Monday, November 24, 2008

Tale of Two Zones

Chuck Elder with his four point

Oswego County is known for its hunting and fishing. Salmonids, walleyes, varmints, fowl, big game--it doesn't matter; if it's found in NY, it's here.

Chuck Elder can attest to that.

"Originally I came out here a few years ago to fish. One day when I wasn't catching anything, I decided to go hunting. I did better hunting than fishing," says the native of Westford, VT.

He came up last weekend with his son Cory, a staff sergeant in the US Army stationed on Long Island, and Cory's friend, Stanley Pen, a retired Sergeant Major.

It didn't take long for them to score.

Chuck dropped a nice four-pointer on Sunday. Funny thing is he was hunting in the northern tier half of the county, above the Salmon River.

Now, anyone that goes for white-tails knows the best hunting is around opening day, and that was October 18, almost a month ago. You see, deer are considered the noblest game because they're naturally skittish and shy. Once the shooting starts, and they know this time they're the target, not the squirrels and ducks, they grow progressively savvy and scarce as the season wears on. But the area north of the Salmon River has so many of the beasts that a good hunter can expect to score all season long.

Corey's turn came next. He and the Sgt. Maj. headed for the southern zone a couple miles below the Salmon River. In fact, he shot a six-point buck along another of the area's popular salmonid spots, Grindstone Creek

"He was a little over 100 yards away when I shot. He dropped right away," recalls the SSG. "He struggled a bit, flipped over and fell right into the stream. I had to charge into the water and grab him to prevent him from rounding the next bend."

About the same time, Chuck saw a doe and that's all she wrote. A well-placed shot put her on this winter's menu at the Elder household.

As of Tuesday night, Sgt. Maj. Pen remained deerless. But he was staying until Wednesday and remained optimistic. I wished him luck.

Extremely mild-mannered for a guy packing all that rank, he looked up at me, said "Thank you, sir" and smiled. His eyes communicated the confidence of a man who has been around guns his entire life and knows the power of patience.

For a copy of the Oswego County Fishing and Hunting Guide, call 315-349-8322, or go to

Sgt Maj Stanley Pen (L) and SSG Cory Elder showing off a couple Oswego County white-tails.

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