Black Bass Fishing …could be the most fishing fun for all ages.
Not only does June 20th mark the first day of summer, but it’s also the traditional season opener for black bass (largemouth bass and smallmouth bass) in New York. They’re considered the state’s #1 sportfish for good reason – they’re a lot of fun to catch and they’re found throughout the state.
The statewide black bass season runs from the 3rd Saturday in June through November 30, followed by a catch-and-release season that begins on December 1 and continues until the start of the regular season. During the traditional harvest season, anglers can possess up to five bass as long as they are 12 inches or longer. Some waters have special fishing regulations, so be sure to check the current fishing regulations before heading out to fish.
For an effective and easy-to-rig set up, check out the Wacky Rig article on DEC’s website.
DEC Announces Extension of Online Hunter Education Course Through August
Offerings Now Include Online Bowhunter Course
24,000 Hunters Have Completed Online Course since April; New York State Sporting License Sales Up Nearly 10 Percent
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC’s online hunter education course will continue to be available through Aug. 31, 2020. All hunters must complete a mandatory hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license. In addition, DEC is making an online bowhunter education course option available beginning July 15. Since mid-April, more than 24,000 hunters have successfully completed the online hunter education course, about 20 percent more than typically take it. Of those completing the online course about 40 percent were women, compared to 27 percent female participants in the traditional in-person course. In addition, almost half of the people taking the online course were 30 years of age or older, compared to 30 percent for the in-person course.
“Many new hunters went afield for this year’s turkey season and we look forward to continuing to welcome new hunters with this online safety course,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Hunter safety is our top priority, and expanding the availability of these online courses will help us engage more New Yorkers who are ready to be a part of our state’s proud hunting tradition.”
All hunters who wish to hunt big game with a bow must complete a mandatory bowhunter education course in addition to the required hunter education course. The online hunter education course was first made available in April after in-person hunter education courses were cancelled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The online course provided an opportunity for first-time hunters who wanted to go afield during New York’s spring turkey season to receive their hunter education certificate before the season started in May. Extending the availability of the online course and adding the bowhunter course option will allow first-time hunters and new archery hunters the opportunity to get their required hunter education and bowhunter education certificates prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.
DEC’s Hunter Education Program (HEP) is partnering with Kalkomey Enterprises, a company that specializes in hunter education, to offer the online courses that can be completed in six to eight hours. The online courses cover all the topics of traditional in-person courses including firearm and bow safety, tree stand safety, hunting ethics, wildlife conservation, and New York State hunting laws and regulations.
Students who successfully complete the online courses and pass the final exam will receive their hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate. The courses are available to individuals 11 and older, but only those 12 or older may purchase a hunting license. Students can complete the courses from a computer, tablet, or smart phone at any time. Visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program page to learn more or to sign up.
To take and receive a hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate through the online course, participants must be New York State residents. The cost of the hunter education course is $19.95 and the cost for the bowhunter education course is $30. Both courses can be accessed at DEC’s website. The online courses will be available through Aug. 31, 2020.
Sporting License Sales Increase Nearly 10 Percent in 2020
As New Yorkers continue to recreate locally to prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in sporting license sales overall. For the period that roughly coincides with New York State on PAUSE, resident turkey permits increased 49 percent, junior hunting licenses increased by 60 percent or more, and resident hunting licenses increased by 130 percent. Certain types of lifetime licenses also increased by as much as 146 percent. A combination of factors, including the availability of online hunter education for new hunters and time available to participate in the spring turkey season, likely contributed to the increase.
Tens of thousands of additional resident fishing licenses were also sold compared to the same time last year, with increases of 30 percent for annual and one-day fishing licenses. Non-resident and senior fishing license sales decreased as anticipated following the COVID-19-related guidance issued by New York and other states.
For more information on recreational opportunities available in New York State visit DEC’s website. New Yorkers are encouraged to engage in responsible recreation close to home during the State’s ongoing response to COVID-19. DEC recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. For more information, go to DEC’s website.
We sincerely hope that you and your families are well and that you have enjoyed this unusual Easter weekend more than expected. Yesterday, here in Western New York, it was a gorgeous spring day. As you can see, the daffodils at the end of the vineyard rows are celebrating.
We appreciate, with gratitude, all of the interest and support we are receiving from our customers. Thank you for serving our wines at your tables.
Going forward, we can send periodic updates of activities on the farm (pruning is finished and trellis repairs have begun) and in the winery (secondary in-bottle fermentation has been started for the Sparkling Traminette and our new estate-grown Chardonnay-Pinot Noir Cuveé!) – for neither the vines nor the wines in the tanks understand that there is a pandemic.
We are confident that by the time these sparkling wines are ready to be released that we will be free to enjoy them together.
Need a fresh taste of Spring?
Dry Rose of Pinot Noir
Traditional “French provençal” rosé – perfect with dinner, especially when served not-too-cold. She doesn’t usually pour a second glass, but Jennifer did with this one!
Ruby Dry Rosé Made from Maréchal Foch grapes and bursting with fruity flavors. Don’t tell anyone, but Jennifer said that this wine is the first one that ever made her think of the word “gulp”!
Learn How to Develop Your Own Turkey Hunting Expertise
Learn Where to Sit, What to Look For, How to Locate Turkey
Learn about Calls to Use, Decoy Set-Up, Location
By Jim Monteleone
A friend of mine asked me a long time ago what my secret was to killing two turkeys in Virginia every year. I could have offered up some tactic that he would have accepted as borderline magic, but the secret is that there are no secrets!
Experience over 40-plus seasons has taught me a few things, but the key to filling tags is simple.
I had an outline for seminars entitled “FIND them, CALL them and TAG them”. This will be the focus of a three-part series. Each of these elements is critical to your potential success.
Knowing the bird and his habitat – therein lays the most critical knowledge in the sport of turkey hunting. I know this because I’ve hunted turkeys in many states. I’ve hunted in places that I knew very, very well. And I also have hunted in places that I walked into for the first time as a guest.
From the Deep South to the far north, and even the western states, I’ve seen and called in birds that were chased and harassed almost on a daily basis in the spring.
Here is what I know.
