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Q. Last week I watched three fisher cross the road in front of me on the Old Bath Road. I have only seen one before and that was about twenty years ago about three miles from where I saw these three. Has any one else seen a fisher in the area this year? EJW

A. You didn’t say exactly where your sighting was but from Old Bath Road I’m assuming Steuben County. If that is the case there has been a growing population for several years. About 12-13 years ago, before I retired from DEC, one was brought into the office – hit by a car in Honeoye. Below is a picture sent to me two years ago of a fisher caught in a trap in Steuben County. Scott Smith at DEC’s Bath office (srsmith@gw.dec.state.ny.us) can give you additional info on their exact status if you want to know more. Thanks for your contact and thank you for viewing www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com. RLS

                                                                                                                Photo by Kevin Metarko

Q.Where is the best place to find out about 3D bow shoots in Western NY. Thank You. JE

A. There appears to be no one central spot but I’ve checked around and have come up with a schedule for central western NY, put together by Seven Nations 3-D Archery. These events are held at the following clubs:

*Dansville Fish and Game 3-D Archery: We will begin the Thursday 3-D shoots on June 7th, 2012, from 2PM to 7PM weekly and running through September 16th as the Archery season will be opening October !st. We will once again be participating in the Seven Nations Archery League, with shoots at our club on July 22nd, and September 16th. These will be a 30 target shoot covering a great majority of the grounds here at the Dansville Fish and Game. Contact Charlie Sundlof 585-335-8521.

*Flying Arrow, Ladue Road, Brockport, NY 3-D Shoots on August 5 & 19, September 9 & 23. Contact Bill MacGovern 585-750-3383.

*Coon Hunters (Hopkins Road west of Batavia 3-D Shoots on September 2 & 30. Contact Jeff 585-356-2163.


Also, the Avon Bowmen, Polebridge Road, Avon has shoots on July 15 and August 26. Contact Dave Sclillger 585-335-2644 or Dave Walters dww329@gmail.com


A site on the internet is a nation/state wide listing of 3-D shoots at http://www.3dshoots.com/archery/searchmonthstate.php.

Hope this helps. Thanks for checking out huntfishnyoutdoors.com. Please help by spreading the word. RLS

Q. I recently saw something reference an NYSG meeting. Can you tell me what "NYSG" is?

A. New York Sea Grant (NYSG) is a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources. It has been “Bringing Science to the Shore” for more than 40 years. NYSG, is one of 32 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In New York State it is a cooperative program of the State University of New York and Cornell University. The National Sea Grant College Program engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources.

Q I never paid attention to the turkey hunting regulations before because I didn’t hunt them.  This year I decided to take it up.  I have some questions.  Mainly, why are the regulations different in the spring and the fall?  In Western New York you can only take one bird of either sex in the fall, but you can take two males in the spring.  Why not just give hunters tags for two males and one bird of either sex that are good for either season?  And why can turkeys only be hunted until noon in the spring?

A. Hunting regulations are set with an eye out for protecting the resource.  In other words, so populations do not get too large, or too small.  When biologists draw up the regulations they take the animal’s biology into account.  In the case of turkeys (and deer) one male will mate with many females so future populations are more dramatically affected by removing the females.  Deer populations are high now so DEC has been issuing lots of doe permits to reduce the number of new deer in next spring’s population.  There are lots of turkeys out there too, but not so many we want to reduce the population.  That’s why only bearded birds (usually males) can be taken in the spring when turkeys are mating.  A single bird of either sex may be taken in the fall because protecting the females is not as critical at that time.  Most hunters will still take a Tom, given the choice.  Some females will also be taken, but not all of these would have lived until the spring nesting season anyway.  Some of them would have been lost to predators, disease or bad weather over the winter, regardless of the hunting season.

Hunting hours are different during the spring in another attempt to protect the females.  Nesting females usually incubate their eggs in the morning, but will leave their nests in the afternoon to get something to eat.  Ending the hunt at noon reduces the chance that a female will be mistakenly shot by a hunter.


