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Hooks and Antlers column: Sportsmen reveal highlights of deer season

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At the conclusion of deer season in December, “Hooks and Antlers” asked a number of area sportsmen, “How did your deer season go?” Their responses comprise today’s column.

Mike Bice of Lisbon: Deer season went well as we hit a doe early one morning on our way duck hunting.

Ed Blackmer of Chippewa Bay: Deer season seemed to go by quickly, and I never fired a shot.

Hank Bouchard of Ogdensburg: I had a great deer season with a nice doe in early bow season. I saw some really nice bucks during bow season and passed on a couple of small bucks during rifle season. I’m still hunting in Ontario and having fun because the deer are starting to yard up, and I’m seeing herds of deer as well as big bucks that are more active in their feeding.

Jack Flanagan of Canton: This year’s season was slow. Deer sightings were spotty, but my trail cams helped me harvest a buck and a doe.

Bob Flavin of Ogdensburg: I didn’t get out hunting this year.

Dave Forsythe of Lisbon: I didn’t get to hunt as much as in prior years. During early muzzleloading I saw several small bucks, but after that, the sightings just shut down. We had a lot of standing corn at the farm that changed the deer patterns from prior years.

Kelley Geary of Ogdensburg: I enjoyed being in the woods but didn’t take a deer this year. I saw a lot of small bucks, and the population seemed good. I also saw four coyotes.

Mike Gagner of Massena: I didn’t get out as much as usual, but I let some young bucks go in hopes they’ll grow bigger. This looks like it’s going to be a tough winter for our friends, the deer.

Dan Lake of Heuvelton: I saw a lot of deer on my land in Heuvelton in the early season, including one nice buck. Toward the end of the season, sightings were few and far between. At camp in Fine, I was on a couple of hunts where bucks were taken, but I didn’t do the shooting.

Tom Lightfoot of Massena: Once again I did no preseason investigation and had only one usable tree stand. During a 12-day hunting period, I saw three deer of which I could identify two but not the third that was by itself and too far away. I was optimistic with snow on the ground in November, but ultimately it didn’t help.

Rick Mace of South Colton: Deer sightings were hard to come by in the big woods, but I took my largest Adirondack buck ever in my 40 years of hunting. The buck was a very symmetrical, long-tined 10-point that weighed 202 pounds. At 180 yards, this was also my longest shot ever, and this was the only buck I saw in the big woods. I saw six bucks in the valley, but deer reports seemed down this season, and deer-take numbers at many hunting clubs were reported as being down substantially so I feel fortunate to have had this outdoors highlight.

Lyle Newman of Canton: I harvested a young buck in muzzle loader season and saw few deer during the rest of the season. I took the buck because I never saw a buck last year and wanted some meat in the freezer. From the middle of November on, I never saw a deer from my tree stands.

Walt Paul of South Colton: Deer sightings were down overall, but I managed to put some meat in the freezer in muzzle loader season.

Cody Richardson, Sr. of Lisbon: My deer season was great. I saw several deer on my trail cam and was lucky enough to bag one of them. For me, however, the best part of the hunting season was just being in the woods.

Neal Riggs of Lisbon: My hunting season was nothing special as I got a spike horn during rifle season but didn’t hunt as much as usual. I got busy doing other things that needed doing, and our hunting club didn’t get together very much either.

Jim Robinson of Black Lake: I saw one deer in six weekends of hunting at camp at Tooley Pond, but I did see a few deer at home at Black Lake. I saw four small bucks at home, but I didn’t shoot anything as I have much meat in the freezer from a moose hunt.

Chris Showers of Brier Hill: Due to my work schedule and other things, I was able to get in the woods only five or so times. Though I didn’t harvest a “shooter” buck, I saw a lot of does and a few young bucks.

Joe Siematkowski of Colton: I hope your readers take note. On Sept. 30, I was climbing into my stand when halfway up the stick ladder the ropes broke on the upper two sections. I fell about 12 feet onto my back, and it took most of the season to recover. I was lucky and now I use a safety vest. Even though I saw few deer, I had some luck on the last night of the regular season.

Bill Simmons of Potsdam: I didn’t bag a deer, but I had a great season.

Dan Skamperle of Ogdensburg: It was an odd year where I hunt. There was not a lot of sign, but I did get a buck before the season ended so we have some venison for the family.

Tony Zappia of Massena: My deer season went well. I recorded a number of bucks, mostly young and middle-aged. For the first time in many years, I did not observe many deer during bow and muzzleloader seasons. Not until well into the regular season did whitetail activity really increase. In speaking with a number of my hunting friends, deer activity was sporadic and not many big, mature whitetails were sighted.

Outdoors Calendar

Currently: New DEC Online License Sale and Game Harvest Reporting System is now working.

Friday through Jan. 19: New York Sportsman’s Show at Oncenter in Syracuse.

Jan. 24-26: New York Sportsman’s Expo at Syracuse Fairgrounds (www.newyorksportsmansexpo.com).

Jan. 25: Annual Black Lake Ice Fishing Derby (393-3543 or 375-6561).

Jan. 25: Alex Bay VFD Luck-of-the-Draw Ice Fishing Derby (816-2310 or 788-2243).

Jan. 25: Black Lake Challenge Ice Fishing Derby at Rollaway Bay.

Jan. 25: First Strike Ice Fishing Derby at Cranberry Lake (www.cranberrylakefire.org).

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