Woodcock

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About Woodcock

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    Hudson Valley
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    Ruger Red Label 20ga
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  1. Since 2014, New York combined small game and big game licenses into one license. This makes it difficult to really separate out those who do either/or. The DEC budget would be a nightmare if you tried to financially separate programs. I don't believe DEC wants to get into the pheasant stamp or trout stamp business for many reasons though it works elsewhere. In a previous post I wrote: >>> The NY pheasant stocking program also works hand in hand with the DEC management of these release sites. No pheasant stocking would also lead to less management in those areas. This management also benefits rabbit, turkey, grouse, woodcock and deer. You also must consider that pheasant hunting and release areas also establishes a "footprint" for DEC lands. This might sound ridiculous if you live up north but down here it matters. Have you ever experienced dog walkers or mountain bikers complain about hunters? Some do and I feel that pheasant stocking reinforces our rights to these lands. In the southern tier, land access is a problem and keeping access can be an issue. With that said, pheasant stocking does provide significant recreational opportunities, is financially beneficial and has no negative environmental impact. In some places, anti-hunting groups specifically target pheasant stocking under the premise that they are not a native species.<<< We are all in this together and whether you are in the southern tier or up north, protecting our rights and tradition should be everyone's goal. I've noticed that by me, Multiple Use Areas that no longer receive pheasant stockings are no longer being managed. Personally, there are good philosophical discussions related to much of this. Almost anything can be debated but it doesn't always get you very far. Some may oppose hunting stocked pheasants, some feel hunting deer over food plots is no different than baiting, some may scoff at bow hunting in a suburban back yard....... everyone has their personal opinions. I feel it's important to support each other here and look at the broader picture.
  2. Pheasant stocking provides an opportunity to bird hunt where no other opportunity exists. If it wasn't an option, I'd venture to say that many would stop hunting. Traveling to find grouse is just not an option for some and quite honestly, as one gets older grouse hunting becomes more difficult. The NY pheasant stocking program also works hand in hand with the DEC management of these release sites. No pheasant stocking would also lead to less management in those areas. This management also benefits rabbit, turkey, grouse, woodcock and deer. You also must consider that pheasant hunting and release areas also establishes a "footprint" for DEC lands. This might sound ridiculous if you live up north but down here it matters. Have you ever experienced dog walkers or mountain bikers complain about hunters? Some do and I feel that pheasant stocking reinforces our rights to these lands. In the southern tier, land access is a problem and keeping access can be an issue. With that said, pheasant stocking does provide significant recreational opportunities, is financially beneficial and has no negative environmental impact. In some places, anti-hunting groups specifically target pheasant stocking under the premise that they are not a native species. The same has been said about brown trout even though it is well established that native brook trout can no longer survive in many waters. There will never be a return to large scale land management practices to correct much of this. Even the Catskills and Adirondacks are maturing and are losing grouse habitat. The five month season for pheasant provides lots of field time for hunters and dog work. If there's little snow, it's a fantastic time to get out. It really doesn't matter if you even flush anything. It's all about providing recreational opportunities with a side benefit to the economy.
  3. I prefer wild trout, small stream brookies and the Delaware system whenever I can get there. The Beaverkill is a beautiful river though I haven't fished it much for the last few years. Catch and release fails when people overplay the trout, take too many photos, place them on rocks, fish marginal temperatures, etc. It sounds to me like your trout are in pretty good hands.
