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Bad News: Emerald Ash Borer hits the Catskills
The Countdown Begins: Although and official date has yet to be announced, sporting licenses will go on sale soon as they usually do in early August. There's some changes on the horizon as the sporting license year now begins on Sept. 1, not Oct. 1. There's also some changes in the state's bear management practices (see below) and of course, the crossbow will play a bigger role as a hunting implement this year. With the new license year, this will also be the last season that we can use tags from the previous season during the early archery season (Sept. 27-30). Less than a few short months before that gets here. Time to get ready!
Members of the Pine Tree Rifle Club in Johnstown, NY have put up this sign on State Highway 30 in the Town of Perth.
Pictured are the club's President Paul Catucci, Fulton County Sheriff Tom Lorey, the Pine Tree board of directors, and candidate for State Senate George Amedore.
The board will be up until Election day (Nov. 4) , and the club is pushing and encouraging people to get out and register and getting out to vote!
Links: Pine Tree Rifle Club - http://www.frontiernet.net/~pinetreerifle/
Register to Vote: http://www.adkhunter.com/voteform_enterable.pdf
Jarett DuMoulin's 7-pointer taken Nov. 29th 2013
out of a remote tent camp in warren county.
2013 Adirondack Bucks
Click here for more photos from 2013
New trail open in the Eastern Adirondacks!
(7/31) The trail to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness is open to the public. The three-mile hike leads to an overlook that provides a scenic view of the falls.
The parking area for the trailhead is located on the south side of Route 28, approximately 7.5 miles east of the community of Indian Lake. The trailhead itself is on the north side of Route 28, 0.2 miles west of the parking area. The trail also provides access to Ross, Whortleberry and Big Bad Luck Ponds. Approximately a half mile from the trailhead hikers should turn right onto the trail to OK Slip Falls. Follow the trail another 2.5 miles to the overlook on the east side of the OK Slip Gorge.
OK Slip Falls is considered one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks and its waters flow into the Hudson River near the center of the Hudson Gorge.
Here's a link to a map of the trail.
House committee approves Gibson Lyme legislation
Tick-borne Disease Research Transparency and Accountability Act makes critical progress
(7/31) Washington, DC – Congressman Chris Gibson (NY-19) announced the House Energy & Commerce Committee approved H.R. 4701, the Tick-borne Disease Research Transparency and Accountability Act of 2014, constituent-driven legislation addressing a major health threat to the residents of Upstate New York.DEC Adopts Bear Hunting Season Changes for Fall 2014
H.R. 4701, which was introduced by Congressman Gibson in May, seeks to prioritize federal research on Lyme and related diseases and give patients a seat at the table.
“I am delighted to announce this important milestone in the years-long effort to combat Lyme and tick-borne diseases,” said Congressman Gibson. “This legislation is the first standalone bill addressing Lyme disease to pass through a committee in Congress. I deeply appreciate the tireless advocacy and valuable insights of the many citizens who speak out on this issue every day. I also want to thank my neighbors Congressmen Paul Tonko and Peter Welch for supporting this bill. I look forward to its passage by the full House, but my staff and I will not relent in our fight for improved research, treatment, and prevention of this public health scourge.”
The bipartisan legislation forms an interagency working group consisting of federal agencies and non-federal partners, including experienced Lyme physicians and patient advocates with a broad spectrum of scientific viewpoints. The working group is tasked with ensuring coordination among federal agencies to maximize research priorities.
H.R. 4701 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consult with the working group to submit a strategic plan to Congress within three years that includes benchmarks to measure progress. The plan must include a proposal for improving outcomes of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, including progress related to chronic or persistent symptoms, infections, and co-infections.
Congressman Gibson thanked the following advocacy groups for their guidance and support: Tick-borne Disease Alliance, Lyme Research Alliance, Partners Against Lyme, Lyme Disease Association, Lyme Disease Society, and Lyme Action Network.
Expanded Hunting Opportunities to Limit Population Growth and Help Alleviate Problems Caused by Black Bears
(7/31) 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.
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:
The final Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available on DEC's website. 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.
DEC SEEKS PARTICIPANTS FOR 2014 SUMMER GAME BIRD SURVEYS
(7/31) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys for two popular game birds: wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants as part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative.
