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burmjohn
Bear Hunting Seasons Begin September 6 in Portions of Southeastern New York and September 13 in Northern New York
Under Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that the new 2014 early bear hunting seasons open at sunrise on Saturday, September 6, in portions of New York's southern zone and Saturday, September 13, in the northern zone.
“Early black bear hunting seasons are an important tool for managers to control bear populations, and beginning Saturday, hunters will have a new opportunity to pursue bears in portions of the Catskills and western Hudson Valley,” said Commissioner Martens. “Opening these early seasons demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s commitment to increasing hunting opportunities here in New York State for sportsmen and women.”
Following recommendations in DEC’s recently adopted bear management plan to reduce bear populations in the region, the new early firearms bear season runs from September 6-21 in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. The early bowhunting season for bears will then open in all of the Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 15.
New this year, DEC has also expanded bear hunting in northern New York to include WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N. In these newly opened units, bear hunting begins with bowhunting equipment only from September 13 through October 17. In the rest of northern New York (WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J), the early firearms season begins Saturday, September 13 and continues until October 17. Muzzleloader season then opens in all northern WMUs on October 18, followed by the regular firearms season for bear on October 25.
During these early seasons, or whenever hunting in warm conditions, bear hunters should be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. Hunters may consider skinning and quartering the bear in the field and packing out the meat in game bags.
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 at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/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.gov/permits/6101.html.
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.
DEC regulates black bear hunting to manage populations toward levels that are acceptable to the public.
Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates and regulations, is available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7857.html. Additionally, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York(www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/bbhunting10.PDF), includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.
burmjohn
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.
burmjohn
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.gov/permits/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.gov/permits/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.gov/permits/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/35010.html) on DEC’s website for other counties where rifles can be used.
Mandatory Antler Restrictions (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/27663.html).

Additional details are listed in the 2014-2015 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/outdoor/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.gov/animals/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.gov/public/65855.html.
burmjohn
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.
burmjohn
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.