Sunday, December 31, 2006

Warm Weather Means Blues for Snow Sports

Here in Western New York state, we are in the midst of a December "heat wave", with what is said to be the warmest December since they started keeping track here in NY. This means a whole lot of snow sports enthusiasts are singing the Blues so far this winter.

I have a lot of friends who are die hard snowmobilers, they are suffering the worse. At least our local ski resorts are able to make snow during the cold nights, and have some trails open. But all these poor "sledders", who have spent thousands of dollars on their machines just look to the skies and sigh.

The forecast for the next week at least looks like more of the same, with very little or no snow coming anytime soon. In fact, they are calling for rain for several days next week. However, with the record warm temperatures, Lake Erie is warmer than it has ever been on December 31, which means it probably will not freeze over this year, which means that the opportunity for those big Lake Effect Snow Storms will be prevalent until Spring. All it takes is a good system coming across the Lake from the North and those snowmobiles will be the only thing moving!!

The lack of snow also makes for interesting hunting conditions. Granted you can go out small game or bird hunting without the winter weight gear, however it is more fun to hunt rabbits and squirrels with a little snow in the background. The stream fishing is still excellent in Western New York, with the creeks still thawed there are a number of fishermen taking advantage of those ideal conditions.

So the trick is to do what we do best here, which is adapt to whatever Mother Nature is going to throw at us. Variety in our seasons is one of the top reasons people stay here in this part of the country, and for those who don't like shoveling, plowing and trudging through the snow, you are having a great year, for everyone who is missing the white stuff, stay tuned you'll have it sooner or later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

‘Amish Buck’ Ohio

‘Amish Buck’ Second Only to World Record

Editor’s Note: The first giant whitetail from 2006 to keep deer hunters’ modems buzzing was the Adams County, Ohio, brute taken by an Amish man wielding a crossbow. Soon after the story broke in local newspapers, pirated images of the 36-pointer began flowing over the Internet faster than you can say “Tell me it ain’t so, Britney!”

The fortunate hunter’s name is Johnathon Schmucker of Peebles, Ohio. While he’s granted several interviews and allowed the enormous rack to be photographed and measured, his religion prohibits him from stepping in front of the camera. Thus, there aren’t any traditional field photos of the freshly harvested buck.

The author of this story is Rob Meade, who scored the amazing antlers for “Buckmasters Whitetail Trophy Records.” With an official BTR score of 280 1/8 (which doesn’t include the 25 3/8-inch inside spread), the deer now widely known as “The Amish Buck” is a new state record for Ohio. Even more impressive: It’s the runner-up to the world record in its class.

Here’s the story behind the year’s most bodacious whitetail, so far.
By Rob Meade

Johnathon Schmucker first became acquainted with this world-class buck during the summer of 2004. He saw it three times in the same hayfield between August and September. After that, the deer vanished.

The same thing happened in 2005. He saw the hayfield buck two evenings in a row before it went underground for the rest of the year.

This year, there was no hayfield. It had been planted in soybeans. And as far back as May, Johnathon realized that the beefy whitetail had survived. Although its antlers were just beginning to take shape, the rack was too distinctive for it to be any other deer.

He saw it a second time in early July and was blown away by the amount of antler growth.

As the calendar advanced, the buck began to visit the soybeans on a regular basis – unaware that it was being observed by Johnathon, perched high upon his barn roof.

From his unusual vantage point, Johnathon was seeing the giant whitetail an average of five days a week. But it rarely entered the beans from the same direction.

Johnathon wasn’t the only person salivating over the buck. Five others also were hoping to tag the enormous whitetail.

Ohio’s ’06 bow season began Sept. 30, almost a week earlier than usual. Johnathon had kept tabs on the buck only from afar to that point. He didn’t penetrate the whitetail’s comfort zone until the Saturday opener. Even then, he didn’t venture out until after lunchtime.

A steady rain greeted hunters that day. A carpenter by trade, Johnathon’s work was cancelled. He spent the morning introducing his horse to pulling a buggy.

At approximately 3:30, Johnathon began the 20-minute trek with crossbow in hand. Also carrying a climbing stand, he headed for a fencerow along the bean field. Since that was his first time on the ground, Johnathon spent several minutes picking out a suitable and climbable tree. He was settled in by 4:30.

The overcast sky was sprinkling rain, and a steady breeze was blowing. At 5:00, two small bucks entered the bean field 100 yards distant. The hunter watched closely as the 6- and small 8-pointer vacuumed up beans.

