All across New York state, pheasant hunters and their four-legged companions recently breathed a huge sigh of relief with the announcement that Gov. David Patterson had rescinded a previous order to close the Reynolds Game Farm in Dryden.
The Reynolds Game Farm was the only facility in the state to raise and rear pheasants for stocking. The governor's about-face will permit the continuation of such events as 4-H, youth programs and Becoming an Outdoor Woman programs.
The proposed closure rankled sportsmen's advocacy groups on both statewide and national levels, with threats of court injunctions and lawsuits flying from all corners. State and county level Fish and Game Federations joined with national conservation groups such as the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Pheasants Forever to lobby the governor.
The efforts, which served to unify sportsmen and women for a common cause, also proved that sportsmen and woman are a constituency group with a voice.
After tasting such success, it is important that the beneficiaries of the governor's actions acknowledge his efforts. We should all take the time to write a short note to Gov. Patterson's office to thank him for 'saving the farm.' An outpouring of such support will convince him that it was the appropriate decision and confirm that we stand united.
In an unrelated, but welcome news release, Pheasants Forever (PF) announced that the new President of the United States, Barack Obama, dined on pheasant at the inaugural luncheon. The President was joined by new Vice President Joe Biden, both families, the Supreme Court, as well as the incoming Cabinet and Congress.
"I'm not a guy that believes in signs, but I am pleased to learn our new President has a taste for pheasant; our favorite bird," said Dave Nomsen, PF's Vice President of Government Affairs.
In an unprecedented show of support for conservation, Obama's transition team held three meetings with Nomsen and other conservation leaders since his November election victory.
According to an Associated Press report, the pheasant meal also featured seafood stew, duck, sponge cake and California wines. The menu was based loosely on dishes President Lincoln enjoyed.
In other wildlife related news, the U.S. Airways jet that recently crash landed in the Hudson River lost the use of both engines when it encountered a flock of Canadian geese near LaGuardia airport. Although the engines on the Airbus A320 were designed to keep working if birds of four pounds or less passed through its turbines, Canada geese can be much bigger than that. Aviation's dilemma: in this case the flight patterns for migrating geese and airplanes are the same.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org