DEC Revises Bobcat permit requirement
The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that the agency is adopting a regulatory proposal to revise the special permit requirement for bobcat hunting and trapping starting this fall. Hunters and trappers will no longer be required to obtain a free “special permit” from their regional wildlife office. They will still be required to have a hunting or trapping license and to have the animal “pelt sealed” – have a plastic tag put on by DEC staff.
Based on the Bobcat Management Plan that was completed in 2012, hunting and trapping seasons were put into place in select Wildlife Management Units in Central and Western New York (known as the Harvest Expansion Area). The special permit allowed wildlife biologists to collect valuable information on participation, harvest and harvest pressure through a diary or log. After three seasons of collecting information, sufficient data is now available to make sound management decisions.
NASCAR’s Childress named chair for NHF Day
NASCAR legend Richard Childress of Welcome, N.C., is the honorary chairman for National Hunting and Fishing Day, set this year for Saturday, Sept. 23. Childress, who currently serves as chairman and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, has a huge passion for outdoor sports. He is also a huge supporter of many conservation programs across the country.
Several local events are held each year to celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day. In Erie County, the 46th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration will be at the Elma Conservation Club, 600 Creek Road, Elma from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sept. 23 and sponsored by the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. In Niagara County, one of the biggest celebrations in the state is the New York Power Authority’s 32nd Annual Wildlife Festival, set for Sept. 23-24 at the NYPA Visitors Center adjacent to Niagara University from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Last year, nearly 10,000 visitors came to celebrate during the festival, an event co-sponsored by the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs.
Erie Canal Fishing Derby awaits grand prize
The 27th Annual Erie Canal Fishing Derby ended last Sunday and the first-place winners are waiting for the awards ceremony to take place July 23 at the Gasport Fire Hall starting at 3 p.m. All the first-place winners – both for the adults and for the kids – will be in two separate drawings for the grand prize in their respective divisions. For the adults, a boat, motor and trailer from Brobeil Marine in Buffalo is the top prize. Some great fish came to the scales during the 12-day event. Top bass was a 4.94-pound largemouth reeled in by Chris Walczak of Amherst. His son, Keegan, checked in with a 9.65-pound northern pike to take that division. Albert Whaley of Tonawanda was the winner in the walleye category with a 5.19-pound fish. Big bullhead was a 2.25-pound fish reeled in by Anthony Moule of Lyndonville. Top catfish was a 14-pounder weighed in by Charles Rizzo of North Tonawanda. First-place carp was a 28.02-pound fish out-muscled by Mike Boncore of Buffalo. Sheepshead winner was Todd Wells of Medina with an 11.39-pound fish.
In the Kid’s Division, James Benzinger of North Carolina set the pace in the bass category with a 3.06-pound fish. Walleye winner was Blake Hicks of Lockport with a 2.18 pounder. Top pike was Gianni Etopia of Lewiston with a 4.42-pound canal fish. Bullhead leader was Lillian Arida of Pendleton weighing in a 1.44-pound fish. Catfish winner was Joe Cwiklinski of Depew with a 4.76 pounder. Carp category winner was Joe Terranova of Gasport with a 19.23-pound fish. Biggest sheepshead for the kid’s contest was a 3.35-pound fish. Grand prize drawing for the kids will receive a new kayak. We’ll have a full recap next week and some of the stories of how the winners were caught in next week’s outdoor column.