“Science efforts that the public can assist in providing our wildlife managers with invaluable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York’s wildlife resources,” Commissioner Martens said. “I encourage residents to take the time to record your observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the forests and fields around your home or driving through the state’s beautiful landscapes this summer.”
Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey
Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential.
During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet directly at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48732.html. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line). New this year, participants can submit their observations on-line! Visit the link above and click “Summer Wild Turkey Sighting On-line Report”.
Monitoring Pheasants in the Genesee Valley Focus Area
Farmers in the 13 counties that comprise the Lake Plains of New York have partnered with DEC since 1945 to help survey wild pheasant populations. DEC is pleased to continue this effort in the newly established “Pheasant Habitat Focus Area” in the Genesee Valley (portions of Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties). The focus area was created as part of DEC’s recently completed ten-year management plan for ring-necked pheasants. The goal of the focus area is to concentrate the efforts of public and private habitat conservation programs to benefit pheasants and other grassland birds. Surveys like these will help in monitoring pheasant populations and in evaluating the success of habitat management efforts in the focus area.
Those that farm land in Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming or Monroe counties, consider participating in the Farmer-Pheasant Inventory. No special observations are required; just those made during your normal spring and summer farming activities. If interested, contact DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife at (518) 402-8886 or by e-mail (email@example.com, write “Farmer-Pheasant Inventory” in the subject line).
Those that do not farm, but would like to contribute pheasant observations from Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties can join the Summer Pheasant Sighting Survey. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age of all pheasants observed during normal travel. A survey form from the DEC website can be obtained and printed at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/72543.html or call (518) 402-8886.
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.
Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48732.html
Pheasant Habitat Focus Area & Pheasants Surveys: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/72543.html
GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES FUNDING TO IMPROVE AND EXPAND
OUTDOOR RECREATION IN THE CENTRAL ADIRONDACKS
(7/21) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced funding for multiple projects that will expand and improve outdoor recreational opportunities in the Adirondack Park – including $750,000 to upgrade the Abanakee Dam on the Indian River, which was the site of yesterday’s Adirondack Challenge. The 2nd Annual Adirondack Challenge was held in Indian Lake to highlight recreational opportunities and promote the region’s tourism industry. Additionally, the Governor announced $250,000 for the development of new equestrian facilities and trails in Essex and Hamilton Counties that will transform the region into a premier horseback riding destination, as well as the opening of a new hiking trail leading to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness.
Upgrades to Lake Abanakee Dam
The Town of Indian Lake will receive $750,000 to repair and upgrade the Lake Abanakee Dam on the Indian River, which will bring the dam into compliance with state dam safety regulations. The upgrade will also allow continued water releases from the dam for rafters who paddle down the Indian River into the Hudson River and through the picturesque Hudson Gorge. The rafting component of the Adirondack Challenge was held on this section of the Indian River.
Rafting is an exciting and popular activity for visitors to the area, and the rafting industry also provides economic benefits to residents and the Town of Indian Lake. The rafting industry depends on the water releases from Lake Abanakee to ensure the water levels needed to raft the Hudson River throughout the summer season.
The towns of Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson in Essex County and Indian Lake and Long Lake in Hamilton County will receive a total of $250,000 to develop horseback riding facilities in each of their communities. Among the projects being funded are:
· Five parking areas for horse trailers in each town;
· A pole barn with concrete floor and water;
· A 1,000 gallon holding tank for disposal of gray water and sewage from trailers;
· Two accessible mounting platforms; and
· A horse washing station.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is currently working to identify and designate horse trails in the Essex Chain Lakes Complex that surrounds the five towns. DEC has also proposed constructing a bridge over the Cedar River in the Town of Indian Lake that would allow horses and their riders to access the Essex Chain Lakes Complex from the south.
The 19,200-acre Essex Chain Lakes Complex is part of the newest forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks. Eighteen water bodies totaling 785 acres, ranging in size from the 3-acre Chub Pond to the 216-acre Third Lake are located in the Complex. The upper stretches of the Hudson River form its eastern boundary and the Cedar River passes through the southern portion of these lands.