Q. The last few weeks, I have had an opossum periodically coming to my back yard. It visits my bird feeder and looks in my glass door. I was wondering what I might feed it to keep it around so it could kill the moles in my lawn this summer. Any ideas?

A. You are to be commended for your appreciation of the opossum. Most people who see them think the animal is nothing more than a gigantic rat and want to get rid of them. In reality the opossum is a unique member of New York’s wildlife community. It is one of the oldest living mammals having been around since the late days of the dinosaurs. It is also the only marsupial found on North America. As you have observed, it is an adaptable critter, learning to live with people but not one we want to encourage by putting out food. Food should not be put out to attract any wild mammals. Many times when this is done the feeder gets more than they bargain for. Food for opossum could also attract raccoons, skunks and other members of the wildlife community. When fed, wild animals often learn to associate food with people and lose their natural fear of people. When this happens, wild mammals often become a nuisance. The opossum outside is interesting to watch but that same animal in your garage eating stored dog or cat food is not as nice. In answer to your purpose for wanting to keep the opossum around - to kill moles in your lawn - they will not be too effective. Opossums are omnivorous and opportunistic, eating many things that they find in their travels but they are active hunters. Food can consist of insects, snakes, toads, small mammals, bird eggs and young, berries, garden plants, garbage and carrion off the highways. They are not fast movers and often become road kill themselves.

Q I know that for a number of years fishing was banned on Onondaga Lake. Now I'm hearing that there is good bass fishing. Can you tell me if fishing is allowed; can you keep fish caught and are they safe to eat?

A. Yes to all three questions but with qualifyers on the latter two. Keepers must meet the limits set in your fishing guide and there are some health advisories on eating the fish. Read the following found on the Onondaga Lake Partnership website (http://www.onlakepartners.org/index.htm).

Onondaga Lake is filled with many game fish. As the lake has become cleaner and fish habitat has improved, many species of trophy size fish have been found and caught. In 1972, surveys identified only nine different species and in 1946, thirteen species were recorded. Today, there are over sixty varieties of fish. Some species reside in the lake year-round, and other species migrate in and out of the lake, dependent on changes in the lake's oxygen levels. Important sport fish species in the lake include bluegill, pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, common carp, channel catfish, brown bullhead, crappie, walleye and brown trout. The increasing populations and varieties of fish reflect a vast improvement from conditions in the 1950s, when fishery surveys showed that more than 90% of the total fish in the lake were common carp.

The DOH has issued a general health advisory that recommends eating no more than one eight-ounce meal of fish per week from any of New York State's fresh waters. The 2007-2008 advisory for fish consumption in Onondaga Lake is more stringent than the general advisory for fresh waters: eat no walleye, largemouth bass over 15 inches and smallmouth bass over 15 inches; eat no more than one meal per month of carp, channel catfish and white perch; and no more than one meal per month of all other species including largemouth and smallmouth bass smaller than 15 inches.

Q. This is my first year hunting, any tips on handling my deer (I'm optimistic) to get the best venison? Is it true I should hang it for several days to make it tender? FS

A. A fellow came into my shop and told me he harvested a deer in the Alabama Swamps last year.  He also told me how bad the deer tasted.  He said it must have been the swamp water it was drinking.  I then asked him how he went about gutting the deer, how long he let it hang, and what the temperature was like.  He then explained that, after gutting the deer, he washed the cavity with water, then hung the deer for three days in about 50-60 degree temperatures.  I then told him that that was why his meat tasted bad.  Let me explain.

The first thing he did wrong was wash the deer out with water.  Introducing water into a deer carcass will actually start bacteria growth.  You want the blood and juices to dry, sealing the meat.  You'll notice after washing the cavity, that the meat will remain slimy.  That sliminess is bacteria, quickly spoiling your meat.  Stop washing the cavity, please.  If you have to put ice into the cavity of the deer due to extreme temperatures, make sure to double-bag the ice, so water doesn't escape into the cavity.

