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Found 55 results

  1. A new regulation that prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State was formally adopted state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. “Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC’s ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York,” said Commissioner Martens. “Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state.” Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.” Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013, which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild. However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower. “Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder,’ the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.” Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the new regulation prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until September 1, 2015. The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare. Anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York should report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Eurasian boar” in the subject line. Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free-roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so please try to get a picture and include it with your report. Full text of the regulation can be viewed on DEC’s Weekly Environmental Notice Bulletin for April 23, 2014, available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/95072.html. This post has been promoted to an article
  2. Under Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted a ten-year black bear management plan, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The plan outlines the principles and methods used to monitor and manage black bear populations in New York and provides strategic guidance for the DEC’s activities. The plan includes several proposed hunting rule changes. “After careful consideration of thousands of public comments, the strategies outlined in the Black Bear Management Plan seek to achieve and maintain bear population levels that are acceptable to the public while providing sustainable opportunity for New York’s big game hunters,” Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The plan also addresses public partnerships to reduce human-bear conflicts.” The final Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Key elements of the final plan include the scientific monitoring of bear populations; continued use of stakeholders to assess bear impacts and identify population trend objectives; recommendations to expand areas open to bear hunting throughout upstate New York and to increase hunting opportunities in portions of southeastern New York. The plan emphasizes DEC’s integrated approach to reduce negative black bear impacts by increasing public awareness of its role in preventing human-bear conflicts, by addressing individual incidents of bear damage, and by reducing bear populations where necessary. Public comments on the draft bear plan were carefully reviewed by DEC, and a summary and assessment of the public comment is also available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Based on the input received, DEC made several revisions to the plan, including: adding more detail about the extensive public interaction that was used to develop the plan and opportunities for future public input about bear impacts and objectives; reiterating emphasis on public education and outreach as one part of an integrated approach to reduce human-bear conflicts; describing DEC’s collaboration with professional bear managers and researchers from other jurisdictions; and clarifying that DEC plans to assess the tradeoffs and implications of use of dogs, bait or live capture cable-restraints for taking bears, though none of these measures are currently being proposed for use in New York at this time. To begin implementing the new bear plan, DEC proposed rule changes that would establish bear hunting seasons in all of upstate New York, create a supplemental early firearms season for bears in the Catskills and Western Hudson Valley area, and provide a uniform start for bowhunting and early bear seasons in the Northern Zone. Specifically the proposed rule would: allow bear hunting in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 6A, 6G, 6N, and all of 6K during the Northern Zone early bowhunting season, early muzzleloader season, and regular firearms season; allow bear hunting in WMUs 4A, 4B, 4J, 5R, 6P, 6R, 6S, 7A, 7F, 7H, 7J, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 9A, and 9F during the Southern Zone early and late bowhunting seasons, regular firearms season, and late muzzleloading season; create a supplemental firearms bear season for 16 days beginning the 1st Saturday after Labor Day (Sept. 6 – Sept. 21, 2014) in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3K, 3J, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R; begin the Northern Zone bowhunting season for bears on the same day as the early bear season, the 1st Saturday after the 2nd Monday in September (2nd Saturday after Labor Day). DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed hunting rule changes through July 7, 2014. The rulemaking documents can be seen on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html. The proposed rule can also be viewed in the May 21, 2014 publication of the New York State Register, which is posted on the DOS website at www.dos.ny.gov/info/register/2014.html. Citizens who wish to make formal public comments may do so by sending an email to: wildliferegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or by writing to: Mr. Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative 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, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. This post has been promoted to an article
  3. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that approximately 35,000 Deer Management Permits (DMPs) will be issued to hunters who were previously denied permits during the initial application period earlier this fall. Leftover DMPs will also be available in several Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) beginning November 1, 2013. Deer Management Permits, which allow hunters to harvest antlerless deer, are issued for specific WMUs to control deer populations. In order to provide DMPs at point-of-sale locations DEC must anticipate the number of applicants in each WMU and assign a probability to each unit in order to issue the appropriate number of permits. This year, DEC received fewer permit applications than projected in many WMUs. To issue the remaining DMPs under Governor Cuomo's New York Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, DEC randomly selects applicants who were previously denied permits in these affected units during the initial application period. DEC completed the selection last week and has begun mailing permits to selected applicants. The NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. In addition to those who were previously denied permits, applicants from the following WMUs may receive DMPs (the approximate number of permits to be mailed is in parenthesis). For WMU locations, refer the 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8302.html. · Hudson Valley Region: 3C (400), 3F (900), 3G (640), 3H (500), 3J (360), 3K (120), 3N (660), 3P (400) · Capital Region: 4B (60), 4C (190), 4F (970), 4G (540), 4H (310), 4K (200), 4O (310), 4P (670), 4R (70), 4T (820), 4U (70), 4W (200), 4Y (700), 4Z (120) · Adirondack Region: 5R (230), 5S (480), 5T (50) · Western Adirondacks/Eastern Lake Ontario Region: 6C (60), 6K (780), 6P (710), 6R (550), 6S (340) · Central New York Region: 7A (530), 7J (1300; all denied applicants), 7M (1890), 7P (470), 7R (3240), 7S (560) · Western Finger Lakes Region: 8M (370), 8P (540), 8S (470), 8T (600), 8W (560), 8X (1570) · Western New York Region: 9H (3500), 9J (1300), 9K (640), 9M (1360), 9N (1550; all denied applicants), 9P (570), 9T (230), 9W (1110), 9X (220), 9Y (240) Hunters not selected for a DMP will not receive a mailing from DEC. Selection for one of these permits will not affect any preference points issued to hunters who were not selected for their first choice area during the original application period. Additionally, in some WMUs, all applicants received permits during the initial application process or correction process, however, the DMP target was still not reached. In these units, DEC will reopen the DMP application process on a first-come, first-served basis. Hunters may apply for leftover DMPs at any DEC license sales outlet beginning Nov. 1, 2013. Leftover DMPs will not be available by phone, by mail or via the internet. Applicants who previously paid the $10.00 DMP application fee or those that are exempt from the application fee will not be charged for this additional application. Applications for leftover DMPs will be accepted for the following WMUs: 1C, 3M, 3R, 3S (bowhunting-only), 7F, 7H, 7J, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8J, 8N, 8R, 9A, and 9F. During this extended application period, DEC will issue DMPs for an individual WMU all day. The status of permits will be reviewed each night. As individual units are filled, they will be removed from the list of those available effective the following day, with no further applications accepted for those units. A list of units with available leftover DMPs will be routinely updated at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/6399.html.
