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State Land Acquisition Expands Cranberry Mountain WMA

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ALBANY, NY (12/06/2011) – The Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area has expanded by a third with New York state’s acquisition of a 261-acre property in Putnam County that is prized for wildlife habitat and water quality protection, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The property, known as North Hollow, is located within the Great Swamp watershed and was acquired by the state with federal grant money and a private donation.

“Adding North Hollow to the Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area will preserve forested and watershed land for use by the public for expanded recreational and sportsmen activities,” Commissioner Martens said. “This acquisition is an example of how New Yorkers can benefit when state, federal, non-for-profit and private entities all work together to achieve a common goal. The preservation of North Hollow will be a valuable addition to a network of protected lands within the Highlands and Great Swamp areas, further protecting one of the largest freshwater wetlands in the state that is home to many plant and animal species.”

DEC sought to add the North Hollow property to its 467-acre Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area to further protect the Highlands region for its abundant natural and cultural resources. The Cranberry Mountain WMA now totals 728 acres. Since 2006, DEC and the Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization, have worked with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the family of the late Gerald Blumberg, a long-time resident of the Hudson River Valley, to conserve the property.

North Hollow features steep upland forests protecting the nearby Haviland Hollow Brook, a pristine trout stream. The brook watershed connects with the Great Swamp, Croton River and reservoirs in the New York Highlands that provide drinking water to New York City. The area is used for such recreational activities as hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing and trapping.

A federal Highlands Conservation Act grant for $653,500 was used toward the purchase of the property. The federal program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is designed to assist Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania with conserving land and natural resources in the Highlands region.

The Highlands Conservation Act grant required a non-federal match on a dollar-for-dollar basis. The Blumberg family generously donated half the value of the property to meet the federal match requirement.

Marc Matsil, the Trust for Public Land’s New York State Director said: “Completing the conservation of the North Hollow property is a vital addition to the Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area. The Trust for Public Land is grateful to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its dedication to protecting land in the Highlands and to the New York congressional delegation for their commitment to the Highlands Conservation Act, which made this project possible. This diverse cover type provides superb recreation opportunities and great economic value by enhancing regional ecotourism and builds on the vital work of the State and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to safeguard drinking water for millions of New Yorkers.”

Senator Greg Ball said: “As Chairman of the New York Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and an avid sportsman myself, the expansion of the Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management area couldn’t make me happier. I believe it is vital to protect our watershed, promote strict clean air initiatives, and preserve natural wildlife areas and I look forward to working together to continue to keep Putnam County, and the Hudson Valley as a whole, beautiful by preserving our environment.”

Ron Essig, Acting Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration in the Northeast Region said: “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been pleased to have the opportunity to assist the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in protecting the North Hollow Property by awarding a Highlands Conservation Act grant to the Agency. This project is a great example of the important conservation results that can be achieved with Highlands Conservation Act funding, and illustrates what a difference the Act can make in assisting states with protecting the natural resources of the Highlands Region.”

New York City Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland said: “Land acquisition is an important tool for the protection of water quality. The purchase of this 261-acre parcel that sits within the Croton watershed will keep this land unspoiled. Having the Trust for Public Land and the State of New York take steps that are in concert with our own, means a great deal to the nine million New Yorkers who rely on this water source for their daily drinking water needs.”

Lawrence S. Blumberg, a New York City attorney and seller of the land said: “My father acquired this land over 50 years ago. During this time, he turned down many offers to develop or sell the property because he was waiting for something special. Several years ago, before his death in 2009 at age 97, he was so happy and gratified to know that we were working with The Trust for Public Land. I know that he would be very proud that his land has been preserved forever.”

Jim Utter, Chairman, Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS) said: “FrOGS is thrilled this area is protected and thanks Larry and Robyn Blumberg, DEC, TPL, and the Highlands Coalition for making it happen. This parcel is critical in maintaining the exceptional water quality and ecology of Haviland Hollow Brook, a major tributary of the Great Swamp, and the acquisition by DEC ensures it remains pristine. We hope the matching parcel on the south side of the Hollow will also be protected soon.”

Raymond Merlotto, Putnam County sportsman and DEC Region 3 representative to the Fish & Wildlife Management Board: “The Cranberry Mountain Wildlife Management Area is an important destination for sportsmen and women from throughout the Lower Hudson. The addition of the North Hollow property to Cranberry Mountain will provide not just expanded opportunities for the region’s hunters and anglers, but the acquisition will also provide further protection for the Croton Watershed, the Great Swamp and other important resources in the area that provide habitat vital to the fish and wildlife that thrive there.”

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How to Shoot a Compound Bow Properly – Ultimate Guide

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Shooting a compound bow might seem as simple as picking up the bow, drawing the string with an arrow, and releasing it. If that’s how you think it works, then you’re dead wrong. It takes a world of knowledge and practice to learn how to properly shoot a compound bow. Luckily for you, we’re going to teach you how to do it with this compound bow shooting tutorial.

Preparing the Bow

Your compound bow should use high-quality strings that aren’t worn or heavily used. Your bow should be in good shape and properly maintained. You should be aware of how much draw pressure your bow can handle. If possible, use a compound bow that you’ve used before and that you’re familiar with, or use a compound bow that an expert archer has provided. Ideally, you should learn how to shoot a compound bow from someone who has a lot of experience shooting such a bow successfully.

