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Rod, Gun & Game: Uniting the archery industry in the United States

SPRINGVILLE — If the number of archery equipment manufacturers, distributors and retail store owners at the Archery Trade Association Show in Louisville, Ky., earlier this week is any indication of the growing, nationwide interest in archery, we are in for some fun, this year.

While this bonanza archery show is not open to the public, it served to bring archery manufacturers, distributors, retail business owners and outdoor media individuals together, to review all of the new bows made in the country, to try them out at any of more than 50 shooting ranges set up in Kentucky Convention C in Louisville.

The show also featured more than 60 bow-sight companies, more than 30 arrow release companies, nearly 100 tree stand makers and tree stand accessory companies and approximately 50 food plot seed and deer feed companies. There were camouflage-concealment companies, hunting blinds, hats, glove, masks, footwear, animal calls, rests, silencers, cables, strings, stabilizer and vibration dampening gear, bow cases, arrow cresting, nocks, broadheads, vanes and feathers, quivers and more. Like a kid in a candy store, I left, drooling, after the first 10-hour day, and the show lasted for three days!

The event also featured seminars on bow tuning, bow fit and balance, proper shooting forms, changing strings and cables, inspiring youths by working with them through the school systems and movies that have brought America to a greater degree of interest in archery, such as “The Hunger Games.”

Western New York food plot star performer Paul Cwiklinski informed a standing-room-only crowd about how to be successful in planting deer health food and forage staples for large and small properties, including micro-plots.

The basic steps are weed control, soil preparation, quality seed planting and scheduled fertilization, to achieve productive deer and turkey holding food plots.

New products include a portable hot and cold water bottle made by the Hydro-Flask® company. This container can keep cold liquids cold for 24 hours or hot liquids hot for up to 12 hours. It is a very functional item for bow hunters and archery competitors and retails for less than $20. For more information, visit

A brand new item from the Buck Bomb Company™ is a retractable scent wick, which is 15 inches long by 1 inch wide and is complete with elastomeric, leak-proof seals in tiny cylinders that fit into your pocket and provide a new method of maximum scent dispersal, when deployed near your hunting stand. For more information, visit

A product called the “Lick’n Branch” offers a cool new way to bring deer to your stand. An extendable graphite pole is clamped to a tree and set up with a special hanging wick and branch that brings bucks right to you. For more information, visit

In addition to planning this annual event, the ATA also provides leadership at several archery programs, for those interested in learning about and getting involved in archery.

The After School Archery Program is offered at many schools across the country. This after-school youth archery program combines teaching techniques with lesson plans, instructor training and equipment access. The ASAP teaches kids new skills and allows them to earn awards and experience the wealth of archery styles and equipment used in tournaments and leagues.

The ASAP is sanctioned by USA Archery, National Field Archery Association and Archery Shooters Association and is facilitated by the National Alliance for the Development of Archery.

The Junior Olympic Archery Development Program is open to archers aged 8 – 18. Both recurve and compound bows are used in club activities and in tournaments. JOAD archers who use a compound bow or recurve bow may train to compete in local and regional tournaments and can earn a seat on a youth world team to compete in other countries, representing the United States, on behalf of USA Archery.

Samantha Reese, a 14-year-old archer in the JOAD program conducted at the West Falls Conservation Society, is a bright archery competitor with a high level of talent. She recently earned a spot on the “dream team” roster for United States Olympic trials, this past year.

Samantha participated in a try-out camp at the end of 2012 and earned an invitation to return to camp this year. Other JOAD recurve archers may also compete for a spot on state and national competitive archery teams. The USA Olympic team is selected and managed by USA Archery.

Jake Kaminski, a former Iroquois High School student who became a 2012 USA Olympic medal winner, learned about competitive archery in the WNY-JOAD program. He was present at the ATA as a guest, signing autographs with the Hoyt archery team.

The National Archery in the Schools Program brings archery to millions of students in schools across the United States on a regular basis, during school hours. Designed to teach International-Style target archery in physical education classes in fourth – 12th grades, this program covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, core strengthening, physical fitness and self-improvement.

Before presenting the archery course, teachers undergo an eight-hour NASP basic archery instructor training program. Orchard Park schools offered this program, in recent years.

The National Bowhunter Education Foundation targeted the retention of existing bowhunters, by developing new programs through high interest, advanced classes or mentoring curriculums. Student manual “Today’s Bow hunter” is an example of the materials that have been improved, through this program.

