Whitetail Deer Classic set for Feb. 8

Preliminary bear harvest numbers are good.

With firearms deer season having kicked off on Monday, now is the perfect time to start thinking about attending the 11th annual Whitetail Deer Classic Banquet, to be held Saturday, Feb. 8, at Northampton Community Center on Laubach Avenue in Northampton.

Proceeds from the $100-ticket affair go toward the Northampton County Youth Field Day and other youth programs that help keep our outdoor heritage strong and growing among our youth.

People who bring mounted deer heads for display are entered in a special raffle, and are asked to let the committee know ahead of time so that enough space can be provided for the displays.

Tickets went on sale to the public on Oct. 1, and there are only about 90 left. For tickets, contact Don Jenny 610-691-1903 or Roger Huth at 610-759-7902 or Rich Tobias at 610-759-6458.

Horsin' around: New Tripoli's Katie MacAlush is at it again in the world of horseback riding. The 22-year-old, riding her American Paint Horse Rockin My Impulse, better known as Hank, won the Intermediate World Championship in Classic Amateur Junior Western Pleasure and placed fifth overall on the 3-year-old gelding at the 2013 World Show in Fort Worth, Texas, On Nov.12.

"I was there for a month practicing and showing," MacAlush said. "I was just hoping to have a Top 10 place and we actually got intermediate champion and Top 5. I was very shocked."

The intermediate world championship is for someone who has never cracked the Top 5 in that specific class.

MacAlush and Hank were scheduled to finish up the 2013 season and begin the 2014 season all in the same week during the Arizona Copper Country Paint-o-Rama in Scottsdale, Ariz., Dec. 29-31 and Jan. 1-3, 2014.

Hank was purchased two months before the world competition because her regular horse, Tim, had not healed sufficiently from a leg injury suffered last February. Hank is trained by Jeffrey Gibbs and Jenna Hyde of Collinsville, Texas

Firearms bear season: The four-day statewide firearms bear season concluded last Wednesday, with some extended season time remaining in several Wildlife Management Units through this Saturday. The harvest numbers for the first three days (which were all the state released through Monday) were slightly down from last season but still high at 2,308 compared to 2,442 in 2012, the third-largest bear harvest in state history.

The largest bear harvested remained the male shot by Daniel J. Beavers of Covington Township, Lackawanna County, taken in that same area. The bruin had an estimated live weight of 722 pounds.

Carbon County produced 31 successful bear hunts over the first three days, Northampton County had one and Lehigh County none. Schuylkill County hunters harvested 18 bears with none listed from Berks or Bucks counties.

Archery bear data is still being entered into the game commission's database and is not available yet.

Deer season checkpoint warning: If you're deer hunting in the Northeast Region, be prepared for road checkpoints. The Northeast Region office of the PGC, located in Dallas, Luzerne County, will be conducting road checkpoints throughout the firearms deer season in an attempt to catch illegal taking, possession and transportation of big game or wildlife, along with illegal transportation of loaded firearms and other safety violations.

Holiday activities at Hawk Mountain: Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is holding a very special kickoff to the holiday season 11 a.m. — 3 p.m. Saturday with children's activities, a live raptor program and more.

The annual holiday open house will take place with raptor programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. featuring a live hawk or owl. A special kids activity will take place at noon, and at 12:30 p.m. a Wonders of the Winter Woods guided walk will offer the chance to see raptors and other birds in flight over the famed Kittatinny Ridge.

Visitors can partake of complimentary hot beverages, $1 soft pretzels, wildlife art and check out what makes Swarovski optics top of the line for binoculars and scopes.

For a full itinerary, go online to http://www.hawkmountain.org or call 610-756-6961.

Shad banquet: The Delaware River Shad Fishermen's Association is holding its annual banquet 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Se-Wy-Co Fire House, 3621 Old Philadelphia Pike (Route 378), Bethlehem.

Outdoor sports writer John Punola, a founding member of the DRSFA, will be giving a presentation following the buffet-style dinner.

Advance tickets are $65 per couple and $36 per single. Tickets at the door can be purchased for $45 a person. There is a cash bar. To purchase tickets, go to the group's website at http://drsfa.org and click on "Banquet." You can also call Wayne Arrants at 908-334-1467 for tickets.

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