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Will Elliott’s outdoors: Activities abound on National Hunting & Fishing Day

National Hunting & Fishing Day, an annual celebration of the contributions and achievements hunters and anglers provide the public and this country’s outdoors resources, is held each year on the last weekend in September at sizeable and small sites nationally.

President Nixon described the celebration as a way to “…join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources,” when the day was launched in 1972. NH&F Day has celebrated those contributions with celebrity honorary chairs and hands-on activities for adults and kids at sites across the nation.

Honorary chairs have included Jim “Catfish” Hunter in 1976, Terry Bradshaw in 1980, Arnold Palmer in 1985, George Bush in 1991, Jeff Foxworthy in 2007 and this year features Jim and Eva Shockey.

The Shockeys typify the psychic involvement of hunters and anglers across the North American continent. In video productions, afield and on the water, the Vancouver-based father-daughter duo bring a concern for wildlife and a genuine love for the pursuit on every outing.

That love for the outdoors will be shared at sites around Western New York this coming weekend with Saturday events at many clubs and three major gatherings set in Erie, Niagara and Genesee Counties.

Erie County

Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs affiliates hold their annual NH&F Day events at Elma Conservation Club, 600 Creek Rd., each year with a variety of things to see and hands-on things to do.

“We place the emphasis here mostly on the kids,” said event chairman Rich Davenport while setting up activities to be enjoyed at the Elma Club. Experts providing tips on fishing for bass, walleye and other popular area fish species. DEC personnel man an impressive display booth, and other attractions. Davenport announced expanded features at the air rifle range the Lackawanna Club will be providing, a crossbow range along with other archery shoots and an enhanced casting clinic for kids and adults.

Activities go from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, with free drawings for youth prizes and Sahlen’s hot dogs served at lunch. Bring kids and look for an enjoyable day of outdoors involvements in and around the grounds at Elma Conservation Club.

DEC Region 8

For decades DEC Region 8 headquarters in Avon had been the site of NH&F Day weekend events, with able assistance from members the Livingston County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. DEC officials did not renew a permit for use of headquarters grounds this year, and the Livingston County Federation has taken the lead in the region with a new and promising site at the Mumford Sportsmen’s Club at 8667 Gulf Road. As before, the event will be held both days of the weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. All events/activities are free. Hands-on participation includes 3-D archery targets, clay targets with a shotgun, and air rifles on a Crosman Arms shooting range with all shooting supplies provided for shooters.

The county federation will disperse free door prizes each half hour of the event and affiliated clubs will be on hand to describe their functions and contributions. New York Crossbow coalition will have a booth at Mumford.

For more details on this new NH&F Day site, check with Livingston County Federation president Mark Osypian at (585) 301-2818.

Niagara County

This year the New York Power Authority’s Power Vista celebrates 30 years of presenting its Wildlife Festival as part of NH&F Day. Co-sponsored with Niagara County Federation of Conservation Clubs, the Wildlife Festival features more than 40 exhibitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday with free admission and free parking both days.

Live creature demonstrations will be provided. Look for expert presentations from Aquarium of Niagara, Buffalo Zoomobile, Hawk Creek Wildlife Center and Nickel City Reptiles & Exotics inside the Power Vista, along with many outdoors exhibits.

A Ducks Unlimited-sanctioned calling contest will be held in the center tent. To register as a competitor, call 773-1385.

A Kids Fishing Derby is open to children ages 15 and younger. Entry is free and details will be shared at the NYPA information tent. Even cooks can compete at this festival. An Outdoor Recipe Contest invites culinary-creation entries from campers and hunting-camp cooks; winners will be included in a Wildlife Festival outdoor cookbook. Submit receipts at:

Hands-on activities include archery, air rifle and crossbow shooting; live birds and crafts presentations and many more things to see and do. For more Wildlife Festival details, visit