***** A Tradition *****
ZERO HUNTING FATALITIES: The 2015 New York hunting season proved to be one of the safest on record and yielded the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality since the 1950s. DEC's 2015 Hunting Safety Statistics report (PDF, 141 KB) highlighted a total of only 23 hunting incidents, the third lowest number on record. Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos credited much of this to the efforts of the 3,000 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors that teach our hunter safety courses every year.
This is the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality in New York since record-keeping on hunting statistics began in the mid 1950s. 2015 also continued the trend of declining incidents with New York's hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) declining almost 80 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.
A further evaluation of the incidents showed that 10 (43%) were self-inflicted and 13 (57%) were two-party incidents. Looking closer at all of the two-party firearm incidents, 8 out of 11 (73%) of the victims were not wearing hunter orange. This indicates that not wearing hunter orange increases your risk of being involved in a two-party firearm incident.
While hunting is safer than ever, accidents can still happen. It is important to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. As this year's report indicated that eight of the victims in the multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange. Accidents can be prevented if hunters follow the primary rules of hunter safety:
*assume every firearm is loaded;
*control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;
*keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire;
*identify your target and what is beyond; and
*wear hunter orange.
For more information on Sportsman Education course registration, access to the course manuals and worksheets, please visit the Sportsman Education Program webpage on DEC's web site.
The Stories behind the Statistics:
The most common story: Remember that 99.9% of the people who hunt have safe and enjoyable experiences. Over half a million people hunted in New York this year, and for every incident listed, there are thousands of other hunting stories of people who safely and responsibly took game. Just as important, even more passed up shots for the sake of safety, conservation, and respect for wildlife.
SMALL GAME & NONGAME
9/14 - Ontario. Self-inflicted - The victim attempted to shoot a raccoon that was allegedly attacking him and discharged a round from his handgun into his foot.
9/26 - Broome. - The victim was standing by his parked vehicle when another hunter shot at a gray squirrel in the roadway with his shotgun. Several pellets struck the victim in the eye, chest and wrist.
10/3 - Jefferson. Self-inflicted - The victim was attempting to load his shotgun while exiting his vehicle. Upon closing the action one round was discharged into his right foot causing severe injuries.
10/6 - Erie. Self-inflicted - The victim was hunting raccoons when he slipped. While falling, he discharged one round from his shotgun into his foot.
10/10 - Jefferson. - While pheasant hunting thevictim was struck in the face with two pelletsfrom a shotgun. The victim spoke with other hunters in the area but did not get any identification and the incident wasn’t reported until that evening.
10/11 - Lewis. Self-inflicted – While squirrel hunting the victim attempted to climb a tree and reportedly discharged several rounds from his .22 rifle into his leg.
11/7 - Delaware. – Two brothers were small game hunting together. The victim was shot in the arm with a .22 rifle when his brother attempted to take a chipmunk.
12/25 - Sullivan. Self-inflicted – The victim was squirrel hunting when he discharged his .22 rifle into his foot.
11/6 - Herkimer. A group of five hunters were surrounding a pond when a duck flew up between them. The shooter discharged two rounds at the duck and three pellets struck the victim in the head and hand.
5/4 - Saratoga. While turkey hunting, the victim was struck with 4 pellets from a shotgun.
BIG GAME HUNTING
11/8 - Putnam. Self-inflicted - The victim was hunting deer with his father. While attempting to de-cock his crossbow, he discharged the bolt into his upper thigh.
11/13 - Franklin. Self-inflicted - While attempting to remove a loaded shotgun from his vehicle, the victim discharged one round into his abdomen.
11/21 - Jefferson. The victim was inside his residence when a shooter discharged two rounds from his rifle at a deer. The bullet struck the occupied residence window, passed through the TV and struck the victim in the shoulder.
11/21 - Chautauqua. The victim was sitting in a deer stand when the shooter discharged oneshotgun round at a deer. The slug hit the victim in the thigh.
11/21 - Cattaraugus. Self-inflicted – The victim was climbing up into his treestand when his rifle discharged and hit his thigh.
11/26 - Wyoming. Self-inflicted - The victimwas sitting in his deer stand. He attempted to move his rifle when it discharged and struckhim in the hand.
11/27 - Chautauqua. The shooter discharged his shotgun at what he thought was a deer. The slug struck his brother in the shoulder.11/27 - Tioga. The shooter was in a party of eight deer hunters conducting a deer drive. The shooter discharged one rifle round andstruck the victim in the leg.
12/5 - Niagara. Self-inflicted - The victim washunting from a tree stand. As he stood up, he discharged his muzzleloader into his hand.
12/5 - Genesee. While attempting to unload her rifle, one round was discharged. The round struck the vehicle her husband was sitting in and fragments hit his leg.
12/5 - Cortland. During a deer drive, the victim was shot in the stomach with a rifle from another hunter in the same party.
12/13 - Chenango. Seven members of ahunting party were conducting a deer drive. As the victim entered a brushy area, a member in a treestand discharged one round from his rifle and struck the victim in the leg.
12/20 - Oneida. Two members of a hunting party shot at a deer and split up while looking for it. The shooter saw movement and discharged one round from his muzzleloader and struck the victim in the arm.
STUDY: GRUESOME TUMOR-CAUSING TURKEY VIRUS NOW IN 17 STATES:
Lymphoproliferative disease virus was only recently discovered in North America, but experts say it now appears to be quite widespread.
A potentially deadly virus once only found in European domestic turkeys has found its way to North America, and according to a recent study by researchers at the University of Georgia, is much more widespread than previously thought.