I know there are places were turkeys like to be in the morning and what they do after “fly down.” It’s a huge advantage to know where they roost. Someone once said, “Roosted ain’t roasted,” and that’s true, but being within a hundred yards at sunrise is a huge advantage.
Instincts play a huge role in getting into the brain of a turkey.
Hens go to the gobbler (usually a dominant bird) in order to breed.
Hens seek out openings in which to nest. The places like pastures and clear cuts draw insects and that’s what young turkeys eat.
So a hen will stake out a territory near an opening.
Gobblers strut to gain the attention of receptive hens. They do this in fields and on open hardwood ridges. So you might want to sound like a hen, but you have to think like a gobbler.
Finding turkeys is not just in locating openings.
They need water every day, so there has to be a water source in the area.
They need grit to process the foods they ingest and they like to dust in warm weather that supports insect life.
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes get into their feathers and dusting is the turkey’s way of getting rid of them.
Roost trees can be anywhere, but most often they are on the fringes of an opening or within a hundred yards. If you can locate these trees you are ready for business.
Although be careful not to crowd the tree and possibly scatter and spook the birds.
Birds will gobble and yelp from the roost.
Being there an hour before official sunrise is always my goal.
I’m here to listen!
I go in quietly and I listen.
I set up my decoys and I listen.
When I hear the first turkey sound, I wait to see if there are both hens and gobblers or just hens. If there are any birds, I’m glued to that spot.
You won’t often find just hens.
If all you hear are gobblers it may be a small group (2-4) of jakes.
A single bird gobbling is a pretty good bet to be a mature long beard.
Your set up is critical.
I try to be on higher ground than the bird because my outline won’t be totally visible if he’s coming up a rise.
My back is against a bigger tree, but not the biggest tree.
The biggest tree is where our eyes go and I believe that holds true for the gobbler too.
I have one knee up to rest my shotgun and I alter my position slightly to allow a solid aiming point in the direction of the last gobble I hear. I make small adjustments (an inch or two) slowly until I can see the bird.
In summary for part 1, birds need food, water, open woods or a clearing to be found in an area.
Preseason scouting should reveal at least a starting point.
No preseason calling unless it’s a locator call like an owl hooter or a crow call.
Educating the birds in the preseason by yelping is a really poor idea.
Birds tend to gobble more on clear, cool days when there is very little wind, but I hunt every chance I get. I have killed birds before, during and after some rain on gray, windy days.
More on calling and bringing a bird into shotgun range in Part 2, coming up.
NYS Annual Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend Set for April 20-21
Junior Hunters must be 12-15 yrs of age
Junior Hunters must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that spring turkey season opens May 1, in all of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC’s annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place on April 20-21. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters ages 12-15 is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.
“Hunters across New York are looking forward to the excitement of spring turkey hunting, which requires an understanding of turkey behavior, navigation, and field skills, an ability to locate and call in birds, and take a good shot,” Commissioner Seggos said. “I encourage hunters to act responsibly, follow regulations, and adhere to the cardinal rules of hunting safety.”
Turkey hunters took an estimated 19,000 birds in New York during last year’s spring season. Of this number, an estimated 2,000 birds were taken by approximately 5,400 junior hunters during last year’s two-day, youth-only hunt. Poor turkey reproductive success in summer 2017 may mean that hunters see fewer adult gobblers this spring compared to last year, but this may be offset by opportunities for jakes resulting from improved reproductive success in 2018 and good overwinter survival.
Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 20 and 21
Hunters 12-15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit;
Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian;
The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt;
Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day;
The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and across Suffolk County;
The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth’s regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1;
Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older; and
All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.
Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, 2019:
Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island;
Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license;
Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day;
Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day;
Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow;
Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested; and
Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online at DEC’s Game Harvest Reporting website.
For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2018-19 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the “Turkey Hunting” pages of DEC’s website.
DEC Continues to Encourage Hunter Safety:
While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course.
Point your gun in a safe direction;
Treat every gun as if it were loaded;
Be sure of your target and beyond; and
Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink to make themselves more visible to other hunters. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot. When hunting in tree stands, use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, hunters should never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded firearm. New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, largely due to the annual efforts of more than 3,000 dedicated volunteer hunter education instructors. A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To find a hunter education class in your area, visit DEC’s Hunter Education Program website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).
Citizen Science Opportunity: DEC Seeks Turkey Hunters for Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey
Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited to monitor ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to DEC’s website or call (518) 402-8883.
To participate in DEC’s Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the “Citizen Science” page of DEC’s website.
Shooting a firearm while Hunting within 500 feet of a house is illegal in New York
Carrying the Tags of Another Person not signed over to you is illegal in New York
There are quite a few rules to hunt inn New York State, but they are designed to keep people safe and to keep the wildlife herd of deer well-managed. Most of the rules are common sense.
On Nov. 30 in Herkimer and Oneida Counties, several complainants were called in to New York State Environmental Conservation Officer Ben Tabor about a buck suspected of being taken over bait in the town of Ohio. The deer had been entered in a local big buck contest.
ECO Tabor determined where the deer had been shot after finding a large bait pile with the gut pile next to it. The ECO interviewed the suspect, who admitted to taking the buck illegally. The deer was seized as evidence and summons were issued for hunting over a pre-established bait pile and the illegal taking of a deer.
On Dec. 2, ECO John Gates received a call from an informant stating that a large buck had been killed by a suspect that had posted pictures on Facebook of him feeding deer close to his camp. As the officer pulled onto the property, he noticed piles of alfalfa and corn. The hunter claimed he had shot the deer halfway back into his 100-acre parcel. Officer Gates followed sled tracks to a gut pile within 30 yards of the bait. The man admitted to shooting the deer and was charged with illegal taking of deer, hunting over bait and carrying the tags of another person. The deer was seized as evidence and the charges are returnable to Forestport Town Court.
Giant gray squirrels are not uncommon in the southern tier forest lands of New York State. Forrest Fisher Photo
Hunters and Trappers Favorite Time of Year…Open Season
Hunting seasons for big game like whitetail deer and black bear are underway with the archery season. Likewise, many small game species, like ruffed grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, and wild turkey, are also open and in progress.
Hunting and trapping seasons for bobcat, raccoon and fox, and trapping seasons for fisher and mink began in some regions of the state on October 25th. Be sure to check the New York State Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide for the season dates and regulations for your hunting or trapping area.
