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Standing near the certified scale at Ryan Mitchel's Bait and Tackle Shop in Rochester, James VanArsdall of West Henrietta holds the new state record freshwater drum he caught on a crankbait while fishing Irondequoit Bay (Lake Ontario) June 1. The fish measured 33.5 inches and weighed 26 pounds 9 ounces, breaking the previous state record by more than 2 pounds. (Photo submitted)

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Hamilton County Outdoors -- 07/30/2014 Bad gun law has had some gratifying upshots By Dick Nelson

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - Updated: 8:31 PM

Ever since the passage of the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been bending over backwards trying to gain favor with gun owners and other sportsmen. And while he has taken credit for much more than he deserves -- the most recent being the new state record freshwater drum -- he has signed off on a number of pro-sportsmen issues.

Caught by James VanArsdall from Lake Ontario's Irondequoit Bay (Monroe County) June 14, the fish measured 33.5 inches and weighed 26 pounds 9 ounces, breaking the previous state record by more than 2 pounds. And, as always, Cuomo was credited for VanArsdall's success.

"This latest state record is another great example of how New York continues to provide excellent fishing opportunities and they continue to grow under Gov. Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens in a prepared statement.

As if the West Henrietta angler wouldn't have caught the fish if Cuomo weren't governor. 

So what has Cuomo done to help sportsmen? For one thing he has increased hunting and fishing access at various locations across the state, reduced license fees, streamlined hunting and fishing licensing and, through a backdoor approach that no doubt raised the blood pressure of more than one anti-crossbow zealot, gave the DEC authority to regulate hunting with crossbows. He also created additional recreational opportunities in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex.

NOT FOOLED

Now that doesn't mean sportsmen have given him a vote of confidence. To the contrary; one need only look at the thousands of signs propped up on people's lawns calling for the repeal of the SAFE Act, some of which include the words "Cuomo Gotta Go."

Then there are the billboards much like the one the Pine Tree Rifle Club of Johnstown has on State Highway 30 in Perth. While the message is aimed at getting gun owners and others to register and vote in the November election, the 12- by 24-foot sign includes a circle with the words 'NY SAFE ACT' and the symbolic diagonal slash.

In addition, hundreds of meetings have been held across the state addressing the issue, such as the one North Country Friends of the 2nd Amendment has scheduled for the Town of Webb Park Avenue Office Building, 183 Park Ave., Old Forge Tuesday, Aug. 5, at 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and admission is free. For more information call Patrick Morse at 315) 317-4380 or visit: www.ncf2a.com.

'MORE PROPAGANDA'

I bring this to your attention because Cuomo recently took a rafting trip along the Indian River, followed by an announcement of funds for projects to expand and improve outdoor recreation in the Adirondack Park._

Local officials and environmental leaders praised the announcement, but not everyone was pleased. That includes long-time sportsmen's advocate and activist Don Sage of Paradox Lake.

"This is just more propaganda to buy local officials. Sportsmen are still being denied access to and use of the Essex Chain of Lakes and surrounding areas. All roads over 30 miles will still be closed; access to the lakes / ponds for fishermen and their boats will not be available; hunters won't have access to this back country nor will access be available for our disabled veterans, handicapped, elderly and others less than physically fit," said Sage, who for many years served on the NYS Conservation Fund Advisory Board as its as Region 5 delegate.

"These lands and waters will still be closed to all the people and remain the private playground of the eco-terrorists and anti-sportsmen, anti-Second Amendment crowd," Sage continued; ending his comments with "Cuomo's Gotta Go."

ELK HUNT RAFFLE

Big game hunters who would like to apply for one of Pennsylvania's 108 elk hunting licenses have only until July 31 to do so. Online applications can be submitted at www.pgc.state.pa.us. The non-refundable application fee is $10.70. Non-residents lucky enough to be drawn would then have to purchase a $250 elk license as well as a $101.70 general hunting license.

Another alternative would be to purchase a raffle ticket in the Keystone State's first-ever Elk Conservation Raffle for a Bull Elk. Scheduled from Sept. 1 to Nov. 8, the winner will also receive a six-day fully guided hunt with Elk County Outfitters that includes meals and lodging.

Held in conjunction with the annual Elk Expo Aug. 16-17 at the Elk Country Visitor Center, the drawing will be held Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. Raffle tickets are $25 each or six for $100 and may be purchased on line with credit card by midnight Aug. 15 at www.experienceelkcountry.com/elktag. The winner will still have to purchase a non-resident general hunting license. The winner is also subject to a background check prior to being awarded the license. Pennsylvania's elk population is estimated to be 1,100 animals. For more information call (814) 787-5170 or e-mail cawehler@windstream.net.

ON TV TONIGHT

Be sure to tune in to the Sportsmen's Channel today, July 30, at 10 p.m. Seen on "Big Deer TV," the Buck Men of the Adirondacks segment will feature John Havlick of Frank's Gun and Tackle Shop in Mayfield, as producer Mike Hanback and a dozen or so production staffers set out to film an authentic Adirondack hunt at Havlick's Speculator hunting camp.

The filming took place last November and, as often happens in the big woods; neither Havlick nor his hunting buddies tagged a deer. But the show should be interesting and according to Havlick, George Clooney doesn't have anything to be nervous about.

He is however thinking about having some promotional headshots made up just in case he gets a call from some Hollywood bigwig, and if you stop by the 3549 State Highway 30 store between Mayfield and Broadalbin he just may autograph a copy for you.

ON THE MOVE

New York isn't the only state gun manufacturers are abandoning. Beretta U.S.A. Corp. recently announced it would move its manufacturing capabilities from its existing location in Accokeek, Md. to a new production facility in Gallatin, Tenn. The decision follows the so-called "Free State" passage of the Firearm Safety Act of 2013 -- a law modeled after the NY SAFE Act.

"While we had originally planned to use the Tennessee facility for new equipment and for production of new product lines only, we have decided that it is more prudent from the point of view of our future welfare to move our Maryland production lines in their entirety to the new Tennessee facility," stated Jeff Cooper, general manager for Beretta U.S.A. Corp. "Production of the U.S. Armed Forces M9 9mm pistol will continue at the Accokeek facility until all current orders from the U.S. Armed Forces have been filled."

The Tennessee facility will involve a $45 million investment in building and equipment and will employ around 300 people during the next five years. The company's administrative and executive support functions will remain in Accokeek.

CALENDAR

Aug. 9 -- The Speculator, Lake Pleasant & Piseco Fish and Game Club Bass for Cash partners bass fishing tournament on Oxbow Lake, Piseco. 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tom Preston (518) 548-7327. Followed by Piseco Fire Department's Harley Raffle, Chicken & Pork Barbecue, and Clam Bake. (518) 548-6400.

Aug. 17 -- All-You-Can-Eat Pancake, Egg and Sausage Breakfast and 3-D Archery Shoot, Fish House Fish and Game Club, 478 Fayville Rd., Providence. 7 a.m. to noon. Breakfast $8 adult / $4 ages 12 and under. Archery Shoot $10 adult / $5 ages 12 and under. www.fishhousefishandgame.com or Ray Dyer Jr. (518) 882-6778.

Aug. 28-30 -- NYS Trappers Association Convention and Sportsman Show, Herkimer County Fairgrounds, 135 Cemetery St., Frankfort. Over 80 venders; seminars. Admission $10 for the weekend / free ages 15 and under. RV camping $18 per night, primitive camping $10 per night / $18 with electric, tailgating $55 per spot. Wayne Jones (716) 772-1059 or iluvny2@rochester.rr.com.

     

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