Chronic Wasting Disease not found in New York

It is my pleasure to announce some good news! Our area sure could use some.

The Department of Environmental Conservation recently sent out a press release that after conducting 2,500 samplings of deer statewide, there were no deer found infected with Chronic Wasting Disease – commonly referred to as CWD.

CWD is a fatal disease of deer, elk and moose that is now found in 22 states.

CWD is in the family of diseases that include Mad Cow Disease. No human cases of CWD have ever been reported to the Federal Centers for Disease Control.

CWD was detected in NY back in 2002 and the last confirmed case of CWD was in 2005. Pennsylvania discovered CWD in both captive deer and free-ranging deer back in 2012, so the DEC is well aware of the threat that the disease poses to New York state’s deer population.

Hunters going to Pennsylvania and other CWD-positive states are not permitted to bring back whole carcasses. CWD concentrates in tissues like the brain and spinal cord and remains infectious to other deer. Hunters returning from out of state are allowed to bring back meat and cleaned skull caps from a successful hunt.

The DEC thanks cooperating hunters, meat processors and taxidermists for contributing samples. Successful CWD surveillance depends on all of us. For more information on the DEC’s CWD surveillance program, visit

Environmental Conservation Officer Jerry Kinney was recently named New York Officer of the Year by the National Wild Turkey Federation at the Erie County Federation’s annual banquet.

Kinney has been stationed in Region 9 and according to the press release, “Kinney has worked collaboratively with law enforcement agencies and officers in the six county areas to handle numerous cases involving fish and wildlife, resource protection and public safety. This past year, his abilities were highlighted in a challenging deer jacking investigation that spanned four months and involved several deer shot at night with the aid of artificial light. Kinney also located the suspect and determined that he took the shot within 500 feet of a house as well as several other Environmental Conservation and Law violations.”

Other persons that received awards at the Erie County Federation event were: Chuck Godfrey, president of the ECF, who received the Volunteer of the Year Award. Sheriff Tim Howard accepted the Servant of the Year Award. DEC Fisheries Biologist Jim Markham received the Environmentalist of the Year Award and DEC Regional Wildlife Manager Mark Kandel received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Kandel plans on retiring in August.

Doug Zeller received the Public Service Award. Zeller is the captain of the DEC research vessel the ‘Argo’. The Presidents award went to Rose Barus. The Outstanding Achievement Award went to Robert Keicher. Dedicated Service Award went to Willard Sieber.

Tyler Bugess (15 years old) received the Youth of the Year award. Sportsman of the Year Award went to Joseph Wilczewski. The Valerie E. Gonnello Sportswoman of the Year Award went to Donna Metz. The Erie County Trappers Association Trapper of the Year Award went to Matt Rachwel and the President’s Special Recognition Award went to Lake Erie Charter Captain Fred Forsyth, who organized an extensive fishing program for recovering veteran military personnel. Congratulations!

Note that the Chautauqua County Sportsmen Federation will be conducting their annual Harry Probst Memorial banquet Monday at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.

Chautauqua County residents will be recognized for their contributions to clubs and the outdoors. In addition, the eight winners of the free Lifetime Sporting licenses will be on hand.

Funding for the licenses was made possible through the sale of raffle tickets that featured a Ruger rifle and scope, and three donated fishing charters from Captains Lance Ehrhardt, Larry Jones and Dan Korzenski.

The drawing for the licenses was a random process available to any Chautauqua County resident youth under the age of 16. A new raffle will begin Monday.


Hanover Fish & Game is hosting a 10-week trap league, which started March 30. Cost for the league is $20 plus $5 per week for shooting. Shooters must have four weeks shot by April 27. Shooting will be Sundays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Thursdays from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, contact Mike Nasal at 679-6059 or Mark at 713-2776.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to

The next meeting of the Great Lakes Experience Planning Board will be in April at the SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator, which is located on Central Avenue in Dunkirk. Plans are being made for the GLE to take place at Dunkirk’s Memorial Park on June 21. This event should be a great time and everyone interested in attending should mark the date on their calendars. This event is going to be a lot of fun, so make plans for you and your friends to attend.

New York Sea Grant’s annual “State of Lake Erie Meeting” will be held on Thursday, April 10 from 7- 9 p.m. at the Southtowns Walleye Association Club House located at 5895 Southwestern Boulevard, Hamburg. Guest speakers and topics will be: Status of Lake Erie fish community by NYSDEC Don Einhouse, Lake Erie sturgeon by Dr. Dimitry Gorsky, Microplastics in Lake Erie and fish health by Dr. Sherri Mason and an update on Lake Erie toxic algae blooms by Helen Domske. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Southtowns walleye will also feature a one-day yellow perch contest on May 17 for $10 per entry. The event will feature cash prizes, free perch dinner and lots of fun. Must be a member ($35). Southtown Walleye’s annual walleye tournament is June 7 through 14. Must be a member and $35 entry per contestant.

The Monday Night Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Fly Tyers will meet Monday at 6 p.m., weather permitting. The event is open to the public and is free of charge.

The Falconer Rod & Gun Club will host a trapping course on Sept. 24 and 26 from 5:30-10 p.m. each day. Register the first day.

There will be gun safety courses at the Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club located on Route 310 Cassadaga-Stockton Road on April 10 and 11 from 5-10 p.m. Must attend both days and pre-register by calling Rich at 595-3917. There will also be another course on July 10 and 11, which will use the same time frame. The archery course at the Bear Lake club will be on Aug. 20 and 21 from 6 until 10 p.m. Two-day attendance is required as well as pre-registration. Their trapping course will be on Oct. 16 and 17 from 6-10 p.m. both days. Limit of 35 students.

There will be a gun safety course at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club on April 16 and 17 from 5-10 p.m. Two-day attendance mandatory. Call Gary at 366-3397. There will be another two-day course given on August 27 and 28. Note these classes are limited to 35 students.

Another two-day course will be on September 24 and 25. Same time frame.

There will be one date for the archery course at the “Con Club” on Saturday, Sept. 20, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. There is a class limit of 60 students. Bring a lunch. Pre-register by calling Gary at 366-3397.

The trapping course at the “Con Club” will be on Sept. 27 from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Limit 60 students.

Raw fur pickup schedule: North American Fur Auctions’ (NAFA) location is Lucky Lanes bowling alley on Route 60, in Fredonia. Time is 4:30 p.m., on April 28. The agent is Ernest Mosher and he can be reached by calling 315-868-6275. Note: The fur must be put up and dried. No green pelts will be accepted.

Gun Shows:

The Sportsmen’s Show at the Little Valley Volunteer Fire Dept. continues today. Admission is $5 with kids under the age of 12 admitted free. For information on directions, or to be a vendor, call Jim Miller at 938-6928.

If your club is hosting a shooting event, or training course (turkey shoot, etc.), drop a line and I will be glad to place an announcement in the calendar.