Wild turkey hunting in the Southern Zone began October 20th and runs through Nov. 2nd. Hunters are required to have a turkey permit, and the statewide season bag limit is one bird of either sex.
Remember, harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and by regulation, hunters must report their harvest of a turkey within seven days of taking the animal. DEC encourages hunters to, “Take it, tag it, and then report it.”
Trappers should note special permit requirements are required for fisher and marten trapping seasons. Fisher season began on October 25th in many WMUs and fisher and marten season began today in the Adirondacks. All fisher and marten trappers must obtain a special, free permit from their regional wildlife office, submit a trapping activity log, and submit the skull or jaw from harvested fishers and martens.
DEC’s wildlife managers rely on the information supplied by trappers to help manage populations of these popular furbearers. To obtain a free fisher or fisher/marten permit, trappers should contact their regional wildlife office or apply by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only one fisher or fisher/marten permit is needed to trap these species anywhere in New York where the season is open. For more information, see page 54 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.
As always, please follow the basic rules of hunter safety to protect yourself and other hunters this season.
Through the weekend and right now, flows in the Oak are medium or maybe just slightly more than medium. There were reports that flows retreated yesterday and that may have just been a temporary thing. Water color is clearing with 2 ft or more of visibility. By steelhead standards, the conditions are real nice for productive drifts and swings up and down the river.
Weather has cooled and there is no great warm up in the immediate future. Highs forecast in the 30’s°F or near 40°F with chance of rain or snow showers through this week. No significant accumulations are expected.
Fishing pressure is light so far through this week. From earlier warmer weather and higher flows, there was some spawning activity. That may be stalled some now but fish may still be in fast water areas with greater concentrations of fish more upstream then down. Still plenty of fish at the dam that haven’t dropped back looking to stage or spawn yet. Most anglers getting good drifts or swings are into a few or more hook ups in an outing.
Hospitable Lake Ontario conditions (warm water temps) may cause some fish to linger before making a later-in-the-season-run. More fresh fish should be trickling in, especially with the next warm up and/or rise in flows.
Reports are light from the other area smaller tributaries that are dropping down to moderate and clearing flows. To the west there should be scattered steelhead for drifters and to the east there should be a brown trout/steelhead mix for swingers. Niagara and Bar action is reported good for mixed bag species and small boat trollers or casters are into multiple hook ups when wind and waves and water color cooperate for near shore action.
From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County, let’s make everyday a great fishing day right here in Orleans County! Contact us for more info: Orleans County Tourism, Orleans County Tourism, 14016 Route 31 West, Albion, NY 14411. For more info, click the image below or email: email@example.com.
Remember those days in school when the teacher said, “Time up, pens down!”
New York deer hunters take note, time is almost up. The close of the New York southern zone firearm season (shotgun, rifle, handgun) for deer and bear hunting is just ahead, ending this Sunday, Dec. 10, at sunset. The next morning at sunrise, the extended combination late big game season opens for an additional nine days, to include crossbow, late archery and muzzleloader (black powder) season, ending on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at sunset.
When you consider that the big game season in New York’s southern zone (area south and west of the Adirondacks) actually started on the first Saturday of October, then ran for 6-1/2 weeks through the start of firearm season that began on Nov. 18 for three weeks and two days, and now the late season for nine days. That adds up to a little more than 11 weeks of big game hunting season for deer and bear. Wow, that’s 79 days of big game hunting!
The annual cost for the regular resident season firearms hunting privilege (license) in New York is $22 (includes big game and small game), the resident archery privilege is an additional $15 and the muzzleloader/crossbow privilege is also an additional $15. Total cost for all possible combinations during the big game season is a mere $52 for those 16 years of age and over (through 69 years old), or about 65 cents a day. AND, if you purchase the archery and muzzleloader license, you are provided with a free (no additional fee) either-sex deer permit and a free antlerless deer permit. So for $52, you can harvest 2 bucks and 1 doe over those 79 days of New York big game hunting seasons. The regular season license will allow the hunter to bag one antlered deer (a buck).
For just $10 more, the hunter can purchase an application to enter a random drawing for two deer management permits allowing the harvest of one antlerless deer (doe) per permit in a designated wildlife management unit (WMU) of the hunter’s choice – if the management unit doe harvest is deemed available by the DEC and you are among the lucky hunters to win in the random drawing to help control deer overpopulation. Hence, while it is common knowledge that scientific deer management is based upon controlling the population of female deer, in New York, hunters have to pay for the privilege of helping to administer the science.
New York is so interesting.
In addition, if you happen to hunt in a wildlife management unit where there are too many deer, additional doe permits can be purchased for, you guessed it, $10 for two. For example, in WMU-9F, that is Elma, northern East Aurora and related adjacent areas, a hunter could obtain two more permits. If you have a lifetime license, those permits are free.
New York is so interesting.
If you add all that up, that’s seven possible deer for the freezer or the food pantry. Over 79 days of hunting, that is an average of about one deer every 10 days if you’re really good at this hunting thing, but if you are like me and many other hunters at this point of the season, you might still be looking for your first deer for the year. Hmmm, so what’s up with that?
Well, in a state with about 590,000 big game hunters, the annual harvest is 230,000 deer or so (buck and doe). While the numbers say that only about one in every three hunters will even harvest a deer, the DEC seems to be doing their part in providing hunters with access (long season), affordability (low cost) and opportunity (many state forests and access areas open to hunting). Kudo’s to New York for this.
Not without purpose, New York wildlife management groups appear to be working with safety management and insurance groups that report about 70,000 deer-vehicle collisions annually in the Empire State, with an average cost of about $4,000 per incident. Across the country, 238 people were killed in 2015 when their vehicle struck an animal or when they tried to avoid striking an animal.
Add that deer also are also responsible for transportation of deer ticks that carry Lyme disease, it would seem New York needs even more harvest by hunters to control the malady of too many deer. So why is New York charging hunters $10 to purchase a deer management permit application?
New York is so interesting.
Because this is New York, the land of nothing is free. Your guess is as good as mine.
It would seem that with these data, the doe permits should be cheaper than free for every hunter. I like that hunting for deer is affordable in New York when compared to other states, but understanding the issues present (collisions, Lyme disease, property damage), New York needs to do more to raise the number of hunters out there and reduce the numbers of deer.
