Bearly Speaking: Black bear season in the Adirondacks opened quietly this past weekend, Sept. 14. With so much food in the woods it has to be tough for bear hunters to locate their quarry. I you are having some luck, we’d love to hear about it, including a photo. Meanwhile, the grouse opener in the Northern Zone is Friday Sept. 20. Then, of course, Sept. 27 is a regional holiday as the archery opener for deer takes place. There’s also some youth waterfowl and pheasant hunts coming up. Hopefully you’re out there getting stands and blinds ready, doing some scouting, checking or placing trail cameras and shooting your guns and bows. The days are getting shorter and things are happening. It’s the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year! Enjoy.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is developing a new plan for inland trout stream management based on updated scientific information and the desires expressed by trout anglers during 16 public meetings held across the state in 2017.
Prior to completing the draft plan, DEC fisheries managers would like to meet with trout stream anglers to explain the proposed approach, answer questions, and solicit feedback. Ten public meetings around the state are scheduled between Oct. 1 and Nov. 12 to facilitate these discussions. The schedule of dates and locations is below and can be found online on DEC’s website.
The meetings will feature a presentation introducing the primary tenets of the plan including stocking, wild trout management, fishing regulations, and access. The presentation will be followed by a discussion period during which attendees can ask questions and provide informed comment.
DEC plans on releasing a draft trout stream management plan for public comment later this year.
Note: Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and meetings will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Continue reading →
RAY BROOK, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is accepting public comment for the Sentinel Range Wilderness Area Unit Management Plan. The APA will accept public comments October 11th, 2019 regarding Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance for the proposed management actions.
The Sentinel Range Wilderness Area (SRWA) is located in the northeast portion of the Adirondack Park in the towns of Jay, Keene, North Elba, and Wilmington in Essex County. The SRWA covers 23,874 acres. The namesake of the unit, the Sentinel Range, is a prominent mountain range in the region. The unit also encompasses exceptional watercourses classified under the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System Act (WSRRS Act) including the East and West Branch of the Ausable River.
The SRWA is bounded on the northwest by Whiteface Mountain Ski Area, Wilmington Notch Campground, and McKenzie Mountain Wilderness Area; on the northeast and east by private lands; on the south by the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and on the west by the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest and private lands. Other nearby Forest Preserve units includes the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness Area, Jay Mountain Wilderness Area, and the Wilmington Wild Forest.
Presently, the SRWA has relatively few developed facilities compared with other nearby wilderness areas such as the High Peaks Wilderness Area. In the SRWA there are about 10.4 miles of maintained trails, 1 lean-to, and 4 designated campsites. Pitchoff Mountain, Copperas and Owen Ponds are three of the most popular areas within the area.
Proposed management actions include: Continue reading →
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that several small game hunting seasons open Oct. 1 across New York State.
Several special youth-only hunting seasons for pheasants and waterfowl occur prior to the start of the regular season, and youth hunting programs are scheduled in DEC’s Region 6and Region 1. Season dates, bag limits, and other hunting regulations for New York’s suite of small game species can be found in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which can be obtained from a license-issuing agent and on DEC’s website.
Ruffed Grouse Hunting
Ruffed grouse hunting season runs from Oct. 1 through the last day of February in most areas of the state. In northern New York, the season opens on Sept. 20, and runs through the last day of February. In New York City and Long Island, the season is closed.
Ruffed grouse hunters in the Northern Zone are reminded to positively identify quarry before shooting. The Northern Zone, specifically Wildlife Management Units 5C, 5F, 6F, and 6J, is also home to the spruce grouse, a state-endangered species that is not legal to hunt. Loss of a single spruce grouse, particularly a female spruce grouse, could be a significant setback for a small local population.
Spruce grouse exist in lowland conifer forests in the Adirondacks. Although ruffed grouse occur in upland hardwoods statewide, during the fall and winter, ruffed grouse may be found in spruce grouse habitat. Small game hunters in the Adirondack region must be able to distinguish between these species so that spruce grouse are not shot by mistake. For tips on how to discern the two species, view the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or the ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.
DEC encourages ruffed grouse hunters to submit feathers from harvested birds in order to assess recruitment (number of young produced per adult female grouse) for different parts of the state. Interested hunters should visit the DEC website.
