Sports & Recreation 02.07.19

Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center February Events

Outdoor Adventure Camp Registration Opens Feb. 13.
25 years of engaging youth in the wonders of nature!
Full Blood Snow Moon Trek: Monday, February 18: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Enjoy the silence of a wintry night as you ski or snowshoe under the natural light of the full moon. Depending on conditions, we’ll cover about 1 -2 miles. This is an intermediate level program for folks aged 16 – 99. Please check ahead for updated snow conditions and possible cancellation. Free. Snowshoe rentals available for $5 with advance notice.

Winter Break Snowshoe Program: Wednesday, February 20: 1 – 3pm
Are you looking for something to do outdoors as a family over winter break? Youth, families and adults can congregate in a beautiful natural setting while learning the fundamentals of snowshoeing. After a brief introduction we will snowshoe for about 2 hours, looking for signs of animals and enjoying a winter day outdoors. Preregistration is required. Cost is $5 and includes individual snowshoe rental.
Tuesday Treks: Every Tuesday 1 – 3pm
We will hike, snowshoe or ski about 2-3 miles depending on conditions every Tuesday afternoon in February. Please call or check the website for updated conditions and possible cancellations. For adults and older teens. Leader: Leonard Tremblay. Snowshoe rentals available for $5 with advance notice.

Preregister for programs by contacting Lisa Hoyt at (518) 658-2055 or  Please check the website or call (518) 658-055 for possible program cancellations.


Wildlife Tracking Workshops in Rensselaer County

Join local tracking experts Dan Yacobellis and Josh Wood for a series of workshops to learn animal tracks or to enhance your skills. All are welcome to attend one or more workshops; each workshop will add a new layer to the tracking experience. The second two workshops will also include GPS mapping and documenting of all observed wildlife signs, using citizen science to contribute to an online, active map of animal activity on the Rensselaer Plateau.

Tracking Workshop #2
February 16, 9:30-4:00, with half-day option — Bringing Tracking Home with Dan Yacobellis at Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center, Grafton.  We’ll start off with a one-hour primer on how to use your SmartPhone to record tracking information. Then we head out into the woods. We will stay close to the Center until noon, when, anyone who wants to can leave and the rest of us will head deeper into the woods to record as much wildlife signs as we can find! Then we’ll put it all on an online map for you to view from home. Online registration is required. Cost is $20 per workshop. Click here to register and for more details.
Tracking Workshop #3
March 10 – 9:30-4:00, with half-day option – Animal Tracking in Late Winter with Dan Yacobellis at Poestenkill Community Forest, Poestenkill.
Preregister for programs by contacting Lisa Hoyt at (518) 658-2055 or  Please check the website or call (518) 658-2055 for  possible program cancellations.


Hunter’s Breakfast with Guest speaker Scott Bestul

Big Bucks on Small Tracts (Hunting and Managing Parcels Under 120 Acres) Scott is a die-hard outdoor sportsman and accomplished whitetail hunter from Lewiston, MN, with over 40 years of hunting experience. He is also the Whitetail Field Editor and columnist for Field and Stream Magazine, which has been in circulation since 1895. In addition to Scott’s affiliation with F&S, he has written 3 books, feature stories for a variety of national, regional and state-based magazines, newspapers and outdoor journals, and been a featured speaker at major outdoor shows, seminars and expos throughout the United States. Please join us for Scott’s presentation, a delicious maple syrup breakfast and exciting door prizes at West Stephentown Baptist Church (1672 NY 43, Stephentown, NY) on Saturday, March 30, 2019, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Registration and light refreshments begin at 8:00 AM. The cost is $20.00 per person. Seating is limited, so please call Dave or Kim Austin ASAP at (518) 732-7382 or email Dave at to reserve your seat!!



DEC Releases New York State Hunting Safety Statistics For 2018

Incident Rate Ties Lowest Annual Total in History, Past Six Years are Safest on Record

The 2018 hunting seasons in New York tallied the lowest number of recorded hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) and tied the 2016 mark – 13 – as the safest on record, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced. DEC documented five tree stand incidents and zero fatalities in 2018, down from 12 tree stand incidents the previous year.
“The tradition of hunting is enjoyed by nearly 600,000 New Yorkers and visitors each year, and the declining number of hunting incidents prove that today’s generation of hunters continue to be the most safety conscious,” said Commissioner Seggos. “In large part, hunting in New York continues to be a safe and enjoyable activity thanks to the efforts of 2,600 DEC staff and volunteer hunter education program instructors that teach nearly 50,000 students each year.”
Of the 13 HRSIs that occurred last year, seven were two-party firearm incidents, six were self-inflicted, and three resulted in fatalities that could have been prevented if hunting safety rules and common sense were followed. Of the three fatalities, two were self-inflicted and caused by unsafe handling of firearms and one was a two-party firearm incident caused by a failure to positively identify the target.

Further examination of the seven two-party firearm incidents reveals that six (86 percent) of the victims  involved were not wearing hunter orange, reinforcing the importance of identifying the target and beyond, and wearing hunter orange when afield—two major tenets of DEC’s hunter safety courses.
“Although the number of hunting-related incidents have declined dramatically in the last several decades, we believe every one of these could be avoided if hunters follow the laws and basic rules of hunting safety,” Commissioner  Seggos said. “We encourage hunters to wear hunter orange and to be sure, beyond a doubt, of their target and what lies beyond.”

