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Big game firearms season for deer and bear ends at sunset today and stories worth sharing at holiday gatherings and while standing around with ice-fishing pals should be curious and colorful. Many a venison dish will be served this holiday season.

As for field activities, pictures of the bear occupying a hunter’s treestand were shown in two different versions during recent blog runs. A white buck deer was harvested in the Batavia area. One family tagged and bagged five deer opening day well before noon. Several deer taken to taxidermists sported antler masses well above a 150 score.

Archers swore the rut may have kicked in two weekends before trick or treaters made their Halloween pleas. Gunners saw considerable mating activity during the Nov. 16 firearms opener.

Accounts are still coming in of first-time hunters and first-harvest successes in Western New York.

One good one: Tracy Johnston, 18, of Akron traveled with dad Bruce Johnston to the Town of Royalton for his first day of deer hunting on opening day this season. She and dad knew of some bigger bucks in the area, so she passed on a big spike buck that passed her treestand early that morning.

Minutes later a seven-pointer passed at 60 yards and Tracy was able to harvest her personal trophy quickly. Dad said, “She can’t put down her rack mounted from her first deer on her first opening day. Now she wants to get into archery hunting.”

A report on opening day at the Holland Department of Environmental Conservation check station included a photo of wildlife technician Mike Koch examining a deer brought through the station that day. Opening weekend saw not only a good number of whitetail deer tagged, but also a fair number of black bears out foraging in warmer weather.

DEC deer and bear take numbers will be available some time in January. For now, archers and muzzleloaders can fill tags starting at sunrise Monday and continuing to Dec. 17 at sunset.

Shooting range upgraded

When shooters line up for Allied Sportsmen Club of WNY’s Winter Trap League in January, the trap field will have a brighter and wider look.

The league shoot goes from noon to 3 p.m. every other Sunday starting Jan. 5, but open shooting also is available Tuesday evenings beginning at 6 p.m., with the last squad out at 9:50 p.m.

Allied has installed a new trap machine, adding another house on the club’s field that are open for shooting. The new machine activates upon voice commands, producing doubles and wobbles along with single clay bird flights.

The public is always welcome to open shoots and league sign-up information is available by calling 937-3615.

Lifetime license drawing

Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen will hold a drawing for Chautauqua County youths under age 16 to receive a selected lifetime sporting license.

For details on a raffle and applications for a drawing to be held at the federation’s January meeting, check with Zen Olow at 640-2776.

email: odrswill@gmail.com