By Rob Potter
CALLICOON November 16, 2007 Beginning at sunrise tomorrow, hunters will be heading into the area woods with the goal of bagging a large buck.
Many hunters will also hope to bag a bruin as the regular bear hunting season begins tomorrow in the Catskill region.
This is the first time in 29 years that the Catskill bear season will commence on the same day as the regular firearm deer season. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) moved up the start of bear season in an effort to increase the bear harvest in the Catskills and limit bear population growth and range expansion.
As the regular firearm deer season begins here in Sullivan County and throughout the DEC’s Southern Zone, so too begins the Sullivan County Democrat’s 34th annual Big Buck Contests.
The contests offer cash prizes for the buck with the biggest rack as well as the heaviest deer.
Deer must be taken either here in Sullivan County or in Wayne County, Pa. to be eligible for the contests.
The New York season continues until Sunday, Dec. 9. The Pennsylvania firearm deer season begins on Monday, Nov. 26 and continues through Saturday, Dec. 8.
In the Biggest Rack contest, the hunter whose buck has the highest score will receive a $100 prize and a free mount from a local taxidermist. The hunter who bags the buck with the second highest score will receive $50.
A buck’s total score for the Biggest Rack contest is based upon four measurements: the length (in inches) of each antler, the width of the antlers at the widest point and the number of points that are at least 1 inch high. Those four numbers are then added together for the total score.
The hunter who shoots the heaviest deer buck or doe will receive a $100 first prize. The second place hunter will receive $25.
The winner of the 2006 Democrat Big Buck Contest was Paul Gonzalez of Queens. On the opening day of the Pennsylvania deer season last November, Gonzalez shot a large 12-point buck on the property surrounding his second home in Manchester Township in Wayne County.
The deer, which was estimated to be about 4 or 5 years old, had main beams measuring 25 3/4 inches and 25 inches, respectively, and an outside spread of 19 inches. The buck’s total score in the Democrat system was 81 3/4.
The winner of the 2006 Heaviest Deer Contest was Maria Menjivarv of Bethel. On opening day last season, she shot a 7-point buck in the Town of Bethel. The buck tipped the scales at 162 lbs.
Hunters may enter their deer in the Biggest Rack Contest at any of the following locations:
• Sullivan County Democrat, 5 Lower Main Street, Callicoon
• Monticello Firehouse, Richardson Avenue, Monticello
• Rod’s Taxidermy, Route 17B, Callicoon
• Catskill-Delaware Outdoors, Audley Dorrer Drive, Callicoon
• Tom’s Bait and Tackle, 118 Kirk Road, Narrowsburg
• Neves Taxidermy, 1980 Route 17B and Donaldson Road, Bethel
• Cannie D’s, 4 Schumway Road, Neversink
Hunters may enter their deer in the Heaviest Deer Contest at either the Monticello Firehouse or Neves Taxidermy.