Scientists with the Southeast Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study said that wild turkeys in 17 states from Maine to Colorado have tested positive for lymphoproliferative disease virus (LPDV), which can cause tumors and wart-like growths on the heard and neck area. However, researchers also stated that they had determined the virus was much less dangerous than it was originally believed to be.
“Once we discovered this virus and found it was common, there was a big scare,” Justin Brown, lead researcher on the study, told the Associated Press. “There was a fear that this virus was decimating turkeys and we’ve missed it all these years.”
The disease was once thought to be rapidly fatal to a high rate of turkeys infected, as researchers generally only found dead turkeys with signs of the virus. Thanks to hunters, who submitted seemingly-healthy turkeys for testing, scientists found that while infection is common, the appearance of tumors is not. In fact, fatality from the virus is now considered to be a relatively rare event, although researchers are still unsure exactly what percentage of turkeys infected will exhibit more severe symptoms.
According to wildlife officials, the virus can cause cancerous tumors in the spleen and liver, as well as more visible signs such as scabby nodules on the skin of the legs and head area. Affected turkeys can also be disoriented, weak, and lethargic, making them easier prey for predators. The virus is not transmissible to humans.
“LPDV is a fairly new virus for the United States,” stated New Hampshire Fish and Game on its website. “The first case was reported in the U.S. in 2009, and it is now present in New England.”
Relatively little is yet known about the virus and how it affects wild birds. Previously, it was only found in domestic turkeys in Europe and Israel. So far seven states have reported dead turkeys from the disease, including Arkansas, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. Other states have confirmed infected birds, but reported no fatalities—and for researchers concerned that the virus was a major problem, it comes as a big relief. Still, scientists said there is more to learn from the disease, such as how it affects younger birds.
“One of the things we need to do moving forward is to try to determine if there are other effects of this virus other than tumors,” Brown said.
(Images courtesy Pennsylvania Game Commission)
12 INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ALL HUNTERS SHOULD KNOW
There is a lot we can learn from those who came before us, and few things can boil down the essence of their wisdom as much as a good quote. That is why we’ve decided to collect 12 of our favorite hunting quotes—whether spoken, written, or just attributed—that all sportsmen should know. A good quote can stay with you for a long time, and if it’s good enough, you might even share it.
1. Sam Snead
“The only reason I ever played golf in the first place was so I could afford to hunt and fish.”
2. John Madson
“I do not hunt for the joy of killing but for the joy of living, and the inexpressible pleasure of mingling my life however briefly, with that of a wild creature that I respect, admire and value.”
3. Fred Bear
“Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the forest and fields in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul and make you a better person.”
4. John James Audubon
“Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment. Cares I knew not, and cared naught about them.”
5. Jose Ortega y Gasset
“One does not hunt in order to kill; on the contrary, one kills in order to have hunted… if one were to present the sportsman with the death of the animal as a gift he would refuse it. What he is after is having to win it, to conquer the surly brute through his own effort and skill with all the extras that this carries with it: the immersion in the countryside, the healthfulness of the exercise, the distraction from his job.”
6. Theodore Roosevelt
“In a civilized and cultivated country wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen. the excellent people who protest against all hunting, and consider sportsmen as enemies of wild life, are ignorant of the fact that in reality the genuine sportsman is by all odds the most important factor in keeping the larger and more valuable wild creatures from total extermination.”
7. Archibald Rutledge
“It has always seemed to me that any man is a better man for being a hunter. This sport confers a certain constant alertness, and develops a certain ruggedness of character….Moreover, it allies us to the pioneer past. In a deep sense, this great land of ours was won for us by hunters.”
8. John Madison
“Through almost all of human existence, huntable land and huntable wildlife have preceded the hunter. They caused the hunter. But in the future this must be reversed. It is the hunter who must cause huntable land and wildlife, and a world worth being young in.”
“If some animals are good at hunting and others are suitable for hunting, then the gods must clearly smile on hunting.”
10. Saxton Pope
“The real archer when he goes afield enters a land of subtle delight. The dew glistens on the leaves, the thrush sings in the bush, the soft wind blows, and all nature welcomes him as she has the hunter since the world began. With the bow in his hand, his arrows softly rustling in the quiver, a horn at his back, and a hound at his heels, what more can a man want in life?”
11. Aldo Leopold
“There are some who can live without wild things and some who cannot.”
12. Johnny Carson
“If God didn’t want men to hunt, he wouldn’t have given him plaid shirts.”
Flextone® Games Calls Anounces The Coon Squaller™: - Flextone® Game Calls, the industry leader in natural game sounds announces the Coon Squaller™. The Coon Squaller can be used for coon and predator hunting, making this the ultimate game call! The Coon Squaller™ by Flextone® has numerous uses in the field for different game. When raccoon hunting, blow short bursts into the Coon Squaller when the coon has been treed. The coon will then look towards the call, illuminating the eyes for the perfect shot. For predator calling, blow aggressively in five to ten second bursts to replicate two raccoons fighting. Do not underestimate the calling power of the Flextone Coon Squaller!
(For more information on the Coon Squaller please visit www.flextonegamecalls.com.)
Bear Hunting Tips:
Pennsylvania Game Commission officials point out that one of the biggest mistakes bear hunters make is failing to locate areas with good fall food supplies - acorns, hickory nuts, beechnuts, apples, corn - before the hunting season and overlooking areas of dense cover where bears like to hide.
