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Rod, Gun and Game: New firearms legislation will take will take effect on April 15

ALBANY — Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials publicly admitted to several mistakes that were made, during their push to pass the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act. After intense public pressure, Cuomo and other lawmakers discussed possible amendments to the new law, during last week’s state budget negotiations. Much of the focus was on the seven-round magazine limit.

Prospects for making the law more lenient disappeared, when a tentative budget agreement was reached, late last week. Many of the SAFE Act’s restrictive provisions will take effect on April 15.

Sportsmen, across the state, are wondering why Cuomo appears determined to continue with his gun restrictions, even after acknowledging the flaws in his law. Legislatures in 52 New York counties have either passed or proposed resolutions against the SAFE Act.

Despite this opposition, the governor has continued to turn a deaf ear to the thousands of New Yorkers who have protested the SAFE Act.

While many people agree with the SAFE Act’s recommendation of mental health checks and 100 percent National Instant Criminal Background Check System scans for firearm purchases, one chief objection is that no public input was sought, as the law was pushed through both the Senate and Assembly, in just a few hours.

The United States Department of Justice announced that it will be allocating $20 million in grants, to improve NICS.

Last week, the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association filed a complaint, in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, challenging the SAFE Act. The RPA reported that it will continue to stand by its New York members and push for the repeal of this law, which many call unconstitutional, and will continue to support litigation that challenges the SAFE Act.

The NYS RPA is the largest and oldest firearms advocacy organization in New York state. Since 1871, the NYS RPA has been dedicated to the preservation of Second Amendment rights, firearm safety, education and training and the shooting sports, with membership consisting of individuals and clubs throughout the state. Visit, for more about the NYS RPA.

Food plot seminar
Food plot expert and East Aurora resident Paul Cwiklinski will present a seminar about obtaining deer hunting success with small land parcels, with effective food plot nurturing.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 6, from 12:30 – 4 p.m. at the West Falls Conservation Society, located at 55 Bridge St. in West Falls. A butchering demonstration will be part of the seminar and local vendors will be on hand, to provide taxidermy tips, camouflage clothing advice and demonstrations about various types of food plot seed choices. Master Chef Mike Cummins will offer his usual assortment of outdoor food.

Proceeds will benefit the Region 9 Youth Archery Program and the Junior Olympic Archery Program, which includes Olympic Archery Dream Team hopeful Samantha Reese.

For more information, call Cwiklinski at 479-2824.

Ammunition reloading gains interest
With soaring ammunition costs and shortages of cartridges on store shelves’ making headlines, many competitive and recreational gun users are wondering how they are going to find or afford enough rounds, to continue with their chosen sports.

Some people have turned to reloading their own ammunition. Approximately one in four respondents to a recent poll said that they reload.

The top reason provided was to save money, followed by an effort to improve accuracy. Other reasons listed were to obtain hard-to-find rounds and to reduce waste.

Other participants wrote that they reload for fun, relaxation and enjoyment. “Some people view reloading as a niche activity, though the survey results show [that], with as many as a quarter of avid shooters assembling their own rounds, it is a popular activity,” President of Southwick Associates Rob Southwick said.

View survey results at, or

State of Lake Erie
The Southtowns Walleye Association will host the 2013 State of Lake Erie meeting on Thursday, April 11. The event will be held in the association’s new clubhouse, located at 5895 Southwestern Blvd. in Hamburg.

The meeting will be held, in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and in cooperation with New York Assemblyman Sean Ryan and the New York State Sea Grant Great Lakes program from the University of Buffalo.

Moderator Helen Domske will present the latest Lake Erie news. Featured presentations will include “Status of the Warm Water Fish Community,” by NYS DEC Lake Erie Unit Leader Don Einhouse; “Status of the Cold Water Fish Community,” by NYS DEC Senior Fishery Biologist Jim Markham; “The New WNY Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management,” with Dr. Chris Pennuto of University at Buffalo, The State University of New York and “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Program Update,” by Fishery Biologist Denise Clay.

For more information, contact Domske at 645-3610 or email

Ice boom
The Niagara River’s ice boom was removed from the river’s head, last week. New ice moving down the river will limit shore fishing opportunities, in some areas, for a few days.

Shore anglers typically find rainbow trout from Bird Island Pier and Broderick Park at the foot of West Ferry. Anglers can target trout, by drifting egg sacs and minnows, or by casting spoons. As Lake Erie and Upper Niagara harbors loose surface ice, summer boating access areas are good places to target trout and panfish.

Emerald shiners are still the best bait, during the spring and summer, and are plentiful, right now. Utilize these for shore dipping, with a minnow net.

Dunkirk and Barcelona harbors are good locations, for early season anglers. The DEC reported that anglers at the Dunkirk city pier have been catching steelhead on spoons and small jigs, tipped with a minnow or grub, under a float.

The DEC also reported that wind conditions have influenced floating ice masses in the harbor and limited pier fishing at times, depending on which way the winds blew.

Barcelona Harbor will experience ice-out, any day now, and will be another hot fishing spot, in which to target trout, when the ice disappears.

Trout stocking list
Following the DEC’s trout-stocking, the April 1 trout opener saw many anglers’ wetting lines, across area streams that were experiencing snow melt runoff and elevated water levels.

Hatchery staff delivered thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout for stocking, by Western New York volunteers.

Call the Randolph Hatchery fish stocking hotline at 358-4950, or check for weekly stocking updates.

To view the 2013 spring trout list of stocked waters and the number of trout stocked, visit

Local trout stream maps are also available online, by visiting the website at

Outdoor calendar
– April 6: Food plot seminar, West Falls Conservation Club, 55 Bridge St., West Falls. Noon – 4 p.m. For more information, call Paul Cwiklinski at 479-2824.

– April 6 and 7: New York hunter safety training, Erie County Conservation Society, Holland. Begins at 8 a.m. For more information, call 655-2328 or 807-5116.

– April 11: State of Lake Erie meeting, Southtowns Walleye Association Clubhouse, 5895 Southwestern Blvd., Hamburg, 7 – 9 p.m.

– April 13: NYS archery safety course, Springville Field & Stream, 7 a.m. Register and obtain course materials at the Concord clerk’s office, for use inhome study.

– April 13: Rochester Quality Deer Management Association banquet and auction, Lima Country Club. For more information, call 585-813-2021.

– April 13: Niagara National Wild Turkey Federation banquet, Ransomville Fire Company. For more information, call 791-3151.

– April 13: Niagara County Federation of Conservation Club, Suzanne’s Fine Dining, Wheatfield. For more information, call 433-3547.

– April 14: 3D wild animal archery shoot, Hawkeye Bowmen, 13300 Clinton St., Marilla. Breakfast begins at 6 a.m., with the archery event from 7 – noon. For more information, call 998-4857.

– April 14: NYS hunter safety, Elma Conservation, 660 Creek Road. For more information, call 681-5690.

Send outdoor information, 10 days in advance, to

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