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Quality outdoors footwear come in all sizes and quality abounds in items that well-known boot makers produce each year. Walking around fishing piers, docks and holes and doing field, yard and garden chores can be agonizing with improperly chosen foot gear.

Early-spring field tests of a men’s Xtratuf fishing boot and of a women’s Muck Boot for yard and garden work proved positive for comfort and functions afoot.

The Muck name has been around since 1999; Xtratuf has more recently entered the outdoors market. Both build a variety of boot models worthy of outdoor activities.

The Xtratuf 16-inch Gearcor model saw action on both shoreline and pier outings. An improved insole provides a shock-absorbing comfort upgrade for both long treks and periods of standing afield and along shore. Check out Xtratufboots.com.

Muck Boots have been a staple for our backyard gardening and yard work for more than a decade. Wife Jean does a considerable amount of antler shed hunting this time of year and is now setting up her floral and veggie (especially onion) patches out back.

A new pair of Breezy-Low-Cool estate/sky blue Muck Boots has helped cover and turn as much ground as possible during the late burst of April showers. The women’s models are fitting and functional. “No need for break-in time on these,” Jean said of the boots she chose for her chores.

To check out the many Muck models designed specifically for women, go to muckbootcompany.com/category/womens.

Deer harvest numbers

Bear harvest numbers continue to increase, but the final Department of Environmental Conservation compilation of 2013 deer takes statewide shows a remarkable similarity to the previous year’s numbers.

An overall total of 242,957 in 2012 increased to 243,567 last year, remaining well above the previous five-year average of 229,439. Adult male numbers dropped slightly; the antlerless take jumped somewhat and bow hunters nearly tied the previous totals, going from 36,208 in 2012 to 36,676 in 2013.

Department of Environmental Conservation deer managers continue to be concerned with excess numbers of antlerless deer and are working to reduce doe numbers to maintain healthy animal stock and land management.

To view charts, maps and summations of DEC deer reports, go to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.

Stream wavers

Area anglers and stream watchers can offer useful assistance with the DEC WAVE (Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators) program that now begins its third year of studies. Observer/reporters are being sought for the Lake Ontario, Niagara and Genesee watershed.

Volunteers will visit stream sites once from July to September to collect samples of insect life and other organisms from stream bottoms; these samplings help assess water quality and assist in planning more effective stream-water improvement projects.

For details, call Alene Onion at (518) 402-8766 or go to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/92229.

email: odrswill@gmail.com