New York State offers a wonderful diversity of options for deer hunters, with vastly different habitat types, an array of public hunting lands, and deer hunting opportunities that span four months. For hunters seeking solitude and freedom to cover lots of ground, the Adirondack Mountains in northern New York and the Catskill Mountains in southeastern New York offer thousands of square miles of wilderness hunting. For hunters seeking to maximize their success, the highest harvest densities routinely occur through the western Finger Lakes Region, and great opportunities also exist in suburban areas throughout the state. For hunters seeking the greatest prospects for large antlered bucks, the Lake Ontario Plains of western New York is a good option. For hunters seeking to extend their time afield, deer hunting runs through the end of December in Westchester County (bowhunting only), and Suffolk County's special firearms season runs through January.
Statewide, we are anticipating deer harvests to be slightly lower in 2015 than in 2014, largely due to some deer mortality this past winter and resulting reductions in antlerless permits in parts of the state. The 2014/15 winter was more severe than average, with fairly prolonged periods of deep snow and sub-zero temperature, particularly in the western Catskills and southwestern New York, and was the second rough winter in a row in portions of northern New York. DEC staff observed numerous cases of fawn mortality and fielded many similar reports from the public in these areas during late winter and early spring.
In many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) where winter was particularly harsh and where we would like to stabilize or increase deer populations, we reduced our target allocation of Deer Management Permits (DMPs; antlerless tags) by 20-30% from what was issued in 2014 to counter the impacts of winter deer mortality. However, deer populations in large portions of central New York, the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario Plains and a few units in southeastern New York remain above desired levels, and we intend to issue similar or more DMPs to maintain harvest pressure on antlerless deer in these areas. Thus, on balance, about 3% fewer DMPs will be available statewide in 2015 than were issued in 2014.
New Antlerless Harvest Rules in several WMUs
New this fall, DEC has implemented several changes that affect hunters in parts of the state during the bow and muzzleloader seasons. In WMU 6A, despite no DMPs since 2011, antlerless harvests must be further curtailed to allow the deer population to grow toward desired levels. Because about half of the antlerless harvest in 6A currently occurs during the early muzzleloader season, DEC has adopted a rule to temporarily make the early muzzleloader season in this unit valid for antlered deer only. This change should sufficiently reduce the antlerless harvest to stimulate desired population growth while still allowing the minimal antlerless harvest that occurs during bow season and the late muzzleloader season.
In contrast, in WMUs 1C, 3M, 3S, 4J, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8N, 9A, and 9F, deer populations are above levels desired by local stakeholders, resulting in unacceptable impacts to residents and local ecosystems. In these units, offering increasing numbers of DMPs each year has no longer been a productive way of increasing antlerless take, yet greater antlerless deer harvests are needed. Harvest report data reveal that only 5.2% of successful hunters in these WMUs reported taking 3 or more deer (including bucks), and only 1.2% of successful hunters reported taking 4 or more deer. Additionally, reported harvests during the early bowhunting season in these WMUs are disproportionately skewed toward antlered bucks compared to other hunting seasons. Thus, DEC recently adopted a rule to redirect hunter effort toward antlerless deer by making the first 15 days of the early bowhunting season and all of the late bowhunting and late muzzleloader season in these units valid only for antlerless deer. Greater cooperation by bowhunters in removing antlerless deer in similar ratios as during other seasons and increased harvest of antlerless deer during the late seasons will benefit the broader public who are affected by negative deer-related impacts.
More information about these changes can be found at New Antlerless Hunting Rules for 2015.
Buck Harvest Management
DEC is also finalizing our analysis of potential buck hunting regulations to determine what approaches, if any, may be most appropriate considering hunter values in various regions of New York. Hunters continue to be much divided in what they value about buck hunting. While many hunters have voiced a desire to reduce harvest of yearling (1.5 year old) bucks to have a greater chance of taking an older buck with larger antlers, many hunters also prefer to have the freedom to choose which buck they harvest and to practice restraint voluntarily. Our process of sorting all this out is described in an article on pages 22-23 of the 2015-16 New York Hunting & Trapping Guideand at the Buck Harvest Management webpage. We anticipate completing the analysis and being ready to provide more information to hunters later this fall. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, many New York hunters have continued an encouraging trend by voluntarily choosing to pass young, small antlered bucks. As a result, the availability and harvest of older, larger antlered bucks has been increasing. It is clear that the choices hunters make matter. To see and take bigger bucks, I suggest hunters consider voluntary antler restrictions.
Help Protect NY Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease
Though we have found no new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in New York deer since 2005, DEC continues to take the threat of CWD very seriously. Hunters should too. CWD is always fatal to deer. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and will be practically impossible to eliminate from the wild deer herd once established. Preventing CWD from entering New York is the most effective disease management strategy. Hunters can help protect New York's deer herd from CWD by following these tips:
Do not use deer urine-based lures or attractant scents.
