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Hamilton County Outdoors By Ron Kolodziej

Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - Updated: 8:50 PM

Free fishing weekend is at the end of June

Don't forget that Saturday and Sunday, June 29 and 30, a bit over two weeks from today, are Free Fishing Days here in New York state. No fishing licenses will be required these two days though all other rules and regulations, such as minimum sizes and creel limits, will still apply. That weekend offers an ideal opportunity to introduce someone to the great sport of fishing and is also an excellent time for out-of-state residents to visit and sample all New York has to offer a freshwater angler.

Both residents and non-residents can fish free during this two-day period, without the need for a resident or non-resident fishing license. Take a non-angling youngster or adult with you on your fishing trip that weekend. You'll both enjoy the experience and that youngster or adult will thank you some day for introducing him or her to the sport. By that day, anglers can enjoy open seasons for all freshwater fish species so the opportunities are virtually endless.

If you'd like additional information about free fishing days, or about New York state fishing in general, you're invited to contact your nearest NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Regional Office.

ATK BUYS SAVAGE

It's almost like a game of corporate "musical chairs." Companies change owners, spin off into new entities and do whatever helps their bottom line.

Now ATK, an aerospace, defense and commercial products company with approximately 15,000 employees in 21 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, has purchased Savage Arms from the Caliber Company, a middle-market equity investment firm. The selling / purchase price was $315 million in cash.

Operating under the brand names of Savage, Stevens and Savage Range Systems, the company designs, manufactures and markets centerfire and rimfire rifles, shotguns and shooting range systems used for hunting as well as recreational target shooting. I know many of you use a Savage rifle since they're innovative, dependable and reasonably priced.

Savage Arms was organized in 1894 by Arthur Savage. The firm is located in Westfield, Mass. and Lakefield, Ontario and employs approximately 600 skilled employees. I had the pleasure of visiting the Westfield plant a number of years ago and it was a pleasant, informative tour.

ATK plans to integrate Savage within its Sporting Group umbrella and already owns a number of leading sporting and law enforcement ammunition and shooting accessory entities. ATK's ammunition brands include Federal Premium, CCI, Fusion, Speer, Estate Cartridge and Blazer. Their accessories brands include Blackhawk, Alliant Power, RCBS, Champion Targets, Gunslick Pro, Weaver Optics and Outers.

SAFE BOATING COURSES

Whether you're an experienced boater or a neophyte, taking a Safe Boating Course is a wise move. I've always considered myself a safe boater but you never realize how much more you can learn until you take one of those courses. I was generally immune from the required courses because, as a charter captain, I had not only my OPR & HP Pilot Engineer's license but also my U.S. Coast Guard "Six Pack" license.

However, the annual inspection and periodic reviews were all very valuable. Since my boat was used for commercial purposes it was equipped a tad more completely than most other boats on the water. When you're responsible for someone else's safety you tend to be a lot more safety conscious than normal. Not to mention the liability question.

The larger your vessel, the more you need one of these courses. Perhaps one of these days I'll have the time and inclination to tell you about some of the bad mistakes I've seen on area waters. Every precaution you can take is a good one if it increases your safety and the safety of your passengers.

REDUNDANCY IS GOOD

I was also a firm believer in redundancy; if the law requires you to have one of something, have two instead. I had not only an automatic bilge pump but a switch-operated one and a portable unit as well. I had six hand-held fire suppression units on board but also an automatic halon unit in the engine compartment. I could go on but your vessel may not be as large as mine and some of the items could be unnecessary.

Would you know what to do if your vessel suddenly began to take on water? What would you do if the lake you're on is suddenly hit by fierce winds and "high seas?" Simple questions but serious ones if you don't know what to do. Take one of these safe boating courses and don't forget the "Rules of the Road." They're important, even on the generally smaller waters of the Adirondacks.

     

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