Next, he let his deer hang too long.  This is my rule. If the temperature is above 50 degrees, your deer has to be processed and in the freezer within 24 hours.  If the temperature is below 50 degrees, your deer should be processed and frozen within 3 days.  And, of course, temps below freezing, your deer will be OK until it thaws out.

And, if there are flies present, process deer immediately. I know what you're going to say.  Your grandfather used to hang his deer for weeks, and that's why a lot of people don't like the taste of deer meat today.

I've processed thousands of deer, and I've seen and heard it all.  The faster you get your deer meat in the freezer, the better it will taste.  Feel free to call me anytime with questions about this topic

As a side note; when gutting your deer, you MUST remove the pee sack.  Leaving this in the deer will spoil your deer within 24 hours.

One more thing, if you're bringing your deer to a professional processor, bring it immediately.  DON'T let it hang around, because we may not be able to get to your deer immediately.

Good Luck,  Bill Joseph, Taxidermist - Nature's Way Taxidermy, Sanborn, NY (http://www.outdoorsniagara.com/naturesway.htm)

Q. It appears that Lifetime License holders are all getting credit card style License cards except me. My friends have received them but I haven’t. Can you tell me what’s happening? SA
A. The DEC is in the process of issuing ‘credit card’ size licenses to all lifetime license holders. It is a manual process dealing with 100,000 cards. As you can imagine it takes time. The licenses are in no particular order so your friend with a last name starting with Z could receive one before you with a last name starting with A. DEC staff were able to get about a third of them out prior to licenses going on sale August 15th. They have about 70K to go, and will resume mailing again when things slow down in the Albany DECALS office. You will get your new license, just be patient. DEC

Q. I have a question about selling perch. I’ve heard two stories. One stated that you could sell yellow perch to anyone including restaurants and the other that they had to be sold through a certified cleaning station. Can you clarify the matter? WC
A. The answer to this question is as follows: any fish without a season OR minimum size may be sold. So all panfish may be sold EXCEPT crappie which have a size limit. The sales may be to anyone. New York is one of the few states in the northeast that still allow sales of freshwater fish. Legislation has been introduced on several occasions in the last few years to prohibit these sales. Personally, I feel that hook and line sales of panfish do no harm the resource. Perch are one of the most prolific freshwater fish that swims. What may contribute to the decline of our fisheries, if anything is all the invasive species that are finding their way to our waters? Just my opinion !!

Q. Have you heard anything on three rods? Can they be used now? J & S
A. Legislation (A03480 & S2462B) was passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor on August 17, 2011. This legislation authorizes an individual to angle for fish with up to three lines in freshwater, until December 31, 2013. The effective date included in the legislation - immediately upon enactment. NOW!!
The legislative memo that accompanied the bill follows:
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to authorizing angling by a single individual with up to three lines in freshwater; and providing for the repeal of such provisions upon expiration thereof.
PURPOSE: This legislation, would authorize an individual to angle for fish with up to 3 lines in freshwater.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Amends section 11-0103 of the Environmental Conservation Law to change the number of lines one person may operate from not more than three, with or without rod in freshwater. This act shall expire and be damned repealed December 31, 2013.
JUSTIFICATION: This new 3-rod rule is designed to favorably impact a fisherman's experience by increasing his probability of catching a fish. Catching a fish enhances angler satisfaction more than any other factor and is the prime determinant in deciding whether or not to make return visits to- he fisheries of New York. Return visits to the fishery are a boon to the local economies. Return trips mean more money spent locally for fuel, food, lodging, launches,
parking, and rentals.
The 3-rod rule will not guarantee that people catch more fish; rather it will give them the potential to locate the fish a little easier. The small crewed boats, the 'weekend warrior', the recreationalist, the vacationer, the retired couple who have saved up for a boat and how have the time and health to use it will all benefit from this. It does not mean they must use 3 rods, it will mean they can use 3, rods per person, whether they are operated from land or from a boat, if they
so choose. New Jersey and Michigan both have a 3-rod rule, to which they have continued to see a favorable impact to their recreational fisherman.
In addition, the 3-rod rule will not exploit the fishery since exploitation is constrained by creel limits that would still be in effect.

