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Prices lag at pelt auction

The first of four Genesee Valley Trappers Association fur auctions was held on Dec. 13 with the typically slow start for the furbearer season.

Coordinator/lot handler Ron Schroder noted, “Today’s auction was a quick, short event. There were only 12 sellers and three buyers ... no one got rich.” Highs for popular species were low: Beaver, $5; coyote, $15.50; deer, $2.75, gray fox, $17; Mink, $6.50 and raccoon, $4.25 among others. Many of the high prices for December were below the overall low average for auction prices of the past 10 years.

Trapper and trapping interests will perk up during the Erie County Trappers Association Fur Handling Seminar held at Collins Conservation Club, 2636 Conger Road, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 2.

This ECTA annual event brings together expert trappers giving demonstrated talks to novice and seasoned trappers. Exhibitors display and sell trapping gear and accessories rarely found in catalogues or online.

Kids have a number of activities keyed to youth participation; boys and girls of all ages have see-and-do fun during the association’s gathering. Hoot’s Furs and Trapping Supplies will have a nice variety of finished fur items at prices well below catalog offerings. For more details and directions, call Rick or Patti Wattengel at 337-2556.

Sonar, salmon schools

Two in-depth fishing classes will be offered during the Greater Niagara Fishing & Outdoor Expo held in Niagara Falls Jan. 22 to 24.

• On Friday afternoon of the Expo, Capt. Lance Valentine of Teachinfish.com will hold a two-hour clinic on the features and functions of the latest versions of sonar and GPS devices.

Most boaters and anglers do not use many of the various functions modern electronic devices provide for use on the water. Valentine will cover specific techniques for using all brands of sonar and GPS units for specific area fisheries.

This clinic costs $25 and class size is limited to 50 entrants. For complete details, visit niagarafishingexpo.com.

• Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon Association (LOTSA) will conduct its Ninth Annual Salmon School on Jan. 23. Three experienced charter captains teach the six-hour school: Pete Alex of Vision Quest Charters at Wilson; Pete Lahosky of Prime Time Charters in Oswego, and George Freeman of Free Style Charters in Ludington, Mich.

A registration deadline is set for Jan. 17, but typically this school is sold out well before the cut-off date. For details and to register, visit lotsa.org.

Tallying turkeys

The final year of a Department of Environmental Conservation four-year Wild Turkey Hen Survival project begins Jan. 1, as does an annual Winter Flock Survey.

Turkey observers are being sought to record sightings of flocks that the DEC could study. Wildlife Biologist Emilio Rende seeks locations of mixed flocks of turkeys. Check with Rende for more details at 372-0645 or email: emilio.rende@dec.ny.gov.

Dove doings

New York Dove Hunting is a statewide group working to legalize dove hunting in this state and is furthering that effort with an online petition.

NYDH notes that mourning doves are present in all 48 states and can be found in every county of New York. New York is one of only eight states, mainly New England states north of New York, that currently do not allow dove hunting.

Michael Rossi with NYDH suggests steps to be taken that will make New York the 42nd state to legalize dove hunting. Rossi notes that petitions have been signed in all 62 counties and a county rep should be established for each of those counties. Reps could amass at least 100 signatures by visiting clubs, ranges, sporting meetings, and events such as shows, expos and outdoors stores events.

To view and sign the NYDH petition and for more details on dove hunting and this legislation effort, visit nydovehunting.weebly.com/petition.

Boating safely

Exceptionally warm weather has put boaters on the water later this season and mishaps become more perilous later in the boating season. On the same day that a kayaker was found on Lake Erie, the founder of The North Face died in a kayaking mishap.

Waterfowl hunters use boats while on late-season hunts and anglers regularly fish the lower Niagara River throughout the winter season. Open waters offer small-boat owners the option of fishing inland lakes along the Southern Tier and on western Finger Lakes this warm season.

New York State enacted a life saver/personal flotation device (PFD) regulation in 2009 requiring all aboard motor-driven or paddle boats to wear an approved PFD while afloat any time from November to May 1 on state waters. For details on types of PFDs and boating regulations, visit parks.ny.gov/recreation/boating/documents/PFDLawsofNewYork.