How about if NY were to pay every hunter $25 for every deer harvest? Yes! Could such a simple incentive help the deer management group and would it also achieve the goal of accurate hunter harvest reporting?
How about if NY were to plant food plots in state forest areas? We would see far less deer, safer highways, etc., etc.
With the start of New York’s most popular big game season slated for Saturday, Nov. 18, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging hunters to be safe, enjoy the natural beauty of the environment, and consider passing up shots on young bucks.
“New York has some of the best hunting opportunities in the nation, and our ongoing conservation efforts and hunter safety programs are providing ample opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy all New York has to offer,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Deer and bear hunting is also an important tool for New Yorkers to assist our wildlife management efforts and critical for controlling populations especially in areas and habitats where deer overabundance are causing ecological damage. The opening of the Southern Zone regular season is a cherished tradition for many families, drawing friends and relatives together for a weekend afield. I wish all hunters a safe and successful season.”
Deer hunting has been changing in New York, with more hunters opting to voluntarily pass up shots at young, small-antlered bucks in favor of letting them grow to be older, larger bucks. DEC is encouraging hunters to make a difference for the future of the deer herd and increase their likelihood of seeing older, larger bucks by choosing to Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow.
Regular Firearms Season for Deer and Bear Begins Nov. 18 The 2017 regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York’s Southern Zone begin at sunrise on Saturday, Nov. 18, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 10. The Southern Zone regular season is New York’s most popular hunting season; approximately 85 percent of New York’s 575,000 licensed hunters participate. Harvest during this season accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total statewide deer harvest and between 30 to 60 percent of the statewide bear harvest.
Following the regular deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will run from Dec. 11 through Dec. 19. Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess a hunting license and either bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege(s).
In the Northern Zone, the regular deer and bear hunting season opened Oct. 21, and will close at sunset on Dec. 3. The Northern Zone includes the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain, and the Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys. A late bowhunting and muzzleloading season for deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone from Dec. 4 to Dec. 10.
DEC Encourages Hunter Safety
While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. DEC believes every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and Commissioner Seggos is encouraging hunters to use common sense this season and to remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunters Education Course.
Point your gun in a safe direction.
Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
Be sure of your target and beyond.
Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
DEC also encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in a hunter’s direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
When hunting in tree stands, use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, hunters should never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle and never set a tree stand above 20 feet.
Help Protect New York Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease
Although no new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in New York deer have been found since 2005, DEC continues to take the threat of CWD seriously. CWD is fatal to deer, and if introduced, could spread rapidly. Once established, CWD is practically impossible to eliminate from the wild deer herd. Preventing CWD from entering New York is the most effective disease-management strategy. Hunters can help protect New York’s deer herd from CWD by following these tips:
If hunting outside of New York, debone or quarter the deer before returning to the state, and follow the law about importing carcasses or carcass parts from outside of New York. CWD Regulations for Hunters.
Use only lures or attractant scents that do not contain deer-based urine.
Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not on the landscape.
Report any deer that appears sick or is acting abnormally.
Report Your Harvest – Remember: Take It – Tag It – Report It
Hunter contributions to deer and bear management don’t end when an animal is harvested. All successful hunters are required to report their harvest of deer and bear within seven days. Failure to report is a violation of the Environmental Conservation Law and reduces the data DEC uses to manage deer and bear populations. Hunters may report via DEC’s online game harvest reporting system or by calling the toll-free automated reporting system at 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778).
Additional Reminders for the 2017 Southern Zone Regular Hunting Season
Choose non-lead ammunition for high quality meat and reduced risk of lead exposure to humans and wildlife.
Hunger Has A Cure… The Venison Donation Program (link leaves DEC’s website) is a great way to help those less fortunate while assisting with deer management in New York.
Lure of Autumn Bass Fishing, Lake Trout, Landlocked Salmon
Sights of Colorful Foliage
Plans for Waterfowl Hunting, Stream Fishing for Brook Trout
By Forrest Fisher
My workday plan was busy with a business trip from New York City to Montreal. The airport traffic was heavy, the security lines long, longer than ever, the sky was clear and it was a beautiful day. I was not happy with bumper to bumper traffic conversation between the interstate roadway vehicles and the morning disc jockeys were in a rant about their bummed weekend. They made the congestion worse. Then I suddenly realized, “I can drive!”
About two hours or so up the northbound highway, the traffic was gone and I discovered a wonderful sense of peace and quiet. I left the long lines of airport security, the chaos of baggage, laptop checks and body scans behind. All gone. All replaced by a road trip drive that would change my persona for the day, maybe forever.
There was a faint sliver of fog rising from the valleys that appeared like slices of horizontal white pie resting among the high and very dark mountain peaks of the Adirondacks in the background. Driving down Highway 87, the road signs announced Lake George and despite the near-darkness, I noticed that the autumn scenery was stunning in this particular area. Signs advertised fly fishing, Hudson River rafting, rail trail bikes, historical sites, boating, biking, hiking and more. These diverted my mind and were tempting me to consider a new daytime destination, maybe as just a momentary, side-of-the-highway, homesteader. Yes, I thought, pull over, if only just to watch the enchanting sunrise.
Rocky bluffs jutted upward and outward along the freeway, as I tried to focus on driving and not the scenic beauty. That was just not possible. The scenic views were an immediate visual award, an instant lottery prize win, just for making this drive. I sensed myself grinning to the view, perhaps that was one honest measure of my sheer contentment.
A few minutes later, in the distance, the brilliant orange ball of morning sun began to tiptoe upward. It was only a dull orange color sky at first, and then the first sliver of the sun crest rose just above the lowest horizon in the east. I pulled off the roadway at Exit 21 and decided I needed a cup of java just to watch the morning light. Driving down Beach Road in Lake George Village, sort of exploring too, my business trip had become an adventure.
I continued along Highway 9L just for a few minutes, it was October and many business places were already closed for the season, but it was so quiet, so enjoyable. Then I came to Dunham’s Bay Resort (www.dunhamsbay.com). I went in and asked about coffee. Yes! They had fresh java and all the mixings, it smelled so good. I toasted a cup to my decision to drive and thought about those poor folks that were probably still waiting in the airport line, grinning again.
