BROADALBIN - The fourth annual Sacandaga Sportsmen's Day on Saturday was filled with opportunities to learn and talk about the outdoors - from archery to zebras and everything in between.
The event, hosted by the Sacandaga Bible Conference, featured seven seminars before the main speaker, big-game hunter Paige Patterson, addressed the gathering.
Sacandaga Bible Conference Executive Director David Spencer said he noticed a larger attendance this year.
From left, Alby Peck, Clarence Chamberlain, Korrina Marino and Catherine Marino sit at the Peck’s Lake display table Saturday at the Sacandaga Bible Conference’s fourth annual Sportsmen’s Day. They answered questions and took reservations for Peck’s Lake fishing trips and lodgings. (The Leader-Herald/John Borgolini)
"It's been a good turnout of guys, good weather. It's been great," Spencer said. "There's a lot of vendors this year."
One of the seminars was on birds of prey. Presenter Sarah Austin of Johnstown, who discussed her grey-tailed owls, barn owls and hawks, point out their hunting habits and each of their specialized skills.
Austin said as a wildlife rehabilitator, falconer and educator, she enjoys sharing her knowledge about the birds.
After her two seminars were finished, she stayed to answer visitors' questions with her red- tailed hawk perched on her arm. She explained to a father and son that such hawks typically live for 32 years in captivity, and 80 percent of them don't survive their first year released into the wild.
"I speak whenever an organization asks me," she said. "I go to local schools and different organizations' events like this ... [I come because] it helps out the community. This supports the Sacandaga Bible Conference. And there is a great need for the community to see these birds up close and personal in order to appreciate them."
Austin said this year's Sacandaga Sportsmen's Day had the biggest turnout by far.
Peck's Lake representatives Alby Peck, Clarence Chamberlain and Korinna Marino informed visitors about the lake and took reservations on Saturday, their first time attending the event as vendors.
Peck said they have been attending similar events in Johnstown for years, and Chamberlain found information about this particular one on the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce's website, so they signed up.
"When the seminars are over, you have a lot of people come through," Peck said. "Mostly, people have been asking about the camping and the fishing, vacationing [at Peck's Lake] - what's involved, what do we have, what can they do."
"We tell them we rent cottages and camp sites. We rent boats and motors every day, so if they want to go fishing, they can come to us."
Spencer said one of the attendees was upset he couldn't get to all the seminars - each guest was limited to two - and that's the only complaint he received.
"We try to change it up every year," he said. "There will be some repeat seminars next year, so if they missed one this year, they can catch it next year. But we will have a bunch of new ones, too. Out of all the seminars this year, only three are repeats, so we had a lot of new guys come in."
Spencer said the Sacandaga Bible Conference hosts the event to give local hunters a place to get together during the middle of the winter.
"At the same time, we want the members of community to know that they are welcome here," he said. "We run a kids camp in the summer. At this time of the year, there's not a lot going on. This way we can open up the doors, and the community can enjoy it."
The event was capped with a sportsmen's buffet dinner, featuring dishes made with exotic game meats such as elk, boar and buffalo.
John Borgolini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.