By RON KOLODZIEJ
For the Recorder
Skiers and snowmobilers may think of snow but anglers think of ice. Fortunately, after a really warm spell where we lost much of the ice we had, the temperature has finally fallen back into the range where we'll see most of that ice re-form.
However, last Saturday, while I was attending the fourth annual Sacandaga Sportsmen's Day at the Sacandaga Bible Conference, Gary Gutowski of Perth decided to go ice fishing and it was a wise decision for him. He hooked a 42 1/2-inch, 22 1/2-pound northern pike. To Gary's credit, after measuring and photographing the lunker northern he returned it to the lake unharmed.
SACANDAGA SPORTSMEN'S SHOW
Last Saturday's Fourth Annual Sacandaga Sportsmen's Show at the Sacandaga Bible Conference was a resounding success despite the warming trend and fog we experienced that day. It was a pleasure attending some of the seminars and renewing acquaintances with old friends such as Dan Ladd, Albie Peck and Peanut Chamberlain from Peck's Lake, Bob Kazmierski from the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum, Joe Hackett from Lake Placid, Dave Allen from Dave's Bait & Tackle and others. This area show has proven to be a popular and well-received local attraction and the seminars are geared to the type of activities which area sportsmen enjoy and participate in.
I wish I could have stayed at the show longer, but I also hoped to attend the Gun & Militaria Show at the Saratoga City Center later that afternoon -- but the fog on Route 29 was thick enough to make it unpleasant and relatively unsafe so I just turned around and went home instead.
Despite the complicated weather, the Bible Conference Show was well attended and featured a variety of seminars designed to cater to the preferences of any outdoors aficionados. There were seminars on wood carving, adirondack trout fishing and deer hunting, ice fishing and birds of prey, among many others. Attendees could select any two seminars of their choice to attend and whatever your preferred outdoor activity, there was a seminar for you. These seminars were followed by a delicious, well-prepared wild game dinner and then a presentation by Dr. Paige Patterson, an accomplished big game hunter with many exotic trophies to his credit.
Incidentally, the Wildlife Sports and Educational Museum is still open but only on Saturday's from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will retain that schedule until about Memorial Day when it will revert to a seven-day-a-week schedule.
The very next larger events on tap are scheduled for today and tomorrow. Today's events are the Wells Swap Meet at the Wells Community Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Canajoharie Forest, Fish and Game Club's annual Coyote Hunt. Sunday. awards will be presented in the annual Tuman's Tavern Big Buck Contest. While we're on that subject , those participants who will get awards in the event include the following: First was won by Jason Mayer with a 143 pound 9 pointer; second place will go to to Ken Paro with a 142 pound 9 pointer; third place to John Loucks, with a 134 pound 6 pointer (bow); fourth to Mike Auriemma, 122 pound 4 pointer; fifth to Brent Phetteplace, 116 pound 4 pointer; sixth to Mike Alexander, 102 pound 4 pointer; and seventh to Joe Duffy, Sr., 93 pound 4 pointer
This popular, annual event drew 33 participants and they brought in a total of seven bucks, for a success rate of a bit over 21 percent. The awards presentations and banquet will take place tomorrow, at the tavern, at 1 p.m.
The Fifth Annual Walleye Challenge Ice Fishing Derby will be held on Great Sacnadaga next Saturday, Jan. 26. Fishing hours will be 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and a total of $45,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded. The prize structure will consist of $1,000 per hour in cash payouts, plus $9,000 in miscellaneous prizes but there will also be drawings at 4 pm the day of the contest for two four-wheelers and one snowmobile. The event will be headquartered at Lanzi's On the Lake, which will also serve as one of the two weigh stations, with the other one being at the NYS Boat Launch in Broadalbin.