If you hunt outside of New York, debone or quarter your deer before bringing it back, and follow the law about importing carcasses or carcass parts from outside of New York. See CWD Regulations for Hunters.
Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not just out on the landscape.
Report any deer that appears sick or acting abnormally.
Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.
Checkout the full article here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37304.html
Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Provide Diverse Opportunities across the State
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman today announced that information is now available about the upcoming waterfowl hunting seasons, including season dates and updated regulations.
“New York’s unique configuration of waterfowl management zones provides hunters with open seasons in various parts of the state from September to April,” said Acting Commissioner Gerstman. “This year’s season selections were developed by a team of statewide DEC biologists, with input from waterfowl hunters. DEC has looked to task forces to help select waterfowl hunting season dates for more than a decade and appreciates all the help they have offered to help make these selections.”
The season dates and regulations can be viewed in full detail on the DEC website at 1-800-852-4897, or at 1-888-427-5447 (1-888-4 ASK HIP) or visit www.NY-HIP.com.
Acting Commissioner Gerstman reminded hunters to follow simple safety guidelines and to use good judgment when choosing a time and place to hunt. Being considerate of other people enjoying the outdoors or who live nearby can help avoid potential conflicts and ensure a safe and enjoyable season. As coastal areas become more populated, new landowners unfamiliar with the safety, ethics and traditions of waterfowl hunting sometimes respond by seeking to limit hunter access to popular waterfowl hunting areas. Hunters should be considerate and try to minimize disturbance of local residents whenever possible. More information about avoiding conflicts between waterfowl hunters and waterfront property owners can be found atwww.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/94213.html.
Waterfowl Consumption Advisory:
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) evaluates data on chemicals in wild waterfowl to assess the possible effects of those chemicals on human health. The current advisory states that: "Mergansers are the most heavily contaminated waterfowl species and should not be eaten. Eat up to two meals per month of other wild waterfowl; you should skin them and remove all fat before cooking, and discard stuffing after cooking. Wood ducks and Canada geese are less contaminated than other wild waterfowl species and diving ducks are more contaminated than dabbler ducks.
Recent data indicate that waterfowl residing in the Hudson River between Hudson Falls and Troy have higher PCB levels than waterfowl from other portions of the Hudson River and are likely to have higher PCB levels than waterfowl from other areas of the state. To help reduce PCB exposures, you may want to harvest your waterfowl from other locations on the Hudson River or in other areas of New York State, particularly during the early season when many of the available birds are likely to be resident waterfowl (i.e., non-migratory). Because PCBs may have a greater effect on young children or an unborn child, it is particularly important for women under 50 and children under 15 to minimize their PCB exposures.
For the latest DOH advice on consumption of waterfowl or other game, please visit the Department of Health website at: www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/fish/health_advisories/advice_on_eating_game.htm.
Status of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in NY Wild Birds:
To date, highly pathogenic avian influenza, which is of great concern to poultry producers across North America has not been found in wild birds in New York State. DEC and USDA staff will sample wild waterfowl this fall and winter in a continued monitoring program. Hunters are advised to practice good hygiene and take necessary precautions to minimize risks to themselves and their hunting dogs, such as: wear rubber gloves when cleaning game; wash hands with soap and water after handling game; disinfect utensils used to clean game; and dispose of carcasses in areas where domestic poultry will not come in contact with the remains. More information can be found at: www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/2015/fsc_hpai_hunters.pdf
Acting Commissioner Gerstman also encouraged all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp, an optional stamp that helps support DEC's efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation. Buying a $5 stamp is a way to help conserve New York's fabulous wildlife heritage. More information about purchasing a Habitat Stamp is available at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/329.html.
For More Information:
New York’s 2015-2016 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Regulations brochure is available now on the DEC website and will be available from most license-issuing agents and DEC regional offices by early September.
For more information about waterfowl hunting in New York, including public hunting areas around the state, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28175.html or contact any DEC wildlife office. Contact information for all regional offices can be found on the DEC website www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted new regulations to address deer populations in portions of the state with too many or too few deer, DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman announced today. Additionally, DEC adopted several modifications to its Deer Management Assistance Program designed to ease the application process for landowners while providing greater flexibility for DEC to administer the program.
“Deer are a keystone game species in New York, and responsible management requires periodic adjustment of hunting rules to ensure that deer populations are compatible with local socio-economic interests as well as maintaining a balanced ecosystem,” Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman said. “DEC considered all public input in developing these regulations, and took into consideration the numerous negative impacts associated with deer overpopulation, including impairments to forest habitat regeneration, increased deer-vehicle collisions and increased incidences of tick-borne diseases.”
