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Outdoors notebook: Orienteering, fishing derbies and more

If you like Pokémon Go quests, you’ll love going on pursuits with Buffalo Orienteering Club folks who have designed interesting trail-search outings around Western New York.

Hikers and runners can exercise as well as develop site-location skills as they orient their way through checkpoints the club’s coordinators have set up along timed courses.

Walkers and runners of all ages can sign on for either hard-core competitions or casual hikes designed for individuals and groups. Participants are encouraged to learn online about the various outings such as an Ellicottville Adventure Run and Hike and a Holiday Valley Resort Upper Ski Patrol and Training Center event on Saturday.

For more details, call 903-1180 or visit buffalo-orienteering.org.

Odyssey ahead

The epic journey of the area’s competitive anglers continues starting Saturday with the 40th Annual Greater Niagara “Fall Classic” derby – 2016: A Fish Odyssey.

Divisions are set up for salmon, rainbow/brown trout, lake trout, smallmouth bass, walleye and even carp. The Cheektowaga Cabela’s store is a registration and weigh-in site in Erie County. Five sites in Niagara County and two in Orleans County will weigh in contest entries.

Last year’s Odyssey winners took home more than $10,000 in prizes. The competition on Erie, Niagara and Orleans county waters goes to Aug. 28 and winners will receive their awards during a ceremony at the Town of Newfane Community Center. A free special youth division is set up for kids.

For more details, call (877) 325-5787 or visit fishodyssey.net.

Open pistol class

Certified NRA pistol permit instructor Mike Repko is offering a NYS Pistol Permit Class at the Elma Conservation Club at 600 Creek Road from 8 a.m. -noon on Saturday Sept. 17.

A $50 fee covers all material needed for new and refresher permit status. Repko is inviting the general public for a free demonstration of proper pistol handling, firing and storage. For all class details, call 652-0374.

Algal bloomings

Excess heat, plus this year’s drought-like conditions, have increased prospects for harmful blue and green algae growth in shallow-water areas. So far, Conesus and Honeoye lakes have seen its presence in Western New York.

The more expansive area for algal bloom each year is the shallow waters of Lake Erie’s Western Basin, from Cleveland to the Detroit River. Despite higher summer temperatures and lack of rainfall, Jeff Reutter, special advisor at Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory, forecasts reduced “bloom of concern” presence, primarily in Maumee River that feeds into Lake Erie at Toledo. Reutter attributes the reduction to reduced amounts of phosphorus loading during the March-to-July period.

Degraded water affects fish populations that migrate to Western New York waters each summer. Algal bloom can kill house pets, and skin contact for humans can cause rashes, hives and blisters.

“Swallowing these toxins can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, liver poisoning, and neurotoxicity symptoms,” according to the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science.

Puma prospects?

Wildlife managers and serious deer hunters are raising questions about a recent University of Washington academic study released in the on-line journal Conservation Letters in late July.

Laura Prugh directed the study seeking means to reduce deer-vehicle collisions. Prugh’s findings recommend utilizing mountain lions (Puma concolor) or pumas to reduce deer populations. Prugh reported, “Cougars are deer specialists and they target adults. … removing adults in prime breeding age can really have an impact on population growth.” Her study claimed a single cougar would kill 259 deer during a six-year life span, which “…would prevent 8 collisions and save nearly $40,000 in associate costs.”

A July 18 Claims Journal publication indicated a study model of cougar presence for 30 years would prevent 155 human deaths and more than 21,000 injuries on roadways.

Homeowners concerned about bears at their bird feeders might consider the presence of mountain lions around pets in their back yards. Nowhere in this study is there a focus on human and house-pet predation.

Deer hunters and most wildlife managers would prefer to control deer populations with managed hunting programs.

email: odrswill@gmail.com

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