Quantcast
Skip to main content
Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 11:37 am

Batavian has close encounter with large sow black bear & her cubs

It was approximately 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 23rd when Mike Corbelli experienced the encounter of a lifetime. 

A Batavia resident, Mike was archery hunting for black bear with a group of local men from Genesee & Wyoming County. The group was hunkered down in Sterling Forest State Park in the Ramapo Mountains of downstate New York. Their outing ran from October 19th to the 25th. On Tuesday a nor'easter passing along the New England coast began permeating the area and for two days the hunters dealt with the storm's wind and rain. 

By the Thursday there was no let up and with the wind gusts toppling trees, rather than use a climbing tree stand, Mike opted to conceal himself in a fallen tree situated at the edge of a shallow ravine. As things turned out, the weathered blowdown worked good - almost too good.

Eventually Mike saw movement off in the distance, something black appeared, moving slowly through the forest. It was a bear and moving in his direction. Then he spotted another.

Mike knocked an arrow, waiting to see if either was big enough to take. Suddenly he spotted a third bear, a large sow. It then became evident the first two were cubs. Slightly further back of this trio were two more cubs. Because its illegal to take a bear with cubs, Mike let off on the bow string and switched modes.

"Seeing the cubs made me drop my guard," he said. "I changed perspectives, going from hunter to enthusiast."  Keeping in mind these are wild animals, he never put his bow down, instead simply switching hands, holding his bow in his right hand and using his left to take photos with his phone.

While Mike had switched modes, that wasn't the case with momma bear. She was looking for food and she and three of her offspring continued in Mike's direction with one of the cubs deciding to climb a nearby tree. The closest cub was gamboling about, playfully working its way toward Mike when momma, possibly on alert, gave the cub a hard shove with her head, possibly sending her offspring a message which said, "pay attention - something's not right."  

By now the sow is in the lead and within five feet of Mike and he realizes he needs to do something. But what? With the ravine at his back he has nowhere to go. So, he stood up and shouted "NO" with all the authority he could muster. 

Alarmed, the sow retreated slightly - and only slightly - a matter of a few feet.  Now definitely aware of a threat, her protective instincts kicked in as she snarled and held her ground before lowering her head and  making a false charge.  

With 300lbs of protective mother bear threatening him, its totally understandable if Mike's pic is a tad blurry. 

After bluffing her charge, the sow ran around the tree one her cubs had climbed and tried to come at Mike from a different angle. Now it was all about survival.

Mike recalled a video by veteran bow hunter Wayne Carlton, explaining that, "a bear coming toward you is coming for one reason - to eat. You need to make yourself bigger than the bear."....Recalling those words Mike Corbelli raised his arms over his head in an effort to make himself appear as big as possible and then he audibly growled. That seemed to do the trick as the big sow finally turned and ran into the ravine.

In this pic you can see two of the cubs treed and another about start climbing. That black blur on the floor of the ravine and just to the right of a big tree is the sow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike's hunting companions, L to R, front, Tracy Mallon, Charlie Heintz, middle, Shawn Kibler, Dick Cecere, back, Tony Davoli, Mike Hallagan, Bob Botel, Mike Corbelli. Upon seeing the video Mike took of his encounter, each of his fellow hunters expressed amazement at the turn of events, how close he was to the bears and the outcome.  

Photos and video courtesy of Mike Corbelli. Check out the video at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gycONxXoMPM

Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 8:30 am

Autumn pastoral: photos of the October countryside

post by JIM NIGRO in autumn streams, fall foliage, nature, outdoors

A gently rolling buckwheat field, splashes of red-orange in the hardwoods and a sky filled with blue-gray clouds -- October in Genesee County.

Downstream from the Powers Road bridge, a mirror image on a placid stretch of Tonawanda Creek. 

Dim light inside a woodlot and blue sky beyond really set off this maple's foliage.

A hint of early morning mist on Bowen Creek.

One of the many things I enjoy in autumn is seeing red maple leaves against a deep blue sky.

Hardly more than a trickle on this day, the Little Tonawanda nonetheless flows onward to its confluence with the mainstream Tonawanda.....

Further downstream fallen maple leaves blanket the shore while others are caught in a shallow riffle.

Just my opinion, but.....the spectacular hues of these crimson oak leaves underscore the brilliance of the autumn of 2014!!!

Friday, October 17, 2014 at 6:33 am

Veteran Batavia police officer scores well at Fall Festival Highland Games

It was just after 9 a.m. and Claudia and I were working our way between an already growing crowd of vendors and onlookers when we spotted Batavia Police officer Frank Klimjack. He was standing in a roped off area at the base of Bristol Mountain with several men in kilts -- some bearded, some bald and all of them about the size of NFL linemen. 

