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BIOLOGISTS RETURN ANCIENT PADDLEFISH TO NEW YORK WATERS OF ALLEGHENY RIVER

Paddlefish may soon be paddling their way up the Allegheny River.

This member of a prehistoric fish family, over fished at the turn of the century and blocked by the Kinzua Dam project, was once a native species but no longer can be found in New York waters of the river. In an effort to restore these fish above the Kinzua Dam, Department of Environmental Conservation biologists stocked 46 15-inch fish on Sept. 17 at Onoville Marina.

These fish were well traveled before arriving at Onoville, said DEC senior aquatic biologist Paul McKeown. The eggs are a Mississippi strain from South Dakota. The fish were first raised at Linesville Hatchery in Pennsylvania and, after reaching a length of five inches, were later sent to the DEC Oneida Lake Hatchery at Constantia in New York to grow to the required 15 inch length. They were stocked at a larger size to avoid predators and were implanted with coded wire tags for later identification, McKeown said. These unusual fish, with a paddle-like bill about one third of its length, mainly feed on zooplankton and mature to a length of about four feet.

For openers

The hunting calendar for Western New Yorkers has a hoard of hash marks for October. Ruffed grouse and cottontail rabbit opens Oct. 1. Squirrel season began Sept. 1, but leaf drop makes the hunting better in October.

Woodcock season opens Oct. 6 and most duck species become fair game Oct. 10. Black ducks, which look like an undecorated, gray/black mallard, become bagable on Oct. 30. All waterfowl hunters are reminded to obtain a NYS hunting license, renewed Oct.1, a 1998 federal waterfowl stamp and make the toll-free call to obtain their mandatory Harvest Information Program number: 1-888-4ASKHIP.

Archery deer season begins Oct. 15, followed by both the turkey and pheasant season opener on Oct. 19. New York's crow season continues through October but hunting is allowed Fridays to Mondays only each week. Coyotes become fair game on Oct. 31.

Pheasant lottery

Niagara Frontier State Parks opens its three parks to pheasant hunting through the Oct. 19-Nov. 15 season; hunters must enter a lottery drawing for Oct. 19 and 24, opening day and opening Saturday.

Those interested in hunting the opening dates at Golden Hill, Tuscarora-Wilson or Joseph Davis state parks must send a standard-sized post card to: Niagara Frontier State Parks; Box 1132; Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14303-0132. The card must indicate the applicant's name, address, phone number, back tag number, hunt dates and sites preferred. Entries must be received by noon, Oct. 5.

New archery items

Darton's Titan model is a machine-riser solocam priced below $400 with all the accessories. Roy Hrykowian at Nick's Sporting Goods says Darton has been building bows for more than 50 years and has a line of mid-range hunting-grade bows that shoot like $600-$700 items. . . . CarbonTech arrows are modestly priced compared to other carbon models. Carbon arrows have made archery hunting more precise and effective on kills. . . . Knight & Hale's Rut-n-Buck deer call is designed for use during the rut period, usually the first two weeks of November. When properly used, the call sounds more like a click/tick than a grunt/bleat. See it and other calls on their website: www.knight-hale.com. . . . Bismuth Cartridge Company has combined with Winchester to produce a full line of non-tox waterfowl loads which can be used at the same shot level as lead. Call 1-800-759-3333.

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