Hunters, anglers and trappers do much more than consume fish and wildlife while enjoying their various sports. Many sporting groups, clubs, federations and associations dedicate considerable time and funds to sustaining the environment and providing worthwhile public services.
The Western and Central New York chapter of Safari Club International, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, Christmas and a year-long sense of sharing, assembles baskets of food (averaging 65 pounds each) and delivers them to 100 needy recipients each year during the holidays. The holiday gift baskets are part of the Sportsmen and Sportswomen Against Hunger program, one of many items on SCI's Five Year Summary of Projects list.
"This year, the project also collected and will distribute 3,000 pounds of deer meat to various soup kitchens throughout central and Western New York," said project coordinator Bob Keicher.
Other major outdoor-related projects include Feed the Wildlife ($60,000); Wood Duck Boxes ($17,050); Mallard Nests ($5,875); and Tree Planting ($21,400) among other projects totaling $258,025 to be dedicated during a period which will be completed in six years.
What does not get entered on any of the balance sheets is the shared efforts of skilled SCI members -- not just during the holiday season -- when it comes time to build buildings, assemble and install wood duck boxes and mallard nests, repair wildlife shelters and fenced areas, plant trees at the right time during the year and countless other days of volunteer outdoors work which rarely gets noticed and praised.
Outdoor groups all around Western New York conduct similar projects throughout the year, quietly enriching lives indoors and outdoors.
Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs, now in its 53rd year, elected officers at its meeting Dec. 15: Chris Schotz, president; David Lavery, vice president; William R. Hilts, Jr., secretary; Gordon F. Botting, Sr., treasurer; and John Richards and Gerald Bennett, NYS Conservation Council delegates.
Golden on browns
Last year's stream stocking of two-year-old browns met with mainly favorable responses. By late spring, stream regulars gladly accepted the reduced numbers of fish (8- to 9-inch stock) in favor of 12- to 14-inch second-year browns.
A Department of Environmental Conservation postcard survey gathered nearly 1,000 responses. More than 85 percent indicated support for the stocking program. The Caledonia Hatchery is rearing another 90,000 for stocking as two year olds this coming spring.
Gray on wolves
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a recovery plan in 1992 for the endangered eastern timber wolf, identifying the Adirondack Forest Preserve as a potential release area. Defenders of Wildlife has begun an aggressive promotion effort to restore wolves in the Adirondacks. Area hunters, as well as Adirondack hunting groups and the NYS Conservation Council, oppose the introduction of a predator, like the now-present coyote, which could further threaten populations of smaller game animals and birds.
Dan Tone of West Falls, second vice president of NYSCC, says, "Two resolutions were passed in September in opposition of wolf restoration in the Adirondack region based on 'biological, practical and safety reasons.' "
Rudy Lupp of Buffalo may be entering the Pope and Young record books with a 130-pound, male mountain lion he took with a bow during an early December hunt in Swan Valley State Forest near Condon, Montana. Lupp must wait for the official measurements of the head, but he didn't wait to get the animal to a Condon taxidermist for a full mount.
Foothills Trail Club hikers meet at 10 Saturday morning for a Forest Lawn & Delaware Park hike. Call Ed and Jean Frank (876- 2721). Sunday, a Traffic Street Forest Tract hike starts at 9:30 a.m. at Dooley's parking lot on Route 219 and East Otto Road. Call Pete Ruszczyk (838-5550).
Letchworth State Park Interpretive Programs offers three events Saturday: A Wolf Creek Trek car pools from the Castile Entrance Gate at 10 a.m.; a Novice Nature Ski Hike begins at 2 p.m. at Trailside Lodge; and an Intermediate Nature Ski Hike begins at 2:30 p.m. Trailside Lodge is the site of three events on Sunday: A Novice Nature Ski Hike at 12:30 p.m.; a Winter Wonder Walk at 2 p.m.; and an Intermediate Nature Ski Hike at 3:30 p.m. A Kisil Point Trek begins from Silver Lake Outlet Bridge Wednesday morning at 10. For details on all activities, call 493-3625.
NOTE: Send items to Will Elliott, 648 Ransom Road, Lancaster, 14086.