Story by Jon Dinan
CALLICOON The regular firearm deer season for the southern zone of New York state begins tomorrow, November 17, the day after early bow season ends. Late bow season begins December 10 and ends December 18.
Hunters using rifles will have until December 9 (between sunrise and sunset) to hit area woods and fields and bring home a buck or doe. (In Pennsylvania, deer rifle season begins November 28 and runs through December 10).
Bucks must have at least one antler with three or more points that are at least an inch long. Youth hunters (ages 12-16) are exempt from the three point requirement.
Saturday also marks the start of the 39th annual Sullivan County Democrat Big Buck Contest. The contest has two divisions: Biggest Rack and Heaviest Deer, and, is open to deer legally killed in Sullivan County or in Wayne County, Pa.
Bucks entered in the Biggest Rack Division will receive a score based on the Democrat measuring system. The system adds together the length of the buck’s two antlers, the spread at the widest point between the antlers and the number of points that are at least 1-inch long. The sum of those four numbers represents the deer’s total score.
First place in the Biggest Rack Division is $150 plus a free mounting courtesy of Rod’s Taxidermy in Callicoon. The runner-up will receive $75.
The Heaviest Deer Division is open to both bucks and does, and offers three prizes. First place is $200, second place is $100 and third place is $50.
The cash rewards are considerably higher in this year’s contest. First place for Biggest Rack doubled since last year and the Heaviest Deer award went up by $50.
Last year, Bill Abbate of Stony Point won the Biggest Rack Division and Brian Fisher of Bethel took first place in the Heaviest Deer Division. Abbate shot a 10-pointer on November 27 in the Town of Callicoon. It scored 86 3/4 in the Democrat measuring system. For his victory, Abbate was awarded $100 plus a free mounting courtesy of Rod’s Taxidermy in Callicoon. Fisher shot his buck in the Town of Bethel which tipped the scales at 195 lbs. He too received $100 for his 2011 heaviest deer.
Official weighing and measuring stations are listed on page 8B of today's (11/16/2012) printed issue.