Horseback riders will be able to enjoy views of some of the lakes, ponds and rivers, and also the nearby Vanderwhacker Mountain and Fishing Brook Mountain Range.
OK Slip Falls Trail
A trail to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness officially opened to the public yesterday as part of the Adirondack Challenge. The three-mile hike leads to an overlook that provides a scenic view of the complete falls.
The parking area for the trailhead is located on the south side of Route 28, approximately 7.5 miles east of the community of Indian Lake. The trailhead itself is on the north side of Route 28, 0.2 miles west of the parking area. The trail also provides access to Ross, Whortleberry and Big Bad Luck Ponds. Approximately a half mile up the trail hikers should turn right onto the trail to OK Slip Falls. Follow the trail another 2.5 miles to the overlook on the east side of the OK Slip Gorge.
OK Slip Falls is considered one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks and its waters flow into the Hudson River near the center of the Hudson Gorge. The falls are located on the 2,780-acre OK Slip Falls Tract which the state purchased from The Nature Conservancy in 2013.
Warren County’s 4th Annual Sportsman/Hunter Education Super Weekend
(7/21) Cornell Cooperative Extension of Warren County, in partnership with DEC Sportsman Education volunteer instructors, will be organizing a Hunter Education Classes on Saturday, September 13th and Sunday, September 14th.
The following classes are being offered each day; Sportsman Education, Bow Hunter Education, or Trapper Education (you may choose ONE class per day, bow hunter students must have completed hunter education previous to registering for bow hunter education). Those who have completed online training MUST pre-register and must bring their printed certificate of completion with them to class. They do not need to pick up the books
All classes are free and open to the public (ages 11 and up). Classes will be held from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm at Pack Forest in Warrensburg. All courses are "Home Study" courses, materials MUST be picked up at the CCE Education Center, 377 Schroon River Road, Warrensburg by August 28th at 4:30pm. The CCE office is open 8:30 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Thursday. The workbook section of the bow hunter and hunter education courses must be completed for students to gain entry into the class.
Lunch will be available to purchase for $7.00 and will include either (2) Hamburgers or (2) hot dogs with chips and a drink. Lunch is being prepared and served by the Warren County Conservation Council. Please make a lunch selection when you pick up your workbooks at Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Pre-registration is required by August 29th. Registration is done online now and here is the link:
For more information, please contact the CCE Education Center at (518) 623-3291 or 668-4881 or e-mail mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or mailto:email@example.com
DEC And DOT Announce Plans To Reinvigorate The Remsen To Lake Placid Travel Corridor
(7/21) The State Departments of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Transportation (DOT) today announced that they will reopen the 1996 Unit Management Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (1996 UMP/EIS) for the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. The review will evaluate use of the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment for a recreational trail. It will also examine opportunities to maintain and realize the full economic potential of rail service on the remainder of the corridor. In addition, the state will review options to create and expand alternative snowmobile corridors to connect communities from Old Forge to Tupper Lake on existing state lands and conservation easements.
The UMP governs the use of the 119-mile Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor. The determination to revisit the UMP was made following a thorough assessment of options and a review of the extensive public comments made during four public meetings held by DEC and DOT last year.
DEC and DOT will prepare the UMP and draft EIS, which will explore opportunities to increase recreational use of the rail corridor and ensure it promotes tourism and economic growth in the surrounding communities. As part of this process, the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on a draft scope that outlines significant issues and environmental impacts, and guides preparation of the UMP and draft EIS. In addition, the public will be able to review and comment on the draft UMP and draft EIS when they are deemed complete.
Revisiting the 1996 UMP/EIS will enable DEC and DOT to thoroughly review those aspects of the 1996 UMP/EIS that recommend enhanced recreational opportunities and community connections, and to examine alternatives for the best future use of the Corridor along the Tupper Lake to Lake Placid segment. DEC and DOT will work with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and public stakeholders, including local officials and residents, to assess alternatives that reflect current realities along the corridor and potential environmental and economic impacts.
"Our goal is to protect our natural resources, while also exploring ways to increase opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreation activities in the Adirondacks," DEC Commissioner Martens said. "We recognize that the future of the Remsen to Lake Placid Travel Corridor is important to local residents, communities and the regional economy, and the UMP process is the appropriate way to determine the best use of the corridor. We greatly appreciate the input received and continue to encourage the public and stakeholders to be actively involved in the UMP process since their views and interests will be an important part of the decision-making process."
