Cold-weather season arrived in time to put good fur to use before the first lot of pelts and hides crossed the auction table.
The Genesee Valley Trapper Association (GVTA) held the first of four auctions at its clubhouse in Honeoye on Dec. 12. Ron Schroder, lots coordinator and fur-market analyst, sees this season as off to a good start with the qualifier, "at least better than last year."
Low prices brought in fewer lots last year. Gray fox prices averaged the highest at $19.88 each at this auction, showing continued increases that had been seen last year. Best finished coyote in the lot peaked at $27.50, with an average price in at $15.34.
For an update on GVTA activities and a breakdown of last year's auction results, go to geneseevalleytrappers.com.
Erie County Trappers Association will offer a Free Fur Handling Seminar at the Collins Conservation Club on Conger Road from 9 a.m. to noon Jan. 8. Trappers young and old, beginner and seasoned, have an opportunity to improve processing skills and possibly learn more about everything from sets to market sales. At least one buyer will be on hand to look at furs.
Buyers will abound when ECTA holds its Annual Fur Auction at S&S Taxidermy and Archery Pro Shop on Route 219 in Springville Feb. 5. Check-ins will begin at 8 a.m. and an open-bid auction starts at 10 a.m. that day.
For details on both the handling seminar and the auction, check with Patti Wattengel at 337-2556.
>Small Boat Harbor ice access
The NFTA Small Boat Harbor provides area anglers a close, quick approach to ice fishing action. Each year, the harbor officially closes before the start of ice fishing season.
"As a matter of formality, a sign is posted to inform the public that the harbor is closed, but fishermen can access the ice at this site at their own risk," said C. Douglas Hartmayer NFTA Director of Public Affairs. No restrictions have been made this year; the harbor status remains the same as in years past, Hartmayer added.
>Metro forestry funding
The Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting applications for urban forestry grants.
Tree-planting projects in municipalities, school districts, and property of not-for-profit organizations will receive funding on a 50-50 basis.
Grants range from $2,500 to $62,500 for approved programs that will improve green infrastructure and enhance quality of life in urban areas.
Applications must be submitted with postmarks by Feb. 10, 2011. DEC foresters can assist applicants with form information. For instructions and forms, go to dec.ny.gov/lands/5285.html or call (518) 402-9425.
From a business efficiencies standpoint, absorption of Bushmaster into the Freedom Group's overall manufacturing facilities and Thompson/Center's rolling into Smith's Massachusetts facilities both make sense.
That's small consolation, however, for the employees who will find themselves unemployed in what is a tough job market nationwide. That job market is even more challenging in the northeast where high taxes, operating costs and employee compensation packages have already driven other companies to more friendly locales.
Bushmaster joins Marlin Firearms in the ranks of purchased/consolidated brands of the Freedom Group. Last Marchr, Freedom Group announced they would close the North Haven, Conn., facilities that for 140 years had been that brand's home.
The Freedom Group consolidations aren't new. Beginning in 2008 with the closure of the Remington manufacturing facility in Gardner, Mass., the company has continued to consolidate its holdings.
The Smith & Wesson closure of Thompson/Center will also bring product lines to a central facility with sufficient space and capacity to accommodate the additions.
>Bird dogging days
The weekend of Jan. 8-9 will bring together the finest competition bird dogs from New York, nearby states, and Canada. On-Do-Wa-Nuh Sportsmen's Club in Leicester (Livingston County) hosts the New York Bird Dog Annual Championship Series with entries in puppy, amateur, top-gun, and doubles divisions for both pointing dogs and for flushing dogs.
Not a show trial, competitors -- one dog and one hunter -- find, flush, and retrieve three or four birds in the fastest time with the fewest shots taken in a 15- to 20-minute run.
This sanctioned tournament allows winning entrants to accrue points to enter national competition. For more details and directions, call Dave Polzin at (585) 547-9322, Tom Glynn at (585) 233-3707 or go to nybds.net.
>Deer season ending
Preliminary figures suggest harvest numbers are up slightly, and many true, trophy-sized deer have been taken to taxidermists so far this season.
For Terry Moore of Allegany, retired DEC wildlife biologist who suffered severe injuries while installing a tree stand early last deer season, even a doe would take on trophy status.
Late archery and muzzleloader seasons end at sunset Tuesday in open Western New York hunting areas.