By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — The local hunting season could be affected by the storm that damaged areas of New York and New Jersey last month, a couple of people interviewed Wednesday said. The regular deer hunting season starts in this area Saturday and runs through Dec. 9. Bow hunting season ends Friday, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
At Losie’s Gun Shop in Oneonta, owner Jim Losie said he will have a better idea about what to expect from the upcoming season in the next few days. A lot of people from the city haven’t had a chance to come up yet because of the recent storm, he said. Bow season has been “okay.”
But the start of the regular season remains important for people in the area, he said. “It’s like a holiday” for some, he said. “A lot of guys are looking forward to it.”
With the economy being bad, “they are waiting to fill their freezers,” with venison, Losie said.
So far, he said, business in the store has been steady with a lot of hunters getting ready — buying firearms, ammo — “you name it.”
State Department of Environmental Conservation wildlife biologist Larry Bifaro said he would expect the season to be “at least as good, if not better,” than last year, because there was such a mild winter. This means that deer will have a better survival rate and generally be in good health.
New York hunters took roughly 230,000 deer in 2010 and 2011, according to DEC statistics.
The storms might affect downstate hunters — “a lot of them come to the Catskills,” he said.
His recommendations for having a successful season include following all rules of firearm safety and wearing bright orange garments.
At Al’s Sport Shop in Downsville, sales clerk Mike Brown said he was hoping for a busy season. The storm has affected business with people cancelling reservations at the store’s nearby motel. There have been no cancellations for the weekend to this point, and the motel is sold out, he said. He said he is hoping that is an indication that things are improving.
Even the weather appears to be cooperating, he said, with some cooler temperatures coming this weekend. This should help with sales not only of ammo and lures, but also hats and gloves.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton is calling for the temperature Saturday to reach a high near 48 and a low in the mid-20s. Temperatures Sunday could reach the mid-40s and be at a low of around 30 degrees. On Sunday and Monday, temperatures were in the 60s.
Dave Cyzeski, owner of West End Archery in Oneonta, said the general consensus is that bow season was pretty good. There was no noticeable impact from the storm. While some people did not make it up, others came because of it, he said. He was looking forward to a very good regular season. Last winter was “super mild,” so the numbers should be up.