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Young outdoors enthusiasts in Erie County and Chautauqua County have a free chance in a drawing for one of five New York State free lifetime license options.

Joe Jemiolo of Boston first introduced the program in Erie County at Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs meetings; the first youth license drawing winners were announced during the 2013 ECFSC annual banquet in March.

Jemiolo sought sponsorships to support this program and was able to fund licenses for trapping, fishing, big game/small game, muzzleloading and archery licenses for the drawing. “We couldn’t have done all this without help from our sponsors,” he said of Quaker Boy Game Calls, Dick’s Sporting Goods, West Herr Auto Group, S&S Taxidermy, Sassafras Charters and the American Legion Hamburg Post No. 527.

All youths residing in Erie County can submit one application; applicants must be under age 16 by March 31, 2014. A mailing deadline for submissions is Nov. 30. For an application, go to eriectyfsc.org.and click on “FREE to Enter” below the federation logo.

Drawings of winners will be held during the federation’s Dec. 19 meeting at Bison City Rod & Gun Club.

To expand the number of youth licenses for the drawing, the federation has set up a raffle. For ticket information, call 440-8812 or 440-6995.

After the first year of drawing, Jemiolo said, “It would be great if every NYS County Federation adopted this youth program. We could add huge numbers to our outdoors folk fraternity. The Erie County Federation will help any federation contemplating starting a similar program.”

Currently, four counties have similar programs in the planning stage. Zen Olow, president of the Chautauqua County Federation of Sportsmen’s, has established a program in that county.

Youths in that county who are under age 16 before April 30, 2014 can enter one application until Dec. 11 for a drawing to be held at the Jan. 20 federation meeting at Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. A raffle to help sponsors fund the event will also be held.

For details on application forms and raffles, call Olow at 640-2776.

email: odrswill@gmail.com