By Don LehmanContributing Writer
Herkimer, N.Y. – The conservation organizations that have
renewed their summit on sporting issues have plotted a new course
of action that may see help from an unlikely source.
The organizations met in Herkimer on Sept. 11, and decided what
their priorities will be in the upcoming state legislative
Among the goals is to make more of an effort to hold
face-to-face meetings with legislators who have not been supportive
of prior efforts to push bills like a youth hunting bill, said Pat
Arnold, a member of the state Fish and Wildlife Management
The Fish and Wildlife Management Board, Conservation Fund
Advisory Board and Conservation Alliance of New York were all
represented at the meeting, and Arnold said the meeting ended with
a consensus on how to proceed on several key issues.
The biggest are the annual push to get a youth hunting bill
through both houses of the Legislature for consideration by the
governor, a push for an increase in fines for those who break
hunting and fishing laws and for a ban on selling panfish.
Bill Pike, a Washington County resident who is a member of FWMB
and CFAB, said the key to the youth hunting bill may be the
commissioner of the state Department of Environmental
Though criticized as anti-sportsmen in some circles during his
appointment earlier this year, Pike said he believes Commissioner
Pete Grannis ‘will go to bat for us’ on youth hunting legislation.
Grannis served many years in the state Assembly before his
appointment earlier this year as DEC commissioner.
‘He has a lot of pull with downstate legislators because he was
one of them,’ Pike said. ‘We have to educate the legislators that
12-year-olds can already hunt coyotes and shoot with a center-fire
The idea of one fishing license for freshwater and saltwater
anglers was also discussed, though there was no agreement on where
to go with it. New York is one of a number of states facing
pressure from the federal government to create a saltwater license,
or risk having a federal license imposed and lose potential
Absent, though, were members of the New York State Conservation
Council, the third straight summit meeting that was not attended by
someone from the council, Arnold said.
Harold Palmer, president of the council, said the organization
does plan to be part of the meetings, but because of a mixup over
the date was not able to get anyone to the September gathering. He
said it plans to be represented at the October meeting.
Palmer said the council also re-organized at its annual
convention in September, and has appointed former council vice
president Loren Sigman to serve as legislative vice president,
replacing the departed Wally John.
‘We’re going to set it up on more of a committee concept, so
hopefully we don’t burn out one person,’ Palmer said.
The summit groups plan to meet monthly, and will gather again
Oct. 16 in Frankfort.