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Rod, Gun and Game: Western New York enjoys strong sportsmen support from local clubs

AN OFFICIAL STATEMENT — Sheriff Tim Howard (right) addresses the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen at Bison City Rod and Gun about the NY SAFE ACT, as Federation President Chuck Godfrey (left) looks on.

SPRINGVILLE — The last two weeks of weather have certainly provided for some interesting snow and melting adventures. It’s also been a truly memorable year for outdoor folks who hunt, fish, trap and shoot, as there are so many world-class outdoor opportunities, in our Western New York region.

Many of those opportunities are the result of funding accrued from the cost of licensed sportsmen, renewing with annual fees. Erie County is proud to hold the No. 1 position for the highest number of licensed sportsmen in New York state, at about 104,000. There are a large number of excellent organizations, where local sportsmen find membership and camaraderie, that help organize this large, licensed group, and it is no wonder that much of the leadership for sportsmen in New York state can be found in Western New York.

Jim Monteleone is president of the WNY Safari Club International, a highly effective group that meets on the first Wednesday of the month at Michael’s Banquet Facilities in Hamburg. Chuck Godfrey provides mentoring and leadership for more than 50 sportsmen’s clubs, with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, who meet monthly at various sportsmen club facilities on the fourth Thursday of the month; Steve Aldstadt is president of the NYS Shooters Committee on Political Education, that meets every third Thursday of the month at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8113, the “Chicken Coop,” and there are more than 50 other organized, local sportsmen groups that hold monthly meetings in Erie County.

There are also more skill-specific organizations that include WNY Trout Unlimited, the NYS Walleye Association, the Southtowns Walleye Association, Erie County Trappers, WNY Bassmasters, Bison City Rod and Gun, East Aurora Fish and Game, Elma Conservation Club, Allied Sportsmen, Hawkeye Bowmen, Alden Rod and Gun, Evans Rod and Gun, West Falls Conservation Society, Holland Rod and Gun, Erie County Conservation Society, Glencoe Conservation Society, Erie County Bassmasters, the Lake Erie Chapter of Federation of Fly Fishers and many other groups. While all of these groups have adult leadership, many cater to youth education and include training for Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, campers, hikers and youth archers. For more information on contacting any of these, just drop me a note at

In addition to these assorted and knowledgeable groups of sportsmen, we enjoy the leadership of strong legislators in local, county and state governments. In Erie County, Legislator John Mills has provided support for youth outdoor education and will become the majority leader for the Erie County Legislature, after the first of the year. In addition, in Erie County law enforcement, sportsmen enjoy the simple logic and straightforward approach to law enforcement with Sheriff Tim Howard, who recently addressed the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen at Bison City Rod and Gun Club in Buffalo, with facts about the New York SAFE Act.

At the state level, WNY sportsmen enjoy the forthright leadership of two Erie County residents, with NY Senator Patrick Gallivan and NY Assemblyman David DiPietro. Gallivan, DiPietro and Smith all stand formally opposed to the New York SAFE Act and have indicated that the law contradicts the U.S. Constitution, which agrees with the position for the sportsmen organizations noted earlier. Also note that 51 of 62 counties in New York officially oppose the NY SAFE Act and voted to repeal this law. 2014 will be interesting for Governor Cuomo, with this much unrest among the 6 million voters who own firearms in New York. This is especially true, since only about 3 million New Yorkers actually turn out to vote, during poll periods.

Gallivan and his colleague, Senator Kathleen Marchione of Saratoga, are co-sponsors of three different legislations that would repeal the NY SAFE Act, in some manner. Also, as we celebrate our holiday season this year, legal challenges are progressing through the judicial process, seeking to overturn the NY SAFE Act law on constitutional grounds.

Across New York state, sportsmen are further organized, as individual County Sportsmen Organizations provide input and support to the New York State Conservation Council, allowing the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Legislators and the governor to understand the fish and wildlife laws from the perspective of individual sportsmen interests.

