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Andy Cozzolino Jr. holds the 40.5-inch northern he caught during the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Spring Fishing Contest May 3. The fish provided the Gloversville angler with a $300 pay day. (Photo submitted)

Broadalbin’s Dave Ryder only has a slight grin on his face as he displays the 21.25-inch brown trout he caught during the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation Spring Fishing Contest, but that grin turned to smiles when he was handed the $300 first place prize money. He also netted $50 for the 34-inch pike he caught. (Photo submitted)


Hamilton County Outdoors -- 05/14/2014 Walleye and pike are hot, turkeys not By Dick Nelson

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - Updated: 6:42 PM

Sitting along the edge of a field high atop a Delaware County mountain on opening day of the spring turkey hunting season, with rain coming from above and strong winds blowing through my mesh facemask, I couldn’t help thinking how much more comfortable I would have been had I chose to take part in the Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federations Spring Fishing Contest.

Turned out I wasn’t the only one who was uncomfortable. Statewide, the reported take through the first week of the season was down by about one-third from last year. Preliminary numbers reveal youth hunters killed about 450 birds, making the total take about 2,800 birds so far for the season. ?As Lori Severino of the DEC’s Office of Media Relations pointed out, it is important to note this is the reported take. Not all birds taken are reported (although it is a legal requirement), so we adjust this figure using data from the turkey hunter survey to more accurately represent the actual harvest.

DEC reports an estimated total turkey harvest based on surveys of about 12,000 turkey permit holders after the close of the hunting season. This provides a more realistic assessment of the status of New York's wild turkey population. The reported take from the youth hunt (April 26-27) was down by about one-quarter from last year, which may have been due to poor weather, resulting in fewer birds being taken.


As for GSLFF fishing contest, held out of Lanzi’s Lakeside Tavern May 3, the event drew 138 anglers -- 130 adults and eight youngsters. According to Randy Gardinier, Andy Cozzolino Jr. of Gloversville took first place in the northern pike category with a 40.5-inch fish that in all probability weighed 20 pounds. Along with netting the monster pike Cozzolino netted $300.

Fonda’s Roger Dillenbeck was a close second with a 39.75-inch jackfish. He collected $200. Third place and $150 went to Northville’s William Ostrander with a 39.25-inch northern, while Dave Ryder of Broadalbin picked up $50 for the 34-inch pike he caught. Ryder also netted $300 for the 21.25-inch brown trout he reeled in, bringing his total winnings to $350.

Bill Dingman of Gloversville won $200 for his second place finish in the trout category with 20.75-inch fish, while Mark Colbath of Greenville Center finished third with a 20.6-inch trout, winning $150, and Queensbury’s Dave Paniccia netted $50 with an 18-inch trout.

In the Walleye division, Jeff Trojan of Scotia finished first with a 19.25-inch marbleye and Gloversville’s Matt Lear was second with 19 inches, followed by Matt Dwyer of Albany with 17.6 and Dave Ioele of Mayfield with 17.5. Respectively they won $300, $200, $150 and $50.

Along with Gardinier committee members and helpers included Jack Smith; Dick Miczek, John Fura, Gus Muller, Brian Kedik, Rich Kedik, Mike Meilunas and Frank Maguire.


Assemblyman Robert Sweeney (D-Lindenhurst) recently announced he would not seek reelection for his District 11 seat.

For more than a decade the Long Island Democrat has been chairman of the Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation – a committee that has jurisdiction over legislation affecting state environmental policy. The primary concerns of the committee are pollution prevention and control, resource management, and environmental quality issues. Since his 2007 appointment to one of the most prestigious committees in the Legislature, Sweeney has been personally responsible for holding up crossbow legalization in New York – mainly because of his close ties with New York Bowhunters Inc.

As New York Crossbow Hunters Association President Bill Hilts Sr. recently wrote in an email: “I guess Sweeney, the darling of the anti-crossbow crowd and particularly the New York Bowhunters organization, has taken the successful passage of the crossbow law pretty hard”?

