Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Getting ’em started

As we struggle to conjure up resolutions for this new year – at
least ones that we will adhere to and not let fall by the wayside –
one good suggestion for veteran sportsmen and women is to expose
the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts to our great natural
resources. Give them a taste of what’s available. A recent reminder
was generated by Bruce Blakelock of Lewiston (Niagara County),
mentoring his 12-year-old son, Robert, as he managed to reach a few
milestones along the way.

It started last fall when Bruce and Robert were invited by local
game-calling legend Ernie Calandrelli to participate in a youth big
game hunt in Kentucky. As the story went, Calandrelli gave up one
of his “secret” spots in an effort to give Robert a chance at
taking his first deer. Akin to a Tom Brady winning football drive
in the closing minutes, the young nimrod connected with his first
deer in the waning minutes of his final day of the hunt. After two
days of frustration, success. It pays to hang in there. Robert had
a big smile on his face; so did his father.

A few days before Christmas, young Robert connected on his first
ringneck pheasant while hunting alongside his dog, Jack – a
Munsterlander trained for this fun stuff. He was hunting the fields
of Cambria Game Farms in Niagara County, next to his dad, uncle and
me fighting a brisk wind and white stuff on the ground. It was a
welcome early Christmas present for the excited youngster as he
downed the bird with one shot from his 20 gauge. The smile was

A week later, he was lying in a field off Lake Ontario with his
father attempting to harvest some geese during the late waterfowl
season. Bruce, a lower Niagara River charter captain, was doing the
calling and friend Ray Mahtook of Youngstown (Niagara County) was
also a member of the hunting party. Robert was the first to connect
on a big Canada goose and he managed to take another before the
morning was complete. Another important milestone was reached and
Robert is now a proud member of the hunting fraternity. He saw the
preparation that went into a hunt, the importance of equipment
maintenance and everything else that made the hunting puzzle
complete. Not everyone has that kind of opportunity thrown into
their lap. Robert is one of the lucky ones. Then again, so is Bruce
because his son in now a lifelong hunting partner.

As we move into a new year and a new decade, it’s time to
recognize that recruitment into the hunting fraternity is as
important as anything we do to protect a heritage that has been
losing some steam in recent years. It’s up to us to add fuel to the
fire and bring new members into the ranks of hunters, fishermen and
trappers. If we don’t do that now, there won’t be anyone behind us
to mirror those same actions. Happy New Year!


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