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Change makes '08 even safer for hunters

Records are made to be rebroken.

An earlier summary report lauded New York State hunters for their care and caution during the 2008 seasons. Statistics pegged the 2008 season in a tie with 2005 for the safest big-game season ever reported.

Further investigations of reported Hunting Related Shooting Incidents (HRSI) disclosed that two of those incidents were not hunting-related shootings.

With these disclosures, statistics for both big-game and overall hunting HRSI reports has the 2008 seasons rated as the safest year for hunting-related mishaps.

The 2008 totals dropped from 29 to 27. Both had been listed as non-fatal shooting injuries. This decline continues a decade-long trend of safety, which makes the 2000s the safest decade ever.

Ken Baginski, DEC hunter safety coordinator at the Allegany office points out, "These record-breaking numbers for HRSIs come in a year more areas opened to rifle hunting during big-game season and the first year junior hunters (ages 14 and 15) had big-game hunting privileges."

To view the statistics and the entire DEC hunter safety program, go to dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.

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Bad bird food

Birders have been cautioned to check bird feed containing peanuts, especially suet cakes. Scotts Co. has recalled five varieties of these cakes that may contain infected peanuts from the Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga. See affected lot numbers at www.fda.gov/oc/po/firmrecalls/scotts02_0 9.html.

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Federation pheasant forum

Guests attending the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs Annual Awards Banquet and Fundraiser at Father Justin's Knights of Columbus in Cheektowaga on Saturday will see a presentation from Mike Murphy, wildlife biologist with the DEC Game Bird Unit.

Murphy supervises the Reynolds Game Farm, a pheasant-rearing facility recently involved in a heated status controversy. For last-minute banquet reservations, check with Dan Tone (655-0975).

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Slips up

Boat owners can enter a lottery drawing for slips at Big Six Mile Creek Marina and Beaver Island Marina for the 2009 season. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will accept applications delivered or postmarked on or before Monday for the drawing held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Beaver Island State Park Office.

For application information, call the park office (773-3271).

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Diary doings

DEC Region 9 fishery officials will conduct an angler diary program for Wiscoy Creek. The program, similar to the survey in 2006, will gather reports of anglers who fish Wiscoy, even once, this season through Oct. 31. Call 372-0645 or e-mail: fwfish9@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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