"Signs to look for while scouting include droppings; bedding areas, which are scratched out depressions, usually at the base of a tree or log; and active trails with tracks," said Mark Ternent, Game Commission black bear biologist. "In beech stands, look for fresh claw marks on tree trunks indicating that bears are feeding in the area, and in oak or hickory stands look for fresh droppings that are almost completely composed of nut bits.
"Either of these signs suggests bears are feeding nearby and, if food conditions are right, they will likely still be there come hunting season. A good time to scout is early November, so you can assess local nut crops."
Other bear hunting tips include:
- Look for bears in the thickest cover you can find, such as: swamps and bogs, mountain laurel/rhododendron thickets, north-facing slopes, regenerating timber-harvest areas, wind-blown areas with lots of downed trees, and remote sections of river bottoms. Bigger bears are notorious for holding in thick cover, even when hunters pass nearby.
- Organized drives are effective. Hunters working together often increase their odds of taking bears, especially those bears holding out in thick cover. Develop plans to safely drive likely bear hideouts and follow them to the letter. A minor slip-up by a driver, flanker or stander is all a bear needs to elude even the best-planned drive. Regulations limit the size of organized drives to 25 people or less.
- Hunting on-stand early and late in the day gives hunters a great chance to catch bears traveling to and from feeding and bedding areas. Hunt areas that provide cover to traveling bears and ensure there is either a good supply of mast, cornfields or cover near where you plan to hunt.
- Use the wind to your advantage. If a bear gets a whiff of you, you're busted as a hunter. Bears have an outstanding sense of smell. They often let their noses guide the way as they travel. Always place yourself downwind of expected travel lanes when hunting on-stand or driving. Bears are cagey enough without giving them more advantages.
- Stay focused and assume nothing. Black bears blend in well in forest settings at dawn and as dusk approaches. Spend too much time looking one way and you can miss a bear. Even though bears are quite heavy, they often are surprisingly quiet moving through the forest. You may see a bear before you hear it coming. Staying alert and remaining vigilant are critical. Contact:
Jerry Feaser (717) 705-6541 or PGCNews@pa.gov
Deer Hunting Tips;
Hunters that take quality deer year after year aren’t lucky, they’re good. That’s because when you’re sitting at home in the air conditioning during the heat of August, they’re out in the woods scouting and learning the travel, feeding and bedding routines of deer long before the season starts. It doesn’t matter where you live, deer movement patterns will be determined by food, water, cover, terrain and hunting pressure. Their food source is probably the most critical and if you can find a watering area with heavy cover nearby, that’s even better.
Use a topographic map to find funnels, saddles and edges that they will use to conceal their movements. Even try to figure out where other hunters might accidentally drive deer your way. Don’t over-scout: end your scouting by the end of August, and wait until the season opens before entering the area again.
Brenda Valentine is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Tips for Locating Whitetail Buck Bedding Areas:
Here are three tips that will help you be successful. #1. Find the thickest, nastiest, thorn ridden patch of underbrush you can. Whether it’s dogwood, cornfields, kudzu or cattails, the thicker the cover, the safer he’ll feel. A mature buck is a smart deer, he knows that he’ll hear a predator coming through the thick of it, and the more cover the better silhouette concealment.
#2. Look up. Chances are that during the day, bucks are bedded down in a high area. They will come out under the guise of darkness to feed in the lowlands but they will rest high where visibility is greatest and thermals carry scents upward to their delicate noses.
#3. Determine if it’s actually a bed made by a buck. Once the pre-rut has started, solo beds are usually made by mature bucks. A bed with a few smaller ones near it will probably be a doe with her fawns. Or if there are several different sized beds, it is probably made by a group of does. Pay attention to the size of the beds. A mature buck is longer and wider than a doe. If you come across a bed that is larger than the ones you’ve been seeing, it is more than likely a buck’s bed. If you come across an area that has several of the same sized beds pressed into the brush, chances are you’ve found a core bedding area, the spot he returns to repeatedly.
#4. Follow the rub line. If you are able to locate a buck’s rub line, you can follow it straight to the bedding area. Chances are he will be moving from bedding area and food source, even if it is in a circuitous path. *Note: If you are going to follow any deer path; but especially a mature Whitetail Buck’s rub line – make sure you are completely scent free and that you travel during the height of the day when the deer will be less likely to be moving.
#5. Smell it. Without touching anything other than what touches your rubber boots, get your nose right down into the bedding area. Does it have that musky, male “sex” smell? If you’ve ever smelled a buck after he’s just covered a doe you’ll know exactly the smell I’m talking about. It’s bitter and rank and unmistakable.
(Carrie Zylka on LinkedIn.com)
Age A Buck On The Fly
Better deer management starts with the ability to accurately field-judge the approximate age of a buck. Here are some quick-hitting tips that will help you make the best decisions this season.
If you want to harvest bigger and better bucks, it’s extremely important to implement and follow strict deer management practices. With the right management plan, your favorite hunting location can transform into a trophy-rich environment. One of the keys is allowing bucks to actually reach their maximum potential, which means letting younger deer walk. In order to make the best management decisions, you’ll need to learn how to correctly judge a buck’s age in the field before taking the shot. Here are some quick-hitting tips that will make field judging a cinch this season.
When trying to judge the approximate age of a buck, rack size and body weight can be very deceiving, especially in areas that generally produce extra-large whitetails. Fortunately, there are several body-feature indicators that will help you make an accurate age assessment. The shape of the eyes, muscle definition, leg length, facial features, neck size and appearance of the belly are all factors that must be calculated.