Hilts was referring to recent legislation allowing the horizontal bow to be used during the last 10 days of the Northern Zone and last 14 days of the Southern Zone bow-hunting seasons, as well as small game hunting seasons.

An article in Newsday quotes Sweeney, saying “he was going to retire, travel and volunteer” and “he won’t stay on the political scene, as some retired lawmakers do. No consulting. No lobbying.”

But one Suffolk County insider told me that isn’t the only reason Sweeney decided to give up his cushy $12,000 per year chairmanship as well as the $9,000 each he receives for serving on the Veterans Affairs, Rules and Education committees, which added $27,000 more to his $79,500 salary. This in addition to a per diem of $171 per day each lawmaker receives for travel, lodging and food expenses ($61 per half day).

He is concerned about losing his seat because of the negative publicity he received for refusing to allow dozens of pro-crossbow bills out of committee, the source says, adding he doesn’t want go through the embarrassment that accompanies defeat.

Sweeney once stated that as long as he chairs the Environmental Conservation Committee no pro-crossbow bill would ever reach the floor. However he never suspected Gov. Cuomo would include the legal use of hunting with crossbows in his Executive Budget.

I’m sure the New York Bowhunters are just as unhappy with Sweeney’s announcement as they are with the legislation, and its leadership may have already powwowed on how to get Sweeney’s successor on their side of the treestand when the 17-term assemblyman formally retires in December.


The Bass Federation (TBF), in partnership with FLW recently announced it will host the 2014 Student Angler Federation (SAF) New York / Vermont High School State Championship June 21 along the St. Lawrence River at French Creek Marina, 250 Wahl Street, Clayton. A two-person team event for students in grades 9-12, registration for anglers and their "coach," (who will provide the boat they compete in) is available online at

The cost is $25 per year and includes full TBF and FLW benefits, FLW Magazine e-Edition and insurance coverage for clubs and students. The top 10 percent of each SAF state championship and the top 3 teams from any SAF National Open event will advance to an FLW/TBF High School Fishing Conference Championship, possibly advancing further to the 2015 National Championship.

New York TBF president Bobby Williams said, "The New York Bass Federation is going to make a priority of growing our High School and College Fishing programs in the coming year. We see this as a terrific way to build our future membership within the state and we look forward to using this event to get things started with that movement."


Boone and Crockett recently entered the largest grizzly bear ever taken by a hunter into its book of records. Taken in 2013 near Fairbanks, Alaska, the big bruin scored 27-6/16, missing the world-record mark by 7/16 of an inch. But it did give hunter Larry Fitzgerald a spot for shooting the second-largest grizzly ever recorded. The reigning World's Record is a skull found in Alaska in 1976. Bears are scored based on skull length and width.


While pundits continue to argue over how much of an economic recovery the United States has experienced since the recent recession, companies that make and sell shooting and hunting products have been fortunate to enjoy a steady stream of business, and there is no sign of it slowing down.

According to a recent poll, the majority of shooters and hunters expect to spend as much on shooting and hunting equipment as they did last year. Nearly 52 percent reported they plan to spend at least the same amount as they did last year, while 20 percent anticipate spending slightly more and almost 10 percent expect to spend “significantly more” before years-end. Less than 7 percent expect to spend “significantly less” than they did a year ago.

Key product categories shooters and hunters expect to purchase in the next 12 months are: ammunition (74 percent), gun cleaning supplies (40 percent), handguns (38 percent), hunting apparel (37 percent), targets (35 percent) and miscellaneous hunting gear (stands, feeders, calls, etc.) (32 percent).

Bow-hunting gear and optics are also anticipated to be purchased by more than 20 percent of those surveyed.

To participate in the bi-monthly surveys visit:, and/or Every other month, participants who complete the surveys are entered into a drawing for one of five $100 gift certificates to the sporting goods retailer of their choice.

Dropping anchor ’til next time.

To contact Dick Nelson email or


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