In recent days, Hooks and Antlers asked a number of area sportsmen, What was your outdoors highlight(s) during the past year?
Their responses comprise todays column:
Mike Bice of Lisbon: My highlight was taking a new hunter on an outing where he harvested a bird he had not taken before.
Ed Blackmer of Chippewa Bay: My highlights were catching a five-pound walleye, a 33-inch northern pike, and a 24-inch smallmouth bass, and my grandson caught an eight-pound catfish. St. Lawrence fishing was good until the river got so low I had to pull the boats because there was no water at my dock.
Jim Boyce of Massena: My son-in-law, who is a new hunter at age 35, saw three great bucks.
Mark Brackett of Canton: My highlight was calling in a bull moose while on a crossbow-hunting trip in Quebec. The downside of the incident was that I was trapped in a tree stand and unable to maneuver into a shooting position. The shenanigans the moose displayed are etched in my memory.
Jack Flanagan of Canton: My younger soon took his first deer, and we shared a lengthy, but successful tracking job.
Bob Flavin of Ogdensburg: My highlight was taking the grandchildren out on the St. Lawrence River and picnicking and swimming at American Island.
Dave Forsythe of Lisbon: My son, Hunter, and I were able to get out fishing quite a bit this summer, and we had very good luck particularly with big smallmouth bass.
Mike Gagner of Massena: I hunted in Ohio for a week during their bow season. They have a lengthy bow season, and I saw a lot of deer and a lot of bucks. Wow! Ohio has a short gun season, and I wish New York would get on the same page.
Larry Kring of Black Lake: My highlight was working with the River Valley Gun Dog Club, which sponsored a youth pheasant hunt, a veterans pheasant hunt, and a ladies pheasant hunt. These events are designed to introduce youngsters and ladies to the sport of hunting and to thank our veterans. Our biggest challenge every year is getting funding to hold the events so my special 2012 highlight was writing a successful grant application to Friends of the NRA who will give us $1,600 for the coming years events.
Dan Lake of Heuvelton: My highlight was definitely when I took my sons out in the field with me. Jack got to hunting camp two weekends, and Bryce got out a few times at home. Another highlight was watching a fox trying to sneak up on a flock of turkeys. The fox was unsuccessful, but the incident was fun to watch.
Tom Lightfoot of Massena: This year I went back and hunted a few spots that I hadnt hunted in over 15 years. I enjoyed getting back into these areas and seeing the changes that had occurred and seeing familiar features in the landscape.
Rick Mace of South Colton: This was my 40th deer season, and one attraction of spending time in nature is the unique things that happen. This season I had four such experiences. One was taking a piebald buck. Two occurred while I hunted from a ground blind on a ridge where there was a hollow tree 15 yards away. On three different late afternoon watches, I observed a pileated woodpecker enter the hollow tree to nest for the night. Also, I saw my first bobcat in the wild during the early bear season. My fourth and biggest highlight was seeing a moose in the Adirondacks. While still-hunting through an evergreen swamp, I saw movement in the spruces, and out walked a large cow moose that stood broadside to me for five or six steps before she continued into the swamp. I dont think she ever detected me. What a thrill!
Walt Paul of South Colton: My highlight was having snow on the ground for the last week of the big game season.
Cody Richardson, Sr. of Lisbon: One highlight was when my brother-in-law took my two sons and me walleye fishing on the St. Lawrence River, and the other highlight was hunting deer in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during their muzzleloader season.
Neal Riggs of Lisbon: My highlight was sharing my deer management permit with a friends youngest son who had a junior license and who shot his first deer. I showed him how to field dress the deer, and it was fun to pass along a hunting tradition.
Joe Siematkowski of Colton: One highlight was two downstate hunting trips (bow and gun) where I saw a number of deer including small bucks. The other highlight was a return to the Stillwater Middle Branch after 14 years. They even let me drive all day, and I wouldnt have had it any other way. It was great!
Bill Simmons of Potsdam: I called in a gobbler, and even though I didnt shoot, it was a great hunt. Also, I had some well-spent time in the boat with the grandkids.
Dan Skamperle of Ogdensburg: One highlight was the great time walleye fishing with my kids, and I thank the SLVSC walleye restocking program for their efforts. My best highlight, though, was being shown-up by my 14-year old cousin, Jillian, who shot an eight-point buck during the youth hunting weekend.
Tony Zappia of Massena: Similar to last year, my outdoor highlights centered around my successes competing in the ultra-competitive sport of retriever field trials. This year my Golden received her first All-Age placement and points and finished numerous trials. One other special highlight for me was hunting with my 12-year old Golden, Squirt. Watching the old girl, with plenty of fire left, retrieve downed birds, warmed my heart.