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Scattershots for Dec. 12, 2018

Park Blinds for Late Waterfowl Season

With the opening of the late waterfowl season in the Western Zone on Dec. 26, the Niagara Region of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced what the drawing schedule will be to secure a waterfowl blind. Drawing dates will begin next week, prior to opening day.

For Beaver Island State Park, the first drawing will take place on Friday, Dec. 21 for opening day only. That drawing will be in the basement of the Beaver Island Clubhouse. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the drawing at 6:30 p.m. The second drawing will be Dec. 26 for Dec. 27 and 28. Drawings will take place every Wednesday and Friday until the season ends on Jan. 11, 2018.

For blind drawings at Fort Niagara, Joseph Davis, Wilson-Tuscarora and Golden Hill State Parks, the first drawing date will take place on Dec. 20 at the Fort Niagara State Park Maintenance Building at 6:30 p.m. sharp. Other drawings will be held on Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.

To be eligible for any of these lottery drawings, you must possess a current hunting license, a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp, a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number and you must have completed a state Waterfowl Identification Course. A dog or boat for retrievals is also required. For additional information on Beaver Island call 773-3271. For the remaining parks call 745-7273.

Fur Handling Seminar Dec. 29

The Erie County Trappers Association will be holding its annual Fur Handling Seminar on Dec. 29 at the Collins Conservation Club, 2633 Conger Road, Collins from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The free instructional session will teach trappers better techniques for preparing pelts, as well as what’s involved with pelting, fleshing, stretching, drying, and sizing.

The seminar will focus on beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon, fox, and coyote. Trap supplies and fur hats will also be on sale during the session. A fur buyer will even be available at the end of demonstration. For more information contact Patti at 337-2556 or Hoot at 532-2457.

DEC Conservation Camps Open for Applications Jan. 23

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that it will be accepting applications for its popular Summer Conservation Camp Program beginning Jan. 23, 2019. Applications should be submitted through the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov on the Summer Camps webpage.

For 72 years, this program has been hosting youngsters from ages 11 to 17 at various camps around the state. Camp Rushford is in Allegany County, Camp Colby in Franklin County, Camp DeBruce in Sullivan County, and Pack Forest in Warren County. It gives kids the opportunity to learn about nature and conservation through fishing, canoeing, bird watching, camping, hiking and hunter safety education for a full week of fun.

Many local clubs and sporting federations will sponsor sending kids to camp. Contact the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs at www.eriectyfsc.org or the Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs at www.ncfcc.org for information in your county. One week of camp without sponsorship costs $350.

Cormorant Hunting Season in Canada?

Bring up the topic of double-crested cormorants around area fishing circles and it will undoubtedly incite some heated comments and spark a lively discussion. A burgeoning population of these birds in area waters have impacted state stockings of salmon and trout, as well as population levels of other native fish species. They have also impacted native bird species and destroyed habitat.

The Province of Ontario is currently seeking input from residents regarding a proposed hunting season for double-crested cormorants starting in 2019. The Environmental Bill of Rights Registry Proposal Notice released last month would classify cormorants as a game bird and allow anyone with a hunting license and an Outdoors Card to hunt them from March 15 to December 31. During the season, hunters would be allowed to harvest 50 birds per day with no possession limit. The 45-day comment period will end on Jan. 3, 2019.

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