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Outdoors Notebook: New fishing regulations worth a shot

Chautauqua Lake anglers can target muskellunge starting Saturday (the last Saturday in May), but fish caught out of season can no longer be held up for photo taking.

Regulations posted in the “Freshwater Fishing Guide” effective April 1 moves the musky season for Chautauqua County from the third Saturday in June to the May date.

But new rules no longer allow photo shoots of fish species that are out of season. A highlighted “General Regulations” entry on page 52 of the “Freshwater Fishing Official Regulations Guide” notes: “Fish caught during the closed season must be unhooked and released immediately. They may not be handled for any other purpose, including taking a photo.”

Shots taken and often posted on social media of fish held up for the camera are banned. “It’s a ticketable offense. … People posing with fish for pictures … often spend too much time dilly-dallying and don’t return the fish immediately to the water. This was designed to protect the fish species,” wrote Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lori Severino.

Some social media posts have been critical of this new regulation.

Double turkey take

Paul and Ann Zebrowski took the 18-hour drive to Fullerton, Neb., for three days of non-stop activity with Merriam- and Rio-strain turkey. The couple took three Merriams with their 20-gauge shotguns on Nebraska Outfitter lands, the first turkeys they have tagged.

Paul writes, “Well, we are hooked on it (turkey hunting) now.”

Riverkeeper honored

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper received the International River Foundation North American Riverprize, a global recognition for excellence in river restoration and protection, the first time this honor has been presented.

Jill Jedlicka, Riverkeeper executive director, accepted the award May 2 at a ceremony in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., as part of an annual River Rally that draws river professionals from across North America.

To find out more about Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper and join a nearby Citizens Engagement Program Riverkeeper conducts, visit

Poaching penalties

The national and state chapters of Quality Deer Management Association seek support for New York Senate bill 4727 and Assembly bill A7171, which would allow for greater penalties for the illegal taking of big game.

Nationally, minimum average fines are just over $350 with a range of $0 to $1,500 per offense. New York State currently sets fines at $0 to $250 with a ceiling of $2,000. Proposed legislation would set a minimum mandatory fine of $1,000 for a first offense and for persons with a previous poaching conviction a minimum fine of $2,000 would be imposed, plus the loss of hunting privileges for five years.

For a summary of deer poaching information nationally, visit

Summer institute

A Summer Teacher Institute will be held at the Reinstein Woods Environmental Education Center in Depew July 28 and 29 for educators of grades kindergarten to eight in Western New York.

Hands-on activities focused on environmental topics will assist teachers in arts and sciences studies. For more details and online registration information, call 683-5959.