By RON KOLODZIEJ
For the Recorder
The northern zone regular big game season closed last Sunday, December 2 and the southern zone regular season closes on Sunday. That means it's time to put away your deer gun and get out your favorite scattergun to head afield for all the great small game opportunities we enjoy in this area. The cottontail rabbit season in the northern zone opened on October 1 and runs through March 17. It also opened on October 1 in the southern zone but runs only through February 28. The varying hare season opened in the northern zone on October 1 and closes on March 17, while it opens on December 10 in the southern zone and closes on February 28. Squirrels are fair game statewide through February 28.
The Ruffed grouse season is now open in both the northern and southern zones and runs through February 28 in both zones. The crow season is also open statewide now and runs through March 31 but they can be hunted only Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. I could never figure that one out but I suppose there's a logical reason for it. Crows are considered at least partially migratory so federal regulations have been applied to their hunting season. They do migrate but not very far and many remain in the area as permanent residents. So how does hunting them only four days a week help any?
You can hunt bobcats at any hour, day or night, in most of the northern zone and the eastern half of the southern zone until February 15. There are no bag limits on hunted bobcats. Weasels, opossums, skunks, raccoons and fox may be hunted throughout New York State, with the exception of Long Island, until February 15. These species may also be hunted day or night and there is also no bag limit. And, last but certainly not least, coyotes my be hunted through March 31 anywhere in the State, with the exception of Long Island and the Big Apple. Again, they may be hunted day or night and there is no bag limit.
In the event it slipped your mind, you can now use an air gun to hunt squirrels, rabbits, hares and ruffed grouse, as well as furbearers that may be hunted, such as coyotes and raccoons. According to DEC, an air gun is described as "A firearm that uses spring or compressed air (not gunpowder) to propel a single projectile that is .17 caliber or larger and produces a muzzle velocity of at least 600 feet per second. You may use a smooth or rifled bore." Personally, I feel that if you hit a 30 pound coyote with a .17 caliber air gun projectile traveling at 600 fps all you'll succeed in doing is annoying the critter. And don't compare that to a .17 caliber rimfire. That ammo is a self-contained cartridge and the projectile comes out of the muzzle at some 2,100 fps. I don't question the potency of a .17 caliber air rifle projectile, just the minimum 600 feet per second requirement. Even a .22 caliber long rifle round leaves the barrel at somewhere between 1,100 and 1,750 fps, depending upon the weight of the projectile. I just think 600 fps is a tad light and slow for use on something like a coyote. Just my opinion.
Here's yet another interesting area event you should be aware of. On January 12, 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. You can also email your request to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fifth Annual Walleye Challenge Ice Fishing Derby will be held on GSL on Saturday, January 26 and registration is limited to the first 1,500 entrants. Fishing hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a total of $45,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded. The prize structure will consist of $1,000 per hour in cash payouts, plus $9,000 in miscellaneous prizes but there will also be drawings at 4 p.m. the day of the contest for two 4-wheelers and one snowmobile. The event will be headquartered at Lanzi's On the Lake, which will also serve as one of the two weigh stations, with the other one being at the NYS Boat Launch in Broadalbin. You may enter this event now but wristbands certifying you as an entrant can be picked up at the Fuel 'N Food Store beginning on January 1. The regulation list and entry form for this contest can be picked up at Fuel 'N Food but no entries will be accepted after the magic number of 1,500 entrants has been achieved.
The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's annual ice fishing contest will again be held the same day as the Walleye Challenge and the entry fee for this contest will be $15.
Having both contests the same day is actually a good idea because you can enter and participate in both events , since they give prizes for different species so whatever you catch, there'll be a contest in which you can enter your fish. Obviously, the Walleye Challenge event gives prizes only for walleyes but the GSLFF contest will be for northerns. perch and trout. Catch a nice walleye and you can enter it in the Walleye Challenge but if you catch a big perch, northern or trout, you can enter it in the GSLFF's contest. Great idea and it worked well last year. Incidentally, the GSLFF event will be essentially the same as last year, with $1,500 in prize money being awarded to the three top entries in each of the above three categories. The GSLFF event will be headquartered at the Sacandaga Boating Club and the contest hours will be 7 am to 4 pm.
In last week's column I promised to relay the results of the November 27 election of officers at the Tribes Hill Fish and Game Club, so here they are:
President - Stephen Halliday, Fultonville; Vice President - Joe Kiuber, Amsterdam; Treasurer - Bill Manginelli, Amsterdam; Secretary - Alfred Pettit, Jr., Gloversville; Public Relations Representative - Mary Lou Coughlin, Tribes Hill. Board of Directors- Mary Lou Coughlin, Gerald Korona, Nick Sampone, Chris Blessing, Tom Coughlin, Jr., Chuck Loux, Chuck Kuiber and Marcus F. Kruger. Marcus F. Kruger also serves as the club's Chief Range and Game Contest Officer. Members of the club's Education Committee include Ken Somers and Joe Inglese.
Work on the club's new range and meeting house continues slowly but steadily. Windows have been installed and doors will likely have been put in by now.
Membership tickets for the Tribes Hill Fish and Game Club can be purchased at any of the regular monthly meetings.
We have several more names to add to our list of buck takers this week. I'm sure we'll have more for next week as well, since the southern zone season ends tomorrow.
Matt Georgia bagged a 130-pound 6 pointer, Nicole Baker 124-pound 6 pointer, Davi Lepine 120-pound 5 pointer, Tom Mancini, Jr took a 130-pound 8 pointer and Tracy Craig took a big 182-pound 9 pointer with his bow. I'm certain there were plenty of others but the information hasn't reached me yet.
TEACHERS' PLAN ACQUIRES PLANO MOLDING COMPANY
Do you recall my relating a few columns back about the number of acquisitions, reorganizations, consolidations and other changes in ownership within the sporting goods community? Well, I guess some foreign entities sure do love our products too.
Last week, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan announced an agreement for the acquisition of Plano Molding Company, Inc., the premier supplier of outdoor sports storage systems, gun cases, tackle boxes, etc.
Based in Plano, Illinois, and founded in 1932, Plano is recognized as the leading brand in fishing and fall sports markets where it enjoys leading market shares in tackle boxes, bait storage, gun cases, archery cases, and ice fishing products. It also produces cases for cosmetics, tools and crafts, as well as storage containers and shelving for home and office.
The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan is making the acquisition through its private equity investment division, Teachers' Private Capital (TPC). Terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.
"Plano has exceptionally strong brands and product categories supported by attractive market characteristics," said Jane Rowe, Senior Vice-President of TPC. "Plano's proven management team has a record of solid organic growth and has strongly positioned the company to benefit from acquisition opportunities. We look forward to supporting their success."
Plano's heritage brands to their full potential and continuing our dedication to exceeding our customer expectations in product innovation, market leadership and world-class customer service.¬ An exciting new journey has just begun for Plano, our valued associates and the many market leading brands under our umbrella. ¬ The Teachers' partnership in Plano promises to yield more exciting opportunities than ever before."
With $117.1 billion in assets as of December 31, 2011, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan is the largest single-profession pension plan in Canada.¬ An independent organization, it invests the pension fund's assets and administers the pensions of 300,000 active and retired teachers in Ontario. For more information visit¬ www.otpp.com