By George Franke
Sun Outdoors Writer
Back in October, sportsmen and women lost a good friend, Bob McNitt. "The Voice of Sportsmen" was a moniker he accepted graciously and lived up to. Although I had read his column and subscribed to the New York Sportsman for many years, I'd never met the man until one day drinking coffee at the Uptown Diner in Norwich. I recognized the face from pictures I had seen in magazines, so I sat down, introduced myself, and thus began a long friendship.
We hunted and fished together, attended NYS outdoor writer conventions, and brought that group together here in Norwich for a conference back in October, 2000. When people ask me "where were you on 9/11?" I remember quite well, I was brush hogging on his "back-40.” He touched many of our lives through his writing and personal connections, ever accessible to lend a hand. So, after his passing, I contacted Jeff Genung and Pat Newell here at the Evening Sun, and suggested we continue the Outdoors Column that Bob McNitt wrote for nearly four decades. Today is my inaugural column.
Yes, I'm stepping into boots I could never fill. But in today's age of a shrinking print media, I commend the entire ES staff and management for continuing this weekly column. My goal foremost is to enlighten everyone to the great outdoors. Not only will I cover the traditional "hook and bullet" topics, but also legislation, travel and eco-tourism, events of interest, new products and what other local and state outdoor groups are doing. I'll occasionally be discussing the natural history of our locale, as well as the flora and fauna that reside in and travel through our our area.
Perch Derby date moved to Feb. 18
One of the biggest area outdoor events of February has been rescheduled due to the lack of ice. The annual Chenango Lake Perch Derby, a project of the Oxford Lions Club, had to be moved back to Feb. 18. So mark your calendar accordingly. I went out with Mike Mayhood on Jan. 19 to measure the ice. Mike augured through and found a surprising eight inches of good ice. However, due to unseasonably mild weather conditions this past week, there hasn't been any new ice created on the lake. Town and derby officials require 12 inches of ice for the contest to be a “go.” Checking the 10-day forecast, it looks like most highs will be in the mid to lower 30s and lows in the teens – good ice-making weather.