By ED NOONAN
For The Recorder
About one hour before sunrise this morning, my guide Bill Henry and I quietly made our way into the Florida turkey woods in hopes of calling in an Osceola tom turkey. Bill has guided me to seven Florida turkeys; all of which I needed to complete my current seven National Wild Turkey Federation Grand Slams. Hopefully, I grab my eighth today.
In all seriousness, I really look forward to this trip every year for a number of reasons. One is that I get the jump on the turkey hunting season, which I’m sure many of you know is my first love when it comes to hunting. Florida is where the Osceola turkey roams, and it’s the only place that you can find them.
The Osceola, sometimes called the Florida turkey, is also one of the four turkey species you have to harvest to complete and be recorded in the National Wild Turkey Federation’s (NWTF) Grand Slam records. Ironically, I didn’t find Bill, he heard about a “bad” turkey hunting guide trip I had in Florida. In his email to me he asked me to give him a chance. And boy am I glad I did. He promised to do his best and put me on birds. And he has always done that.
I would like to share with you a little bit more information of Bill Henry, the firefighter. In 2000, Bill had a bad motorcycle accident that resulted in his loss of his lower left leg, but he vowed to return to what he referred to as his dream job, but that wasn’t going to be easy. Following 15 months of therapy and determination and, with the encouragement of his family, friends and co-worker and before he was allowed back on the job he had to complete the fireman physical fitness and agility test. Bill is the first amputee firefighter in the United States. I am very proud to say Bill is my friend. If you are considering making the NWTF record book you should consider Bill Henry. Email him at [email protected]
Florida has one of the largest populations of wild boars in the U.S., and I plan to try taking one.
It’s amazing that animals that can weigh over 300 pounds can move as quickly and quietly as they do. There are numerous guided boar hunts in Florida, some of which are done from air boats and others using dogs to circle them to the hunters on watch, and there are also chase hunts that can be done using only a long knife as your weapon. I don’t think this veteran hunter wants to try one of those. I prefer a blind around feeding areas or sneaking and peeking. As of right now I plan on hunting with my Ruger American .308 rifle. It will be the third time that I will be hunting with the West Shore Outfitters. Last year there were four hog hunters in our group and all scored a hog.
They specialize in hog hunting and bow fishing charters-both fresh and salt water. They have a hog hunting success rate of 99 percent. A hog hunt is $225 and there are no trophy fees, no cleaning fees, no size/weight restrictions and no license is required. Check them out at www.westshoreoutfitters.com/main.
The New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame recently announced the eight new members for 2017. These inductees represent all areas of the state and many fields of endeavor. The NYSOHOF is an organization dedicated to honoring those individuals who have spent many years preserving our outdoor heritage, working for conservation, or enhancing our outdoor sports for future generations.
In this year’s group of inductees there was one individual from our area who was well deserving of this honor: Jason Kemer, of Saratoga County. Jason has been actively involved with the county fish stocking program and the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation in his role with Saratoga County Council of fish and Game Clubs. Jason is currently the chair of the Conservation Fund Advisory board which oversees the NYS Conservation Fund and its expenditures making sure that money is spent wisely.
He has been a tireless fighter to gain access for sportsmen and the average citizen in Adirondack land acquisitions. He has attended nearly all of the Adirondack Park Agency hearings on Boreas Ponds to address the issues of reasonable recreational access and usage. Congratulations, Jason.
FINGER LAKES SAMPLING
DEC is conducting the sampling to aid in the ongoing assessment of Finger Lakes fisheries management practices and to provide up-to-date information for the opening day fishing forecast.
During sampling, data taken on each fish, including length, weight, sex, and spawning condition. A scale is used to determine age and growth rate. Sampling results will be available to the public at the DEC Region 8 fisheries office prior to the April 1 opening of the “inland” trout fishing season. Anglers wanting to fish for trout before April 1 are reminded that trout fishing is open year-round in the main bodies of the Finger Lakes.
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