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The New York State Chapter of National Wild Turkey Federation has announced that Environmental Conservation Officer Jerry Kinney has been selected as the federation’s 2013 ECO of the year.

Kinney, assigned to duties in southern sections of DEC Region 9, was selected among six highly qualified ECOs nominated statewide.

Kinney conducted a relentless investigation of a series of wildlife shootings in Chautauqua County. The manner in which Kinney solved this case resulted in his selection as the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Officer of the Year.

Nominated by Lt. Donald J. Pleakis, Kinney also received high praise from Region 9 Capt. Frank Lauricella, who cited his determination to solve these shootings.

“This is a fine example of the hard work and skill that goes into these kinds of investigations,” Lauricella said of the 11-year veteran of environmental conservation enforcement service.

The federation’s ECO Selection Committee coordinator, Howard Travis, noted that Kinney was one of the youngest ECOs to be nominated and selected for this award.

Kinney will be honored at the NWTF’s annual banquet on Jan. 11, 2014 at the Holiday Inn in Waterloo.

Look for a detailed Outdoors Page column on his tedious, yet harrowing, investigation, arrest and conviction in this wildlife criminal case.

Bird hunts

Pheasant hunting season opened Saturday in all Western New York regions and will continue until Dec. 31 in northern counties and to Feb. 28 in southern parts of Western New York regions.

Added to the yearly pheasant stocking programs conducted in Erie and Wyoming Counties, the Allegany County Pheasant Release Program has expanded, providing birds for an additional site prior to the Youth Hunt last week.

Officials note that additional stockings will be made in the county during the regular season.

Wild turkey season began Saturday throughout the western regions. Northerly sections go to Nov. 1.

Southern areas continue open hunting sunrise to sunset until Nov. 15, the day before the opening of big game firearms seasons.

Youth license draw

Chautauqua County has followed Erie County’s lead in establishing a free youth raffle for a state Department of Environmental Conservation Lifetime Outdoor Sports License.

The Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs have gathered funds to award five licenses to winning recipients. Options are Trapping, Fishing, Big Game/Small Game/ Muzzle Loading and Archery.

Youths residing in Chautauqua County and under the age of 16 before April 30, 2014 can enter the drawing. For an application, write to: CCFSC, Box 752, Sinclairville NY 14782.

email: odrswill@gmail.com