Sportsman's Awareness Day, 2012

I wondered, as I prepared for this day, who was to be made “aware?” Us or them? Us being John Fuller and myself, representing the Federated Sportsman's Clubs of Chenango County, or the legislators and other dignitaries we were meeting.

John and I started our trip leaving Norwich at 6 a.m. A few Boston crème donuts, large coffee and a Mountain Dew at Dunkin Donuts sufficed along the way. Having previously lobbied with Safari Club International, NYS Forest Owners Association, and Farm Bureau, I was still adept at getting in and around Albany after a two-year hiatus.

We met up with former President of SCI, Dr. Larry Rudolph, along with the gang from the Adirondack-Catskill Chapter. Then met with Friends of Natural Gas who invited us to lunch. John and I perused the “Well” in the Legislative Center where other organizations were represented. SCOPE provided information on SANE gun legislation. N.Y. Crossbow Coalition had information on crossbows in N.Y., and the most recent news on crossbow legislation. Other groups represented were the NYS Outdoor Writers, N.Y.S. Rifle and Pistol Association, N.Y. Bowhunters, Inc. and quite a few other sportsman's organizations and clubs.

About 1,000 sportsmen filled the well to listen to Dr. Rudolph, Assemblyman Kolb, NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, and other dignitaries talking about hunting, guns, sportsmen rights and how they all play together. The economics of hunting, fishing, trapping and gun sports put untold millions of dollars into the upstate communities by way of travel expenses, gear purchases, license fees and more. Quite possibly, these outdoor activities are the number one revenue source in New York State.

John and I were armed with paperwork for our legislators, addressing several of the concerns of those here in Chenango County. On our list of topics were supporting the crossbow in all seasons - for all ages, for all game. Senate Bill S6747A was what we were pushing. Also garnering support was a bill to increase the registration weight of ATV/UTV's to 1,500 pounds. from the current 1,000-pound maximum. This action is sponsored in the Senate as bill number S3318 Ritchie (Seward co-sponsor), and in the Assembly as A7743, Magee.

Our first visit was with Sen. Seward and his chief of staff, Duncan Davies. We presented our cases to a very receptive senator. Sen. Seward has always been 100 percent behind sportsmen, so the conversation went along easily. The senator responded, “the senate won't let it go through” when asked about his thoughts on microstamping.

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