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Scattershot: Outdoors news & notes

More free fishing days proposed

The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would like to offer up a few more free fishing days to help promote sport fishing during key times on the outdoor calendar throughout the state – and they would like hear your comments on the proposal.
The proposal would include establishing statewide free fishing days during President’s Day weekend in February (focused on ice fishing), National Hunting and Fishing Day (the fourth Saturday in September) and Veteran’s Day (in November).

This legislation would make it permanent and would be in addition to the Free Fishing Days offered the last weekend in June. If you would like to comment, send an email by May 6 to Be sure to enter “Free Sport Fishing Days” in the subject line.

Special Hall of Fame awards

In last week’s Scattershot, we identified the eight inductees headed into the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame, located at Vail Mills. The Hall of Fame also will be doling out special awards that will be given at the April 29 ceremony in Canastota.

The “Extra Mile Award” goes to Scott Marshall, an Environmental Conservation Officer from Region 9 (Western New York). He is being recognized for establishing a youth waterfowl hunt through the Wyoming Valley Rod and Gun Club. He raises pheasants each year for a youth hunt and has also helped teach over 250 hunter education classes through the years.

The Dave Pierce Memorial Award, named for a person who devoted much to involving youth in outdoor sports, will go to Scott Faulkner of Oneida County. While he is already in the Outdoorsman Hall of Fame, he is being recognized specifically for all of his work involving youth activities – many focused on youth hunts. In fact, his youth hunts have become a model for other groups to follow.

The Women and Youth Award will be given to Women in Nature (WIN) of Onondaga County. They encourage women to enjoy the outdoors and develop their skills. The program was launched in 2002, an all-volunteer group.

If you would like to attend the dinner, reservations must be made by April 22. It will be held at the Rusty Nail Restaurant in Canastota starting at 5 p.m. Call 315-363-3896 for more information.

Fly Tying program rescheduled at Orvis

The special fly tying program involving a road show from the Eastern Waters Council of Fly Fishers International (that was scheduled for March but cancelled due to adverse weather conditions) has been rescheduled for April 25 at Orvis Buffalo (in the Eastern Hills Mall), 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville. Featured fly tyers include Sam Decker, Craig Buckbee and Rodney Priddle – casting instructors and/or guides in and around the famed Catskills. The event is co-sponsored by the Lake Erie Chapter of Fly Fishers International and it is free to the general public. If you would like to attend, you are asked to register before April 18 at the store (276-7200) or through the Lake Erie Chapter (675-4766).

Cataract City opens kayak launch, fishing dock

The City of Niagara Falls has announced it will be creating more public access to the area’s waterways thanks to the opening of a new boat and fishing dock, as well as a new kayak launch. The boat and fishing dock installation is taking place this week and will open on April 6 at LaSalle Waterfront Park. The kayak launch ramp will open on April 7, located at the city’s main launch area at Griffon Park. If you have any questions, contact the city’s Department of Public Works at 286-4840.

Deer harvest numbers delayed

If you are wondering what happened to the official deer harvest numbers from DEC, a recent release from Albany revealed that the final figuring has been delayed due to an upgrading of the state’s harvest calculations system. It is hoped that this upgrade will help expedite future estimates. The agency is optimistic that the final numbers will be available later this month. In the meantime, the preliminary numbers show that Empire State nimrods took 214,000 whitetails last season, up about five percent from 2015. Of that total, roughly 109,000 were adult bucks, an increase of roughly 10 percent from the year before.

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