Since I belong to both organizations, and am a past president of NYSOWA, I’ll be attending both. As a matter of fact, I’m also an active member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association and the New England Outdoor Writers Association, but their conferences are elsewhere and at different times. Nonetheless, that does tend to keep me busy.
OWAA is arguably the oldest and largest national organization of outdoors communicators, having held its first annual conference in 1927 in Chicago. I became an active member in 1980 and have since attended some 13 of these annual gatherings, my first being in Traverse City, Mich. in 1984. Since then I’ve also attended conclaves in Marco Island, Fla.; Salt Lake City, Utah (two); Niagara Falls; Bismarck, N.D. (two); Portland, Ore.; Orono, Maine; Duluth, Minn.; St. George, Utah; and Charleston, W.Va.
I have no idea how many annual NYSOWA conferences I’ve attended after becoming a member in 1979. For many years I had a perfect attendance record but have since missed several for one reason or another, normally due to conflicts with vacation trips, other meetings or gatherings.
For many years NYSOWA met twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall, but that eventually became just the annual conference in the fall with an informal “safari” in the spring. Still, it’s be nice to renew acquaintances with old friends - in both organizations at the same time. NYSOWA generally restricts itself to venues within New York state for its conferences, with a few exceptions over the years.
However, OWAA conferences are held in a variety of locales to give its national membership a taste of what other areas offer. They’ve visited New York state only twice over the years - Rochester in 1948 and Niagara Falls in 1991. Unleash a few hundred outdoor communicators on the North Country and there aren’t too many major places they’ll miss, primarily because the organization also offers a number of pre- and post-conference sightseeing trips, hikes and fishing trips.
I’ll have more on this visit to Lake Placid as it draws nearer.
A BIG BOBCAT
Congratulations to Len Payne on the big 50-pound bobcat he took while deer hunting near Raquette Lake last November. I’ve seen only a few in my wandering through the state’s forests and the ones I saw would probably have tipped the scales at only 20 or 25 pounds at best. My first bobcat sighting actually occurred on a deer hunt in Schoharie County many moons ago.
I also checked with DEC regarding Len’s record book status but I doubt accurate accounts are kept, so any information gleaned from the agency might be more anecdotal than actual. However, I did learn from other sources that a new Wisconsin record was established a year or so ago when a hound hunter treed and shot a 52-pounder. Apparently a bobcat much over 35 pounds is considered big and represents a real trophy.
The bobcat population has remained stable here in New York state for a number of years but DEC is currently in the midst of a Bobcat Management Plan, running from 2012 to 2017, so that may provide us with additional information as the study progresses. The bobcat is truly a magnificent animal and appears to have reached a degree of stability in its resident population.
You may recall that a decade ago DEC attempted a well-meaning and well-planned lynx restoration that involved acclimating lynx from the Northwest Territories into the Adirondacks, but that venture never worked as planned. What few lynx actually survived flew the coop, so to speak, and were found in Vermont and Pennsylvania, among other places.