DEC-trained and certified volunteer instructors teach safe, responsible, and ethical hunting and trapping practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in wildlife conservation. New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters and trappers, thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of volunteer Hunter Education Program instructors. All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must successfully complete a hunter or trapper safety course and pass the final exam before being eligible to purchase a hunting or trapping license. All courses are offered free of charge.

Tree stand safety has become a regular part of the hunter education course required of first-time hunters in New York. Tree stand incidents are becoming a major cause of hunting-related injuries. The proper use of tree stands and tree stand safety equipment will help to prevent these injuries and fatalities. Used correctly, a harness keeps the hunter connected from the time they leave the ground to the moment they get back down.
Many, if not all tree stand incidents could be prevented if hunters follow the “ABCs” of tree stand safety:

Always remove and inspect your tree stand before use;

Buckle on your full body harness securely every time; and

Connect to the tree before your feet leave the ground.

While hunting is safer than ever, DEC encourages hunters to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. Many, if not all of these incidents could have been prevented if the people involved had followed the primary rules of hunter safety:

Treat every firearm as if it were loaded;

Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction;

Identify your target and what lies beyond;

Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and

Wear hunter orange.
For more information, including the 2018 Hunting Safety Statistics and the 2018 Tree Stand Safety Statistics, DEC’s website.


DEC Invites Public Comments on Proposed 2020 Regulations for Great Lakes Fishing

Anglers Are Encouraged to Review and Comment to Help Continue Improving the Region’s Fishery

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced it is seeking angler feedback on proposed fishing regulation changes for New York’s Great Lakes. The proposed changes are designed to safeguard and expand certain fish populations while also enhancing anglers’ continued enjoyment of one of the state’s premier fisheries. The majority of the proposals are a direct result of DEC’s work with anglers during the past year to identify desired outcomes for Lake Ontario’s fishery.
Potential regulation changes include:

extending the open season for lake trout and decreasing the daily creel limit for rainbow trout/steelhead on Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara River;

decreasing the brown trout daily creel limit and increasing the minimum size limit for rainbow trout/steelhead on Lake Ontario tributaries; and

eliminating a special Lake Erie tributary regulation now deemed unnecessary in a continuing effort to simplify New York fishing regulations.

Following a review of public comments received and further evaluation this winter, DEC may advance these proposals for formal adoption in 2020. DEC welcomes and encourages feedback on the regulation changes currently under consideration.
To view these proposals and provide input, visit DEC’s website. Comments will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2019. Comments and questions can also be directed to Steve LaPan, Great Lakes Fisheries Section Head, at: New York State DEC, P.O. Box 292, Cape Vincent, NY 13618.




Fan festivals to celebrate return of basketball madness to downtown Albany

Fourth annual Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest to be held on Monday, March 11

Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest to be held on Friday, March 29

ALBANY, NY; Tuesday, February 5, 2019 – Capital Region sports fans will celebrate the return of championship collegiate basketball with two exciting fan festivals in downtown Albany this March: the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest and the Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest.

Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest on Monday, March 11

The fourth annual Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest, the official fan festival of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships, will take place on Monday, March 11 at the Albany Capital Center from 4 to 8 p.m.

The event, which invites fans to enjoy gourmet mac-n-cheese tastings from local restaurants and craft beer and wine at the Saratoga Eagle Craft Beer Garden, will be part of Championship Monday. It will follow the MAAC Women’s Basketball Championship at 2:30 p.m. and take place prior to the MAAC Men’s Basketball Championship which tips off at 9 p.m. Both games will be held at the Times Union Center, which is connected by walkway to the Albany Capital Center.

“Hannaford is excited to once again be a part of this outstanding event, which serves as the signature fan attraction of the MAAC Basketball Championships in downtown Albany,” said Hannaford Supermarkets Community Relations Specialist Brian Fabre. “We encourage both basketball and mac-n-cheese fans to save the date for a fun evening to kick off the tournament.”

Tickets for the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest will be available beginning Friday, February 15, at  Fans can save $2 per set of sampling tickets with advance purchase. Tickets purchased in advance are $8 and entitle guests to five samples of mac-n-cheese. Tasting tickets will also be available at the door for $10 (cash only).

Craft beer and wine tasting tickets will be $5 for three samples and are available exclusively at the event (cash only; must be at least 21 years old with a valid ID).

The 2019 MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will take place Thursday, March 7 through Monday, March 11. The tournament champions each earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.

All-session and individual session passes are currently on-sale for the MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships. Flex ticket packages may also be purchased at the arena box office, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at

Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest on Friday, March 29

The basketball madness will continue with the Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest on Friday, March 29 at the Albany Capital Center from 3 to 6:30 p.m. The event will be held in conjunction with the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Albany Regional, which will include some of the best collegiate women’s basketball teams in the country at the Times Union Center.

The signature element of the Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest is the all-new Taste of Albany, featuring approximately one dozen local restaurants serving their top creations. The afternoon will also offer local beer, wine, cider and spirits for sampling from Saratoga Eagle.

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Albany Regional will get underway on Friday, March 29 with matchups at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The winners will face each other in the Albany Regional Final on Sunday, March 31 at noon. The winner of the Albany Regional will advance to the Final Four of the women’s division.

Tickets to the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Albany Regional can be purchased online by visiting

Both the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest and the Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest will feature free family-friendly activities and entertainment, including face painting, balloon artists, inflatables and music from a DJ.

Sponsors of the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest and Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest include Hannaford Supermarkets, the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, SEFCU, Saratoga Eagle, Dunkin’, AYCO and Pioneer Bank.

For more information about the Hannaford MAAC-n-Cheese Fest and the Women’s College Basketball Fan Fest, visit


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