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Youths get first shots at pheasants

Young hunters ages 12-15 have first shots at pheasants during the New York statewide Youth Hunt Weekend.

This early youth season opens at sunrise on Saturday and Sunday, allowing licensed youths in the company of an adult the opportunity to harvest two pheasants each day.

The regular pheasant season will open on Oct. 18 in Western New York. A listing of Department of Environmental Conservation pheasant release sites, for the Youth Hunt (YH) and for the regular season (RS) can be found at dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9349.html.

Oct. 18 also will mark the start of a shortened archery big-game season. Because of the calendar configuration, the first Saturday after Columbus Day this year gives archers a bow season of Oct. 18 to Nov. 14, the day before gun opener in the DEC Southern Zone.

Predictions for a late rut could put archers onto good deer movement later in the open bow season. Some observers see the rut running well into the gun season, which begins Nov. 15.

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Erie anglers active

Gas prices and economic woes did not deter anglers who are into Lake Erie walleye and perch fishing this past season.

Survey results from the DEC Lake Erie Unit show an increase in catch rates for both species. Perch anglers spent more time on the water in 2008 than 2007 and harvested about twice the ringbacks this year. The 2007 take was 10,697; in 2008 the count went to 22,960 for the May-August period.

Walleye workers spent even more time 'eye catching this year, about 119,000 hours in 2007 and close to 145,000 hours in 2008. For their efforts they tallied about the same totals (some 26,000 walleye), which is above the five-year average of 23,553.

Walleye chances have slimmed, but perch prospects proliferate for boaters headed to 60-foot depths between Sturgeon Point and Cattaraugus Creek right now.

Warsaw angler and fisheries consultant Jerry Brown has done well on perch off Point Breeze and the Catt. Check with him at (585) 944-3884.

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Duck draws

Lottery drawings for waterfowl blinds at Beaver Island State Park will be held at the Grand Island Community Center in the Nike Base at 3278 Whitehaven Road. Drawings will begin Oct. 24 and go to Dec. 5 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Doors open at 6 p.m. and drawings will start at 6:30 p.m. sharp.

Blinds for all Niagara County sites (Fort Niagara, Joseph Davis, Wilson-Tuscarora, and Golden Hills State Parks) will be drawn at the Fort Niagara State Park Maintenance Building on varying days of the week starting Oct. 23. Dates are set for Oct. 23, 27 and 30; Nov. 3, 6, 10 13, 17, 20, 24, and 26; Dec. 1, 4, 26, and 29; and Jan. 2, 5 and 9. For entry details, check with Dave Whitt (745-7273).

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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