The NYSCC is the oldest conservation organization in New York state, comprised of volunteers from across NYS – many from Western New York, including Dan Tone from West Falls, Zen Olaw from Fredonia, Rich Davenport from Tonawanda and Adam Ziccardi from Orchard Park, who are among the team concerned with sound management of the state’s and the nation’s land, water, fish and wildlife.

The NYSCC officers, directors and committee members are volunteers involved in all aspects of NYS outdoors, including the environment, educating youth and adults, legislation and many related projects. The goal of the NYSCC is to aid in the formulation and establishment of sound policies and practices designated to conserve, protect, restore and perpetuate forests, wildlife and scenic and recreational areas, with special regard to the state of New York, to the general end that the present and succeeding generations may continue to enjoy and use these great natural resources.

The NYSCC completes its mission through the coordination and stimulation of individuals and organizations interested in conservation in the state of New York, to help educate the people of the state, with respect to conservation. Its volunteer membership actively works to assure the enforcement of conservation laws and educational endeavors that safeguard our resources, for generations to come.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Sportsmen plan to re-enact history

Many years ago, in about 1775, embattled farmers met at the Concord bridge to confront British regulars who had marched from Boston, in the dark of the night, in order to seize their firearms. There, some brave men fired “the shot heard round the world” and a short time later, our Constitution for the present United States of America was written.

Citizens and sportsmen in Concord, N.Y., and across all of New York state, plan to fire one symbolic shot at noon on Jan. 11, 2014, to protest the first anniversary of the New York SAFE Act, that was similarly passed in the dark of night in Albany, last year. Howard stated last week, “This is the most exciting thing in a very long time and is a symbolic reflection that is going viral in the e-world, as an opportunity for everyone that understands the Constitution.” Howard also said he is open to your comments, via email to

This effort was organized by Richard Kazmark and members of the Springville Field and Stream Conservation Club, in support of the Second Amendment. They are requesting legal firearm owners throughout NYS to safely fire their symbolic shot in a legal manner at noon. For more information, email or visit them on Facebook.

Note that after Jan. 11, to possess a clip or magazine that is loaded with more than seven rounds is a Class B misdemeanor.

Outdoor Calendar

Jan. 3: Indoor Winter 3-D Archery, Friday fun shoot league, 7 p.m. There is a fee to attend. All archers are welcome. For more information, call Mike Cummings at 337-0126.

Jan. 4: Erie County Trappers Association Fur Handling Seminar, Collins Conservation Club, 2633 Conger Road, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., free. For more information, call 337-2556.

Jan. 7: NY Walleye Association, monthly meeting, 7:30 p.m., Legion Post No. 1041, 533 Amherst St., Buffalo. For more information, call 875-8148.

Jan. 7: Niagara Musky Association, monthly meeting, 7 p.m., Eldridge Club, 17 Broad St., Tonawanda. For more information, call 225-3816.

Jan. 8: WNY Safari Club, monthly meeting, Michael’s Banquet Facility, 4885 Southwestern Blvd,, Hamburg. For more information, call 565-1980.

Jan.11: Fundraiser event for Ray Markiewicz, an eternal friend of fly fishermen who is fighting leukemia, Eden Legion Post No. 880, 1-6 p.m. For more information, call Jim Bailey at 649-9714.

Jan. 16: NY SAFE Act, Tresmond Law team v. NYS, Buffalo City Court, ninth floor, 50 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo. For more information, call Steve Aldstadt at 846-5448.

Feb. 5-8: Safari International Annual Convention, Las Vegas, see or call 888-SHOW-SCI.

Feb. 7-9: Coyote Hunt Contest, seventh annual, White Sulphur Springs Firehouse, Sullivan County, $2,000 grand prize for heaviest coyote, women’s and youth divisions, $40 entry. For more information, call 845-482-4987 or visit and click on news.

Send information for the outdoor calendar, 10 days in advance, to


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