A recent federal survey shows increased participation in hunting and fishing activities, but area outdoors folk who hunt deer in Pennsylvania and who fish nearby western Finger Lakes will have to add some pre-planning to those outings.
As a result of a Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture discovery of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a pen born-and-reared deer, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has imposed a ban on bringing into New York State whole deer taken in Pennsylvania.
To import a deer, the carcass must be free of brain, eyes, spinal cord, tonsils, intestinal tract, and spleen. DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said, “a hunter who takes a deer or elk in Pennsylvania must now butcher the animal and remove the prohibited parts before entering New York State.” Hence, area hunters must have their deer processed in Pennsylvania.
CWD had not been found in deer in New York State since 2005 and Pennsylvania deer herds had previously only shown outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in several western counties. But the Oct. 11 discovery of CWD has prompted officials in both states to impose regulations to curb the spread of this disease.
Area anglers have seen a steady decline in the number of bait and tackle shops in recent years. Often, when a dealer decides to close shop, no new proprietor steps in to supply live bait and specific tackle items to catch fish from nearby waters.
When Jerry Olejniczak closed the doors at Penrod’s this past winter, that bait, tackle and information source ended that day. For decades, anyone looking for leads on fishing at Silver Lake, Conesus Lake, Honeoye Lake and every western Finger Lake nearby could drop by Art’s Bait Shop just south of Avon on Lakeville Road headed to Conesus Lake.
Art Brisbane, 87, had a lively way of interpreting fish and game movements. His shop, surrounded by two small ponds and heated with a wood stove, was a base for him and many pet cats for more than three decades.
His son, Howard Brisbane, 53, told me that his dad died quietly in his sleep Sept. 18. Howard will continue the wood cutting/firewood operation, but the bait shop is now closed.
During the last, recent visit to Art’s shop, he was disappointed at the numbers of anglers on the water and hunters afield. But in typical upbeat form he praised previous youth hunts and looked forward to the prospect of a Youth Deer Hunt in the fall. At that time, a youth hunt was still in question down in Albany.
I had learned of Art’s passing while visiting Honeoye Bait & Tackle Oct. 13 to help haul out a friend’s dock and boat lift for the winter. Dan Sharp had been successfully battling cancer. But during a phone conversation earlier that week he told me the cancer had recurred, was inoperable and that he only has a few months to live.
When I dropped by to visit and drop off some moose meat that morning, a sign “Closed due to illness” in the window noted an opening at 1 p.m. that day. So I stopped by on the way home and Dan’s counter man John Scala was manning the shop. John said that the shop would be open on occasion and after its closing the building would probably be converted to part of an adjacent auto repair shop.
Come ice fishing season and the start of next spring’s great panfish prospects, area anglers will lose two more great sources for bait, tackle and good directions.
Fortunately, a few reliable bait and tackle sources - big box and small-shop - remain open around Western New York for live bait and first-hand fishing facts.