From the Chair
I hope this newsletter finds everyone ready to hit the turkey woods Saturday morning, or to just get out and enjoy the outdoors whatever your pleasure. This past Sunday I was out enjoying a fine spring morning walk with my wife and two dogs on our property. We heard grouse drumming, geese a honking, cows lowin’, bees working, birds singing, and the ever familiar clippity-clop of the horses pulling the Amish buggies to worship service. I just couldn’t help to notice how in sync and peaceful the morning, the moment, the wildlife, the system (if you will) was and how grateful I was to be a part of it and able to enjoy it!
Since our last newsletter several folks have reached out to me and engaged in some very constructive dialog. I really appreciate you reaching out either to clarify NY BHA’s position on certain issues or to make recommendations on how to make the NY BHA chapter better. We take all of your questions seriously and consider all recommendations in the context of supporting BHA’s mission and values.
Some exciting news - BHA is hiring a full-time Coordinator for the New York and New England Chapters. This is very exciting and speaks volumes to the work and growth for these chapters. Stay tuned for more information to follow in the coming days.
I’ll leave you with something to ponder. One of the reasons I joined BHA was the fact that they took the issue to where the rubber meets the road - the law makers. We have had great success on a national scale, no denying. The Great American Outdoors Act is a great example of that. I was able to witness firsthand the importance of calling your Representatives; it really does have a positive impact. Here in NY we have 900 members, give or take a few. Imagine what NY BHA’s relevance would be to the lawmakers if there was just one more zero added let alone two. So, I’m asking you: how can we add another zero or two? Thanks for your suggestions.
Oh yeah, in case you were wondering we did not hear any turkeys on our walk but I have some located for the opener. Good luck out there, shoot straight, know what you’re shooting at and DO NOT shoot at sound.
Stay up to date with events that we are planning at https://www.backcountryhunters.org/new_yorkand follow us on social media; Facebook and instagram @newyorkbha. Please feel free to contact me at [email protected] It may take me a day or two (or three) to respond but I will respond. Thanks!
-Glen Stratton, NY BHA Chairman
NYBHA volunteers shared their stories on Instagram as to why they joined BHA. Here is NYBHA Member Nate Kennedy’s #whyBHA story:
Yo! I’m @natekennedy60, Region 8 Volunteer Coordinator and Communications Team member with the NY chapter. I joined BHA in 2016 and like a lot of us, I totally did it for the cool t-shirt. BUT I stuck around and got involved for the awesome community and great work that our organization does! I’ve hunted and fished public land and water all my life, but it wasn’t until studying public land conservation and joining BHA in graduate school that I realized how lucky we all are to live where we live, and how privileged I’ve been to have access to such incredible natural resources! From the Adirondacks to the St. Lawrence River, and the Hudson Valley to the Finger Lakes, I have truly reaped the benefits of our state’s public lands and waters. I think it’s only fair that I give back what I can!
Check out our Instagram page, and #whybha to see other volunteers and hear their motivation to be a part of this organization and community!
Muster in the Mountains - July 16-18
BHA’s largest event in the eastern US is Muster in the Mountains! This year’s Muster is being held at West Kill Brewing, surrounded by public lands in the Catskill Mountains. There will be a dinner Friday night, followed by a full day of events on Saturday. Tickets sales for the full day Saturday are on sale now at https://www.backcountryhunters.org/muster_in_the_mountains_2021. Follow us at New York BHA (@newyorkbha) for more details coming soon!
NY Chapter Virtual Learn to Hunt Series
The Virtual Learn to Hunt (VLTH) series has continued with sessions on Ice Fishing, Fly Fishing, and Turkey Hunting. Stay tuned in the coming months as we cover Getting Kids Outside and Hiking & Camping. If you miss the live sessions, you can find all VLTH videos on our YouTube channel at New York Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Have a topic you’d like to see featured? Shoot us a message or an email and let us know!
