Several presenters make JAKES Day memorable

Our local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, The Lakeshore Longbeards, held its annual Youth Day event called JAKES Day on Saturday at the beautiful and spacious Westfield Fish & Game Club, located on Ogden Road, in Westfield.

Jakes, which is a reference to young turkeys, stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge & EthicS.

The event was for young members of the NWTF, but the weather was better suited for ducks, with a steady drizzle throughout the day. But even Mother Nature couldn’t dampen the spirits of these young outdoor enthusiasts, nor the mentors who helped put on the program that featured numerous learning stations.

Many of the functions were held indoors or under a roof if possible, including a scientific display featuring some neat moths, butterflies, live turtles and pupa and cocoons of various insects provided by Ted Taft.

Gary Dudek and Lee and Diana Turk kept busy helping the youngsters erect the pre-cut and sanded bird houses, while Longbeard President Scott Dibble had an impressive display of deer antlers, skulls and jaw bones, which he used to explain how to estimate the age of a deer and how to grade or measure the size of the rack on a male deer.

James and Dawn Hemmis had the youngsters “Talking Turkey” with slate and box turkey calls, and there was a watershed display presented by two ladies from the Nature Conservancy. Linda Fairbanks had information and sweet samples from Fairbanks Maple Syrup Farm and Rick Lazarczyk gave the youngsters a basic training on wilderness survival and some ideas on what gear to carry when you go afield.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club members helped the youngster try their hand at fishing while Greg Little and Art Estus conducted some hands-on fly tying with the kids. Members of the Westfield Club, including Don Munson, conducted their safe one-on-one clay pigeon shooting, or BB gun shooting if the kids preferred, and Jill Hejza and her family did the archery range.

Andy Joy, who you may remember won the Longbeard’s scholarship award a few years back, put on an impressive waterfowl display as well as quizzing the kids on ducks and geese. Department of Environmental Conservation Officer Jerry Kinney answered questions and told stories on his involvement with the DEC and how he and other ENCON officers help protect our wildlife and resources.

Bob Pray and his companion Riqui (Pronounced RIKI) a wire hair Dachshund representatives of Western New York Deer Search gave a demonstration on how the WNYDS uses trained, licensed leashed dogs to track and locate wounded big game animals and sometimes missing persons.

Close to 50 youngsters participated in this year’s event, and all the kids received a bird house, turkey call and T-shirt which they get to keep. The youngsters and their accompanying mentors, as well as the educators, were also treated to a picnic-style lunch. The Longbeards would like to thank the youngsters, sponsors and helpers who made this year another successful JAKES Day, despite the western New York weather.


Upcoming Lake Erie fishing tournaments include:

The Sunset Bay Shoot Out Big Fish Friday is July 25, and the main event is Saturday, July 26. This event is sold out. For details, contact

The Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club Walleye Derby is a three-day event that is also sold out. The event is Aug. 1-3. Contact information is available by calling 640-2776.

The Bear Lake Rod & Gun Club will host 3-D archery shoots on Aug. 24 and Sept. 14. They will also host a 200-yard gun shoot on Sept. 21. New members are welcome and the club’s monthly meetings are on the first Sunday of the month at 4 p.m. They start the meeting off with a hot meal, so come hungry.

There will be a Pistol Course on Aug. 16 at the Northern Chautauqua Conservation Club from 9:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Note that the price for attending these courses is now set by the county, and is now $75. Pre-sign for the course by calling Gary at 366-3397.

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. I also am available to take photos and hear your success stories by calling 366-1772 or 467-2079.

Gene Pauszek is an OBSERVER outdoors columnist. Send comments to