Happy hunters are calling in with "braggin' rights" and some of them have real tales to tell or trophies to be proud of.
This week, first-year hunter Nicholas Drumsta, 15, of West Seneca, the entire Flynn family, and do-it-yourself elk hunter Jim Livak and caribou hunter Rick LaVoie are headlined.
Drumsta had three outings on his grandfather's land in Colden. "I saw a six-point buck and four does, but never had a decent shot at them -- and it was lucky I didn't," because at 5:15 p.m. Saturday a 19-point "non-typical" buck ambled past his post offering a good broadside shot.
Nick and his father, Daniel, tracked it until dark then contacted Deer Search. Volunteer Ed Avis and his wire-haired dachshund Sara located the buck in a dark ravine after a two-hour search.
The deer will score above 140 points, making it eligible for record-book listings as a non-typical rack, and Nick's trophy is at the taxidermist to be preserved.
"It was awesome," the young man said. His father feels the same way, although, in 26 years after whitetails he's only taken two bucks, the larger of them a four-point deer.
Clyde Flynn Sr. of Hamburg took a doe on the opening day of archery season hunting near Wellsville. His son, Joe, of Eden, killed a six-point buck near his home on Oct. 21. Joe's son, John, took a deer on Oct. 22 in Perrysburg while son Paul took a three-point buck the same day hunting in Brant. A third son, Clyde Jr., who does not bow hunt, said he may change his mind about archery after this year.
LaVoie of Buffalo flew in to a rustic northern Quebec bush camp a few weeks ago seeking barren-ground caribou and managed to fill both tags with fine bulls.
"It was a non-guided hunt on a little un-named lake near Kaniapiskau where the camp manager would sort of give you helpful tips where to go," said LaVoie. The advice and some paddling to reach remoter shores paid off.
Livak took his bull elk in Clearwater National Forest near Lolo Pass, Idaho, recently. What makes this special is that it was a totally self-guided effort.
"This was my second hunt out West," Livak wrote. "I plan my hunts using information from state biologists and with some tips from a relative who lives in Montana."
Livak's first elk carried five tines on each side of its rack. The head will be mounted. Livak has 300 pounds of elk venison in his freezer.
The New York Walleye Association has set its regular meeting back one week because of election day. They will meet Nov. 12 in the American Legion Post 1041, 533 Amherst Street, to hear biologist Paul McKeown discuss the Chautauqua Lake walleye survey.
Holland Rod & Gun Club's annual slug black-powder shoot takes place Sunday starting at noon at the club, a mile south of Holland Center on Route 16. The event features a variety of cash-prize competitions at both standing and moving targets. . . . Trap shooters can visit the Erie County Conservation Society, Miller Road, Protection (south of Holland), on Saturday to shoot for turkeys and chickens. Proceeds will benefit the pond restoration fund.
Naturalist Bruce Kershner, whose book "Secret Places of Western New York" has become a must-have for area hikers, will speak at the Buffalo Audubon Society meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Buffalo Museum of Science.
Kershner, who also spearheaded efforts to thwart logging in Allegany State Park, will talk about eternal flames, ancient forests, scenic cataracts and little-known canyons in Buffalo's backyard.
The Foothills Trail Club has an adventure hike set at Mayville's Portage Trail Saturday. Leader John Malcolm (672-4551) has details. Sunday, Linda Parlato (532-2645) leads a hike along Allegany State Park's Beehunter Trail and next Tuesday morning, Kalista Lehrer (778-8360) leads a 4.6-mile hike along an old railroad grade through Akron Falls Park.
-- MICHAEL LEVY
NOTE: Send items 15 days in advance to Outdoors Notebook, c/o Michael Levy, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14240.