Bill Hilts Jr. - The Buffalo News

Share this article

print logo

Bill Hilts Jr.


If you are pistol permit holder in New York State, you must go through a recertification process through the State Police by Jan. 31, 2018. Not everyone seems to be getting that message though. In Erie County alone, the last count was over 50,000 permit holders still had to be recertified. With the passing of the NY SAFE Act, pistol permit holders must now be recertified e…

Outdoors

Deer season is closed in most of New York State. However, there are some big game opportunities for whitetails if you want to make the extra effort. From Jan. 13 to Jan. 31, there will be a special antlerless deer season in Tomkins County’s Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) near Ithaca. The 60,000-acre DMFA was formed in 2012 to help control the over-abundance of deer. …

Outdoors

With the start of the New Year, anglers in the lower Niagara River should be aware of a few regulations changes. At the top of the list is the opening of lake trout season on Jan. 1, 2018. In the lower river, the daily limit is three salmon and trout. No more than two can be lake trout. One fish must be between 25 and 30 inches in length, the second can be any size – if yo…

Outdoors

Long term cold weather has arrived, getting ice fishermen esager and stream anglers looking for any place with open water. The beginning of the New Year means some regulations changes as well as the start of a couple important fishing contests. Get ready to reel in 2018. Lake Erie tributaries Fishing is slow in many of the streams both off Lake Erie and inland due to…

Outdoors

The last string of decoys was put into place by John Van Hoff of North Tonawanda just before legal shooting time at 7:15 a.m. It was the Dec. 26 late season waterfowl opener in Western New York and for a moment I had to question our sanity. Foreigner’s “Cold as Ice” was going through my mind as the thermometer read 9 degrees. Combined with winds over 20 miles per hour out …

Outdoors

If a lake trout belted out a tune in a local karaoke bar (the Niagara?), it would undoubtedly be Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T. These char are deserving of a much better reputation throughout the Great Lakes Basin. However, lake trout in the Niagara River and off the mouth at the Niagara Bar is an entirely different fish – especially when the season re-opens on January 1…

WNY 3-D Archery League Starts Jan. 7 The Western New York 3-D Archery League will be starting up on Jan. 7, involving four area conservation clubs: Glen Coe, West Falls, Evans and Collins. All shoots will take place on Sunday and run for 12 weeks from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Teams of 3 to 6 members are invited to participate and you do not have to belong to any club. Walk-ons …

Outdoors

The combination of warmer temperatures, rain and high winds helps to destroy Lake Erie tributaries, the Niagara River and any waters that saw some ice start to form. If you want to find fishable water as soon as possible, head north to Lake Ontario. Fishing is tough though. Merry Christmas. Niagara River After a week of tough fishing conditions, things finally starte…

If you are looking for a shooting sport to preoccupy your time during winter, you might want to consider signing up for the 5-Stand Winter League at the North Forest Rod and Gun Club, 6257 Old Niagara Road, Lockport starting on Dec. 16. The 10 week league will be starting up that day, ending on Feb. 24. A total of 50 targets will be shot weekly. What makes this clay-bus…

The Erie County Trappers Association will be hosting its annual Fur Handling Seminar Dec. 30 at the Collins Conservation Club, 2633 Conger Road, Collins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about better techniques for preparing pelts, as well as become informed about pelting, fleshing, stretching, drying and sizing. The event is free of charge. …

Outdoors

Big game season officially closes on Dec. 19 in the Southern Zone of New York (with a few exceptions). We are currently in the final phase, which includes late archery, muzzleloader and crossbow. Early reports are showing that through Dec. 3, harvest estimates are up some 18 percent from last year in the Northern Zone and 14 percent in the Southern Zone. However, due to…

Outdoors

Winter finally arrived in Western New York, accentuated nationally through last Sunday’s Buffalo Bills snow fight. There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned lake effect snow storm to play in. For fishing success you will need to find open water or water that is not too stained to fish. It may be a challenge. Lake Erie and tributaries There are a lot of trout av…

Outdoors

If you are like me, I wait until the last possible day for doing my Christmas shopping. It’s not like I fail to think about it in advance. I do, making mental notes along the way. I’m not as good as I used to be, running out of ink with my internal pen more frequently. Actually going out and making those purchases, though, is like going to the dentist (with apologies to my…

Big-game hunters are down to crunch time for getting that deer or bear for this year. The regular season ends on Sunday, Dec. 10 at sunset. Sunrise on Dec. 11 kicks off the late archery and muzzleloader seasons, ending on Dec. 19. Crossbows are included in this special season. Remember that you must possess a muzzleloader stamp to be able to hunt with crossbows outside of …

Outdoors

The New York State Winter Classic Fishing Tournament is ready to kick off on Jan. 1, 2018 to help reel in the New Year. The contest runs for two solid months, ending Feb. 28. According to organizer Tim Thomas, if you are planning on fishing this event, it would behoove you to sign up before Jan. 1. As an incentive to register, they will be handing out over $10,000 in draw …