DEC Cautions Ice Anglers

Due to the late start of winter and the recent warm weather and rain, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is advising anglers and others who may want to be on the ice of water bodies to be cautious.

Ice began forming late this year and is not as thick as it typically would be in early February. Large water bodies remain completely open or only have ice in shallow bays, even in the Adirondacks and the surrounding North Country. Recent warm temperatures and rain have further deteriorated ice conditions. Thin ice has melted completely in many places leaving open water around shorelines, in areas of flowing water and other locations where ice was present a week ago. Open water around inlets and near boathouses and docks have expanded.

Anyone planning to recreate on ice covered ponds and lakes should take the following precautions:

  • The use of motor vehicles on ice is strongly discourage until the ice thickens;
  • Use caution when moving from ice to shore and from shore to ice;
  • Check ice thickness near shore before going further out on the ice;
  • Avoid areas around inlets, outlets, boathouses, docks and any open water;
  • Be prepared to self-rescue carry spikes, flotation devices and a throw line;
  • Wear traction devices on your feet as there is no snow on the ice surface.
  • Additional information regarding ice safety can be found on DEC’s website.

The latest from ADKHunter…

Jan. 25, 2016:
Greetings hunters, and everyone else. In the next few days please take a look at some of the news items below, especially the camping regulations proposals for which the comment period ends on Jan. 29 (Friday). Take a look at the plan and you’ll see it has some provisions for allowing more RV/Trailer camping opportunities during the big game hunting seasons. That’s good news, but also what about trout and turkey seasons? You’ll also see that the DEC is getting the Deer Regulation update process going by addressing three issues: bear harvesting during the youth seasons; Region 6 antlerless deer take; and, a further look at some of the antlerless only restrictions in western NY.
This is also the time of year for things like trade shows, banquets and other events. If you’ve got something going on in outdoor world and in or near the Adirondacks that you’d like folks to know about, send us some info to and we’ll put it on our Events calendar. Meanwhile, try your best to avoid Cabin Fever and hopefully get a little ice fishing in.

Latest Adirondack Hunting Photos

Click/tap photo to see details, then scroll through. Enjoy!

News & Links

Adirondack Moose Video: By Jason Penge

USA Today on Gun Control

Fred LeBrun, Times Union on SAFE Act

2015-16 Hunting Season Dates

Warren County Conservation Council

Black River UMP to be Amended

A draft amendment to the Black River Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) to improve recreational opportunities while protecting the natural environment is available for public review and comment, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced. Public Comment Period Ends February 29, 2016

Major highlights of this UMP amendment include:

  • enhancing the overall snowmobile trail system to improve connections to the unit and between local communities;
  • reclassifying four existing interior snowmobile trails to non-motorized recreational trails;
  • constructing four new snowmobile trail segments to support connections between communities;
  • constructing three new segments of foot trail to be included in the recently-designated North Country National Scenic Trail;
  • constructing a new five car parking lot adjacent to North Lake; and
  • designating a cross-country ski loop trail, with accompanying five-car parking lot, off the Otter Lake Outlet Trail near Otter Lake.

Continue reading →

DEC invites feedback on several ideas for potential deer and bear hunting rule changes

To improve public awareness about ideas being considered for future hunting rule changes, DEC has created a new webpage (Public Input on Hunting Regulations). To kick this off, we invite feedback on a couple of ideas related to deer and bear hunting in 2016: (1) allowing junior hunters to take bears during the Youth Firearms Deer Hunt, (2) reducing antlerless harvest in WMUs 6F and 6J, and (3) rescinding the antlerless-only requirement during portions of the bow and muzzleloader season in a handful of Southern Zone WMUs.

These ideas are not formal proposals at this time, just options being considered as potential changes for the 2016-17 season. Please see Public Input on Hunting Regulations to read more about the ideas and to provide feedback.
Also, many hunters are aware that DEC has been engaged in a process to determine the best path forward for reducing harvest of young bucks, including possible expansion of mandatory antler point restrictions. We will be meeting with leaders of NY hunting organizations and other interested groups in early February to discuss the outcome of this process and our intended next steps. We will provide the information broadly to hunters thereafter, and will invite feedback on this issue at that time. In the meantime, much information about the decision process considered is available at DEC’s Buck Harvest Management webpage.