A yearling buck often looks like a large and lanky doe with antlers. These young bucks often lack muscle mass or definition and are generally very lean. The neck will be noticeably smaller than that of more mature bucks and their eyes will have a very round shape. Their legs also appear to be skinny and awkwardly longer, which makes a yearling fairly easy to identify.
2 ½ Year Olds
During season, a 2 ½ year old buck will have much more muscle mass than a yearling, especially in the chest area. The legs will not look as lengthy, but their faces still have that long and slender appearance. They also have the distinct round-eye characteristics and slim bellies. Their hides are also tight, taunt and sleek looking at first glance. These bucks definitely need a few more years and should not be harvested at this stage of the game.
3 ½ Year Olds
Once a buck reaches three years in age, it starts to look more like a thoroughbred race horse with more uscle mass and definition. The nose and eyes appear to be broader in size and their rumps are really filling out. Before the rutting period begins, their necks seem to be much larger than yearling or 2 ½ year olds. At this point, they are beginning to show the distinct qualities of a mature bruiser.
4 ½ Year Olds
A 4 ½ year old buck is really hitting the peak of his overall muscle gain. He will appear to be massive in the neck and chest area even before the rut. In fact, it almost looks like his neck and shoulders blend-in together with no separation. The eyes are less rounded, but the belly is much larger now. These are the bucks that are tempting to shoot, but they really need another year of growth to reach their full potential.
5 ½ to 6 ½ Year Olds
At this point in a buck’s life, his body will appear to be larger and beefier. His massive belly will have a oticeable sagging quality and the skin or hide won’t be as tightly fitting. The neck and shoulders will seem to be one body part instead of two. They look very similar to a NFL lineman or professional body-builder in the neck region and have oddly shaped eyes that appear to be squinted. A 5 ½ to 6 ½ year old buck has hit his maximum antler potential and should be tagged, if at all possible.
7 ½ & Older
Most bucks don’t reach this milestone, but the ones that do are fairly easy to identify. They still have relatively large bodies, but the muscle mass or definition has faded away. These bucks can appear to be lighter in color with very coarse hair. The skin or hide will be loose and even shaggy looking. These older bucks are past their prime, which means their racks and bodies will be on the downhill swing.
- See more at: http://www.moultriefeeders.com/blog/age-a-buck-on-the-fly/#sthash.f2wBFqLp.dpuf
Rattle Them In
Yes, rattling really works. This technique of deer-calling has become my most important tool in my deer hunting success over the past years. Most of you deer hunters have seen the "pros" rattle up deer on those popular hunting shows. But, most New York hunters don't seem to believe that rattling works here. About fifteen years ago, on a beautiful cold morning in November, I grabbed a set of small antlers, smacked them together for about a minute, and laughed to myself "This doesn't work.". Then, I hung the antlers on a nail on my tree. About a minute went by, and I heard a branch crack behind me. I turned my head, and there stood a beautiful 8-point. I got lucky and harvested that deer at about five yards.
Since that day, rattling is what I do - from opening day of bow, to the end of muzzle loader season. I'm not trying to brag, but I've rattled in and harvested a buck every year since that first encounter. It works.
So, how is it done? First, I use a rattling box, which you can buy anywhere. Real antlers are bulky, and I think there's a safety issue when you're waving around real antlers while hunting. There are also rattling bags. They work well, but I think they're a little bit heavy to carry.
While on stand, for one minute every hour, I do a rattling sequence. I try to sound like two small bucks sparring, nothing real aggressive. I also add in some buck grunts and doe bleats. Next, I quickly put everything away, and get ready. If it works, it happens fast. All of a sudden, a buck will be right in your lap. You have to be ready.
So, you have a choice. Sit there day after day, and hope a deer walks by, or call them in. Bucks, like humans, love to see a good fight, and are very curious.
I guarantee if you give this a try, it will work. But, you have to be consistent. Rattle for one minute every hour while on stand. Rattling will change your deer hunting life.
Good luck, Bill Joseph - Nature's Way Taxidermy (http://www.outdoorsniagara.com/naturesway.htm)
Most hunters quit hunting after the peak of the rut because they think they no longer have a chance for a big buck. What they don’t know is bucks still seek ready-to-breed does for weeks after the peak rut. Does that weren’t bred during the peak will come into estrus about a month later and bucks will be looking for them. During the post rut, focus on food because that’s where the does will be. Dominant bucks are extremely wary and often nocturnal so get in your stand an hour before first light. In the afternoon, stay in your stand until the last second of shooting hours. Remember that post rut bucks will be jumpy, very cautious and alert to every smell and sound but they aren’t invincible.
(NASCAR® Driver Tony Stewart is an avid outdoorsman For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Glassing known areas where deer feed late in the summer should produce some good buck sightings. Once you have spotted a buck you would like to hunt, patience will be important to early success. Remember, during this time a buck’s world revolves around feeding patterns. Because of this, he will likely show himself often in his favorite feeding areas for the first week of the season and during legal shooting hours. Bucks on feeding patterns are extremely sensitive to a hunter's presence. Watch the feeding area from a safe distance until you have a good idea about how to move in closer for the shot. Remember, the path you take to and from your stand is crucial to remaining undetected for any length of time. You will probably only get a few good hunts in before the buck realizes you are after him and changes his pattern.
Brenda Valentine is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Take A Doe
There is nothing wrong with taking a doe. If it is food you’re after, the steaks and burger of a
young buck won’t taste near as good as a fat doe. In fact, taking a doe is something we need to do, especially if you’re after trophy bucks. Everyone talks about genetics and food supply,
but taking a buck before he is 3-years old never allows that buck to grow to his full potential.
