Outdoor Journal: Wrapping up a lean year for deer hunting

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Categories: -The Daily Gazette, Sports

This year, a number of my deer hunting areas were closed to hunters, but I still made a few visits to a couple that I had permission to hunt.

In the three times that I did go deer hunting I saw five deer: three does and two bucks — a spike and 3-pointers. I put both bucks in my .308-rifle scope but decided not to shoot. Maybe next year.

BACK ON THE ICE

It has been 11 years since I have headed out on the ice on Saratoga and Great Sacandaga lakes to chop holes in the ice to look for whatever bites.

For 11 years I have missed ice fishing. Why? Because my wife and I have become snowbirds and head to Flagler Beach, Florida for the months of February and March. However, this year we stayed in April due to COVID-19, which gave me 30 more days to fish.

The home we rented was on the Intercoastal Waterway and it was within walking distance to a large dock where I fished every morning from sunup to about 9 a.m. and was usually back to the house before my wife awoke.

On this dock this year I caught and released a total of 212 different species of fish. I do not eat fish — believe it or not — but I did give a few of our friends down their fish to eat. Due to what is happening with COVID-19 we will not be going down to Florida this winter.

But, I will literally be walking on water to fish with my friend and outdoor writer Ed Skorupski, of Stillwater. He has invited me to join him to fish when the ice is safe on Saratoga Lake and Great Sacandaga Lake to fish. He told me all I need is warm clothes, and he will supply the rest. Can’t refuse that.

SAFE ICE FISHING

Ice is not considered safe to walk on until it is at least four inches thick. At that thickness, the ice is suitable for ice fishing, cross country skiing and walking and can support about 200 pounds. Five inches of new clear ice should be enough to hold a single snowmobile or ATV, or about 800 pounds. For reference, go to: https://www.almanac.com/content/ice-thickness-safety-chart.

As for me, I will never take my truck on the ice — no matter how thick it is.

HAVE GUN/BOW WILL TRAVEL

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced late-season deer hunting opportunities in Central New York, as well as Westchester and Suffolk counties. There are still opportunities to hunt in a few select places, including parts of Tompkins County and all of Westchester County. For further information on all the late seasons go to: https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/121950.html

AIR GUN ARRIVES

My Umarex AirJavelin powered by CO2 arrived this past Monday. It launches a 170-grain air bolt at 300 feet per second. It takes air power into a new direction, with 34-foot pounds of energy delivered to straight flight technology arrows. This will allow me to line up targets with open sight, or zero in a dot sight or scope.

The AirJavelin has a full-length placement. It also has a stock equipped with M-LOK slots. It is lightweight and versatile. I am anxious to take it hunting very shortly. I will be in the woods. The DEC regulations for the Air Javelin state that air bows may be used to take skunk (not for me), raccoon, bobcat, coyote, fox, mink and muskrat. Right now, my hunts will be coyote and raccoon. However, I am going to find a state where I can shoot a turkey with the AirJavelin.

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