APA and DEC Hold Public Comment Period for Primitive Tent Site Best Management Practice Guidance

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation are holding a joint public comment period to solicit comments regarding proposed guidance on best management practices for Primitive tent sites in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Guidance addresses roadside camping as it pertains to walk-in sites, and walk-in sites with a single lane parking area. It also includes recommendations for large groups at primitive tent sites, camping permits, primitive tent site size limits, primitive tent site improvements and regulation changes. The APA and DEC will accept comments on Primitive Tent Site Guidance until January 29, 2016. Continue reading →

DEC Forest Rangers Downgrade Search for Missing Man

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Forest Rangers have downgraded the search for Thomas Messick to limited continuous after DEC and its partners made all reasonable efforts to search all probable areas where the 82-year-old hunter may have been located.

Under the limited continuous search, local Forest Rangers and search and rescue teams will conduct spot searches and training exercises in the search area and nearby areas not previously searched. State Police Aviation helicopters and Forest Rangers will also periodically search the lands and waters in and around the search area. State Police will keep an active missing person case and will investigate any and all information relevant to the whereabouts of Mr. Messick.

The search will be upgraded to an active search if any leads or evidence of his whereabouts are discovered.

“I appreciate the tremendous effort made by the Forest Rangers and all the other searchers from various agencies, search and rescue teams, fire departments and individuals in their attempt to locate Mr. Messick,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. “While we have not yet provided his family with closure, they know and appreciate how hard the searchers worked.”

Mr. Messick was last seen on Sunday, November 15, 2015 a short distance off Lily Pond Road where he had been left by members of his hunting party. At 2:00 p.m. all members of the group met up at a pre-determined location, except for Mr. Messick. The hunting party began searching for Mr. Messick, but were unable to locate him. They contacted the DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch at 4:30 p.m. Four Forest Rangers responded to the location and searched until midnight to no avail.

During the subsequent two months of searching Forest Rangers were joined in the attempt to locate Mr. Messick by Environmental Conservation Police, State Police and several other state and county agencies and hundreds of volunteers from search and rescue teams, fire departments, family and friends of Mr. Messick, and other volunteer searchers from as far away as West Virginia. More than 10,000 searcher hours were expended, most during the initial, intensive ten days of the search.

During the course of the search more than 11 square miles of land were grid searched of which nearly 3 square miles were grid searched twice. Additionally 269 miles of linear searches and 156 miles of K-9 searches were conducted. Nearly 4 miles were searched by boat and 16 miles were searched by ATV. The State Police Aviation Unit helicopter searched thousands of acres with Forest Rangers on board as spotters and Divers from the State Police Dive Team also searched Lily Pond.
DEC thanks the Town of Horicon, Horicon Fire Department and their Women’s Auxiliary for all they did to support the search effort. We also want to thank the following agencies and organizations for their participation in the search:

· State Police (including Troopers, Investigators, Aviation Unit, SORT, and Dive Team)
· Department of Corrections and Community Supervision CERT Team
· DHSES Office of Fire Prevention & Control and Office of Emergency Management
· Federal Bureau of Investigation Quick Response Team
· Albany County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team
· Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team
· Greene County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team
· Warren County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team
· Washington County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team
· New York State Federation of Search and Rescue Teams
· Central Adirondack Search and Rescue Team
· Champlain Valley K9
· Eagle Valley Search K9
· Hudson Mohawk Search and Rescue
· Long Island Search and Rescue
· Lower Adirondack Search and Rescue
· Niagara Frontier Search and Rescue Team
· Northeast Mobile Search and Rescue
· Sam’s Point Search and Rescue
· Oswego County Pioneers Search and Rescue
· Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks
· Search Team 5-1
· Tri-State Search and Rescue
· Wilderness Search and Rescue Team
· Argyle Fire Department
· Queensbury Central Fire Department
· Rhinebeck Fire Department
· Schroon Lake Fire Department
· Vischer Ferry Fire Department
· Family, friends and community volunteers

Mr. Messick is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weighs 160 pounds. He was last seen wearing a camouflage jacket, coveralls and a red and black plaid hat. If you have any information, please call the DEC Forest Rangers at 518-897-1300

Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris NHFD 2016 Honorary Chair 

NHF Day to Take Place Saturday, September 24th, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (January 16, 2016) – National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHF Day) has named leading national conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris to serve as the honorary chair for NHF Day 2016. A lifelong sportsman with a passion for hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation, Morris is one of the country’s foremost leaders working to ensure natural habitats, wildlife and the outdoors remain healthy for future generations to protect and enjoy.

