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Scattershots (Oct. 9, 2019)

DEC posts pheasant release sites

The Youth Pheasant Hunt is Oct. 12-13. Starting Oct. 19, the regular pheasant hunting season will open for upland bird hunters in Western New York. To help provide incentive, the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation will release nearly 4,700 birds in Region 9 through the Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca. The day-old pheasant chick program provides additional birds as a result of a program that includes DEC, 4-H youth, sportsmen, sportswomen, and landowners. Birds also are released through the Erie and Allegany County Sheriff’s Department at the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area and Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area.

There are numerous restrictions as to when you can hunt or work your dog prior to the start of the season. For example, if you want to hunt Joseph Davis, Wilson-Tuscarora and Golden Hill state parks in Niagara County, a special permit should have been obtained for the Youth Hunt or the first three Saturdays of the regular season (Oct. 19, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2). There is no hunting at those parks on the release days (Oct. 25 and Nov. 1). A special permit is required for the opening day, Oct. 19, at the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area and Harwood Lake Multiple Use Area. Hunting is not allowed on Fridays at the Carlton Hill Multiple Use Area during October and November. Hunters are reminded that if you pursue pheasants on private land, first obtain permission. For a complete list of pheasant stocking locations in Western New York, visit

Kustich to speak at fly fishing meeting

Expert fly fisherman and book author Rick Kustich of Getzville will be the guest speaker when the Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fishers International convenes for its monthly meeting on Oct. 17. The meeting will be held at the Orvis Store located in the Eastern Hills Mall, 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville, starting at 6 p.m. The presentation is open to the public.

Kustich has written several books on fly fishing for steelhead in the Great Lakes and his most recent publication, Hunting Musky with a Fly, depicts the challenges associated with chasing this elusive fish. If you would like to learn more about fly fishing, the fishing club is a great group to join. The Orvis Store also has beginner classes for Fly Fishing 101, 201 and 301, as well as Fly Tying 101.

Brook trout discovered in “fishless” lake

Good news coming out of the Adirondacks if you are a brook trout fisherman. Lake Colden, a high-elevation lake located in the High Peaks Wilderness, is again harboring self-sustaining brook trout in the lake and its tributaries. This is great news because these waters were declared “fishless” for decades because of airborne pollutants causing acid rain. The state’s DEC and the Adirondacks Lakes Survey Corporation recently confirmed the discovery of the fish, the first time a high elevation lake in the Adirondacks has recovered from acidic conditions.

Water quality has been improving in the lake. Since 1992, Lake Colden and more than 50 other designated Adirondack Long Term Monitoring lakes are collected and analyzed several times each year. Genetic testing of the Lake Colden brook trout population is underway to determine the origin of the population and whether it could be a native strain of fish. If you want to try and fish the 38-acre lake, it’s not easy to get to. It is located near Algonquin Peak between Mount Colden, the McIntyre Range and Mount Marshall. Use of baitfish is prohibited on this body of water.

Ruffed grouse help needed

The DEC is looking for help from Empire State ruffed grouse hunters. Wildlife biologists are asking upland bird hunters to submit grouse parts – 1 central tail feather, 2 to 5 rump feathers and 3 outer wing feathers – to help estimate the productivity (number of young per adult female) of these fleet-winged birds. Determining productivity is an indication of population health, assisting with the management of these populations. DEC also is asking for a blood sample from the birds. This will assist in a multi-state study for West Nile virus research.

To participate in this study, email and write Grouse Parts Collection in the subject line. You also can call 518-402-8929.

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