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Harness halts injury during fall

Mark Whitmore took another nice eight-pointer this archery season, fairly routine for him. His son, John, visiting on leave from U.S. Marines service, got a nice doe on opening day of gun season.

But the big Whitmore story this season comes from failed and successful equipment usage.

Mark drew his bow while up 23 feet in a treestand on a hunt in Hartsville and the bow snapped at the riser, that fist-grip piece at the center of the bow.

"All I remember was ducking away from the [top] limb of the bow and the next thing I knew I was out of the treestand," he recalled.

Whitmore was wearing a harness, which prevented a dangerous fall.

"After that experience, I'm going to invest in one of those full-body [vest-type] harnesses," he said.

Treestand mishaps outnumber hunting-related shooting incidents across New York State each hunting season.

Hunters should check out safety gear as closely as their firearms equipment and wear a restraint before climbing and throughout the time spent hunting off the ground.

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>Pennsylvania station

Rifle deer season opens statewide in Pennsylvania a half hour before sunrise on Monday.

Western New Yorkers who hunt Western Pennsylvania can bring a legal deer into the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative (KQDC) check station at Lantz's Corners, corner of Routes 219 and 6, from 1-7 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday.

One of three KQDC sites, Lantz's Corner station officials provide weight, age and general health information on deer checked.

Drawing tickets will be given for each deer checked. An antlered deer receives one ticket; each antlerless deer receives two tickets for prizes such as a rifle, prints and scopes.

For more details on all check stations and KQDC programs, visit: www.visitanf.com or call (814) 362-4613.

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>Winter boating tips

While most boaters have their vessels in storage for the winter, dedicated diehards will be out there whenever and wherever open waters beckon throughout the cold-weather season.

Boat U.S., the Boat Owners Association of the United States, offers some general tips for both catch improvement and greater safety while fishing from a boat during winter months.

Check fish bellies for silt or other signs of bottom feeding. Present baits more slowly and work an area longer than during warm-water months. Find the deepest water that is closest to shore and work baits more vertically (like ice-fishing rigs) than horizontally, as during warmer days of the year.

Fewer potential rescuers remain on wintry waters, so leave a float plan with someone each time out on the water.

Spray Reel Magic or other line conditioners when ice forms on rod tips and guides. A smaller line size gets better hook sets with less line resistance. Fish attractants on artificial baits can trigger sluggish fish in cold waters.

Wear layers of clothing and bring along high-energy foods and warm drinks, not alcoholic beverages, which dilates blood vessels.

U.S. Coast Guard boating statistics cite January and February as the greatest period for fatality risks while boating. Check the weather before and during a trip.

For more tips on winter boating and all Boat U.S. fishing and safety information sources, visit: BoatUSAngler.com or call (866) 906-0013.

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>Incentive plan announced

A joint DEC and Audubon New York effort, totaling $600,000 to protect grasslands, has just been announced. A Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) will assist farmers to manage grassland areas, providing habitat (pasture and hayfield) areas for at-risk bird species such as short-eared owls, Henslow's sparrows, and upland sandpipers. Applicants selected for this area include farms in Niagara, Genesee, and Steuben Counties. For complete details on LIP programs, visit: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/32722.html.

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>Handy recycled gifts

America Recycles Day has passed (Nov. 15), but Folks at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in Depew will present some handy ways to make simple holiday gifts from items that would probably just end up in the trash during a "Recycled Crafts" workshop for kids and adults. Activities begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday in the new Education Center. To register in advance, call 683-5959.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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