I moved to the front of the resort and sat in one of the outdoor lawn chairs. The warm Lake George water and chilly mountain air caused a fog to form on Dunham’s Bay right in front of the resort. It became thick and started to settle before it started to rise. I went back in for more coffee. With cup number two, I realized I was looking at the highest mountain tops to the west, visible above the fog. They suddenly emerged into a sea of brilliant color as the sun lit them up. A flock of ducks went squawking by in flight, high overhead, that I heard, but could not see. My brief adventure continued. The natural intense lighting of the sun was doing everyday work. I was inspired by the dazzling beauty and the coffee tasted so good.
An immediate urge for home ownership in the area seemed an almost immediate necessity. How did I ever miss this Lake George area before? Perhaps, if only for now, I might try for a short stay. No. Maybe on the way back, I thought, that way I could stay a day or maybe two. Today, back to reality, there were meetings planned and work to do.
I realized that with the flight reservation and airport plan from the start, my fly rod was not with me. On the next drive north, there might have to be a stopover. Imaginary fog would be the cause, I’d need to pull over to stay safe. Again, I’m grinning. What a plan. I realize that this drive to a brief coffee stop has me totally energized.
A new essence for realizing the seasons of the year was added to my list of “important things,” the autumn colors of October on Lake George are unforgettable. Perhaps I must remember to do this again, maybe when NOT ON BUSINESS next year, I thought to myself. It is a family type of destination, I could bring everyone, the grandkids too.
My cellphone is activated and the calendar is reserved one year ahead around the seasons and the scenery just recorded only to memory. Of course, I’ll never forget this day.
The backcountry is a new priority. I return to the ribbons of roadway heading north with a new vision of the stunning foliage and clean, spring-fed, waterways that are abundant here. These waters are filled with trout and untainted crustaceans. Pleasantly now, I’m in a new comfort zone for effective business and again, I’m grinning. Driving was such a good idea.
Time spent in the Adirondack Mountains of New York during autumn are positively special. October is the month of color transition in the Lake George area of the Adirondack Mountains and lush green leaves turn to brilliant colors of bright yellow, orange and red. They are unforgettable.
Color and visions from morning light to sunset are remarkable all around Lake George. Accommodations are at low rates and fishing charters are still running. The crisp air is right for a fall getaway.
Not sure I can wait for next time!
For Lake George information, visit www.visitlakegeorge.com or call the Warren County Tourism Department at 518-761-7653.
Quality Line, Sharp Hooks, Stiff Rod can help ASSURE Hookup & Catch
By Forrest Fisher
When does the adventure of a short fishing trip become special?
After that unforgettable connection to big fish success.
When the fun is non-stop spontaneous.
When you realize something very good happened that was not totally expected.
When you’re fishing with your grandson!
That’s when. Grandkids grow up too quick, but they sure create some great memories that become more than special. Here’s one trip story that is time-honored in my “greatest gift” memory scrapbook.
Bass boats with 250HP engines whizzed from spot to spot around the lake, their engines echoing brilliant monotones of sheer power among lake cottages and the luscious green hills. You could sense the connection to new technology watching them.
There were jet-ski rigs too, and water skiers, and brave stand-up paddle board folks, and kids in tow on floating rafts behind family-sized pontoon boats – there was lots of mid-afternoon activity. Fun activity.
There was also one bright-yellow 12-foot Mirrocraft aluminum boat with two anglers and only two fishing rods. In the sun, the yellow boat rig was easily visible from a half-mile, but looking from the bottom up, it was so bright that it matched the sunshine. An uncommon mode for fishing stealth.
There was no gas-powered engine on the transom. It was a very common, simple, durable, car-top fishing boat with wooden oars for normal motion, except for one thing: On the bow was mounted an old-time, cable-drive, foot-pedal controlled Johnson 12V electric motor on a cross-piece of pressure-treated board. The battery was in a case in the back of the boat for weight distribution and a shielded electric cable, duct-taped along the side of the boat, made the power connection. A Lowrance X-50 sonar unit, tiny in size and volume, but effective, was also hooked in, providing underwater eyes for depth awareness.
The rig offered stealth movement in sheer silence. It provided more ability to work a quiet fishing line around weedbeds, docks, and rocks and buoy markers, maybe even more stealth than one of the new $85,000 bass boat rigs.
With a 15-pound cannon-ball anchor for holding position in the wind, it was simply efficient. In fact, it was a pretty slick-looking fishing rig in a class all by itself. Even with movement, it did not spook fish – big bass, that were nearby.
The fella driving the boat was my grandson. I’m so proud that he shares a similar passion for the outdoors, like I do, and that his father does too – now a long-standing family tradition. It’s the kind of passion and tradition that keeps us all curious to learn more about new things we find when we spend time in the outdoors. It helps to bring us back to meet adventure in the outdoors time and again, and that next time can never be far away.
His fishing rigs are simple, but like the boat, are totally functional. He has thought this out. The boat and fishing rigs are assembled to hook and land big black bass. His humble Shimano open-face spinning reel is mounted on a 7-foot long, semi-stiff graphite rod (Carbon-X, S-15) with 10-pound Gamma braid line that has 6-feet of 16-pound fluorocarbon Sun Line leader tied to the end. The leader is dock-tough line, thin in diameter and is nearly invisible. The 10-pound braid allows feathered casts for short pinpoint casting, or into the wind with a little “wrist-reach” for long distance.
Terminal tackle includes heavy-wire size 3/0 VMC hooks, the same kind used by many of the Elite Series pro anglers. His favorite bass bait? Friend and bass pro-staffer, Scott Callen, recommended the Sun Line and the 6-inch Big-Bite-Baits “TRICK STICK” plastic worms. My grandson rigs them Texas-style to be weedless (not wacky). An assortment of worm colors is visible in the clear plastic Plano tackle box on the boat seat, and there is only one box. My grandson adds, “Why complicate simple fishing, but just gotta make sure you have that green-pumpkin red flake in there.”