Waterfowl Hunting and Youth Waterfowl Days
Hunting seasons for waterfowl (ducks, geese, and brant) begin in early October in many parts of the state. In addition, there are special opportunities for junior hunters (ages 12 to 15) prior to the regular season. Junior hunters must be accompanied by a licensed adult hunter, and both the junior hunter and adult must be registered with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). Adult hunters must also have a federal migratory bird stamp. This fall’s youth waterfowl days are:
- Sept. 21 and 22 in the Northeast and Southeast zones;
- Sept. 28 and 29 in the Lake Champlain Zone;
- Oct. 5 and 6 in the Western Zone; and
- Nov. 9 and 10 in the Long Island Zone.
Approximately 30,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for the upcoming fall pheasant hunting season. The pheasant hunting season begins:
- Oct. 1 in northern and eastern portions of New York;
- Oct. 19 in central and western portions of the state; and
- Nov. 1 on Long Island.
Since 2007, DEC has offered a special youth-only season to provide junior hunters the opportunity to hunt pheasants during the weekend prior to the regular pheasant hunting season. In Western New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Oct. 12 and 13. In northern and eastern New York, the youth pheasant hunt weekend is Sept. 28 and 29, and on Long Island, it is Oct. 26 and 27. Both the junior hunter and their adult mentor must have a hunting license. Only the junior hunter is allowed to carry a firearm and harvest birds on these dates.
All release sites for pheasants provided by state-funded programs are open to public hunting. Pheasants will be released on state-owned lands prior to and during the fall hunting season and at a number of sites on New York City Watershed lands thanks to a partnership with New York City Department of Environmental Protection. Pheasant hunting opportunities have also been augmented by private landowners who have opened their land to public hunting. DEC is grateful for their help in providing high quality hunting experiences for New York’s hunters. A list of statewide pheasant release sites and sites receiving birds for the youth-only pheasant hunt weekends can be found on DEC’s website.
Squirrel, Rabbit, and Hare Hunting
Opportunities to pursue squirrels and rabbits can be found throughout the state, including on many public lands. Squirrel seasons started Sept. 1 in upstate New York and begin Nov. 1 on Long Island. Rabbit hunting begins on Oct. 1 in upstate New York and on Nov. 1 on Long Island. With ample opportunities and mild weather, squirrel and rabbit hunting are great ways to introduce new people to hunting.
Snowshoe hare (or varying hare) season starts Oct. 1 in the Northern Zone. Hare hunters in the Southern Zone, where the season starts in late fall or early winter, are encouraged to report their observations to DEC through the DEC website.
Wild Turkey Hunting
Several years ago, DEC updated the fall turkey hunting season structure in response to declines in turkey populations and to ensure that harvest opportunities are sustainable and in line with current environmental conditions. The cold, wet spring weather New York experienced this year may have contributed to reduced recruitment of young birds. With that in mind, hunters may expect to see fewer birds this fall than in recent years and may have to work harder to locate a flock.
Season dates for fall 2019:
- Oct. 1 – 14, in the Northern Zone;
- Oct. 19 – Nov. 1, in the Southern Zone; and
- Nov. 16 – 29, in Suffolk County, Long Island.
The statewide, season bag limit is one bird of either sex. Hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.
“Citizen science” efforts such as the Grouse and Woodcock Hunting Log, Ruffed Grouse Parts Collection, and the Bow Hunter Sighting Log provide hunters the opportunity to partner with DEC to monitor game species. To learn more about how to participate in these efforts, visit the DEC website.
DEC Encourages Hunter Safety
While statistics show that hunting in New York is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. DEC believes every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and Commissioner Seggos is encouraging hunters to use common sense this season and to remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunters Education Course.
- Point your gun in a safe direction.
- Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
- Be sure of your target and beyond.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
DEC also encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in a hunter’s direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
When hunting in tree stands, use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, hunters should never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded firearm.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that black bear hunting seasons open this weekend in the southeastern part of the state and next weekend in the north country.
