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Deer-check options dwindle

Hunters, and others interested in checking out deer harvesting, have only until 8 p.m. today to view proceedings at the Department of Environmental Conservation Deer Check Station a mile south of Holland on Route 16.

After decades of two stations, one on Route 219 south of Springville and the Route 16 station, DEC officials have eliminated the Springville option and dropped back to just one deer-check site, which will be open the first weekend of gun season for whitetail deer in Region 9.

DEC wildlife personnel devote much of their time to chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance. DEC officials continue to monitor CWD statewide.

"In Region 9, we are required to prepare 1,000 carcasses for examination," said Tim Spierto, senior wildlife biologist in charge of deer management. "The area's deer population is great. One fifth of the state's quota for CWD testing comes from Region 9."

That deer abundance also means much more survey work in this area. Hence, maintaining two stations and supplying DEC personnel at a check station the week after opening day of deer season are things of the past.

"That's not to say we won't bring them back, but for now we will just offer the opening weekend for checking hunter-harvested deer at the one [Holland] station," he said.

Biologists and technicians will continue to survey processors' meat lockers for data on age and health of this year's deer.

Spierto welcomes successful hunters with exceptional, trophy-class bucks to the Regional Office in Allegany for examination. Checkers determine the age and measure base dimensions of antlers but do not supply an official green score.

Call 372-0645 to make sure a technician will be on hand before heading to the Allegany office, west of Olean at 182 East Union St.

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More deer disease

The DEC has confirmed more cases of whitetail deer tested positive for epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in New York State. The first case, detected in October, came from the Albany area. Additional samples were found in Castleton in Rensselaer County and in Youngstown in Niagara County.

EHD is common in warmer southeastern states and has progressively moved northward during warmer months when caddis flies, carriers of this disease, can infect deer.

EHD does not pose a threat to human health and is less likely to appear in deer harvested during colder months of the year.

DEC officials ask all who observe sick, dying or dead deer to report that finding to a regional DEC office.

Hunters are cautioned to wear rubber gloves when field dressing deer, wash all tools used when processing meat and, if taken to a processor, request the deer be processed promptly and individually.

In general, consumers should avoid organ meat, which poses a greater risk of infection from EHD and other diseases.

For a detailed summation of this disease, visit: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/38979.html.

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Odyssey odds

The Greater Niagara 2007 Fish Odyssey results way back on Sept. 23 foreshadow the warm-water persistence that continues for anglers throughout this fall.

Paul Brown of Ransomville won the grand prize in a contest usually dominated by trout and salmon -- these are usually what's caught in colder fall waters -- with a walleye that weighed 11.18 pounds. Brown, in a boat drifting a worm harness along the Niagara Bar, collected $3,000 for his efforts.

Willfred Wittcop Jr. of Barker fished from shore close to home, casting a KO Wobbler from shore to bring in the biggest salmon, a king weighing 25.63 pounds.

Lower Niagara River and Lake Ontario boaters still see unusual runs of warm-water (bass) and cold-water (trout and salmon) species showing up in unusual places this fall season.

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Local Yale angler

David J. Lanz, a Hamburg writer/photographer and avid fly angler, had his short story accepted for publication in the current edition of the Yale Angler's Journal.

Lanz gives an account of his fly-fishing pursuits in the rivers of Utah in his story "On the Left Side of the Continental Divide," which appears in the Volume IX, No. 2 edition.

A blurb describing the author refers to his home base of Western New York as "fish rich." Access to this publication can be made through the Web site: www.yaleanglersjournal.com.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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