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Outdoor Journal: Dogs add to thrill of fall turkey hunts

Outdoor Journal: Dogs add to thrill of fall turkey hunts

Column topics include turkey hunting and catching trout and bass.
Outdoor Journal: Dogs add to thrill of fall turkey hunts
John Frank of Schenectady holds a brown trout that he caught while fishing with his grandson.
Photographer: Provided photo

Those of you who read my column know that hunting turkey, both in the spring and fall, is my forte. I get quite excited when I have a big fanned-out, beard- dragging tom coming to my calls in the spring. But I have to admit that in the fall I get more excited when hunting with turkey dogs.

Again this year, I will be hunting with Don Vanderwerker of Palatine Bridge with Skeeter and his new trainee, Sadie B. These are trained turkey dogs and watching and listening to them work is very exciting. They only bark when they find and break up the flock; and they do not come back and get us until they have all of the turkeys in the air.

Then they take us to where the turkeys went airborne. Don will then put the dogs in bags with only their heads out. We then wait about 15 to 20 minutes and Don begins to call. I am very impressed how still and silent the dogs are. I have to admit that hunting with the dogs is fun.


Note to adults who will be taking licensed kids out on youth hunts this year for small game and/or deer: I would like to put those that are successful in my column. What I need is their full name, age and city where you and the young hunter live. Give me a brief story of the hunt. I cannot put photos of the kid’s success, but if you want to send it to me, I would like to see it. Send it to [email protected].

There is another feathered bird that I will soon be chasing -- the pheasant, beginning Oct. 1. This year the state DEC will have approximately 30,000 adult pheasants released on lands open to the public for the fall season. I will be hunting in the northern area with my friend Clarence Chamberlain of Gloversville. We both hope to fill our two-pheasant limit.  It sure is exciting when that pheasant flies out of a bush next to you.  


John Franklin of Schenectady took his grandson David, who lives in New Hampshire, fishing for brook trout in a stream in the Catskills. It didn’t take grandpa long to hook up with a nice jumping brown trout. He was using a 12-foot noodle rod and offered the rod to David. The youngster said "no,"; he wanted to hook up one on his own. They were biting and they hooked up with 10 more, two of which were in the 14-inch range. John said the fish were all in their full spawning colors.  


Sometimes, I am a bit hard-headed when it comes to fishing. I think the only bait is the wacky worm. Wrong! In a tournament a few weeks ago, my boating partner put five bass in the boat in less than an hour, and I didn’t have a bite yet. He did offer me a chatter bait to use, but old stubborn me said “no”. He continued to fish and catch more, and I finally tied on a Chatter Bait and quickly put three bass in the boat. The next morning, I went shopping and came home with five Chatter Baits. I suggest you try them.


Treat every firearm as if it is loaded. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Keep your finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Always be sure of your target and what is in front of it and behind it. Once you pull the trigger, you cannot take back the bullet.


State law requires hunters age 14 and their mentors, hunting deer or bear with a gun, to wear fluorescent hunter orange or pink visible in all directions: shirt, jacket, or vest with at least 250 square inches of solid or patterned fluorescent orange or pink (the pattern must be at least 50 percent fluorescent orange or pink).  All other hunters are not required by law to wear florescent orange while hunting in New York. However, DEC highly recommends all hunters wear fluorescent orange hat, vest and/or coat while hunting both small and big game. Be safe: Deer cannot tell red or orange from green.

Reach Ed Noonan at [email protected].

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