Hunters of all ages and interests have done some remarkable trophy taking during the big-game archery and fall wild turkey seasons.
Al Stange, 80, of Amherst won't let age get in the way of his archery hunting with partner Eric Scott of Williamsville at their deer camp in Franklinville. Stange, who has bent bows since the early 1960s and averages one to two deer per year, used a ladder stand to take an eight-point buck with an 18 1/2 -inch outside spread. Scott sees it as a 3 1/2 -year-old whitetail.
Bobby Pirowski of Blasdell, hunting from a ground blind in Colden, used his Golden Eagle bow to take a doe and a six-point buck just eight minutes apart. For Pirowski, an archery regular, these were his first kills in five archery seasons.
First time's awesome, even if it takes more than 20 years. Jim Eichinger, Region 9 rep for New York Bowhunters, has gotten a doe about every other year but never a buck. This year, after 22 years of archery hunts in Ellicottville, he called in an awesome-class eight-point buck and connected with a 12-yard shot. In an e-mail, he kept retyping the word "Awesome."
First-time archer Al Smith of Angola did well his first year, taking a doe opening weekend and an eight-point buck with a 44-inch chest. Smith's mentor and partner, Joe Esposito, puts that at a live weight somewhere above 200 pounds.
Turkey trophies -- a one-day triple on hens -- will add to Thanksgiving Day festivities for three family members.
Mark Greico, a Knight & Hale pro staff member from Clarence Center, keeps a hunting camp in the Town of Sherman in Chautauqua County. Greico called in birds on Veterans Day for Lockport youths Carl J. Hueber, 16, and Ryan Harrington, 12, and their grandfather Paul Fiegl of Clarence.
Fall turkey calling can be tough, but Greico, a veteran spring and fall caller, said, "I used clucks and purrs to get those afternoon birds moving and then a kee-kee call to call them in once located."
He took more satisfaction from doing the calling and seeing the kids and granddad get kills than his own harvesting.
Michael Potts, from the Town of Tonawanda, travels to his property in Olean to hunt with his PSE Edge bow throughout archery season. He has taken nine bucks in 12 years, but this year will be hard to top in seasons to come.
Potts filled his buck tag with a four-pointer Oct. 19 and got a doe Nov. 8, but his season peaked Nov. 2 when he was in position for a 10-yard shot at a 2-year-old male bruin. The black bear dropped within 60 yards and is now at Deer Lick Taxidermy in Barker.
Tom Jurczak, senior wildlife biologist at Allegany, looks for a record or two to be broken in this year's bear take numbers for the Allegany Region, Western New York's Southern Tier area open to bear hunting.
"We have recorded 14 bear kills during archery season so far in Region 9," Jurczak said Wednesday. Last year, this area totaled 14 bears for the entire archery season.
Hunters in 2001 took 33 bears in the Allegany Region during both archery and gun seasons. Early snow cover throughout much of the Southern Tier this season helped archers locate bear as well as deer.