For the Recorder
The provision in the Environmental Conservation Law that allows the use of crossbows for big game hunting will expire on Dec. 31, 2012. Also eliminated will be the special provision regarding the permit requirement for hunters with physical disabilities to use special archery equipment during any big game season.
Legislation allowing the use of crossbows during certain big game seasons in 2011 and 2012 took effect on Feb. 1, 2011, but the immediate effect of this current expiration is that big game hunters will not be allowed to legally use a crossbow henceforth.
Hunters with physical disabilities who were once allowed to use special archery equipment during any big game or small game season may still use that equipment but may need to reapply once again for a "Modified Archery Permit" from the DEC's Special Licenses Unit in Albany.
According to DEC, relatively few hunters have taken deer with crossbows, but that's understandable since the use of crossbows was allowed only during the regular firearms season and the subsequent muzzleloader season and few hunters wanted to abandon conventional firearms in favor of crossbows. Despite that, interest in crossbow hunting continues to grow in New York State and we may yet see a continuation of that opportunity in the future.
LAKE HERRING IN LAKE ONTARIO
Last week the Department of Environmental Conservation began stocking lake herring in Lake Ontario's Irondequoit Bay. Until the 1950s, the lake was home to a diverse group of whitefish that included as many as seven species that occupied varying depths of the lake. Each had generally found their own niche in the lake but only three such species are known to remain - the lake whitefish, round whitefish and lake herring. Recently DEC announced the first re-introduction of the bloater, a deep-water whitefish into the lake. Lake herring occupy and spawn in shallower water relative to the bloater and they spawn earlier in the winter.
Trout and salmon that feed primarily on alewife can experience reproductive failure, as I cited in my Aug. 23, 2009 column. The arrival of alewives in the lake about 50 years ago effectively sealed the fate of the Atlantic salmon because it became one of the salmon's primary prey species and here's where it gets a bit technical. Salmon need thiamine to effectively produce viable eggs and young but the alewives contain an enzyme called thiaminase which destroys thiamine and causes the early death of newly hatched salmon. However, recent reductions in alewife populations in Lake Ontario, coinciding with an increase in native prey fish, appears to be having some positive effects on Atlantic salmon populations. Predator species that feed on native species such as the bloater or lake herring are less likely to experience reproductive failure.
Lake Herring were once an important prey fish in Lake Ontario and supported important commercial fisheries that collapsed in the early 1950s, largely due to over-harvest. In the New York waters of Lake Ontario, lake herring historically spawned in Irondequoit Bay, Sodus Bay, Sandy Pond and Chaumont Bay. Recent research has documented lake herring spawning only in Chaumont Bay. The juvenile lake herring stocked last week in Irondequoit Bay originated from eggs collected by DEC staff in Chaumont Bay during November and December 2011. The hope of the agency and its other partners including USGS, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources,the USF&WS and the Nature Conservancy is to restore self-sustaining lake herring populations to Lake Ontario.
FUEL 'N FOOD BUCK
Over 400 hunters registered for the 14th Annual Big Buck Contest sponsored by the Fuel 'N Food Store in Mayfield. The awards in this event were presented at a special banquet and awards ceremony at the Mayfield Grill last Saturday.
Prizes were awarded in the Early Bow category, for both the earlier season and for the later season as well. The winners in those categories were Mike Beebe for a 96.2 pounder, Joe Wadsworth for a 11.8 pounder and Bill Paro with a 209.8 pounder. Mark Viscosi took top honors in the early muzzleloader division with a 168 pounder and Mike Bleyl took the top spot in the longest spike with a 14 incher. The award for the busk with the most points went to Jason Neahr with a 14 pointer and the widest rack award went to Brock Palmer with a 21 1/2 incher. He also took the largest doe award with a 139.4 pounder. The heaviest buck entered in the event was a 210.8 pounder entered by Nick Wall and the longest brow tine award went to Kevin Starzel for a 5 1/2 incher. The lightest buck honors went to Ira Cromling with an 80.4 pounder and the heaviest bear award went to Paul Cosselman for a 334.8 pound bruin.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BUCK CONTEST RESULTS
Here are the top division winners in the Fulton Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Big Buck Contest. There were about 80 registrants in the 2012 contest and the largest buck entered was a big 209 pound 9 pointer taken by bow by Bill Paro. The largest taken by rifle or shotgun was 153 pound 8 pointer taken by Matt Bramer and the largest deer taken by muzzleloader was a 131 pound doe bagged by Ken Paro.
