Outdoors columnist Will Elliott, who often has lobbied for other Western New Yorkers to be considered for the same honor, was named as one of eight new members to be inducted to the New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canastota. The eight will be honored for a lifetime of dedication to conservation and improving participation in outdoor sports.
Elliott, who grew up in Evans and now lives in Pavilion, recently celebrated 26 years as outdoors columnist for The News. He followed his mother and father into the news business. His mother once was a correspondent for the paper in Evans, Angola and Brant and his father worked for nearly 50 years in the paper's mail room.
"I remember going out with my mother to get election returns at the firehouses when I was a little kid," Elliott recalled.
Among the several awards Elliott has won writing about the great outdoors was first prize in the newspaper/shooting sports category presented by the Outdoor Writers Association of America for a 2008 column about pistol instructor Jim Carr.
Elliott has been retired for 13 years after teaching English at Depew High School for 33 years. He turned his writing skill and love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities into a second profession, turning out two articles, a voluminous and comprehensive outdoors calendar and a mid-week fishing advisory for The News on a weekly basis since taking over the beat from the late Mike Levy.
"I remember when Howard Smith [retired News executive sports editor] called me in March of 1985 and asked if I would be interested in the job," Elliott said. "It seems like last week."
A champion of conservation, hunting and fishing issues, Elliott has served the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen as well as being on the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board.
Robert Fields of Oneida County, Fred Golofaro of Long Island, Lin Menninger of Onondaga County, Harold Palmer of Otsego County, Ed Pugliese of Onondaga County, Derwood Say of Allegany County and Ed Van Put of Sullivan County are the others who will be honored with Elliott at the Rusty Rail Restaurant in Canastota.
"The next day [May 1] is the opening of the turkey season and virtually everybody in the room will be a hunter, so I will just get off a few wisecracks and sit down," Elliott joked.