Sunday's event at Middlesex Conservation Club provides young hunters with solid foundation for lifetime of memories, and a good dinner

As most of my semi-regular readers know, I have a soft spot for kids in the outdoors. Teaching them how to do the right and honorable thing within the bounds of good sportsmanship can lead to a lifetime of excitement and some great memories. 

And any time something good goes on that involves kids in the outdoors, I like to cover it in this space.

Which leads me to this week’s column. Last Sunday, the Middlesex Conservation Club held its annual pheasant hunt for area kids. The club members supplied the facility, food, beverages and bird dogs. The DEC supplied a bunch of pheasants. And Runnings, that great local sporting goods store that also sells all sorts of farm supplies and some great candy (and lots of other items, too) supplied hats, three target prizes (raffled for the kids) and other gear. 

By the way, I didn’t know that Runnings (which has been in business since 1947) has supported the Club’s pheasant hunts for the past two years as well.

The hunt was a great success. Most of the kids got at least one bird, and several got their limit of two. The wind was strong and gusty, playing havoc when the birds were flushed and causing them to fly just about everywhere rather than simply away from the dogs and hunters. 

And yes, a lot of birds were flushed and managed to escape to parts unknown despite a flurry of shots being sent their way. But that is what bird hunting is really all about. It is definitely tough fun.

And after the hunt every youngster received a hat pin with “I Participated In The Middlesex Youth Pheasant Hunt.” I bet that will be something they will treasure for years to come.

I want to thank Nick Dirisio, a Sargent (Retired) with the Yates County Sheriff’s Department, for giving me a head’s up with this hunt information. I suspect he will be at Monday’s “Meet and Greet” at the Potter Town Hall with NY State Senator Thomas O’Mara and State Assemblyman Philip Palmesano. It takes place from 5 to 6 p.m. and everyone is invited and welcome.

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As most of my readers know, I generally do not recommend books that I receive from various publishers. But there are exceptions, and here is one of them: “Trout Streams Of Western New York” written by J. Michael Kelly, is an absolutely essential reference for anyone who enjoys trout fishing in any notable stream in DEC’s Region 9 area to our west. 

What I like most about this tome is the clear and specific directions the author gives to more than 50 stream locations in six counties and Allegany State Park. I have fished six of those streams with fly rod in hand, and I can attest that this author knows his stuff. That he has been able to detail all of the notable streams is, to me, mind boggling.

But this book is not only for fly fishermen. People using the right spinning gear (I happen to also like ultra-light spinning rods, light lines, and tiny reels for stream fishing) can take their share of fish, too. Every area limited to fly fishing only (there are only a few of them) are clearly located in his stream descriptions.

This is a really good book for visitors and locals alike. Kelly has done a great job that any angler can take advantage of. The book (I received an advance copy) costs $18.95 plus $5 shipping and handling, and is available from Burford Books, 101 East State St., #301, Ithaca, NY 14850 (607/319-4373), on or after its publication date of Nov. 4. 

And ladies, this would be a great stocking stuffer for angling husbands, boyfriends, significant others, or just for yourselves. After all, there are plenty of lady stream anglers out there, too.

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And now for a tale of a really stupid outdoors person. He apparently works in the forestry industry. His job apparently requires that he wear steel-toe boots for safety. He also has (possibly had) a rather powerful handgun chambered for the 45 a.c.p. cartridge. And I bet you can’t guess what he did with it.

We are not dealing with a rocket scientist here. And most people would be smart enough to guess that it would not be a good idea to shoot a bullet at your steel-toed boot to see if that steel would stop that bullet, right. And if they did want to see if the bullet would not penetrate the steel, they certainly would not have the boot on their foot when they experimented with it, right?

Wrong! All wrong! This yahoo did exactly what reasonably smart people would never even think of doing. He actually did fire that gun at his own foot. And he managed to score a direct hit in doing so. Er, that is not exactly correct. Well, it is partly true, and partly not.

You see, he did fire the gun, and the bullet did hit his foot. But, he managed to miss the steel toe protector portion of the boot. The bullet went through the boot’s leather covering, through this idiot’s foot (a perfect hole in that appendage), and then through the sole of that ill-fated boot and into the floor, missing that steel protection entirely.

What might have happened had he actually hit that steel protector? It is probable the protector would have caused even greater damage, and that “perfect hole” would no doubt have ended up with a lot of little ragged edges. It is also likely that removing the boot would have been a lot more painful because of the jagged metal being forced downward by that bullet.

Folks, guns are potentially dangerous tools, especially when basic safety rules are ignored. Even a .22 rimfire bullet would probably have penetrated that boot’s steel-toe protection. So please don’t try this at home, or anyway else for that matter.

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On a more comical note, all summer long I have been privileged to watch three or four chipmunks scurrying around my home, robbing my sunflower seeds right out of my bird feeder, and generally having a wonderful time in the ample amount of sunshine we have enjoyed.

And I often wondered just how many “chippies” were actually around the house. Well, I wonder no more. The hickory tree just out from my front door began yielding its fruit in the form of nuts. The strong winds we recently experienced speeded up that nut-dropping process rather dramatically. And the chipmunks responded, too.

All 40 or 50 of them, maybe more, chasing after every nut they can gather. They were running around all over the area under that tree. Once they found a nut, it was off to their burrow to store it. Then back for more.  

Yes, it was (still is) a very enjoyable experience. But darn it, I sure wish there weren’t so many of them. Oh well!

Len Lisenbee is the Daily Messenger’s Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at lisenbee@frontiernet. net.