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Scattershot: Outdoors news & notes


The Fishing Beat (Nov. 30)

Bill Hilts Jr.'s Outdoors Column

Catches of the Week

Environmental Forum Focuses on Winter

Winter Wildlife Adaptations will be the theme for the eighth “2 The Outdoors” Environmental Forum Dec. 7 at Tifft Nature Preserve, 1200 Fuhrmann Blvd., Buffalo, starting at 7:30 p.m. According to coordinator Terry Belke, featured speakers will include Beaver Meadow naturalist Mark Carra talking about bears, Tifft’s own David Spiering talking about whitetailed deer, and author Gerry Riesing talking about birds. For more information contact Belke at 548-7659 or email him at These sessions are highly informative and entertaining.

Pennsylvania Bear Season Comes Up Short

After forecasts of an “epic” bear season in the Keystone State, the preliminary bear harvest numbers are checking in at 2,579 bruins – down from the 2015 take of 2,693 during the four-day hunt and a far cry from the 4,350 taken in 2011. The preliminary four-day hunt numbers do not include the archery and extended bear seasons, with final tallies coming at a later date.

The Top 10 this year show live weights of better than 620 pounds. At the top of the scale was a 676 pound black bear checked in by Donald Boandl of Lake Ariel, Pa. – the second heaviest bear taken during the statewide season. The estimated bear population at the start of the season was over 20,000 animals.

December Gun Shows

Bruce Johnston with Niagara Frontier Gun Shows has passed along a list of some upcoming gun shows in the Western New York area. First on the calendar will be a two-day show at the Event Center located at 11177 Main Street in Clarence Dec. 3-4. Hours will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5.

On Dec. 10-11, there will be another two-day show at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2735 Union Road in Cheektowaga with the same hours and details listed above. For more information, check out the website at or call 542-9929.

Three-F Winter Skeet League Starts

The Three-F Club in Lewiston will be kicking off its popular Winter Skeet League on Sunday, Dec. 3. Sign-ups are currently in progress and sheets are posted at the club for individuals and teams at 904 Swann Road. While shooting can start this Sunday, you don’t need to record your first six scores until Jan. 22, 2017. The league will run through March 19, followed by shoot-offs on March 26. The league is both fun and challenging when facing the area’s winter conditions. Shooting much take place on Wednesday, Saturday or Sunday between certain hours. If you have any questions, contact Jeff Ventry at 609-0421

Hunter Safety Stressed

In the wake of several hunting fatalities thus far in the regular big-game season, it’s time to take a reality check regarding firearms safety. Safety should be No. 1 on everyone’s check list when it comes to this popular season, a timeframe that sees nearly a half-million hunters take to the fields and forests of the Empire State. Here are a few safety tips to consider:

  • Always point your firearm in a safe direction and treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  • Be sure of your target before taking the safety off and putting your finger on the trigger.
  • Never shoot at sound or movement without first identifying the target; look beyond your intended target, too, making sure it’s safe.
  • If you are hunting from a tree stand, unload your gun first before climbing up into the stand.
  • Hunter orange is not mandatory, but it’s always a good idea to wear some when hunting. Stay safe out there!


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