For more information on the bill go to http://m.nysenate.gov/legislation/bill/S2462B-2011 .


Q. Hello, I wanted to confirm that the National Hunting and Fishing Day will happen the last weekend in Sept 2011 at the Avon DEC office. I had heard it may be ending and not happen. I also saw where Godfreys pond may have an event. Im trying to make plans to travel home and attend the event. Is it happening? Thanks, SW 

A. The answer to your questions is YES in both cases. The Avon celebration will continue and the Genesee County Fish and Game Protective Association (Godfreys Pond) will also have a two day event. The dates are September 24 & 25. See our CALENDAR page for details and contacts. HFNY

Q. It seems to me there are more red fox in my area. I just moved to a suburban area of Syracuse and maybe it's just the new area. Is the fox population increasing or would there be another reason? Amy
A. DEC wildlife offices have received several calls in recent weeks regarding an apparent increase in red fox sightings within suburban areas. Fortunately, in most reported cases, the foxes were not displaying aggressiveness or other unusual behavior, which typically indicates rabies infection. While fox activity is primarily nocturnal, one reason for increased sightings is probably a result of adults searching for food during the daylight hours to meet the demands of their hungry pups. Another possible factor for more fox sightings is due to an increase in coyote populations within New York State. Coyotes and fox often do not co-exist, which can force fox to move into residential areas to set up their territories. DEC

                                                                                                                                         Photo by Ron Schroder

Q. Some time ago you interviewed a taxidermist from Dansville as I recall who used gel to clean wildlife skull trophies. Can you give me his name and contact info? Kevin                                                                   

A.  That program was presented on 11-27-09 and featured Ryan Lane and Brian Pragle both of Dansville. Brian Pragle does skull mounts and he referred to a “chemical ” treatment but he did not identify it by name. His contact info can be found at: www.http://brianpragle.com . The other guest on that program was Ryan Lane also of Dansville. His contact info can be found at. www.http://lanestaxidermy.com.

Thanks for remembering the program! Hope this information was helpful. Terry

Q. I am from Maryland and my son will be attending Alfred College and we wanted to know if there was anyone to contact about fishing or hunt clubs in the area. Don

A. If you have already visited the area around Alfred, you know it is very rural. From past experience I do know that a great number of students enjoy the outdoors. They may have an outdoor club at the college. What I can tell you about the area is it has much public hunting state land within a short distance from the campus, with an abundance of deer, turkey and the occasional bear. There are many good trout streams also within an hour’s drive. If transportation allows, a good place for fishing is the pier at Watkins Glen, on Seneca Lake both spring and fall. Best wishes to your son, he will be attending one of our premier college's!! Jud

-- There are many clubs in Allegany County including the Alfred Rod and Gun Club - Webpage: http://www.alfredny.biz/alfred_rod_gun/activities.htm. A contact is Keith M. Rogers, Secretary, 6398 Palmiter Rd., Alfred Station, NY 14803 / 607-587-9464 / kdrogers@frontiernet.net.  Check our ‘Clubs Page’ for other organizations in the county.  Another source of hunting and fishing information is the Allegany County Chamber Chamber of Commerce webpage - http://discoveralleganycounty.com/activities/hunting_fishing.php. They can supply a number of brochures which may prove useful. HFNY

Q . I just moved near Onondaga lake and heard rumor that bass and carp fishing was very good here. I am having a lot of trouble with thick vegetation however, tried near Wegman’s Landing. Are there better spots? Any tips? Joe

A. Onondaga Lake has had a checkered past with pollution problems and for a while was closed to fishing. It has been cleaned but still has health advisories applied to it. These advisories are: do not eat largemouth or smallmouth bass over 15 inches, walleye, carp, channel catfish or white perch and with other species eat only one meal a week. These conditions tend to dishearten anglers. The lake does have a fantastic bass fishery and also harbors HUGH carp. It is a good water if you are a “catch and release” angler. I do not have any contacts who are fishing the lake to help with the better spots, perhaps some of our readers can help. Suggestions of other sources of information are Jim Everard (NYSDEC Region 7) at jfeverar@gw.dec.state.ny.us and the Salt City Bassmasters (Baldwinsville, NY) - Webpage: http://www.saltcitybass.com/. The Bassmasters, I've been told, fish the lake frequently. HFNY