They are known as the Buffalo Heavies, so-called not so much for their size but rather for the physical contests they engage in. Officially they are the Buffalo Heavies Kilted Throwers Club. traditional Celtic athletes from New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Canada. Their forte is throwing and heaving weighted objects around: they throw for height, distance and, in the case of the caber (pictured above), it's not so much the distance but accuracy -- pitching the caber forward as straight as possible.  

Frank Klimjack preparing to toss the sheaf, a straw-filled burlap bag weighing 16-18 lbs.

On this day Frank and his fellow Heavies were competing in the Bristol Mountain Fall Festival and Highland Games. The Highland Games are a series of athletic contests that originated in Scotland in the 11th Century. The events are the hammer throw, sheaf toss, caber toss, weight for distance, weight for height and weight over the bar, Braemer stone and open stone. The difference between the latter two is technique and stone weight.   

In one swift motion the sheaf is pitched upward....

and over the bar. After each round the bar is raised higher. It's kind of a last man standing deal.

Frank's interest in the Highland Games began a few years ago. "I was at Olcott Beach watching members of the Niagara Athletic Club competing when their athletic director said to me, 'you look big enough -- why don't you come out and give it a try?' A couple of weeks later at another competition they lent me a kilt and I was on my way." He fared pretty well on that first outing. "About middle of the pack," he said, "at least I wasn't at the bottom."

Frank Klimjack has moved up quite nicely since that initial outing. On this day he took second place overall. Competing in only his third full season, he is currently ranked #5 in North America in the Highland Games 45 to 49 age group.

A former paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne, he did a stint with the New York State Park Police before finding his niche with the Batavia PD, where he has served for the last 15 years.

Kellie Klimjack, left, watching her husband's efforts.

Nick Kahanic, Klimjack's friend and fellow "Heavy," is a world-record holder in the Braemar stone and Open stone.

Here's Nick competing in the Weight for Distance. He sent the 56-pound weight 87 feet on this try.

Bagpipers and drummers paying tribute to disabled vets. Whenever the Buffalo Heavies compete, all proceeds raised go to OASIS (Outdoor Adventures for Sacrifice in Service) a volunteer organiziation that provides sporting experiences to disabled veterans and their families free of charge. OASIS currently offers skiing, fishing, sailing, archery, ice skating, horsemanship, golf and rowing. This day's competition raised $4,500 -- awfully good considering admission was free.

This is Lou Iannone and I would venture to guess he's the sparkplug of the Buffalo Heavies. This was our first exposure to the Highland Games and we found the camaraderie between competitors evident and the athletes engaging the crowd with friendly banter as well as answering any questions onlookers may have had.

The atmosphere was festive, the scenery fantastic and with the chair lift taking an endless number of visitors leaf-peeping to the top of the mountain, the crowd was estimated at over 7,000.

The athletes were impressive, entertaining and outgoing. It was for sure a fun outing and Claudia and I look forward to attending the Highland Games again.

Monday, October 13, 2014 at 10:01 am

Mid-October seasonal photos

Daybreak along the power lines

A view from Molasses Hill Road

A chipmunk enjoys some sweet corn from our autumn decor

A gray squirrel has similar taste - except he'd prefer to eat alone.

A wagonload of pumpkins on the side of the road

This maple was so resplendant and riveting I failed to notice the cattle beneath it.

Cornstalk tassles silhouetted at dawn

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 10:55 am

Reader photo: Garden spider

post by Howard B. Owens in outdoors, photos

Inspired by Jim Nigro's post, Jody Robbins submitted this photo of a spider from her garden.

Monday, October 6, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Meet argiope aurantia, maker of meadow web gems

A yellow garden spider tends to its dew-laden web.

Argiope aurantia, a.k.a. the yellow garden spider, the black & yellow garden spider or golden garden spider. And while it may be found in your garden as the name suggests, it is actually more at home in any locale where it can suspend its silky web from tall plants and grasses, particularly meadows and alongside narrow, slow-moving streams.  

Its web creations are silky and symmetrical and can measure over two feet in diameter. They are also quite lethal to flying insects. This web, and several others in close proximity, were found in a meadow of milkweed, Queen Anne's lace and dead tansy.

Strung up amid spent tansy and covered with dew, this web bears a certain Halloween motif.

Once her prey is ensnared, this female will "jiggle" her web to further secure her quarry before scurrying across her silky masterpiece and injecting venom into her victim. She will then wrap her prey in a silky cocoon and wait a few hours for the venom to do its work -- turning her victim's insides to liquid. Makes for a high-protein buggy milkshake!

Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 11:12 am

Friends with Benefits: deer & wild turkeys hanging together

post by JIM NIGRO in nature, outdoors, whitetail deer, wild turkey

I came across these deer and wild turkeys feeding together along what was one of my favorite outdoor haunts in my teen years.