  4. Two of my favorites in my flyfishing library are The Beaverkill (Ed Van Put) and Catskill Rivers (Austin Francis). Both are great reads on the history of these rivers. The Beaverkill could certainly sustain a fishable population of wild trout if regulated the way you say. Unfortunately, it would also be a very limited resource and not acceptable to most. Brook trout will never return to the larger waters in these areas. If it weren't for the introduction of brown trout, we'd essentially have no big water trout fishing. The rivers in the east, unless they are tailwaters or spring creeks are very limited. They are totally dependent on steady rainfall throughout the season....not a normal occurrence. Unlike out West, snowpack plays no role in stream flows in the East. The carrying capacity of surface water streams is only as good as what survives the summer months. And unfortunately, many people feel that they need to keep everything they catch then they complain there are no trout.
  5. With all due respect to your Montana example..... it's totally irrelevant to the conditions here. I'm very familiar with that study and you can't even begin to compare the circumstances. Many and perhaps most streams in certain parts of this region would never sustain adequate populations of wild trout to sustain a fishable population. Low flows, elevated temperatures, overfishing and poaching are what kill these streams. The Beaverkill River is a good example. Without stocking, it would have limited numbers of trout and certainly move people elsewhere. I prefer fishing for wild trout but they do not exist in sufficient numbers in many waters. This is true of so many rivers and streams throughout this region. Even the best rivers here sustain themselves on "artificial" reservoir releases and rely on introduced species such as brown trout and rainbow trout. Stocking trout is a necessity in many lakes, streams and rivers. It's so analogous to hunting issues in so many ways. Too many people for too limited a resource. Even if you maintained an ideal WMA for pheasant and established a breeding population, the hunting pressure alone would destroy it. Grouse are difficult to hunt and after the first weekend, it's mostly just serious bird hunters. Grouse require good to excellent habitat but there's no support for it. These discussions always make me go back to deer management. Deer management in much of the state requires changes but the truth is that if it were managed properly, people would not see as many as they want or expect. There are too many deer and they disrupt our forests and prevent a proper balance. So I guess my point is that most of these resources are artificial in many ways and we can either accept it or reject it.
  6. I don't feel hunting for stocked pheasants is necessarily that "artificial" an experience, especially going after birds days or weeks after they were stocked. Is it any different than fishing for stocked trout or hunting for "wild" quail or pheasant on a "managed" property? Hunting deer over a food plot or in a suburban backyard isn't all that natural an experience either. We'll never see a return to widespread quality small game hunting unless many things change. In fact, high deer populations and the unwillingness to properly reduce their population is probably one of the main reasons we see our habitat degraded. Many of us have seen or participate in maintaining habitat and we can see the difference when we restrict deer from "study" areas. Let's be honest, there are way too many deer in some areas, they have a negative impact on the land and the amount of time, effort and expense required to re-establish quality and quantity of habitat on public land is not possible. In today's world, it really is what it is.......
  7. I fully support the pheasant program even though I don't hunt much anymore. Most of the stocked areas are managed by DEC and they mow, plant and monitor those lands. This also supports other wildlife. The state raised birds are very high quality, fully feathered and good flyers. Those that survive are quite challenging and "some" do survive to the spring. The lengthening of the season to five months allows greater field time for people. If you consider how many preserves there are out there you might be surprised at how many pheasant you might find on nearby open land. They are creatures of habit and they always seek out certain types of cover. It's not difficult to figure out where some might be. Trout are heavily stocked since streams that are heavily fished or can't support wild populations would otherwise hold few trout. Trout and pheasant have many similarities in how they are managed for those looking to hunt or fish. Ending pheasant hunting would have consequences just like ending trout stocking would. My personal preference aside, I understand both support a recreational need. When wildlife biologists say that good habitat offsets predation, I can't disagree...... completely. But in reality, we had many years of good to excellent small game hunting when predators were managed. Artificially supporting habitat is necessary to support hunting and fishing opportunities. Deer hunting can be quite artificial also. Hunting over a food plot or in a suburban backyard are a different experience. I'm not being critical but just making the point that most of our opportunities are different than the past and are somewhat artificial.
  8. Woodcock