If you forget about your ego, and take a doe instead of a young buck, it allows that buck to grow another set of antlers. Taking a doe will also help provide more food to the bucks in your area and create a better buck-to-doe breeding ratio. Harvesting does is a way of improving the quality of bucks in your area.
Bob Foulkrod is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, go to basspro.com
Keeping track of “moon times” and weather patterns will help you stay ahead of changing whitetail patterns and activity and make you a better and more successful hunter. When the moon peaks overhead or underfoot during midday, typically during full and new moon phases, you have one or two options. First of all, you can just avoid this difficult time and wait for more favorable moon times, or you can hunt the middle of the day, when the deer are up and moving around, as hard as you would hunt early and late in the day. If weather conditions also dictate what times deer are up and moving around, just pack a lunch, hunker down and wait for the weather to break and the deer start moving again.
Brenda Valentine is a Member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, log onto
If your deer season is winding down and you still haven’t taken that big buck, don’t give up. Here are some things you can try to take that buck of a lifetime at the end of the season.
• Don’t hunt where anybody else has hunted.
• Don’t hunt at times when everyone else has or is hunting.
• Use strategies no one else has tried.
• Move your stand to places neither you or anyone else has ever hunted.
• Now is also the time to get right into that bedding area you’ve been avoiding all season.
It still won’t be easy but trying these tactics could result in the buck you’ve always dreamed about.
(Jim Ryan is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, log onto
Start Scouting Now!
As soon as possible after deer season, get out and start scouting for next year. Main deer trails stand out like road maps in the winter woods and secondary trails are also very visible as are rubs and leftover scrapes from this season. You can identify cover types, travel corridors, terrain, water sources and feeding patterns. It is now easier to get into the deep brush where big bucks live and figure out their home area and escape trails. You may spook them but remember you won’t be hunting them again for quite awhile. This is also a good time to pick out areas to put your stand for next season since everything now looks much as it will then. If you hunt private land you could even go ahead and put up stands so they become a part of the landscape rather than warning signs closer to the season.
Jerry Martin is a Co-Host of “Bass Pro Shops® 100% Real Hunting” TV Show on Versus®
For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Squirrel Hunting Tips:
Calling Squirrels: Proper calling is one of the most important parts of squirrel hunting. Communicating with game is one of the absolute joys of hunting. For squirrel hunters, calling can fire up a forest and increase fun and success, just as it can for turkey, deer, and elk hunters. Calling adds versatility to your hunting arsenal and allows for more efficient and effective hunting.
A baker’s dozen tips for calling squirrels
*Ignore concerns about calling. It’s a useful tool for hunters of all skill levels. You can’t really make a mistake when creating the basic sounds. Like humans, squirrels have different styles and rhythms of communication and even falter when calling. Your mistakes won’t send squirrels running away.
*Learn the sounds squirrels make in different situations and what message the sounds convey.
*Use calling as a blending method, just as you use camouflage.
*Call to control the hunting situation, to get squirrels moving, give away their locations, calm nervous animals, or entice squirrels to move to your position.
*Incorporate other natural calls into your repertoire. Turkey, owl, crow, and other calls help you create a normal-sounding environment or even prompt a squirrel to call or move.
*Think about what you’re trying to say when determining call volume and rhythm.
*Keep the size of the hunting area in mind. Squirrel hunting takes place in relatively close quarters. Ultra-loud calling to reach squirrels 200 yards away is a waste of effort. Focus on a circle 50 yards around your position.
*Call loudly or softly, fast or slowly, depending on the situation. On foggy, rainy, and windy days ramp up the volume. In quiet woods, match the mood with some softer calls, or bellow out a call to wake up the woods or stop a running squirrel. Experiment!
*Focus on the primary goal of calling: to get squirrels to give away their locations by forcing them to vocalize or move.
*Know when not to call. In active woods, where squirrels are moving and vocalizing, calling might cause them to become silent or still.
*Stifle urges to overcall. If calling isn’t getting results, moving to another location is more productive than overcalling.
*Use calling to calm squirrels after taking a shot. Stay still. Mark the downed game by a physical feature. Wait a while, at least 10 minutes, to allow the woods to calm down. The use basic contented calls to convey the message all is well in the woods to get the squirrels to go back about their business. Oftentimes you can even call them back into the area.
*Consider calling to moving squirrels if or when they are quickly moving away from you. An excited call or even predator call can signal danger and cause the squirrel to stop long enough to offer a shot.
Calling squirrels is no different than calling other game animals. It doesn’t work 100 percent of the time, but more often than not it will give you an edge. Don’t expect miracles and employ patience and you’ll find calling a great tool in your squirrel hunting arsenal.
Squirrel calls and the messages they convey: bark, scream, cutting, chatter, and distress
The bark is used by squirrels in several different ways. When slow and moderate in volume, it generally communicates contentment. When loud and excited or when followed by a scream, the bark can mean danger and serve as a warning signal.
A scream is used by squirrels to let others know they are excited about something. Often the sound is made in a playful situation, and other times when squirrels see something they don’t recognize. Squirrels rarely scream as a sign of danger unless the scream used in combination with an excited series of barks.
Cutting is the most unusual of the sounds because it’s not a vocalization—it’s the sound made when a squirrel cuts (breaks) into a nut with its front teeth. It’s most often heard early in the season when the mast crop is abundant. It can be extremely alluring at times when nuts are not as bountiful, enticing squirrels to move to the animal they hear eating—you.
