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Contributors from WNY receive honors

Outdoors contributors from Western New York fared well in selections for induction into the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame.

During induction ceremonies at the NYSOHOF Banquet at the Rusty Rail Restaurant in Canastota April 31, five present were from or had extensive connections with Western New York outdoors involvements.

In alphabetical order, these recipients were extolled for their volunteer efforts -- as either professional or social contributors -- to enhance resources and others' enjoyed experience of the outdoors.

Stephen Aldstadt devotes countless hours to clubs, federations, councils and all individuals interested in furthering the rights and privileges of those involved in gun ownership, hunting and all aspects of shooting sports. A past president of Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Aldstadt currently serves as statewide chairman of SCOPE (Shooter Committee On Political Education).

Scott Cornett works professionally as a Department of Environmental Conservation Region 9 Senior Aquatic Biologist. But Cornett has been selected for NYSOHOF induction based on his extensive efforts long before and after his regular office and field duties.

"Without him, many of the stream upgrades we have would not be in place," said Chuck Godfrey, of Cornett's many hours spent on projects such as the recent Wiscoy Creek improvements.

Joe Fischer of Cheektowaga has been overdue for NYSOHOF induction for years. Fischer currently chairs the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board, handles many committees with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, and serves as chairman of the NYSS Conservation Council Fisheries Committee. Many a youth became interested in fishing after receiving his or her first fishing rod and reel at a fishing clinic Fischer supported with coordination and financial support from commercial and governmental sponsors.

John Jeanneney lives in Berne in Albany County, but his connections with area hunters are extensive. Jeanneney founded Deer Search in 1986, a leashed-dog tracking program, which has resulted in the successful recovery of countless wounded deer in this state, the U.S. and internationally for decades.

Gary Huber introduced Jeanneney and credited him as a mentor to him and legions of other tracking-dog handlers around the world. Huber heads the WNY Chapter of Deer Search. Jeanneney's latest book, "Dead On!" is a useful text for both handlers of tracking dogs and anyone interested in improving their hunting and tracking skills.

Randy Opferbeck of Allegany enhances all that is wild turkey-calling, hunting and involving youth in the pursuit. Opferbeck was one of the first pro staffers to start with Quaker Boy Game Calls in Orchard Park. He has served in many capacities with National Wild Turkey Federation and is a founder of the JAKES (Junior Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) program.

Also, Bob Kazmierski, coordinator of the Wildlife Sports and Education Museum in Vails Mills near Johnstown, was inducted as a contributor of space and learning materials for the NYSOHOF now located at the museum.

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Camp scholars

Two teens received honors and a camp invitation for their winning entries in the Emily Timbrook Memorial Scholarship program for the Department of Environmental Conservation Camp Rushford.

Awards went to Colton Salatka of Cheektowaga, and Amanda Klubek of Orchard Park for essays they wrote about their experiences at the DEC Camp Rushford last summer.

Space is still available at Camp Rushford for children ages 11 to 13. For registration details, go to dec.ny.gov/education/29.html.

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Chautauqua honorees

During the recent Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Annual Banquet at Lakewood Rod & Gun Club, top honors went to Zen Olow of Fredonia for his untiring and extensive efforts. Olow received the Conservationist of the Year Award for his service as chair of the Chautauqua County Fishery Advisory Board, co-chair of numerous conservation events and programs in and around Chautauqua County.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff's Dept. awarded Falconer Rod & Gun Club for its hunter training program. Kylee Lindahl received the Falconer Rod & Gun Club Junior Sportsman Award; Matt Lindahl accepted the Senior Award. Jamestown Rifle and Pistol Club presented its top achievement award to Michaha Swinaford; and Lakewood Rod & Gun Club Service Awards went to Ed Calkin and Mike Masters.

In all corners at all gatherings attendees had the opportunity to give recognition and thanks to these recipients and all who strive to keep outdoors resources bountiful and enjoyable.

email: odrswill@gmail.com