In northern New York, the early bear season runs from Sept. 14 to Oct. 18 in WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J. Bowhunting season for bears also begins on Sept. 14, in the other Northern Zone units (WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N). Muzzleloader season then opens in all northern WMUs on Oct. 19, followed by the regular firearms season for bears on Oct. 26. \
In southeastern New York, the early bear season runs from Sept. 7 to Sept. 22 in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. The early bowhunting season for bears will open in all of the Southern Zone on Oct. 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning Nov. 16.
During the early season, bear hunters may use a bow (with appropriate bowhunting eligibility), crossbow, muzzleloader, handgun, shotgun, or rifle (where allowed). Because of the likelihood of warm weather, bear hunters should be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. Hunters may opt to skin and quarter the bear in the field, then pack out the meat in game bags to a waiting cooler of ice. From roasts, stews, burger, and sausage to barbequed ribs, bear meat makes excellent table fare. Hunters may also consider rendering bear fat into grease or lard, which is a great oil for cooking or baking and can be used to waterproof leather or to lubricate patches for muzzleloading.
The early bear hunting season is a critical tool for wildlife managers to control bear populations. Bears are feeding heavily this time of year, gorging on wild nuts, berries and apples and, frequently in corn fields, as well. Hunters can increase their odds of finding a bear by keying in on concentrated natural food sources.
Hunters are required to report their bear harvest within seven days, and DEC also encourages hunters to submit a premolar tooth and the scaled-dressed weights of the bears they harvest. DEC uses the tooth to determine the bear’s age and weight to monitor physical condition. This data is important for DEC biologists to monitor bear population dynamics and trends. Hunters who report their harvest and submit a premolar tooth from the bear are eligible to receive a commemorative NYS Black Bear Management Cooperator Patch.
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 regulations, is available on DEC’s website. Additionally, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF, 800 KB), includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.
QDMA & Cornell Cooperative Extention are partnering to bring Field to Fork to the Southern Adirondack (Lake George/Glens Falls/Saratoga) region. The program trains and mentors new hunters in all aspects of deer hunting. They will be visiting the following Farmers Markets to recruit new hunters.
-Aug. 16 – Warrensburg
-Aug. 28, Sept. 25 and 28 – Saratoga
QDMA’s Field to Fork Website: https://www.qdma.com/recruit/field-to-fork/
Download Flier: NY_F2F flyer_Blank [1-2]
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC is proposing several regulatory changes to further protect New York’s wild deer and moose from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). CWD is a fatal and untreatable nervous-system disease affects deer, elk, and moose and is believed to be caused by abnormally shaped proteins called prions. CWD prions are shed through saliva, urine, and feces of infected animals. A healthy deer, elk, or moose can pick up the disease by direct contact with the infected animal’s body fluids or by eating contaminated sources of food or water.
DEC and the Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) recently finalized the New York State Interagency Chronic Wasting Disease Risk Minimization Plan, which includes recommendations to strengthen protection of New York’s wild white-tailed deer and moose populations, as well as captive cervids (deer and elk) held at enclosed breeding and shooting facilities. The public has until Oct. 6, 2019 to offer comment.
Proposed changes include:
- Expanding the prohibition on the importation of carcasses and carcass parts of CWD-susceptible animals to include all jurisdictions outside of New York;
- Clarifying that the only parts of CWD-susceptible animals that may be imported into New York are deboned meat, cleaned skull cap, antlers with no flesh adhering, raw or processed cape or hide, cleaned teeth or lower jaw, and finished taxidermy products;
- Modifying the list of species referenced in the regulations to only include known CWD-susceptible species;
- Increasing the ease with which DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) can enforce DAM regulations to ensure owners of captive-bred, CWD-susceptible animals comply with DAM’s captive cervid health requirements;
- Clarifying disposal requirements for taxidermists that process CWD-susceptible animals; and
- Removing text associated with feeding wild deer and moose, as that prohibition is being established in a separate rulemaking.
Public comments will be accepted on these proposals through Oct. 6, 2019. For more detailed explanations of these proposals and for instructions for submitting comments, visit DEC’s website.
Along with regulation changes affecting hunters, DEC biologists and DAM veterinarians will be conducting joint inspections of captive deer and elk facilities and improving record-sharing among agencies to increase compliance with cervid health requirements. DEC and DAM will also explore several potential oversight and CWD-testing improvements for captive cervid facilities.