To achieve the desired deer population levels, the allowable harvest of antlerless deer is being increased in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 1C, 3M, 3S, 4J, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8N, 9A, and 9F. These units include all or portions of Suffolk, Orange, Ulster, Sullivan, Westchester, Albany, Niagara, Erie, Wyoming, Orleans, Genesee, Monroe, Livingston, Steuben, Wayne, Ontario, Yates, Seneca and Cayuga counties. In these WMUs, overabundant deer populations are negatively impacting forest regeneration, creating excessive agricultural damage, causing increased deer-vehicle collisions, and increasing damage to landscape plantings. In several of these areas, tick-borne diseases are of greater concern and high deer populations have been linked to increases in ticks and associated tick-borne diseases. There is an urgent need to address over-population of deer in these areas.
Management objectives are not being met in these units despite having a surplus of antlerless deer tags available for hunters. In making the first 15 days of the early bow season and all of the late bow and muzzleloader seasons valid for antlerless deer only in these units, DEC is asking hunters for greater cooperation in meeting the management needs by focusing their hunting effort on antlerless deer during these periods.
Throughout most of New York State, deer population levels can be managed with hunters using deer management permits. However, in these 10 management areas, the effectiveness of the deer management program has been reduced because the number of permits available in these areas exceeds the hunter demand for these permits and management objectives are not being met.
In contrast, the harvest of antlerless deer is being curtailed in WMU 6A to achieve the desired deer population in that unit. WMU 6A includes portions of Jefferson, St. Lawrence, and Franklin counties. In this unit, DEC has not issued Deer Management Permits for antlerless deer since 2011, and the antlerless harvest has only occurred during the early and late bow and muzzleloader seasons.
With the adoption of these new rules, hunters will not be allowed to take any antlerless deer during the early muzzleloader season in this unit until the deer population rebounds. In recent years, about half of the antlerless harvest in this unit has occurred during the early muzzleloader season.
DEC has revised its hunting season maps at dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html to reflect these changes in antlerless harvest rules.
Deer Management Assistance Program Refined
The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) enables DEC biologists to help landowners and resource managers implement property-specific deer management on their lands. Adopted modifications will improve the program for applicants and DEC.
DMAP application changes
The application deadline will be changed from September 1 to August 1, beginning in 2016.
DMAP permit durations will be extended from one year to three years, while retaining annual reporting requirements for permittees and hunters.
DMAP use changes
DMAP permits will now be allowed to be used during the September portion of the early bow season in the Northern Zone and hunters will now be allowed to use up to four DMAP tags per permit where needed.
The full list of changes to the DMAP rules, including application forms, can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/33973.html.
DEC ANNOUNCES SPORTING LICENSE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENTS 2015-16 Licenses to Go on Sale August 10
Deer Management Assistance Program Streamlined
Improvements to the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s sporting license-issuance and game harvest reporting system are in place in time for this year’s hunting season, DEC Acting Commissioner Marc Gerstman announced today. In addition, DEC changed the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) to streamline the program and expand opportunities for landowners needing deer management assistance.
“DEC talked to the sporting community and license-issuing agents, and made significant improvements to the licensing system based on their feedback,” Acting Commissioner Gerstman said. “These improvements streamline the process to buy sporting licenses. We look forward to welcoming sportsmen and sportswomen to the vast array of opportunities New York offers to go afield in the upcoming hunting and trapping seasons.”
Enhanced Sporting License Automated System
DEC and the New York State Office of Information Technology Services worked with contractors to make DEC’s sporting license-issuance and game harvest system more user friendly and faster to enhance service to New York’s hunters, anglers and trappers. Two new user interfaces make selling licenses by license-issuing agents and purchases by online customers easier and more intuitive.
In developing the system improvements, DEC met with license-issuing agents and online customers to gather their suggestions. The resulting new user interfaces offer several new features including allowing license-issuing agents and online purchasers the ability to:
readily access more information such as the current licenses, privileges, permits and tags held, as well as the most recent Wildlife Management Units where the hunter successfully applied for deer management permits;
easily update personal information, such as current address, to help ensure DEC’s information is up-to-date and the license is valid;
move through fewer screens;
sell multiple short-term fishing licenses;
streamline game harvest reporting process; and
report multiple harvests in one session.
“The New York State Conservation Council commends Governor Cuomo and DEC for prioritizing the most recent improvements to the licensing system,” said Council President A. Charles Parker. “Sportsmen, sportswomen and licensing-issuing agents can look forward to swifter, customer-friendly transactions going forward.”
