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Notebook / Depot gives white deer room to roam

Dennis Money and Lee Brun keep dreaming of white deer for many Christmases to come.

Money and Brun traveled from Canandaigua to the Bison City Rod & Gun Club on Thursday evening to show affiliates at an Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs meeting the necessity of retaining the remaining 7,500 acres of fenced-in lands that once extended to 10,500 acres when the military actively used the Seneca Army Depot.

This depot, on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake in Seneca County in the Town of Romulus, began as a military base in 1941 at the start of World War II, surrounded with 24 miles of high fencing.

"Military officials did not allow public hunting around (explosive) areas, so over time the 20-40 white deer inside the fencing grew to more than 300 white deer, about one third of the existing deer population," Money noted.

County officials and various developers have studied this depot area and proposed keeping just 1,400 acres open to deer habitat at its northwest corner. Money and Brun, who formed Seneca White Deer Inc. in 1999 to keep the entire area wild, rejected this proposal and are working to establish programs that will retain the fencing that surrounds 139 miles of roadway and 40 miles of rail track.

SWD proposes creating the Seneca White Deer Conservation Park, a self-sustaining eco-tourism site with proper management of the deer herd. Money has developed plans that include a Cold War Museum and a Native American Deer Lore Museum based on the white deer presence, plus other attractions.

"Kept intact, nature watchers can enjoy seeing not only white deer but wild turkey, osprey and other raptors and an abundance of songbirds. Birding options are everywhere," Brun said.

"If people don't respect this habitat, we won't have wildlife for hunters or anyone who wants to see white deer and other wildlife (species) here," Money concluded.

For more information about this SWD park proposal, go to: www.senecawhitedeer.org or call (585) 328-3960.

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Bear facts

*Pennsylvania bear hunters shattered state harvest records during the three-day 2005 season, Nov. 21-23. Game Commission staff processed 3,331 bears, 456 on the last day, at check stations. In 2000, a three-day record total reached 3,075.

*Despite the New Jersey Chapter of Sierra Club's efforts to oppose a bear hunt in that state, the hunt began Monday. Through early Friday, 264 bears had been bagged.

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Turkey tagging

Department of Environmental Conservation entered into a four-year wild turkey assessment program held jointly with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Ohio Department of Natural Resources, with assistance from Pennsylvania State University and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

DEC officials seek sites where turkeys can be captured, tagged and released in those areas. No birds will be transferred during this study, which begins in January.

Landowners with turkey populations are encouraged to participate in this survey. For details, contact Connie Adams in Region 9 (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties) at 851-7010; or Scott Smith in Region 8 (Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne, and Yates counties) at (607) 776-2165, ext. 16.

e-mail: wille@pce.net

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