The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation's annual ice fishing contest will again be held the same day as the Walleye Challenge and the entry fee for this contest will be $15. Having both contests the same day is actually a good idea because you can enter and participate in both events , since they give prizes for different species so whatever you catch, there'll be a contest in which you can enter your fish. Obviously, the Walleye Challenge event gives prizes only for walleyes but the GSLFF contest will be for northerns. perch and trout. Catch a nice walleye and you can enter it in the Walleye Challenge but if you catch a big perch, northern or trout, you can enter it in the GSLFF's contest. Great idea and it worked well last year. Incidentally, the GSLFF event will be essentially the same as last year, with $1,500 in prize money being awarded to the three top entries in each of the above three categories. This event will be headquartered at the Sacandaga Boating Club and the contest hours will be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
SHARP SPURS BANQUET
On Saturday, March 16, the Mohawk Valley Sharp Spurs Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will hold its 17th annual banquet. The event will again be held at the Perthshire Banquet Hall on Route 30 in Perth. The doors will open at 6 p.m. for a social hour and then dinner will be served at 7:30 p.m., followed by drawings, auctions and raffles. I'll have more on this event as additional details are firmed up.
GUNS AND SPORTSMEN
There's been a lot of sabre-rattling some good and some bad -- but it basically amounts to seeing how much the public is willing to accept before caving in. If a weapon has the ability to keep firing whenever the trigger is depressed, then that makes it a "machine gun," in common parlance, and they've already been outlawed for decades. Therefore it must be an auto-loader such as the Remington Model 742, AR 15 semiautomatics or many others -- those that require only that the trigger be depressed for every shot. How about the many M1 Garands that many older veterans will remember from their military service? Those weapons are popular among rifle fans and many have been sporterized into hunting weapons. The M1's history goes all the way back to the 1920s. Might they be outlawed too? As with all questions relating to weapon definition, it's all in the eye of the beholder.
Think registration will work? Not in my mind. Registration of long guns hasn't worked wherever it's been tried because the only people that will ever register theirs are those that have neither the intention nor the inclination to use them for a nefarious purpose. Criminals won't register them. They never have and never will. This is, purely and simply, a more restrictive gun law that "targets" legitimate gun owners -- the only people that are likely to obey it. Have our legislators ever considered just enforcing the plethora of gun laws already on the books?
Use a gun in the commission of a felony and you go to jail -- that's the kind of gun law that works. No ifs, ands or buts. Possess a stolen gun? You also go to jail. No plea bargains. If the evidence stacks up, you go to jail. It's really very simple. I like to use this analogy in explaining it. If I'm a driver who's waiting for the light to go green at an intersection and then I'm T-boned by an illegal driver, high on some sort of medication, operating a stolen car, the answer is to make it more difficult for me to own and drive a car. Not him, me.
Unfortunately, gun laws, like many other pieces of legislation, are drawn up with votes and reelection in mind. Some legislators just enjoy being legislators . Their salaries and perks far exceed anything I'm entitled to and they like it and want to keep it that way. Arguments that most citizens want additional gun controls are bogus -- what's coming down the road in gun control isn't what they want, or even thought of. I guess I'm just one of those oddballs that doesn't appreciate the government telling me what I can and can't do when I'm engaged in a lawful, legitimate activity. One thing I've learned over the years is that you can't legislate morality or common sense.
Hey, did you notice the coincidence that the governor's announcement came on Jan. 15, one day before the 94th anniversary of the establishment of the Volstead Act that began Prohibition? That sure worked well, didn't it? The presidential executive actions came the following day, right on the 94th anniversary of the act. Coincidental perhaps, but prophetic as well, and I don't know, at this point, just what his executive actions entailed.
The next time you complain about the NRA or any other pro-gun group just think -- where would you'd be without them?
Despite my inability to attend this past weekend's Gun & Militaria Show at the City Center in Saratoga Springs, I really wish I had. New East Coast Arms Collector's Association has been holding three shows per year in the Saratoga City Center for 30 years and last weekend's show was the best attended of all 90 shows, despite demonstrations against it and a lingering fog which likely cut down on potential attendance at least a bit. Draw your own conclusions.