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Hooks and Antlers: DEC provides youth deer hunting season

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For the second year in a row, DEC is providing a special youth deer season during the three-day Columbus Day weekend from Oct. 12-14.

This season allows junior hunters (ages 14-15) to take one deer with a firearm, and the youth may use a Deer Management Permit, Deer Management Assistance Permit, or regular season tag. During the youth firearms deer season, junior hunters may take a deer of either sex on a regular tag.

To participate in this hunt, junior hunters must be accompanied by an adult hunter, and both the junior and adult hunters are required to have a big game license. Adults are not allowed to possess a firearm or bow or to harvest a deer while accompanying a junior hunter during the special season.

Rules of the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program also apply during the youth deer season. Those rules state that the youth must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or youth mentor who is 21 years or older and who is designated in writing using the permission form on page 39 of the current hunting guide.

The adult also needs to have at least three years of hunting experience. The adult and youth must be within talking distance and within sight of each other, and both must wear hunter orange. Also, the junior hunter is prohibited from using an elevated stand.

2012 Youth Hunt

Sixty-one percent of New York’s 7,779 eligible junior hunters participated in last year’s hunt over Columbus Day weekend, and those youths accounted for a take of 1,211 deer (744 antlered and 667 antlerless deer). No safety violations or injuries were reported, and no junior hunters were cited for hunting violations.

Bass Pro Shops Opens in Utica

The new Bass Pro Shops Outpost in Utica is hosting an Evening of Conservation on Wednesday at 6 p.m. to kick off the store’s grand opening celebration that will continue through Sunday.

Local conservation groups and agencies on hand Wednesday evening include the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, Ducks Unlimited, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Among the celebrities scheduled to appear and sign autographs on Wednesday are Bass Pro Shops No. 14 Spring Cup Series NASCAR driver, Tony Stewart; “World’s Best All Around Shooter” Doug Koenig; RedHead pro hunting team members, Jerry Martin and John Paul Morris; Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Marine B.A.S.S. elite angler Ott DeFoe; and 2013 Miss New York USAJoanne Nosuchinsky. Jimmy Houston will serve as emcee for the opening ceremonies.

For racing enthusiasts, the Bass Pro Shops No. 14 Spring Cup Series car will be on display throughout the grand opening. Other special exhibits include the “King of Bucks” mobile exhibit featuring 25 world-record white-tailed deer mounts.

The grand opening is free and open to the public. Bass Pro Shops Outpost is located at 710 Horatio St. in Riverside Center in Utica.

Deer Outnumber Hunters

According to Field and Stream magazine, deer outnumber hunters in several states, and leading the way is Alabama where there are 2.05 deer for every deer hunter. Rounding out the top five states where deer outnumber hunters are Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia.

Outdoors Calendar

Tuesday: Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC meet at Canton BOCES at 7 p.m.

Wednesday: Bass Pro Shops opens in Utica at 6 p.m.

Saturday-Monday: Youth Firearms Season during Columbus Day weekend.

Sunday: First Portion of Waterfowl Season closes in the Northeast Zone.

Oct. 18: Fall Turkey Season closes in Northern Zone.

Oct. 19: Muzzleloader Season opens in Northern Zone.

Oct. 26: Regular Deer Season opens in Northern Zone.

Oct. 26: Regular Canada Goose Season opens in Northeast Goose Hunting Area.

Nov. 1-May 1: Everyone must wear PFD when underway on vessels less than 21 feet.

Nov. 16: Regular Deer Season opens in Southern Zone.

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