"The Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor is a tremendous transportation resource that traverses stunning landscapes across the northern Adirondacks," DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald said. "In response to public interest, we are reopening the Unit Management Plan, providing new opportunities to engage local communities and support the regional economy as we plan for the corridor's future."
The UMP process will provide a transparent and public means of exploring a proposed amendment to the 1996 UMP/EIS that would maximize benefits from public use of the corridor and conform with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Any proposed amendment would consider and incorporate public comments.
The rail service envisioned by the 1996 UMP/EIS has never been fully realized. The recurring short term lease under which the Adirondack Scenic Railroad operates has hindered the capital investment necessary to improve the rail line in the most remote sections of the corridor. This review will evaluate options to provide the long-term assurance to the rail operator and its investors need to move forward with much needed improvements.
Snowmobilers have long used the travel corridor during peak season to transit between communities. That use is made unsafe during periods of lesser snow as track becomes exposed. As part of this review, DEC will evaluate ways to expand snowmobile routes between the communities along the Old Forge to Tupper Lake segment of the corridor on state lands and conservation easements. This will open new recreational and tourism opportunities for those communities but also provide a safer riding experience for the snowmobiling community.
DEC Announces Tentative 2014-15 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons
(6/23) The tentative schedule for many of New York’s 2014-15 migratory game bird seasons is now available, allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to plan outdoor activities well in advance, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. Tentative season dates for ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe and rails can be found on the DEC website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28503.html.
“Each year, DEC announces the tentative schedule so hunters can begin making plans for a safe and successful season,” Commissioner Martens said, following along with Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative “Still, we always remind hunters to check the final dates, usually issued in late summer, before going afield.”
The final season dates, bag limits and other regulations for 2014-15 migratory game bird hunting seasons in New York will be posted on DEC’s website and announced by a statewide news release, once they are approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in late summer. Hunters should confirm the final season dates before going afield at http://www.dec.ny.gov/press/97733.html
The tentative season dates were developed by a team of DEC staff representing all regions of the state, taking into consideration anticipated federal regulations for the coming year and recommendations from Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces established by DEC for each zone. DEC has used a task force approach since 1997, and it has been very helpful for setting seasons where hunter preferences are diverse. For more information about the task forces, go to: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/40737.html .
Tentative season dates for the Lake Champlain Zone were not included because they will be determined by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board following public meetings likely to be held in August in Whitehall, N.Y. and Burlington, Vt. DEC encourages New York waterfowl hunters who frequent the Champlain Zone to attend one of these meetings; details will be announced later this summer. Comments and suggestions about the Lake Champlain Zone may also be submitted to any DEC season-setting team member or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies of the 2014-15 migratory game bird hunting regulations brochure will be available on the DEC website in late August and by mid-September wherever hunting licenses are sold.
For more information about hunting waterfowl or other migratory game birds in New York, visit the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28175.html
Hunting Or Trapping Of Wild Boars In New York Now Prohibited
(4/28) 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: mailto:email@example.com 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.
2013 Deer Harvest Comparable to 2012
(4/28) 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. 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, visit the DEC website.
2013 Deer Harvest Comparison
2013 Total 2012 Total Previous 5-Year Average (2008-2012)
Total Take 243,567 242,957 229,439
Adult Male 114,716 118,993 108,752
Antlerless 128,851 123,964 120,687
Adult Female 88,634 86,644 83,565
DMPS Issued 650,472 605,105 544,530
DMP Take 98,945 94,367 89,507
DAMP Take 12,285 10,497 10,689
Muzzleloader 14,970 16,104 7,511
Bowhunting 36,676 36,208 34,795
Crossbow NA 438
Youth Hunt 1,275 1,411
N-Zone Bucks 19,538 19,437
N-Zone Total 32,369 30,843
For a full report of the 2013 Harvest viste DEC's website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/96610.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.
DEC Announces 2013 Bear Harvest Results
Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone
(4/9) 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. “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: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
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 www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html 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 (see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45598.html). 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.
