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Keeping an eye on any bills affecting sportsmen

Submitted Photo A sleeping swan was the only thing spied in the Dunkirk Harbor on Friday morning, near the left/top side of the Conservation Club dock.

It is the time of year when politicians gather together and attempt to make our lives … different.

Now that the smoke has cleared and we have a new president, legislators will put forth their proposals for the forthcoming term. The Conservation Council provides a watchdog service for any bills and proposals that could be detrimental to sportsmen. Gun owners don’t have to be reminded that it was back in January 2003 that our legislators passed the SAFE GUN ACT and the negative impact it had on New York gun owners.

There are a few interesting proposals up for debate that will interest many of us. The crossbow bill is gaining momentum again this year. The bill is reportedly being changed to try to: 1) allow legal cross bow use during archery season; 2) adjust the limb length restrictions as well as poundage for draw back; 3) require a hunter safety education course, like with bows and fire arms; and 4) allow the DEC to supervise seasons and regulations.

There is a bill that would lower the minimum age for big-game hunting which, I might add, is long overdue. There is strong speculation that wearing a minimum amount of hunter orange or pink while afield during firearm season could become mandatory. Hopefully, New York sportsmen will stop bickering over proposals that would add money to the sportsmen’s fund and increase the amount of legal participants. Last year license sales showed a big increase in fishing and hunting. I always thought that a year-long fishing license is the best bargain around for the sports person. These proposals are acceptable for many, but there are a number of bills that are not.

NY A2222 wants to eliminate all and any firearms programs in high school activities, including trap and skeet shooting. A 1388 would eliminate the pheasant rearing/release program. S284, allowing the New York State Police to be a point of contact for conducting national instant cackground checks. S3018 wants to establish additional requirements to purchase any firearm. If you want to keep track of these bills and future bills you can go to watchdog groups like NYS Conservation Council and Congressional Sportsmen Foundation (congressionalsportsmen.org).

Not much has changed with ice fishing locally. Zach at Hogan’s Hut in Stow commented that there is about 5 inches of slush ice on Chautauqua Lake, making for difficult walking conditions. There are lots of small fish, but the best action has been by Prendergast and Maple Springs. There has been some ice fishing at Barcelona Harbor and Dunkirk, but the action has been very slow. Nighttime crappie are reportedly hitting on the Route 60 end of Cassadaga Lake. Anglers are avoiding Lake Erie ice fishing due to shifting ice conditions and wind

CALENDAR

¯ There will be a fur auction today at the Hindsdale Fire Hall located at 3832 Main St. Fur inspection will start at 7 a.m. with the auction starting at 10 a.m. COVID restrictions apply, so wear masks. One veteran trapper commented that Hindsdale had the best fur prices last year, for what it’s worth.

¯ The Lakeshore Longbeards, like many other organizations, have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will not be having their annual fundraiser banquet this year. Instead, they are offering a 30-day gun raffle ticket. The ticket costs $25 and includes a membership to the National Wild Turkey Federation. The winning number will be determined by the NYS evening lottery number drawn for the entire month of June 2021. All guns have a cash value of at least $250. If you don’t want a gun, you can take the cash option. This raffle, hopefully, will help keep our NWTF in a position to survive the pandemic. For tickets or more information contact Scott Dibble at the Sinclairville Superette or call 680-3715, Leroy Franklin at 679-5862, Rich Lazarczyk at 595-3917, Gay Dudek at 366-3397, Bob Turk Sr. at 673-6703, Bob Turk Jr. at 673-6705 or Gary Burmaster at 672-4520, or stop in at Liberty Vineyards in Sheridan. Thank you.

¯ Southtowns Walleye Association is making plans for another great walleye tournament in 2021. The pandemic has shut down the monthly meetings for now. There will be a great early-bird prize raffle for the members. You can keep in touch online with other club activities by going to www.southtownswalleye.com/derby.

¯ The New York State Winter Fishing Classic Fishing Tournament is scheduled through Feb. 28. This event is open to all NYS waters. For details, go to www.nyiceproam.com.

If you have a story or a photo you would like to share, call 366-1772 or 785-3659 or 366-3000, ext. 3 after 6 p.m. Leave a name and number and a time you can be reached.

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