscription will cost less than $20. Wildlife artist Larry Tople has been doing the covers of these magazines for 30 years and a color calendar featuring 13 masterful works of art by Tople is available for around $12.95. These covers are suitable for framing.

The December issue of the In-Fisherman had lots of useful information including a mention on Chautauqua County on page 15 of the “Adventures” section of the magazine. Perch were the mention under Chautauqua lake with contact person Julie Ward Holland at Irwin Bay Cottages 753-7792 or www.irwinbaycottages.com for fishing conditions.

I attended a seminar where the speaker gave a tip on how to improve your catch ratio when using downriggers. They replace the steel rigger cable with fishing braid line to reduce the glare and singing produced by the wire traveling through the water. Most cannon balls are around 15 pounds in weight so a braided line of 60 pounds or more break strength should do the trick. Expect to spend $20 to $30 per 150-yard spool.

I am a lure collector and have a modest collection of new and antique lures. If you have a lure collector or a musky fisherman on your Christmas list, consider stopping at Chautauqua Reel Outdoors Guide & Tackle operated by licensed guide Mike Sperry, who operates a live bait & tackle shop located on 165 W. Fairmount Ave., Lakewood. Sperry has a a wide variety of lures but the re-production Pikie minnow lures along with the flapping wing bird lures done in air brush colors are worth taking a look at. They are detailed and a functual piece of art work. Call 969-4633 or log on www.chautauquareeloutdoors.com.

Packed with information and colorful photos the NYS Conservationist magazine subscription is easy on the eyes and pocket book. To subscribe, call 1-800-678-6399 or visit online at www.TheConservationist.org. They might even be running a special, so call now.

Calendar:

Have you got a turkey hunter on your Christmas list? The Lakeshore Longbeards our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation is having a meeting on Tuesday December 17 , at Liberty Vineyards located on Rte. 20 Sheridan starting at 7 p.m. They will have tickets available for their fundraiser/membership banquet that will be held on Saturday January 25/2014 at St. Hedwigs Hall Dunkirk. The meeting is open to the public.

Chautauqua County Snowmobile Trails officially open on Dec. 18, pending proper conditions.. For more information, email crhead@mainstream.net.

Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 44:30 p.m., on Jan. 4, March 9 and April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling his cell phone 315-868-6275. Note: The fur must be put up and dried. No green pelts will be accepted. First auction dates are Feb. 17-23.

Fur Harvesters Auction pick-ups will be at the old Tops Market parking lot off I -90. Take exit 59. Time of the pickup is 6-6:30 a.m. Pick-up dates will be Dec. 15, Jan. 19 and March 23. The agent is Toby Edwards. He can be contacted by calling his cellphone at 518-848-0217. Only dried pelts will be accepted. The first auction date is Jan. 7, while the second dates are March 13 and 14.

There will also be a raw fur auction on Jan. 18 at the Hinsdale Fire Hall , in Hindsdale. No furs will be checked before 7:30 a.m. There will be fox, raccoon, muskrat, mink, beaver, as well as deer hides up for auction. The auction starts at 10 a.m., and will go until all furs sold. For more information, call Andy Smith at 492-0432 or Dale at 763-3416.

If you missed it, make sure you check out the Thanksgiving Day edition of the Sportsman’s Journal for information on the possibility of winning a free lifetime sporting license if you are a resident of Chautauqua County and are 16 years of age or younger. Details and forms, as well as how to become a sponsor of this neat event, can be obtained by calling Zen Olow at 640-2776. The Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmens clubs will be drawing the winners of the special raffle/ fundraiser on December 11. There is still time to get a ticket but hurry. Call 640-2776 for tickets and details.

The Forestville Fire Department is offering a ‘Deer Hunters’ breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage, pancakes, hash-browned potatoes, coffee and juice for a friendly price, from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Proceeds will be used to purchase firefighting equipment and gear. This breakfast special will be available for take-out, or dine in, on every second Sunday of each month. You don’t have to be a deer hunter to stop in and enjoy.

If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.

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