Mike Raykovicz

It’s in the bag

I first got interested in archery when I was in high school more than 60 years ago and, out of necessity, I made my own targets. I began by putting cardboard boxes inside each other, and later by stuffing rags into a burlap feed bag. This arrangement suited me well as long as I was shooting a fiberglass longbow with…

Adelgid nightmare

A while back we reported on another threat to New York’s forests. Today, it’s no longer a threat, the menace is here.  Last spring while turkey hunting here in the Southern Tier I noticed just about all the hemlock trees are infested by an insect called wooly adelgid. The hemlock woolly adelgid is an aphid-like insect that covers itself with…

Walleye adventure

When former New York Outdoor News Editor Steve Piatt called and asked if I wanted to join him on a fishing trip to Lake Erie, I jumped at the chance. I’ve heard about how remarkable the fishing was for both bass and walleye and I was eager to find out for myself. The fishing is so good, in 2019 Bassmaster Magazine named…

Camping tips for beginners

If any good ever came out of this Covid thing is that people are getting out more and that includes going camping. According to a report published by Kampgrounds of America (KOA) the total number of camping households has increased by 6 million since 2014 and 53 percent of them are choosing tent camping for the first time. Camping is…

Fishing is fishing

I once heard an old fisherman say, “catching fish is easy once someone shows you how.” I agree. I’ve fished for bass, walleye, pike, and trout for most of my life, but I’ll readily admit what I don’t know about saltwater fishing would fill a small book. Ok, make that a big book. My only saltwater experience occurred years ago…

The morel of the story

Here it is the mid-June and I’ve been beaten again. Not by the turkeys I chased throughout May, but by a woodland denizen far more elusive. In over fifty years roaming the spring woods and searching everywhere I’ve encountered the mysterious inhabitant only once and, that was by accident. Twenty years have passed since that first encounter and I’ve been…

All hen’d-up

Turkey season is now more than a week old and it’s likely many if not most hunters will encounter toms with hens especially in the early part of the season. The term “hen’d up” will often be heard among hunters who encounter and describe this scenario. If a tom is with a group of hens it’s highly unlikely he’ll leave…

Fracking along the Delaware River

Anyone who has ever fished or canoed the Delaware River can easily understand that it is a priceless recreational resource that is as pure and clean as any river in the United States. It is a renowned trout fishery in its upper reaches and each spring the river sees thousands of shad migrate from the sea to Hancock and beyond….

Woodland apartment

For no good reason I was recently thinking about this past deer season and the things you notice when you sit for hours in a deer stand. While on watch, my eyes constantly search for a tell-tale flicker of a deer tail in the evergreens or, for a horizontal shape among mostly vertical trees. For the most part, though, much…

Reloading revisited

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFew things give me greater satisfaction than taking a deer with ammunition I crafted at my reloading bench. As satisfying as that is, it’s just part of it. I can cite numerous additional benefits and pleasures of loading or reloading ammunition, but they would be too numerous to list here. Most people who begin to reload say they…

A tangled web 

Things seem a little slow around our house nowadays. Other than an occasional trip to the grocery store and a daily walk, my wife and I haven’t been anywhere and have no plans to go anywhere, at least until we get the proper dose of the COVID vaccine. When I talk to some of my friends who are taking similar…

Another ammunition shortage

About a year ago, I was visiting friends in Pennsylvania. They live near a gun shop I often did business with and so, I decided to stop in. Reloading supplies are tough to come by where I live here in New York because some dealers have gone out of business and the big box stores don’t carry reloading components. The…

Taking a break

By the time this blog appears, Christmas will be over. However, for many New York outdoorsmen and women, the week between Christmas Day and the new year offers hunting opportunities for small-game species, including rabbits, squirrels, grouse, snowshoe hares and even pheasants. I’ll admit that, other than wild turkey hunting, which I consider a passion, I don’t hunt small game…

Goodbye, Rocky

When the traditional Christmas tree for Rockefeller Center in Manhattan was cut in Oneonta last November, no one had any idea of the attention it would create. The tree itself, a Norway spruce, wasn’t much different from the others that stood in place for scores of years, it was what was hidden among its branches that caused all the fuss….

All the rifle I need

When it comes to preferred rifle calibers for hunting deer there are as many preferences and opinions as there are hunters in the woods. Some would say they wouldn’t consider hunting deer with anything but a lever action Winchester or Marlin in 30-30, .32Winchester or .35 Remington calibers. However, today it seems the darling of the hunting fraternity seems to…

Trail cam tricks

Of all the gear and gadgets I own, none give me as much satisfaction and pleasure as my trail cameras. By strategically placing them in appropriate locations I’ve gotten pictures of fishers, turkeys, bears, racoons, coyotes, foxes and yes, even deer. However, this success didn’t come without a learning curve. I bought my first trail camera years ago in the…

A lot to do

Archery season is just about here, and the firearms season will be here before we know it but, before all the fun begins, there’s work to be done. I’m fortunate to still be able to hunt my friend’s farm even though he passed away several years ago. Nature has a way of taking over and if it isn’t kept in…