October 15 will be a busy day for hunters this year.
A new big-game format (the first Saturday after Columbus Day) sets archery season at the previously held date of Oct. 15, which is the pheasant season opener throughout Central and Western New York.
Pheasant hunters must obtain permits to access Harwood Lake and Zoar Valley Multiple Use Areas on opening day. Applications must be in by Friday. Send a post card that includes a name, address, phone number, 2005-06 back tag number, management area and preferred times (sunrise to noon or 1 p.m. to sunset) in order of preference to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, 270 Michigan Ave., Buffalo, 14203. A permit will not be required to hunt these MUAs during the remainder of the open season.
Central and WNY Chapter of Safari Club International members have stocked 6,000 pheasants at 30 sites around Western New York. For details on access to these locations, check with Mike Shevlin at 559-3088.
For information about pheasant hunting permits at three parks in the Niagara Frontier State Park Region, call Sandy Wilkolaski at 278-1785.
> Teen shooting academy
SCOPE, SCI and the Greater Niagara Frontier Council of Boy Scouts of America have joined to conduct a Teen Shooting Academy. Gander Mountain will provide 10 .22-caliber rifles for instruction.
Scouts can earn a Rifle Merit Badge, and all youths can learn safe firearms use during two-hour classes held on the first and third Tuesday of each month from October to January.
For details, call 592-7211 or 846-5448.
> Grouse numbers
The DEC seeks active ruffed grouse hunters willing to keep a record of their hunt harvests. Last year, 274 hunters participated in the Grouse Hunting Log Program. To join, write: Reynolds Game Farm, 81 Game Farm Rd., Ithaca, N.Y. 14850-2803; call (607) 273-3763; or go to: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/gamebird/grouselog.html.
> College outdoors scholars
The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs offers college scholarships to Erie County students applying to or enrolled in environment-related studies. Applications must be submitted by Dec. 15. For details, write: Scholarship Chairman, 29 Yvette Drive, Cheektowaga, N.Y. 14227, or go to: www.eriectyfsc.org.