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Josh Rumrill of Gloversville holds the 18.5-inch largemouth he caught during the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's 23rd Annual Summer Fishing Contest on Great Sacandaga Lake. Rumrill said he caught the lunker on a green / pumpkin colored Phyco Senko bait while fishing near one of the Islands. (Photo/Dick Nelson)

Tom Szala of Amsterdam holds one of two trout he caught during the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's 23rd Annual Summer Fishing Contest. Szala's catches netted him $450 by winning first and third place prize money. (Photo/Dick Nelson)


Hamilton County Outdoors -- 07/02/2014 Restore some sensibility to government By Dick Nelson

Wednesday, July 02, 2014 - Updated: 8:14 PM

As we celebrate our nation's 238th birthday, I can't help thinking how our founding fathers would be turning in their graves if they were aware of the direction this great nation they so painstakingly structured is headed.

I can only imagine how Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben Franklin, Robert Livingston and Roger Sherman -- each members of the committee assigned to draft the Declaration of Independence -- and other patriots would feel knowing how far we have drifted from the nation they created.

And what about George Washington? Had the father of our country known his ideals would be shattered -- not by musket and cannon, but by laws and regulations, many enacted to circumvent the very freedoms he and his ragged army of patriots were fighting to obtain -- he would have ridden his white horse back to his Mount Vernon plantation and stayed there.

As it was Washington presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution and was president when the first 10 amendments to the Bill of Rights were written. They were adopted to limit the power of government and establish guidelines for the protection of liberty and property throughout the ages.

Every politician since Washington has taken an oath to uphold that precious document and the rights so many of our countrymen have died protecting, yet many politicians ignore those rights completely, the Second Amendment in particular. Our right to keep and bear arms has been under attack for decades, but never as much as it is now.

The New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act -- more commonly referred as the SAFE Act -- is a prime example. Never in the history of the country has a government passed legislation that is as close to confiscation as you can get, and we have Senate Republican Majority co-leader Dean Skelos to blame.

Now we're about to lose the Senate as Senate Democrat Majority co-leader Jeffery Klein plans to end their power-sharing arrangement with Republicans and return the body to Democratic control. And, if the Democrats remain in control after the November election, every anti-gun bill brought up for a vote will most assuredly be signed into law.

As Thomas Jefferson once said: "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."

But let us not forget another of Jefferson's quotes: "The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it away." Something U.S. senators Chuck Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand and other progressives should think about as they pursue their anti-gun agenda and something many gun owners should wake up to as they sit back and let it happen.

And, in the sage words of John Adams, "Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."

Then there was this from Sam Adams -- the man, not the beer. "The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms."


It's hard to say if there were more people inside Northville's Sport Island Pub Saturday, June 21, or outside on the dining deck. Whatever it was, a good many of them eventually found their way to the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's measuring tent to watch participants bring in their catch during the 23rd Annual Summer Fishing Contest.

A record 210 anglers -- including 18 kids -- took part in the contest, each looking to catch a trout, walleye or bass large enough to land them somewhere within the four payoff spots. The contest had a guaranteed payout of $300 for first, $200 for second, $150 for third and $50 for fourth in each of the three categories, and participants had 10 hours to make it happen.

In addition, they each had an opportunity to catch one or more trout worth $1,000. While Amsterdam's Tom Szala caught two trout large enough for him to win first and third place prize money, neither was wearing the big money orange tag.

Szala's first place trout was a 17.25-inch rainbow, while the third place trout measured 16.12 inches.

Second place in the trout category went to Adriane Wright of Feura Bush with a 16.5-inch trout, while Schenectady's George Albert netted the fourth place prize money with a 16-inch trout.

In the walleye division, Roger Wells of Tillson took the top spot with a 22.75-inch marbleye, followed by Johnstown's Pat Javarone with 19.75 inches, Johnstown's Mike Vanvalkenburgh with 19.63 inches and Northville's Jim Deming with 19.25 inches.

According to Randy Gardinier the contest coincides with New York's bass fishing season opener, and after watching the parade of anglers step up to the measuring table I can see why. Of the three eligible contest fish bass outnumbered the two other species 10 to one.

But it was the 18.5- inch largemouth Josh Rumrill of Gloversville brought in that netted first place. Rumrill said he caught the lunker on a green / pumpkin colored Phyco Senko bait while fishing near one of the Islands.

Seth Dambrasaio of Hadley was second with 18.12-inches while Troy Rose of Gloversville and Jeff Trojan of Scotia tied for third with 17.87 inches. Each collected $100.

Having run a couple fishing contests myself, I have first-hand knowledge of the work involved. Committee members Randy Gardinier, Jack Smith, Rich Miczek, Bob Nielsen, John Fura, Gus Muller, Brian Kedik, Rich Kedik, Mike Meilunas, Tom Coughln, John Wszolek, Andrew Kedik, Brandon Kedik, Adam Kedik and Robert Sherry are to be congratulated.


Once again state legislators scooted out of Albany faster than a speeding bullet, ending the 2014 legislative session without voting on proposed legislation that would have would raise the weight limit for ATVs to 1,500 pounds.

Currently the law is 1,000 pounds, preventing virtually all the side-by-side units, known as UTVs, from being legally used on trails in the state.

Sponsored by Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-48th District) and co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Griffo (R-47th District), the Senate passed the bill (S1946-A) weeks ago with the Assembly version (A4971) sponsored by Addie Russell (D-116th District) never coming up for a vote.

A disappointed Sen. Richie said, "State leaders are going all-out to encourage New Yorkers to explore the great outdoors, but outdated laws prevent them from using UTVs that are wildly popular in every other state in the nation."

"New York is giving mixed messages to outdoor enthusiasts. On the one hand, we advertise heavily to promote the wonderful opportunities in the Tug Hill Region and North Country. On the other, we're discouraging use of UTVs, which are very popular with older riders. It's past time we started giving tourists a consistent message: New York's trails are open for business -- and we'd love for you to buy, register and enjoy your side-by-side here," said Sen. Griffo (R-Rome).

On the plus side, micro-stamping legislation failed to pass as well.


The DEC is now accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes, so crossbows may be a legal implement for the fall 2014 hunting seasons. Regulations include taking deer and bear during a limited portion of the early bowhunting seasons (14 days at the end of the existing bowhunting season in the Southern Zone, and 10 days in the Northern Zone) and during any big game hunting season in which use of a firearm (shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader) is allowed, except for the Youth Deer Hunting weekend and the January firearms deer season on Long Island.

Allow the taking of small game mammals, wild turkey and other upland game birds by the use of a crossbow during their respective hunting seasons. The new law prohibits all hunting with crossbows in Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties or in the archery-only portions of Albany and Monroe counties, and DEC's proposed rule reflects these restrictions.

Details can be viewed at

Anyone wishing to comment can do so through July 21 via email at: (include "crossbow regulations" in the subject line) or by writing: Bryan Swift, NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany NY 12233-4754.

Dropping anchor 'til next time.

To contact Dick Nelson with an event, club news or photograph email:


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