Outdoor Web Words by Bill Hilts Jr.

The push for kids and crossbows

Discussion has started to allow 12- and 13-year-old junior hunters to take the next step to hunt big game with firearms here in New York.

Promoting Lake Ontario through Sportfishing Promotion Council

I received a call from Capt. Rob Westcott of Hamlin, the skipper of Legacy Charters out of Bald Eagle and president of the Lake Ontario Charter Boat Association. Through his leadership and guidance, the charter fishing industry became part of…

Future looks brighter for 2021

For the ranks of fishermen and fisherwomen who turned to fishing for relief from a pandemic, everyone should make one new resolution moving forward – become a mentor for another angler or two.

A resolution for 2021: Know hunting and fishing regs

If you are going to be a true hunter or angler, you need to know and understand the regulations for the waters you intend to fish or the woods, fields, and waters you intend to hunt. It cannot be any…

Shooting preserves are important

In this new world of COVID-19, social distancing, and masks, shooting preserves can play an important role in getting new hunters afield in a safe and responsible manner. Whether it is the next generation of junior hunters or older adults…

Preserving fishing history is important

Mark Schmitkons, of Newfane, is crazy about antique fishing stuff. His passion is collecting old fishing tackle that truly means something, a piece of equipment that has a story to tell. His primary focus is Western New York, but he…

What lurks beneath the waters of Lake Ontario?

Many bodies of water have their own scary stories involving mysterious sightings and unexplained creatures. Lake Ontario is no different. However, I have personal knowledge through a couple friends that will leave you shaking your head, wondering what it could…

A bird in the hand

Like the saying goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. The proverb turned out to prophetic for our Canada goose hunt on the final day of the early season. The day started nice enough. Cool…

Fish Odyssey spans from 9/11 to pandemic

Sometimes there is a silver lining in those storm clouds. Keep an open mind. It helps to spend as much time outdoors as possible, maintain a positive attitude and let Mother Nature work her magic.

Nedding on the Niagara

You never know what is going to work for fishing on any given day. Sometimes it does not matter how you cast, the way you retrieve or where you throw your bait. Ultimately, it is up to the fish to…

Catching gar from a kayak – on purpose

For anyone who knows me, they probably understand that my body is not made for a kayak. I am not very bendy to say the least. So, when fellow scribe Joel Spring of Ransomville asked me to go kayak fishing…

Fourth of July trip offers surprises, excitement

It was the 4th of July and it was a reunion of sorts on the water. Capt. Mike Johannes of On the Rocks Charters, who operates his 39-foot Sea Ray out of Wilson, had a few hours available on this explosive…

Taking the Grandson Fishing … with his dad

In the new world of the coronavirus, the great outdoors has become a diversion of sorts – especially with fishing. License sales for residents have been on the rise because more adults were off work and kids were out of…

Boots on the ground for chasing spring turkeys

The thundering gobble echoed through the trees at 5:22 a.m. We had already been sitting in the woods for an hour and it was surprisingly comfortable. It was the middle of May and temperatures were in the 50’s with no…

A different way to fish salmon and trout

Salmon and trout fishing on Lake Ontario jumped off to a good start because of the mild winter we experienced and the fact that there was little ice on Lake Erie. Kings showed up in early April all along the…

Fishing regs are in place for a reason, but who reads them? 

It happens every spring. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) stocking trucks, filled with fish, head out to plant fish at designated locations around the state. Many people associate this activity with the April 1 opening day of trout…

Charter captains to the rescue

It was Sunday, March 22, when charter captains and guides were hit with a “PAUSE” order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, declaring that they were deemed “non-essential.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Charter…

Changing times at New York Outdoor News

It was more than 15 years ago that I made the acquaintance of Steve (and Paula) Piatt, when the first edition of the New York Outdoor News (NYON) made its appearance on the outdoor scene. It was probably at a…

Getting involved: Public input sought on cormorant management

It’s important to get involved, especially when it comes to letter writing and making contacts for various issues that affect all we do relative to hunting, fishing and our natural resources. Some of you might already be thinking: “I’m one…

New boating law in New York

A new boating law in New York, referred to as “Brianna’s Law,” is now in effect as of Jan. 1, 2020. It requires all motorboat operators to complete a boating safety course. New age requirements began Jan. 1, with full…

About This Blog

Bill Hilts, Jr. of Lockport (Niagara County) has been a freelance writer since 1980 after graduating from SUNY-Oswego (’78). His first job was with Gun Week Newspaper out of Buffalo. He now writes every week for seven newspapers, contributes to magazines and has been writing for New York Outdoor News since its inception in 2004. He is past president of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers, a former board member of Outdoor Writers Association of America, and active with New York State Outdoor Writers Association. A life member of NRA, he’s also involved with numerous sportsmen’s and conservation groups. He’s an avid deer and waterfowl hunter, and Great Lakes angler.

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