Last year was safest on record according to DEC
The Department of Environmental Conservation recently announced that 2016 is the safest year on record for New York Hunters. That statistic is pretty amazing considering that close to 500,000 licensed hunters spent an estimated 10 to 15 million days afield. There were, however, four fatalities.
Across the entire state, New York had only 13 hunting-related shooting incidents, which is the lowest number on record since the DEC began compiling hunting/shooting statistics in 1958. DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos attributes the safety record due to the Sportsmans Education Program and the efforts of over 3,000 volunteer instructors that teach the hunters’ safety courses every year.
Of the 13 hunting/shooting incidents that occurred in 2016, seven incidents were self-inflicted and six incidents involved more than one person. In 2015, there were 23 incidents. Back in 1966 there were 166 incidents and 13 were fatal. Despite the low numbers in 2016, there were two, two-party incidents and two self-inflicted incidents that resulted in fatalities. The 2016 report indicated that eight of the people involved in multi-party incidents were NOT wearing hunter orange.
Note that the DEC’s Sportsman Education Program is mandatory for all hunters. The program began in 1949 and has significantly reduced the number of accidents. In 2016 the DEC instituted new course home work requirements for ALL hunter and trapper education courses. Students are now required to review course materials and complete homework prior to attending classroom and field sessions. Note that these courses provided by DEC volunteers are all free of charge. One final comment. Only incidents involving firearms, bows, and cross bows are included in the annual report. Incidents that involve falls from tree stands or hunter health related issues are not included. All related shooting incidents are investigated by the DEC’s Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs).
Cassadaga resident Rich Lazarczyk was recently awarded at the Erie County Sportsmen Federation banquet. His recognition award was presented by the Erie County Trappers Association as the “Trapper of the Year!” This award goes to members who have shown dedication to the heritage of the sport of trapping and have been active participants in all the associations activities. Lazarczyk was also given a Life membership to the Erie County Trappers Association. Note that both Rich Lazarczyk and Gary Dudek have won this award and have been recognized for their achievements in both Erie and Chautauqua Counties. Congratulations!
The WNY Heroes. Inc. presents Monster Whitetail event, Guns & XBows. There will be a main event on Saturday, April 22 held at the Knights of Columbus in Cheektowaga. The event will feature 60 outdoors-themed prizes. There will also be two pre-events including one held on April 1 at the American Legion in Cassadaga, with the doors opening at 4:30 p.m. Your admission ticket will include food drinks and automatic entry into the April 22 event. You do not have to be present to win. Sponsoring the Cassadaga event are Jay Hattaway and Troy Forbes. The pre-purchase of one ticket for $40 allows you to attend all three events. Go to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Ken at 818-8075 or log on to www.harvestmoonoutdoors.com for more information. The other pre-event is on April 8 at Hidden Valley Animal Adventures, Royce Road, Varysburg N.Y.
A preview of coming activities at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club include: April 8, Rimfire spinner target shoot; May 3, 3-D archery; May 7, 3-D archery shoot; and May 20, Rimfire spinner target shoot. Registration for archery events are from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. and gun events are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. All events are open to the public. For more information, contact Rod Becker at 485-2773. The Bear lake Rod & Gun Club is located at 4391 Cassadaga-Stockton Road, Stockton.
There will be a pistol permit course offered at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on Wednesday, March 22, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. There is a mandatory $75 fee for this course. Call Gary at 366-3397 for information.
The Eastern Lake Erie Charter Boat Association will conduct a meeting on Friday, April 7 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club located at Mullet Street in Dunkirk. Agenda will include the Dunkirk Air Show on July 1 & 2, Boats for the 2017 VIP day on August 09, Canadian Border water Issues, and more. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.
Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to email@example.com
There will be a hunter safety training course at the Con Club on April 19-20 from 5-10 p.m. Two-day attendance is mandatory. Register with the DEC online starting on March 10. There will also be a hunter safety course at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club on April 4-5 from 6-10 p.m. Two-day attendance is mandatory. The hunter safety courses are free.
There will be gun shows coming up at the following areas:
Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, at the Harbor Creek Fire Department Social Hall, located at 7275 Buffalo Road, US Route 20 (located between North East Pa., and Harborcreek). Dates are March 18-19 from 9 a.m. until 4p.m. and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., respectively.
Ashtabula County Sportsmen’s Gun Show at Saybrook Banquet Centre, located at 3116 North Bend Road (off Route 20) Ashtabula, Ohio, 44004. Dates are Saturday, April 22, and Sunday, April 23, from 9 a.m. until 4.m. and 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., respectively. For more information on any of the shows, contact Larry Spicer at 792-9972, visit LRgunshows@gmail.com, or write to Larry Spicer at P.O. Box 294, North East, Pa. 16428.
If your club or organization is holding a hunter safety training/trapping course or a turkey shoot or other outdoors event and would like to see it posted in the calendar, send information to the OBSERVER, 10 East Second St., Dunkirk, N.Y. 14048 or call the Sports Dept. at 366-3000 ext. 5 after 6 p.m.
Note: If you have a big-game fishing or trapping success story you would like to share, call 366-1772, or 467-2079 and leave a name, phone number and a time you can be reached. You can also call 366-3000 after 5 p.m. at ext. 5.