Photo: Dan Reed
Four national conservation organizations team up for conservation
(3/3) MEMPHIS, Tenn. – February 21, 2014 – Four of the nation’s largest wild bird conservation organizations have joined forces to ensure that wild bird habitat conservation and our shared hunting heritage remain strong for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited (DU), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goal of furthering sporting traditions across North America.
“By entering into this unique partnership, we will be able to reach more than 1 million conservation supporters throughout North America,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This MOU is the first step to ensuring our hunting heritage remains strong. I look forward to working with each organization and I know that together we can accomplish great things.”
The goals of the partnership will be achieved through the support of an engaged and growing community of sportsmen and women and other outdoor enthusiasts, including the members and supporters of the partner organizations, who all share similar visions.
“We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization.”
This historic partnership also takes cooperation to an entirely new level, proving that conservation organizations aren’t always competitors. Rather, this MOU shows how separate organizations can come together to achieve common goals.
Combined, these organizations have helped conserve more than 30 million acres of wildlife habitat, and through this partnership, shared conservation goals will be achieved more efficiently.
“In the face of the most rapid loss of wildlife habitat in modern times, it simply makes sense for our organizations to team up wherever possible,” explains Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “From our local chapters holding youth mentor hunts to state land acquisition projects, our goal is to accomplish more for current and future generations of bird hunters as partners in conservation.
2013 Hunting Season Field Reports
(12/16) Done Deal: Another Adirondack big game season is in the books and I hope you had a good one. Judging from the photos that have rolled in this season from the North Country I'd say it's an above average year for sure. I can't complain about my own luck as well. I let a few small bucks pass this year before taking a 7-pointer during the last week of the season. I was all set for the late muzzleloading season but it was some tough weather for sure. Sunday's snowstorm gave us a little more than we bargained for and I opted to clean it up rather than try to track deer in it. As I write this there are two more days left in the Southern Zone. Now it's time to make some venison jerky, do some small game hunting and get ready for ice fishing season. Be sure to check in during the weeks ahead s we commonly get photos from hunters right into January. We'll get caught up on the Southern Zone photos when we can. Until then, a Merry Christmas to all.
(12/12) It's never over... Until it's over, as the great Yogi Bera said. That's what some of us black powder rifle hunters can say as the weekend approaches. You've got one more chance to get that late season buck or possibly put some venison in your freezer. Many hunters will be targeting does this week as well. That's OK, but leave some for next year too, that is if you want your population to be solid. While fresh buck rubs are showing up again deer appear to be regrouping. If you find one deer this week you'll likely find a few, or you'll find nothing at all. It looks like Mother Nature is also going to deliver a cold blast which may also curtail deer activity a little bit. Some say that mid-day and afternoons are the best once the mercury dips into the teens and below. Time has still been hard to come by for photo updating, but we've got a bunch to catch up on and will get to it when we can. Meanwhile, good luck witht the smokepoles this weekend.
(12/5) Last Call: It's hard to believe that we're looking at the final weekend of yet another deer season. But that's where we're at. If you haven't filled that tag yet don't give up. We've been out there this week and had some luck. In fact, some bucks hunters have encountered were with does (well, a few of them are not anymore) and while we're starting to find some rubs and scrapes again, all indications are that there are still estrus does attracting bucks. Other than the rain that is about to hit us on Thursday and Friday, it's been a pretty good week weatherwise, and this final week may turn out to be some of the best weather of the season. The weekend is supposted to cool down a bit before a storm comes through on Monday. We'll see how it plays out. Most of the northern zone, minus the interior of the Adirondacks, has a week of muzzleloading hunting from Dec. 9-15 for yet some more hunting opportunities.
If you are hunting the Adirondacks on this final weekend (which is also the end of the Southern Zone rifle season) and into next week you may want to continue to key in on does, especially if you've got a spot that hasn't seen much hunting pressure this season. Bucks are still roaming and hanging with the does. Perhaps you'll get a look at one. Meanwhile, hunters are still knocking bucks down across the Adirondack region and we've got a pile of photos to post. We'll get to it next week when the season is over. Good luck!
