Seven wildlife sciences students from State University of New York ESF (Environmental Science & Forestry) recently culminated their introduction to waterfowl hunting through Delta’s University Hunting Program under the guidance of Webfoot Outdoors in Clayton, New York. The overall program was a collaboration between Delta and SUNY-ESF. And the resulting smiles and terrific memories made were in a large part due to the outstanding service provided by Webfoot Outdoors husband/wife owners Mark Gawron and Martha Ann Imperato, as well as their guides and top-notch dogs.
At SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, coursework with Professor Michael Schummer preceded the two-day hunt and included required completion of the New York hunter safety program. At Webfoot Outdoors newly constructed accommodations, Mark and Martha took over from there with additional hands-on instruction in safe gun-handling and shooting instruction. They also shared step-by-step, exactly what the students should expect in the blinds the next morning.
The class of six young women and one young man, then joined Mark and Martha on the clay target range which was carefully set up to simulate actual field conditions and shooting positions. Under their instruction, a number of the students went from not being able to hit a stationary clay target hanging on a post to consistently breaking flying targets. All the students finished the day feeling more confident in their gun handling and shooting abilities.
Dawn the next morning found the students in carefully constructed blinds facing single-digit temperatures and strong winds on the bays of Lake Ontario just a stone’s throw from the US/Canada border. Careful scouting and intel gathered by the Webfoot Outdoors team revealed that the lake had acquired new flights of ducks the area had been awaiting. The new hunters would have opportunities at scaup, redheads, buffleheads, goldeneyes, black ducks and mallards.
Though the effects of layers and layers of heavy clothing and gloves made shooting difficult at times, the students soon got into the zone and began connecting. Many first ducks were taken on the morning’s hunt, and outstanding dog work by the Webfoot Outdoors’ canine team – including both retrievers and shorthairs – brought 15 birds to hand for the young hunters.
In the early afternoon back at the lodge, the students all participated in hands-on processing of the morning’s harvest and enjoyed delicious duck preparations from Martha’s kitchen before heading back to Syracuse with Professor Schummer.
Delta Waterfowl’s R3 Program Coordinator Stephen Sowell and northeast Regional Director Matt Kneisley were highly pleased with all the services provided by Webfoot Outdoors. Sowell said, “The crew at Webfoot Outfitters made the first hunting experience for these kids one they will never forget … and they learned a ton. Mark and Martha did a terrific job.”
In appreciation for the hard work in preparing to host a Delta Waterfowl University Hunt, Kneisley presented Mark and Martha with a Joey Jobes canvasback gunning decoy.
Webfoot Outdoors offers guiding services for ducks, geese, and upland birds as well as full-service dog training of pointing, flushing, and retrieving breeds through their Rimrock Kennels operation. They feature litters and stud services of German Shorthair Pointers, and their dogs have earned many NAHVDA and NADK awards and titles.
You can check out the Webfoot Outdoors website at www.webfootoutdoors.com or call 585-370-2624 to learn more.
Find out more about the Delta Waterfowl University Hunting Program at: deltawaterfowl.org/universityhuntingprogram or contact Delta R3 Coordinator Stephen Sowell at: email@example.com.