The Wizard Where does one begin to describe someone with so many life's experiences. JV is first and foremost a Sportsman and Accomplished Outdoorsman. Yet he is very proud of the academic achievements he accomplished later in life and holds 3 college degrees in, Business, Organizational Management, and Computers. He says he went back to school just to see how he had done it all. You'll have to get the real story from him. For many years his trade was a Carpenter, then Master Carpenter. He owned and operated Custom Building & Design Co in Batavia for many years. Has taught Carpentry, been a journeyman plumber and owned a Health Food Store.
He now peruses his Greatest Love with and Overwhelming Passion! Taking Others Hunting and Training his Dogs He calls it providing a "Quality Outdoor Experience" What else would you expect from a guy that has lead successful hunts from Alaska to Northern Quebec and Maine to Newfoundland. Fished From James Bay Ontario to The Florida Keys.
His culinary achievements are known from coast to coast. And he is a welcome addition to any camp.
One of the hardest working caring individuals you will ever meet. All just to put a smile on others faces. He is a self proclaimed Memory Junky Saying " I just need the fix of watching someone have a super experience, one that they will never forget" I personally have been with him when we did not fire a shot, and the day was unforgettable and entertaining to say the least. I have also been with him when our group bagged 36 geese in just 4 hours. Once for a week straight behind his house we limited on ducks everyday in what we called the 10-minute limit. I shot my biggest buck a whopper 9 point in a stand he insisted I sit in! While no one could do it everyday Joe can sometimes be the Wizard.
A nickname he has truly earned time and time again.
It seams he just makes things happen!
Thank You My Friend
For All The
"Quality Outdoor Experiences"
Joe was born on the Southside of Batavia, NY just 2 miles from his now beloved Flats. Raised on the apron strings of his dear grandmother in her Italian Kitchen, thus his love for cooking and fine food. His dad, grandfather & uncle (Joe Jr., Joe Sr. & Carl) were instrumental in his upbringing and love for the Great Outdoors. His dearest wish is that he may honor each one of them by emphasizing their finest individual traits. Their examples have forever formed his life. I know he carries each of them in his heart each day Afield.
Joe says he was kind of a chubby kid without many friends. He resorted to the woods, and wetlands along the Tonawanda Creek at the early age of 9. Here alone he sat along the creek banks watching mink as he waited for his bobber to go down. He would get up before daylight, creep into the marshes to listen to the ducks talk, then talk back to them with an old Montgomery Wards duck call.
All these forays led to passionate study of the Whitetail Deer, the Red Fox, Ducks – Geese, Pheasants, the Cottontail Rabbit, and all the creatures that Grace Gods Great Outdoors.
He often speaks of being industrious as a very young boy having paper routes and odd jobs, many years trapping muskrats, mink and raccoon for his Christmas money.
Joe once told me it is all about observation and fine tuning, "when one can see where a mink will put his food, then hide a 3 inch piece of steel there to catch his prey, the rest is easy." He often relays the tale of his finest Archery Shot – saying he Popped a robin in the back of the head at 15 yards with a rubber suction cup tipped arrow at the age of 6, of course it flew away, but ever since that day he was hooked on Archery, No wheels, no pulleys and shooting with no glove until his fingertips would crack and bleed. He is one of the finest instinctive shooters around and enjoys teaching others his secrets.
His memory of childhood is elephant like, as he remembers the old time hunting and fishing characters of local fame. He learned many tricks from each. Running bunnies with beagles beside Carman Scapano. Fishing with Bugs Michaels, Bob Martin, Muscles Tordowski, and Earf Braily. Trapping the same turf as Honey Mosicki, Bob Terrell, and Bob Riley. Talking Deer hunting with Old George Cone, Don Coffta and Bill Moon.
Discussing Bird Hunting, dogs and anything else with anyone in the Lovria or Ficerella family that would talk to him. His quote is "The old timers, they were the best – I was only their student. They all hunted in a time of necessity, they had to be good"
He credits his gift for acquiring friends to the knowledge he learned in the forests and along the streams as a child. Saying he would go to school and tell other kids he could talk to ducks and how he would slip in and wait on deer. Some thought he was nuts and laughed, but it was not long before some started to go along with him.
Thus the friendships and respect in the outdoors abounded. He has never stopped! Never stopped learning, Never stopped sharing and Never stopped making New Friends. It is his gift from God and he is Gods gift to All! Joe is a wealth of knowledge on not only wildlife, but on local history.
Sit beside him in a duck blind, keep his company at dinner, sip a drink of grog by a campfire, Join him in a canoe, or walk the fields in pursuit of any game, he is poetry in motion as he relays the many tales and stories of his outdoor experiences. Best of Luck Always My Love
In 2008 just two years after I started Pheasants on the Flats, by a chance encounter I Met an extraordinary woman! The original Miss Kay! The complete story is far too long print and crazy, I always considered it divine intervention. March 21st (Good Friday) 2008 I will say was one of the very luckiest days ever for myself & every bird dog that has ever graced the coverts of the Flats! You see the Flats was just a small idea to keep myself busy and have a way to get enough birds so I could have great grouse dogs! Well my philosophies of being different than any other preserve and making The Flats a real hunting experience like it was back in the1950’s & 60’s” took off like a rocket ship! I was doing the whole darn show by myself and running this old body into the ground! I remember lying in bed looking out the window and asking God “There must be a Country Girl out there somewhere to team up with and give me a hand with this” Sure enough right in that direction I was looking just a few miles away in Bethany NY was Karen Riley! I explained what I was doing and showed her some of the pictures of my clients, Wow! She knew many of them and even knew some of their dog’s names!! A chance meeting and, Well I guess we swept each other off our feet! I often say “she came to the Flats and Never Left”
One quick story! It was Thanksgiving Morning 2008. We were booked solid with 5 hunts! I was still guiding, and Kay was pretty much running the show. About 10am she stopped by my hunt to take the then customary pictures in the field. That’s when I got a call from an Old Friend Dave Ryder! Dave had just shot a deer up along the old railroad bed that boarders the Flats! Dave was in failing health and said he needed help finding and getting the deer out! Well without question Kay heads back to the clubhouse and trades the Ranger for an 800 Polaris quad and heads out to find Davy! When I finished the hunt I was guiding and returned to the clubhouse! There was Kay, Davy, the deer and all the other clients from the day’s hunts! Everyone with smiles on their faces (just like JV likes it ;) Now the wild part was not that she could jump on that huge machine and find Davy and his buck 2 miles away, nor was it she had boxed and hosted 5 hunts! The Amazing part was when I walked in the house!!! The Thanksgiving table looked like something out of better homes & gardens!!! Decked out in full trimmings that would have made any pilgrim jealous!! How she did it I will never know! Well Ladies and Gentlemen it was not long after that I asked her to marry me ;) One Extraordinary Woman! The Original Miss Kay, Karen Valone now runs the entire Pheasant Program here on the Flats while I now peruse the next chapter of my life “The POTF Shooting Range”
The rest of this introduction is quite easy as I am going to let her photo resume do the speaking! In closing I will say above all her attributes, the one that shines the most is “When you look in the dictionary under Sweethearts you will find her picture”
Apple Pie Baking, Deer Hunting, Scuba Diving, Tractor Driving, Dog Training, Fish Catching, Book Keeper, Home Maker, Gun Toting, Pistol Packing, Firewood Splitting and any other dam challenge that comes along!
You’re Host, The One, The Only First Lady of the Flats, The Real Deal, Karen Riley Valone!
One Hell of a Woman that KZ Valone! One Hell of a Woman!
Carry on My Dear You have built and made the Flats what it is today!
All My Love Always