“America’s sportsmen and women are among our nation’s most active conservationists and it’s important we recognize and celebrate everything they do to protect outdoor habitat and ensure thriving populations of wildlife,” said Morris. “I’m proud to lend my support and raise awareness for hunters and anglers, America’s conservation heroes through National Hunting and Fishing Day.” Continue reading →


Successful Collection of 16.8 Million Eggs Ensure Strong Stocks for Hatchery Program
State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and partner agencies successfully collected 16.8 million eggs for all species and strains of fish, setting the stage for another successful year at the states fish hatcheries, the agency announced today. Each year, DEC staff carefully collect eggs from wild and captive adult fish to begin the rearing cycle for various species at DEC fish hatcheries.

Chinook and coho salmon eggs are taken each year at the Salmon River Hatchery, a process that is viewed by thousands of visitors to the hatchery. Despite concerns over the warm, dry fall impacting productivity, 3.74 million Chinook and 2.39 million Coho salmon eggs were collected from more than 2,000 adult salmon. Continue reading →

Preliminary NY Deer & Bear Harvests

Though big game hunting seasons have now closed in most of New York, deer hunting opportunities continue through January in Suffolk County ( and will resume tomorrow, January 9, in the Tompkins County Deer Management Focus Area (

DEC staff were afield throughout the fall collecting biological data from harvested deer and bear, but hunters also contribute essential data by reporting their harvest successes via DEC’s phone and internet reporting system. Preliminary summaries reveal that New York hunters reported taking 14% more bears in the Northern Zone and 3% fewer bears in the Southern Zone this past fall than in 2014. In both zones, reported bear harvest lagged during the early seasons, but hunters apparently had greater success during the bow, muzzleloader and regular seasons in 2015 than 2014.

To date, reports of deer harvest declined by 13% in the Northern Zone and 11% in the Southern Zone in 2015 compared to 2014. Overall, declines were more pronounced for reported take of female deer than male deer and during the regular firearms seasons and late bow and muzzleloader seasons than during the early bow or muzzleloader seasons. Given the severe winter of 2014-15 and associated reduction in permits for antlerless deer in most Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), a minor decline in overall deer harvest was anticipated. Too, unseasonably warm conditions and lack of snow during much of November and December also likely contributed to reduced hunter success in many areas. As usual, deer harvest varies considerably across the state, and preliminarily it looks like deer hunters in western New York generally saw less harvest decline than in portions of central and southeastern New York. More variation will be evident when we look at the harvest by WMU.

Final estimates of bear and deer harvests will be available after all seasons close and all data have been compiled. Reports of deer and bear harvests from prior years are available at

New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Seeks Nominations

The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame is seeking nominations for individuals for induction into the Hall of Fame. Inductees will be honored for their efforts and accomplishments at the annual banquet in April. Men and women chosen for this honor are selected on the basis of long term service to the causes of conservation and preserving or enhancing the heritage of outdoor sports, including hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Individuals selected for induction into the Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame will have a plaque highlighting their accomplishments and service on display at the NYSOHOF Museum in Vail Mills. The Museum is a separate section of the Wildlife Sports Education Museum at the Intersection of Rte 29 and 30 in Fulton County. The Hall of Fame Museum also honors other individuals and organizations for their contributions to outdoor sports and serves as an educational resource on topics ranging from the restoration of the wild turkey to efforts to save the Seneca White Deer.

Individuals may be nominated by anyone. The nomination form is available on the web site or by calling (315) 363-3896. Supplemental information and letters of recommendation should be attached to the form. Completed forms should be sent to NYSOHOF, PO Box 605, Poland, NY 13431 or electronically to by the deadline of January 31, 2015.