Outdoor Web Words by Bill Hilts Jr.

Early season goose hunting tips

The early September season for Canada goose hunting is already here and with the changes in the regular Canada goose season for most of the state, more and more people are taking advantage of the early hunt. The season, which…

VIP fishing days important for promotion, education

August is the perfect month for promoting our Great Lakes resources. The weather is nice, and the fish are hungry. It is also a great time to share these outdoor resources with Very Important People who may not normally experience…

Learning something new for Lake Erie walleyes

Long time charter captain Jim Hanley of Angola is a local legend of sorts. He’s been a licensed U.S. Coast Guard skipper for 43 years on the local waters of Western New York. He recognized early on that he was…

Keeping it simple for Lake Erie walleyes

Lake Erie continues to be one of the best places to be for walleye in the entire world. With an estimated population of nearly 100 million fish, there are plenty to catch. For Capt. Ryan O’Neill of Orchard Park, his…

A day on the water with Capt. John Oravec

Like the saying goes, what goes around comes around. As I stepped into the Lund boat of Capt. John Oravec of Lyndonville (aptly named the Johnny O) during a recent fishing trip, he immediately informed me that he had taken…

Encouraging the next generation to hunt, fish

Parker Costello of Lockport is 7 years old. There are two things he is passionate about – fishing and wrestling. They are interchangeable with the seasons. With the arrival of spring, fishing has firmly established itself as the outdoor activity…

Night walleye fishing a fun experience

My phone notification for a text sounded off as I helped dig up a flower bed for my stepdaughter. It was a welcome relief. “Want to go night walleye fishing this week?” It was Bob Rustowicz of Cheektowaga and we…

'Seal Hike' spurs memories of past April 1 Adventure

While checking out Twitter notifications from New York State Parks earlier this month, an announcement came through for a “Seal Hike” from Montauk State Park. Yes, there are seals spotted regularly on Long Island, having witnessed some at a recent…

Hunting hares with beagles becoming a lost art

“Tally Ho” is more than just a cry of a participant at a hunt to encourage the hounds when the quarry is sighted, as it explains in the dictionary. It is also the name of a new book by John Jarzynski of…

Learning new waters: Oatka Creek confidence

Opening new waters to fresh angling experiences should be on everyone’s radar. I first learned about Oatka Creek in detail by reading Trout Streams of Central New York penned by friend J. Michael Kelly of Marcellus. As one of the…

Promoting fishing and the outdoors is important

It was 35 years ago that I was hired by Niagara County to start up a brand-new program. I was brought in to serve as the county’s Sportfishing Promotion Program Coordinator. Yes, it was a mouthful to say. To shorten…

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.

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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