  4. 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. Click here to view the article
  5. 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 http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28503.html. Waterfowl hunting zone descriptions and boundaries are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28497.html. Duck Season Overview: Most duck season dates are similar to last year, but there are some changes to daily bag limits. The daily limit for canvasbacks has been increased from one bird per day to two based on above average breeding population and nesting conditions this spring. In contrast, the daily bag limits for sea ducks (eiders, scoter and long-tailed ducks) have been reduced from seven to six in the Special Sea Duck area on Long Island, with species restrictions of no more than four eiders, four scoters, or four long-tailed ducks. In addition, the bonus daily bag limit for sea ducks has been eliminated in the Special Sea Duck zone; sea ducks count as part of the regular daily duck limit in all areas of the state. Further restrictions to sea duck season length and bag limits are expected in the fall 2016. Possession limits for all ducks are three times the daily bag limit. Duck hunting seasons begin with designated youth waterfowl hunts in each zone of the state. These youth hunts are for junior hunters (12 to 15 years of age) accompanied by a licensed adult hunter (including current Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration and duck stamp – see below). The adult should not possess a firearm while accompanying a youth who is hunting ducks on any of these days. The daily bag limit for ducks and brant during the youth hunts is the same as during the regular season and three per day for geese. The youth hunts are held on weekends in each zone of the state, as follows: Northeastern Zone – September 19-20 Lake Champlain Zone – September 26-27 Southeastern Zone – September 19-20 Western Zone – October 3-4 Long Island Zone – November 14-15 Goose and Brant Season Overview: September Canada goose seasons begin September 1 throughout upstate New York, and on September 8 for central and eastern Long Island, and hunters can look forward to another 50 days or more (depending on area) to pursue these popular game birds during the fall and winter. Resident geese remain abundant in many areas of the state with the population estimated to be approximately 240,000 birds statewide, and migratory populations that pass through New York were estimated to be similar to recent years. Hunters are reminded that Canada goose seasons are set for different geographic areas of the state than other waterfowl seasons, so be sure to review the maps and season dates closely at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28496.html. Canada goose season dates and bag limits in most areas are similar to last year. A special conservation season for snow geese, in addition to the regular hunting seasons in each zone, will be open in all of upstate New York fromJanuary 16 through April 15. These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range. Special seasons have been established in many eastern states and provinces to increase hunter harvest and help reduce this population. The daily limit for snow geese is 25 per day, and there is no possession limit. Electronic calls and shotguns capable of holding more than three shells may be used to take snow geese at any time when all other waterfowl hunting seasons are closed. The daily bag limit for Atlantic brant has decreased from two to one bird per day due to three consecutive years of poor productivity and decreasing population trends; however, the season length remains unchanged at 30 days. Federal Duck Stamp and State Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program: Hunters 16 or older must have a 2015 federal duck stamp to hunt during any of the 2015-16 seasons. This year’s stamp features a pair of ruddy ducks painted by New York artist, Jennifer Miller of Olean. The federal duck stamp cost increased from $15 to $25 this year, the first price increase for the stamp in 24 years. The United State Fish and Wildlife Service establishes the cost of the duck stamp. They are available at most post offices, some sporting goods stores, by calling toll-free 1-800-852-4897, or at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the duck stamp go toward migratory bird conservation and habitat acquisition. Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid for hunting, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license. All migratory game bird (waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails and gallinules) hunters, including junior hunters (age 12-15), must register with New York's Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting in any of the 2015-16 seasons. Hunters must register every year and for each state in which they plan to hunt migratory game birds, and also must carry proof of compliance whenever going afield. To register in HIP, call toll-free 1-888-427-5447 (1-888-4 ASK HIP) or visit www.NY-HIP.com. Hunting Safety: 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 Habitat Stamp: 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. This post has been promoted to an article
  6. 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 ModificationsNewly 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. This post has been promoted to an article
  7. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that deer hunting opportunities in Suffolk County are expanded in 2015 as a result of legislation signed into law in August by Governor Cuomo. The new law provides for an expansion of the archery and firearms deer hunting seasons and simplifies firearms deer hunting in Suffolk County. The expanded seasons are necessary to help increase recreational deer harvest to better manage increasing deer populations in Suffolk County. “Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative offers many hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen for the growing population of deer,” said Commission Martens. “Throughout the state, hunters play an essential role by helping to maintain healthy and ecologically sound deer populations and this extension offers an additional opportunity for those hunters to get afield in Suffolk County.” The changes to the Suffolk County deer hunting seasons and permit requirements are summarized as follows: • Extends the regular (bowhunting) season for deer in Suffolk County through January 31; • Expands the special firearms season for deer in Suffolk County to run from the first Sunday in January (January 4) through January 31 including weekends. The 2015 firearms deer season in Suffolk County will begin Sunday, January 4and continue until January 31; • Clarifies the Town permit requirements, landowner permission requirements and legal implements for the special firearms season. The adopted regulations also include a provision waiving the Town Permit requirement in any town which by local law has waived the town permit requirement. However, this aspect will not take effect before next season (January 2016); • Increases permit quotas for each town to reflect current deer management needs and allow for additional access opportunities on state land. Hunters who wish to hunt on state-managed lands in Suffolk County will be able to take advantage of the expanded special firearms deer season as well the extended archery season. The following state managed properties will be open for shotgun deer hunting from January 4-January 31; Rocky Point Natural Resources Management Area, Westhampton Dwarf Pine Plains Preserve, Henrys Hollow Pine Barrens State Forest, Barcelona Neck Cooperative Hunting Area, David Sarnoff Cooperative Hunting Area and the Otis Pike Preserve. The East Hampton Cooperative Area and Noyac (part of the Southampton Cooperative Areas) will be open for firearms deer hunting from January 5 – 31; weekdays only. Firearms deer hunting on all NYSDEC-managed lands during the January shotgun season requires daily permits. Get more information on hunting during the Special January Firearms Season on private lands . Hunters looking to archery hunt on state-managed lands during the extended season can hunt at Brookhaven State Park Cooperative Hunting Area, Calverton Pine Barrens State Forest, Carmen’s River Pine Barrens State Forest, East Bartlett Conservation Area, Ridge Conservation Area, Wildwood State Park Cooperative Hunting Area and NYSDEC tidal wetlands that are currently open to archery hunting. All hunters are required to have a DEC-Managed Lands Access Permit to hunt on these properties. For additional information please visit the LI Public Hunting Areas web page Stand-by hunting procedures for firearms deer hunting on state managed lands are as follows: At 8:00 AM each day, all parking spots that have not been filled will be given away to hunters via a drawing at the check station. There will be one drawing for all available parking areas on all properties. All hunters present for the drawing will be able to enter; a town permit is not required prior to entering the drawing. Second town permits can be issued to all hunters who are picked for a spot during the stand-by. The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, and improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. Under this initiative, this year’s budget included $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. Click here to view the article
  8. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded hunters to apply for deer management permits (DMPs) this week, ahead of the October 1 deadline, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. DEC’s wildlife biologists carefully analyze harvest information in conjunction with deer population objectives, developed with valuable input from citizen task forces, to establish deer management permit quotas for each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). WMUs are the geographical units DEC uses to set hunting and trapping seasons in New York State. New York hunters can apply for up to two deer management permits once they have secured a hunting license. DEC’s computerized licensing system allows hunters to immediately learn the outcome of their permit application. The likelihood that a hunter will be selected for a permit is largely based on the number of deer management permits to be issued in a Wildlife Management Area and the number of hunters that historically apply for those permits. To date, applications for deer management permits have been slightly lower than in previous years. “Deer management permits for the 2014-15 hunting season have been available since the first week of August and we want to encourage hunters to apply for deer management permits in advance of the October 1 deadline,” Commissioner Martens said. Sporting licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,100 license sales outlets statewide. Licenses can also be ordered by telephone at 866-933-2257, or online at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html. The 2014-2015 hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning September 1, 2014. Under a new state law that took effect in February, fishing licenses and recreational marine fishing registrations are now valid for 365 days from date-of-purchase. Funds from the sale of all sporting licenses are deposited into the Conservation Fund, which is used to manage New York’s fish and wildlife populations and protect and manage fish and wildlife habitat. This post has been promoted to an article
