The Federation was formed in the early 1940 and has been very active over the years. Its accomplishments include educational programs and conservation projects and guidance and recommendation to our elected officials and various town, county, state and federal officials regarding issues important to our community.

     Many, many, people ask, exactly what is the Federation and what does the Federation do? The officers and board members are pleased to provide you with the following historical reconstruction and overview:

     The sportsmen of Orange County began meeting and engaging in projects throughout the area since the early 1940s. Many of the same individuals who had been working to make the out-of-doors a better place for all to enjoy, formed the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc. and incorporated in 1958. Significant credit must be given to the following individuals for their foresight in creating the Federation as we now know it today:
Directors at inception were:

  • John W. Wycoff of Chester
  • Peter A. Nuzzolese of Goshen
  • William Acker of Warwick
  • Frank Cherry of Port Jervis
  • John Canade of Montgomery
  • Oscar Tompkins of Cornwall
  • D.V. Brown of Hamptonburg
  • Frank Thayer, Jr. of Newburgh
Past officers included, but were not limited to: Timothy Rich, William Wright, Jack Rosenthal, Frank Reggero and Tom Jefferson. The Federation has grown from an informal group of individual outdoors men to a tax exempt, charitable, visible, not-for-profit organization today of some 30 member clubs whose combined membership exceeds 6,500 men, women, and children from Orange County.

The purpose of the Federation was then, and is today, to work exclusively using volunteers in a cooperative spirit with other area groups and government to enhance recreational opportunities for all who visit or live in the area. Sportsmen are part of a great heritage, and the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc. takes great pride in stating that every activity we engage is in for the public benefit, using publicly accessible lands and waters and to protect the Rights of all men and women who participate in outdoor activities.

The Federation has a high school education program teaching fly fishing and fly tying, with outdoor trips included as part of the curriculum, and is introducing a hunter safety program to teach children proper safety and respect. The program has been received so well that it is the No. 2 sought after course. Orange County children have been given scholarships, teachers have been sent to environmental workshops, and sportsmen have conducted stream and land cleanups throughout Orange County, with many clubs adopting streams and highways. The Federation sponsors and participates in an annual cleanup of the Stewart Airport buffer lands. There were many, many, leadership roles exhibited by the OCFSC, Inc. that have set an example for others to follow. Some firsts are:

  • The Federation was the first ever to meet with the Farm Bureau, a conservation committee of the Board of Supervisors, and visit legislators in Albany in its official capacity, and to attend public hearings on environmental and conservation issues.
  • The Federation was instrumental in putting the Shawangunk Kill River back on the stocking list, and established a pheasant rearing project at Orange Farm.
  • The Federation's sportsmen were asked for their input during a finance meeting of the Board of Supervisors, and invited to attend a congressional hearing in Washington.
  • First time ever that hunting pheasants was allowed on Sunday, and first ever to allow hen pheasant hunting.
  • The first ever to use assistance from the County in the stocking of our streams and lakes with trout and lands with pheasants.
  • In, or about, 1961, the Federation instituted a program extending the trout season in September.
  • Established the first ever hunter safety program and the hunter safety law which is now the law in 46 states and Canada.
  • The Federation established the first ever archery safety program.
  • The first to introduce snowshoe rabbits in Orange County.
  • Recognizing a valuable resource in the Walkill River, the Federation was instrumental in amending the Conservation Law to establish a minimum size on black bass. The Federation authored what is now known as the Seeley Bill which addresses and assists projects dealing with stream damage.
  • Worked to defeat the pest spray bill.
  • The Federation was the first, and instrumental in, acquiring some 7 1/2 miles of fishing rights along the Ramapo River.
  • The Federation worked with the Conservation Department and other groups to establish a quail season for Orange County.
  • Worked to change the hunting hours from the old nine to five, to the current sunrise to sunset.
  • When heavy snows hit a few years ago, sportsmen saw that surplus grain reached wildlife feeding stations in the back country with the cooperation of Department helicopters and volunteers.
  • A few years ago, some current delegates saw that the DeBruce hatchery was in danger of being sold and worked to save it. The battle to save the fishery still wasn't over. A drought came, and sportsmen assisted in routing a pipe from an area stream to supplement the dwindling water supply.
  • Sportsmen help the Board of Supervisors buy land in the county which is now a county park.
  • From inception, and continuing, sportsmen stock lakes and streams with tens of thousands of trout annually in Orange County.
  • Officers of the Federation worked with the park system to establish hunting access in Minnewaska, Sterling, and with the Sullivan Federation in gaining hunting access at Lake Superior. The Federation was the first to be invited to attend the original meeting of the Took's Island Project, and was responsible for the inclusion of a parks and recreation area in the plans.
  • The Federation was the author of the party permit system which is still the best management tool to maintain a well balanced deer herd.
  • The Federation was responsible for changing the law to allow one to gain possession of the deer carcass in an automobile collision if you choose to do so.
  • The Federation was responsible for the ten mile river area being opened through the F.W.M.B.
  • The Federation worked very hard to establish hunting access on Stewart Airport buffer lands and to preserve over 5,200 acers of land that is now designated a Stewart Forest.
  • The Orange County Federation is the first known county federation to build a fishing access site for the physically challenged. This site is located on the D&H Canal at the Neversink River.
  • In 2000, the Federation established and created the first Outdoor Adventure Program with the cooperation of the Pine Bush School District. This program exposes students to several areas of outdoor experiences such as gun safety, fly tying and fishing.

Sportsmen are proud of their contribution to fish and wildlife; let the record speak for itself! In Orange County alone, 43,000 hunting licenses are sold annually. Multiply that by an average of $30 per license, and you can see the significant contribution to fish and wildlife generated in this county. During the past 50 years, $5 billion have been provided for conservation through wildlife management funds, and $150 million for fisheries research. Hunters and shooters have imposed a tax on themselves over the last 30 years by supporting initiatives for wildlife management, refuges, wetlands, and wintering ranges for wildlife. Since the enactment of the Federal Duck Stamp Act in 1934, the program has raised almost $140 million. As an example of the success, compare the mere 500,000 deer in the United States in the early 1900s to the herd of 15,000,000 today. The elk herd has multiplied five times in the last 60 years, and antelope herds have grown seven times and hunters spend an estimated $100 million each year developing habitat on privately owned lands. Sportsmen continue to back the National Wildlife Refuge and the Isaack Walton League. John James Audubon, patron saint of bird lovers, was also a sportsman hunter. It was sportsmen of this nation like him, who, when in the field enjoying outdoor recreation, were the first to warn of the ravages of expansion, and it is the sportsmen who continue to seek the equitable balance so vital today.

Many thanks to James Beemer for his contribution to this historical overview.

This Historical Review of the OCFSC, Inc. originally appeared in the program for the Federation's 40th Anniversary Dinner on October 16, 1998.

P.O. Box 784
Monroe, NY 10949
(845) 294.5038
All content on the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc. Web Site and all pages included therein, including, but not limited to all text, sounds, images are Copyright © 1999 by the Orange County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Inc., all rights reserved, unless otherwise specified.  The information contained on this site was verified to the best of our ability at the time of publication.