14th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show off to a hot start

John DeSalvio, historian of the Pine Tree Rifle Club in Gloversville, holds a rifle owned by Harvey A. Donaldson of Fultonville, founder of the modern bench rest shooting competition, while state Assemblyman Robert Smullen holds one of three plaques commemorating Donaldson. The plaques were awarded to the rifle club and Harvey Donaldson's nephew, George Donaldson of Northville, at the 14th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show Saturday at the Moose Club in Johnstown. Next in the photo, from left, are club president Paul Catucci, member Holly Gallt, and club board member Steve Riach. In addition, a third plaque will go in the Fulton County Sports Halls of Fame at the Fulton County Museum in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

JOHNSTOWN — The 14th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show opening got off to “a real hot start” on Saturday at the Moose Club on Route 30A.

The fifty-five vendors saw a big influx of visitors to the show in the first few hours, said Mike Hauser, event coordinator. At one point it was a veritable logjam and then became a steady stream.

“Every year the show grows,” said Hauser. “I think it’s the nice weather.”

Some new vendors were brought in, including bowhunting charters for Africa and traditional flint-knapped knives.

The highlight of the day was the awarding of a plaque commemorating Harvey A. Donaldson of Fultonville, who started the modern international bench rest rifle shooting competition at the Pine Tree Rifle Club on Labor Day 1947. The plaque was given to his nephew, George Donaldson of Northville, and to the Pine Tree club. Donaldson was posthumously inducted into the Fulton County Sports Hall of Fame, and a plaque will be placed in the Fulton County Museum.

Adults and children examine semiautomatic rubber-band guns as Steve Hutchins of Hutchcraft Products of Syracuse, right, explains the items at the 14th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show Saturday at the Moose Club in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“I am very pleased with this,” said his nephew. “I’m pleased that they are keeping his memory alive. It makes me feel good.”

Bench rest shooting, called schuetzen shooting, existed in Germany around the turn of the last century but fell into disfavor after World War I, as did many things German, said Hauser.

Participants of the outdoorsman show were treated to a variety of goods and services.

Danielle Graham of Gloversville, who bought T-shirts from One on One Design of Hudson Falls, said her son Cooper “is very interested in fly fishing, and we just scheduled a fly fishing charter with lessons.”

Nearby, Bill Wemple of Trout Unlimited, Clearwater Chapter, in Albany was making flies. “We just like to show people how you do it,” he said, adding that the chapter offers fly fishing lessons.

State Environmental Conservation police, from left, J.B. Hilliard and R.C. Roth, answer questions at the right table during the 14th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show Saturday at the Moose Club in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

“It takes a while to get good at casting. Casting is an art form.”

Steve Hutchins of Hutchcraft Products of Syracuse was selling wooden semiautomatic rubber-band handguns that held 12 bands. He even had a wooden Gatling gun that could shoot 144 rubber bands as fast as person could turn the barrels.

Tim Silvernail of Fonda bought one of the pistols for his nephew Ayden Coons, also of Fonda. “This keeps him from playing video games,” Silvernail said. Both are members of the Pine Tree club.

Dan Denofrio of Fort Plain came to the event because “it’s just something interesting.”

“I appreciate all the vendors who come out in the middle of winter.”

Danielle Graham of Gloversville, center, buys T-shirts at One on One Design of Hudson Falls at the 14th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show Saturday at the Moose Club in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

The show “is just something to do on Saturday,” said Reed Thompson of Westerlo, a trapper of coyotes for 30 years who wants to get back into it.

State Environmental Conservation police officers J.B. Hilliard and R.C. Toth were there for outreach and public education such as answering questions about what’s legal and what’s not.

Also, they both said their department is recruiting more officers with 40 or 50 spots open. Between retirements and a five-year hiring freeze in the recent past, “we’re losing officers faster than we’re gaining,” Hilliard said.

The recent decrease in hunting and fishing license fees is likely to bring more people into the outdoors, therefore requiring more policing, he said.

Mackenzie Hempstead of Altamont found the exhibits very interesting and said she wanted to “get the kids outdoors instead of playing video games.”

The show will continue today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and include outdoor sports experts and raffles and door prizes. Admission will be $5 for adults and $1 for children younger than 16.

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