DEC issued the following advice to reduce the likelihood that CWD will come into New York.
Hunters, taxidermists, and deer processors are directed to:
- Not import whole deer, elk, moose, or caribou carcasses into New York;
- Avoid natural deer urine-based attractants and use synthetics forms instead; and
- Dispose of carcasses and carcass parts properly at approved landfills.
All New Yorkers are encouraged to:
- Report sick or abnormally behaving deer;
- Not feed wild deer or moose; and
- Report violators.
DEC also recently announced that new proposed regulations for the feeding of wild deer and moose and the use of 4-PosterTM devices are available for public comment until Sept. 1, 2019. The measure is needed to strengthen and clarify the existing prohibition on the intentional feeding of wild deer and moose. Prohibiting the feeding of wild deer and moose is a best management approach to reduce risks associated with communicable wildlife diseases like chronic wasting disease, minimize conflicts with deer, and protect wildlife habitats. More information can be found on DEC’s website.
To learn more about CWD and DEC efforts to protect wild deer and moose in New York, visit DEC’s website.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that a 250-foot section of trail has been rehabilitated along the Murphy-Middle-Bennett Trail in Wilcox Wild Forest, town of Wells, Hamilton County. This project is part of the Adventure NY Initiative to connect New Yorkers with the outdoors.
DEC staff, backcountry stewards, and volunteers from the Velo Bicycle Club and the community spent four days rehabilitating the section of trail using sustainable practices to create a durable and hardened trail surface for multi-use recreation. DEC used the existing corduroy surface as the foundation for the crushed stone turnpike built on top of it.
The 6.8-mile Murphy-Middle-Bennett trail accesses Murphy Lake and features three picturesque ponds along the trail, as well as camping opportunities, including a lean-to at Murphy Lake. It is part of a network of 92 miles of trails in the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest. The trail is also a designated route along the more than 550-mile Adirondack Trail Ride, a solo, self-supported bike-packing adventure through the Adirondack Mountains.
Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, located in the southeastern Adirondacks, is comprised of approximately 125,000 acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve lands in Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, and Warren counties. There are 92 miles of marked trails, 63 primitive campsites, and four lean-tos available for recreational opportunities in the wild forest. Users are encouraged to practice Leave No Trace principles when recreating in the Adirondacks to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and minimize impact on natural resources.
Under Governor Cuomo’s Adventure NY Initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources, and boost local economies. This initiative is supporting 75 projects over three years with many more to come, ranging from improvements to youth camps and environmental education centers to new boat launches, duck blinds, and hiking trails. Click here to learn more about Adventure NY. For more information on planning an outdoor adventure in New York State, visit DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today that sporting licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) for the 2019-20 season are now on sale.
Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of DEC’s license-issuing agents, by telephone at 866-933-2257, or online. The new hunting and trapping licenses are valid from Sept. 1, 2019 through Aug. 31, 2020, while annual fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.
New York’s habitat serves a vital role in maintaining healthy and sustainable fish and wildlife resources. DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat & Access Stamp each year. Funds from the $5 Habitat & Access Stamp support projects to conserve habitat and improve public access for fish and wildlife-related activities. This year’s Habitat & Access Stamp features a bull moose. Last year’s Habitat & Access Stamp, which featured a Barred Owl, was the most popular stamp in DEC history, with more than 14,000 sold.
Deer Management Permits (DMPs)
DMPs are also now available at all license-issuing outlets, by phone, or online through Oct. 1, 2019. DMPsare used to manage the deer herd and are issued through an instant random selection process at the point of sale. The chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the application period—hunters need not rush to apply for one. The 2019 chances of selection for a DMP in each Wildlife Management Unit are available online, through license issuing agents, or by calling the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Detailed information on Deer Management Permits is available on DEC’s website.
The new Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide, which provides an easy-to-read compendium of all pertinent rules and regulations, is available on the DEC Hunting Regulations webpage. A summary of hunting and trapping regulations is currently available at license issuing agents, and copies of the full hunting and trapping regulations guide will be available at license issuing agents beginning Sept. 1.
Expanded Call Center Hours
Beginning Aug. 1, the DEC Call Center is accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 1. Regular call center weekday hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will resume on Oct. 2.
Individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license: