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Rod, Gun and Game: How about them apples? Deer love to munch them!

PROPER PRACTICE — Jeffrey Liebler is pictured, wearing all of his gear, at a 3D archery practice session. Hunters should suit up, when target shooting. Photo submitted by Forrest Fisher.
EAST AURORA — Last season, reading the latest advice from hunting magazines usually resulted in a common understanding: find an apple tree or white oak tree, stay close to that area and see many deer. That is sage advice, unless we have a hard, early frost, which we did. The frost killed all the apple blossoms and they never recovered.

That led to very few apples, in 2012. That is not the case, this year. We may be enjoying the best apple growing year in decades.

A few years ago, I planted one apple tree, for each of my grandkids, and each year, as they have grown, the kids ask to water their trees and occasionally fertilize them, when they visit. As the trees have matured, the number of apples on each tree has doubled, tripled and quintupled, with so many apples this year, that last week, the branches were so laden with the weight of the fruit, they were nearly touching the ground, 7 or 8 feet below.

My wife and I travelled away for a 44th wedding anniversary weekend and, when we returned home, nearly all the apples were gone.

Each tree had several hundred apples each, but when we returned home, there were only 10 – 15 apples left on any of the trees. Deer prints in the dirt were evidence that, as the deer grouped up and nudged the tree trunks with their bodies, perfectly ripened apples fell to the ground.

My grandkids were disappointed, but my 12-year old grandson was kidding with his sisters that, since this would be his first year bow-hunting for deer, maybe the deer would all be bigger than ever.

Most hunters agree that we will enjoy some very big deer, this year, primarily due to the apple and mast crop success we have, with the perfect growing weather, this year.

Find a few apple trees and stay close. Seek out the new deer trails, formed where the deer access the apples and select a location that will maintain your downwind scent. As we approach this relatively early apple harvest, set your trail cameras to capture some of the growing deer herd action.

You may find that the young bucks are actually getting ahead of themselves and does are joining in, to leave their scent imprint in new ground scrapes, that are already forming nearby. As early as it is, it’s a great time to begin scouting the fields and forests, but pay particular attention to areas with stands of wild apple trees and sweet white oak trees.

It’s also a great time to check your archery and firearms gear. Take it out of storage and take your time looking it over. Check the Allen screws, on all bow parts, to be sure they are secure and as tight as required. Clean and lubricate all the necessary interface seams and moving parts, per manufacturer instructions. As August is already here, 3D archery courses are running, each week, to help archers gear up their muscles and sight pins, to achieve premium accuracy for 10 – 30 yard shots.

Look for 3D archery sessions already in session, on Wednesdays, at East Aurora Fish and Game, on Luther Road, and Evan’s Rod and Gun, on Cain Road, and on Thursdays, at West Falls Conservation Society, on Bridge Street. There will be many more organizations offering 3D archery practice, in the coming weeks.

The New York state southern zone early archery season begins, for big game hunting, both whitetail deer and black bear, on Oct. 1 and runs through Nov. 15, this year.

NYS 2013-2014 sporting licenses on sale
On Aug. 12, New York state hunting, trapping and fishing licenses, including the marine registry, and deer management permits for the 2013 – 2014 sporting seasons will be available for purchase. DMP’s can be purchased through the close of business on Oct. 1.

Annual fishing, hunting and trapping sporting licenses and deer management permits are valid from Oct. 1 – Sept. 30. The annual marine fishing registration is valid from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31.

Access for hunters important
Numerous studies and opinion polls have come to the conclusion that among the most significant threats to the future of hunting and the most common reason cited for why people quit the sport of hunting, is lack of access to quality hunting grounds.

In a recent study, Bob Humphrey and Yamaha cited that more than a dozen states have programs designed to increase public access to private lands. California started a pilot program in 1979 and now has 854,000 acres of land enrolled; Colorado and Illinois require a small fee. Other states, including Idaho, Kansas and Montana, which has more than 8 million acres enrolled, are paid for through license fees or habitat stamp sales.

The New York State Division of Lands and Forests manages nearly 4,000,000 acres of land, located in almost every county of the state. There are 187,000 acres of Wildlife Management Areas open to hunting, too.

From the remote locations of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains to the rolling hills of Western New York, we have a wide range of hunting and trapping opportunities available, at no additional charge, except for the license fee.

Corrected Contact
To contact Captain Don Walters, for Barcelona and Dunkirk fishing, call 753-0784 or visit To look up more than 20 other safety-rated Lake Erie fishing charters, visit the Eastern Lake Erie Charter Fishing Boat Association at for a listing of licensed and certified charter captains.

Outdoor calendar
Aug. 8: 3D Archery Shoot, West Falls Conservation Society, 15 targets, 4 p.m. – dusk, unlimited shooting, open to the public. Call 655-5030, for more information.

Aug. 10: Ladies Hoot and Shoot, North Forest Rod & Gun Club, 6257 Old Niagara Road, Lockport. Call 439-1464, to register or for more information.

Aug. 10: Clays for Heroes fundraiser, Brooks International Skeet & Trap Club, 962 Honeoye Falls Road, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Call 698-5892, for more information.

Aug. 14: 3D Archery Shoot, Evans Rod & Gun, Cain Road, 4 p.m. – dusk. Call 549-0333, for more information.

Aug. 14: 3D Archery Shoot, East Aurora Fish & Game, 1016 Luther Road, East Aurora, 5 p.m. – dusk, unlimited shooting, target bunks, open to the public. Call 982-7069, for more information.

Aug. 15: NYS Waterfowl ID Course, Hamburg Rod & Gun Club, Hickox Road, 6 p.m. For more information, call 681-5690.

Aug. 17: NYS Archery Certification Course, Bison City Rod & Gun Club, 511 Ohio St., 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 627-9861 or 874-1206.

Aug. 17: NYS Hunter Safety Training, West Falls Conservation, 55 Bridge St., home study course, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Sept. 8: 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 662-5657.

Send information for inclusion in the outdoor calendar in the Springville Journal Forrest Fisher Column, 10 days in advance, via email to


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