The fundraiser for the New York State Conservation Council Inc., held on Saturday, was a success.
An estimated 80 sportsmen and sportswomen attended the event held at the Southtowns Walleye Association Inc. Club, located in Hamburg, raising several thousand dollars, which will assist the group of volunteers who spend their time coming to the aide of fellow NY sportsmen.
Few people realize that the NYSCC has been around since 1933 and was created by sportsmen and conservationists to secure and manage our natural resources for future generations, as well as to protect the rights of sportsmen to hunt fish, trap and to own firearms.
OBSERVER Photo by Gene Pauszek
Pictured, from left to right, are Zen Olow, the newly appointed president of the Western New York Environmental Federation; Dan Tone, the outgoing President and current Director); Chuck Parker, President of the NYS Conservation Council; Dave Barrus, Erie County Representative; Joe Fisher, Treasurer of the NYSCC; Dave Kern Sr., Vice President; and David Woodworth, President of the Southtowns Walleye Association Inc.
Here are just a few of the accomplishments the NYSCC over the last 79 years: The NYSCC helped change the EnCon law to allow 14-15-year olds to hunt big game with a rifle or shotgun; Established through EnCon law a junior muzzleloading license for the same age group to participate in special muzzleloading seasons; Helped alter the EnCon law to allow a person over the age of 21 to take a 12-13-year old youth small game hunting. Ditto for trapping.
Many of us take it for granted, but the NYSCC helped create separate archery and firearms seasons, worked to get a separate season to allow the taking of big game with archery equipment, and have separate game tags for archers as well as allow them to use DMP tags during archery season.
That was the NYSCC which helped get legislation allowing the use of rifles during gun season in parts of central and western NY. They also worked to get the special early youth hunts for turkey, deer, waterfowl and pheasant. They secured passage of the law establishing the "Hunters Helping the Hungry" program, whereby meat from legally harvested deer may be donated to food programs for the needy. Today, the effort has become a state-funded program called the Venison Donation Coalition.
The NYSCC also has requested or recommended season lengths or bag limits for game birds and animals to protect them from over-harvest, also setting opened and closed seasons, as well as creel limits on fish to protect them during spawning seasons. They helped with state acquisition of easements along streams throughout the state. They opened up 17,000 acres of buffer lands for hunting around upstate reservoirs acquired by New York City, helped open up access for land in the Adirondacks and helped with the state acquisition of lands suitable for reforestation and parks. The NYSCC also opposed the ban on .50 caliber firearms, as well as worked for the passage of the "Protection of Lawful Commerce In Arms Act". They also worked with DEC to restore many game and non-game animals and birds.
The current president of the NYSCC, Chuck Parker, addressed the attending assembly and stated, "NYSCC is a dedicated and educated group of individuals representing the sportsmens' interest in New York State and our surrounding communities. There are other groups that represent us on a national level, but NYSCC is dedicated to our area and the rest of the state."
Various comments from attendees stated that Parker and his crew have a good working relationship with the DEC. Let us continue to help them so they can do their best to support us, because we are going to need all the help we can get!
The Southtowns Walleye Association Clubhouse, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd., in Hamburg, will host their monthly meeting on Thursday, Dec. 20, and will feature Timothy Thomas, President of NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series. The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.
Also on Jan. 19, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Southtowns Walleye Hall, there will be a flea-market-type sale of used fishing and hunting equipment, with free parking, free entry and food and drinks available. Tables are $20, with reservations due by Jan. 17, 2013. Call 649-8202 for information.
The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lakeshore Longbeards, will host its next meeting on Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20, in Sheridan. Topic of discussion will include the upcoming membership banquet to be held on Feb. 9, 2013, at the Kosciusko Club, in Dunkirk.
Also on the agenda will be scholarship submissions. All local high school seniors are invited to participate. For more information, find the National Wild Turkey Federation online, and look for scholarship information.
The SAREP Youth Fly Fishing Program will continue its 14th season of free fly tying and fly fishing classes on Monday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m., at the Fredonia Middle School Cafeteria. Field trips will occur shortly afterwards. Classes are free and are open to children and community members. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. The classes will continue to meet every Monday until early summer.
The Northern Chautauqua Beagle Club will host its annual rabbit hunt on Sunday Jan. 13, 2013. The hunt is open to all area hunters. You can enter the day of the event at the club house located 8455 Fredonia Stockton Road in Fredonia from 6-8 a.m. Entry fee is $5. Awards and hot food available at the club around 3 p.m. For information call Pete Criscione at 366-8989, Liz Dorman at 595- 3993 and John Depew at 789-5522.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.