Crossbow season kicks off Nov. 5
Crossbow season in the Southern Zone is finally upon us, opening on Saturday, Nov. 5. While it is still part of the special early archery season, crossbows are not considered archery equipment. To be able to use a crossbow during the archery season, you must purchase a muzzleloader license and use that corresponding tag if successful during the early or late season. Remember that you must be at least 14 years of age to hunt with a crossbow, possess a current hunting license and fill out the Crossbow Certificate of Qualification from the annual Regulations Guide. Completion of a bowhunter education class is not required because, again, it is not considered archery equipment. The crossbow season will run for 14 days until the start of the regular season on November 19. Consult the regulations guide or the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov for more information.
Revamped sporting clays course
Tonawandas Sportsmen’s Club, 5657 Killian Road, Pendleton, has announced that it will be unveiling a rebuilt sporting clays course on Nov. 13. The club will be hosting a “come and see it shoot” that day with sign ups starting at 10 a.m.. The first shooting will take place at 11 a.m. The second round will be at 12:30 p.m. The third round (if needed) will be at 2:30 p.m. Cost is $25 for a 50-shot round for this friendly contest. There will be Louis scoring for prizes. All shooters will receive a ticket for a Browning AB3 .30-06 rifle supplied by the Buffalo Gun Center.
Ladies Shoot N’ Hoot on Nov. 12
The Ladies Shoot N’ Hoot program sponsored by the North Forest Rod and Gun Club, Lockport, will be holding its next gathering on Nov. 12 starting at 1 p.m. After a brief lesson in safe gun handling, there will be a lesson in 5-Stand and Trap shooting followed by instruction on firearms cleaning and safe gun storage. Cost is $25 ($20 for junior ladies 12 to 17). You must be preregistered by Nov. 8 to participate. Contact Colleen Gaskill at 628-9023 for more information. Female-friendly firearms are provided if you do not have one.
GLFC announces stocking reductions in Great Lakes
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has announced stocking reductions taking place in Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario in 2017-18, the result of concerns over possible forage base deficiencies in the coming years. Lake Michigan will see specific predator reductions by the equivalent of 900,000 Chinook salmon by 2018. This includes a reduction of Chinook and Coho salmon, lake trout and brown trout depending on jurisdiction. For example, Wisconsin did not reduce salmon stockings, but they would instead reduce lake trout and brown trout stocks by over 800,000 fish starting in 2017 - 25 percent of the state’s total stocking effort. Michigan would reduce stockings by 11 percent of the state’s stockings. Illinois would reduce stocking by 15 percent; Indiana by 21 percent.
For Lake Ontario, stocking reductions were necessary (according to lake managers from New York and the Province of Ontario) due to poor alewife recruitment following the severe winters of 2013 and 2014. Chinook salmon stockings will be reduced by 20 percent in the lake; lake trout will be reduced by approximately 25 percent – all in 2017. Instead of 2.36 million Chinook, the number of fish stocked will now be 1.88 million king salmon. For lake trout, the previous stocking number was one million fish. The number for 2017 will be 750,000 fish. Another 2.45 million trout and salmon will also be stocked into the lake. Officials were also quick to point out that nearly half of all salmon in the lake are naturally reproduced now. We will look at this issue in next week’s outdoor column.