Tag Archives: Leon Archer

Family reunion

by Leon Archer

I was at the loop two weeks ago on a calm day and as I sat at a picnic table I could count 17 boats well out on the lake, probably fishing for trout and salmon.

I could imagine what was taking place on those craft as they trolled their lures and watched their arched down rigger rods for a strike.

The salmon are silver bright right now and full of fight. Some nice browns are out there with them and they have not turned into their fall colors yet. I munched my haddock sandwich and envied those fishermen just a bit.

My Lake Ontario afternoon was part of the Archer family reunion. All my children and grandchildren were here with the exception of my oldest grandson, Willie, a marine deployed at the present time. Rudy’s and the Loop are so ingrained in the areas culture and my kid’s memories that we had to go at least once.

Some of the fishermen coming into port had been into great fishing and it appeared that this year’s Oswego County Pro-Am Salmon and Trout Team Tournament should be a good one.

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Back from Florida

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

I was hoping that the weather would be a little more welcoming, but we are home all the same.

We left temperatures in the high 80s on Monday and enjoyed the mid 70s as we travelled up through the Carolinas and Virginia.

Things started to change by degrees Wednesday as we moved through Pennsylvania and then New York. By the time we were unloading some of the items from our truck, the afternoon temperatures were diving and we locked the truck, leaving the rest until the next day.

There would be no night crawlers on our first night home — that was for sure.

The pontoon boat travelled very well on our new trailer, and our truck hauled them both with ease. I think the most pleasant thing was having a trailer on which all the lights worked without a bunch of dinging on my part.

I get really bent out of shape sometimes when lights absolutely resist working properly on a trailer, and it’s not pretty.

I hope everyone read the information about bears from the DEC a couple weeks ago and took it to heart. While bears are seldom seen right here in the Fulton area, it is just a matter of time before readers will start seeing them or signs of their presence.

 

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Bird decoys

bird decoys
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

It’s amazing how another year has flown; here we are past Christmas with New Year’s celebrations a couple days away, and to me at least, it hardly seems possible.

It has been a good year with great times spent with family, no really bad things happening to any of us, and Sweet Thing and I have been able to spend some time working on projects that we really enjoy.

She has been working away on quilts with her sisters once a week when we are in the area. I have been making a few decoys, catching some fish with my grandchildren and I had the pleasure of watching Nathaniel complete his first shore bird decoy in time to give it to his father and mother for Christmas.

Nathaniel and I have been learning together how to make shorebirds and I think he might be better than I am at it. He is a good learner and has been able to apply everything that

I have taught him and understands the rational for making decoys that will fool birds, while at the same time not looking like real birds frozen forever in wood.

We don’t make wooden birds with burnt in feathering or every single feather painted perfectly in place. Our birds are impressionistic and pattern painted.

All the old decoy makers made blocks that would fool wild birds long enough to get them into easy range for shooting. None of those old hunting decoys would fool any of us into believing they are real.

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Gun control

Leon Archer
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

This is not the article I had planned to write for this week and it’s not one that I enjoy writing.

Several people have asked me what I thought about gun control now, after the horrible atrocity at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut.

It’s been hard to answer them, not because I don’t have thoughts on what happened and on gun control, but because I can’t give them the answer I think they may want to hear without being misunderstood. So I decided to address this in print.

Not everyone, and certainly not a lot of NRA guys, would go along with me, but I pretty much agree with the gun control crowd on this one: 100 shot or even 30 shot clips are not needed for hunting and I am not at all sure they would be needed in a case of someone breaking into one’s home.

After that, the rest of my thoughts I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t win any kudos from the anti-gun bunch.

It is likely that we will see some kind of assault rifle ban coming out of all of this. Does that bother me?

Well, yes and no. It depends on a number of things. If the ban is for a few select weapons that are true assault weapons, I guess I could live with it, but the problem is that a great many of the new generation of hunting guns look like assault weapons.

