Hunting, trapping and fishing have been a very important part of my life since I was very young. I haven't trapped since the 70s, however, and going up to the St. Lawrence River to fish just about every weekend slacked off by the the 90s. My waterfowl and deer hunting continued and at the end of the 90s some land was bought in the Southern Tier and a cabin and pond were built. Camp became the center of my outdoor adventures, which revolved around deer hunting.
Physical problems haven't allowed me to hunt the past few years but I still get out with the camera (an extensive outdoor hobby since the 70s) and that has become my Great Outdoor adventure. I don't really miss hunting with the gun or bow because I find photographing nature is more of a challenge and something I can do from my vehicle or close to it, which of course fits in with the “old man” creeping in on me.
I think it is important that everyone knows the hunting seasons so even those who don't hunt are aware of what is going on out there. Going birding or hiking in the marshes during waterfowl seasons or hiking in the woods and fields during deer season are not good ideas. If you do anyway, wear a bright safety vest and hat and stay alert to what is going on around you.
Hunting season started with the early September goose season that ended on Sept. 25 and is open again in our West Central area from Nov. 2 until Dec. 1, with the bag limit reduced to two per day because the geese at this time are migrating geese down from Canada and these birds have been having problems in recent years. The South zone, which includes Niagara, Erie, Wyoming and Genesee counties (and other counties south of us) is open Oct. 26 to Jan.31 with five per day.
Snow geese can be hunted from Oct. 1 to April 15 with a daily bag limit of 25. The reason for this long season and high bag limit is because the tundra area up North is being destroyed by a very dense snow goose population (this is what is causing Northern Canada geese populations problems). Although we never saw many snow geese in our area, that is now slowly changing. Last year in the spring migration, I was able to photograph thousands as they staged in some fields with hundreds of tundra swans (boy was that a sight!).
Regular duck season is opens Oct. 19 to Nov. 1 with youth hunting days on Oct. 5 and Oct. 6. The second half of the season runs from Nov. 30 to Jan. 5 . The daily bag limit of ducks is six but now only two mallards per day are allowed, only one of which can be a female (The mallard population has been dropping, thus the reduction in the number that can be harvested). These bags limits for northern migrating geese and mallards are a wildlife management plan to help these populations recover.
Crow hunting is something few get into nowadays but the season runs Sept. 1 to March 31. Queer thing about it is that they can only be hunted on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. The reason for this, that I have heard, has to do with a treaty between the U.S. and Mexico (they cut back on duck shooting and we cut back on crow shooting). The “only four days a week deal” is to give us a longer season as the regulations only allow so many days per season to hunt them.
Regular bear season runs Nov. 16 to Dec. 8 but there is a early season from Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 with a bow, a crossbow season from Nov. 2 to Nov. 15, and a late bow and muzzle-loading season from Dec. 9 to Dec. 17.
Deer season with a bow started Oct. 1 and runs until Nov. 15 (crossbow Nov. 2 to Nov. 15); gun season then opens on Nov. 16 and runs until Dec. 8. A late bow and muzzle-loading season is open from Dec. 9 to Dec. 17. A side note on deer hunting in Orleans County: A center-fire rifle maybe used again this year and is now a permanent ruling.
Turning to small game, we find rabbit season running from Oct. 1 to Feb. 29, squirrel from Sept. 1 to Feb. 29, pheasant from Oct 19 to Dec. 31 (youth hunt dates Oct. 12 and Oct. 13), grouse from Oct. 1 to Feb. 29 and turkey from Oct. 19 to Nov. 1.
The trapping season starts for raccoon, fox, coyote, skunk, opossum and weasel on Oct. 25; and mink, beaver and muskrat on Nov. 25, with all trapping ceasing on Feb. 15. Coyotes can be hunted from Oct. 1 to Mar. 29 and fox and raccoon Nov. 1 until Feb. 25.
So there you have it, and even though you may not hunt or trap, you now know the dates you can expect hunters and trappers to be in the field and what they are doing.
Doug Domedion, outdoorsman and nature photographer, resides in Medina. Share your Great Outdoor sightings and adventures with him at (585) 798-4022 or email@example.com .