Outdoor Journal: Workshop has something for everyone

>Last month, more than 200 volunteer Department of Environmental Conservation Sportsman Education in
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Last month, more than 200 volunteer Department of Environmental Conservation Sportsman Education instructors representing the nine DEC Regions attended the 21st annual Sportsman Education Workshop at the Extension Ed­ucation Center in Ballston Spa.

These instructors — men and women who volunteer to train and teach first-time hunters, bowhunters and/or trappers — have completed study and training required to become a certified instructor.

The all-day workshop had 17 presenters, each covering their specific areas of expertise. Topics ranged from updates of new fish and game rules and regulations, to new laws both passed and pending, to a general review of organizations and

individuals that represent or support New York state sportsmen.

Wayne Jones, DEC sportsman education administrator, and Jeff Liddle, also of the sportsman ed­ucation program, said New York recently became the 44th state to implement the National Archery School Program, which promotes

archery as a part of a school’s phys­ical education program for students in grades 4-12. Instructions are orient­ed toward target archery. Jones told the instructors it is their dedication and commitment that has taken the program to its current level.

On the political side, state Sen. Elizabeth O’C. Little, a member of Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office and Mike Miller, representing Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco, presented how they had and will continue to support the rights of the state’s sportsmen and women.

Members of the various organ­izations that represent New York sportsmen also made presentations to the group. These included Charlie Hancock of the Conservation Fund Advisory Board; Harold Palmer, New York State Conservation Council; Pat Arnold, Fish and Wildlife Management Board; and Dave Miller, Conservation Alliance of New York. Each gave a presentation on the status of their organizations, as well as plans for the future.

NYSCC

During the NYSCC presentation, a handout about the organization that I found to be quite interesting was distributed. This organiz­ation has been fighting for rights of sportsmen, as well as the conservation and wise use of natural resources, since 1933. It represents 300,000 sportsmen’s groups and gun clubs, and its efforts are aimed at insuring the enjoyment and continuous use of our state’s natural resources. It is an organiz­ation run by volunteers from across the state who aren’t

reimbursed for any of their expenses. All funding comes from donations, membership dues, regional funding and grants.

For 75 years, the NYSCC has been active and influential in the passage and revision of a number of legislative rules and regul­ations that benefited sportsmen. These included legislation allowing

archery hunting for big game, a separate archery season, separate game tags for archers, the use of

rifles in previous shotgun-only

areas, stopping anti-gun legislation and the establishment of the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program.

For more information on NYSCC, go to the Web site at www.nyscc.-com.

CANY

CANY is another organization developed to champion sportsmen rights and protect the conservation of our resources.

It was founded in 2003 to represent the interests of New York sportsmen and women. Its goal is to educate the public about facts concerning the sustainable use of renewable resources, and to focus attention, both positive and negative, on various hunting, fishing and trapping programs funding and staffing.

For more information on CANY, go to www.conservationalliance­ny.-com.

Sportsmen should support these organizations. As you can see from their accomplishments, they’re working for us.

DEC LAW ENFORCEMENT

In an “It’s the Law” present­ation, Environmental Conservation

Officer Capt. Scott Florence and

Lt. Deming Lindsley updated the group on departmental changes. Florence said ECOs will be given cell phones, and their numbers will be published in the New York Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide. This will make it considerably easier to contact an ECO than it was using their home land lines.

Lt. Lindsley highlighted a new hunting regulation, and clarified several others.

u The new regulation pertains to hunting snapping turtles. Those who hunt snapping turtles should know there is now a season — July 15-Sept. 30. The daily limit is five, the seasonal limit is 30. There is also a 12-inch size limit, measured in a straight line on the upper shell. No other native turtles have an open season.

u Lindsley was asked about how the new muzzleloader by CVA, the Electra, which uses a battery-operated ignition system rather than a primer cap, can legally be carried in a motor vehicle. Currently, a hunter may carry a muzzleloader loaded with powder and bullet in a

motor vehicle as long as the ignition primer cap is removed or the powder emptied from the flash pan of a flintlock. The CVA Electra batteries must be removed from the gun for it to be legally carried in a motor vehicle. Actually, it’s always best to remove the ignition cap/flash pan powder/batteries and case the gun for transporting.

u The legality of the new three-bladed mechanical broadheads

recently introduced by Rage Broadheads was questioned. According to Lindsley, this head isn’t legal for hunting in New York. State regul­ations say that when the arrow is pulled from the flesh of the deer or bear, it must not form a barb or hook. The three-bladed Rage broadhead remains barbed and does not pivot, therefore, it’s not legal. However, the Rage two-bladed mechanical broadhead operates legally, and can be used.

SAFETY STATISTIC

Last year may have been the fifth-safest year in the history of New York hunting, with 38 reported shooting incidents. Unfortunately, six were fatalities, well above the five-year average of 3.2. And in my opinion, that’s about “six” too many.

Four of the six were two-party incidents, and two were self-inflicted. Five of the fatalities happened while deer hunting, the other when a small-game hunter apparently fell in the brush, catching his trigger on a branch. Three of the fatalities were from shotguns, three from rifles.

Ironically, despite the five fatal­ities during the deer season, the total number of shooting-related incidents during the deer season, 14, set a record low.

Five of the 38 total 2007 shooting incidents happened during turkey hunting, two in spring and three in fall. There were five incidents of upland bird hunting and three of waterfowl hunting. The others

were distributed among other small- game hunting species.

BECOME An INSTRUCTOR

What does it take to become a DEC Sportsman Education instructor? You must be 18 or older with at least three years of experience in one of more of the following: hunting, bowhunting, trapping and/or waterfowl identification. And you must be of good character, respected in the community and a good communic­ator — especially with youngsters.

Once training is completed and certification received, you are required to teach at least one course per year, and attend a refresher course at least once every two years.

For more details, go to www.dec.-ny.gov/outdoor/9189.html.

Categories: Sports

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