By RON KOLODZIEJ
For the Recorder
Last Saturday, Jan. 5, prizes and awards were distributed at Tuman's Tavern on Forest Avenue in Amsterdam in the Second Annual Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce Big Buck Contest. To refresh your memory, here are the winning entries in that event, along with some additional information you'll find interesting.
The contest drew 81 participants and they brought in a total of 36 deer, for a success rate of about 40 percent. Bill Paro brought in the top buck in the bow category as well as the largest buck entered, a big 209 pound 9 pointer. Second place in the bow category went to Tracy Craig with a 182-pound 9 pointer and third place went to John Loucks for a 134-pound 6 pointer. In the firearms category, Matt Bramer took top honors with a 153 pound 7 pointer, second place went to Mike Marzullo with a 150-pound 6 pointer and third place was won by Tom Mancini with a 133-pound 8 pointer.
Ken Paro, Jr. took the top spot in the muzzleloader division with a 130.8-pound doe. Nicole Baker won the Female Hunter division with 124 pound 6 pointer and Matt Georgia took top honors in the Heaviest Doe portion of the competition with a 148 pounder. Matt Georgia also won the Youth division with a 130-pound 6 pointer.
Much of the success of this event depended upon not only the contestants but also the sponsors, committee members and others.
The sponsors included: Frank's Gun Shop; St. Mary's Hospital; Assemblyman George Amedore; Judith Ann Realty; The Recovery Room; NBT Bank; Dave's Bait & Tackle; Lock Stock & Barrel; Hardies Electric; Dr. Russell Cecil; Senator Hugh Farley; Mohawk Valley Orthopedics; Rick's Robo Car Wash; Cioffi, Slezak, Wilgrube - Attorneys at Law; American Ornamental - Matt Calkins; Mohawk Valley Firewood and Mohawk Archery.
The Fulton Montgomery Chamber of Commerce deserves plaudits as do contest committee members Brent Phetteplace, Tom Georgia, Dick Andrews, Rick Vertucci, Brennen Parker, Mike Auriemma, John Havlick, Frank Szyjkowski and Ron Kolodziej. Special thanks also go out to Loopie's Tavern, Tom Georgia, Fuel & Food, Tuman's Tavern, and Lock, Stock & Barrel for serving as official weigh stations for the event and to Tom Georgia and Ed Dunleavey, who prepared the delicious wild game repast with all the trimmings that accompanied the awards ceremony. Thanks also to Bartyzel Distributors for the impressive signage.
A small portion of the entry fees were set aside for the Chamber's Scholarship Fund and in the two years the event has been held, the participants have donated over $1,000 to that fund.
This month the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation will commence a new research project on wild turkey survival that it is hoped will improve the management of this popular game bird.
According to the agency, the data generated by this study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size to help guide future management of this species. Over the past 10 years or so, wild turkey populations have declined in many parts of the state. In an effort to better understand the factors influencing these population changes, DEC is embarking on this four-year study which will provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for hen turkeys.
Beginning this month, DEC staffers will launch a statewide effort to capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands to obtain the required date. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio transmitters. These studies will be done on both public and private lands from January through March, primarily in Regions 3 through 9, where turkey populations are highest.
From 2006 through 2009, the agency worked with hundreds of landowners across the state to assess harvest and survival rates of tom turkeys. With that important project now completed, the agency is once again seeking landowners interested in helping with this complementary study focused on hen turkey populations.
The agency is therefore looking for landowners in the above regions who are interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land, as well as those interested in alerting project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will be immediately released unharmed at the same location where they were trapped. This is not a "trap and transfer" program, so there will be no loss of birds on your property.
For additional information on the program, or to volunteer access to your property for this important study, you're invited to contact the DEC Regional Coordinator in your area. For Region 4 you can contact Karl Parker, NYS Bureau of Wildlife, 1150 N. Westcott Road, Schenectady, NY 12306, his telephone number is 518-357-2154; for Region 5 you can contact Melissa Neely, NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Hudson Street Extension, Warrensurg, NY 12885, her telephone number is 518-623-1273.
