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Outdoor Journal: Turkey hunts create vivid memories

Outdoor Journal: Turkey hunts create vivid memories

A number of my outdoor writer friends convinced me to write a book on my turkey hunting experiences
Outdoor Journal: Turkey hunts create vivid memories
Johnny Lafoungain, left, and Leo Nosal, both of Saratoga Springs, shoot carp in Saratoga Lake.
Photographer: Ed Noonan

As an avid turkey hunter, I have completed all the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Grand and other Slams, with the exception of taking a wild turkey in every state. These hunts have taken me to many states, Canada and Mexico, including the Yucatan Jungle. My first turkey was with a single shot (shoulder banger) Harrington & Richard 10 gauge. That gun traveled with me all over until the barrel split on a hunt in Mexico. All these hunts were with a very good friend, the late Ron Kolodziej of Fonda. I replaced the 10-gauge with a 12-gauge Benelli 12-gauge Vinci. And believe it or not I have never missed a turkey with it.

Now after completing all the slams, once in a while I got the urge to try other guns. I have shot toms with a 410 pistol, 16-gauge shotgun, .223 rifle (In Florida), bow and crossbow. A number of my outdoor writer friends, mostly Dan Ladd of Fort Ann, convinced me to write a book on my turkey hunting experiences. I have been working on it and have about 11,000 or 12,000 words so far. I am amazed how much of the details I remember of these hunts.

My wife says: “You remember all about every little thing about your turkey hunts all the way back to your first on May 7, 1992; but you have trouble finding your truck keys on the same day.”

While in Florida this past winter, my wife and our New Hampshire snowbird friends Bill and Midge Mercon were wandering around a flea market, when I saw some guns for sale on a table. The one I was interested in was a 20-gauge. My wife shook her head no, but I told her I have never shot a turkey with a 20-gauge.

It was then that Bill came to the rescue. He said: “I have a Stevens Model 311C 20-gauge side by side that I don’t use and I will give it to you. Thus, my first trip with the 20-gauge will be in the NYS Southern Zone on Oct. 1 in the Schroon Lake area looking for a turkey dinner. Thanks Bill!

Not too old

Last week I got a call that the carp are rolling in Saratoga Lake. I have been bowfishing for carp for over 40 years, and last year I had trouble holding my old bow at full draw awaiting a carp to come into range. However, this year I found a new bow that when drawn back, had substantial let-off enough for me to hold without struggling and then shoot. I now have a Crosman Centerpoint EC0 Hunter compound bow that I can draw-hold and shoot comfortably when the carp is in range. The EC0 will also be my deer and turkey hunting bow now. Check it out at https://www.crosman.com/archery/adult-archery.

For those of you who are new to bowfishing, sighting your point of aim is a bit different. Due to the refraction of the water and how it optically distorts the location of the fish you don’t aim directly at it. To compensate for the optical illusion, aim below the carp. The rule is to aim 3 inches below for every 10 feet of lateral inches. I was taught "when in doubt aim low and then aim lower." And lastly get a good pair of polarized sun glasses. For regulations for bowfishing for carp, go to https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7914.html.

Bass tournaments begin

The Mohawk Masters Single Man Bass club took advantage of the early opening (second Saturday in June) of bass season in Lake Champlain. The winner was Jim Cantamessa of Scotia, with 11 pounds, who earned $225 and an additional $90 for his 4-pound smallmouth bass. He said “fishing was lousy.” For more information, go to https://mohawkmasters.weebly.com.

I recently received an email from John Mockrey telling me about his brother Jim and Paul Rebis, all from Broadalbin, who were the founding fathers of this annual bass fishing contest that began in Lake Durant and is now held in Black Lake in St. Lawrence County. “The bass fishing is very good." John holds the record lunker, 6-pounds, 8 ounces, but they have other 5-pound-plus winners. It usually requires a 4-pounder to be the champ. John is going to send me this year’s tournament contest results. I might have to hook my boat and head to Black Lake and see if the bass like the wacky worm.

Bassmaster tournaments

Rick Clunn, a 72-year-old well-known professional bass tournament angler, set what might be a record catch fishing in the Bassmaster’s Florida St. Johns River Elite series tournament. Rick weighed in a 4-day 5 bass per day catch totaling 98 pounds, 14 ounces. It was his 16th Bassmasters win -- worth $101,000 dollars. That’s over $5,000 per bass. Years ago, I was one of the chosen outdoor media members picked to ride with a pro in a BASSMASTER CLASSIC Tournament; and Rick Clunn was my first draw. Now we all know that fishermen don’t lie, so here is what Clunn said he used in this tournament:  A Luck-E-Strike Hail Mary crank bait and a Luck-E-Strike Trickster.

Contact Ed Noonan at [email protected].

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