(11/29) Giving Thanks: This is Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the best times of the year to hunt in the Adirondacks. Although, it's a little later than usual. That said, last week was no slouch. On the heels of the Nov. 17 full moon things really took off last week and a number of bucks were taken or reported being seen following does. That's only going to go on for so long until some breeding starts and deer head for thicker cover. If you know where the does hang out, keep after them because there are bound to be some bucks around. Meanwhile, rubbing and scraping activity appear to have slowed down: a sign that the boys are having some action. When it starts back up again you know bucks are on the move. If you haven't filled a tag yet, don't feel bad, neither have I. But I know some of the best hunting comes late in the season. After a storm early this week it looks like the weather roller coaster will continue with lots of ups and downs. You never know what you're going to get for late season weather. Many of us would be thankful for some snow. A Happy Thanksgiving to all. Hunt safely and enjoy the time with your families.
(11/20) Chasing Bucks: That's what those of us with unfilled tags are hopefully doing. Although it's looking to be a little wet this weekend, and a bit colder followed by a cool-down next week. Typical November weather. We're on the move and won't have much time to update until after the weekend. After all, it's deer season. Adirondack hunters meanwhile, are still knocking down some bucks; even with Southern Zone now open. Numerous buck photos have come in and we'll get some up on the next update. Until then, keep after those rutting bucks and good luck
(11/15) What a Week: It's been a heck of a week of hunting in the Adirondacks. Especially if you like wind. That's what we've had for most of this week and many hunters have come out of the woods with red faces. A warm-up is expected for the weekend, and the Southern Zone opener, followed by some rain. Then things are supposed to get back to normal November weather later next week. I don't know if people like seeing their bucks on this website or if the hunting has just been great, but I can't recall a year since launching this website in 2000 when we've had so many buck photos come in during the first half of November. And there have been some real slammers. Now we're looking at a Full Moon on Nov. 17 for what is usually a pretty good time to hunt in the Adirondacks. I've found more scrapes this week than at any other time of the season and our group was fortunate to get another buck this week. As for the coming week, we likely won't get to update this site because of some much-needed time in the woods but we will catch up when we can. Keep at it and good luck to everyone.(11/11) It's Time: We wait all year for mid-November and it is finaly here. The time to be in the woods is NOW. Bucks are on the move and if you know where some does are hanging out be sure to key in on them as part of your hunting strategy. Bucks are being taken or seen by hunter that have been chasing does or roaming and looking for them. Buck sign is everywhere there are deer. The next few weeks are boing to be busy for us here at ADKHunter as it's time to do some hunting ourselves. We've got dozens of photos to post and will get to them later this week for sure. Meanwhile, it looks like we're in for a bit of a cold snap in the Adirondack region. That should really get deer moving and force us hunters to break out the wool. Hunt hard, and good luck.
(11/4) Ah, November: Unfortunately I did not get to hunt much over the weekend, mainly due to social functions.
But that's all over now and I'm looking ahead. After a warm start on Saturday morning the front came through and cooled things down. As I bit my nails Sunday morning cursing for not being in the woods I knew it was going to be a good day. I found out later, that it was.My neighbor, Cameron Stark, age 17 is turning into quite a hunter. He's gotten a few deer with his bow but his moment came about 8am on Nov. 3 when a big 10-pointer came out of a drive. Cameron's aim was true and the 202-pound bruiser taken in Fort Ann is a real trophy. Welcome to the 200-pound club, Cameron. We hope to have more photos of this one down the road. I also got a call from my Iron Site Gang buddies who got a nice little buck on Sunday afternoon. And, we've gotten quite a few photos sent in from the early muzzleloading season so be sure to scroll down and take a look.Buck sign, meanwhile is showing up more and more every day. Good rubs are being reported, as are scrapes. One hunter I spoke with over the weekend, who also killed a 10-pointer on Friday (Nov. 1), was watching three does in the rain when a buck came in and chased one off. The bigger buck showed up later and that was his last mistake. Looks like things are really starting to crank up. Preliminary forecasts are calling for some possible snow for the weekend. Stay tuned!
