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Scattershot: Youth hunt weekends and other news and notes

Youth hunt weekends fast approaching

It’s that time of year again for junior hunters to take center stage – with a licensed mentor of course. Three youth hunts are available in the next few weeks, giving them the opportunity to have the fields and forests to themselves as they pursue both big and small game.

Youth Big Game Hunt Weekend Oct. 7-9 – Junior hunters ages 14 and 15 can hunt for deer and bear during the three-day Columbus Day weekend with a licensed youth mentor (parent, guardian or mentor who is 21 years of age or older). The mentor must have at least three years of hunting experience and be licensed to hunt during these same seasons. The mentor must remain with the junior hunter at all times and they must hunt from the ground, not in a tree stand. Junior hunters must have completed a hunter safety education course and purchased a Junior Hunting License. A permission slip for the mentor can be found in the current NY Hunting and Trapping Guide. In addition, both the Junior Hunter and the mentor must wear a shirt or jacket with at least 250 square inches of hunter orange or a hat with at least 50 percent orange. Firearms are used during the Youth Big Game Hunt but you may NOT use a crossbow. Mentors may not carry a gun, bow or crossbow. Junior hunters are allowed to harvest one deer of either sex and/or black bear.

Western Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt and WNY Youth Pheasant Hunt Oct. 14-15 – Junior hunters ages 12 to 15 may hunt for waterfowl or pheasant during this special weekend. Again, for all youth hunts, junior hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult. For the waterfowl hunt, make sure you have a hunting license and your Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. Adults must also be carrying a Federal Duck Stamp at age 16 or older. Check the DEC website at for other pertinent information.

Deer permit deadline Oct. 1

If you are a big game deer hunter looking to score on a deer management unit permit (antlerless) for the upcoming big game seasons, Oct. 1 is the deadline. Simply head to any license-issuing agent and apply for the units you would like a permit for (up to two). The application fee (unless you have a Lifetime Sportsman’s License) is $10. Whether you applied on Aug. 1 when this year’s hunting tags became available or applied now, the odds are still the same based on a random lottery system. You can also obtain a permit through the DEC website at or by calling 866-933-2257. Remember that Oct. 1 is also the first day of the early archery season in the Southern Zone. Any leftover permits will become available around Nov. 1.

Films and Flies at Orvis Buffalo

Orvis Buffalo, 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville is getting everyone focused and excited for the fall fishing action in the tributaries by offering up a long list of speakers, films, fly-tying demonstrations and casting instruction. The informational lessons kick off on Oct. 7 with a Helios Casting demo, followed up by a Down the Hatch Film Festival featuring some of the best fl- fishing films from around the world. Light snacks and a selection of brews from Big Ditch Brewing will be served. Oct. 8 will feature internationally-known fly tyer Steve Wascher sharing some of his tying techniques – projected on a big screen for all to see.

October 14-15 is another information-packed weekend, including a session on Steelhead Fly Fishing 101, a spey casting on-water demo, steelhead fly tying instruction and concluding with fly fishing expert and author Rick Kustich of Getzville talking about some of the information provided in his new book “Hunting Musky with a Fly.” To find out a complete list of offerings, check out the Buffalo News Outdoors Calendar online or call 276-7200. You must register in advance. You can also go online at to register for these free events.

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