Scattershots: Chautauqua Lake Ice Derby starts Saturday | Outside

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Between 1995 and 2001, and in 2017, DEC worked with trappers and other groups to reintroduce 279 otters at 16 sites in central and western New York. In 2018, DEC staff conducted winter sign surveys to help gauge the success of the otter program. At the time, they found that otters were well established throughout the state. It’s time to repeat the survey and compare the results to previous surveys.

If you have seen an otter, fisher, bobcat, weasel, marten or snowshoe hare in upstate New York, DEC would like you to report your sighting online at dec.ny.gov/animals/30770.html or call the regional office with the information.

The Rabbit Derby celebrates its 15th anniversary

The Western New York International Rabbit Derby, home of the Frank Privitere “Golden Rabbit” Cup, will celebrate its 15th year for the annual event. Teams of hunters will hunt rabbits in brushy habitat with barking beagles and other dogs to search for the elusive rabbits on January 29 and 30, starting at 7 a.m. each day. Small cash prizes are available for winners, but many donate the money to whoever is honored in a particular year. Entry fees are $25 for adults and $10 for junior hunters ages 12-15.

The defending gold cup champions are the Polish Rifles with a 3.81 pound bunny taken in 2021. The overall champion was the G-Dogs of Eden for overall weight. The event is pre-registration only, with two weigh-in locations in Western New York to be announced shortly. A virtual rally is planned to announce the winners at the end of the contest, but it’s to raise money for families in need, a local ALS organization and a local veterans group. For more information, contact Rick Giermata at 602-5017. Follow them on Facebook for more information.

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