A little while later, a small 3-point buck walked from an adjacent cornfield into the woods, and then jumped the fence to join the other bucks in the bean field.

Johnathon knew that little guy all too well. Several times during the summer, it had always preceded the giant buck.

Sure enough, five minutes after the small buck entered the field, the big boy joined it. Soon afterward, the other two bucks began to work their way toward the patriarch. When the 8-pointer got too close, the big buck raised its head, stretched out its neck and pounced toward the intruder. The intimidating move sent the 8-pointer away, while the remaining trio began ambling toward Johnathon.

As soon as the buck entered a shooting lane, Johnathon squeezed his crossbow’s trigger. The deer charged off, while its comrades sped away in another direction. A tree blocked his view of the big buck, but he saw the other ones, confused by what had just happened, stop short, snort and stomp their feet.

Moments later, Johnathon heard a crash – still out in the bean field, judging from the sound.

As soon as he was on the ground, Johnathon walked to where the buck had been standing at the time of the shot. He found his bolt almost immediately, and the blood on the arrow convinced him that he’d soon find the buck.

Instead of pursuing it, however, he gathered his gear and returned to his house to recruit some helpers: his brother-in-law, Gary Miller, and a neighbor and his son. The easy tracking job covered 80 yards.

The following days and weeks were hectic for Johnathon and his family. Word spread rapidly throughout the hunting community nationwide, and countless visitors arrived to look at the 36-point buck that tallied a whopping 280 1/8 inches as an Irregular on the Buckmasters scale.

Its composite score – akin to a Boone-and-Crockett gross – is 305 4/8 inches!

As a crossbow kill, The Amish Buck is second only to Jerry Bryant’s 297 3/8-inch Illinois monster from 2001. It beats Ohio’s former state record by nearly 42 inches.

The illustration accompanying this story is from a painting in progress by Mike Handley, editor of Rack magazine (

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Willy Lures

I have recently added a link to Willy Fishing Lures - Simply the Finest!. Willy Lures offers some fantastic prices on Lures of all types, whether you are a lake or stream fisherman, if you use crank baits, spinners, divers, plugs or topwater baits, they have a product for you.

I highly recommend that you check out Willy Fishing Lures - Simply the Finest!., they also carry quality Hagen's rods, which have a 1 year 100% replacement warranty, and after that year they replace a broken rod for 45% off retail price.

My 7 year old son, who is an AVID Bass fisherman is anxious for us to try Willy's Buzz Baits this spring when we hit the ponds for some great Bass action here in Western New York. We will be placing our order from Willy Fishing Lures - Simply the Finest!. as soon as he decides which lures are going to help me catch as many fish as HE does!!!

Gun Cleaning Basics

OK so your season is over, and you are getting ready to put that gun away for awhile, or maybe your favorite season is going to be starting soon, and you are heading to the range to make sure you are sighted in and on target, either way don't forget the basics of keeping that gun clean!! Every year I hear stories, or run into other hunters at the range, and their guns are not working properly, not feeding shells, throwing wild patterns, etc. And when you ask when is the last time you cleaned this thing, they give you that long empty stare that says...I don't remember.

So here are the basics...follow them for great performance at the range and in the field.

First...what you need. Our sponsor,
has some great prices on cleaning products. You will want a basic cleaning kit, if you have a number of guns, get a universal kit, they are priced reasonably in the $18-$25 range. This should give you the rods, jigs and brushes you need for most calibers. Get a good cleaning solution, I always use Hoppe's No. 2 (since I was about 8 years old), if you are cleaning a muzzleloader, one of the foaming bore cleaners is recommended as well. You will need an oil, synthetic holds up better in extreme heat or cold. And you will want a stock treatment (don't use furniture polish on that wood stock, or that gun will go flying across the room next time you pick it up with cloth gloves on!!!)

Follow the instructions in your owners manual to disassemble your gun. If you don't have that manual anymore, search for it on the web, Google search is recommended. Try the manufacturer's website, most have manuals available to download for free.

Get a bowl or parts tray to hold the small pieces. You don't want to lose that tiny screw or spring!! I usually soak the springs and moving parts in oil while cleaning the rest of the gun. Take your time when disassembling, don't rush or force things that are stuck. If that screw won't move, or the breech plug on that muzzleloader just won't budge, let it soak in oil for a while, when I acquired my Ruger muzzleloader it had to soak in oil for 4 days before the breech plug would break loose.

