Despite Changes, Small Game Seasons Bring Opportunity – Oneida Shipping

The opening of the capercaillie season is on September 20 in the North Zone and on October 1 in the rest of the state.

They remain one of the most popular species despite declining numbers due to habitat loss. To this decrease has been added the bad weather we have had in recent springs. Cold, rainy weather has meant that many grouse and poult chicks have not survived.

Squirrel season opened on September 1 throughout the state. Common seasons that open on October 1 are coyote and cottontail rabbit. Variing Hare (snowshoe rabbits) opens in the North Zone on October 1 but does not open until December in much of the South Zone. The Turkey season is from October 1 to 13 in the North Zone and from October 16 to 29 in the South Zone. The state boundary is a bird.

Turkey numbers have also plummeted in recent years, in part due to spring weather as well as other unknown factors. Predators probably play a big factor.

Some feel there will be more turkeys this year due to more sightings in the summer.

However, we must remember that there will be a greater number of young birds along the trail in late summer because that is where the grasshoppers are found. This may not reflect an increase in the size of the population as a whole. These reduced numbers are reflected in the shorter seasons (two weeks) in the northern and southern zones and the fact that only one bird per season is now allowed.

Finding turkeys will depend on local mast crops as well as farm crops.

If food is plentiful in an area, they may stay, but wild turkeys typically move one to three miles a day in a three-day circle. Do your scan now.

Rabbit and hare populations are cyclical but have generally been declining.

There are encouraging reports of an increase in numbers in recent years. Changing agricultural practices leaving less cover, the growth of young forest into mature cover, and a large increase in predators, especially avian predators, have all contributed to rabbit declines. Those that remain tend to be more nocturnal and live in denser cover.

Rabbit hunting provides a great opportunity for family members, especially youngsters, to go hunting with older adults. These shared backcountry fun experiences strengthen family ties and are an opportunity to learn about ethics, safety, and conservation issues.

Pheasants are a popular species even though populations are small or non-existent in most areas. The state stores 30,000 birds on land open to the public each year.

In the northern and eastern regions, September 24 and 25 are special hunts for young people only. The North and East areas have a regular season opening on October 1. The daily limit is two birds.

The 1970s were the golden age of pheasant hunting as there were plenty of birds and adequate cover. During the season, Tom Roberts, Ron Daniels, Jack Radley and I would run out of school with the echo of the final bell ringing in our ears, stripping off our coats and ties and changing on the fly as we made our way to the decks. of pheasant In the 1980s things began to change. New farming methods, including large fields with little or no cover, hay mowing earlier in the year, common use of pesticides, and a shortage of waste grain, gradually caused the pheasant population to die out. The protection from avian predators and the increase in other predators turned out to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Today, restocking in some wildlife management areas provides short-term action.

Coyote season is open from October 1 to March 28 with no limit, much to the dismay of the many crazy coyote lovers. They can be hunted by common methods such as predator calls or with packs of hounds. Most people hunt them after deer season.

For generations, young men would run home from school, grab a gun from the closet, and head to a nearby pasture or field to hunt with friends. Times have changed, and aside from different attitudes, those neighboring pastures are now probably a housing development or self-storage facility. there is competing
attractions for the time and attention of young people. Many of the species are no longer abundant. But small game hunting is still a great way to spend an afternoon for people of all ages. Make sure you have your licenses, know basic gun safety rules, and enjoy the opportunities we still have.


Licenses, Permits, etc.

Don’t forget to get your licenses, deer driving permits, etc. before October 1 if you have not already obtained them before October 1. If you have a lifetime license or have already obtained a deer driving permit, you have until October 1 to apply for a deer driving permit. Check the handicap list for the area you plan to draw online or at your local licensing agent. Please consider donating for a habitat stamp.

Mentor Hunts: Mentor hunts offered for youth and women

In last week’s column, we briefly outlined the pitfalls of teaching ourselves the pros and cons of hunting goose on our own. Again this year, athletes and ECOs from Oneida and Madison counties are offering an opportunity for youth and women to learn and experience a mentor-led goose hunt. This continues to be a great opportunity for youth ages 12 and up and women who otherwise have no one to teach them the skills of goose hunting. This year the hunt will be the weekend of September 25 with a safety and education day on September 24.

Youth ages 12-15 are required to have a small game hunting license and a HIP number.

Youth 16 and older and females must have the above and a Federal Waterfowl Stamp. The day of the security the ammunition will be supplied. For the day of the hunt they must have steel or non-toxic pellets.

Space is limited for this popular event, so anyone interested should register as soon as possible. You can check the website or contact the following for forms or any questions: Scott Faulkner –, or 315.225-0192.

RGS – November 4

There is an organization that fights for conservation and works effectively to improve the habitat of grouse and other species: The Ruffed Grouse Society. This organization is an important voice in conservation. However, their influence is seen directly in habitat improvement through funding or direct action.

Each year, local chapters give substantial funds to the DEC or similar agencies to fund major projects to clean up or improve forest habitat to make it suitable for grouse.

Local chapters also organize their members or other volunteers to clear apple undergrowth, remove unsuitable vegetation to provide open space, or whatever is needed to create good habitat under professional supervision.

This year’s banquet is held on Friday, November 4, 2022. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. This year’s banquet will be held at Drumlins, 800 Nottingham Road, Syracuse, NY 13224. There will be a variety of great prizes with early bird raffle tickets available through October 28th.

Adirondack Hazards

On August 30, the towns of Essex and Westport experienced a microburst that caused a large amount of storm damage, including a significant amount of downing in the wild forest of Split Rock Mountain. Many trails are completely impassable at this time. DEC and Forest Rangers are working to clear the explosion
of the trails.

Elsewhere, work has begun on a temporary bridge over LaBier Dam that will reshape motor vehicles in the Four Corners parking area. To prepare the work, the current bridge over the dam will be removed. This will temporarily prevent all access for both materials and pedestrians.