  9. Roads Provide Motor Vehicle Access to Lands in Essex, Franklin and Hamilton Counties Hunters and people of all ages who enjoy outdoor recreation now have improved access to nearly 25,000 acres of forest preserve and conservation easement lands in the Adirondacks, in time for the Northern Zone regular big game hunting season, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. New roads and facilities will allow motor vehicle access to the 18,000-acre Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands in Franklin County using the 3.3-mile Mountain Pond Road, and the 1,600-acre public use area of the Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands in Hamilton County using the 2.6 miles of O’Neil Flow Road and Barker Pond Road. In addition, in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex gates have been opened to allow increased access to Camp Six Road in Newcomb and Gooley Park in Indian Lake, which will allow access for hunting, along with limited camping at designated primitive tent sites. “DEC crews worked hard the past few months to open roads and other facilities so hunters, trappers and others can access these lands and waters,” said Commissioner Martens. “DEC continues to improve and provide new public access to lands in the Adirondacks, and encourages people to enjoy the unique opportunities available.” Mountain Pond Road, Kushaqua Tract The Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands are located in the towns of Franklin and Brighton, and are owned by the Lyme Timber Company of Hanover, New Hampshire. The entire property, with the exception of 32 private lease camp lots, is open to the public for recreation. Mountain Pond Road is located off the North Branch Road – the main entrance to the southern portion of the Kushaqua Tract near the hamlet of Onchiota. DEC staff, with the cooperation and assistance of the landowner, used Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) money to upgrade Mountain Pond Road to allow seasonal motor vehicle access. The road extends northeast, passing through several areas where timber was harvested during the past five years. These recently harvested areas are rich with a variety of non-game species, as well as popular game species including whitetail deer, black bear, ruffed grouse and woodcock. The road also features scenic views of the Loon Lake Mountain range to the north and the High Peaks region to the south. In the future, DEC will develop facilities to provide access to Mountain Pond. A designated parking area is located on the North Branch Road where it enters the Kushaqua Tract. An information kiosk featuring a map and guidelines for use of the road and lands is located in the parking area. Several old log landings and road shoulders along Mountain Pond Road have been mowed to provide off-road parking. Food, supplies and gas for those using the Kushaqua Tract Conservation Easement Lands can be found in the nearby communities of Bloomingdale and Gabriels. Amenities and lodging are available in Saranac Lake. O’Neill Flow & Barker Pond Roads, Township 19 Tract The Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands Public Use Area is located south of O’Neill Flow Road and north of the Blue Mountain Wild Forest in the Town of Indian Lake. The Township 19 Tract is part of the 92,000-acre Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP Conservation Easement Lands owned by ATP Timberland Invest of Hillerod, Denmark. O’Neill Flow Road is located off State Route 30/28 between the communities of Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake. The road not only provides access to the 1,600-acre public use area, but also to thousands of acres of adjacent Forest Preserve lands in the Blue Mountain Lake Wild Forest. The road is currently open to public motor vehicles for approximately two miles, ending at a gate just beyond the intersection with the Barker Pond Road. The Barker Pond Road extends another 0.6 mile to a new parking area a short distance from Barker Pond. DEC developed and designated a primitive tent site near the parking area. Another primitive tent site has been designated on the west shore of Barker Pond. The first mile of the O’Neill Flow Road passes through Forest Preserve lands. The remaining length of the road serves as the boundary between private lands to the north and the public use area to the south. The O’Neill Flow Road is currently gated just beyond the intersection with Barker Pond Road. Beyond the gate the road extends for another five miles, but can only be used for foot travel at this time. The road is a designated snowmobile trail for its entire length. DEC plans future improvements to these lands, including extending public motor vehicle usage on the O’Neill Flow Road another five miles to access fishing opportunities on Dun Brook, constructing a waterway access site on Barker Pond, and designating and developing additional primitive tent sites. The Township 19 CEL project is being funded by Governor Cuomo’s NY Works program and is part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. In support of this initiative, this year’s budget included $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budgets includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. Both roads are on privately owned conservation easement lands that may be actively logged. People can expect to see and hear logging trucks, skidders and other logging equipment. Visitors must respect the right of landowners and follow these guidelines: Do not trespass on private lands and, on the Kushaqua Tract, private leased camps; Use motorized vehicles only on designated roads; Park vehicles in designated parking areas; and Do not obstruct gates, barriers or the safe passage of vehicular traffic on property roads. Both seasonal access roads will be closed to motor vehicle traffic during the winter and spring mud season. Food, supplies, gas and lodging for those using the Township 19 Tract Conservation Easement Lands can be found in the nearby communities of Blue Mountain Lake and Indian Lake. Essex Chain Lakes Complex The Camp Six Road can be accessed off the Chain Lakes North Road. It is the second yellow gate on the right, which will be locked open for the regular big game hunting season. The road is open for a mile, ending at a parking area. The parking area provides access to thousands of acres of lands in the recently classified Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area and the Hudson Gorge Wilderness. The gate at the Outer Gooley parking area on the Chain Lakes Road South is also open for the hunting season, allowing for motor vehicles to travel for approximately 1.5 miles to a designated 4-vehicle parking area. There are 3 primitive tent sites along this section of road. Two additional tent sites are located past the seasonal parking area (and gate) – one further north on the Chain Lakes Road South and one at Pine Lake. Food, supplies, gas and lodging for those using the Essex Chain Lakes Complex can be found in the nearby communities of Newcomb and Indian Lake. Directions, maps and other information may be found on the DEC website for both the Kushaqua Tract (www.dec.ny.gov/lands/95009.html), the Township 19 Tract (www.dec.ny.gov/lands/71954.html) and the Essex Chain Lakes complex (www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91888.html ).
  10. Hunters Must Apply in Person at DEC Lands and Forest Office in Sherburne. Under Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office in Sherburne, NY, will once again have Deer Management Assistance Permits (DMAP) available for use this hunting season on Beaver Meadow State Forest in Chenango County. Individuals with a valid state hunting license are eligible to take advantage of the DMAP program that has been approved for Beaver Meadow. The forest, consisting of approximately 5,816 acres of land in the towns of Smyrna and Otselic in Chenango County, has been part of the DMAP program for the past four years. DMAP tags are valid only for antlerless deer. Last year, 57 antlerless deer were taken under the DMAP program in the county. DEC foresters have determined that browsing by deer is negatively impacting the state forest beyond what traditional hunting and forest management can address. Tree regeneration, wildflowers and other herbaceous plants have been repeatedly damaged and degraded by persistent overbrowsing by deer. "By focusing additional hunting in a targeted area for an extended amount of time, the forest will have an opportunity for tree regeneration to grow above the browse height of deer," noted DEC Regional Director Ken Lynch. "This is a great opportunity for hunters to take an additional deer while also helping with forest management." Hunters may apply in person from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the DEC Lands and Forest Office, 2715 State Highway 80 in Sherburne. DMAP tags are available for use on the forest during both the regular and bow hunting seasons. Tags will be loaned out for two-week periods, determined by an on-going lottery, depending on hunter demand. The DMAP application for Beaver Meadow State Forest is available online. More information about Beaver Meadow State Forest, including a map of the forest, is also available. Application Link: http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/66900.html DMAP tags will be used on Beaver Meadow State Forest for a period of time, typically about four to seven years, based on the success of the program. The end result will be healthier forests and better habitat for deer and other flora and fauna that have been missing or greatly reduced in the forest due to over browsing by deer. In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. For further information, contact the Sherburne Lands and Forests office at 607-674-4017. This post has been promoted to an article
  11. Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The pheasant hunting season begins on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York, October 18 in central and western portions, and November 1 on Long Island. “The Day-old Pheasant Chick Program provides additional opportunities for pheasant hunters,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners who have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing a high-quality hunting experience for New York's sportsmen and sportswomen.” Since 2007, DEC has offered a special youth-only season to provide junior hunters (12-15 years old) the opportunity to hunt pheasants the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is October 11-12. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is September 27-28, and on Long Island (Nassau and Suffolk counties) it is October 25-26. Pheasants will be released on a number of selected release sites across the state to provide ample hunting opportunities for junior hunters. All current pheasant hunting rules and regulations remain in effect during the youth hunt. Please note that due to new legislation that changed the start of the license year from October 1 to September 1, either a 2013-14 hunting license or a 2014-15 hunting license can be used to hunt during September this year. A 2014-15 license is required starting October 1. All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned lands prior to and during the fall hunting season, and thanks to a partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection, at a number of sites on New York City Watershed lands. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC's website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9349.html. The program was developed in the early 1900s to provide day-old pheasant chicks to cooperating 4-H groups and sportsmen and sportswomen. The chicks are distributed to program participants in May and June, and cooperators incur all costs associated with rearing the birds, including feed, water, utilities and facility construction. The birds are raised to adulthood and released on lands open to public hunting before the season opens. This year, about 40,000 pheasant chicks were distributed statewide as part of this program. For more information about DEC’s day-old pheasant rearing program, please see: Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7271.html. Those interested in raising and releasing pheasants to expand next year's hunting opportunities can contact DEC’s Reynolds Game Farm at (607) 273-2768. Boundaries for pheasant hunting zones conform to Wildlife Management Units used for management of other upland wildlife. Wildlife Management Unit boundary descriptions can be found on DEC’s website. In addition to knowing these unit boundary descriptions, hunters should review the 2014-15 New York Hunting & Trapping Guide for complete regulations and other important information before going afield. Hunters who plan to use private lands should ask permission from the landowner. In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This post has been promoted to an article
