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Noonan: Hunters, dogs ready for fall turkey hunting

Noonan: Hunters, dogs ready for fall turkey hunting

Ed Noonan's weekly look at the region's outdoors scene
Noonan: Hunters, dogs ready for fall turkey hunting
Don Vanderwerker and his turkey dog are shown.
Photographer: Ed Noonan

On the morning of Oct. 1, I had a hard time finding a parking spot at the Daketown Forest in Greenfield for the opening day of the pheasant season. It was raining the whole time I wandered around the forest looking for pheasant. I did hear two shots in the two hours I hunted, but never saw a pheasant. So, instead of making another walk through the forest, I decided to head back to one of my north country wood lots and see if I could kick up a turkey.

Now turkey hunting in the fall is a lot harder and you usually have to keep moving, and when you find a flock, break them up, wait 20 minutes, put out a decoy and try to call them back. I did however come over a hill and walk right into about a half-dozen turkeys, one of which was a tom. I managed to break the flock and waited the 20 minutes or so, sat down and began calling. I sat for over an hour calling and just as I was going to leave, a hen walked out about 30 yards from me. I did sight in on her, but decided to wait to see if the tom followed her in. She stayed around for 15 or 20 minutes and finally walked off.

However, shortly, I will be turkey hunting with Don Vanderwerker, of Palatine Bridge, and his Appalachian turkey dog Skeeter. This dog is trained to locate the flocks and to run at them barking to alert the hunters of their position. The dog does not return until all the turkeys are airborne. Then, the hunters will set up near the area where the dog broke the flock. The dog is taught to kennel-up in a camouflaged bag or lie behind a blind, and stay calm and quiet while the hunters call to try to bring the flock into shooting range. It is fun and very exciting.

If you want to see a nice tom and deer taken in the north country, go to adkhunter.com. There are two big bucks, a bear and a nice tom.

FISHING

Last week, I spent two days fishing in the back of the boat. The first was on Saratoga Lake with Neil Hopkins, of Saratoga, Dom Maniano and his 8-year-old Bubba. We launched at South Shore Marina and headed for Stony Point looking for smallmouth. We found them in about 5 feet of water with a rock and weed bottom. We hadn’t been there long when Bubba yelled “Got one!” and his rod was bent in half. The smallie weighed in at 3-plus pounds, which turned out to be the biggest bass of the day. We fished that whole area and caught and released at least another dozen smallies. All were taken on a Stik-O-Worm, fished wacky style.

When we were taking the boat out of the water, I saw a fisherman cleaning some nice walleye in the back of his truck. I walked over to see and talk with the fisherman who prefers not to have his name mentioned.

Why? Because he called in sick to work.

Been there. Done that.

Anyway, he said they have been biting for several days. Obviously, he did not tell me where, but he did tell me to “go deep” – at least 25 feet deep.

Several days later, I was again in the back of the boat. This time it was on the upper Hudson River with Neil Hopkins and my son Sean. We caught a few small largemouth, but the smallies were biting and we caught all sizes drifting in an area from the Schuylerville launch up to Lock 5. All the fish, on both of these days, were also taken on Stik-O-Worms fished Wacky Worm style.

In club bass fishing tournaments, the 16 teams of the Mohawk Valley Anglers fished out of the St. Johnsville launch on the Mohawk River— and the bass were biting. Leading the way was Dan Harms, of Glens Falls and John Harms, of Scotia, with a five-bass limit of 16.55 pounds that included the lunker of the tournament — a 4.08 bass. First place paid $420 and big bass an additional $80. The Rotterdam team of Gerry Rosenbarker and Reed Poulton placed second with 16.42 and received $280. Third place and $220 went to the Utica team of Bo Demarco and Brian Reahm with 16.14 pounds. Low to cash ($70) was the Rotterdam team of Floyd Squires and Rob Brower with 15.53.

ATTENTION FLY FISHERMEN AND WOMEN

On Oct. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m., the “First Lady” of fly fishing, Joan Wulff, will be at the Phoenicia Library at 48 Main Street in Phoenicia. Hooked on fishing at the age of 5 or 6, she rose to prominence at a National Casting Championship from 1943 to 1960. In the late '70s, she and her husband, Lee Wulff, moved to Lew Beach on the upper Beaverkill and opened the Wulff School of Fly Fishing.

As an author, mentor and teacher, Joan’s contribution to fly fishing is truly awe-inspiring.

If you fish, you will enjoy hearing the story of her life and career in the angling world, and celebrating her many accomplishments.

Reach Gazette outdoors columnist Ed Noonan at enoonan@nycap.rr.com.

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