Make sure you remove the barrel from the action before you start cleaning it, or you'll be doing double duty cleaning that action. Run a brush down the barrel to dislodge any large lead or powder deposits. Then spray your foaming cleaner and let that go to work on the rest. Run some patches until they come out nice and clean, if it's real dirty you will be repeating this process a few times. Finally run a clean dry patch, followed by a lightly oiled patch down the barrel. Don't forget to clean the outside too, and keep that oiled to avoid pitting and rust. Nothing detracts from a gun's value faster!!

Use a small brush to clean the action, make sure there are no deposits on the springs or moving parts. For muzzleloaders, use a pipe cleaner on the breech plug, and look through that hole to make sure it is nice and clean. When reassembling, use oil or breech lube on all parts that you will want to remove again, don't overtighten and strip those tiny screws!! Make sure you use PLENTY of breech lube on the muzzleloader breech plug, but don't get it on the inside, just the threads. You want the inside and especially the barrel side to be clean and dry.

Oil the stock, use a treatment recommended for wood or synthetic stock, as your specific application requires. Don't over do it, you just want to keep it protected and clean.

If you have a scope, use a cleaner made for optics, some generic household cleaners will lead to fogging over in cold temperatures. Use a soft optics cleaning cloth...tissues leave residue behind, and NEVER use treated tissues, that treatment is for your nose, it will leave serious streaks on your scope.

If you have a leather sling, don't forget to oil that, I actually heard a story of a hunter whose sling cracked when he was climbing into a stand, he dropped his gun about 12 feet and ended up shooting himself in the rear-end!!! So take care of those slings.

If you are not storing your guns in a humidity controlled safe, get a gun sock to store it in, this will keep the dust off. And remember, if you have children around, put that lock on the trigger!!!

Take care of your "tools" and they will keep you shooting in the black, and bagging that game you worked so hard to scout all year long. If you think I forgot anything major in this article, please leave your comments or tips!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

End of The NYS Whitetail Season

The NYS Whitetail season in the Southern Zone of the State is closed for the year. Archery still continues in the Northern Zone through the end of December. The weather turned warm again for the majority of the special 9 day muzzleloader and late archery season, which kept the deer in their beds, not moving much during the day. In the case of yours truly, in 5 days of hunting during this late season, I did not see 1 deer, and only heard 1 shot!!

By past standards, I would say that makes for a VERY slow end of the season. It will be interesting to see what the DEC says the overall harvest was this year, but with the warmer weather that we had, I won't be surprised to read that it was a below average harvest.

We are still collecting pictures and stories of readers' hunts, we will begin featuring some of the responses received so far in the next few weeks. Send in your photos, your stories, your ideas on how to make this blog more interesting. Let us know about the seasons and action in your state.

With the end of big game season here, it is time to turn attention to small game, I certainly found an abundance of squirrels this year, and looks like the rabbit population is healthy too. If you want to try some fun, then take the spotlight and the rifle out and try coyote hunting at night, which will also help keep those populations of small game strong.

There will be a feature on Coyote hunting in the very near future, so anyone with advice/tips or pictures and stories please send them in.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Streak of Warm Weather Slows NYS Muzzleloader Season

We are in the midst of another warm streak, with temperatures reaching into the mid 50's. While this is great for those who don't like the snow and the cold, and it helps keep the heating budgets in check, it is not good for the end of whitetail season.

The warm weather has slowed the deer right down, and with the sunshine we have had they are sticking close to their beds most of the day, not moving around at all. Reports from numerous hunters in the area are that very few if any deer have been spotted moving during the day this week. With a temperature drop into only the mid 40's for the weekend, this may not be enough to get the deer moving.

So the recommendation for you hunters out there is to get into your spot EARLY in the morning, and maybe catch the deer on the way into their beds for the day. The don't seem to be moving early enough in the evening to be seen, so the best bet for the weekend looks like early A.M. Set those alarms early, and remember make that shot a good one because with a muzzle loader it's probably the ONLY shot your are going to get.

Best of luck to everyone on the remainder of their seasons, remember send those pictures/stories in so we can get them featured!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

NYS Record Black Bear!!!

I heard this weekend that a NYS Record Black Bear was taken near Panama, NY. This monster weighed in at over 600 lbs. More details and hopefully some pictures will be forthcoming in the next couple days. Congrats on a fantastic hunt!!

Respect Private Property and Other Hunters!!!