As I took these photos I thought back to the very first time I came across deer and wild turkeys together. At the time I thought it merely happenstance and simply savored the moment. After a second occurrence I chalked it up to coincidence. Today, several years later, gatherings between whitetails and wild turkeys may cause me to raise an eyebrow. But am I surprised? No way!

You see, in the time since my first deer/turkey encounter, I've heard it said that, "if the wild turkey, with its keen eyesight............

possessed the scenting ability of the whitetail deer...........

it would be nearly impossible to get close enough for a shot"....

A bit of an exaggeration perhaps? Maybe. While it may sound like a stretch of the imagination, it's a statement that attests to the keen senses of both species.

By definition, symbiosis isn't what we might label the relationship between deer and turkeys. Yet the wild turkey and the whitetail deer are two of North America's most sought after creatures, with pursuit being from man and natural predators alike. That being said, I find it not only interesting, but understandable as to why the high strung whitetail and the skittish wild turkey oftentimes work together. It's a relationship that benefits both species.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 8:55 am

Fliers, flitters, hoppers and stinkers: life in the late summer-early autumn meadow

This monarch uses its proboscis to probe goldenrod for nectar. While not as numerous as in years past, the monarch butterfly still lends color and grace as it flits about the meadow.

A twelve spot skimmer takes five

Its getting to be the time of year when the tansy leaf aster rivals the goldenrod for dominant color

A leopard frog does its best to remain concealed as it moves about the meadow grass.

A red tail hawk surveys the meadow from a favorite perch......

the red tail is the apex predator during the day shift in and around this neck of the woods.  After the sun sets its another story.........

Once darkness falls there are three characters vying for top dog: the coyote, the great horned owl and, as of late, at least one fisher has been making its presence known in the vicinity of the meadow......

Though I doubt any of them have this guy high on their menu. But lets give this  little stinker some credit - he's very good at digging up destroying yellow jacket nests!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

Hunters looking to use rifles for deer hunting locally

post by Howard B. Owens in outdoors

A group of local hunters packed into the committee room of the Old Courthouse on Monday to back a proposal to allow hunting of big game in Genesee County with rifles.

All but a handful of counties in New York have amended their laws to allow rifles for big game hunting.

In Genesee County, that means deer, and occasionally (when the DEC allows it), bear.

Legislators Robert Bausch and Ed DeJaneiro asked to have the proposal tabled because they felt they hadn't yet had enough time to study it nor get feedback from constituents.

DeJaneiro said he was always told as a kid that rifles weren't allowed in Genesee County because with all the flat land, there was no way to stop a bullet.

Jack Taylor, one of several members of SCOPE at the meeting, dispelled some of that myth.

First, he said, Genesee County isn't as flat as some might think. He suggested looking now Main Street in the city, people tend to believe the street is flat, but there's actually dips and rises.

Second, because hunters with a rifle know the power of the weapon in their hands, they're also a lot more careful than some might be with shotguns.

"If you have the mentality this is a rifle, this will go a long ways, it makes you a more responsible of a shooter," Taylor said.

Also, because rifle projectiles break up on impact, they are not as likely to ricochet as a lot of projectiles used in shotgun shells today.

Taylor told the story of a hunter in Wyoming County who fired a shotgun at a deer and the copper bullet hit a tree and bounced back and hit the hunter's uncle.

That wouldn't happen with a rifle bullet, he said.

He said the DEC has found that hunting safety has actually improved in counties that have changed their laws to allow for big game hunting with rifles.

"Just so everyone knows, this is an option, not a mandate," Tim Grooms said. "Some hunters are interested in this because we want a more accurate shot. For one thing, there's the issue of the cost of ammunition today. We pay $3 to $5 for a shotgun slug and might fire several, but it's $1 for a rifle bullet and we'll fire just one. It's a whole better scenario. We hunt with fewer shots and it's better for the deer."

In order for the law to be changed, the Legislature must pass a resolution asking the State Legislature to amend the county's local law.

A bill can't be introduced in Albany until January. That gives the local legislators some time to get more familiar with the issue and get feedback from constituents.

The Public Service Committee will take the issue up again at its Oct. 14 meeting.

Monday, September 15, 2014 at 8:31 am

Purple loosestrife: a pretty, prolific & invasive late summer bloom

In addition to goldenrod, purple loosestrife is among our most colorful and prolific late season blooms.

The showy, magenta-colored flowers are attractive and eye-catching among young and old alike. And while loosestrife really brightens the landscape, it does come with a downside.

It can thrive in the damp soil of a roadside ditch....

or run amok in and around wetlands -- and therein lies the problem. A non-native plant, purple loosestrife can easily take over large tracts, in the process choking out beneficial plants like cattails, rushes and sedges, which provide food, cover and nesting for waterfowl, furbearers and a wide variety bird species.

Premium Drupal Themes