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Rod, Gun & Game: Strong sportsmanship support among this year’s gifts

The last two weeks of the weather has certainly provided for some interesting snow and snow melt adventures. It’s also been a truly memorable year for folks that hunt, fish, trap, shoot, as there are so many world class outdoor opportunities in our Western New York region.

Many of the outdoor fun opportunities are the result of funding accrued from the cost of licensed sportsmen renewing with annual fees. Erie County is proud to hold the top spot in the number of licensed sportsmen in New York at about 104,000. There are a large number of excellent organizations where local sportsmen find membership and camaraderie that help organize this large licensed group. It is no wonder that much of the leadership for sportsmen in the state can be found in WNY.

Jim Monteleone heads up WNY Safari Club International, as president of that highly effective group meeting monthly on the first Wednesday of the month (7 p.m.) at Michael’s Banquet Facilities in Hamburg. Chuck Godfrey acts as a mentor and leader for more than 50 sportsmen’s clubs with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen who meet monthly at various sportsmen club facilities on the fourth Thursday of the month (7 p.m.); Steve Aldstadt is president of the NYS Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE) that meets every third Thursday of the month (7 p.m.) at VFW Post 8113. There are more than 50 other organized local sportsmen groups that hold monthly meetings in Erie County.

There are also more skill-specific organizations that include WNY Trout Unlimited, the NYS Walleye Association, the Southtowns Walleye Association, Erie County Trappers, WNY Bassmasters, Bison City Rod and Gun, East Aurora Fish and Game, Elma Conservation Club, Allied Sportsmen, Hawkeye Bowmen, Alden Rod and Gun, Evans Rod and Gun, West Falls Conservation Society, Holland Rod and Gun, Erie County Conservation Society, Glencoe Conservation Society, Erie County Bassmasters, the Lake Erie Chapter of Federation of Fly Fishers and many other groups.

While all of these groups have adult leadership, many cater to youth education and include training for Boys Scouts, Girls Scouts, campers, hikers and youth archery. For information on contacting any of these, email me at

In addition to these assorted and knowledgeable groups of sportsmen, we enjoy the leadership of strong legislators in local, county and state governments. In Erie County, John Mills has provided support for youth outdoor education and will become the majority leader (Republican) for the Erie County Legislature after the first of the year. In addition, in Erie County law enforcement, sportsmen enjoy the simple logic and straightforward approach to law enforcement with Sheriff Tim Howard, who recently addressed the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen at Bison City Rod and Gun Club in Buffalo with facts about the New York SAFE Act.

At the state level, WNY sportsmen enjoy the forthright leadership of two Erie County residents, with NY Senator Patrick Gallivan and NY Assemblyman David DiPietro. Gallivan, DiPietro and Smith are opposed to the New York SAFE Act and have indicated that the law contradicts the U.S. Constitution, in agreement with most sportsmen. Also, 51 of 62 counties in New York officially oppose the act and voted to repeal this law. Gallivan and his colleague, Senator Kathleen Marchione of Saratoga, are co-sponsors of three different legislations that have been filed to repeal the act in some manner. Also, as we celebrate our holiday season this year, legal challenges are progressing through the judicial process seeking to overturn the law on constitutional grounds.

Across the state, organizations provide input and support to the New York State Conservation Council, allowing the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS legislators and the governor to understand the fish and wildlife laws from the perspective of individual sportsmen interests. The NYSCC is the oldest conservation organization in New York State, comprised of volunteers from across NYS — many from Western New York, including Dan Tone from West Falls, Zen Olaw from Fredonia, Rich Davenport from Tonawanda and Adam Ziccardi from Orchard Park.

The NYSCC officers, directors and committee members are volunteers involved in all aspects of NYS outdoors, including the environment, educating youth and adults, legislation and many related projects. The goal of the NYSCC is to aid in the formulation and establishment of sound policies and practices designated to conserve, protect, restore and perpetuate forests, wildlife and scenic and recreational areas with special regard to the state.

The NYSCC completes its mission through the coordination and stimulation of individuals and organizations interested in conservation in the state to help educate the people of New York with respect to conservation. Its volunteer membership actively works to assure the enforcement of conservation laws and educational endeavors that safeguard our resources for generations to come.

Outdoor calendar:

– Jan. 3: Indoor Winter 3D Archery, Friday fun shoot league, 7 p.m., $5/week, 12 weeks, call Mike Cummings at 337-0126.

– Jan. 4: Erie County Trappers Association Fur Handling Seminar, Collins Conservation Club, 2633 Conger Rd., 9a.m.-1 p.m., call 337-2556.

– Jan. 7: NY Walleye Association, monthly meeting, 7:30 p.m., Legion Post 1041, 533 Amherst St., Buffalo, call 875-8148.

– Jan. 7: Niagara Musky Association, monthly meeting, 7 p.m., Eldridge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda, call 225-3816.

– Jan. 8: WNY Safari Club, monthly meeting, Michael’s Banquet Facility, 4885 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, call 565-1980.

– Jan.11: Ray Markiewicz fundraiser event, a friend of fly fishermen, who is fighting leukemia, Eden Legion Post 880, 1-6 p.m., call Jim Bailey 649-9714.

Send outdoor information to Forrest Fisher 10 days in advance, to

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