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Hunters across New York State enjoyed a 2012 big-game hunting season with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents on record. Statistics for the gun season (Nov. 17 to Dec. 18) showed the least number of HRSI reports investigated by the Department of Environmental Conservation in that period.

While total hunter numbers have declined about 20 percent since the 1960s, the incident rate has dropped 70 percent. In the 1960s, 19 HRSI reports were filed per 100,000 hunters. During the past five hunting seasons, that rate has dropped to an average of 5.3 incidents.

Two fatalities occurred as a result of shootings by members of their hunting group. DEC officials stress the key tenet in hunter safety is to know what lies beyond the line of fire.

To view the 2012 Hunting Safety Statistics summation of incidents, go to: dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/huntingsafetystats12.pdf.

Dam decisions

Anglers can offer some say on how fish move in the Cattaraugus Creek waterway. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Buffalo District) is seeking comments on proposed alternatives for construction of a fish passage project at the Scoby Dam in Springville.

The comment period goes to March 8; the district has posted a document for public review at: lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/CivilWorks/PublicReviewDocument.aspx.

Busing to rally

Federation chapters, SCOPE chapters and sporting groups statewide have reserved buses to transport gun-rights supporters to a 10 a.m. rally Feb. 28 in Albany.

Here are departure points from the area with contact information for details/reservations.

• The Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs’ program will have buses depart at 4:30 a.m. from Eastern Hills Mall parking lot near the Sears Automotive store. Call 510-7952.

• Erie County SCOPE Chapter bus departure, 4:30 a.m. Southgate Plaza in West Seneca. Call 572-3149.

• The Genesee County SCOPE Chapter bus departs at 4:30 a.m. Call Dave Kaufman (585-494-2314) for more details.

• Wyoming County Federation has a 4 a.m. departure set from the Tops parking lot in Warsaw. Email lgbecker@dishmail.net.

• The Livingston County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs bus departs from Interstate 390 Lakeville Exit No. 9 at 5 a.m. Call Mark Osypian at (585) 301-2818.

Permit opt-outs

Pistol permit holders in Erie County have the option to have their names and addresses opted out with the county clerk’s office.

A link for an Erie County “form request” can be obtained at: 2.erie.gov/clerk/index.php?q=erie-county-opt-out.

email: odrswill@gmail.com