I am going to rant about a somewhat private matter today, private property. Nothing ruins a day in the field faster than getting to your hunting spot to find someone else is already there. Especially when that someone does not have permission to hunt on that property. Although perhaps slightly more disheartening is to find out that there are other hunters with that special person, putting a drive on through your property, completely spooking any deer and ruining your set-up for what would have been a perfect afternoon of hunting.

Of course, this happens to be the tale of my trip to the field on the last day of shotgun season here in New York. I found a hunter, who I know and whom we have had issues with in the past in my spot. Not only did he seem surprised to find me coming into the woods to sit in my stand, he actually argued with us that they were in the middle of a drive, and he couldn't leave. Of course when my brother in law headed back to his truck to call the police, he decided to pack it in, but first had to clear the rest of his hunting party out of our property.

Guys (and girls), I hear the argument that more and more of those bright yellow and orange POSTED signs are popping up, and the amount of huntable land is shrinking every year, but that is not necessarily true, at least not in our area yet. We aren't losing hunting and farm lands to subdivisions and industrial sprawl, in fact quite the opposite. There is more posted property out there, but a lot of that is because people are tired of jerks being inconsiderate, trespassing and of the dangers of not knowing WHO is out there on your property.

I am not saying that we don't hunt on family no owned by our family or members of our hunting party, but we care enough and are conscientious enough to make contact with the property owners prior to the season, many we even provide favors for in exchange for use of the property. Any serious hunter is going to be out scouting well ahead of the seasons, so they should have plenty of opportunity to make contact with property owners. Even if there is no POSTED sign visible, it is STILL private property, you should be getting permission well ahead of setting foot on that land. Anyone who does not follow these principles is just making it harder for all hunters, and giving us a bad name. You are not going to hear the story about someone asking permission in the spring to hunt a piece of property, but you will hear the story of some jerk getting hauled away by the Game Warden or State Police for trespassing, or worse yet taking game off that property.

And for those hunters who live in the city and drive out to the country to do your hunting, there is still no excuse. If you don't have time to do some scouting, and find that piece of property and get permission to use it, then stick to state lands, or join a Club, in a rural area that has property to hunt. I belong to a Fish and Game Club that has over 230 acres of land for members to hunt on, and it only costs $40 a year. i realize in some areas it may be more to join a good club, but I almost guarantee it would be cheaper than paying that fine or losing your hunting privilege for trespassing!!!

Let's be classy, well mannered, safe hunters, and everyone have a good rest of their season!!!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

The End is Near for NY Regular Season

Shotgun Season is rolling into its last few days here in NY state, and from the reports it has been a decent season. The warm weather slowed things down, but the NYS DEC (Dept of Environmental Conservation) is reporting an average deer take this year.

Next week we start our dedicated muzzleloader/blackpowder season here in the Western New York region. Blackpowder hunting has really gained momentum here over the past few years. Mainly, I think due to our restrictions of shotgun only, especially here in Chautauqua County. Almost every other county in NY got this restriction lifted this year, allowing the use of rifles, giving the hunter the opportunity to "reach out" beyond the 100 yards we are limited to with a shotgun. We were left out, and it appears that will be the case for a couple more years.

So those of us who like to take those 150-200 yard shots are left with the muzzleloader. I have seen quite a few of these in the field and at the range. There are a TON of models out there now. Shopping for a muzzleloader requires a good education on the models and features that are most valuable.

One of our sponsors, OutdoorSuperStore, FREE SHIPPING on orders over $75 at
carries quite a few different brands at good prices. Since these are blackpowder guns, you can still order them for direct delivery.

The Traditions rifles are well known and have great ease of use, and priced right for the beginner. Thompson Centers are also excellent products, but rank a bit higher in price scale. If you don't want to mess with cleaning a gun every time you fire it, or don't like the messy black powder, then check out the Savage models that shoot smokeless powder. You may have to check with your local dealer for to get pricing. If you are in Western New York, I recommend that you call Don at Don's Gun Shop in Brocton, who has hunted with a Savage using smokeless powder for several years and has dropped a few deer in the 150-200 yard range. Don's Gun Shop 716-792-4571.

I personally use a Ruger m77/50, which I acquired a few years ago. It has taken a bit of time to get this gun dialed in to my liking, we shall see next week how it does if we get a chance to pull the trigger. My friend whose deer is pictured in the First Deer Ever article is using a Knight rifle that I gave him, I bagged a couple deer with that rifle, which I won in a local raffle.

