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Rod, Gun and Game: Adirondacks offer autumn atmosphere

GOT A WHOPPER HERE — Ken Kalil, an Adirondack fly fishing guide who works from Lake Placid village, demonstrates his skill catching native brown trout. Photo submitted by Forrest Fisher.

SPRINGVILLE — Earlier this week, New York state and national outdoor writers were able to visit with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Joe Martens in the Adirondack Olympic village of Lake Placid, site of the world-famous 1980 USA-Russia hockey game known as the “Miracle On Ice.”

With chilly mornings beginning to turn green leaves to red, orange and yellow hues, Martens started his address by reminding everyone that the New York Adirondack State Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States, covering about 6.1 million acres of land, and that more people visit the Adirondacks than Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon combined, which works out to approximately 10 million people.

Martens discussed the new changes in the license cost, saying that the decrease in license fees will help everyone enjoy the outdoors in a more affordable way, but, at the same time, the New York State Conservation Fund would only remain solvent for about four years. Doug Stang, assistant director of the NYSDEC’s office of fish, wildlife and marine resources, added that New York is the only state that has offered a reduced license fee anywhere in the northeast, in an attempt to attract more people to fishing and hunting.

Dave Figura, outdoor editor for the Syracuse Post-Standard, asked Martens about amending current DEC staff shortages and fish hatchery issues, instead of lowering the cost of the hunting and fishing license, especially since sportsmen did not ask for this decrease; it was implemented by the Cuomo administration. Martens said that there has been belt-tightening all around the state, in many departments, but that getting more people into the outdoors with the lower cost was a focus of the administration.

Steve Piat, editor of the bi-weekly New York Outdoor News magazine, asked Martens about the loss of crossbow hunting in New York state, relating that Assemblyman Sweeney from Long Island has said he will block any attempt to make crossbow hunting legal. Martens said that the department actually favors bringing crossbows back for hunter use, and is looking into means that might help induce a more favorable position on use of the crossbow.

Martens discussed another new development for New York outdoor folks, with the recent agreement to acquire 69,000 acres of land near Indian Lake in the Adirondacks, now known as the Finch-Pruyn acquisition, making this the largest single addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve in more than a century.

Martens also said that people who want to know more about the watchable wildlife in the Adirondacks can pick up the new, 248-page “New York Wildlife Viewing Guide” that offers more than 100 of New York’s best wildlife viewing sites. Marten said everyone can find their favorite mammal, bird, reptile or insect in the manual, including pictures of soaring eagles, spectacular moose and playful river otters. Readers can choose from hundreds of trails, miles of rivers, marshes, wetlands and other easily accessible viewing areas.

You can buy the guide in hard copy, add it to your e-reader or other electronic device, or, for a limited time, you can also get the guide for free, by subscribing to the Conservationist Magazine, New York’s award-winning outdoor nature magazine, at

The outdoor writer core of more than 200 columnists visited the area to share in an annual conference of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Many said that they enjoyed the Lake Placid area, as well as fishing in the world-famous west branch of the Ausable River, known for wild brown trout. An evening hatch of trico flies is still in progress, during evening hours before sunset, providing anglers with excellent opportunities to catch fish with conventional fly-fishing means.

While fishing one evening, I was fortunate to see lots of wildlife. That included three curious deer, who watched me attempt my best fly casting demonstration, which, admittedly, is not very good. During the same trip, a 30-pound beaver worked on building his dam a bit higher. A moment later, a beautiful osprey soared from high overhead, to latch onto a 3-pound brown trout and take off, screeching his usual call, an eerie sound amidst the gentle trickle sound of the river – a good reminder that the Adirondacks are still a very rugged and wild area, with moose and black bear populations also on the rise.

Parents should plan to attend NHF day

Another great National Hunting and Fishing Day is planned for Elma Conservation Club, located at 600 Creek Road in Elma, Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., rain or shine. The event is free. There are more than 20 learning stations for kids and adults to test their skills and learn new ones. Sponsored by the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, in conjunction with the Elma Conservation Club and NYSDEC, the event celebrates the 42nd annual National Hunting and Fishing Day.

Western New Yorkers and outdoors enthusiasts of all ages are invited to attend this event, to enhance your knowledge of the natural world around us, and to learn how the sporting heritage protects and assures diverse wildlife and waterway treasures. Activities include bass fishing tips, walleye tactics, waterway protections, habitat access program, trap shooting, field dog demos, trapping and fur handling, waterfowl management, turkey calling, archery and crossbow shooting, air rifle range, the DEC and its role in conservation stewardship, dangers of invasive species and more. For more information, contact Rich Davenport at or 510-7952.

WNY Bowhunting festival at Swain

Archers can measure their arrow shooting skills and have some fun in Allegany County, during the fourth annual Western New York Bowhunting Festival, held September 21-22 at Swain Resort, about 50 minutes south of Rochester.

The 3-D courses are set out on more than 100 acres in Allegany county and feature more than 100 targets, archery competition, live big buck display, hunting and trapping dealers, seminars and demonstrations, mount scoring, tree stand shootout, lots of kids activities, live music and primitive camping. Courses and shooting are non-competitive, unless you want to enter the tree stand shoot-out or the competition course. There will be vendors, seminars and demonstrations for all ages and interests.

For the kids, there will be age-appropriate instruction safety clinics, and professional trick shooter Bob Ranalletta will share tips and pointers for aspiring hunters, throughout the weekend. There will be a separate shooting range and balloon shoot for kids, as well as a limited number of youth bows available for kids to borrow, with adult supervision. The ski lift will operate for rides to the top, and The Shawmut Grille will be serving up food and drink, throughout the weekend, with live music on Saturday night, by Anton Flint.

One-day spectator passes are $4, archery shooting passes are $25 for the weekend or $20 for Saturday and $15 for Sunday, lift rides for non-shooters is $5 per day. For more information, call Celeste Schoonover at 814-203-0467 or email

Outdoor calendar
Sept. 25: 3-D Archery Shoot, Evans Rod & Gun, Cain Road, 4 p.m.-dusk, call 549-0333, for more information.

Sept. 25: 3-D Archery Shoot, East Aurora Fish & Game, 1016 Luther Road, East Aurora, 5 p.m.-dusk, unlimited shooting, target bunks, open to the public. Call 982-7069, for more information.

Sept. 28-29: Annual Hunting Exposition, Seneca Allegany Casino and Hotel, 777 Seneca Allegany Road in Salamanca, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 569-6810 or visit

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