  12. DEC FINALIZES RULE CHANGES TO IMPLEMENT NEW CROSSBOW HUNTING LAW New Regulations Now in Effect for Fall 2014 The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted final regulation changes to ensure that the crossbow is a legal implement for the fall 2014 hunting seasons, Commission Joe Martens announced today. These regulations are adopted under new state law which authorizes DEC to allow big game (deer and bear) and small game hunting with a crossbow under certain conditions. “The new law that authorizes the use of crossbows for hunting demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s commitment to increasing hunting opportunities here in New York State,” said Commissioner Martens. “Crossbow hunting is growing across the country and the new law expands the opportunities for hunters to use crossbows when hunting in New York.” The final regulations adopted today include the following: General Crossbows may not be used for hunting any wildlife in Suffolk, Nassau, or Westchester counties. Crossbows may be used only by licensees who are 14 years of age or older. With landowner permission, crossbows may be discharged within 250 feet of a home, school building or playground, public structure, farm structure in use, or occupied factory or church. A crossbow may not be possessed in or on a motor vehicle unless it is un-cocked. When you are in a vehicle and using a spotlight to look at wildlife, a crossbow may not be possessed unless it is unstrung or taken down or securely fastened in a case or locked in the trunk of the vehicle. Anyone hunting with a crossbow must have: 1. completed a Standard Hunter Education course offered by DEC on or after April 1, 2014; OR 2. completed a DEC-approved on-line or other training program (e.g., material provided in the annual hunting guide). Hunters must carry a signed self-certification in the field when hunting with a crossbow as proof of compliance. Crossbows may not be used to take carp or any other fish species. Crossbow Specifications A legal crossbow consists of a bow and string, either compound or recurve, that launches a minimum 14-inch bolt or arrow, not including point, mounted upon a stock with a trigger that holds the string and limbs under tension until released. The trigger unit of a crossbow must have a working safety. The minimum limb width of a crossbow is 17 inches (measured from the widest part of the limbs, un-cocked). Crossbows must have a minimum peak draw weight of 100 pounds and a maximum peak draw weight of 200 pounds. The minimum overall length of a crossbow from butt-stock to front of limbs shall be 24 inches. Big Game Crossbows may not be used to take deer or bear in WMU 4J in Albany County, WMU 8C in Monroe County, or any part of Suffolk, Nassau or Westchester counties. For licensing, the new law treats crossbows as a “muzzleloader.” Hunters must possess a muzzleloader hunting privilege to legally hunt with a crossbow during any muzzleloader season OR during open portions of the early bowhunting seasons. The muzzleloader license privilege is not required when hunting with a crossbow during the early bear season or the regular firearms seasons. Crossbows may be used to take bear during the early bear season, early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone, regular firearms seasons in the Northern and Southern Zones, and the late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone. Crossbows may be used to take deer during: early and late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone and late muzzleloader season in the Southern Zone using Bow/Muzzleloader tags, deer management permits (DMPs), deer management assistance permit tags (DMAPs), or an unfilled Regular Big Game tag (late season only); regular firearms seasons using a Regular Big Game tag, DMPs, or DMAP tags. Crossbows may also be used to take deer or bear during limited portions of bowhunting seasons as follows, provided that the hunter possesses the muzzleloading privilege: During the last 14 days of the early bowhunting season in the Southern Zone (i.e., November 1 - November 14, 2014); During the last 10 days of the early bowhunting season in the Northern Zone (i.e., October 15 - October 24, 2014; this includes the 7-day early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone); Only Bow/Muzzloader tags, DMPs or DMAPs may be used during these times. Junior big game hunters (age 14-15) may not use a crossbow to take a deer during the Youth Deer Hunt weekend (October 11 - 13, 2014). Adult mentors who accompany a junior big game hunter on the Youth Deer Hunt weekend may not possess a crossbow or firearm while afield on those days. Small Game Wild turkey - crossbows may be used to hunt wild turkey in either the fall or spring. Crossbows may not be used to take waterfowl or other migratory game birds. Crossbows may not be possessed afield in the Northern Zone when hunting small game (except coyotes) with the aid of a dog or when accompanied by a dog. Crossbows may be used to take any other small game or upland game birds during their respective open seasons, or to take unprotected wildlife (e.g., red squirrels and woodchucks) at any time. Details of the final rule can be viewed in the August 27, 2014 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#Part1Part2p. For a general summary of the law, see DEC’s information on crossbow hunting at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html. DEC’s position on crossbow use for deer hunting is provided in Appendix 5 of the NYS Deer Management Plan (www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/deerplan2012.pdf). With the purchase of a 2014-2015 sporting license, on sale as of August 4, 2014, New York hunters will receive copies of the new Hunting and Trapping Law and Regulations Guide, and the new crossbow regulations are clearly described in the Guide. The Guide features information on the educational requirements for hunters using crossbows. Hunters are required to read the safety information available in the Guide and on the DEC website, and certify that they have done so. This certification must be carried when afield hunting with a crossbow. Crossbow hunters should carefully read all of the information in the Guide to ensure that they are in full compliance with the new regulations. Governor Cuomo signed into law the changes to the Environmental Conservation Law in April, 2014. DEC’s final regulations maximize the use of crossbows allowed under the law’s provisions. The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the State. This initiative 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, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers, and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds, and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the State’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing license fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders, and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. This post has been promoted to an article
  13. Black bear hunting opportunities have expanded this year as a result of regulation changes adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. “Under Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative, New York is working to increase hunting opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen,” Commissioner Martens said. “With these changes, DEC is implementing strategies of the recently adopted Black Bear Management Plan.” More importantly, DEC deemed the changes necessary to limit population growth and range expansion by black bears in New York. Bears are a tremendous resource in New York, but they can have negative impacts too, through damage to camps, crops, homes and other property. In extreme cases they are a serious threat to public safety. DEC’s bear plan fosters a comprehensive approach to reduce negative black bear impacts by increasing public awareness of its role in preventing human-bear conflicts, addressing individual incidents of bear damage and reducing bear populations where necessary. The adopted season changes are as follows: establish bear hunting seasons in all of upstate New York (all counties north of New York City); create a special early firearms season (Sept. 6 – Sept. 21) for bears in specific Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley region; and provide a uniform start date (Sept. 13) for bowhunting and early firearms bear season in the Northern Zone. After careful consideration of public comments received on the draft bear plan last winter and on the proposed regulations this summer, DEC adopted the hunting season changes in accordance with the final Black Bear Management Plan. The purpose of the changes is to maintain bear population levels that are acceptable to the public while providing sustainable opportunity for New York’s big game hunters. The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative 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, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. The full text of the adopted regulations and a summary of public comments on this rulemaking are available on the DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html. The resulting 2014 bear hunting seasons can also be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html. The final Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html. Key elements of the final plan include the scientific monitoring of bear populations; continued use of stakeholders to assess bear impacts and identify population trend objectives; recommendations to expand areas open to bear hunting throughout upstate New York and to increase hunting opportunities in portions of southeastern New York. This post has been promoted to an article
