Late muzzleloading, bow season set to close

Late muzzleloading and bow-hunting season for deer and bear will conclude the 2013 big game season on Tuesday, Dec. 17. Snow mobile enthusiasts are urged and reminded to keep off the Chautauqua County snowmobile trails until Dec. 18 when the trails are officially scheduled to open. Because hunting season is still open until Dec. 17, using the trails could be dangerous and could jeopardize landowner permission. Thanks for cooperating.

Last Sunday was the end of firearms season for big game and many hunters were out to fill their tags. Jay Mitchell of Portland was hunting with a group of friends in the town of Chautauqua. There were about 10 hunters and the guys were having a good day with several buck and doe tags getting ink. Mitchell reported walking down a hillside, with several hunters in place to benefit from the deer drive, when Mitchell noticed a lot of deer movement coming from the scrub evergreens.

Dozens of deer were milling around and moving in and out of the hemlocks. With a huge selection of targets, Mitchell set his sights on two of the larger does when he spied movement coming behind them. A nice buck was coming his way and he put his focus on the big guy. There were so many deer milling around that Mitchell had a hard time aiming at the bucks vitals because smaller deer kept getting in the way and even bumping into the buck. The eight point got bumped into moving within 40 feet of the hunter, finally presenting a clear shot. One slug from the 12 gauge put the 160 pound, eight point down. Jay has tagged numerous deer, but this one was his wall hanger. A handsome buck with nine-inch G2 tines and an inside spread over 17 inches.

The snow and cold temperatures have all but froze the Dunkirk Harbor. Ed and Mary Beth Schober took their two Newfoundland dogs for a walk by the Dunkirk Pier on Saturday . The pier is closed off due to snow and ice as well as Point Gratiot, but numerous waterfowl including flocks of geese can be observed in the area. If you do come for a ride, dress warm and wear adequate footwear. Enjoy!

Calendar:

The Monday night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will be taking off the next three weeks for the holidays. The tyers will resume on Monday, Jan. 5, at 6 p.m.

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, Dec. 17, at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. They will have tickets available for their fundraiser/membership banquet that will be held on Saturday, Jan. 25, at St. Hedwig’s 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.

The Southtowns Walleye Association will host their next meeting on Thursday Dec. 19 at their club located at 5895 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. The club will also host a used fishing and hunting equipment sale (no guns or ammo) on Jan. 18 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Tables are limited and will cost $20@. Free Parking and entry.

The Erie County Trappers Association will host a Fur Handling Seminar on Saturday, Jan. 4 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Collins Conservation Club located at 2633 Conger Road Collins. The show will feature techniques for better pelt preparation, teach about pelting, fleshing and stretching, drying and sizing. This event is FREE. There will be kids games, prizes, raffles and the kitchen will be open. Trap supplies and fur hats from Hoot’s Furs will be on sale. For more information call Patti at 337-2556 or Hoot at 532-2457.

Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 4:30 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 cell phone 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 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.

The Federation of Sportsmen from Sullivan County are hosting a three-day Coyote hunt from Feb. 7-9. They offer a $2,000 grand prize for the heaviest coyote weighed-in for the three-day hunt, a $200 daily prize for the heaviest coyote in each of the three days of the hunt, a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a youth (12-15 years old) and a $100 prize for the heaviest coyote taken by a female hunter during the three-day event. $100 will be awarded for all other coyotes weighed in during the three-day event. Early registration, post marked by Jan. 27, will be $30 per hunter, which will include the three-day hunt, a weigh-in dinner held at the White Sulphur Springs Fire House, located on Route 52 (exit 100 off Route 17). After Jan. 27, the entry fee is $40 with the deadline of 7 p.m. sharp on Feb. 3. For details, visit the website at www.sullivancountysportsmensfederationny.com.

The New York State Ice Pro Am is scheduled for Chautauqua Lake on Jan. 18 and 19 with weather permitting. For more information go to www.NYSiceproam.com.

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