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Outdoors notebook: Safe boating week starts with life jacket record in sights

Having and wearing a comfortably fitting life jacket is an essential part of boating safety. The National Safe Boating Councils of the U.S. and Canada will kick off the start of National Safe Boating Week with a well-suited competition on Saturday.

The Sixth Annual “Ready, Set, Wear It!” Life Jacket World Record Day invites participants to gather at key locations to photograph the largest number of wearers at one site. In Western New York, the Cabela’s store in Cheektowaga will suit up as many boaters as possible for this contest; the group photo will be taken at the store at 2 p.m. that day.

Boaters can bring vessels to the Cabela’s store that weekend for a free Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check. Inspections will be conducted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. For more details on these events, call 608-4770.

Turkey takes

Hamburg hunter and sportsman certification instructor Dave Ruzzine will have a great story to share with students attending his future hunter and bowhunter classes.

On May 2, second day of the spring season, Ruzzine called in a big bird just off the roost at 6:15 a.m., after a session of clucks and purrs to draw in a dominant gobbler. That tom weighed in at 24 pounds with a 9-inch beard and 1-inch spurs.

On May 3, friends Thomas Merk and Eric Hahn of Angola hunted near home, working birds off the roost that morning. They located turkeys coming off the roost, but it took two hours of calling and sounds coming from all directions before birds came within sight and range.

Two finally strutted close enough for a double harvest. Merk’s bird, his biggest ever, weighed 24.5 pounds with a 9.5-inch beard and 1.25-inch spurs. Hahn’s haul hit just above 20 pounds and sported an 8.5-inch beard and 1-inch spurs.

Some hunters have heard birds after roost departures each morning, but takes well after sunrise have been mainly of birds silently coming in to calls and decoys. With foliage beginning to form, a few soft, finishing purrs might be in order as the season progresses.

Ray’s kids day

The Lake Erie Chapter of Federation of Fly Fishers holds its Ray Markiewicz Memorial Kids Day at Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center starting at 9 a.m. on June 6.

A $10 fee covers one youth age 9 to 15 and an adult for the program on fly tying, casting and fly-fishing techniques. Registrations are limited; an application and details in PDF form can be downloaded at