Dozens of local sportsmen will head to the state Capitol in Albany on Jan. 12 to try to educate state legislators about the benefits of fishing, hunting and other outdoor activities.
Formally known as Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day, the event will bring sportsmen from around the state to Albany to meet with legislators and hear from speakers, including NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Legislative Office Building.
The sportsmen’s federations in Washington and Warren counties each plan to have representatives heading down. The Washington County federation has arranged for one bus, and may need a second one as interest grows, said Gene Terry of the federation.
Rick Haag, secretary of the Warren County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, said a number of Warren County members plan to head down, and the group may rent a bus or combine with the Washington County representatives.
“It seems to be getting some good attention,” Haag said.
Anyone looking to go down with the Warren County group can call Haag at 793-6527.
Anyone wishing to accompany the Washington County group can call Bill Pike at 632-5993 or Jamie Whitney at 642-9570.
The bus is scheduled to depart Hartford Fish & Game Club on Route 196 at 6:30 a.m. and Hudson Falls Fish & Game Club on Route 196 at 7 a.m. It is expected to return during the late afternoon.
The event is being organized by the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association and the office of Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua. They hope the effort to educate state legislators next month will help their cause when the next wave of anti-gun bills is being formulated in the state Legislature later this year.
Among those planning to attend is first-term Republican Assemblyman Tony Jordan of Jackson, an avid hunter and fisherman who said he was appalled when he learned of the anti-gun day held each year at the Capitol, and that certain legislators dismiss the way many upstate residents live their lives.
“These are people who look at those of us who fish and hunt as weird,” Jordan said. “There is a complete disregard for an entire way of life, a perfectly legal way of life.”
Jacob Rieper, legislative vice president for the NYSRPA, said the organization wants to not only show support for Second Amendment issues, but also try to educate legislators who have had a history of voting against gun rights and sportsmen issues.
Initial reports are that firearm enthusiasts from around the state are gearing up for a good turnout, he said. Busloads of sportsmen and women from around the state have made plans to attend.
Sportsmen groups have held meetings with legislators in the past, but this year the effort seems “more organized,” said Howard Cushing, president of the New York State Conservation Council.
Cushing said sportsmen and women have to realize that the time to act is now. They have to know who has helped their cause, and who hasn’t, and vote accordingly, he said.
“Sportsmen have to be leery of supporting one party or group,” he said. “We’ve got to support the people who support us.”
If you want to fish the hardwater on Lake George, you’re going to have to wait a bit.
There was no fishable ice on the lake as of Sunday, with stiff winds ripping up whatever ice that had formed on the lake’s bays.
Garry Nelson, owner of The Outdoorsman Sport Shop in Diamond Point, said there is plenty of ice on virtually every other lake in the region (except a big chunk of Schroon Lake) and anglers have been having some success. He said Trout Lake has been yielding some nice rainbow trout, and Brant, Luzerne, Eagle and Paradox lakes were all being fished.
Part of Schroon Lake was fishable as of Sunday, but he said the area south of the narrows was open.
Nelson said a calming of the persistent winds could result in parts of Lake George freezing by next weekend.
“Last year we were fishing Lake George by January first,” he said. “This year it’s wide open.”
Staff writer Don Lehman may be reached at email@example.com