Category Archives: The Sportsman’s World

Leon Archer, Outdoors Columnist – Leon has been writing “The Sportsman’s World” column since 1985. He is a five-time first place winner of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association’s Excellence In Craft Award in addition to numerous other writing awards. He is currently an active member and vice president of the New York State Writers Association. His column covers a wide range of outdoor topics far beyond just hunting and fishing.

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: October 24, 2012

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

New York State, in regard to hunters, has done a couple of commendable things, in my estimation, during the last decade.

Lowering the age to 12 for junior hunters was one of them and the other was the instituting of youth hunting days. Personally, I would like to see the age for youth hunting licenses set at 10 years because New York State has one of the most age restrictive regulations for hunting in the entire United States, but I’m not complaining. It used to be 14.

Youth hunts were started to give new young hunters a chance to experience hunting without the competition that comes at the opening of the regular seasons. Most like the idea, but some really take offense at youth hunts.

Last Saturday morning, I awoke to the sound of distant gunfire – probably from the river south of the city – and I tried to figure out why someone would be shooting. It took a little while for me to remember that the waterfowl youth hunt in our region was scheduled for Oct. 13 and 14. From the amount of shooting, I don’t think those youngsters got a lot of ducks, but I’ll bet they had a great time all the same.

The youth hunt days are usually scheduled to take place two weeks before the regular gunning season. That not only gives the new hunters a chance at totally unsuspecting ducks, but it also allows a two-week period for the local ducks to settle down and forget about those two nerve racking days before the real onslaught begins.

Duck season opens for real in our region Oct. 27 and if you live near an area harboring ducks and people can hunt there, you will very likely awake that morning to the sound of gunfire.

A good friend our ours, Mrs. Hunn, on the west side of the river, has a large flock of ducks that call the river and lawn in front of her home, their home as well. They are safe enough there, but a percentage of them each year will wander far enough away to encounter hunters and some of them will never return to their former sanctuary.

It’s the way this world works; everything eats something else that is living or was living, and sometimes it may seem sad or even brutal, but nothing lives forever in this world, and that all makes hunting, fishing, farming, and gathering reasonable and honorable pursuits.

Chances are better than even that one or two of Mrs. Hunn’s ducks may have fallen prey to those youth hunters I heard last Saturday morning. If so, I am pretty sure they will be appreciated when they make their final appearance beside the potatoes and vegetables.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: October 6, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

Seasons are open, the leaves are ready to turn, and migrations are underway or soon will be with salmon running and ducks getting at least a bit restless.

It’s a great time to be alive for sportsmen, but non-hunters enjoy the change in the outdoors as well. Everyone has their favorite things to do right now.

The Adirondacks will be alive with tourists from now until the leaves have dropped and each person has their own ways of enjoying the view.

The Adirondack Railroad is a popular method for those who want to just relax and watch the panorama unfold without the hassle of driving.

Bus tours take thousands of foliage lovers from city to mountains and back, often with an overnight or two at an Adirondack destination.

It’s not an arduous drive for us folks right here in central New York, and a personal vehicle, in my estimation, provides the greatest opportunity for enjoying Mother Nature’s fall display.

Sweet Thing and I have taken Adirondack day trips and we have stayed over for a night or two in or around Lake Placid or Old Forge.

Certainly, even though it’s more costly, staying is the most relaxing, but it’s a good idea to check on lodging ahead of time, because rooms fill up fast during these days.

Hikers, bikers, kayakers, and campers also find the brilliant colors and cooler temperatures to be to their taste. What’s not to like? Insect numbers are greatly reduced; although, ticks still have to be guarded against. The cool temperatures make physical exertion more comfortable no matter what you are doing (except swimming perhaps).

Some always have a concern over the coinciding of great hiking time and hunting season, but over the years, hikers have used the paths and woods nearly without incident.

Two important things go together to keep hikers safe during hunting season. The first is hikers taking the precaution of wearing some hunter orange so they can be seen easier by hunters in the same area.

The second thing is hunters being sure of their target, but whenever an incident has taken place, almost invariably, the non-hunter has failed to take the precaution of wearing orange.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: September 29, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I sacrificed the early goose season so that Sweet Thing and I could go to Sammamish, Wash. (just a ways east of Seattle) to visit my son, Ben, and our daughter-in-law, Meghan.

We spent a wonderful couple of weeks getting reacquainted with the sights and sounds of Western Washington.

Last Monday, I watched Green Bay play the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t just the final play that was goofed, there were poor calls or no calls all through the game.

That didn’t have much effect on our trip; I just thought I’d mention it since it seems like everyone else in the U.S. has done so, including the president.

This is the dry season in the Northwest – no, it doesn’t always rain in Seattle. We had one day of light drizzle, but for the most part it was sunny or partly overcast.

Washington desperately needs some rain, but the weather patterns don’t look promising. They have some huge forest fires in the Wenachee Mountains that had burned more than 140 square miles the last time I heard, which was about four days ago. They were not overly optimistic about getting them under control right away.

In the meantime, we took advantage of the tourist type weather to visit Pike’s market, where we picked up some smoked salmon and some fruit and vegetables. We bought some of the best peaches and mangos that I have ever tasted. The peaches were from Washington; I think the mangos were from Honduras.

We also visited the precinct office that my son works out of as a Seattle policeman. This is his seventh year on the force, which about makes him a veteran. Seattle has its own problems just like any city, but I feel pretty safe there, especially walking around with a policeman as a guide — off duty and in plain clothes, of course.

Ben’s wife has some relatives who are big time pheasant and duck hunters and I wanted to get to know them. I saw some of their bags from past hunts and they were impressive.

On one hunt, they limited out with just green head mallards. I’ve done that a few times, and they remain very memorable hunts for me. They also get quite a variety of birds at times.

In their pictures, I could easily identify pintails, widgeon, shovelers, ring bills, blue wing teal, cinnamon teal, mallards, and wood ducks. I am hoping I might be able to finagle myself into a hunt or two with those guys.

They hunt pheasants in Eastern Washington, which is a big grain growing section of the state. Mostly the farmers grow wheat, which doesn’t make for really fat birds like corn will produce, but they are good eating all the same.

They had all cock birds in their pictures, but I don’t know if they are the only ones legal or if they just pass up hens.

Of course, when you are near a fish hatchery, you just have to visit it, especially if the fish are running. There is a salmon hatchery in nearby Issaqua and the king salmon had started showing up, so we went to have a look. It isn’t quite the state of the art hatchery like we have in Altmar, but it does raise and release a lot of king and coho salmon.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397

Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: Sept. 15, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I haven’t been hearing much shooting so far during this goose season; either the geese are too far away for me to hear the shots of people hunting them, or they are not getting much pressure.

I haven’t heard a lot of geese flying over my house this year either. I talked with the farmer who owns the small pond and pasture where Jack and I hunt geese, and he told me that so far this fall there hadn’t been any geese dropping in.  The season is about half over and I haven’t even been out yet. I must be slowing down.

On the other hand, the salmon are starting to run and I haven’t been out for them either. Over the years, after catching plenty of fall salmon, I have become more of a watcher than a partaker when the run gets going.

I do like observing the fishermen in Oswego, or even the fishermen in Pulaski if I happen to be going through the area. They have a lot more fun catching the fish than I would.

All the same, I plan to stop down and see what the action is like in the raceway below the powerhouse in Oswego this weekend.

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397