    Plow Service??

    Stop by the local FD and ask around..... they're usually helpful..... Look for plows at gas stations, the local diner......have cash on hand.....
  9. Woodcock

    advise need with hunter harassment

    I'd go to the neighbor and ask him firmly but politely if he left the note on your car. Don't even mention the mud, just confirm the facts. If he is open to a conversation (you'll know immediately) explain that you're the new owner and state that you will be posting it. You really need to determine more facts.....perhaps the current owner can tell you more. Do not ask anyone else in the area about him......for obvious reasons. If you sense that he is crazy then you may want to reconsider the purchase. I've dealt with something similar in the past in helping a new landowner. Signs, fencing, gate and make your presence obvious. Make peace if you can and eventually with the neighbors if/when you can trust them. It's like fighting an insurgency......you can't allow yourself to be intimidated and you must have a continuous presence. Just try talking to him first....... and under no circumstance become angry, aggressive or threatening. You might only get one chance to work this out the easy way.
  10. For Woodcock try around dogwood patches (gray and red osier varieties).....especially if it's your height or taller. I also find them on slopes with Japanese Barberry in the later season especially. They're quite good to eat. Try breasting them and skin the leg/thighs. Brush the breasts with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and black pepper (freshly ground of course). On a very hot grill, grill the breasts for one minute each side. They should be no more than medium, taste is similar to duck.......quite good. Grill the legs also.... The skins and wings are excellent for fly tying.......I salt those and let them dry out. You'll make a fly tier very happy. I used to send wings to the USFWS.....one wing from each bird for their study. They'd always tell me if they were adults or juveniles.
  11. Woodcock

    Putnam County Ruffed Grouse & Woodcock

    Lots of places were good, or at least huntable for grouse before 2000. The 80's and 90's were quite good in Putnam. Woodcock hunting is still very good and I see them the entire hunting season. The better habitat areas and migration periods are the most productive but there are pockets all over. When I had my dogs, I was never disappointed woodcock hunting in Putnam. Grouse are still present in pockets but I don't know if they could even be considered huntable populations. If I wanted to give it a try, I'd go to some of the more recently acquired land near Cranberry Mountain or the more "remote" DEP lands. I'd be very curious how you make out. I don't have a bird dog any more, but if I did I would try those places. As I posted recently, I actually feel habitat has improved in the past few years with the ice storms, snowstorms, tornadoes and wind storms. DEC and DEP land management has seen some changes also. DEC does confirm some grouse exist in Putnam still. I do ask landowners and I've had some leads but I'm not always sure they know what grouse are. I've bumped in pheasant in very odd places while exploring. They seem sure but I'm skeptical to a degree. I'd really explore these areas in the late winter where you can see the remaining habitat. One property in Dover Plains that I had sole access to for nearly 40 years had grouse until fairly recently. The grouse population then seemed to become confined to the higher areas, rhododendron thickets that were very difficult to access and hunt. I suspect this would be true in Putnam also.... Fahnstock and Hudson Highlands as examples. I used to hunt around Selkirk on unposted land.....it's not a terrible drive. Perhaps it's still productive.
  12. Woodcock

    Storm damage this year

    I never had a problem finding them......all season long in good habitat. Even in marginal cover, though especially during their migration hunting can be good. There is so much land in Putnam where you can find woodcock and absolutely no other hunters. For me anyway, an hour or two in "marginal" habitat with three or four woodcock points/flushes was a great time. It's amazing how you'll even find a pheasant ever so often.......far from release sites. How I miss having my Brittanies.......
  13. Woodcock

    Storm damage this year

    There's been lots of storm damage this past winter and spring.....plus other damage over the past few years. I've seen more trees down, openings/sunlight in places I haven't seen it in a decade. These disturbed areas should benefit wildlife.....perhaps we might even some grouse expansion from the few remaining coverts in Putnam and Dutchess Counties. The expanded DEC and DEP lands, Young Forest Initiative program, etc. might make a modest change to our habitat.
  14. I used to raise bobwhite quail and release them and would love to see them released on suitable land in Putnam, Dutchess and Orange Counties with a Dutchess season added. They're released in towns on Long Isand to combat ticks (not sure if it helps much) and they could be released in the late spring or better yet during the summer. If stocked before the season, they're more challenging and less of a hazard since they'll fly better. Stewart would be a great place for an early quail release. I've encountered quail and pheasants that have survived winters on lands in this region.