New York – Mike Raykovicz

Crabbing on the Jersey shore

We're fortunate to have close friends who live near the New Jersey coast in Avalon and every summer we head south for a few days of relaxation and fun. Yes, we go to the beach and yes, we go to the casino but the highlight of the trip is spending at least a half day boating the coves in the…

What's your line?

The opening scene from Meredith Wilson’s musical "The Music Man" begins with a group of traveling salesmen asking about Harold Hill’s line of work. “What’s his line, what’s his line?” the first group asks. “Doesn’t worry about his line, doesn’t worry about his line,” the others reply. Fishermen, however, especially serious ones, do worry about their line – their fishing…

Don't blame the skunks

I was mowing my yard a few weeks ago and noticed a large patch of dug up turf. Grass roots were scattered everywhere. My first inclination was to get the varmint having the nerve to come into my yard and destroy my lawn. It annoyed me and I planned on getting even. My idea was to set a live trap…

Old motor, new problem

I have two old, and I mean really old, outboard motors stored in my basement and my wife is always after me to get rid of them. “You haven’t used them in 25 years,” she reminds me. The other day I thought I’d call her bluff and take them out of storage with the anticipation of using one or both…

Invaders in the woods

A Burmese python found in Florida's Everglades last summer regurgitated a whole guinea hen and 10 intact eggs. These snakes and others like them are creating havoc in the Everglades ecosystem because of their penchant for devouring deer, raccoons and other small animals. The fact of the matter is non-native pythons, like other snakes native to the area, eat young…

A weighty issue: The turkey vest

For a dyed-in-the-wool turkey hunter there’s nothing worse than a rainy day in May, or is there? When I’m turkey hunting, it seems no matter what I do to stay dry, I somehow manage to come home wet. Besides, leaving the house in total darkness with rain splattering the roof is a depressing feeling. To make myself feel better about…

All-day turkey hunting

For years I’ve always said I’m glad we can only hunt spring turkeys until noon because if we could do it all day it might just kill me. Don’t get me wrong, I love hunting turkeys in the spring and even before I retired I was in the woods every morning. I never missed going out even if it meant…

The waiting game

If there's one thing that sends a chill down the spine of a turkey hunter it’s the sound of a gobbler at first light. With turkey season fast approaching I decided to visit several of my favorite spring turkey hunting areas to see – or rather hear – what was going on. Just like deer hunting, I don’t want the…

Way ahead of the game

I took a ride last week to get some fresh eggs from the farmer whose land I hunt and found him in the milkhouse finishing up milking chores. “How do you like the weather?" he asked “Couldn’t be better,” I replied. “We’re at least a month ahead of ourselves so far this spring and I’ve got a lot more done…

Syrup season comes to an abrupt end

Another season has come to a close here in New York but few are likely to know it. The mild winter weather has been heralded by most of us as a godsend and wildlife certainly has fared better without having to deal with deep snow and harsh winter weather conditions, but cold weather isn’t all bad. Just after St. Patrick’s…

No contest

I don’t quite understand why we’ve become so competitive. Competition in sports is good, of course, and I enjoy a good baseball or football game as well as the next guy. But today it seems there’s a competition for just about everything. I love to cook, but do I need to watch a television show that pits one chef against…

Monitoring menhaden

Quick now, raise your hand if you know the answer. What is a menhaden and why was state legislation needed to protect it (them)? Just as I thought. I don’t see many raised hands out there so I shall continue. Menhaden may be one of the most important if not the most important fish species living in salt water. Menhaden…

Is it Spring yet?

Taking advantage of the nice late January-early February weather we’ve been having here in the Southern Tier, my wife and I went for a walk. The temperature was in the 50s and the warm weather was predicted to hang around all week. “I could take this kind of winter weather every year,” my wife said. “Not me,” I replied. “It’s…

Home, sweet home

The more I travel, the more I love where I live. Consider for a moment that in order to obtain a general and bowhunting license in New York state a person must take a hunter safety course. These courses are required of all first-time gun hunters, bowhunters and trappers and are offered by trained instructors certified by the Department of…

Reading the mail

There’s talk of the U.S. Postal Service cutting back to a five-day weekly delivery because it’s losing money. No wonder. Who writes letters anymore? Heck, I don’t even pay my bills by mail anymore, either. Seems like all I get are ads for services I don’t want and catalogs for stuff I don’t need. Nevertheless, the mail still brings some…

School daze: Deer cull halted

The bunny huggers are at it again. It seems Binghamton University, located not in Binghamton but here in Vestal (Broome County), has a deer problem. The deer apparently have found the university's nature preserve much to their liking and, as deer are apt to do, reproduced to the point where there are way too many of them. As a result,…

Outdoor gear better than ever

One of the perks of my job is that I get to see a lot of neat outdoor equipment before it appears on the market. I was in the resort town of Wisconsin Dells, Wisc., earlier this month and had an opportunity to look over some hunting gadgets that some guys I know will just die to own. Mathews is…

The actions of some

The actions of some people never cease to amaze me. Their gall, ignorance or lack of respect for other people defies logic. For example, handicapped parking at malls, movies, sporting events, grocery stores and just about anywhere else I go is clearly marked and reserved for those in need. Nevertheless, there is always someone who has to dash into a…

A treestand safety reminder

It came without warning. All I heard was what sounded like the crack of a .22 rifle and I was falling. In less than a second I hit the ground and fell head over heels down a slight slope. The unthinkable had happened. I was the victim of a treestand accident and at first I was frightened; frightened because nothing…

Big bucks and fungi fun

Archery season is here and, frankly, there’s no place I’d rather be than in a tree waiting for a nice buck to show up. However, bucks aren’t the only thing I’m hunting because October means mushrooms to many of us and the promise of their appearance generates as much enthusiasm as does the opening day of deer season. People often…

Another season on the border

Summer’s gone. Well, almost. It’s September and now I have things to do. Get the pool ready for winter, rebuild a few treestands, put away the patio furniture and set some trail cameras, all in anticipation of archery season. I consider myself fortunate because I live so close to the Pennsylvania border and can hunt two states. The Pennsylvania archery…

Carp fishing underrated

Crossing the bridge spanning the Susquehanna River on an afternoon walk, I stopped and peered over the bridge rail to watch several large carp feeding along the river bottom. I knew it was carp from the telltale puff of mud each made as it slowly moved upstream. Carp were originally farm-raised in Asia for food from about 400 B.C. but…

Hunting’s latest challenge

Needing some fresh eggs, I decided to take a ride to one of the Pennsylvania farms I hunt and get a dozen for me and another for the farmer whose land I also hunt. I picked up the eggs, which I doubted the chickens even missed yet, and drove three more miles to the other farm. Expressing his gratitude for…

A different kind of deer drive

“Working on the highway laying down the blacktop, working on the highway all day long I don’t stop.” These lyrics, first sung by Bruce Springsteen back in 1984, kept going through my head as my friend Dave and I worked to repair the dirt road leading from the Tioga County highway down a steep hill to the lower half of…

Sights and sounds in the turkey woods

June is here but it was a good May and full of memorable moments in the woods. The last week of a rather quiet turkey season, I was sitting in a favorite calling location when I had the good fortune to run into one of the least seen birds of the forest, a male scarlet tanager. There's no mistaking one,…

The Turkey Hunting Obsession

Besides being a passionate bowhunter, I'm just as passionate and devoted to spring turkey hunting. Bowhunting is fun, but by nature it's stealthy business. Avoiding detection by a whitetail's nose is always the first order of business when hunting deer but fortunately for us turkey devotees, a turkey can't smell. Someone once said if a turkey could smell like a…