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Hunters serious about hunting wild turkeys might consider a move to northern or southern parts of Central New York.

Results of the “Winter Wild Turkey Survey 2012” showed the continued decline in overall turkey populations. The highest concentrations of birds per square mile found either in the eastern Appalachian Hills area south east of Syracuse or habitat areas on and above the Tug Hill Plateau along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario through much of Department of the Environmental Conservation’s Region 7.

Region 7 logged 178 flocks seen during the Jan. 1 to March 31 Survey. Western New York’s Region 9 finished second with 112 flocks observed. That southeastern section of Central New York totaled 2,979 birds seen, nearly doubling the Region 9 tally of 1,459 and besting second-place Region 6, which produced a respectable 1,604 turkeys in view.

DEC annual surveys have shown a decline in turkey populations since 2001, with a steeper drop-off seen since 2007. Despite mild 2012 winter conditions, warmer temperatures and less snow depth did not contribute to more mature birds in the count. Heavy rainfall the previous spring may have impacted nesting and poult (newborn turkey) survival.

Survey results could assist hunters planning for the spring 2013 hunting season. To view survey results and a map showing population densities, visit dec.ny.gov/animals/82267.

Rabbit Derby set

Five hunts have passed since Rick Giermata coordinated the first “Frank Privitere Memorial International Rabbit Hunting Derby.”

The Sixth Annual competition is set for Jan. 26 out of American Legion Post No. 63 at 144 Kirby Ave. in Lackawanna. A $25 entry includes a Polish platter dinner from Nite Cappe Restaurant served during the weigh-ins from 4 to 6 p.m.

A few tables remain open for a sportsmen show to be held during the derby.

Cash and trophy prizes go to the top three entrants. For complete details on this competition and gathering, check with Giermata at 602-5017.

Coyote hunt a howl

Hunters interested in improving turkey and cottontail rabbit populations might plan on competing in the Sixth Annual Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County 2013 Coyote Hunt.

Competition goes from Feb. 8 to 10; coyotes can be entered from hunts anywhere in New York State. A $2000 Grand Prize goes to the hunter with the heaviest coyote; prizes of $200 will be given for top daily weights each day. Extra prizes of $100 go to a junior hunter and a female hunter.

For rules and registration details, go to sullivancountysportsmensfedetaionny.com.

Fur handing seminar

Experts with the Erie County Trappers Association offer free assistance in handling and processing fur for auctioning during a “Fur Handing Seminar” in the Collins Conservation Society clubhouse from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. For details and directions, check with Rick and Patti Wattengel at 337-2556.

email: odrswill@gmail.com