(10/28) Good Start:What an opening weekend it was for some hunters. I can't recall as much early season success, especially on nice bucks, as I've seen in 13 years of running this website. There are some beauties for sure. And how about the snow that came in for the last few days of muzzleloading season? Some hunters, including well-known deer tracker, Joe DiNitto, capitlized on it. Photos continue to come in from the early muzleloading and bow season in the Northern Zone.While our crew didn't take a buck we had a very productive opening weekend of rifle season. We don't appear to have the solid beechnut crop that we're hearing about in the central ADKs, but there are some as well as a few (but not many) acorns. Buck sign is in good supply, especially rubs. We found 20 rubs in one spot and will be going back. One thing that seems to be in short supply is water, at least in places. We'll be keeping an eye on that as the season progresses. Right now, it looks like a warm start to the weekend will be followed by some cooler weather. Overall, visibility in the woods this fall seems to be better than in most years. Depending on where you are there is still some young beech and underbrush to contend with. Don't forget to turn those clocks back Saturday night.(10/24 The Frost is on the Pumpkin: When the Northern Zone big game rifle season opens this weekend hunters across the region can expect some crispy mornings along with daytime temperatures that may not even breach the 50 degree mark. That’s good news! Early season hunting is often characterized by warm temperatures and minimal deer movements. This shot of November weather in October should have the deer on their feet. And, if you follow lunar theories keep in mind that some breeding activity is expected on the heels of the Oct. 19 full Hunter’s moon. We’ll be curious to see if bucks are chasing does already. If so, we’ll take it.As for last weekend’s muzzleloading hunt; there was a lot of shooting in the area I was in on opening morning, including some from our own group. The result was a small buck harvested and some fresh tenderloin for breakfast at deer camp. As predicted, the mornings were nice but the weekend weather was warm. It’s been better mid-week for those hunters lucky enough to be able to hunt. Meanwhile, hunters are reporting a solid beech nut crop in some areas, spotty in others. Acorns seem to be more plentiful in the foothills of the ADKS. Good luck this opening weekend and be safe.
(10/17) Pumped: As I write this on Thursday morning the Northern Zone early muzzleloading season is less than 50 hours away. I couldn't be happier and am looking forward to a three-day weekend of hunting Adirondack bucks. We'll focus at first on the bigger woods where, other than youth, we tend to leave the antlerless deer be. Later in the weekend and during the week we'll hit a few spots where we're comfortable taking a doe.The real good news is that this warm weather is expected to break, at least early in the day. The mornings this weekend should be just right with temps in the 30s, or lower in parts further north, which should trigger deer movement. There may be some rain too, but hopefully not enought to wet our powder! As usual, I like to spend the mornings on stand and if conditions are right, do some exploring/still-hunting mid-day. I'll be looking for sign, feeding patterns and of course, deer. We're always curious to hear from other hunters on such findings as well, no matter where you hunt, as we start looking at the big picture of the forthcoming whitetail rut. Meanwhile, we got a few photos in from last weekend's youth hunt and expect to have a few more in future updates. Have a great, safe hunt this weekend.
(10/10)Child's Play: New York's second youth deer hunt is almost upon us. It looks to be a pretty good weekend in terms of the weather. Perhaps a bit warm mid-day during the three-day hunt but some cool mornings are in the works. This week's slight break in the warmth has been good for deer activity too and now that we are past peak foliage in most of the Adirondacks visibility should get better on a daily basis. Although there is still lots of green underbrush out there. Keep an eye out for rubs and scrapes and let us know of your findings as well as that of mast crops. It looks to be a good season and we hope the young hunters out there get the opportunity to kick of in fashion. As you'll see in teh photos below, the kids have been having some fun on waterfowl and pheasants and deer. We've also got a few bow bucks. Good luck, and hunt safely.
(10/3/13) Warm Bow Hunting: What can we say, this past week has been more conducive to fishing and hiking than hunting. The mornings have been spectacular but it's been pretty warm and buggy. After an eventful opening morning on Sept. 27 where one of my buddie's missed a buck things quited right down. We've only heard of a few deer being taken including the one below in the western ADKs. This weekend's weather looks to be more of the same, but we may get some much needed rain. One observation I have made is that the deer here in the southeastern ADKs are chooseing acorns (where available) over apples and have already gone somewhat nocturnal. Many are being sighted or caught on trail cameras moving just before daylight. 'Still haven't got into the beech stands yet but will be soon. We'll see what happens. Good luck out there.