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Outdoors notebook: Warm spell puts anglers on thin ice

Ice anglers and outdoor ice skaters are seeing a late, slow start to safe, hard surfaces on area water bodies. With ice formation coming in slow and broken stages, the likelihood of breaking through thin ice may increase this winter season.

The U.S. Swim School Association has issued a guide to surviving a fall through the ice. When ice breaks below a walker, the association suggests breathing normally to endure initial shock of cold water.

Try to keep calm and your head above water. Do not flail your arms; try to grab onto ice in the direction you came onto the ice. Keep outer garments on while in the water to retain body heat and roll rather than stand on the ice when back onto a solid surface. Trace your footsteps off the ice in the direction that you covered on ice.

In general, stay off ice surfaces measuring 3 inches or less. For more details on ice safety, visit and under “Outdoor Articles” scroll to “How to Survive a Fall Through the Ice.”

Outdoor obits

Last week’s lead column cited many notable outdoors persons who passed in 2015. Here are three more significant people who died as the year drew to its end.

Howard “Howie” Leman of Blasdell died Nov. 19. An outstanding tournament and recreational angler, Leman could be relied upon for fish-catching information, especially where kids could get in on the action.

Safari Club International of WNY club members lost a good friend on Thanksgiving morning with the passing of Ron Benn of Boston. Benn has been an active SCI member, deer hunter and recent safari participant.

Elizabeth “Betty” Boice died Dec. 4. She was the wife of George Boice for 64 years, and the couple enjoyed fishing at their Franklinville cabin and both devoted years of service to the New York Walleye Association.

Free firearms courses

The Cabela’s store at 2003 Walden Ave. in Cheektowaga is presenting a series of free courses on topics of firearms safety, ownership, defense, and maintenance.

Expert instructors from the store staff and industry specialists will conduct each class. The series begins this week with a “Gun Storage and Safety” class held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Preregistration is not required.

Fly-tying classes

Orvis Buffalo in the Eastern Hills Mall begins its “Free Fly Tying 101 Classes” Saturday, with instruction from 10 a.m.-noon on Saturdays to Feb. 27. Check with Adam Cook or Adam Schroeder for class details at 276-7200.