A check with Ted’s Bait & Tackle in Lakeville, N.Y. (opens at 6AM every day, (585) 429-0587), helped with the plastic worm color selection. Proprietor Ted Decker and associate, Bill Brizzee, know the lake and what’s working, and they provided advice about the Big Bite Bait worm colors. Brizzee says, “Yeah, you know they’re priced right ($1.99) in a 5-pack package and we go through ‘em pretty quick when the fish are biting – like this time of year, especially that green-pumpkin color and black w/red sparkle color.”
My grandson stood up in the rig and said, “This little boat is so easy to take places, it is so stable in the water and so safe, and so crafty inside the areas I like to fish. The weed lines, the tree blow-downs near inlet and outlet creeks, the docks, and if you splash-cast up into the shade of whatever structure you can find – even in 6-inches of water, so that your worm entry makes little or no sound, it just settles and sinks – the fish just jump on it. Getting the presentation right is fun! It took me a few years to get better at good casting though.” I knew about those fun years, “Look, you caught a 40-foot hemlock tree!” More good memories.
He went on to show me his nearly perfected casting technique,splash-casting, and on the second cast, he said, “There he goes, he’s movin with it.” He reared back and set the hook two-handed. “Got ‘em! Fish on!” He smiled with that look of fun and approval. Not using the net, he reached over the side and lipped the big bass. One picture later the fish went back to swim another day.
He did that 11 more times in the next two hours. The largest for this day was a healthy 4.65 pounder and the smallest was a 13-incher. All of the fish were plump and with good color.
Sunfish and perch make up a large part of the bass diet here, but why they like plastic worms is still anyone’s guess. I suppose they look like a salamander, leech, snake, nightcrawler or other edible live bait forms too, but one thing for sure, the fish like ‘em – or hate ‘em, because they seem to destroy them.
Before fishing, we reviewed the Conesus Lake Fishing Forum on Facebook at this link: https://www.facebook.com/ConesusLakeFishingForum/. We noted that there is a weekly, 3-fish, Tuesday evening fun bass contest open to all anglers that begins at the state launch in the central portion of the lake. Exactly where did we fish? We launched at the north end of the lake and followed the directions and advice provided by the NYSDEC to fish the lake. Visit this link: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/25575.html.
We worked the weedbed edges, shadow side of some of the docks, and we also did some deep jigging in 25 feet of water. Found success there too, but switched to using sonar-style vertical jig baits there.
Advice for the next trip? Leave no docks and weedbed drop-offs unexplored, don’t forget the water bottles and the peanut butter/jelly sandwiches.
Tight lines everyone.
31 pound, 10 ounce Orleans County Salmon is WINNER
Summer Fish are on the Big Bite
Today is Wednesday Aug. 2, 2017.
First, I’d like to congratulate the winners of the Summer LOC Derby, especially those that were caught out of Orleans County. Out of Orleans County, we had First Place in the salmon division with a 31.1-pound salmon caught by Kristin Wilson. Victor Rowcliffe had the 4th place salmon weighing 29.05 pounds
In the Lake Trout Division, the 4th place fish weighed 21.1 pounds and was caught by James Irene and the 7th place fish was 20.04 pounds caught by Michael Wichtowski.
In the Rainbow/Steelhead Division, Darwin Snow caught the 6th place fish which weighed 12.15 pounds, 10th place was Tiffany Keicher’s 11.15-pound fish, 13th place went to Laura Brown with a 11.11-pound fish and the 17th place fish weighed 11.08 pounds and was caught by Patrick Pullinzi.
All in all, not a bad showing for the great fishing waters we enjoy in Lake Ontario off Orleans County.
Fishing on Lake Ontario seems to have moved off shore and for right and now seems to be taking place around the 30 line and beyond.
Good catches of both salmon and steelhead are being reported using a mixture of both spoons and flasher/fly combinations in a multitude of color patterns.
On the Erie Canal, around the wide water area, some great catfish catches are being taken along with many other species.
Lake Alice still has some great bass fishing in the upper stretches where the boat traffic is much lighter. The lower stretches of the “Oak” are still producing northern pike and bass.
The weather for the rest of this week and into next week contains the possibility of some pop-up showers and thunderstorms so keep a lookout for them.
From Point Breeze on Lake Ontario, the World Fishing Network’s Ultimate Fishing Town USA and the rest of Orleans County. We try to make everyday a great fishing day in Orleans County.
Integrated Map Provides Fish Locations, Shore Fishing Access, Boat Access
Depth Contours ZERO-IN on Hotspot Fishing Locations
Bait Shops, Marina Locations, Shipwrecks, ALL HERE…ALL FREE
By Forrest Fisher
There is a NEW interactive, online, Western New York Hotspot Fishing Map application that is yours FREE at this link: https://wnyfishing.mrf.com.
The regional website map has been designed for everyone, including for cellphone and laptop use. It is the perfect “get-it-now” reference tool for many user groups. Boaters, anglers, scuba divers, vacationers and many other groups, family fishing groups, now have good waterway reference map. Need to research waterway areas of the Greater Niagara Region of New York State BEFORE the trip? Here is your resource.
The map spotlights lake depth contours, boating access points, marinas, shore fishing sites, sunken wrecks, fish species locations, bait shops, information sources, dining establishments and give all that to the user with GPS coordinates. Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties offer some of the best freshwater sportfishing the world has ever seen!
World class walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, musky, trout, salmon, all here, and many species of panfish. Nearly everything an avid fisherman would ever want. Carp and Channel Catfish too.
The Greater Niagara Region has established a reputation that boasts excellence in sportfishing, boating, kayaking, and outdoor on-the-water recreation. Hire a charter, bring your own boat or fish from shore, the new regional map website will be useful for everyone who looks to quench a hungry angling appetite.
The website map is perfect for the outdoor enthusiast and for families looking to get back to finding the family fun of the outdoors through fishing and boating. There are many other outdoor attractions, state and county parks, hiking paths, bird-watching opportunities (the Niagara River Corridor is internationally recognized as an important bird area), hunting options and more. There are cultural, historical and recreational highlights from Lewiston in Niagara County, to Buffalo in Erie County and to Jamestown in Chautauqua County. The new website and map app offers access to outdoor information and adds value for visitors and residents alike.
The website (https://wnyfishing.mrf.com) offers information to get you started and headed in the right direction, from charter listings to marina information; from shore fishing spots to license information. Unfortunately, it can’t help you set the hook and reel the fish in!
