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Erie yields big bass for Hanley

While hunters are out beating the bush with bows, Lake Erie smallmouth seekers still have a spectacular shot at big bass.

Charter captain Jim Hanley guided Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark and his wife Cathy on a Sturgeon Point outing on Oct. 5 that proved highly evidential.

"During that Sunday the Clarks must have caught 70 bass," Hanley said of the couple. Cathy made all the arrangements. Hanley would not report best size and numbers takes, but their total went to five bass weighing over five pounds and at least 20 over four pounds that day of trolling-motor controlled drifting over the Evans-Angola Bar west of Sturgeon Point.

You can see a collection of photos of the Clarks by making a visit to the fishing page of The News' Web site, which is located at buffalonews.com/fishing.

Earlier this season, Hanley booked a trip for Ben Oreskovic, 8, and his mom, Johanna Oreskovic, of Williamsville. "Ben has avidly enjoyed fishing since age 3 and gets his mother to both bait hooks and even handle the fish," Hanley said. "He's the kind of kid I was at that age and a great hope for the future of our fishing," he added. To view the catches, go to northeastoutdoors.com.

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Watching feeders

Need to manage life's stresses? The folks at Cornell Lab of Ornithology (CLO) suggest filling bird feeders and watching the various species that visit during the winter months.

Participants in CLO's Project FeederWatch will begin watching filled feeders officially on Nov. 8 and continue to record attracted birds through April 3, 2009.

The project, in place for more than 20 years, provides scientists with data on bird numbers, presence, absence, and overall dynamics. People of all ages and skill levels can keep tabs on food takers and get in on the fun of discovering the names and behaviors of resident and unusual bird species that come to feeders.

A $15 lab fee includes a helpful "FeederWatch Handbook," an identification poster showing most common area birds, a calendar, all instructions, and an annual report. To join, call (800) 843-2473 or visit birds.cornell.edu.

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Trapper trappings

Seasons for trapping many furbearer species begins Oct. 25, with beaver set for a Dec. 20 start in Western New York.

Trappers can obtain permits to work areas at Oak Orchard, Tonawanda, and the John White Management Area (WMAs) in person at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge office on Casey Road in Basom daily, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by mail: NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Rd., Box B, Basom, NY 14013.

Trapping permits for the John White WMA begin Nov. 1 to allow for youth pheasant hunts at this area.

Sets are limited to 25 per trapper and each must have an affixed number tag while in use at all three WMAs. This year, muskrat and mink trapping will be confined to dike areas only. A drought during the 2007-08 season depleted these species.

Hunters and trappers access these WMAs with paddled boats only; neither gas nor electric motors can be used on these area's waterways.

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Searching for deer

Younger hunters now have the opportunity to volunteer as handlers of dogs that search for deer.

Deer Search Inc. (DS) coordinator Gary Huber received notice from DEC headquarters in Albany that with lowering the age for big-game license acquisition comes the privilege of youths to carry firearms afield while searching for lost, wounded or dead deer and other big-game species.

Each year, DS seeks dog handlers interested in participating in these searches. DS membership chairman Kurt Theisen notes a need everywhere in DEC Region 9 but especially for handlers in the Wyoming County and Allegany County areas. Check with Theisen at 627-5557.

Hunters should keep handy the DS dispatch number for instances when they lose track of a wounded game animal. For assistance, call 648-4355.

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Husky mushing

The Siberian Husky Club of the Niagara Frontier is planning a "Carts" race for some time in early November. If no snow, the dogs will pull carts. For details, check with race coordinator Bob Florek at 735-7823.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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