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Bill Hilts Jr.


Outdoors

Temperatures soaring into the 50s could pose some problems for area anglers – both soft and hard water. Rain and wind will add to the problems, causing melting snow and ice in the tributaries and hampering ice fishing action. How much of a problem remains to be seen. If you are trying to check out ice conditions, please follow safety protocols and check the ice with a spud…

With a Jan. 31, 2018 deadline looming for pistol permit recertification, Niagara County Clerk Joseph Jastrzemski has announced a town hall public meeting on Jan. 4. The meeting will take place at the Newfane Community Center, 2737 Main St.t, Newfane starting at 6:30 p.m. Joining him will be Legislator John Syracuse, with an objective of explaining the recertification, what…

Outdoors

The Niagara River Anglers Association will hold its annual Roger Tobey Memorial Steelhead Contest on Saturday, February 3 from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. out of Lewiston Landing (at the launch ramp). Eligible waters are all waters of Lake Ontario and the tributaries, as well as the Lower Niagara River. Awards and dinner to follow at the Lewiston #1 Fire Hall on 6th Street, Lewiston.…

Outdoors

Wildlife biologists with the Department of Environmental Conservation are looking for a little help from their outdoor friends. If you know where a black bear den is located, they would like to know about it. You may have stumbled across one while on a hunt or hike in some unassuming rock crevice, tree cavity or in heavy brush. If you did locate a den, contact DEC at 372-0…

If the cold weather is keeping you indoors and you are looking for some new or used hunting and fishing equipment, mark Jan. 13 on your calendar. That is the date for the Southtowns Walleye Association’s Oufitters Fair. The popular event will be held at the group’s clubhouse located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is both free parking and f…

Outdoors

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that that a new angler survey will be conducted in 2018. It’s been more than 10 years since the last survey (2007), an outreach designed to learn more about angler attitudes, preferences and opinions on fisheries management issues. If you purchased a license between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 last year, you m…

Outdoors

Extreme cold has put the local fishing scene on ice – quite literally. Ice fishing is starting to take off and should only improve moving forward as more cold weather will be arriving this weekend. Lake Ontario and tributaries  There is still a bit of open water below dam areas such as 18 Mile Creek and the Oak Orchard River. Shawn West of Lockport had some good succ…

Outdoors

  “A long December and there's reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last…” – Counting Crows It was a long December in 2017. We ended the month and the year with the Buffalo Bills making the playoffs – and losing one of the biggest hunting and photography icons in the outdoor world, Charlie Alsheimer of Bath. It seemed like the entire year w…

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 …