Greater Niagara – You’ll “fall for us” all over again reel soon!
This map was made possible through the funding of Erie and Niagara Counties. It was prepared cooperatively between Erie and Niagara County’s respective Sportfishing Promotion Programs, with assistance from the Erie and Niagara County Fisheries Advisory Boards. Additional maps may be obtained by calling: Buffalo-Niagara CVB at 800-BUFFALO or Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. at 877-FALLS US.
Released to Coyle Hill State Forest, Allegany County
On July 5, Environmental Conservation Officer’s Russ Calanni and Jason Powers, and Lt. Don Pleakis and Division of Wildlife staff, worked to safely remove a black bear that had climbed a tree in a residential neighborhood in the village of Wellsville after being hit by a car. Although it was not seriously injured, the bear jumped a fence and took cover in a tree. It started to draw attention from the neighbors and the decision was made to tranquilize the bear and remove it from the village. ECO’s Calanni and Powers, members of DLE’s Chemical Immobilization Team (CIT), darted the bear and safely removed it from the tree.
The Wellsville Police Department stopped traffic along busy State Route 417 while the tranquilization and removal took place.
After loading the bear into a trap, it was transported to Coyle Hill State Forest, where the bear was examined, tagged, monitored, and then released.
New York’s black bear population is currently estimated at a minimum of 6,000-8,000 bears in areas open to hunting, with roughly 50-60% of the bears inhabiting the Adirondack region, about 30-35% in the Catskill region and about 10-15% in the central-western region. In addition, bears are now well established in many other areas, including the Tug Hill, Hudson Valley and across the Southern Tier of New York, and transient bears are routinely encountered throughout the Lake Ontario Plains, Mohawk Valley, and St. Lawrence Valley. With the exception of Tug Hill, these other areas include a greater proportion of agriculture or have higher human densities, making them less suitable for bears due to the higher likelihood of human-bear conflicts.
Black bears are an important and natural component of New York’s ecosystem. Whether you live or recreate in the bear country, please help maintain and protect the bears, and at the same time protect yourself and your property by not feeding bears and by reducing bear attractants.
If you witness an environmental crime or believe a violation of environmental law occurred please call the DEC Division of Law Enforcement hotline at 1-844-DEC-ECOS (1-844-332-3267).
Free Fishing this Weekend in New York State (June 24-25, 2017)
New USA-CANADA Border Fishing Rules Eased
Lake Ontario Counties Tourney Series Starting
Detailed Fishing Report for June 22, 2017
Lots of good news in this week’s report. It’s a Free Fishing Weekend in New York State. However, you do have to abide by the fishing regulations. Check out www.dec.ny.gov to find out what the rules are in the waters you intend to fish.
This is also the weekend for the Hooked on Fishing Tournament presented by the Boys and Girls Club of the Northtowns both Saturday and Sunday. Everything is run out of Gateway Harbor, North Tonawanda. Register June 23 from noon to 6 p.m. or any time after 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info visit www.bgcnt.net or call 873-9842 Ext. 211.
Lake Ontario salmon fishing continues to be very good all along the Niagara County shoreline. Good reports are coming from the Niagara Bar to Olcott and beyond. Salmon in the upper 20 pound range were caught all last week and Capt. Dan Evans out of Wilson, fishing in a tournament on the north shore, managed to reel in a 32 pound chunk pre-fishing and releases the fish to fight another day. Top lures include a variety of Dreamweaver metal, Silver Streaks and Michigan Stingers.
However, the bigger fish seem to prefer the spin doctor and fly combos. The new A-Tom-Mik Stud Fly is really working well, producing that 32 pounder we just mentioned. White crush-glow pattern. Meat rigs are also tricking fish to hit. Yes, Lake Ontario is open for business! Start in 100 feet of water and head north out to 300 foot depths. Salmon seem to be in the top 80 feet of water. And some steelhead have started to move in to accompany the salmon so make sure you put a few baits out for them, too. In other good news, the lake levels have started to come down.
According to lake level reports, the waterline has dropped over 4 inches already and the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Water Board has announced that after the three-day experiment last week to increase outflows, they are going to continue with it to provide additional relief in the lake. The Town of Newfane Marina launch area and the Lewiston Landing launch are your two best bets for easy boat launch access.
More good news is that the Canadian Government finally passed a law that no longer required Americans to call into Canada Border Services when crossing the international boundary. You still need a fishing license and need to abide by the country’s regulations, but the hassle of calling in is no longer required. Remember no live bait other than worms in approved bedding or in water. Nothing in dirt. No minnows or crabs. Still, it’s just gotten a whole bunch better.
With the Lake Ontario Counties, trout and salmon summer derby just around the corner, set for June 30 to July 30, anglers are excited to take advantage of the summer action. Check out www.loc.org for details. In addition, the New York State Summer Classic Fishing Tournament is on and running through August 31. There are a total of 10 different fish species categories and 55 weigh stations throughout the state. To find out more information, check out www.nyssummerclassic.com.
In the LowerNiagara River, water temperature are still slowly creeping up there. Lake Erie hit 72 degrees this week, so the trout are history. The bad news is that the moss has become more of a problem. Mostly bass were caught this week on jigs, Kwikfish and MagLips. Shore casters in the gorge have been using tubes, swim baits and marabou jigs. Inline spinners will work, too. They can be caught but you will be cleaning your lures frequently.
Upper Niagara River bass fishing also continues to be good, but the moss is putting a kink in that action. Some walleye are being caught at the head of the river and at the head of Strawberry Island on worm harnesses and jigs. The Great Lakes musky season opener was slow, probably due to the warmer water already flowing through the system. For an outdoors update this week, check out www.buffalonews.com/section/sports/outdoors/ to find out what’s happening.
Many children learn about the outdoors from adults who accompany them as they explore. Plenty of times the kids teach the adults as well as the adults teaching the kids! If you are looking for ideas on how to enjoy the outdoors with the young people in your life visit the web sites listed below.
Outdoor Discovery is an online newsletter from DEC for families. It encourages New Yorkers to explore outdoors and learn about the environment. Each issue introduces subscribers to a a seasonal environmental or nature topic, suggests a related activity and lists family friendly events at DEC’s environmental education centers. DEC Outdoor Discovery is emailed to subscribers every other Wednesday and also appears on DEC’s website.
