New York – Mike Raykovicz

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…

Trucking into spring gobbler season

As I get older I’ve found I’ve become less tolerant of a lot of things. For example, last week I took my year-old truck back to the dealer to see if they could install intermittent windshield wipers as a retrofit. For more money than I paid for my house, I felt the new truck would at least have a necessary…

Falling into the trap

Last week I took advantage of the nice weather we had here in the Southern Tier and headed to the local sportsmen’s club for a few rounds of trap shooting. Trap shooting is something I usually do after the spring turkey season ends and before the fall bow season begins, but the sun and warm breeze got me started earlier than…

Politics often stymies sound wildlife management

It’s often interesting to see how things are done in other parts of the country. A few weeks ago, I was visiting my son and his family in North Carolina and happened to check the sports section of the local newspaper. An outdoor column written by an area writer caught my attention because of the headline: “Most South Carolina Hunters Want…

Pa. joins N.Y. in ‘Compact’

I read a few weeks back where Pennsylvania has now joined 35 other states, including New York, in a united front to put the hammer down on serious poaching violations. What this means is someone who loses his or her hunting license privileges in one of the “Compact” states for certain poaching offenses will lose those hunting license privileges in…

Surrendering to technology

As a hunter, particularly a bowhunter, I always wondered what was happening around my stand in my absence. In the not-too-distant past I stretched sewing thread along deer travel routes and checked to see if any thread was broken. If it was, it told me a deer had passed in the night and the spot was still worth hunting. At…

Those dog-gone coyotes

Saw a lot of coyote tracks last month here in the Southern Tier and even heard packs of them howling after dark during the archery season. I know there are numerous trappers in the area who target them but I can’t help thinking they must be hard to catch. I was a fox trapper when I was in high school…

Woodland walks

I like being in the woods any time of year and the other day I felt like taking a walk. I decided to check some of my bowhunting sites to see if I could discern any wildlife activity.  For wild things, food is at a premium in December and a harvested cornfield always attracts a variety of critters.  From the…