Chatter is a contented communication made year-round. It conveys a message of normality and wellbeing. Chatter calls tell others in the area “There’s no danger here.”
Many hunters also employ a call that imitates the distress call of a young squirrel, hoping to grab the attention of squirrels in the area and shock them into barking.
Types of squirrel calls
Most squirrel calls on the market, like the Knight & Hale 4-in-1 Squirrel Call, are bellows-type calls that generate a bark, excited chatter, and perhaps a distress call.
For cutting, I use an old Lohman Game Calls cutter made of a threaded plastic bolt with a plastic paddle scraper. You might choose to make your own cutting call from a variety of materials. Use a seven-inch coarse-thread bolt and washer (or rub the edges of two quarters together) to emulate cutting.
A young squirrel distress call is usually made with a whistle-type call, like Haydel’s Game Calls Mr. Squirrel Whistle, in conjunction with a small, leafy branch. The call emulates a hawk going after a small squirrel. The squirrel whistle creates the distress while the branch flapped on the ground imitates the sound of the predator’s wings as it tries to capture the squirrel.
Turkey Hunting Tips:
Turkey Basics - Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week
Today's turkey hunters are fortunate there's so much great information available with regard to turkey hunting tools, tactics and techniques. However, I wonder if at times it might be too much of a good thing. With so much often detailed and in-depth information it's easy to get confused on what the right call or tactic is for a specific scenario. If you find yourself in such a quandary your best bet might be to take a step back and look at the big picture, and the basics. The recipe for success boils down to common sense.
Avoid the Easy Pickings - It's not easy to do, but sometimes you're better off leaving the low hanging fruit to others. You've been watching a particular bird for weeks and finally have his routine down cold. From the roadside you see him strutting in a big wheat field every morning. So do all the other hunters who are just now starting their pre-season scouting; and you can bet there will be a crowd there come opening day. More than likely someone will interfere with someone else, and everyone will leave without a bird. You should have known better. Focus your efforts elsewhere, on birds that aren't so obvious or easy to find. And try to locate several so that you have options should Plan A or Plan B fail to produce.
Call Conservatively - I don't care how experienced you are, if there's a turkey gobbling nearby and you have a call in your hands or your mouth, you will be tempted to use it. One of the biggest mistakes novice turkey hunters make is calling too much. The next biggest is not calling enough. The trick is striking the right balance, but if you're unsure, it's always better to err on the side of caution. You might lose a bird if you don't call enough but you will lose one if you call too much. Playing the odds I'll take might over will any day.
For the third and final tip, please visit - http://www.yamaha-motor.com/outdoor/events/dynamicevent/2/1748/yamaha_outdoors_tips_-_turkey_basics.aspx
Because their great vision is their primary defense, turkeys feel very secure where they
can see well and far. They frequently feed in pastures and meadows and gobblers love to strut their stuff out in the open. On rainy days, turkeys prefer these open areas, as well as clear cuts, and can be seen walking along wooded roads. These are all prime areas to look for fresh tracks, feathers, and other sign. Use this to your scouting
advantage. When driving in your hunting area always slow down and take a good, thorough look at openings. This is where binoculars come in handy. When walking through your hunting area, approach openings carefully and check them out well before exposing yourself. This means taking a long look at the opening from cover and moving slowly even though you think you are well hidden.
Walter Parrott is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, log onto
If you want to be a good turkey hunter you need to learn good woodsmanship just as much, if not more, than you need to be a good caller. Good woodsmanship will help you entice a gobbler into an area where he is more likely to go. Being a good woodsman means learning to identify
turkey hotspots like where they roost, water, feed, and their different strutting areas. Finding the roost is your first step to success. Finding where they water and feed will certainly come in handy too but always remember, a gobbler usually doesn’t move far from his strut zones. When a tom approaches, then suddenly turns, he has probably heard another hen closer to his strut
zone. Find the strut zones and you will up your odds on taking a gobbler this spring.
Jerry Martin is Co-Host of “100% Real Hunting” TV Show on NBC Sports Network For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Turkey With A Bow:
If you enjoy challenges then try taking a turkey with a bow this fall. Since turkeys are programmed to look up because that’s where hawks and owls come from, you won’t have much luck trying to take one from a treestand. From the ground you can use your ears to locate them, your eyes to tell you where they are going, and your legs to get yourself between where they are and where they want to be. Then wait for them to get there, draw when they’re not looking, and pick a spot. Now doesn’t that sound easy? Don’t kid yourself. The turkey’s
defenses are extremely keen and I can almost guarantee you that if they could smell, you
would never shoot one with a bow.
Jerry Martin is a Member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, log onto
Many turkey hunters come home without a gobbler because of silly little mistakes like
waiting until the bird was in full view before raising their gun. When the bird is approaching, get your gun up and poised long before you can see the gobbler and never sit where a tree or brush in front of you is so close that it obstructs the swing of
your gun. Before making a call trying to locate a bird, find a place nearby where you can plop down quickly. Many gobblers survive because they were close when the call was made and the hunter couldn’t get into a good setup position soon enough. Getting impatient and deciding to move to a different spot has probably spooked more gobblers that were slowly coming in than anything. Staying longer is better than leaving too soon so learn to be patient.
Larry Whiteley is host of the award-winning “Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World®” Radio Show For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Waterfowl Hunting Tips:
Show Waterfowl Where to Commit - Yamaha Outdoors Tip of the Week
Show waterfowl where you want them to commit. Hide nearby (in shooting range of the fakes), and wait silently or call to enhance the appeal of that location. It's all good. (Steve Hickoff photo)
By Steve Hickoff
Food matters when you want to pull sky-bound ducks and geese into your spot. The spread you set is obviously defined by the calculated way you place your decoys in front of your gunning position. Most of all, it's crucial to making that location all it can be.
