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Outdoors notebook: Local teens shoot well during 4-H invitational

| Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:24 p.m.
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Nicholas Paroda of Uniontown competed in the 4-H National Invitational Shoot in Nebraska. He was one of eight Pennsylvanians in the event, which drew more than 500 shooters from around the country.

Young local shooters competed against some of the top shots in the country.

Nine Pennsylvania teens, including one from Fayette County and four from Washington, traveled to Grand Island, Neb., to take part in 4-H's National Shooting Sports Invitational earlier this month.

Washington

County's Morgan Duerr finished second out of roughly 75 shooters in small-bore rifle competition.

Thomas Welch, also from Washington County, finished 24th in small-bore rifle, and Sylvia Driestadt finished 23rd out of 49 shooters in air pistol and Ashlee Hobgood finished 17th out of 70 in air rifle.

Fayette County's Nick Paroda, 18, was the only Pennsylvanian competing in shotgun. He finished 15th overall out of 98 shooters. No stranger to competition — he's been shooting since age 10 — he was pleased with how well he did.

“I was happy,” Paroda told Fayette County 4-H volunteer reporter Victoria Hrach. “I was going for 20th or 25th, so 15th was much better.”

The competition was stiff, he added, calling some of his competitors a “different caliber of kids.” But he enjoyed himself.

“The best part was the groups, getting to know the different people,” he said.

Stream law

State Rep. Dan Moul of Adams County is sponsoring House Bill 2357, which would mandate that waters containing stocked fish — even ones that swam there on their own — remain open to public fishing.

State law now stipulates “navigable” waters must remain open to fishing up to the high water mark. That allows anglers to wade or float them, even if they can't walk the banks.

However, waters labeled non-navigable or that never have been declared one or the other can be posted against trespassing.

Taking advantage of that “loophole,” landowners in Erie County last year posted their property, allowing only paying fishermen in, Moul said. That shut off access to migrating steelhead stocked at angler expense further downstream by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, he added.

His bill would deem those waters navigable and require them to be “open to public fishing by licensed anglers.” It's been referred to the House game and fisheries committee for consideration.

Posthumous honor

A Pittsburgh man with a passion for elk was posthumously recognized by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation with its Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award.

It was presented to the family of Rodger Fleming at the Foundation's Three Rivers Chapter banquet in Pittsburgh. It's the highest honor conveyed by the Foundation, for “contributions of lasting significance that benefit elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage across North America.”

Fleming was a driving force in organizing the Pittsburgh chapter, serving as a volunteer for 25 years. He also helped it become the first in the nation to raise a cumulative $3 million for elk.

Store opening

Field & Stream outdoor stores will open a new location in Old Mill Shopping Center, 60 Old Mill Blvd., Washington County, on Sept. 12. There will be a grand opening at 10 a.m., with guest appearances and activities planned throughout the weekend. Details can be found fieldandstreamshop.com.

Fisher sightings

Fishers, large members of the weasel family once thought to need big forests to survive, have been expanding into suburban areas, with reports on the increase lately in North Huntingdon and Hempfield townships, said Game Commission conservation officer Matt Lucas.

Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bfrye@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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