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Sportsmen’s leaders support rifle bill, see other threats to wildlife in Orleans

Posted 30 December 2016 at 12:52 pm

Editor:

In response to a posting on Dec. 15, regarding what the Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs should or shouldn’t do, some information about the Federation needs to be presented.

Currently, there are 12 member clubs with each club having a delegate and an alternate to represent their members, making a total of over 1,600 organized sportsmen being represented. The representatives are a volunteer force who use their own time to address concerns brought forward by members of their clubs or issues brought by DEC regulations or changes to our conservation laws.

The Federation is active in the Finger Lakes Conservation Council representing the 11 counties in DEC Region 8 and has a long history of participation in the New York State Conservation Council. Over the years, the Federation has worked to advance and protect conservation, our environment and wildlife, both game and non-game species. All meetings are open to the public.

Like most New York State sportsmen and law-abiding legal gun owners, there are parts of the S.A.F.E. Act we disagree with and we continue to press for changes that are needed.  While working to protect the rights of New York citizens, the Federation supports following the law and responsible gun ownership.

The rifle bill is not related to any S.A.F.E. Act defiance. It’s being sought for reasons already presented to the Orleans County Legislature in an informational folder with facts to support the use of rifles in Orleans County. It all started by polling member clubs to see who is in favor of rifle hunting and who is against it. The majority of the clubs were in favor of it so a committee was formed to pursue it further.

For 10 months the committee talked with other Orleans County residents, had those in favor of the rifle bill sign a petition and consulted an expert, Mike VanDerme, who has extensive knowledge of Orleans County. His and other studies show a rifle is safer than a shotgun.

Habitat loss is the single biggest threat to wildlife worldwide. All buildings, shopping centers, houses, etc. built results in less habitat, but we’re still building them. Farming is big business in Orleans County that puts a high value on tillable land and with the large equipment used today, hedgerows and small wooded areas that provided good habitat, now don’t fit in a modern farmer’s operation.

Farm land is private property and farmers have a right to use their land to their advantage to earn a living. The rights of private property owners must be protected. The Federation supports habitat enhancement through stream buffers, migration projects and the work of the Orleans County Soil & Water Conservation District.

The Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs works to be involved in environmental issues that threaten our area. Regarding the proposed Frontier Stone Quarry in Shelby, one or more representatives testified against it at the public hearing, attended various meetings and the Federation wrote a letter against it during the comment period. Regarding the proposed Lighthouse Wind project in the Town of Yates, again, Federation representatives attended meetings, gathered information, submitted a statement in opposition to the project with the NYS Dept. of Public Service and followed it with a letter.

There are methods in place to have your voice heard, but it takes effort, commitment, joining forces with like-minded sportsmen, joining one of the sportsmen’s clubs or forming your own.

Our meetings are open to the public and all are invited.  Next meeting is Saturday, January 21, 2017, at 9 am.  The NYSDEC will be there to give a report and answer questions.

The Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs was started in 1937 and has the following Preamble:  “We, the members of the Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Inc., have set forth specific objectives for our activities which include: The propagation and protection of beneficial wildlife; To encourage the education in conservation matters; To cooperate with all organizations which have similar purposes; To maintain and purify the waters within the County of Orleans and To encourage the wise use of our natural resources. In so conducting ourselves, Orleans County will become a more attractive county in which to live and to work.”

Chris Rice, President

Mike Donahue, Vice President

Mike Elam, Treasurer

Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, Inc.

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