The key: set it up so that incoming waterfowl can pick an open spot to try and land where they already want to be -- or where they realized they want to be on seeing your fake birds out there, enhanced by calling. Shoot them as they cup and commit.
Place that open spot so that it's in a shooting lane you desire. Then wait, calls ready if needed.
Rough It Up: Ducks and geese don't envision the pretty geometric spreads you do the night before while tossing and turning in a camp bunk. Sometimes you'll need to set up ragged spreads to represent geese and ducks that have landed and are feeding comfortably -- even though tight spreads might also suggest a concentrated food source. Know the difference.
How Birds Move: What's the flight path of your local waterfowl? Study it on your four Yamaha wheels. The spot you pick to hunt has to be in the reliable path of geese and ducks that move from where they loaf at night to where they might feed in the morning. Places like pastures and even marshes qualify here. Zero-grade rice fields and possibly unfrozen river systems do too.
Learn the Alphabet: Terrain and traditional approach depending, some guys prefer a "C" spread of decoys, with the geese and ducks encouraged to land in the open area. For others, an "X" works, and gunners hide at the center of the set. Still others employ a "V" shape for their decoys, pointing that into the wind (weather depending). Others prefer the fishhook "J" way of putting out fakes. Tweak it as you hunt, especially as the breeze shifts.
For more tips on how you can show ducks and geese where to commit, please visit - http://www.yamaha-motor.com/outdoor/events/dynamicevent/2/1705/yamaha_outdoors_tips_-_show_waterfowl_where_to_commit.aspx.
There is no substitute for practice when it comes to good duck calling. Don’t wait to work on it when you’re in the blind. Do it whenever and wherever you can. Listen to tapes, live ducks and practice, practice, practice. Do a lot of calling when trying to get their attention to your decoys, but once they have committed, lay off and don’t do anything except maybe a little feed chuckling if it looks like they’re coming in. If they drift or start to pass, hit the calls again. Be aggressive and call excitedly on windy days. Call easy and kind of lazy on still days.
Allen Treadwell is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, go to basspro.com
A 12-gauge shotgun with a 3-inch chamber is probably the favorite of most turkey hunters but a 20-gauge will also do a good job at reasonable ranges and its lighter weight and recoil make it better for women and young hunters. No matter what turkey gun you use, you need to do three things before taking it hunting. First, shoot it at a turkey head target to make sure it hits where it is aimed. Guns that shoot nearly
a foot off the point of aim are not unheard of and that means a missed or wounded bird.
Individual guns can be picky about shot size and load. Try several loads to find one
your gun shoots best. Finally, find out how far your gun shoots a good pattern. That is your maximum range. The “best” range for most 12-gauge guns is about 40 yards and 30 yards for a 20-gauge. Use whatever load of shot works best in your particular gun.
Jerry Martin is host of “Bass Pro Shops 100% Real Hunting” TV Show For more tips, log onto basspro.com
Most of us see a big buck after it has seen us and is running away. The trick is to see that buck before it sees you. A good set of binoculars can be your best piece of hunting equipment. Glassing with binoculars helps you see not just game but game trails and beds. They can also help you judge antlers and identify movement. 8x42 and 7x35 are your best choice for all-around use. For open country though, 10x42 is best. Compact, inexpensive, and bulky or heavy binoculars should be avoided. As you glass, look nearby as well as far away. Look for a patch of white hair or antler, look for a horizon line out of place in a vertical woods, etc. Search intensively with your eyes and binoculars and you’ll be able to spot more deer before they spot you.
Jerry Martin is a member of the RedHead® Pro Hunting Team For more tips, go to basspro.com
Trail Camera - Tips For Scouting Success:
Height – Before hanging a camera, think about the height of the animal you want to capture on camera. For instance, if you’re scouting deer, 40-48” is the optimal height.
Field of View – After hanging the camera, we recommend triggering the camera to get a few test images that you can review on the viewfinder or with a viewing device in the field. The test images will help you determine the camera’s field of view and whether or not you’ll need to trim foliage in order to be able to take advantage of the entire field of view.
Batteries – Investing in high-quality batteries up front will save you time and money in the long run. We recommend Energizer Advanced Lithium batteries. Not only do lithium batteries last longer than alkaline batteries, they are more durable in extreme temperatures, allowing your camera to perform year-round.
Utilize the technology – Trail cameras are becoming more and more sophisticated. Before getting into the field, understand which features your camera offers and think about ways you can take advantage of that technology. One of our favorite new features is time lapse technology, which allows you to monitor game activity not captured by the camera’s sensor. Our 2x Field Scan feature allows you to select two windows of time (we recommend dawn and dusk) to capture images at a predetermined time interval (programmable from one – 60 minutes). This is an especially helpfully feature if you’re scouting a food plot or field.
Background – Be cognizant of what’s in the camera’s field of view. The grass and brush will grow throughout the season and could cause false triggers when blowing in the wind, and water and the sunrise or sunset can also affect your images. Another element that can cause false triggers are the straps attaching the camera to the tree if they’re left unsecure to flap in the wind.
Lock It Up - We all know we that we only hope to see the best in people, but today you can’t be to careful. So make the extra investment in a Bushnell Bear Safe Security Case or Master Lock Python Adjustable Locking Cable and protect your trail camera from others.
