A new survey conducted by Southwick Associates focuses on what influences hunters and anglers in purchasing choices.
For hunters, "personal experience" was the highest factor at 73.3 percent, with 72.1 percent of anglers concurring. "Brand loyalty" came in at number two for hunters, while 55.8 percent of anglers listed that as one of their primary factors in making choices. Another factor that rated highly among hunters and anglers was recommendations by experienced counterparts: 48.4 percent for anglers and 45.5 percent for hunters.
The overall survey revealed some valuable information as to how hunting and fishing manufacturers may choose to advertise to consumers, and it appears that consumers are highly driven by brand loyalty, personal experience and input from other friends who hunt and fish.
The data in the study was built on 2,121 anglers and 4,062 hunters responding. I'll have more on this in a future column.
NYS FIREFIGHTERS HELPING IN MONTANA
A crew of about 20 employees and volunteers from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has gone to Montana to assist in containing the Lolo Creek Complex wildfires.
The Lolo Creek Complex fire is a full suppression fire located near Lolo, Mont., along Highway 12 between Montana and Idaho. This fire is burning in a mixture of timber and grass in a canyon area that is described as having high terrain difficulty with a high potential for further fire growth. There some 1,200 residences are threatened, with a half dozen already confirmed as "destroyed." This fire began around Aug. 18; it's suspected lightning was the cause.
If you've been watching the national news and/or the Weather Channel on TV, and have kept up with the status of this fire, you'll know it also includes two other, smaller fires that have now burned together. While these fires have destroyed and/or damaged some homes in the area and have led to some voluntary local evacuations, no injuries have been reported so far.
Of the approximately 9,000 acres burned so far, the U.S. Forest Service owns 1,637 and private parties own 7,819 acres.
The New York state team consists of five forest rangers and 15 other DEC employees and volunteers. They will join crews from other states in flying to Missoula, Mont. where they'll then be transported to a fire base camp 30 miles away.
New York has a long history of helping other states in controlling wildfires and this DEC crew will provide crucial services in this effort. They're expected to remain in the area for about two weeks. I wish them well.
HAPPY LABOR DAY
In a few more days we'll be enjoying Labor Day, and I extend my sincerest best wishes to all of you for a very happy, safe and thoroughly enjoyable holiday weekend. Please drive and boat safely and responsibly and keep an eye on the weather. You've made it through the entire summer so get through the coming holiday weekend safely as well.
Labor Day Weekend is one of the "big three" for boating and relaxation, along with Memorial Day and the July 4 holiday, and it's one of the prime times for boating mishaps as boaters and revelers seek to get in at least one more good weekend of boating, sun and fun. There'll be lots of other boaters out there that may not be as considerate or safe as you, so be alert, obey the rules of the "road" and operate your vessel defensively, just as you would do behind the wheel of your car.
Traditionally, due primarily to reduced water levels, many boaters will be hauling their vessels out of the water right after Labor Day Weekend, even though autumn doesn't officially arrive until Sunday, Sept. 22. Lake water levels have been dropping, but remain a tad above normal for this time of year.
Whatever your plans might be, please boat and drive safely. If you're fortunate enough to have deeper water dockage, get in a few more weeks of boating, until hauling out becomes more a necessity than a custom.