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Outdoors notebook: SCOPE banquet brings array of awards

Shooters Committee on Political Education (SCOPE), a major gun-rights organization in New York State, presented several awards during its 50th annual awards banquet at Lucarelli’s Banquet Center in Lackawanna Oct. 17.

Rob Astorino, 2014 gubernatorial candidate, served as keynote speaker, stressed the need to protect and defend second-amendment rights and introduced a slate of distinguished presenters and recipients.

Tommy Thompson, Revolutionary War re-enactor, presented the Thomas Paine Award for defending the second amendment to state assemblyman David DiPietro.

Attorney Paloma Capanna presented the Legislator of the Year Award to state assemblyman Peter Lopez.

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss presented the Defender of the Constitution Award to Paloma Capanna.

Joe McAdams presented a Distinguished Service Award to Carl Leas, Erie County SCOPE chapter chairman.

Harold “Budd” Schroeder, a National Rifle Association board member and SCOPE chairman of the board, presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Michael Mastrogiovanni and a Media Service Award to Rod Watson, Buffalo News editorial writer for his column coverage questioning aspects of the state Safe Act.

SCOPE president Stephen Aldstadt presented a Leadership Award to John McHenry and President Awards to Bill Fox, Kevin Sisson, John Perraciny, and Les Wilson.

Maine bear hunt produces memories

When it comes to relating details about bear hunting with hounds in Maine, the only press coverage that pursuit receives each fall hunting season is protest efforts from anti-hunter groups attempting every legislative year to end bear hunts with dogs in that state.

A duo of Western New York Safari Club International hunter/members from Clarence headed to Bob Lawrence’s Lakeside Lodge in the Rockwood/Moosehead Lake area of Maine on Sept. 27 for the start of bear and moose season.

Dr. Joe Weiss had taken a 300-pound bear in Ontario weeks earlier and chose to go as an observer, letting partner Bill Scott take the shot while guide Peter Statton worked the dogs. 

Statton, handling his GPS-equipped hounds (a beagle, a Plott hound and a Walker), each morning checked bait stands where trail cameras were set up to see if bigger, trophy-sized bears had worked the baits.

With all this technology, bait sets and excellent dog breeds, bears were either outrunning the dogs or cross scents of other creatures (coyotes, moose, etc.) and fashioned escapes until the morning of Sept. 30 when the dogs finally cornered one Scott could shoot. Weiss wrote, “The big bear had one dog pinned down with his foot and another he sent whizzing past Bill with the slap of his paw.”

Weiss watched as the bear charged Scott and the guide. Scott’s shot dropped the charging bear between their feet. The bear weighed in at about 275 pounds.

Since the re was enough sausage meats from Weiss’s Ontario harvest, the Bears meat was onated to the cook at Lawrence’s Lakeside Lodge. 

“Once you have chased bears with hounds, you will never be content spending hours sitting at a bait,” Weiss concluded.

It’s the season to talk turkey

Fall turkey season has been reduced to less than two weeks this year (Oct. 17 to 30) in Western New York, but North Tonawanda hunter Ed Belbas got out early on opening day in Allegany County and started the season with a personal record. Belbas said, “I just sent out clucks and purrs about every 25 minutes after sunrise and this bird came in at 8:20 a.m.” That tom weighed in at 23 pounds.

Turkey season continues daily, sunrise to sunset, until Friday. Bag limit for the fall season is one bird per hunter.