2021 BHA Struttin and Cluckin Calling Classic
This year four members stepped up to represent the New York chapter. @urbanarcherynyc, @bob.monteleone.92, @briancbird, @nathanhatch18, and @loving_waterfowlhunting competed with it coming down to finalists @urbanarcherynyc and @nathanhatch18. @nathanhatch18 went on to represent New York in the regional competition. Thanks to all that participated!
Photo of the Month
Jimmy Huffman’s 2021 Youth Hunt success (Photo: Jacob Ball)
New Trout Stream Regulations
The NYSDEC finalized and published new trout stream regulations that went into effect on April 1st. You can find the details on the new regulations on their web page: DEC Announces Finalization of Trout Stream Regulations - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation. In addition, the DEC launched a new interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map. All anglers are encouraged to review the regulations and explore the map!
Striped Bass Need Help
The Striped Bass population is at a 25 year low. Check out this excellent conversation with a panel of experts that included the NY Chapter’s Charles Witek. See State Of Stripers: And the Fight For Recovery on YouTube.
Youth Deer Hunting Proposal
The NYS Legislature adopted a temporary program through 2023 for young hunters in counties that choose to participate. It requires that the county pass a law to opt in to the program. This would provide opportunities for 12 and 13 year olds to hunt deer with a firearm or crossbow in participating counties. More details at Junior Big Game Hunting - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
Next Up In NY
Spring Turkey Season - May 1-May 31
Northern Pike, Pickerel, Walleye, & Tiger Musky Season - 1st Saturday in May–Mar 15
Muskellunge Season - Last Saturday in May-Nov 30
Black Bass (Largemouth/Smallmouth) Season - 3rd Saturday in June-Nov 30
Muster In The Mountains - July 16-18
Feature Story of the Month
Spring has sprung and then some! For many that means turkey hunting, mushroom foraging, and loads of great fishing opportunities. For me, it means a little bit of everything. I’ll definitely lead with the hunting, trying desperately once again to fill a tag and prove to myself that I can outsmart one of those weird and wiley birds. The fishing as well...we’ll catch a quick nap this weekend between turkey hunting and heading out onto the St. Lawrence River in search of walleyes, and then continue with trout, pike, and bass as the weeks pass by. Hunting and fishing are the springtime plans that are set in stone. What I really need to make room for is foraging!
Spring foraging efforts are easily noticed on ye ole social media. For a lot of us, it’s where we see the first harvests of each season. Morels and other wild mushrooms are starting to appear, fiddleheads are popping up, and the ramps are ready and waiting!
Ramps or leeks (Allium tricoccum) are a wild onion found throughout the eastern US and Canada. With a pungent smell and a great flavor combination of onion and garlicky goodness, ramps are a popular wild harvest and have been for a very long time. Native cultures throughout the eastern US have historically utilized this plant for a variety of medicinal applications in addition to eating them because, well, they're delicious!
Ramps make a fine (and powerful!) snack on their own, can be used in place of onion, shallot, or leek in most recipes, and are often used to make butter, sauce, pesto, and more. There are many recipes out there, but in my opinion it’s hard to beat a pickled ramp! Here is a simple recipe that can be modified any way you like. I use apple cider vinegar and good local honey. #crowdpleaser
As with any wild harvest, safety and sustainability should be front and center. I would never recommend eating any wild plants (or mushrooms) that you are not trained to identify or absolutely certain of. Ramps are a great place to start, as they are relatively easy to ID and are super safe in the grand scheme of wild edibles. A simple web search can provide you with the tools and information you need, and don’t hesitate to reach out to some of your fellow NY BHA members with questions!
As for sustainability, it’s on you as the forager to be responsible with your harvest. Just as you would not set out to catch and eat every brook trout in a small stream, you should not attempt to pick and pickle every ramp you find. If you find a very small patch, keep looking. If you find a decent patch, harvest a small portion, and so on and so forth. There are some great articles available that address sustainable ramp harvesting and offer tips and techniques. Ramps are wonderful and delicious, but so were the Elk that used to live here, so be responsible!
NYBHA Sponsor Shoutouts
Email [email protected] For information to become a sponsor of New York BHA.