Citizens preparing for changes in firearm legislation

Many of us knew there would be trouble for law abiding gun owners when President Barack Obama addressed the nation in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.

The media has been busy with reports of the aftermath of the tragedy and the knee-jerk legislation that followed. At last weekend’s gun show in Westfield, Saturday was the busier of the two days. Those looking to buy or sell conversed with the vendors and customers, looking for information, which is still forthcoming. There are more questions than answers.

The pistol course, which took place locally this Saturday, was filled to capacity. Several other local classes may have to be scheduled. People who never before thought of owning a hand gun are now getting ready before their rights to own one are further restricted.

My wife an I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods, in Hamburg, and as I was browsing for a Marine GPS, I asked one of the workers if the recent legislation has affected firearms sales. In a non-committal gesture from one of the friendly workers, I noticed almost all the ammunition cases were empty.

At the January meeting of the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen, held last Wednesday at the Falconer Rod & Gun Club, the membership was informed that the National Rifle Association is now offering a Lifetime membership for $300. The fee is usually $1,000. The NRA is urging all law-abiding gun owners to join, and if possible, upgrade any and all memberships to help them fight for our rights. Support the NRA and our legislators who are trying to keep our law makers level-headed in a time of turmoil.

If you noticed the photo of the ice hut and two fishermen, you might be surprised to learn that it was taken around 4:30 p.m., from the City of Dunkirk pier. The duo were set up between the dock and the ARGO, on ice they reported was 6 inches thick. Jeff Caparco and Ron Duliba were targeting yellow perch, but reported catching a carp and losing another large fish. They reported seeing smelt cruising just under the ice. Note that the anglers reported the ice was thin where the smooth ice met the chunk ice. It was only an inch or so thick, so use caution. Another pair of anglers were reported trying their luck on the west side of the dock on Saturday.

With cold in the forecast for the foreseeable future, you may want to focus on the upcoming ice fishing tournament listed in the calendar section!

Calendar:

Willie Fedrick, Ken Hollandar, Monte Kennedy, Jeffrey Rasmus and the rest of the fly tying group are back again on Monday evenings (6-8 p.m.) at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club. The Con Club Fly Tyers have all the equipment you will need to learn how to tie your own flies. No matter what level you are at – from beginner to advanced – you can come and have a good time – and it’s all FREE. They will provide the vises, hooks and fly tying material. Youngsters accompanied by a parent or guardian are most certainly welcome.

The Sportsman’s Show at the Seneca Allegany Events Center (I-86- Exit 20) will be Feb. 16-17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Go to www.yorkpennshows.com for more information.

The local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, the Lake Shore Longbeards, will meet again on Monday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Vineyards, located on Route 20 in Sheridan. The agenda will include finalizing preparations for the banquet, which will be Feb. 9, at the Kosciuszko Club, in Dunkirk. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased at the meeting, or by calling Bob and Judi Turk at 934-4538. Note: The deadline for Early Bird Prize consideration is Feb. 4. Paid tickets can be dropped off at the meeting.

The NYS Region 9 Erie County Trappers Association Fur Auction will be on Saturday, Feb. 2 at S&S Taxidermy & Archery Pro Shop, located at 455 South Cascade Drive (Route 219) Springville. For more information, call 592-2404.

Fur check in time is from 8 a.m. Auction time at 10 a.m. There is a five-percent commission fee for all sellers. Food will be available from the Boy Scouts. For more information, call Patti at 337-2556.

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club will hold a rabbit contest for members and guests on Sunday, Feb. 17. Weigh-in deadline will be 3 p.m. Entry fee is $5. Prizes awarded for the heaviest three entries. Sign up at the club. Food and prizes after the weigh-in.

Announcing the NYS Ice Pro-Am Tournament Series: There are three main tournament events scheduled – if the ice cooperates. The first was on Tupper Lake, from Jan. 4-6. The second is on Chautauqua Lake, and is scheduled for Feb. 15-17. The final event is on Sodus Bay, from Feb. 22-24. There are three divisions, including Professional, Amateur and Open. Professional, which is 1-2 anglers per team, has a $160 per team entry fee. The Amateur Division, which will be for singles or pairs, has a $90 entry fee. The Open Division, which is for single anglers, has an entry fee of $40. Check the official tournament website at www.NYSiceproam.com. The official Tournament email address is info@FK sportfishing.com..

The Jamestown Rifle club will hold Pistol classes on today, Feb. 24, March 24 and April 28. You must be 21-years old and a resident of Chautauqua County. All classes begin at 1 p.m., and last around four hours. Call Pat Hayes at 484-9301 for information.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to sports@observertoday.com.