  14. DEC Announces That 2014-15 Sporting Licenses Are Now Available Deer Management Permits, Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Licenses Can Be Purchased at a Licensed Sales Outlet, Via Phone or Online Hunting and trapping licenses, and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) for the 2014-15 season are now available for purchase, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. “New York is home to some of the best hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities in the nation,” Commissioner Martens said. “Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative is creating new and improved, year-round recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, and DEC continues to develop and manage programs to enhance the outdoor experience while protecting our state’s natural resources. Hunting and trapping licenses and the DMPs will enable sportsmen and sportswomen to enjoy these outdoor opportunities for the 2014-15 season.” Sporting licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,100 license sales outlets statewide. Licenses can also be ordered by telephone or online (http://www.dec.ny.go...rmits/6101.html). The 2014-2015 hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning September 1, 2014. (Under a new law that took effect in February, fishing licenses and recreational marine fishing registrations are now valid for 365 days from date-of-purchase.) Funds from the sale of all sporting licenses are deposited into the Conservation Fund, which is used to manage New York's fish and wildlife populations and protect and manage fish and wildlife habitat. As part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, New York streamlined the hunting and fishing license structure, made it consistent for resident and non-residents, and reduced license fees. Some hunters and anglers may not be familiar with these license changes, but licensing-issuing agents are prepared to provide assistance and ensure the license buyers secure all the desired permits and privileges. Highlights of the changes are available on DEC’s website:http://www.dec.ny.go...mits/95007.html. In addition, the new Hunting & Trapping regulation guides are available at all license issuing outlets, as well as on DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.go...rmits/6101.html. New Fishing regulations guide will be available next spring. Individuals may donate to the Habitat Access Stamp Program, Venison Donation Coalition, Conservation Fund or the Trail Maintenance Program via DEC’s sporting license system. The DEC Call Center at (1-866-933-2257) is accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdaythrough October 4 for people with questions regarding license purchases. Regular Call Center weekday hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will resume on October 5. To facilitate the purchase of a sporting license, individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license: complete name and address information, DEC customer ID number if you 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 sporting license system file. With the introduction of a new computerized system this year, it may take license-issuing agents some additional time to find previous license holders in the system. DEC asks that license purchasers remain patient as these agents gain experience with this new system. Important updates for 2014-2015 Upon finalization of regulations, crossbows will be allowed to be used to take big game and small game for the 2014-15 seasons. For more information, visit DEC's website: http://www.dec.ny.go...door/68802.html ; Set back distances for the discharge of a bow and crossbow have been reduced to 150 feet and 250 feet, respectively; Expanded bear hunting opportunities are available this fall, with bear hunting allowed in additional wildlife management units (WMUs) that are open to bear hunting and the establishment of an early bear season in the southern zone. See: http://www.dec.ny.go...door/28605.html; The Youth Firearms Deer Hunt will take place over Columbus Day weekend, October 11-13, 2014. For more information, see: http://www.dec.ny.go...door/46245.html ; New legislation allows the use of rifles for big game hunting in Albany and Livingston counties. See Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas(http://www.dec.ny.go...door/35010.html) on DEC’s website for other counties where rifles can be used. Mandatory Antler Restrictions (http://www.dec.ny.go...door/27663.html) (3 points on one side minimum) remain in effect in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W during all seasons for all hunters 17 years and older (http://www.dec.ny.go...door/27663.html). Additional details are listed in the 2014-2015 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide http://www.dec.ny.go...door/37136.html.Deer Management Permits Because too few female deer are being taken to reduce populations as needed across the Lake Plains, Finger Lakes Region, Mohawk Valley, and Long Island, DEC will be issuing approximately 17 percent more Deer Management Permits (DMPs; tags for antlerless deer) this year. DEC issues DMPs to control antlerless harvest and move the deer population closer toward objective levels in each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU). DMPs will be available at all license issuing outlets and can also be obtained by phone, internet, or mail, through close of business October 1, 2014. DMPs are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale, and customers who are selected for DMPs will receive their permits immediately. For planning purposes, review the 2014 chances of selection for DMPs in each WMU on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.go...door/30409.html. Charts of the chances of selection are also available at License Issuing Agent locations, or on the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. The chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the application period - hunters do not need to rush to apply for a DMP on the first day of sale. If a significant number of DMPs are still available in a WMU after October 1, the sale of the remaining DMPs will commence on November 1, and continue on a first-come, first-served basis until the end of the hunting season or until all DMPs have been issued in the WMU. Additionally, Bonus DMPs will be available in the bowhunting-only WMUs 3S, 4J, and 8C and in WMUs 1C. For information about Bonus DMPs, see DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.go...door/10001.html. An outline on how DMP targets are set and permits are issued is available on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.go...door/47743.html. Hunters are reminded that DMPs are only valid for antlerless deer in the WMU specified on the permit. To learn more about what to expect for deer hunting throughout the state this fall, see Deer Hunting Season Forecasts on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.go...door/37304.html. Contribute Via Habitat Stamps, Trail Supporter Patch, or Donate Directly to Support the Conservation Fund or the Venison Donation Program DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches support DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat, increase public access for fishing and wildlife-related recreation, and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a simple way to help conserve New York's rich wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in the state. Additionally, anyone - not just hunters and anglers - can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license issuing outlet. Individuals should inform the license sales agent if they are interested in making a donation of $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, the Venison Donation Coalition has paid for the processing of more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served. For more information about the Venison Donation Coalition program, visit DEC's website. Participate in Citizen Science to Benefit Wildlife Management Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers and anglers help DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. Information on how to participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other Citizen Science programs is available on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.go...imals/1155.html. The latest updates on New York’s fish and wildlife can be easily accessed on the Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources E-mail News, a free online e-mail list that visitors can subscribe to available on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.go...blic/65855.html. Click here to view the article
  15. With new state legislation authorizing the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to allow taking of big game (deer and bear) or small game by the use of a crossbow at certain times and places in New York, DEC is now accepting public comment on proposed regulation changes so crossbows may be a legal implement for the fall 2014 hunting seasons. DEC will accept written public comment on the proposed hunting rule changes through July 21, 2014. “Crossbow hunting is growing across the country and Governor Cuomo’s commitment to increase hunting opportunities here in New York State is demonstrated by the signing of the new law to authorize the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. Specifically, the law changes authorize DEC to: Allow the take of deer and bear by the use of a crossbow during a limited portion of the early bowhunting seasons (14 days at the end of the existing bowhunting season in the Southern Zone, and 10 days in the Northern Zone) and during any big game hunting season in which use of a firearm (shotgun, rifle or muzzleloader) is allowed, except for the Youth Deer Hunting weekend and the January firearms deer season on Long Island. Allow the take of small game mammals, wild turkey and other upland game birds by the use of a crossbow during their respective hunting seasons. DEC’s proposed rule changes also clarify the technical descriptions of a legal crossbow and the license privilege and training requirements for any person hunting with a crossbow, as specified in legislation. The new law prohibits all hunting with crossbows in Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties or in the archery-only portions of Albany and Monroe counties, and DEC’s proposed rule reflects these restrictions. Details of the proposed rule can be viewed in the June 4, 2014 publication of the New York State Register and on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html#Part1Part2p. For a general summary of the law, see DEC’s information on crossbow hunting at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html. DEC’s position on crossbow use for deer hunting is provided in Appendix 5 of the NYS Deer Management Plan (www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/deerplan2012.pdf). Governor Cuomo signed the changes to Environmental Conservation Law in April, 2014. DEC’s proposal maximizes the use of crossbows allowed under law’s provisions. Citizens who wish to make formal public comments through July 21 may do so by sending an email to: wildliferegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us (include “crossbow regulations” in the subject line) or by writing to: Mr. Bryan L. Swift, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative 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, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. This post has been promoted to an article
