Outdoor Journal: Hunting turkeys with crossbow for first time

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Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Sports

In all my years of hunting, I have not used a bow or crossbow to hunt turkeys.

On Oct. 1, though, the opening day of the fall’s turkey season, I’ll be dressed in full camouflage and sitting in the woods with my Barnett Assault crossbow rather than my shotgun.

But this 76-year-old senior — that’s me — felt a sharp pain while struggling to draw and lock in an arrow, so it was time to call my friend Tim Blodgett at Saratoga Tackle and Archery.


His advice: “Cocking device.”

Two days later, I got the call: “It’s here!”

While watching him putting the cocking device on, he said the device can reduce the cocking resistance by as much as 95%.

What a difference. No more pain. Thank you, Tim.

For my fellow seniors — or anyone who cannot draw back a crossbow and want to hunt with it — check out the Barnett cocking device, and get back in the woods. For information on turkey hunting with a bow/crossbow, go to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html.

SCOUTING

For the past several weeks, I have been doing quite a bit of scouting, mostly for turkey and geese.

Just a few weeks ago, there were geese all over, but, as of now, the only geese I’ve seen were the 50 or so of them in front of one of the Saratoga Lake homes.

As for the turkeys, that’s different. My spots last year also have turkey this year. I have seen two toms and several hens in two places.

While you’re reading this, I’ll likely be building my blinds. I am really anxious to launch an arrow for the first time at a turkey.

SQUIRREL HUNTING

I have been asked if I hunt and eat the squirrels that I shoot.

The answer: I hunt, but very seldom will I eat them.

When I am in Florida in February and March, I have a friend who takes me squirrel hunting. He makes a squirrel stew that I do eat, but not a lot of it.

Now, I hunt squirrels in New York, and give them to a friend who sells them to Mepp’s Lure Company who uses them for their lures. Believe it or not, Mepp’s has used 8,000,000 tails since 1960.

FEW PHEASANTS

In terms of small-game hunting, one of my favorites is for pheasants.

According to the DEC, though, they are at an all-time low.

Annually, approximately 30,000 adult pheasants are raised on the Richard E. Reynolds game farm in Ithaca and released to various places throughout the state. Releases occur across New York on both state and private lands open to public hunting.

For more information on where you can hunt areas that have been stocked, go to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8363.html.

EARLY BEAR HUNTING

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced in a press release something I am really interested in: an early bear hunting season, which runs from Sept. 12-27 in portions of the Southern Zone and from Sept. 19 to Oct. 16 in portions of the Northern Zone.

The bears are feeding heavily on wild nuts, berries, apples and corn fields. During this early season, hunters may use bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, handguns and shotguns (where allowed).

The southeastern Wildlife Management are 3A, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, 4R and 4W. The northern Wildlife Management are 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N.

For more information, head to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html.

BIG FISH, BIG BUCKS

Fishing Lake Ontario, Donald Stacknick from Pennsylvania was with friends Cody and Reese Scott when he hooked a 30-pound, 6-ounce king salmon as part of the Lake Ontario Counties Trout and Salmon Derby.

Stacknick was fishing out of Reese Scott’s 24-foot Pen Yan. He was fishing (trolling) in 240 feet of water when the fish hit.

His reward: $10,000.

Not bad — that’s about $333.33 a pound.

Contact Ed Noonan at [email protected]

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