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Outdoors notebook: Clubs offer chance to hone bow skill in offseason

Big-game archery and gun season ended at sunset Tuesday and bow shooters will be looking for ways to limber limbs – on bows and forearms – this winter. The 2015 WNY Winter 3-D League schedule provides team and individual shooters opportunities to get out on Sunday mornings starting Jan. 4 and try a variety of target courses at four different club sites.

Collins Conservation Club hosts the first league shoot; later shoots will be held at Glen Coe Conservation Club, at West Falls Conservation Society and at Evans Rod & Gun Club.

Teams consist of three to six shooters; walk-on shooters are welcome at all four clubs, breakfast will be served starting at 7 a.m. at West Falls shoots. A shoot-off round will be held at Glen Coe on March 29; Evans Rod & Gun Club hosts the league banquet on April 11.

For details on the Collins and Glen Coe clubs, check with league president Mike Matala at 337-0126. Mike Cummings does the West Falls setups; call Cummings at 432-6035. Ray Zylinski Jr. works Evans Rod & Gun Club shoots; Zylinski can be reached at 866-5072.

Ice angler angles

Southwick Associates conducts year-round national surveys of anglers’ and hunters’ interests, activities and gear preferences. Panfish ranks second in overall fish species targeted; while most other fishing pursuits involved big-ticket items, ice anglers mainly purchased jigs, reels and rods.

Despite its popularity in northern states, ice-fishing gear purchases ranked below all product needs such as apparel, tackle and electronics. With all the modern upgrading of fishing devices, ice fishing remains a basic, hands-on, make-do outdoors pursuit.

Ban on coyote contests

Coyotes, a major predator of pets and of young wildlife and livestock, are often the target of contest hunts to control their numbers. But hunt contests will no longer be allowed in California.

The California Fish and Game Commission voted, effective April 2015, to ban paying bounties to coyote hunters and conducting coyote-hunting contests in that state.

Intense pressure from advocacy groups in the form of more than 13,000 emails after an Adin River Rod & Gun Club coyote-hunt contest earlier this year prompted state officials to ban these contests.

Nearby Utah offers hunters a $50 bounty for each documented coyote kill; several states across the country, including New York State, allow coyote hunting contests.

Despite the loss of hunt contests, California game officials consider coyotes a non-game animal with no bag-limit count, night hunting is allowed in certain areas and the state has an open hunting season year-round.

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