  16. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of a free mobile application that provides up-to-date information on fishing, hunting, wildlife watching and other outdoor adventure opportunities in New York State. The new app follows last week’s 2014 New York State Tourism Summit and the kick-off of the summer travel season and celebrating outdoor recreation opportunities throughout the state. “New York State is home to a vast array of fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation locations, providing unmatched opportunities to enjoy the outdoors while supporting local economies statewide," Governor Cuomo said. "Tourism is a major industry in New York State, and drawing more visitors to our Upstate communities to enjoy the outdoors means new jobs and revenue for local communities. This user-friendly app will build on our efforts to help connect New Yorkers and visitors to opportunities to enjoy our world-class fishing, wildlife and outdoor recreation resources." DEC Commissioner Martens said, “This app is just the latest development in Governor Cuomo’s continuing efforts to enhance tourism and promote New York state as a premier destination for fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation. These efforts draw more people to enjoy New York’s incredible outdoor assets and for residents to truly explore all regions of the state.” The application is called the “New York Fish & Wildlife” app and is part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. DEC developed the app in partnership with Parks By Nature Network® at no cost to the State. The New York Fish & Wildlife App is available for free download in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market for use on iPhone and Android devices. ParksByNature Network, LLC (PBN) developed the technology Pocket Ranger®, a smartphone outdoor mobile guide application as a resource for state park systems and fish and wildlife agencies across the country. The app provides advanced GPS mapping features as well as many other features to maximize any outdoor adventure, including detailed species information, news, advisories and weather alerts, social networking and photo sharing, and cache-able map tiles for offline use. Brett Melillo, Parks By Nature co-founder and program coordinator, said, “The Pocket Ranger Fish and Wildlife App will encourage a new generation of users to explore and discover all that New York has to offer for outdoor recreation. This public-private partnership has provided a robust mobile app that will enhance the outdoor experiences and raise awareness, interest and participation in New York’s outdoor resources.” This app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information in the palm of their hand. Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, using the app’s advanced GPS features, users will be able to identify and locate New York’s many world-class fishing, hunting and wildlife watching sites. Official Geographic Information System (GIS) data allows users to access in real-time accurate trail data, user location, sites nearby and amenity locations, including boat ramps, parking, restrooms and more. For hunters and anglers, GIS data will give geographic spatial information, making it easy to identify county borders and units that apply to regulations, permits and licenses for species. Other outdoor adventure features include: · Real-time calendar of events · News, advisories, and weather alerts · Social networking and photo sharing · Potentially life-saving alert features · Cacheable map tiles for offline use · Advanced GPS mapping features including built in compass Download the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App on the Apple App Store or Google Play store, or by going to the Pocket Ranger website. This new app is in line with Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented support announced last Wednesday at his second Tourism Summit, pledging the state’s commitment of $45 million to promote statewide tourism, create jobs, and attract even more visitors to the Empire State. Also, this effort stems from the governor’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative aimed at improving recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and boosting tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative 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, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 Budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. This post has been promoted to an article
  17. Hunters harvested approximately 243,550 deer during the 2013-14 hunting seasons, nearly equivalent to the statewide take last year, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. “Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative offers many hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen for the growing population of deer,” said Commission Martens. “Throughout the state, hunters play an essential role by helping to maintain healthy and ecologically sound deer populations.” The 2013 deer take included approximately 128,850 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and about 114,700 adult bucks (1.5 years or older), both estimates being within 4 percent of the 2012 take (see table below). Hunters in the Northern Zone walked out of the woods with roughly 32,300 deer, including 19,500 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, excluding Long Island, hunters took 208,300 deer, including about 94,200 adult bucks. To compare these harvest estimates with other past seasons, go to: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html. This year marked New York’s second Youth Deer Hunt, held over Columbus Day Weekend. During the Youth Deer Hunt, 14 and 15-year-old junior hunters could take one deer, antlered or antlerless, with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult mentor. An estimated 8,860 junior hunters participated in the Youth Deer Hunt, resulting in 1,275 deer taken (728 adult bucks and 547 antlerless deer). A photo gallery showcasing successful junior hunters is atwww.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/85926.html. More Antlerless Deer Need to be Taken This year’s harvest shows a continuing trend of concern to DEC deer managers. In many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including portions of southeastern New York and the Lake Plains region of western New York, harvest trends indicate that deer populations are too high - above levels recommended by local stakeholder groups who live, hunt or manage land in those areas. Even with very liberal opportunities for take of antlerless deer, not enough females are being taken to reduce populations to desired levels. In these areas, DEC and hunters must begin considering new ways to the increase antlerless deer take to achieve deer populations that are compatible with ecosystem health and consistent with the public’s interests. Older Bucks Becoming a Larger Portion of Adult Buck Harvests Hunters took a record number of bucks (approximately 55,300) aged 2.5 years or older in 2013. These older bucks, which many hunters desire, accounted for 48 percent of harvested adult bucks statewide in 2013, compared to only 33 percent (45,350) in 2000 when New York’s deer population peaked, and only 28 percent (about 33,000) in the early 1990s. In part, this is influenced by the overall size of the deer population, which in much of the state is larger than desired. Although mandatory antler restrictions in 11 WMUs in southeastern New York are a contributing factor, many New York hunters outside those areas are voluntarily choosing not to take young bucks, thereby letting these bucks get another year or two older before they are taken. Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of nearly 16,200 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources. Much additional information about the 2013-14 deer harvests, including charts and maps describing the harvest, is available on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html. Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, and improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. This post has been promoted to an article
  18. Youth Turkey Hunting Weekend Set for April 26-27 As part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the 2014 spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of upstate New York lying north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and the annual youth turkey hunting weekend is April 26-27, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York and Suffolk County. "Approximately 100,000 turkey hunters will take to the field this spring, making it a very popular activity," Commissioner Martens said. "Governor Cuomo recognizes the importance of offering this special opportunity for junior hunters. The Youth Turkey Hunt is an excellent chance for young hunters to spend time afield with experienced adult hunters to learn about conservation first-hand, gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of New York's hunting community." Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 26 and 27:Hunters 12-15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit. Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm or bow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day. The youth turkey hunt is open in all of upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and Suffolk County. The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth's regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1. All other wild turkey hunting regulations are in effect. Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, 2014:Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island. Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their small game hunting or sportsman license (if purchased before Feb. 1) or hunting license (if purchased after Feb. 1). Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day. Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day. Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow and arrow. Crossbows may not be used for the spring 2014 turkey season. Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested. Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online The state's enacted 2014-15 budget, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, includes language authorizing the use of crossbows for hunting under certain circumstances. DEC will draft regulations soon and will implement the new law in time for the fall 2014 hunting season. Hunters cannot use crossbows to take wild turkey during the 2014 spring season. For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting" pages of DEC's website. New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, largely due to the annual efforts of more than 3,000 dedicated volunteer sportsman education instructors. DEC suggests hunters follow the cardinal rules of hunting safety: assume every gun is loaded, control the muzzle, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot, be absolutely sure of your target and what may be beyond it and don't stalk. Set up with your back against a large tree and call birds to you. To find a sportsman education class in your area, visit the DEC website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332). Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative 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, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. Citizen Science Opportunities:DEC Seeks Turkey Hunters for Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey - Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited for monitoring ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to DEC's website or call (518) 402-8886. To participate in DEC's Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the "Citizen Science" page of the DEC website. This post has been promoted to an article
