Dave Greiner started deer hunting with some guys in his Buffalo neighborhood five years ago and last Monday filled out his first tag: A bear that might prove to be the largest taken this year.
"We hunt in South Valley," Greiner said. "Dave Donner and I had been going along, kicking out some deer when he said said, 'Oh my gosh, there's a bear.' "
"He took a shot at it and missed," Greiner said, "so he went down one trail and I went down another.
"A little while later I met Carl Geisel and while we were talking, I saw the bear looking at us, 40 feet away. I took a shot, and it went down."
Greiner said as he pulled the trigger he realized "this bear could have done anything he wanted to," so he shot again, but missed. The second shot was unnecessary, the first slug having dispatched the bear cleanly.
The bear was about 370 pounds, live weight, which, the DEC said, makes it just about as big as male bears get around here.
"We've recorded two larger ones, one 450 pounds another in the high 300s," said regional wildlife biologist Terry Moore.
"We trapped this one as a 'nuisance bear' last August in theWellsville area where it had been getting into garbage and tearing down bird feeders," Moore added.
Transferred to the Wolf Run area of Allegany State Park -- where bears are protected -- it migrated into South Valley.
The head will be measured for possible Boone & Crockett Club records.
"I didn't think my wife, Colleen, wanted it, but she's pretty thrilled," Greiner said. "The mounted bear is either going to be standing or climbing a tree."
It will stay in their bedroom until Greiner, a carpenter, finishes the family room in the house he is restoring in Buffalo.
Jim Criddle, 16, of Grand Island, took his first deer off Stony Point Road -- a 20-point non-typical buck. The first-year deer hunter, out with his dad, Dennis, said the good-sized animal had six tines on one side of its rack and 14 on the other, all still in "velvet."
"The deer probably got castrated or injured early on," said wildlife biologist Terry Moore. "If it had hormonal change it would have lost the velvet covering on its antlers."
Thomas Brown Jr. of Angola took his third deer in 18 years of hunting -- and he spent the first 10 years without success. The wait was worth it: a nine-point buck with a rough score of 144 points.
Brian Hein of Angola has a 10-point buck -- "a trophy for me" -- taken near Forestville on Thanksgiving Day. "I've been hunting eight years and this is my first deer."
Donald Rupert of Buffalo, a deer hunter for 40 years, took his finest specimen in Wyoming County recently. "I'm 60 and I've had my share of deer, including one nine-point buck I had mounted," he said, "but this 11-pointer tops them all."
Dave Schlifke of Buffalo tagged an 10-point buck in Elma Opening Day, went back to the same spot on Thanksgiving morning and took an eight-pointer. He says he's put 160 pounds of venison in the freezer, this season.
News fishing columnist Will Elliott will speak at the N.Y. Walleye Association meeting 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the George Washington Club, Niagara at Vulcan streets. The club elections are that night, too. . . . The Lake Erie Salmon and Trout Association (LSTA) will meet 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club, Dunkirk for elections and a "sub party."
No need to quit hiking just because it's snowing, says the Buffalo Nordic Ski Club. It will hold its first meeting of the season 7:30-10 p.m. Wednesday in Daemen College's Wick Center to help beginners get started in cross-country skiing and teach more advanced techniques, too. There also will be displays by area ski shops. It's free, and might open some doors for winter stay-at-homes. . . . Walt Iggulden (894-5641) leads a hike near Niagara-on-the-Lake Saturday for the Foothills Trail Club. Next Sunday, Kit Mahler (652-7839) leads a hike in Colden.
-- MICHAEL LEVY
NOTE: Send items 15 days in advance to Outdoors Notebook, c/o Michael Levy, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.