Forrest Fisher writes a weekly outdoors column for The Sun News.
In their rush to pass the most restrictive gun control law in the country, the NY Safe Act, Governor Andrew Cuomo and state leaders last week publicly admitted to several mistakes in the legislation. After intense public pressure, Governor Cuomo and lawmakers discussed possible amendments to the new law last week during the state budget negotiations.
Specifically, much of the focus was on the seven-round magazine limit, however, the prospects for making the law more lenient disappeared when a rough budget agreement was reached late last week. Many of the restrictive provisions of the Safe Act are set to take effect April 15.
Even after acknowledging the flaws in the gun control law, sportsmen all across the state are wondering why Governor Cuomo appears determined to continue restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. Some 52 county legislatures (of New York’s 62 counties) have either passed or have pending, a resolution opposing the Safe Act. With all this documented opposition, the governor has continued to turn a deaf ear to the thousands of New Yorkers who have protested the Safe Act.
While many in opposition to the Safe Act as it stands, agree with such parts of the law as the mental health checks and 100 percent National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS) for all firearm purchases, one chief objection is that no public input was sought as the law was pushed through both the Senate and Assembly. From the federal side, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it will be allocating $20 million in grants to improve NICS.
Last week also saw the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association (NYSRPA) file a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York challenging the Safe Act. The NRA reports that they will continue to stand by its members in New York and push for repeal of what many say is an unconstitutional law and will continue to actively support litigation that challenges the SAFE Act.
The NYSRPA is the largest and oldest firearms advocacy organization in New York State. Since 1871, NYSRPA has been dedicated to the preservation of Second Amendment rights, firearm safety, education and training and the shooting sports, with membership consisting of individuals and clubs throughout the state. See http://www.nysrpa.org for more on NYSRPA. State of Lake Erie meeting is set
On Thursday, April 11, the Southtowns Walleye Association will once again host the 2013 State of Lake Erie meeting in its new clubhouse on 5895 Southwestern Blvd. in Hamburg. In partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and in cooperation with New York Assemblyman Sean Ryan, New York State Sea Grant Great Lakes program from the University of Buffalo with moderator, Ms. Helen Domske, will feature the latest news regarding Lake Erie with several featured presentations.
They will include Status of the Warm Water Fish Community by Don Einhouse - NYSDEC Lake Erie Unit Leader; Status of the Cold Water Fish Community by Jim Markham - NYSDEC Senior Fishery Biologist; the New WNY PRISM (Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) with Dr. Chris Pennuto - Buffalo State College; and the US Fish and Wildlife Service Program Update with Denise L. Clay - Fishery Biologist. For more information contact Helen Domske at 645-3610 or e-mail email@example.com.Ice boom out
The ice boom at the head of the river was removed last week and new ice moving down the river will limit shore fishing opportunities in some areas for a few days. Shore anglers typically find rainbow trout from Bird Island Pier and Broderick Park at the foot of West Ferry. Anglers can target trout by drifting egg sacs and minnows or by casting spoons. As Lake Erie and Upper Niagara harbors free up from surface ice, summer boating access areas are good places to target trout and panfish.
Emerald shiners are still a best bait, spring or summer, and are plentiful right now for shore dipping with a minnow net. Farther down the lake, Dunkirk and Barcelona Harbors have been historically top notch fish-catching places for early season anglers. DEC reports that anglers at the Dunkirk city pier have been catching decent steelhead on spoons and small jigs tipped with a minnow or grub, fished under a float. Easy fishing. DEC reports that wind conditions have influenced floating ice masses in the harbor and limited pier fishing at times (depending on which way the winds blow). Barcelona Harbor will experience ice-out any day now and will be another hot fishing spot to target trout when the ice disappears.DEC trout stocking
The DEC has been stocking trout and the Monday traditional April 1 trout opener saw many hundreds of eager anglers wetting lines across many area streams that were experiencing snow melt runoff and had elevated water levels. Hatchery staff delivered thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout for stocking by volunteers in Western New York. Anglers can call the Randolph Hatchery Fish Stocking Hotline at 358-4950 or check for weekly stocking updates. For County lists of stocked waters and numbers of trout stocked, check the 2013 Spring Trout list at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html. Local trout stream maps are also available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/44879.html and can be printed by viewers.Ammo reloading up
With soaring ammunition costs and shortages of cartridges on store shelves making headlines in recent months, many competitive and recreational shooters are wondering how they are going to find or afford enough rounds to keep enjoying their sport. For some, the answer — at least a partial one, has been found in reloading their own ammunition. A recent poll found that approximately one-in-four respondents — just over 26 percent, said they reload.
Of those who participate in the activity, the top reason provided was to save money, followed closely by an interest to improve accuracy. The other motivations include to obtain hard to find rounds and reduce waste, as well as reloading for fun, relaxation and enjoyment. Anyone can check out these same details and sign up to be a part of the future free surveys at HunterSurvey.com, ShooterSurvey.com and AnglerSurvey.com.Outdoors Calendar
April 6: Food Plot Seminar, West Falls Conservation Club, 55 Bridge St., West Falls, noon – 4 pm, call Paul Cwiklinski for information at 479-2824.
April 6/7: NYS Hunter Safety Training, Erie County Conservation Society, Holland, 8am start, call 655-2328 or 807-5116.
April 11: State of Lake Erie meeting, Southtowns Walleye Association Clubhouse, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, 7-9 pm.
April 13: NYS Archery Safety Course, Springville field and Stream, 7AM – done, home study course, register at Concord clerk’s office to obtain course materials and register.
April 13: Rochester QDMA Banquet & Auction, Lima Country Club, 585-813-2021 for information.
April 13: Niagara National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Banquet, Ransomville Fire Co., call 791-3151.
April 13: Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs, Suzanne’s Fine Dining, Wheatfield, call 433-3547.
April 14: 3D Wild Animal Archery Shoot, Hawkeye Bowmen, 13300 Clinton St., Marilla, breakfast kitchen open at 6 am, archery begins 7am runs thru 12 noon, call 998-4857 for information.
April 14: NYS Hunter Safety, Elma Conservation, 660 Creek Rd., call 681-5690 for details.Send outdoor events 10 days in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.