There are plenty of area events going on that will help you dispel any traces of cabin fever that may be developing, and one of them takes place today. Beginning at 9:45 a.m., the Ray Mills Youth Center at the Sacandaga Bible Conference on Lakeview Road, Broadalbin, will be the scene of the fourth annual Sacandaga Sportsmen's Show.
This is a full-day event which will feature seminars and workshops for hunters, anglers and bowhunters as well as displays, vendors, a silent auction and dozens of door prizes, including several firearms. In addition there will be a sportsmen's buffet featuring dishes made with wild boar, bison, venison and locally raised elk. The special guest speaker at this event will be Paige Patterson, an acclaimed big game hunter whose trophies include a giraffe, zebra, lion, leopard and buffalo.
The admission fee for this event is $20 and tickets can be purchased at the camp office at 191 Lakeview Road or by calling 518-883-3713.
FUEL 'N FOOD CONTEST
Here's the skinny on the Fifth Annual Fuel 'N Food Weekend-Long Ice Fishing Contest, one of the premiere ice fishing events on Great Sacandaga. The contest opens at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 1, and runs until 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 3. The entry fee is $20 per angler and includes a pig roast. All fish will be measured at Wally's Driftwood Park Marina and prizes will be distributed at Fuel & Food after 4 p.m. on Sunday. Drawings for other prizes and a power auger will take place after that.
There will be six prizes awarded for the longest fish in each of four divisions: walleyes -- $600, $400, $200, $100, $50 and $25; northern pike -- $500, $300, $200, $100, $50 and $25; trout -- $300, $200, $100, $75, $50, and $25; and perch -- $150, $125, $100, $75, $50 and $25. A special prize of $100 will also be awarded for the longest mud puppy entered as well as $50 for the longest non-game fish entered.
Of course, there are other ice fishing contests being held on the lake as well. I've covered each one of them individually in the past several columns but I'll remind you of each as they approach. In an event, here's as complete a listing as I have right now, in the event you need to mark your calendar.
The Walleye Challenge event will be held on Saturday, Jan. 26; the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Contest will also be held Jan. 26; the Fish House Fish & Game Club Contest will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9; the Reid Hill Fish & Game Contest will be held on Friday, Feb. 16; and the Fuel & Food Weekend-Long Contest will be held on Friday through Sunday, March 1-3. I'm certain there will be several others on the lake as well, and as soon as I get details on them I'll pass the information along to you.
Incidentally, Dave Allen of Dave's Bait and Tackle on Bunker Hill Road in Mayfield has commenced his monthly ice fishing contest for this winter. Prizes will be awarded for the three largest northern pike, walleyes, trout and yellow perch each month, and the dollar amount of each prize will depend upon the number of anglers registered in the monthly event. For additional information you can call Dave's Bait & Tackle at 518-863-5318.
Be advised the Canajoharie, Forest Fish and Game Club's 8th Annual Coyote Hunt will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19. Registrations will be accepted on Friday, Jan. 18 at the Club House of Fish & Game Road from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and the cost will be $20, Prizes will be awarded for the heaviest male and heaviest female coyotes entered on a payout bases of 60/40%. The dollar amount of these prizes will depend upon the number of persons entered in the event.
Hunting will take place between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Jan. 19 and there will also be a gun raffle as well as a 50/50 raffle. The club kitchen will also be open at 6 a.m. and remain open for most of the day. For additional information you can contact John Hayes at 922-5055.
The club will also conducted its 6th Annual Rabbit Hunt on Saturday, Feb. 16. I'll have additional info on that hunt in a future column.
The annual Sportsman Swap Meet, sponsored and conducted by the Wells Fish and Game Club, will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Wells Community Center. This popular event will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and all outdoor fans are invited to just come in and browse through the material available to buy, sell, trade or barter, including old and new sporting goods items. You're sure to find an item or two that you've been wanting.