Monday, September 29, 2008

Why Fall is My Favorite Season

My sister, Alycia, showing off her 4 point from last season (2007).

Gorgeous foliage, crunching leaves, dressing up for Halloween and HUNTING SEASON! Regardless of the fact that I seem to be a failure, it doesn’t stop me from getting excited every time I think about sitting in a tree stand. Each new season has bigger bucks, more ducks and more chances to get the perfect shot.

Lately I’ve been preparing for hunting season. I'll admit, when I should have been target practicing with my bow and guns all summer I sometimes became pre-occupied with getting a tan. Still, I feel a lot more prepared this year. Below I’m going to list everything I’ve done to prepare for the exhilarating months ahead!

1. I FINALLY took my bow hunter’s safety course and got my bow hunter’s license. I already knew how to shoot my bow and I was annoyed that I had to sit through hours of what seemed like “irrelevant” information, but it turned out that I learned a lot. Local sportsman clubs offer bow hunter, hunter and trapper education year round. Check out the list on our website or the DEC website to see a list of hunter safety courses offered in Oswego County.

2. I started shooting my bow about two months ago to build up accuracy and most importantly, arm strength. I am a weakling so I want to make sure I’ll be able to pull back my bow when a buck is standing in front of me! I usually shoot my bow from the ground, standing up about 20 – 30 yards away from the target, which is an unrealistic situation when hunting. Sometimes I was creative as you can tell from the photos below.

3. Besides playing “Extreme Buck Hunter” at some of the local food and drink establishments, I honed up on my shooting skills by practicing with my rifle. I am fortunate to have a lot of property so we have shooting challenges in our backyard. I seem to excel at hitting the target when it’s immobile and doesn’t have antlers.

4. I went trap shooting for the first time! Our friend is a member of the Albion Fish and Game Club in Altmar. Five of us, all guys except me, went trap shooting and during the first set I came in second place; during the second set I came in dead last (I was just giving the guys a chance). I am not a member of a sportsman’s club yet, but I plan to join one in the spring. Click here to view a list of sportsman clubs in Oswego County.

The guys, trying to figure out how I came in second place!

    5. I washed my hunting clothes in Scent-Lok detergent! Last year I made the mistake of going out in the woods with clothes that were just hanging inside my house. The bigger bucks are smart and last year I wasn’t. I’m not making that mistake this year. I am also following a great tip from someone: after washing your clothes in a no-scent product, place them in a sealable bag or bin with pine needles and other natural things from outside. Hopefully if I follow this tip it will increase my odds!

    6. I bought my sporting licenses. You must have your hunting tags on you when you hunt. I bought the super sportsman license at Woody’s Tackle on Route 3 in Pulaski. It includes bear tags which I don’t think I will be needing anytime soon, because with my luck I would probably become the bear’s lunch, and because you can’t legally hunt bear in Oswego County.

    Duck hunting season opens this weekend and if I bag two ducks I’ll be doubling what I bagged last year. Soon after, deer hunting begins! Click here to see the exact dates for hunting in Oswego County.

    If you get some great photos of your hunts this year, please email them to me at and I’ll post them on my blog!

    A video clip of our trap shooting at the Albion Fish and Game Club.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Spotlight on Local Craftsman: Bob Green

    Volney Resident, Bob Green, standing next to his Adirondack Guide Boat

    Two weeks ago I met with Bob Green, an Oswego County resident, to take photos of his handcrafted replica canoes and Adirondack guide boat. I assumed I would just be taking a few photos, learning a little bit about the craft, and I’d be on my way. Well it just shows you what happens when you assume! I ended up staying for over an hour and learning more about making replica canoes and boats than I imagined… but I was fascinated by every minute of it! The only thing I would change about my visit with Bob was my choice of footwear. I wore heels. (Just imagine wearing heels while you help move heavy canoes around… not the best idea) The best part about Bob’s canoes is that they actually WORK. He takes his canoes and boats out in the water all of the time, making his projects even more worthwhile. If I even attempted to create my own canoe, it would fall apart before it made it in the water (that’s because everything I make uses hot glue or duct tape).

    In the 1950’s Bob read an article in “Popular Mechanics” about how to build your own redwood strip canoe. Two months later his canoe was complete and what had started as a trial project became a lifetime hobby. Bob has finished five canoes and a replica Adirondack guide boat, which is his favorite. While he doesn’t sell his replicas, he does share his craft with others. He often does demonstrations for area youth and senior camping programs.

    Bob demonstrating how he shapes the canoes

    A scanned photo of Bob giving a demonstration to local youth

    Now I’m not much of a canoe builder, so talk of hulls, ribs and gunnels left me slightly confused. The best way to show Bob’s masterpieces is through photos. I have posted a photo of each canoe/boat below with details. It is amazing to have somebody with such talent right in our backyard.

