The outlook is looking better for our youngsters to be able to participate more in hunting sports according to the latest report from Conservation Council President Harold Palmer. In his address to sportsmen via the newsletter Grass Roots News, there has been movement on the Junior big game and trapper mentor legislation that has been sponsored by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The bills which are Assembly bill No. A11033 and Senate Bill S8228 would change the laws and allow 14 and 15 year olds to hunt big game with a gun. The bills passed the ENCON Committee by a vote of 24 in favor and six against. The bills then went before the Assembly Codes Committee. During two days of discussion, President Palmer learned that several legislators who approved the bill(s) did so because of their respect for DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis. The bills contain safety factors for the junior hunters including the use of a safety orange (blaze) vest or hat and that juniors may not hunt from a tree stand with a gun. In addition, the legislators are pleased to hear from the sportsmen about their concerns for bills that pertain to them.
President Palmer commented that legislators are also surprised at how often they are “labeled” anti-hunting or anti-gun because they have voted for some legislation that their constituents want — even though they often vote in support of gun owners and hunters. READ THIS! “They would like to work more with hunters and gun owners, but they very seldom hear from those groups in their districts.”
The Junior big game and trapping mentor bills are getting increasing support from legislators who are looking at the proposal with an open mind. You as sportsmen can further the cause if you know someone from the New York City or Long Island areas who will write letters of support to their legislators.
You can also help by contacting your local representatives and asking them to vote in support of the bills and if they did support them send a thank you. Warning: There has been some negativity to these bills from supposed sportsmen who take issue with the wearing of blaze orange. These bills will not go through without the safety features so let’s at least get our “foot in the door”.
In case you intend to take the youngsters out for a fishing or boating trip remember KISS, which is the abbreviation for Keep It Simple Silly. Youngsters have short attention spans. They may want to fish for a few minutes or a few hours. If they catch a small fish and decide they are happy and want to go for a doughnut, then go. Don’t push it. If they make a bad cast, keep your cool.
Terminal tackle like hooks and bobbers are cheap and easily replaced. It’s a lot harder to replace a bad first impression. Just a few tips: Let the kids wear sunglasses and a hat to help protect their eyes and head from direct sunlight and errant casts. Use a sunscreen before and during your fishing trip. Spray the face, neck and ears and any other exposed skin. An ounce of prevention is worth three bottles of Aloe Vera. Carry snacks and cold drinks and handy wipes to wipe off worm juice and fish slime if you or they are squeamish.
Have a good time and go often. The latest Pro fishing advertisement reminds us that kids don’t retain a Fondest memory of a Television show they watched. But they will remember a pleasant trip to the outdoors. Go Fish!
Calendar: There will be a free Kids fishing tournament at Cassadaga Lake on Saturday, June 28. You can sign up at the DEC Boat launch located on Dale Drive by 8 a.m. Awards will be by age groups for both boys and girls. Every child that participates will receive grab bags filled with goodies. The event is open to the public.
The Lakeshore Longbeards, our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, will host their Youth Day event called JAKES Day on July 26 at the Westfield Fish & Game Club. Information and sign up forms are available by calling Bob & Judi Turk at 934-4538 or Rich Lazarczyk at 595-3917 or Gary Burmaster at 672-2067.
There is a DEC/Erie Federation Youth Fishing Clinic at Chestnut Ridge-Orchard Park on June 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Register by calling 652-4180.
The New York Walleye Association two-day Walleye Tournament, the Amara-Can, is July 12 and 13. Sign ups will be available on July 11 at the Chadwick Bay Marina area.
The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Tournament is Aug. 1 through Aug. 3. There is a 100 team limit and they already have 87 entries. Call 440-8812 or 337-2782 to see if you can still sneak in.
Gene Pauszek is an outdoor columnist for the OBSERVER.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Six year old Kristina Jewel helps her grandpa Perry “Ragarm” Sprague catch a nice black bass.