Stance

You should face the target at about a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be parallel to one another and about 17-25 inches apart. Your toes should be directly facing the target. If you use such a stance you’ll have a much easier time drawing your bow and you’ll have a better chance of hitting your target dead-on.

Grip

Use a firm but relaxed grip with your bow-holding hand. If your grip is too tight on the bow then you won’t have as much accuracy on your shot. Try using a wrist sling if you are unable to master the art of a firm yet comfortable grip. Don’t be ashamed because the main point is accuracy and whatever you can do to attain the perfect shot is fine. Never, and I repeat NEVER, shoot with an open hand. You don’t ever want to grab the bow with your drawing hand during a shot – this is undoubtedly the worst mistake you can make when shooting a compound bow because it can lead to fatal errors.

Anchor

When you draw the string, you should be locking your string hand against the side of your face. This is what’s known as the “anchor” position. The string and your hand will be on the right side of your face, and vice versa if you are left-handed. You can achieve the highest level of archery accuracy by anchoring the string at the corner of your mouth – or under your chin.

Draw

You should extend your bow arm directly toward your target with the string gripped firmly between your fingers… or by using a mechanical release device, if you prefer. Point the bow at the target and pull the string smoothly and firmly. Extend the bow all the way, pull the string back to its maximum point of a full draw, and resist the urge to move the compound bow forward. Make sure that you use a bow that is suited for you because a bow with a draw that is too heavy will destroy your accuracy.

Aim

If you’re using a bow that is equipped with a sight then aiming will be easier, but it still won’t be perfect. Bow sights are good for average shooters, especially if a laser sight is involved. The key to natural aiming is practice. The best archers usually aim slightly above the target (depending on wind conditions) so they can aim while still looking directly at the target.

Release

Your release can determine whether or not your shot hits the mark. You need a smooth release, and you need to relax all of your fingers completely before you release the string for the shot. Even the slightest amount of finger tension can disrupt your aim. If you have a mechanical release aid the shot will be easier because all you have to do is draw, aim, and pull the release trigger for the compound bow. This type of mechanism can fail you, however… if you slap the trigger then the arrow will go astray.

Follow-Through

Just as in golf, the follow-through is extremely important in archery. Why? The arrow has already been released, right? You need to keep aiming until your arrow hits the target. The follow-through is largely a mental thing. You need to see your arrow hitting the target while you are steadily holding your bow. Never lower your bow after the arrow has been released. Stay in formation and hold your position until the arrow hits the target.

Practice

If you want to become an expert at shooting a compound bow then you need to practice. The saying “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true. You need to invoke the saying of “perfect practice makes perfect” because practicing something the wrong way will get you nowhere. When your target of choice is out of season then you shouldn’t lay back and watch TV until it’s time to hunt again. Set up targets and keep a compound bow in your hands as much as you can.

Conclusion

After reading this article there’s no excuse for becoming an expert compound bow shooter. From choosing the right equipment to shooting correctly there is an equation to correctly shooting a compound bow. Do you have any tips on shooting a compound bow? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the Comments section below.

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NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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New changes are heading our way for the 2015 deer season in New York. For those of us hunting in Westchester County and a few other WMUs that have historically had an overpopulation of deer we now have a newly created 2-week long antlerless-only season – the only problem is that it’s the first 2-weeks of bow season.

For some, that’s not an issue, but to others, it just crushed their chances of killing that buck they’ve been patterning since the season ended in 2014. Why? Because those first 2-weeks also happen to be the last few days you can catch a buck on its summer pattern.

The DEC says that management goals are not being met in these WMUs which is why we need the antlerless-only season. Well, I can tell you changing the first two weeks to antlerless-only is going to have a minimal impact, if any, on the antlerless harvest. The guys that want to shoot bucks will be spending their time in NJ or CT and the rest of us, well, we kill does all season long so it’s business as usual for us.

If the DEC really wanted to increase the antlerless harvest we could have looked to our neighbors over in CT and simply extended the hunting season for another month by starting in September, extending into January or both.

We also are still a 2-buck state (1 Regular Season buck tag, 1 Either Sex archery tag). If we dropped one of the tags, like most of the ‘big-buck’ states, and became a 1-buck state I think you’d also see the antlerless harvest go up…not to mention we’d probably have a few more decent bucks running around.

Time will tell how these new regulations end up working, but I think we already know, this isn’t going to work.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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First meeting of 2014 for the WCBA

The Westchester County Bowhunters Association will hold its winter meeting on January 21,2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Teatown Lake Reservation Ossining, NY.

One of the hot topics for discussion I’m sure will be the plans that Teatown has for using sharpshooters to cull 75 deer from the reservation property. Why Teatown isn’t using a free resource like Westchester County’s own bowhunters and is choosing to use taxpayer money to hire sharp shooters is beyond me. Hopefully, we get some answers on this Tuesday night.

About the WCBA: Since 1979, the Westchester County Bowhunters Association has worked at expanding the knowledge of local non-hunters in order that they understand the importance of sound wildlife conservation, and by that we mean effectively controlling Westchester County’s deer populations through Bow hunting.

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