Lance Robson, Chairman, NYS Fish and Wildlife Management Board said, “The members of the Fish and Wildlife Management Board thank DEC for their tireless efforts to fully realize the potential of the E-Licensing system. We welcome the Department's recent improvements to the system and anticipate that they will benefit both individual members of the sporting public and our license selling partners."
License-issuing agents have provided positive feedback on the new interface and DEC expects the new system will perform well for the purchase of new-year hunting licenses, permits, and privileges. There are approximately 1,300 license-issuing agents across New York located at many retail stores and municipalities who provide an important service to DEC and New York hunters, anglers and trappers. DEC has worked to ensure they have a system that affords them the ability to provide quality customer service.
The online user interface also provides for an easier, more intuitive experience in the legally required reporting of harvested deer, bear and turkey—information that is used in managing DEC’s wildlife resources.
The 2015-16 hunting and trapping licenses go on sale on August 10 and are valid beginning September 1, 2015. Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC's license-issuing agents around the state, as well as by telephone and online:
License-issuing agents list can be found at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/95448.html
Online License Center: licensecenter.ny.gov
Call center number: 1 (866) 933-2257
License buyers should have the following items ready when applying: complete name and address information; customer ID number if they have it; proof of residency information (driver's license number or non-driver's ID number with a valid NYS address to qualify for a resident license); and, if purchasing by phone or internet, a credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to provide proof of a hunting education certification or a copy of a previous license, if this information is not already contained in their license system file.
Approximately 1.2 million people purchase hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses each year, and sporting license sales generate approximately $42 million annually in revenue used to manage New York’s fish and wildlife resources and their habitats, as well as to improve access to those resources.
Deer Management Assistance Program Changes to Increase Efficiency
DEC also made several modifications to the Deer Management and Assistance Program to increase its efficiency and effectiveness. These changes include: expanding opportunities for landowners where abundant deer are preventing forest regeneration; increasing the number of deer an individual hunter can shoot under a single DMAP permit from two to four; clarifying that hunters may participate under multiple DMAPs; and reducing the paperwork landowners need to participate in the program.
Turkey Hunting Season Modifications
Newly adopted regulations shorten the fall turkey hunting seasons in New York State due to a declining turkey population across the state. The new fall seasons are two weeks long with a statewide season bag limit of one bird of either sex. Season dates vary regionally with the season in the Northern Zone running October 1-14, the Southern Zone running October 17-30, and Suffolk County (Long Island) running November 21-December 4. Further details are found on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8366.html.
Declining wild turkey populations across the state make it necessary to shorten the hunting seasons so that DEC can responsibly manage New York's wild turkey populations to ensure that future generations of hunters have the opportunity to go afield.
DEC received approximately 120 comments on this regulatory proposal. Almost all of the comments expressed concern over the decline in wild turkey populations over the past 15 years, and many were supportive of DEC's efforts to modify the fall hunting season to accommodate changing turkey populations and environmental conditions.
These improvements to the licensing system and regulatory changes align with Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative aimed at improving recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.
Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Enacted Budget adds an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state’s hatcheries in NY Works funding. The Budget also creates a new capital account which along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.
The Enacted Budget for 2015-16 raises the Environmental Protection Fund to $177 million, an increase of 32 percent since Governor Cuomo took office. The $15 million EPF increase this year will support 14 categories, including land conservation, stewardship, and invasive species control and prevention. The increase includes a new sub-allocation for capacity grants to State Parks friends’ groups.
Summer Time and the Living is Easy - Are you ready for the 2015 Hunting Season? Let us know here: http://huntingny.com/forums/topic/28357-the-2015-season-is-creeping-up-fast-what-is-your-game-plan/
Not yet? Maybe some of these trail camera photos will get you going : http://huntingny.com/forums/forum/23-trail-camera-pictures/
Whats your thoughts on the new shortened turkey season? Lots of folks have differing opinions here http://huntingny.com/forums/topic/27761-new-fall-season-from-6-weeks-to-2-weeks-no-way/ - Long story short its been cut from 6 weeks to 2 weeks.
Another interesting topic, one of which may be in part to our shortened turkey seasons, when do you know you have enough yotes on your property.
There are a ton of new threads to read all over HuntingNY.com in the Bow Hunting section to get you ready for the bow season opener, http://huntingny.com/forums/forum/16-bow-hunting/
If you are a Facebook user, please give us a "Like" our facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/HuntingNY and help spread the word. The site has grown leaps and bounds since started, there are over 317,970 posts as of today! Please remember to tell friends and family about the site, you can even forward them this email / link.
If you have a hunting related business (ex. hunting store / archery shop), hunting club or organization, or a hunting related website you want to share with members we have opened up a link sharing system here: http://huntingny.com/links Just select the category and click "Add Link" on the right side of the page.