By ED NOONAN
For The Recorder
Enjoying the snow? It’s good for tracking, and that is exactly how I approached my squirrel hunt last week. Actually I did not need the tracks because I knew the small wooded area had plenty of bushy tails running around when I hunted spring turkey there. This was going to be my first hunt with my new Gamo Wisper Fusion Marc 1. I was also excited about the challenge of such a hunt. Why? My normal squirrel and other small game hunting gun are usually with a .28 gauge shotgun. When I pull the trigger on the shotgun it sends out about 300 pellets. The Gamo sends out just one.
I only was in the woods about 25 yards when I saw two squirrels coming down a tree and I quickly sat down with my back against a tree, and when they reached the ground one headed my way. At 10 yards it stopped and the Gamo got its first bushy tail. After about a half-hour I moved deeper into the woods where there was a lot of sigh in the snow. I don’t think I was there more than 15 minutes when I moved at the wrong time and scared one I hadn’t seen and it ran up a tree stopping on a branch and began its tail flicking and vocal alarm calls — a mistake.
The tree was about 25 yards from me and I had a clear shot. Number two was in the pouch and that was all I really needed for the stew since I am the only one in my family that eats it. While I was cleaning the squirrels I saw something moving in the grass and quickly reloaded the Gamo. It was a rabbit sitting in an opening watching me; I was a bit excited and when I moved to shoulder the gun it took off. I did shoot but missed. It still was a fun day.
West Albany Rod and Gun Club member George Clute is very proud of his grandson Eric Phelps, also a club member who has been hunting since he was 14 years old. At the ripe old age of 18 he shot a beautiful eight-point buck outside of Boonville with his 30-06 rifle. Eric was in his tree stand his shot found the buck’s heart. Not too bad, especially since he was 240 yards away. Word is that other hunters in the camp, including his grandfather and Rick Hart, were also successful. Congratulations to all. The gun club recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.
With the freezing temperatures we have been getting lately, I am sure a lot of you that walk on water are anxious. But before you go out I highly recommend that you call or visit the local bait and tackle shops and find out how safe the ice really is. And once the ice fishing starts they may also be able to tell you where the fish are biting.
Let’s review a few of the safety rules that should be followed when going ice fishing. To begin with you have to dress warmly and layering is really the best way to do this. This includes gloves and a life jacket. To help you from slipping and falling on the ice, be sure you wear creepers attached tightly to your booths.
Also always carry your cell phone and have a set of ice picks on you at all times. These picks can save your life should you fall through. Don’t go alone is also important. Bring a friend with you and be sure to tell a family member or friend where you are going and when you will be returning.
Here is what the New York State Department of Conservation recommends for determining safe ice conditions: two inches or less, stay off; four inches, activities on foot only; five inches, snowmobile/ATV; 8-12 inches, car or small pickup; and 12-15 inches,medium truck. As for me, I have never taken my vehicle on the ice.
For those of you that are looking for a local ice fishing tournament the Fish House Fish and Game Club will hold one on the Great Sacandaga Lake on Feb. 12, 2017. The entry fee is $25 and tournament hours are 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the weigh-in at the Town of Providence parking area on County Route 110. The entry fee also includes chili and coffee from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cash awards will be given to the top three places for walleye ($500, $250, $100), northern pike ($250, $150, $100), perch ($250, $150, $100) and the biggest trout ($150). For registration information go to www.fhfgc.org.
BUNNY BOWL XX
In the fall of 1998 I visited the Instant Replay Sporting Goods store in Glens Falls to check out their firearms. I was greeted by the owner Gary DeCesare and we talked guns for a while and he finally twisted my arm to by an Ithaca 20 gauge pump gun. During out conversation he asked me if I rabbit hunted and I told him yes, but not much. He then asked if I have hunted with dogs and I said no; I only kick the brush pile and try to scare them out. He laughed and invited me to hunt with his group which included four beagles. It didn’t take long for me to say yes.
While I was there Tim Guy, a Warren County Sheriff Deputy, stopped in and Gary introduced me to him. He, too, was an avid rabbit hunter. That day was the beginning of some very good friendship. It was also on that day that Gary and Tim came up with Bunny Bowl, that would be held at various places on Jan. 1 every year. I don’t remember exactly how many signed up to come but I know it was at least 20; however only nine of us were able to make the 7 a.m. starting time. And since that day I have not seen the ball drop in Time Square bringing in the New Year. And I want you to know that I have not missed any of the Bunny Bowls.