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Rod, Gun & Game: Bring outdoor fun into the classroom, with free magazine for kids

SPRINGVILLE — Our kids are our future. With that in mind, New York has gotten a leg up, on most of the other states, by bringing the great outdoors to our kids, via a free publication delivered to their classrooms.

Young people can learn about the oysters in salt water bays around Long Island or crayfish in streams that empty into Lake Erie and appreciate the live miracles of fishes, birds and other animals that live in their home state.

As our school kids pass through the fourth grade, the free publication, titled “Conservationist for Kids,” is delivered to them as a courtesy, by the New York State Department of Conservation. Every issue contains information and activities about the outdoor world and encourages the exploration of that exciting playground.

Teachers receive 30 copies of Conservationist for Kids, plus a one-page teacher lesson plan supplement. Fourth-grade public school teachers located in New York, who are not already receiving Conservationist for Kids, may be added to the mailing list by emailing or calling 518-402-8043.

Each booklet contains activity sheets, resources and links to websites that teachers can use, to enhance the natural quality of their classrooms.

The DEC provides many other resources for teachers and informal educators, who are incorporating nature study and environmental themes into their classroom and youth activities. These include workshops for educators, poster contests and more.

More information can be found online at and posters of New York wildlife are available as PDF files that can be downloaded and printed.

Non-educators may receive Conservationist for Kids at home, by subscribing to the NYS Conservationist Magazine, which is sent out six times, each year, for a cost of $12. Conservationist for Kids is inserted into the February, April and October Conservationist Magazine issues.

To subscribe, call 1-800-678-6399 or visit the Conservationist Magazine website,

This publication celebrates natural New York. Each issue is packed with informative and entertaining articles, photography and stunning artwork. Fishing, hiking, recreation, travel, hunting and nature studies are all featured, in this award-winning conservationist magazine.

Recent articles have included the story and photography of an aerial battle between a peregrine falcon and a snowy owl, a story that describes the sound of a male woodcock and his mating calls, Lake George shipwrecks, New York’s orchid flowers, fire towers of the Adirondacks and Catskills, tubing white-water rivers of New York and winter birds.

When you subscribe to the magazine, you will also receive a free “NYS Critter Guide,” a pocket-sized reference manual that contains profiles of 50 of New York’s most common mammal, bird, amphibian and reptile species. The magazine includes photographs and lots of information about each species.

Andrew Cuomo hailed original 1994 gun plan
According to Larry Keane and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Mayor R.T. Rybak of Minneapolis, Minn. said, on Minneapolis Public Radio, that he and 60 other mayors are considering boycotting gun-makers who will not support a sweeping list of gun control demands. Keane said that he suspects that these mayors will use their police department-purchasing power to affect gun sales business.

Keane pointed out that the new gun control idea is a resurrected plan from the President Bill Clinton Administration, spearheaded by then-Housing and Urban Development Secretary and now Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo, to do the same, with federal agencies.

A successful court action by the NSSF countered the gun-control issues, at that time. This idea was re-awakened in 2010, by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who originally requested that gun-makers curtail all semi-automatic firearms, to escape the related loss of business.

According to Keane, Rybak said that he had mentioned this boycott idea to President Barack Obama and “Obama and his staff were delighted, by the idea.” Perhaps by no coincidence, Obama visited Minneapolis on Feb. 4, for the first of a lengthy series of campaign-style gun control pep rallies. The NSSF may reopen the old Cuomo files; the files where Cuomo lost the case.

There must be a better way to address these issues and better analyze and identify the root causes of these mass shootings. We don’t remove all cars from the road, to keep drunk drivers from causing accidents. The same analogy applies to the path taken, here.

NYS pheasant-raising opportunities
To provide pheasant-hunting opportunities, the NYSDEC is accepting applications for the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, to enhance opportunities for pheasant-hunting in New York. This partnership between the DEC, sportsmen and sportswomen, 4-H participants and landowners interested in rearing and releasing pheasants, is open for new applicants. The DEC distributed 42,408 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants, last year.

Through this program, chicks are delivered, at no cost, to interested parties, who can provide brooding facilities, covered, outdoor rearing pens and adequate release sites.

Approved applicants will receive the chicks, during April, May or June. No chicks obtained through this program may be released on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved, in advance, by the DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. The program is funded through the state conservation fund, from license fees paid by hunters, trappers and anglers.

Participants must monitor the birds’ health and ensure that adequate food and water is provided, for the rapidly-growing chicks. The pheasants may be released when they are 8 weeks old; this must be done no later than Dec. 1.

The application deadline is March 15. Residents of Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties may apply, by calling 372-0645.

Wal-Mart ammunition purchase limit

According to, Wal-Mart has recently announced that it will limit customers to a daily ammunition purchase of three boxes. The boom in the sale of ammunition and firearms started with the advent of gun control legislation, with many Wal-Marts and other ammunition supply stores’ going out of stock, for several weeks.

Outdoor calendar
– Feb. 10: WNY winter 3D league archery shoot. Open to the public at the Collins Center Conservation Club, located on Conger Road. For more information, call Mike Matala at 337-0126.

– Feb. 13: Trap shooting, West Falls Conservation Club, 55 Bridge St., West Falls. Open to the public, beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, call Dave at 652-8509.

– Feb. 15: New York state weasel, opossum, raccoon, skunk and fox-hunting seasons close.

– Feb. 16: Southtowns Walleye installation dinner and awards banquet, Lucarelli’s, 1830 Abbott Road, Lackawanna; 6 p.m. – midnight. To purchase tickets, call Mike McCloud at 941-5314.

– Feb. 16 and 17: Seneca Allegany Sportsmen’s Show, Seneca Allegany Events Center, Salamanca, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, visit

– Feb. 16: Harry Staebell Memorial Archery Shoot. Open to the public from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. West Falls Conservation Society, 55 Bridge St., West Falls. For more information, email Bob Pfeil at or call Mike Cummins at 432-6035.

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

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