So best of luck to the NY Hunters as the season winds down. Again we want to get a photo gallery going on this site, so email your picture and story to and we'll get it listed.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

NYS Big Buck Club

I know a few people with Bucks in the Club, unfortunately I am not one of them...YET.
For anyone who thinks they got a "monster" in NY, and wants to know about getting scored, or didn't even know the Big Buck Club existed, here is their rules page:


The deer must have been taken legally and tagged in accordance with the rules and regulations listed in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Big Game Guide.
“Deer taken this year” must be accompanied by a signed and dated New York State Big Game tag.
A deer is not eligible if spotted from the air and taken the same day, if taken with the aid of electronics, radio devices, walkie-talkies or from fenced enclosures.
A deer cannot be officially scored until 60 days from the date it was taken.
During that 60 days the antlers must be air-dried above 32 degrees F. Not frozen or stored in a freezer.
To be eligible for the gun or archery categories the skull plate cannot be broken or split.
Broken antlers: Antler beams and/or points can be measured only to the point where they were broken.
Repaired beams or antler points cannot be measured. Broken skull plates eligible only in shed antler category.
The antlers must be scored by an Official Big Buck Club measurer.
The Official Score Sheet and photos must be submitted with a $15.00 registration fee before April 1st. See #3 below under BUCK CLUB ENTRANTS
To be eligible for entry the antlers must meet the MINIMUM SCORE REQUIREMENTS:



All scoring done in accordance with Boone & Crockett Scoring System for Whitetail Deer.



The bear must have been taken legally and tagged in accordance with the rules and regulations as listed in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Big Game Guide.
“Bear taken this year’ must be accompanied by a signed and dated New York State Big Game tag.
A bear is not eligible if spotted from the air and taken the same day, taken with the aid of electronics, radio devices, walkie-talkies or from fenced enclosures.
The bear skull cannot be officially scored until 60 days from the date it was taken.
The skull must be air-dried for 60 days above 32 degrees F. Not frozen or stored in a freezer.
The skull cannot be broken or split, if cut improperly it will be measured to the cut portion of the skull.
The skull must be scored by an Official Big Buck Club measurer.
The Official Score Sheet and photos must be submitted with a $15.00 registration fee.
To be eligible for entry the skull must meet MINIMUM SCORE REQUIREMENTS:

GUN - 18 0/16 inches

BOW - 17 0/16 inches

MUZZLE LOADER - 18 0/16 inches

All scoring done in accordance with Boone & Crockett Scoring System for Black Bear.


Racks and skulls meeting minimum scores will be listed in the next Record Book.
The hunter tagging the animal will receive the Official Patch and Certificate.
To be eligible for the Annual Award (largest buck with gun and bow) the deer must be scored and entered by April 1st of the following year.
EX: A buck killed November 29, 1999 cannot be scored until January 30, 2000 (60 day drying period) and must be entered by April 1st 2000. The largest antlers must be scored by three (3) official scorers before a deer is nominated for the annual awards that are presented to the largest gun and archery deer.

and ALL PHOTOS to:
PO BOX 451
VERNON, NY 13476

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

First Buck EVER!!

This year I convinced a good friend to start hunting again. We have been shooting together over the years, and have been great friends for a long time, so it didn't take a whole lot of persuasion, but I wanted to make sure he had fun and most importantly GOT A DEER!!!

Well here is the result of an early morning hunt last week. A nice six point buck, not a wall hanger by any means, but still a great buck for a first deer ever. Congrats buddy...there will be many more to follow. Remember, send your stories and pictures to me at and we'll get them posted!!

I Love The Outdoors!!!

Ok so my profile does not say it, but I love the outdoors. I live in Western New York state, where we have fantastic small and big game hunting, fishing and plenty of outdoors opportunities. Are you a hunter? Small game (rabbit, squirrel, turkey, etc.) is abundant here. How about Big Game, we are in the middle of our Whitetail Deer Season right now.

Lake Erie, to our North boasts some fantastic walleye and perch fishing, as well as strong salmon and trout runs up the tributory streams. Lake Ontario, only about two hours away has world reknowned Lake Trout and Salmon fishing. In fact, I will be posting some pictures of a beautiful 48" laker that was taken this summer!!

This blog will give information, as we can gather it, about hunting and fishing and general outdoors activities from around the country. Please feel free to make comments on what is happening in YOUR neck of the woods. Send your comments to Have pictures of your trophy? Send them in and we'll get them posted.

Check out the links for some fantastic deals on your necessary outdoor gear, and keep checking back, as we continue to add more and more cool stuff to this blog!!