    The Adirondack Guide Boat:

    •Replica of 1905 Virginia Model
    •16 ft. long, Cedar strip construction
    •52 ribs – made from spruce strips that are steam bent and laminated
    •Cherry seats, gunnels and decks
    •Cedar hull
    •Pine bottom board
    •Seats made from woven synthetic cane
    •Outside has fiberglass and 3 coats of epoxy & 3 coats of marine UV varnish
    •Inside of boat has 4 coats of marine UV varnish
    •Accent strips are made out of spruce and black walnut for color and design
    •Handmade yoke on boat is for carrying the canoe
    •Took ten months to complete
    •Original Adirondack guide boat worth around $20,000.
    •Replica boat worth around $10,000 - $15,000

    Wabanakee Lake Canoe:

    Photo of Bob and his grandson, Nate, taking the Wabanakee out on a Lake

    •16 ft. long
    •Ash trim/gunnels
    •Cherry decks
    •Took approx. 200 - 300 hours to complete
    •Very stable on the water
    •This canoe is the second Wabankee Lake Canoe he built, the first one was ruined because he left it out in the snow

    Wee-vera canoes:

    Details on the left Wee-vera canoe: made of cedar strips and the seats are ash and black walnut with woven synthetic cane

    Details on the right Wee-vera canoe: made of cedar strips with cherry trim. Seats are cherry with woven rawhide

    Bob taking one of his Wee-veras out on a lake.

    •Variation of the “Wee-lassie” which originated in Canton, NY.
    •Tough to build because hull has such a compound curve.
    •Rides nicely in water.
    •The decks were shorter in the original plans, he chose to make them longer.
    •Left canoe is made of cedar strips and the seats are ash and black walnut with woven synthetic cane.
    •Right canoe is made of cedar strips with cherry trim. Seats are cherry with woven rawhide.

    Peterborough Cottage Canoe:

    •16 ft. long
    •Cedar strip
    •Dark strips are from the heart of the trunk and light strips are from the outer wood of the trunk
    •30" wide
    •Gunnels and decks are made from black walnut

    Canoe Golf:

    You may be thinking, "What the heck is Canoe Golf!?" Well that's what I thought when Bob first mentioned it. Then he showed me this following photo from one of his canoe books. Apparently it was a popular game a long time ago. I guess you stand in your canoe and attempt to hit the ball that is on a floating piece of wood. I'm very disappointed that this game is no longer played because it looks like a blast! So get ready, next summer I am going to round up some people and we are going to play Canoe golf... and you can bet it will be posted about on my blog (if you're lucky we may even dress up like the girls in the photo)!

    Wednesday, September 3, 2008

    How to Catch a Swedish Fish

    Posing with the night's catch!

    Last week I had the amazing opportunity to take my first Charter fishing trip on Lake Ontario! Captain Jerry Giocondo of Catch 22 Fishing Charters offered to take out me, my coworker Laurie, and the other crazy blogger, Spider. (You can check out his blog about the same trip here: Although I must warn you, he actually knows what he is talking about).

    For all of my faithful blog readers who are worried that I might lower my standards and actually CATCH a fish… you have nothing to worry about - I didn’t let you down! In true Jessica Trump fashion I failed, but I am still going to blog about it because it was one of the best times I’ve ever had during an unsuccessful fishing trip!

    Before the trip started, Jan bought us some goodies to get us in the fishing spirit. Gummy Worms and Swedish Fish! We joked that the Swedish fish would be the only fish that we would catch (a little foreshadowing for how the rest of the evening would go).

    Laurie and I met up with Spider and Capt. Jerry around 5:30pm on the west side Marina in the Oswego Harbor. The weather was gorgeous, a perfect August night for fishing. But then most every night (or day for that matter) is perfect for fishing in Oswego County. We were on a hunt to catch some Lake Salmon or Trout.

    The first thing I learned on our fishing trip was that if talking was a sport at the Olympics… Spider would take home the gold and Laurie would take home the silver. And I thought I talked a lot! I couldn’t even get a word in… I felt like the quiet kid in the back of the class… and if you know me you know I was NEVER the quiet kid in the back of the class. It was a good thing I had a lot of Swedish fish to eat and keep me company.

    Once we were out on the lake we waited patiently for our first bite. I already told Laurie that I got the first chance because if she caught a fish before me, she was going head first into the lake without a life jacket.

    The first fish took our bait (you’ll have to read Spider’s blog to find out what that bait was, because I have no idea). I jumped up and Capt. Jerry gave me a quick lesson on how to fight a fish! As I reeled I quickly caught on to the rhythm and I felt like a real fisherwoman! Spider came over with his camera and took about 20 photos of me because he said I had a lot of "expression" and that I was "animated". The truth is, the fish weighed so much I was in extreme "agony". Needless to say… the 70lb fish that I fought got away. I was left with a broken spirit and a broken arm.

    There was another bite and it was Laurie’s turn to fight. She lost her fish too (maybe because I was giving her the “if-that-fish-makes-it-on-the-boat-you’re-going-overboard” look).

    It turns out that most fishermen were having bad luck on that particular night. So we didn’t feel as bad. What we didn’t bring home in fish, we brought home in experience (and a few leftover swedish fish). Capt. Jerry did a great job of teaching us the technique. Fighting the fish was so much fun that I would do it all over again even if I still didn’t catch any fish!

    Boarding Catch 22

    Laurie wake up... we haven't even made it out of the Harbor yet!

    A view of the Lighthouse with Fort Ontario behind it.

    I took a photo of some of the crazy things used to catch fish!

    Capt. Jerry showing me how to reel in the fish!

    I was getting pretty excited.. or scared that the fish would drag me into the water

    At this point I'm pretty sure the fish had already escaped... I was fighting with the lures.

    Warning Laurie about the consequences of any fish catching on her part

    Laurie fought her fish during the sunset! She might have lost the fish but it was a great photo!

    Driving back to Oswego

    The lighthouse by boat at sunset!

    Mel took this photo of us returning from our adventure!