In the overall doe category, Matt Georgia took top honors with a 148 pounder and he also won the youth division with that doe. The largest deer taken by a female hunter was a 124 pound 6 pointer taken by Nicole Baker.
The formal awards presentation and banquet for this event will take place next week, on Saturday, Jan. 5, at 1 p.m. at Tuman's Tavern on Forest Avenue in Amsterdam. I'll have additional information and complete details for you in that day's column.
While we're on the subject of buck contests, don't forget that the awards presentation and banquet in the annual Tuman's Tavern Contest will be distributed at a special banquet which will be held on Sunday, January 20 at 1 p.m. at the tavern.
WARNING ON E15
My compliments to AAA for issuing this warning. This may not seem appropriate for an outdoor column but when one considers the number of fuel-driven devices we all own and use while engaging in our favorite outdoor sports, it does become very important. I've been warning you about the potential damage of E15 gasoline for a few years and the American Automobile Association recently issued a warning on the use of the newly approved mixture (15 percent ethanol). A recent survey by the organization finds that there is a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage if it's used. The warning states that less that five percent of cars on the road today have been approved by automakers to use this new blend. About 12 million of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the road are approved for its use and studies by their engineers believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and false "check engine" lights for any vehicles not specifically approved and calibrated by its manufacturer to use E15. The warning states that the only vehicles currently approved by automakers to use the new E15 blend are flex-fuel models, 2001 and newer Porsches, 2012 and newer GM vehicles and come 2013 model-year Fords (but only cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles).
Five manufacturers -- BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen -- have gone on record as saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Seven additional automakers -- Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo -- have stated that the use of E15 does not comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner's manuals for most models and may void warranty coverage.
Here's the clincher: The use of E15 is expressly prohibited in boats, motorcycles, power equipment, lawn mowers and off-road vehicles such as ATVs, as well as heavy-duty vehicles -- and that's only a partial list.
Where did the Environmental Protection Agency come up with this hare-brained scheme? Since most ethanol is corn-based I can only assume the corn cartel is politically strong and active. I can only speak from limited experience but on a recent auto trip I had the opportunity to several times buy gasoline without ethanol in it and my vehicle (a 2011 model) exhibited more power, ran smoother and my miles-per-gallon consumption went from 24 to almost 28 mpg. Can you imagine what E15 will do to your chainsaw, ATV or boat's outboard or I/O motor? Be warned and be cautious. Read the contents label on the gas pump the next time you fuel up and by all means check your vehicle warranty or consult the dealer from whom you purchased it. Be especially careful if you're gassing up your ATV, lawn tractor, chainsaw and other smaller engines.
There are additives you can buy that allegedly enhance the value of the gas but those additives are expensive -- meaning every gallon of fuel you buy becomes even more expensive -- and they have dubious results.
The Winter Archery League at Bowhunter Plus begins Jan. 7. The league will run for 10 weeks with a week for makeup in the event you weren't able to shoot all 10 weeks consecutively. Come in any day during the week and shoot for your score, then there will be a banquet at the conclusion of the 10-week series.
There have also been a number of new features and products added at Bowhunter Plus so stop in and learn about them. The shop is located at 4303 Route 30 a mile or so south of the Perth 4 Corners. Their phone number is 843-5500.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
My best wishes to all of you for a very happy, prosperous and healthy New Year. This has been a tough year in many respects so I hope 2013 is better for all of us.