Rod, Gun & Game: Big game archery season is here, make hunter safety a priority

– Tree Stand Hunters, grab a lifeline to secure your future. Read how.

– The best deer hunting with a bow is 12 to 20 feet in a tree. Dangerous? Yes!

– Minimize danger, add Lifeline Safety, share with your hunting friends.

– Get up early, go to bed early in your watchtower. It’s common, it’s fun. Stay tethered, and it’ll get you back in the woods.

The colorful time of seasonal changes makes it an enjoyable time of year for everyone, but especially for early season big game archery hunters in New York State. With the first archery season opening last weekend October 1, the open season includes whitetail deer and black bear for hunters. Most boys (and girls) in bow and arrow focus on whitetail deer. The deer are approaching their rutting season. It is not uncommon to see two males go head to head over the next few weeks. They jostle to mark the boundaries of their territory, welcoming any mature does to join their harem. There are more deer than bucks walking the forests and fields of our local counties. It’s the best time to be in the woods with a bow if you’re hunting, but also a good time to watch from the Mill Road fields at sunrise and sunset – non-hunters can enjoy the viewing pleasure too . Grab your long range camera and lens.

The first big game archery hunting season in New York City runs from October 1 to November 18 and has become popular for father-son teams.

The warm weather of just a few weeks ago seems to have headed south; the weekend forecast looks perfect for this week, with 30 degree mornings and 50 degree afternoons. What’s great about this range is comfort for hunters who don’t need to dress too warm. Lightweight overgarments allow full body movement to properly draw the bow and release an arrow for the perfect flight – if the hunter can control the excitement and shaky nerves. This is the goal of hunters: calm and responsibility.

When bucks fight wood to wood, the winner stands tall and the loser knows to walk away. The loser, usually a small dollar, leaves to find another area to claim for their territory. The winner then proceeds to mark the floor with scented scrapings. He licks the branches above the scrapes and urinates on his way from one scrape to another. These can be 20 yards or 100 yards apart, depending on the size of the field and the age of the deer. The scrapes are created when the male uses his front hooves to scrape the grass under a tree branch at shoulder height, scraping down to the bare ground. The initial scent is transmitted to the ground by his hooves and an additional scent by the preorbital glands located on the male’s head, between his antlers. This smell is imparted when the male literally stands on his antlers to scrape the ground where his hooves have discovered dirt. It’s quite a natural process to see in person. Most hunters cherish such moments if they are lucky enough to experience such a sighting. The keen sense of smell possessed by female deer identifies every scrape in the antlers. The female (or deer) then chooses, by scent, which male deer she decides to breed with. It’s a dating ritual. Nature is so amazing.

Hunter success with arrows in the woods can most often be achieved when the hunter rises safely vertically above ground level to a height of approximately 12 to 20 feet. Deer tend not to look up very often. They seek out other deer, competing bucks, and predators like coyotes. They usually tiptoe silently and discreetly.

Over the next two to three weeks, giant king salmon will be a regular catch in the lower Niagara River and at the Port Wilson and Port Olcott fishing docks.

Fixed metal ladder supports and aluminum climbing supports are the most common types of hunter tree support. For decades, I have used the Summit Viper climbing support because it allows complete safety compared to the fixed metal ladder support. The climber allows the hunter to be tethered to the tree every inch of the climb, as the full harness worn by the hunter is attached to a loop around the tree as the hunter climbs. For fixed ladder supports, hunters can be just as safe with the use of a Hunter Safety System lifeline. Visit www.huntersafetysystem.com to learn more. With either method of tree support, the hunter wears a full body harness, attached to the lifeline (for fixed support) or sliding safety loop (climbing support). The harness is the real key to avoiding a fatal fall. The full body harness costs around $50-100 and the Lifeline rope costs around $30. If you’re hunting above ground, don’t hunt without either. Your kids, family and friends might like to know how it works. You are safe. Share this good news. Get a full harness, lifeline and safe sleep when hunting. These safety items are suitable for archery and firearms seasons. Please stay safe. If you are older, forget the verticality and stick with a chair and the new comfortable floor blind units. They also work; the cost is less than $200 for a better blind nit.

Now for the hot fishing. Rainbow trout make their way up the tributaries of Lake Erie, but if you’ve ever dreamed of catching a giant king salmon, now is the time. King salmon is a fish from Lake Ontario. For boaters, trollers catch king salmon off the mouths of creeks. The DEC reports that the salmon sting of stocked tributaries is generally the best, including the Niagara River, 18-Mile Creek, Oak Orchard Creek, and the Genesee River. Boaters have targeted staging salmon in 20 to 50 feet of water from dusk to just after daybreak. After sunrise, depths of 50 to 100 feet are a better bet. Among the offerings are flasher-fly combos, meat rigs, J-Plugs, J-13 Rapala stick baits and big spoons. From shore, anglers are starting to catch a few king salmon at 18 Mile and Oak Orchard. From shore, anglers prefer ½ to ¾ ounce spoons, with brands such as Little Cleo, KO Wobbler and Moonshine glow spoons. At night, the fishermen on board go to the treated skein caught under a float. DEC says, “Look for brown trout to also appear at pier sites, including Wilson Pier. As temperatures continue to drop, the waterways and lower Niagara River will be ripe for an insect rush of king salmon and brown trout. To learn more about what gear to use, visit Fishing for Pacific Salmon in Lake Ontario Tributaries on the NYSDEC fishing page.

Wishing everyone safe and healthy fun at home and outdoors! God bless America.

Outdoor schedule:

Oct. 1 – Nov. 18 – NYS Big Game Early Archery Season, hunting permitted 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Oct. 8-10 – New York State Youth Big Game Hunting Weekend with a Mentor.

NOTE: – Submit calendar items to [email protected] at least 2 weeks in advance.

Earnest A. Martinez