Media people and gun control proponents are afraid of and want to condemn, and if possible, ban a whole class of guns because of their looks. But, and have no doubt about it, a semi-automatic that looks like every other rifle has looked for a hundred years can be every bit as deadly as an “AR.”

By the way, AR does not stand for assault rifle, it comes from the name of the manufacturer that turns out high performance, low recoil hunting weapons that look like military weapons. That company is Armalite, and they did develop the AR15, which was licensed to colt to be built for our armed forces.

The AR15 is in use around the world and it is almost as good as the AK47; some would argue better.

The look has been copied by other manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe and they invariably are called assault rifles by the people who barely know one end of a gun from another.

The other negative, and it’s one I think is more important, is an assault rifle ban is not even a band-aid, it is only a feel good piece of legislation that doesn’t cost anything, but unfortunately, it will give many a false sense of security, while doing absolutely nothing to stem the gun violence.

The things that can be of real value in helping to prevent scenes of carnage such as was just suffered in Connecticut, will cost money.

The legislation will be some time before it’s enacted, and without a doubt, that legislation will end up being examined by the Supreme Court.

The one thing realistic, helpful legislation will not be is gun control, with the exception that I believe we will see legislation that requires background checks for gun buyers at gun shows, and that’s not a bad thing.

If we are going to prevent at least some of these tragedies from ever happening, we need workable legislation that will enable us to identify and help or somehow control those individuals who would be most likely to become perpetrators of such deeds.

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Young hunters

Young hunters
Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

For years, the number of American hunters was very noticeably declining as fewer people joined the ranks than were dropping out or dying.

Hunters, far from relishing the fact that there were fewer hunters competing with them in the woods, were almost frantically searching for avenues to introduce non-hunters to the sport they loved so much.

Hunters, as well as fishermen and trappers, had been under assault for decades by national organizations such as PETA and HSUS, and it was beginning to look like the tide might be turning against the sportsmen.

At first, those individuals and organizations that were trying to stem the tide were myoptic, looking only for strategies that would draw young men into the pursuits they cherished and promoted.

It was known and could be demonstrated that the younger a boy could be introduced to hunting and other outdoor sports, the more likely they were to continue on with them into later life.

Fathers and sons formed stronger bonds through fishing and hunting than they did through team sports or video games.

At first, the efforts to bolster the hunting fraternity were well intentioned, but lacked the all-encompassing vision that would be necessary to attain their goal. The rate of decline slowed, but the overall trend continued.

Men were encouraged to take a youngster hunting and to reach out to older non-hunters.

In New York State, sportsmen’s groups advocated and lobbied for lowering the age that youngsters could begin hunting, and following way too many frustrating years of unreasonable legislative resistance or just plain inertia, the age was lowered two years to 12 for small game and 14 for big game.

It really wasn’t low enough; New York still has one of the most restrictive youth hunter age requirements of all 50 states, but something was better than nothing.

The result was that more younger hunters came into the sport and stayed with it than had been the case before.

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
Leon Archer

The Sportsman’s World: November 10, 2012

Leon Archer

by Leon Archer

The final week is here, and I’m not talking about the elections – thank goodness they are behind us as I write this!

As of today, we are one week away from the opening of gun season for deer in the Southern Tier. It’s hard to believe, but the DEC figures show a majority of all venison put in the freezer each year comes from that one day.

Black powder and bow season, North and South, plus the Northern gunning season account for the rest, but that all indicates that there are more hunters in the woods that one day than on any other.

As I have grown older, I find my preoccupation with hunting safety has only grown greater. I have moved my preferred hunting area a couple of times simply because the woods were becoming too crowded for my comfort level.

I used to hunt near Genoa, and my son, my grandsons, and I took one to three deer from there every year, but a few years ago, in spite of getting three deer there and seeing quite a few more, I saw a much bigger herd of hunters.

I miss the farm I hunted on, but I’m not sorry I made the move. I’ve shot less deer, but I’ve felt much safer where I’ve been hunting since I changed.

No matter where I hunt, one of the first things I try to determine as I go into the woods and as I settle down on a watch, is where are other hunters, if any, in the same area.

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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.

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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