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Hooks and Antlers outdoor column

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September is a transition month for many area sportsmen and women who are putting away their fishing rods and picking up their hunting implements.

While much of the September hunting activity focuses on preparation for the approaching deer seasons, actual hunting opportunities are now available for Canada geese and gray squirrels.

Since the new license year begins on October 1, hunters are reminded that they need a current 2012-13 license in order to hunt in September.

Overabundant

Goose Populations

When DEC instituted the September Canada Goose Season in the early 1990s, the hope was that such a season would help control the resident goose population of 130,000 birds.

Despite the hunter take of 50,000 geese annually in the early season, the geese are winning the population battle as the current resident goose population numbers over 200,000 birds.

A recent press release stated, “DEC’s management efforts are working toward a reduction in the population to eventually hit approximately 85,000 birds to alleviate the variety of problems they are causing in the urban, suburban and rural areas.”

In an effort to reduce goose numbers, DEC has adopted more liberal regulations for the 2013 September Goose Season.

Goose problems generally arise in areas such as parks, campgrounds, beaches, golf courses, and waterfront properties.

My negative interactions with geese typically occur at area boat launches where goose droppings litter the parking lots, ramps, and docks. Too, a flock of geese will sometimes lift overhead so I grab my hat and hope the geese’s aim is as bad as mine when I try to get the bead on a passing mallard.

September Goose

Season Regulations

The September Canada Goose Season runs from September 1 through Wednesday, September 25 in the Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Among the changes for this year is the increase in the daily bag limit from eight to 15 geese. Fifteen geese is the maximum number acceptable under federal regulations.

Another change is that shooting hours are extended to one-half hour after sunset instead of the usual closing at sunset.

Too, hunters will be allowed to use electronic calls to lure geese within shooting range, and they will be allowed to use shotguns capable of holding more than three shells at a time, but no more than seven. Hunters should note that the measures mentioned in this paragraph are not allowed during the September 21-22 Youth Waterfowl Hunt Weekend as Federal regulations do not allow special measures for Canada geese whenever any other waterfowl season is open.

All persons who hunt geese and other migratory birds in New York State are required to have small-game hunting privileges and a HIP number.

Registration in the state’s Harvest Information Program (HIP) is valid from July 1 through June 30 annually, and individuals can register at www.NY-HIP.com or by calling 1-888-427-5447.

Individuals who are 16 years of age and older are also required to have a federal migratory game bird hunting stamp (duck stamp) in order to hunt waterfowl. Duck stamps are available at most post offices, on-line at www.duckstamp.com, or by calling 1-800-852-4897.

Squirrel Season

The opening of squirrel season on September 1 affords hunters the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of spending time in the woods prior to deer season. Hunting strategies include sitting and waiting, still hunting, or a combination of still hunting and sitting.

A seat cushion can add to the comfort when sitting for a period of time, and no matter what technique a hunter employs, it’s advisable to have the sun at your back in order to increase the odds of seeing the squirrel before he spots you.

Squirrel hunting has an auditory side, too, as the creature’s rustling in tree tops, scrounging in fallen leaves, or chattering from a tree limb gives away its location.

Early autumn squirrel hunts are an excellent way for hunters of all ages and particularly youths to hone their hunting skills, and since squirrel numbers are at their highest of the hunting season, odds of bringing home some squirrel for the supper table are at their best, too.

The six-month-long season for gray, black, and fox squirrels runs through February 28. Hunting hours extend from sunrise to sunset, and the daily bag limit is six squirrels.

Since red squirrels are unprotected by regulations, reds may be hunted at any time of the year.

Outdoors Calendar

Monday—Trap and Skeet Shooting at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club (Pray Rd.) at 5:30 p.m.

Monday—Trap Shooting at Moose River F&G Club (Davis Bridge Road) at 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday—Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Club at 7 p.m.

Saturday—Hunter Education Course at Camp Mandaville, Winthrop (Pre-register with Hopkinton Town Clerk).

Saturday-Sunday 7-8—Hunter Education Course at Mullins Restaurant, Gouverneur (Pre-register at 287-9398).

September 8-9—Hunter Education Course at Massena R&G Club (In-person registration with Massena Town Clerk).

September 11, 12, 14—Hunter Education Course at Martinsburg Fire Department (Pre-register at 761-9565).

September 14—St. Lawrence River Walleye Association’s Fall Classic.

September 14—Trapper Education Course at Gouverneur R&G Club (Pre-register at 528-2953).

September 14—Homestudy Hunter Education Course at Edwards Fire Hall (In-person registration with Russell Town Clerk).

September 14—Bowhunter Education Homestudy Course at Camp Mandaville, Winthrop (Pre-register with Hopkinton Town Clerk).

September 17,18,19—Hunter Education Course at Morley Wesleyan Church Hall (Pre-register at 244-0787 from 6-8 p.m.).

September 20—Inaugural banquet of North Country Chapter of Ruffed Grouse Society (518-521-4559).

September 20-21—Bowhunter Education Course at Duffany’s Body Shop, Watertown (Pre-register at 788-2161).

September 21—Homestudy Hunter Education Course at Moose River F&G Club, Port Leyden (Pre-register at hunteredol@hotmail.com).

September 22-23—Hunter Education Course at Massena R&G Club (In-person registration with Massena Town Clerk). September 28-29—Hunter Education Course at Star Lake Community Center (Pre-register at 848-3490).

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