Fall brings mild weather and plenty of activities – Oneida Dispatch

Red maples along the shorelines of many Adirondack lakes, riverbeds and wetlands are already showing brilliant red colors that give a taste of things to come in a few weeks. In the lakes, loons are gathering for their flight south in another month. Bass fishing is starting to pick up, while trout anglers hope cooler weather will improve trout and salmon fishing after a tough season.

Many people in this area enjoy the fine weather in late August and early September as they prepare for another fall. This weekend marks a change in calendar, planning and perspectives.

For most people, fall marks a change in activities from the carefree days of summer. But that doesn’t mean outdoor activities have to end. Although school, fall sports, and necessary homework may get in the way, there are still plenty of things to do. Fishing will be better, most hunting seasons will start soon and there will still be milder weather suitable for paddling, boating, camping or hiking 315-357-3971 or 357-2079.

There is the early goose season which opens today, September 1st and lasts until September 23rd. Squirrel season is open now and grouse season in the northern area opens on September 20. Most small game open October 1, including two week turkey season, October 1-14 in the North Zone.

For a different kind of fun and excitement, take a trip to the Old Forge & Raquette Lake area next weekend. The Adirondack Canoe Classic, better known as the 90 Miler Race, begins at Old Forge around 8 a.m. on Friday, September 9. The colorful gathering on the Old Forge boardwalk will kick off in class. The best vantage points are on the Boardwalk at Arrowhead Park in Inlet from 9-11 as the variety of paddlers pass by.

Around noon to 1:00, many of the boats will pass the bridge at Raquette Lake on their way to the first day’s destination at Blue Mt. Lake.

Anglers are eager to note the start of the salmon run. King salmon continue to head to the Bay of Mexico in anticipation of rising tributaries. So far they are scattered and only a trickle has started in the Salmon River. But soon, a combination of biological urgency and cold rains will trigger a rise in tributary streams.

Meanwhile, big fish are scattered throughout Lake Ontario from 70 to 600 feet deep. At first light they may be close to shore, but then they move to deeper waters.

Finding them takes time and effort, but once you do, they’re hitting big magnum spoons like alewife Green Glo patterns. Cutting bait behind flashing lights such as Kryptonite, white with green dots, or “scumline” patterns is working well.

As mentioned above, the Early Goose special season begins today and runs through September 25. This is an attempt to reduce or control the number of “nuisance” Canada Geese that do not migrate north or south, but spend their lives in NYS invading parks, golf courses, lawns, water supplies, or generally becoming an unwanted pest. They have learned that life is easier here and have adapted and reproduced in great numbers.

Early-season Canadian goose hunters must still register for a HIP number, possess a federal duck stamp and use non-toxic shot. During early goose season, the daily limit is very liberal at 15 birds per day. Hunters are asked to shoot a LOT of them. Please! By comparison, “normal” Canada Geese are in trouble and during the regular season from October 22 to November 20, the daily limit is just one!

Hunters are reminded to get their new license by October 1. You can renew with licensing agents, by phone, or by mail. Even if you have a lifetime license, deer hunters will want to apply for their antlerless permit (deer driving permit) before the October 1 deadline. Permits are drawn by lottery, but your chances are determined by odds per DMU. You can check your chances on listings from licensing agents or online.

Important dates are the Junior Waterfowl Hunt on September 17-18 and the Junior Deer and Bear Hunt on October 8-10. The upcoming weekends are packed with activities, so don’t sit around lamenting the end of summer. Set your DVR to record soccer games and if your favorite team loses again, you can delete it without going through the agony of watching.

SHORT DEALS

Labor Day Hiking Precautions

With the holiday weekend, there will be plenty of people heading out to enjoy the outdoors in every way and everywhere in the state. Usually one of the busiest areas will be High Peaks in the Adirondacks. If that’s in your plans, make sure you plan properly, take precautions, and let others know about the destination, times, etc.

Since popular hiking spots are sure to be busy, you should consider some alternate or backup plans. The weather is always variable up there, so be prepared for all situations. There are still biting insects like deer flies, so make sure you have plenty of bug spray.

Remember there are several new shuttles designed to alleviate overcrowding and parking issues. Check the DEC website if you haven’t already. Some, like the Rte 73 shuttle, are free but require masks and don’t allow dogs.

If your dogs accompany you on long walks, be aware that they are at risk of heat exhaustion or even death on hot days. If your dog seems to be in trouble or on the verge of collapse, get him into the shade as soon as possible. Use water to cool your feet and stomach. Better yet, leave your pet at home.

Bear boats are required in eastern High Peaks and are a good idea elsewhere. Keep all food and other fragrant items in them and store them at least 100 feet away from your store.

Thanks to recent rains in many areas, the fire danger is now moderate. However, there is still a fire hazard due to the buildup of dry tinder, brush, etc. The recent Alger Island camp fire that spread and burned down a shed is one example.

Thanks to the quick action of rangers and the Eagle Bay Fire Department, a serious situation was contained and averted. If you have a fire, try using an existing fire ring, make sure it is completely out and there are no embers or sparks underground or combustion.

Even in other areas there will be plenty of people hiking, having a picnic, or doing a combination of family outing and fishing. Practice common courtesy, social distancing, and make your vacation a safe and fun time for everyone.

Guided hunting for youth and women is offered

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 take place on the weekend of September 25 with a day of safety and education that will take place on
24th September.

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. They must use steel shot or other non-toxic shot for the day of their hunt. Shot number 2 or BB size is recommended. The day of the security the ammunition will be supplied.
Space is limited for this popular event, so anyone interested should register as soon as possible. You can check the cnymyhunts.org website or contact the following for forms or any questions:

Scott Faulkner – sfcf@tds.net, or 315.225-0192.
Steven Lakeman – Steven.Lakeman@dec.ny.gov, or 315-734-0648
Ricardo Grisolini – Ricardo Grisolini@dec.ny.gov, or 607-316-2574

Save the Date – Grouse Society Banquet

Although it’s two months away, mark your calendars for November 4th for the 40th Annual Banquet of the Ruffed Grouse Society of Downtown New York. This year it will be at Drumlins in Syracuse and will include a social hour, dinner, auction and raffle. As always there will be a wide variety of items available. The money raised will go towards conservation projects to improve the habitat of grouse and woodcock. Details about the banquet and making reservations will be available soon.