Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 198

DSC05956.JPGotter crunching a bullhead

The first day of Spring has arrived with only a new inch of snow and 18 degrees on the thermometer. Better than the three inches of snow and strong winds the day before but no loss of power. Many others are still struggling with more water and snow than they can deal with, others with damage from high winds and tornadoes that came across the country during the last week. Many in the south had a hard freeze which will affect many flowering trees, shrubs and some crops that were already up.

The Saint Patrick’s Day parade went off on schedule on Main Street in Old Forge in a steady rain and the temperature at 40 degrees. Lots of spectators under umbrellas and raincoats enjoying the parade but not me. I had my PT and got out of town as the town was filling up. I went via the Hollywood Road to check out the geese and ducks in the Channel from First Lake to Old Forge Pond. There were two Mallard Ducks and three Canada Geese in the open water and an otter fishing alone in a hole in the ice with a nice bullhead.

DEC announced that the 2022 hunting season ties a record for the safest-ever year for hunting incidents. 2022 tied 2021 with the lowest number of hunting related shooting incidents since record-keeping began. DEC ECO’s investigated nine hunting related incidents in 2022, including one fatality. The one fatality was a self-inflicted turkey hunter incident. Much of this success is the result of hunter safety courses given for several years by ECO’s and many volunteer hunter safety trainers. Five rules taught by these trainers are treat every firearm as if it was loaded, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, identify your target and what is beyond, keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire and wear hunter orange or pink.   

To go along with this DEC released the black bear harvest for 2022 which is estimated at 1,318 black bears. 458 black bears were taken in the Northern Zone and an estimated 860 black bears taken in the Southern Zone. 14% less bears taken in the Northern Zone and 9% less bears taken in the Southern Zone. Only 10% fewer bears were taken in the total harvest than the five-year average. 348 black bears were taken by bow, 234 taken in the early season and 274 taken in the regular season in the Southern Zone. No Black Bears taken in the early season in the Northern Zone. That must be a first as there sure were lots of hunters out there in the woods locally.  

Eric Sutherland got his Maple Moss Sugarworks in operation over the weekend and the sap was running quite well. He will be open next weekend for visitors also and you can stop in for your maple syrup supply. He is there to explain his operation and see it being made from the tree to a jar in your hand. 

This cold snap and snow put a stop to the birds moving north but some got caught midway. I had a Song Sparrow show up Friday in my Potter trap, so it got banded and it is keeping company with my White Throated Sparrow that has been here all winter. I still have a flock of Evening Grosbeaks coming daily, and I now have banded over three hundred of them. 

I had another visitor Bob who drove in my unplowed driveway in ten inches of wet snow and got stuck in my turn around. I looked out from my computer and there was a big blue pick up nearly up the house stuck sideways right by my bird net. I was just about to go out and blow that wet stuff out, now I had a purpose. Karen asked him several times why you drove down an unplowed driveway as we might not have been home. Bob and I didn’t have much of a visit as we shoveled and scooped snow for a while and I blew out the packed down driveway. I cut the ties to my bird net to save that, got my truck out and put a chain and came along to Bob’s truck. I got him back about eight feet. He jockeyed his truck until he could pull up to the garage and get headed out after two hours of work. Bob may not visit again as he waved goodbye going out the driveway.  

More visits to Eric’s Sugar Moss Sugarworks, but that’s another story. See ya. 

Photo above: Otter with bullhead by me

DSC06062.JPGmaple moss
Eric’s Sugar Moss House


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