The National 4-H Shooting Sports Archery Program’s focus is the development of youth as individuals and as responsible, productive citizens. Those involved in the National 4-H Shooting Sports Program learn marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, principles of hunting and archery, and more. Young people have the opportunity to develop life skills, self-worth and conservation ethics.

There are other archery activities offered through community education or recreation programs like the YMCA, Boy Scouts of America and Girl Scouts of the USA.

Winter fly fishing classes
Veteran fly angler and retired TV personality Ray Marks will host a semi-annual, six-week fly fishing course, beginning Jan. 23. It will be held every Wednesday from 6:30 – 9 p.m. at Lake Shore Central Middle School in Angola.

All equipment will be provided. The class will include casting, fly-tying and entomology instructions, details on reading streams and information about where and how to fish.

To participate, call Sonya at Lake Shore Community Education, at 926-2270, or, for additional class information, call 549-1977.

I attended this class last year and learned a lot that I didn’t know about fly fishing. The class usually has approximately 12 – 15 students.

Winter archery shoots
Many local conservation organizations participate in the weekly WNY-3D archery league, which organizes teams and the public. Shoots begin at 8 a.m., every Sunday morning, through April 3.

A roster for locations of shoots is as follows.

Jan. 13: Collins Conservation (for more information, call Ike Loretto at 337-2921); Jan. 20: Evans Rod & Gun (call Ray Zylinski Jr. at 866-5072); Jan. 27: Glen Coe Conservation (call Dave Procknal at 337-0733) and Feb 3: West Falls Conservation (call Mike Cummins at 432-6035). That schedule repeats itself every Sunday, through April 3.

NYS gun control
The New York State Assembly and Senate legislative sessions promise to be burdensome for legal firearm owners. While the owners of registered firearms may be law-abiding citizens, new proposals on the table promise to affect these individuals, as well as target shooters and hunters, and will do nothing to prevent crime or impact public safety.

Some pre-session comments have suggested the NYS may choose to confiscate legally-owned firearms. While New York currently has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, there is sure to be little focus on new solutions to the actual problems.

The National Rifle Association and many other Second Amendment lobbyists have said that anti-gun lawmakers will simply recycle the same, failed gun control policies of the past. Such policies have had no effect on public safety.

Several bills have already been pre-filed for the 2013 NYS legislative session. Senate Bill 1422 expands New York’s “assault-weapons” ban. The broad language of this bill includes a ban of all semi-automatic firearms which accept a detachable magazine. It would also remove provisions allowing for grand-fathered guns to be owned.

New York currently has a 10-round magazine limit. State lawmakers and the governor are discussing lowering that restriction. Pre-session conversations have also included registration requirements for all firearms. The slate of gun control bills this session is expected to be long.

Outdoor calendar
Jan. 13: Canada goose and NYS duck seasons close in western and southern zones.

Jan. 13: WNY Winter 3D league archery shoot. Open to the public. Collin’s Conservation, Conger Road, Collins. For more information, call Mike Matala at 337-0126.

Jan. 16: Bison City Rod & Gun monthly meeting, 511 Ohio St., Buffalo. For more information, call 855-1139.

Jan. 16: Trap shooting, West Falls Conservation Club, 55 Bridge St., West Falls. Open to the public with a 7 p.m. start. For more information, call Dave at 652-8509.

Jan. 17: Southtowns Walleye Association monthly meeting, 7 p.m., 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg. For more information, call 649-8202 or visit

Jan. 19: awards dinner and banquet, Delevan Fireman Training Center, 1006 North Main St., Delevan. Features live music and refreshments. To purchase tickets, visit, call 353-0839 or email

Jan. 19: Southtowns Walleye Association flea market, featuring used fishing and hunting equipment, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call Sam at 649-8202.

Jan. 20: WNY Winter 3D league archery shoot. Open to the public, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Evans Rod & Gun, 864 Cain Road. For more information, call Zylinski at 866-5072.

Jan. 23: Trap shooting, West Falls Conservation Club, 55 Bridge St., West Falls. Open to the public, 7 p.m. For more information, call Dave at 652-8509.

Jan. 25 – 28: NYS Sportsmen’s Exposition, New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse. For more information, visit

Send outdoor information to the Forrest Fisher column 10 days in advance, at

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