Outdoor Web Words by Bill Hilts Jr.

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…

Niagara expo teaches fishing … and more

If you have an interest in fishing, you have a desire to learn how to catch fish. That’s as simple as it gets. Becoming more proficient at catching fish is an important part of the equation, but it’s not the only thing. You’ll find that out by attending the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo Jan. 17-19 at the Conference and Event Center in Niagara Falls.

End of a hunting era?

Hunting season was a bit more difficult than in years past all the way around. For the regular Southern Zone big game season opener, our traditional trip to Steuben County saw limited participation from our group of hunters. Life seemed…

A big muskie day on the Niagara River

My phone vibrated while I sat in a seat at the DEC presentation on the forage base in Lockport. It was Capt. Chris Cinelli of Grand Island inviting me along on a muskie trip the next morning. One of the…

Capt. Ernie a legend in western New York and beyond

As Capt. Ernie Calandrelli of Lewiston set the hook, there was a big smile on his face. “It feels like a good one,” he said with excitement in his voice. We were fishing on the lower Niagara River along with…

Mississippi River’s Best Dam Fishing Float

It was a special day on the mighty Mississippi River, a football Sunday, and the Green Bay Packers were playing the Minnesota Vikings. Allegiances are divided here because the river is the boundary between Minnesota and Wisconsin (where Green Bay…

Erie’s Ohio 'eyes bountiful, too, and the fishing is on fire

While local populations off New York’s shoreline have been increasing, the real kicker to our walleye population numbers is the migrating schools of fish that show up every year from the Western Basin of the lake. As many as 10 percent of the lake’s Western Basin walleye will take a trip from Ohio to the western reaches of the lake – as far as Buffalo.

Lessons learned on every fishing trip

One of the best things about being an outdoor writer is that you have an opportunity to fish with a wide variety of angling professionals, be it of the charter captain or guide variety or people who could be captains…

Quest for gobbler still leaves lasting memories

The spring wild turkey season is the central focus of my elusive outdoor quest. Just when I think I can reach that attainable goal of tagging a big bird, it slips through my fingers at the last minute due to…

Bad-case scenarios unfolding for western New York stocking, ice boom, fishing

A serious complication is the fact that local charter captains are cancelling trips left and right. Spring is a prime time for salmon, trout, bass and walleye between the Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario. Huge ice fields pose a serious problem for boaters in the river and in the eastern basin of Lake Erie. 

Questioning the new waterfowl regulations

We are at a crossroads with many of our treasured hunting and fishing activities. One that this blogger is concerned about is the future of waterfowl and waterfowl hunting.

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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