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Scattershots (Feb. 5, 2020)

NYS free fishing days scheduled for Feb. 15-16

If you are looking to try fishing or would like to find your way back to the angling life, the weekend of Feb. 15 and 16 will be a free fishing weekend in New York. There is no need to purchase a fishing license if you are 16 years of age or older, but you have to abide by the regulations for the body of water you fish. This is a great opportunity for those with a license to take a friend or family member on the water (hard or soft) and show them the basics.

If you are just getting started, check out the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s I Fish NY Beginner’s Guide to Freshwater Fishing at If you want to try ice fishing, start with For more information on the state’s free fishing days, contact the DEC at These free fishing days occur four times a year within the state. The next one will be June 27-28.

Kirby, Butski named to Turkey Calling Hall of Fame

The late Richard “Dick” Kirby with Quaker Boy Game Calls and Paul Butski with GSM LLC Butski Game Calls will be two of seven inductees in the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Grand National Calling Championship Hall of Fame ceremony on Feb. 15 in Nashville as part of the NWTF’s 44th annual Convention and Sport Show Feb. 12-16. The other inductees are Denny Gulvas, Walter Parrott, Harold Knight, David Hale and Ron Joly.

Kirby, from Orchard Park, started Quaker Boy Game Calls in 1981 with his wife, Beverly. The company became one of the top game-call businesses in the country. He died in September 2010.

Butski, originally from Niagara Falls, won numerous state, regional and national calling titles before he started making his own calls. He became a household name among turkey enthusiasts for his calling abilities and the quality of his products.

N.Y. sets record low accident rate for hunting

New York hunters have something to be proud of – the 2019 hunting seasons were the safest on record. With nearly 550,000 hunters pursuing game animals last year, there were only 12 Hunting Related Shooting Incidents, down one from 2018. One HRSI was a fatality. The state’s Department of Environmental Conservation also documented seven tree stand incidents last year, up two from 2018.

All told, there were seven two-party incidents and five others were self-inflicted. Even though the number of hunters is declining, the incident rate is dropping even faster (incidents per 100,000 hunters). Since the 1960s, hunter numbers have declined about 20%, whereas the incident rate has declined about 80%. The current five-year average for hunters is 1.8 incidents per 100,000 hunters. In the 1960s, the incident rate was 19 per 100,000 hunters.

50th anniversary Bassmasters Classic drawing winners

Charles Waldorf of North Tonawanda was selected at the Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo to attend this year’s 50th 2020 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Huk on March 6-8 at Lake Guntersville, Ala.

The Greater Niagara Fishing Expo collaborated with the Greater Gadsden area of northeast Alabama and to make this drawing happen. Anyone who attended a bass seminar at the Expo received an entry if they filled out a survey form. Waldorf will receive airfare to the Bassmaster Classic for two, accommodations at Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Gadsden, a rental car and VIP passes for the weigh-in and trade show at this historic event. Waldorf asked childhood friend Jeff Stahl of Hamburg to accompany him. They grew up together on the same street in Angola. Look for a future “Sportsman’s Tale” in March.

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