  19. Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone New York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. "New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting," said Commissioner Martens. "With abundant natural foods this past year, bears were in great condition, and we heard of several hunters who took bears weighing more than 500 pounds dressed. Under New York's Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state." Regionally, bear hunters took a record 636 bears from the Southeastern bear hunting area and a near record 342 bears (2nd highest take) from the Central-Western bear hunting area. These high harvests reflect that bear populations have increased over the past decade. In addition, an abundance of hard mast (e.g., acorns and other nuts) kept many bears actively feeding later into the fall and available for harvest through the duration of the regular firearms season. Hunters took 224 bears in the Central-Western area and 431 bears in the Southeastern area during the regular firearms season. Bear populations in these ranges are in need of higher harvest rates in coming years in order to stabilize population growth generally and reduce populations in the Catskill region. In the Adirondack bear hunting area, hunters took a total of 380 bears, fewer than the recent 5-year average. However, Adirondack bear harvest is the tale of two seasons. Bear harvest during the early bear season, which runs from mid-September through mid-October, is strongly influenced by availability of soft mast (e.g., apples, cherries and berries), and harvests tend to be poor during years with abundant soft mast like the 2013 year. Early season only accounted for 84 bears taken, approximately 65 percent below average. In contrast, hunters did well during the regular season, taking 246 bears, about 13 percent greater than average. A complete summary of the 2013 bear harvest with results by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available on the DEC website. NYS Black Bear Management Plan In January, DEC released a draft black bear management plan for public review and comment. The plan describes DEC's approach to bear management which includes population management through regulated hunting, mitigation of human-bear conflicts, and technical guidance and outreach to the public about bears and conflict avoidance. The plan proposed several changes to bear hunting, including expanding the area open to bear hunting to encompass all of upstate New York and establishing a supplemental firearms season in September for bears in the Catskill and lower Hudson Valley region. DEC is reviewing the comments received on the plan and anticipates publishing a final version of the plan this spring. See Black Bear Management to review the draft plan. NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests, and many hunters also submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears. For all hunters who report their harvest and submit a tooth, 680 hunters in 2013, DEC provides a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear's age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2013, but we anticipate hunters will receive their patch by September 2014. Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative 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, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State. This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders. This post has been promoted to an article
  20. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today introduced the New York State Adventure License Series, providing New Yorkers and visitors the opportunity to purchase lifetime licenses to fish, hunt and visit New York State Parks, as part of his efforts to enhance sporting and recreational opportunities, support outdoor enthusiasts and boost tourism throughout the state. As part of this promotional effort, the Governor unveiled New York’s Outdoor Adventure License Plates, which features nine new plate designs – including the I [love] NY HUNTING, I [love] NY FISHING, and I [love] NY PARKS license plates – available for free exclusively to those buying new lifetime hunting, fishing, or parks licenses in 2014. In addition, New York residents who secure lifetime licenses will have the opportunity to receive an Adventure License, which allows them the option of consolidating all their recreation licenses and benefits onto their New York State Driver’s License, an initiative first introduced by the Governor during his State of the State address last month. The Adventure License and plates are available on the state’s revamped online licensing portal: www.licensecenter.ny.gov. To promote these latest offers, the State will launch a direct mail campaign and send one million letters to notify current short term recreational license holders. “As part of our ongoing efforts to promote New York as a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts and sportsmen, we are launching the NYS Lifetime Adventure License Series that will allow New Yorkers to hunt, fish and enjoy our vast state parks for the rest of their lives,” Governor Cuomo said. “Under this program, we are creating the new Adventure License to make it easier for New Yorkers who hold these lifetime passes to travel and enjoy outdoor activities across the state, as well as new special Adventure License Plates available free to anyone who signs up for a lifetime hunting, fishing or parks license this year. With this initiative, we are growing the state’s tourism industry even further and creating jobs for communities statewide. And most of all, we are excited to offer New Yorkers and visitors the opportunity to enjoy and explore the Empire State’s great outdoors for a lifetime.” “People who enjoy being outdoors often participate in multiple sporting activities such as hunting and fishing,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said. “The Adventure License allows new lifetime hunting, fishing and trapping license holders to get outside with the simplicity of bringing their driver’s license rather than multiple documents. This is just the latest example of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to making it easier for tourists and New Yorkers to recreate and enjoy the great outdoors.” “With so much to do across our wonderful park system, the Empire Passport offers a lifetime of enjoyment that allows families and friends to build memories forever,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation. “One investment now and the 335,000 acres, 2,000 miles of trails, beaches, nature centers and other park opportunities are yours to experience and enjoy forever. Lifetime Empire Passport members will have the option to escape alone or bring family and friends along for the experience.” New York’s Lifetime Adventure License Series will provide many benefits for the sporting community and outdoor enthusiasts including: · Lifetime Hunting License: $535 for small/big game A lifetime hunting license allows holders to hunt across millions of acres of majestic wild lands in New York while saving on the costs of an annual license. · Lifetime Fishing License: $460 A lifetime fishing license provides a lifetime of fishing on more than 70,000 miles of rivers and streams and more than 7,000 lakes and ponds while saving on the cost of an annual license. · Lifetime Empire Passport: $750 with special offer With no expiration date, buy the new Lifetime Empire Passport once, and enjoy the forests, the seashore, and the lakefronts in New York’s state parks for years and years to come while saving on the cost of an annual license. The Lifetime Empire Passport was announced in the Governor’s State of the State address. In addition, as a free one-time special bonus, purchasers will be able to select from any one of the following: a free week of camping, a free round of golf for four, or a $100 State Parks gift card. · Adventure License Plates: Adventure license plates will be free of charge for those purchasing new lifetime licenses in 2014, including one free plate renewal. Nine beautiful plate designs are available to display the lifetime commitment that hunters, anglers and parks visitors have made. · NYS Adventure Licenses: Lifetime holders of sporting licenses, Lifetime Empire Passports, and NY Safe Boating Certificates have the opportunity to consolidate their paper licenses onto one document, their New York State driver’s license. The license will feature icons including: a deer and fish for sportsmen lifetime licensees; an arrowhead for bowhunting; a bobcat paw for trapping; a powderhorn for muzzleloading; an anchor for a boating safety certificate; and a maple leaf for Lifetime Empire Passports. To purchase a lifetime pass or to learn more about these offers, go to www.licensecenter.ny.gov. Parks & Trails New York Executive Director Robin Dropkin said, “We New Yorkers love the outdoors. What better way to celebrate our love than purchasing lifetime passes to our spectacular parks and abundant wild places and displaying our passion for the outdoors anywhere we go with the new Outdoor Adventure License Plates. Plus, enjoying the outdoors is good for the economy—outdoor recreation contributes more than $11 billion to the state’s economy each year—and good for our health.” Jason Kemper, Chair of the Conservation Fund Advisory Board, said, “Governor Cuomo’s increased support of sportsmen and women activities is greatly appreciated. From streamlining licenses, providing millions to increase access and complete critical repairs on our hatchery system, reducing fees, simplifying licensing documents to today’s new Adventure plates, Governor Cuomo has once again demonstrated his commitment to expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing and trapping across the state. Sportsmen activities infuse billions of dollars each year into our economy and we appreciate the Governor’s ongoing efforts to make New York a premier destination for our industry.” Erik Kulleseid, executive director of the Alliance for New York State Parks, a program of the Open Space Institute, said, “Governor Cuomo continues to demonstrate extraordinary leadership in support of state parks. His recognition of the value of parks as recreational and cultural destinations; unique environmental classrooms; and regional economic drivers is helping to transform and uplift a once beleaguered state park system. The latest example of this commitment are the adventure license plates which offers a new way to promote visitation to parks and other state lands.” Recreational and sporting activities generate significant economic value across New York State. According to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, sportsmen and women spent $4.95 billion on hunting and fishing in New York in 2011 and support more than 56,000 jobs across the state. In addition, spending by sportsmen and women in New York generated $623 million in state and local taxes in 2011. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintains and operates 179 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. A recent study commissioned by Parks & Trails New York found that New York State Parks generates $1.9 billion in economic activity annually and supports 20,000 jobs. This post has been promoted to an article
  21. The NY DEC's new e-licensing system to purchase sporting licenses and report harvest numbers is now up and running. You can check it out here: https://aca.dec.accela.com/dec/ This post has been promoted to an article
  22. Deer Management Focus Area Open Until January 31, 2014 A special deer hunting season to help control the deer population in and around the city of Ithaca, Tompkins County, will be open until January 31, 2014, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Ken Lynch announced today. The Deer Management Focus Area (DMFA) program was initiated in 2012 in the Ithaca area to expand the use of hunting to assist local communities burdened with overabundant deer populations. The DMFA encompasses 60,000 acres of land in and around the city of Ithaca, including the city and town of Ithaca, the villages of Cayuga Heights and Lansing, and parts of the towns of Danby, Caroline, Dryden, Lansing, Enfield, Newfield and Ulysses. During the special January season in the DMFA, registered hunters are authorized to shoot two antlerless deer per day using a shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun, or bow (if they have bowhunting eligibility). Hunters must still comply with all state trespassing laws, as well as all applicable local ordinances governing the discharge of firearms. To participate, hunters must register with the DMFA program and download a permit, carcass tags and a hunting activity log. Both the DMFA permit and carcass tags must be carried while hunting in the DMFA and are valid only within the DMFA. All DMFA hunters must record their deer hunting activity and harvests on the hunting activity log regardless of their success or hunting activity level, and are required to submit the log form to DEC by February 7. Instructions are provided on the permit and log form. For additional information about the DMFA, including a map of the DFMA that includes boundaries, a description of available hunting lands, or to register and download a permit, carcass tags and a hunting activity log . This post has been promoted to an article