DEC operates environmental education programs statewide. These include two environmental education centers from Albany to Buffalo, plus regional environmental educators who serve New York City, Long Island and Central NY.
The DEC’s residential environmental education summer camps have be operating for over 60 years. The camps serve boys and girls ages 11-17, who attend a week long program exploring the outdoors and learning about the environment. Campers can even participate in a hunter safety class and receive their hunter safety certificate. The four summer camps are located across the state, two in the Adirondacks, one in the Catskills and one in Western New York.
National Wildlife Federation advocates spending at least one hour each day outdoors in nature. Their web site Be Out There provides ideas for reconnecting kids with the many benefits of the great outdoors. Good for both mental and physical health, spending time outdoors is also fun and helps kids build a connection to nature. Using the “NatureFind” feature visitors can find outdoor activities in their area, and across the country.
Nature Rocks from the Children and Nature Network, The Nature Conservancy and R.E.I. provides ideas for exploring outdoors with children. They also offer a search feature to locate programs, sites and outdoor play groups, known as Nature Rocks Flocks in your area.
Extraordinary Speed in Safe Flight from Tower-to-Tower
Adventure, Fun and Assured Safety
Full Body Harness & Head Helmet Protection is Required
My Favorite Place: Peek ‘N Peak, near Findley Lake, New York
By Forrest Fisher
Those zip-lines with strange looking towers on the hills in the distance of places we travel definitely beckon for adventure seekers. Many have never tried them out.
At Peek ‘N Peak Resort and Conference Center (http://www.pknpk.com/) near the quaint country village of Findley Lake, located in the southwest corner of New York, my grandkids would not allow me to just watch them try out the zip-line.
They said, “C’mon Dziadz (Polish word for grandfather), your time to fly from the towers has come!” I smiled and said, “OK, sounds good.” Not really sure of what I was getting myself into.
We rode the ski-lift to the top of the hill to start out on the high zip-line. My granddaughter Kelsey went first. “Yeaaahhhhh!” Screaming away at 120 decibels or more, as she headed for the next tower station more than one-thousand feet away.
My turn was next. What a minute. Was there a giant 12-point buck walking to within 10 yards of my tree stand? Why was my heart pounding?! I was a bit nervous and even was trembling a bit. Here I am, an ex-military Vietnam-era veteran and I was shaky. After all, we were only about 100 feet off the ground and there was a 20 mph wind blowing. Not to make light of things, but there was rain in the forecast too, and it was dark and cloudy right about now. I was not going to wimp out. Couldn’t do that.
I harnessed in, told myself to “think brave”, got the “all clear” after being checked by the operators and, again, I could sense my wide-open eyeballs.
Excitement is a very cool thing in life! It can be hard to find when you’re looking at 70 birthday candles just ahead.
Zeeooooow. I zoomed off and in what seemed like 5-minutes, I landed on the next tower about 30 seconds later. Standing right next to my granddaughter, she asked, “What’d ya think Dziadz, fun right?!”
I answered, “Yup!” And smiled ear to ear in convincing fashion, double-checking to see if my tongue had been frozen to the roof of my mouth and did a double take to see if I didn’t wet my pants.
Kelsey then said, “OK, this tower is really going to be even more fun. It’s a dual zip-line and we take off together. I’ll race you to the bottom of the hill! Are you ready Dziadz?”
We harnessed up.
Yikes, this was exciting!
My sensory expectations seemed in better control after that first long ride. Clip, Clack, Clip, we were in. Standing next to each other, we were ready. Just then, Gazzzooongg! Thunder in the distance. Then suddenly, the dark skies opened up. It was a near-torrential downpour. They said, “We are closing the towers, your harnessed in, go down if you like, you’re the last riders.”
I felt like Matt Dillon and was up against the fastest draw in the west. He always keeps his cool. That was my mindset.
We smiled to each other and screamed our, “Let’s go!” We were either brave or not so smart (I was thinking that other word that starts on “s” and ends with a “d”….stupid).
In the middle of our descent as we exceeded 70 mph, flashes of light jumped out left and right in the distance. There was lightning all around us as we zoomed through some nearby treetops.
Flashbulb Fodder? I asked the Almighty for some help. He was with us because I can share this fun tale.
We were wet to the bone. Mighty thankful too, that we did not complete an electrical storm circuit during the flighty speedy trip down the dual zip-line. It was an incredible experience. We were both happy for this extraordinary hair-raising survival encounter with adventure.
We climbed down from the tower. Both of us kissed the muddy ground. What a run!
I was ready to leave the zip-line and head over to the bar in the sip-line! You know, a cold water on the rocks is what I needed.
Everybody met in the facility lobby and hugged. Kelsey said, “Wow! That was incredible, wasn’t it!?” Literally wet to the bone, we all looked up and in just 5-minutes, the clouds had vanished and the sun popped out. Life is.
“Wanna do it again Dziadz?” I resorted to that canned ear-to-ear smile that we grandfather’s all carry for emergencies and said, “Maybe tomorrow, ok?”
The Giant Dual Zip-Line adventure at Peak ‘n Peek allows you to feel sort of like a bird, a hawk or an eagle on a dive. Imagine, those types of birds do this all the time to survive via their very nature.
There is also an Aerial Adventure Course that features 69 obstacles and includes eight courses of varying difficulty. Participants climb up and down cargo nets and ladders while navigating course elements, including zip lines, in this tree top adventure. Suited for all ability levels, this course is a 3-hour, self-guided experience that allows you to explore the course at your own pace. You can try any (or all) of the eight different courses, working your way through the tree tops from platform to platform, encountering obstacles along the way.
I was humble and kindly declined to look for yet another new adventure experience. Had to use that ear to ear grin trick again.
The zip line adventure was not really on my bucket list, but oh-my-gosh! It was such unforgettable fun. We will do that again, but maybe not, if rain and thunder are in the forecast. I’m going to check beforehand!
The lifestyle we have shared in my family includes being active in the outdoors, but is focused on fishing, hunting, hiking, boating and family campfires.
When my younger grandkids heard that there was a pool here that offered a “wave” and had a “long slide”, good old gramps thought it would be a great next stop too.
We have learned to love this special place in the quiet hills.