Range – Consider what range most of the animals will be from the camera. If you’re watching a feeder that’s 30-40 feet away, you may want to turn the flash to high to better illuminate the animals. In addition, we’d encourage utilizing time lapse technology to ensure you’re capturing animals that may be feeding further away.
Overexposure – Be careful not to over-check your game cameras for fear of disrupting the habitat. And when you go to check cameras, we recommend you take the same precautions you do to minimize your scent before you enter the field to hunt.
Hang a treestand, hang a camera – If you’re hanging a new treestand this season, consider also hanging a camera with the stand. This will give you a better idea of which bucks are passing under your stand and help you determine if you need to do some pruning to open your shooting lanes.
Learn more about the Bushnell Trophy Cam series at www.bushnell.com.
Read more at Ammoland.com: http://www.ammoland.com/2013/03/tips-for-trail-camera-scouting-success/#ixzz2O04y8800
Protect Your Game Camera Investment
Follow these steps after season to keep your game cameras functioning and running like new.
Step 1: Complete an operational run-through check to ensure all modes, settings and features are properly working.
Step 2: Remove all batteries and memory chips before storing game cameras.
Step 3: Utilize a soft lens cloth and cotton q-tips to remove all moisture, dirt particles and other forms of debris that has accumulated from a season of heavy use.
Step 4: Place game camera units inside of a Zip-lock bag to prevent exposure to moisture and alarming scent that can spook game animals such as whitetails.
Step 5: Store game cameras inside of a plastic container and utilize a protective buffer such as bubble-wrap to prevent direct rubbing, banging or friction between units that can cause damage.
Step 6: Avoid storing units for extended periods in areas that experience extreme temperature changes and exposure to condensation.
- See more at: http://www.moultriefeeders.com/blog/6-post-season-camera-maintenance-tips/#sthash.zG1lJkbe.dpuf
Hunting Seasons (Central/Western New York):
Early Season bear hunters may use a bow (with appropriate bowhunting eligibility), crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle (where allowed). For legal implements in other bear seasons, please see Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas.
Bear & Deer
Legal Implements for Regular Deer Season, Early and Regular Bear Seasons
To obtain a free permit for hunting and/or trapping bobcat within the "Harvest Expansion Area" contact DEC by phone, mail, or e-mail. Please provide the following information:
- Mailing address
- Date of Birth
- DEC ID # (from your hunting/trapping license or backtag)
- Phone # and E-mail address
- Indicate whether you plan to hunt bobcat, trap bobcat, or both
- You may request a permit by e-mail. If you do so, please indicate the county or WMU where you plan to hunt and/or trap.
If you take a bobcat anywhere in New York State it must be tagged and sealed.
Cottontail: October 1, 2015 - February 28, 2016
Coyote: October 1, 2015 - March 29, 2016
Friday – Monday only. September 1, 2015 - March 31, 2016
Fox (Gray & Red): October 25, 2015 - February 15, 2016
Frog: June 15 - September 30, 2015
Gallinule: September 1 - November 9, 2014
Opossum: October 25, 2015 - February 15, 2016
Pheasant: Lake Plains Portion October 18 December 31, 2014
South & Central Portion October 18, 2014 - February 28, 2015
Pig (Eurasian Boar): Illegal to hunt free ranging pigs
Raccoon: October 25, 2015 - February 15, 2016
Rail: September 1 - November 9, 2014
Ruffed Grouse: October 1, 2015 - February 28, 2016
Snapping Turtle: July 15 - September 30, 2015
Skunk: October 25, 2015 - February 15, 2016
Snipe: September 1 - November 9, 2014
Squirrel (Gray, Black & Fox): September 1, 2014 - February 28, 2015
Turkey: Spring: May1 - 31, 2015
Fall: Lake Plains October 18 - 31, 2014
South Portion of Western New York October 18 - November 14, 2014
Central New York October 1 - November 14, 2014
Varying Hare (Snowshoe Rabbit):
South Portion of Western New York January 1 - 31, 2015
Central New York December 8. 2014 - February 28, 2015
Woodchuck: No Closed Season
Woodcock: October 1 - November 14, 2014
West Central Zone: Part 1 September 1 - 25, 2014
Part 2 October 25 - November 16, 2014
Part 3 December 27, 2014 - January 1, 2015
South Zone: Part 1 September 1 - 25, 2014
Part 2 October 25, 2014 - January 1, 2015
Part 3 February 28 - March 10, 2015
Snow Goose: October
1, 2014 - April 15, 2015
Western Zone: Part 1: October 18 - December 2, 2014
Part 2: December 27, 2014 - January 9, 2015
Weasel: October 25, 2015 - February 15, 2016
Dog Training: On raccoon, fox, coyote and bobcat July 1, 2014 - April 15, 2015
On other small game: August 15, 2014 - April 15, 2015
Falconry: October 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015
*** Problem Coyote Control - Kentucky (Part 8 of Series)
VIRTUAL PISTOL RANGE So you think you can shoot a handgun. Check this one out. Try it: see how good you are with a Russian pistol. ( All text is in Russian). Save money and ammunition too! The virtual pistol is a Soviet Tokarev Model 40, in calibre 7.62 mm.
It is quite accurate. Being virtual, it will lack the actual 'feel' and the recoil. In real life, at each shot, the recoil will throw your aim off the target. When the pistol appears, click on the trigger, take aim, and fire. It's very much like the real thing.
The longer you hold the pistol, the more your aim will wander. You have 3 shots in 30 seconds to hit the target and get your score. CAUTION: It's addictive. Http://deti.mil.by/templates/swf/Pistol/index.swf