Q. One day last spring I was visiting a friend on Canandaigua Lake. We were walking out back when

we heard a loud splashing in a nearby stream. We looked and there were groups of large fish trying hard to swim upstream. They weren’t rainbow trout; I know what they look like. They had dark backs and lighter colored sides. Were these bass? Where were they going? JW

A. Judging from your description, they were probably white suckers. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have dark backs, but their sides are dark too, not turning to a lighter color until the lower or undersides of the fish. The behavior you describe would also be typical of white suckers during their spawning run. In the spring, suckers living in the lake swim up tributaries, usually at night. Spawning takes place with a female holding in place over a gravel bottom while two or more males take positions along side her. Spawning does not take long, but usually involves a considerable amount of thrashing around which could have created the splashing you heard if they were in shallow water.
Bass in the lake do not go into streams to spawn. Rather, they stay in the lake and lay their eggs in shallow water, the male sticking around for some time after the eggs have hatched. Suckers provide no such guardianship. They return to the lake shortly after they spawn. The eggs, and the small fry that hatch from them, are on their own. HFNY

Q. A very small baby bird has fallen from its nest in a tree in my backyard. I am afraid something might happen to it if I leave it there on the ground. Should I bring it into the house and feed it until it is able to fly? KS

A. No. The best thing to do is put the bird carefully back into the nest (or the nest itself back into the tree). But, do this ONLY IF YOU CAN DO IT SAFELY. Don't worry about getting your scent on the bird. Also, some birds that appear to have fallen from the nest are actually recently fledged and are learning to fly. They will not stay in the nest. DEC

Q. A few minutes ago, I was walking through the woods behind our house and saw several young raccoons on the ground near a large hollow tree. I wonder if they fell out of the hole way up in the tree and the mother has abandoned them because she can't put them back in their nest. Should I bring them home and care for them?  AW

A. No. Most likely, the young raccoons are merely exploring and their mother is nearby. They are probably old enough to be fully capable of climbing back up the tree to their den when they are ready to return. If they were too young to climb, the mother would carry them back. Also, you must remember that raccoons can carry rabies and can transmit it to humans, so do not attempt to handle them. DEC

Q. I hunted woodcock for years in the northeast before I moved to Georgia. Starting in December or January I start seeing woodcocks as they arrive from their southern migration. What puzzles me is that the males make the same mating calls (peents) and perform the same mating flights I used to witness up north in March and April. What’s going on? Do they mate down south in the winter (which resembles spring up north) and then fly north to raise another brood?

A. Although the mating call and spectacular courtship flights of the American woodcock are primarily associated with early spring, people have heard them “peenting” in every month of the year. Woodcocks breed from southeastern Canada to central Florida so the males you see going through their call and flight displays in midwinter (Georgia style) may be year round residents. Territorial displays are basically the same as the courtship ritual and usually start a little earlier. Maybe the birds you heard were just trying to get a jump on the competition. One study found that the frequency of males “singing”at the end of January in Louisiana approached that heard on northern breeding grounds in the spring.
There may be another explanation as well. Migrating woodcocks winter as far south as southern Florida and may begin their return trip as early as the beginning of February. Some observers have reported that male woodcocks migrating north sometimes stop along the way and go through their courtship rituals, even though they are not yet ready to mate. Perhaps some of the birds you observed were just passing through with no intention of mating until they reached their breeding grounds in the north. Remember: with the woodcocks that live in your part of Georgia year round, plus the winter visitors from the north, there may be a greater density of woodcocks than you were used to seeing when you lived up north. So if even a small percentage of woodcocks are “performing” out of season, it may seem like a lot compared to what you were used to.