  23. EURASIAN BOARS NO LONGER “FAIR GAME” IN NEW YORK Proposed Regulations Would Prohibit Hunting or Trapping of Wild Boars in New York New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) Joe Martens today announced the proposal of new regulations that would prohibit hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York. The proposal is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. Public comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted until January 25, 2014. “Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, private property and public safety wherever they occur,” Commissioner Martens said. “It’s important that we do all in our power to ensure that this invasive species does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York State.” Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions now occur across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.” Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013 which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild. However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York, and to date more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower. “Many hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our swine eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder’, the name for a group of pigs sometimes numbering 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method, and this often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.” Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the proposed regulation would prohibit anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar can be done at hunting preserves until 2015. The proposed regulations provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare. Commissioner Martens encouraged anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York to report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office. Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all feral swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of feral swine are greatly appreciated, so please try and get a picture and include it with your report. This post has been promoted to an article
  24. Four young men are facing up to $1,700 in fines after New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) police officers discovered evidence of the group capturing two deer fawns and posting pictures of the incidents on Instagram. “The pursuit and capture of native wildlife is not tolerated in New York State,” DEC Regional Director Peter A. Scully said. “Although these young men may have thought their actions were harmless and trivial, serious consequences can occur due to these types of actions. Wildlife can be dangerous and unpredictable, and DEC’s environmental conservation offices deserve recognition for their successful pursuit of this case.” On October 31, 2013, DEC environmental conservation officers (ECOs) were provided with two images captured from the online photo sharing site Instagram. Those images provided by an anonymous complainant, depicted young men posing with a live yearling whitetail deer. In both pictures, one man, later identified as George Salzmann, 18, of Calverton, was holding the stressed deer. On November 01, 2013, several ECOs recognized Salzmann and three friends at a local business in Calverton and questioned them about the deer. Presented with evidence proving he had been in possession of a live deer, Salzmann eventually admitted he captured two deer. The resulting interview showed Salzmann took custody of that deer along Grumman Boulevard in Calverton. Salzmann's friends, Conor Lingerfelt, 19, of Jamesport, Joseph Sacchitello, 20, of Riverhead, and Anthony Infantolino, 20, of Wading River, were all involved with the illegal capture of the second deer. The ECOs determined that the subjects had captured the deer out of thrill, using a vehicle to chase down and capture at least one of the deer alongside a fence on Hulse Landing Road. Tickets were issued for the illegal take and pursuit of protected wildlife -- white tailed deer – and for failing to tag a six point buck deer head that Salzman possessed at his home. All tickets are violations that carry a potential fine of up to $250 each. The young men are to appear at the Town of Riverhead Justice Court on November 27, 2013. All native species of wildlife are protected under New York State law. The pursuit and capture of any native wildlife is illegal without an appropriate permit. These actions cannot only significantly stress or injure a wild animal, but also may endanger the individual attempting to capture the animal. In addition, certain wildlife are not well suited for life in captivity and may carry diseases that can be transmitted to people. Individuals who spot illegal activities are encouraged to call DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police at (631) 444-0250 during business hours, and 1-877-457-5680 or 1-800-TIPP-DEC at all other times to report suspected illegal activities.
  25. Under Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that the 2013 regular deer and bear hunting seasons open at sunrise on Saturday, November 16, in New York's Southern Zone. These big game seasons close at sunset onSunday, December 8. “New York’s deer and bear populations are great resources for the state, and hunting is an important part of New York's outdoor heritage,” said Commissioner Martens. “I wish all hunters a safe and successful season.” The Southern Zone Regular Season is New York’s most popular hunting season, with participation from about 85 percent of New York’s 550,000 licensed hunters. Harvest during this season accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total statewide deer harvest and 30-60 percent of the statewide bear harvest. With the October 1 start to the bow season in the Southern Zone and a special Youth Firearms Deer Hunt over Columbus Day Weekend, many big game hunters have already enjoyed fruitful hunts. Following the regular deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will open at sunrise on December 9 and close at sunset on December 17. Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess either bowhunting or muzzleloading privileges. In the Northern Zone, the regular deer and bear hunting season opened October 26 and will close at sunset on December 8. This zone generally includes the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain and the Champlain and St. Lawrence Valleys. A late archery and muzzleloading season for deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone fromDecember 9 to December 15. Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. Hunters should be aware of several important programs and recent changes when they go afield for the 2013 regular hunting season. · Rifles authorized for Ontario and Wayne counties: New legislation allows the use of rifles for big game hunting in Ontario and Wayne counties, until October 1, 2015. See “Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas” at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/35010.html for other areas where rifles can be used. · Crossbows: Crossbows are no longer a legal implement for big game hunting in New York. · Help Protect New York Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD): To keep potentially infectious material out of New York, hunters are prohibited from bringing whole deer carcasses and some carcass parts into New York from any state or province with CWD, now including Pennsylvania. Find the details for CWD Regulations for Hunters (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8325.html) and read more about how to prevent the spread of CWD at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7507.html. · Deer Management Focus Area in Tompkins County: This program will continue to assist communities in the Ithaca area with the burden of overabundant deer populations. See “Deer Management Focus Areas” at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/82382.html for information and registration. Reducing Harvest of Young Bucks: Mandatory antler restrictions (bucks must have at least 3 points on one side) are in effect in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W during all seasons for all hunters 17 years and older. Many hunters in other areas are voluntarily choosing not to take young, small-antlered bucks, thereby allowing most of these bucks to live another year, get a bit bigger and grow slightly larger antlers. Through the personal choice of thousands of hunters, we’ve seen a shift in the annual buck harvest to include an increasing number and percentage of older bucks. For more information see “Voluntary Antler Restrictions” at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27663.html#Voluntary. Junior Hunters: Junior Hunters (14 and 15 years old) can hunt deer and bear with a firearm when appropriately accompanied by an experienced adult. See the “Junior Hunter Mentoring” webpage at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html for program requirements and to download the Mentored Youth Hunter Permission Form. Harvest Reporting: All successful hunters are required to report their harvest of deer and bear within 7 days. Failure to report harvested deer or bear is a violation of NYS Environmental Conservation Law. Hunters may report via DEC’s online reporting system at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8316.html or by calling the toll-free automated reporting system at 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778). Black Bear Tooth Collection: Successful bear hunters are asked to submit a tooth of their bear so DEC can age the bear and monitor bear population dynamics. See Bear Tooth Collection at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45598.html for instructions. Venison Donation: Hunters are encouraged to participate in the Venison Donation program (http://www.venisondonation.com/). By obtaining permits and donating ones deer, hunters help accomplish the needed deer management and can feed less fortunate families. Although safety-conscious hunters have significantly reduced the number of firearms-related injuries, studies show that individuals wearing hunter orange clothing are seven times less likely to be injured than hunters who do not wear the bright fluorescent color. Hunters are encouraged to review hunting safety tips available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9186.html and pay careful attention to basic firearm safety rules that can prevent hunting related shooting incidents including: Point your gun in a safe direction. Treat every gun as if it were loaded. Be sure of your target and beyond. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Remember to wear Hunter Orange. For specific descriptions of regulations and open areas, hunters should refer to the 2013-14 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide This post has been promoted to an article