Berkshire Woods and Waters: Thanks to those who run the sportsmen's clubs

Sportsmen's clubs serve many purposes.

Among other things, they introduce people to the outdoor sports by conducting mentoring programs which teach youths how to hunt turkeys, pheasants, duck and deer. They have spring fishing derbies, ice fishing derbies, bow hunting leagues, archery in the school programs, trout in the classroom programs, teach trap and skeet shooting, and more.

Working with the Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA), they are involved with river clean-ups, invasive plant eradication and more. Working with MassWildlife, they are involved with the BOW (Becoming an Outdoorswoman) Program, paraplegic hunts, school trout stocking programs, etc. Some groups work through OLLI (Osher Life Long Institute) to teach as fly fishing.

The days when dad or uncle taught the kids how to do all of these things are almost gone. Now, they have expert club mentors who take the place of parents who perhaps no longer participate in these sports, or a single parent who does not have the time or ability to teach them.

In many cases, club delegates serve on the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, which is the umbrella organization for the individual clubs. The League, in turn, is a member of the Massachusetts Sportsmen's Council, the umbrella organization for the individual County Leagues across Massachusetts.

The League is also affiliated with the Gun Owner's Action League (GOAL), and the NRA, which are often on Beacon Hill in Boston, fighting to preserve sportsmen's rights to own guns. These organizations require membership fees.

The sportsmen's clubs have to pay for the clubhouse maintenance, real estate taxes, loan interest, teaching materials, hatchery fish, etc. Some clubs have to maintain many acres of land and fencing. Some raise bunnies or pheasants. Others maintain trap or skeet shooting ranges, target ranges, etc. Someone has to mow, snowplow, maintain the property and cook for functions.

The annual club dues are not sufficient to pay for all of this. It is necessary to obtain added funds through special raffles, game dinners, turkey shoots (they don't really shoot turkeys), banquets, facility rentals, etc. Someone has to plan, organize, direct and control these activities — and funding — and those duties usually fall upon the club officers and directors.

Running a sportsman's club requires a significant investment of time, and those who do so ask for nothing in return.

The annual Silvio O. Conte Awards Banquet tries to recognizes them with the Sportsmen of the Year Award, Lifetime Achievement Award, etc. In this column, I would also like to give a shout out to those dedicated individuals.

Please know that for every officer listed here, there are many more directors and committee chairpersons behind the scenes who are assisting or advising them.

The following listing of clubs are those active in the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen:

Pittsfield Sportsmen's Club: Its President is Travis Delratez, 1st VP is Stanley Bushey, 2nd VP is Clem Caryofilles, Treasurer is Mike Furey and Clerk & Secretary is David Pemble.

Taconic Chapter, Trout Unlimited: President is John Burns, VP is Henry Sweren, Treasurer is Bill Travis and Secretary position is unfilled.

Berkshire Beagle Club: President is Rodney Hicks, VP is Al Costa, Treasurer is Tim Cahoon and Secretary is Pat Barry.

Lenox Sportsmen's Club: President is Tom Ferguson, VP is Mark Jester, Treasurer is Bernie Abramson and Secretary is Derek Dubin.

Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club: President is Rob McDermott, 1st VP is Wayne Myers, 2nd VP is John Mange, Treasurer is Bonnie Buffoni and Secretary is David St Peter.

Lee Sportsmen's Association: President is Cliff White, VP is George Brooks, the Treasurer position is unfilled, and Secretary is John Polastri.

Cheshire Rod & Gun Club: President is Bill Bolotin, VP is Glenn Reynolds, Treasurer is Rick Gurneyand and Secretary is Chris Smith.

Adams Outdoor for Youth: President is Jody Goff, VP is Mike LeFebvre, Treasurer is Tom Tinney and Secretary is Kaitlyn Kline.

East Mountain Sportsmen's Club: President is Steve Haskins, VP is Wayne Mclain, Treasurer is Travis McCarthy and Secretary is Kris Kirby.

Sheffield Sportsmen's Club: President is Robby Brownson, VP is Jim Olmstead, Treasurer is Lee Donsbough and Secretary is Ryan Shimmon

Onota Fishing Club: President is Edward Blake, Treasurer is Chuck Lennon and Sergeant-at-Arms is Dick Barns.

Alford Brook Club: President is Earl Albert, VP is Ray Murray, treasurer is Dr. Bruce Person and Secretary is Attorney Ed McCormic.

Berkshire County League of Sportsmen: President is Michael Kruszyna, VP is Wayne Mclain, Treasurer is Dan Kruszyna and Secretary is me. Those who serve as delegates to the Mass Sportsmen's Council, GOAL and the NRA and who must travel considerable distances to attend monthly meetings are Clem Caryofilles, Mark Jester, Pete McBride and Gary Wilk.

Many thanks to all the dedicated members. My apologies for any errors or omissions.

Summer Sizzler winners

The winners of the Cheshire Rod & Gun Club Summer Sizzler drawing are: Grand Prize — Terry Miller, 2nd Prize — Lou Puleri, 3rd Prize — Joanne Farrell, 4th Prize — Pete Skowronski and 5th Prize — Clem Caryofilles.

Deer Antlerless Permits

The deadline to apply for an Antlerless Deer Permit is July 16. There is no fee to apply but a $5 fee is charged if you are awarded a permit during the Instant Award Period starting August 1.

Thank you Massachusetts waterfowl hunters!

According to MassWldlife, since 1975, you've contributed over $1.7 million in Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamp funds to Ducks Unlimited.

An additional $15 million has been leveraged by DU, other states, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to secure and restore over 18,307 acres of waterfowl habitat across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Estabrooks Marsh in New Brunswick at the head of the Bay of Fundy was recently dedicated to Massachusetts by Ducks Unlimited Canada in "recognition of this important partnership."

Questions/comments: (413) 637-1818.


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