The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the results of a two-year scientific study to determine optimal duck hunting seasons for the coming years. DEC selected the duck season dates by implementing a process that maximizes duck hunter inclusion, is rooted in scientific data, and balances factors in duck abundance and specific zones of the state. Bag limits will be announced in April.
These waterfowl hunting seasons are the results of a two-year collaboration between DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife and Cornell University. DEC asked a group of waterfowl hunters, known as the Waterfowl Task Force, to identify options for optimal duck season dates in each waterfowl zone. DEC and Cornell University’s Center for Conservation Social Sciences then surveyed approximately one-third of the duck hunters in New York State (roughly 6,000 hunters). Finally, biologists incorporated the most recent zone-specific duck abundance and migration data.
In all waterfowl zones, hunters felt the most important consideration was the opportunity to pursue mallards and black ducks, followed closely by the opportunity to pursue any duck or a diversity of species. Duck hunters like to see a variety of duck species when they hunt. DEC paired this information with new, zone-specific data on duck abundance and migration. Through this process, DEC identified season dates that best fit the values of duck hunters in each zone.
Barring changes to season length, duck seasons in New York will be open for the following dates in 2019-2020:
Northeastern Zone – Beginning on the first Saturday in October, running for 23 days, ending on a Sunday, and a second split beginning the first Saturday following the closure of the 1st split, running 37 days, and ending on a Sunday (e.g., Oct. 5, 2019 – Oct. 27, 2019 and Nov. 2, 2019 – Dec. 8, 2019). Northeastern Zone Structured Decision-Making Analysis and Results
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of an aerial Adirondack moose survey that takes place each year as part of a collaborative study of the health of New York’s moose population. A total of 83 groups of one or more moose were observed during the survey’s 175 sightings, with all appearing healthy.
After an absence of 120 years, moose recolonized New York in the 1980s. Since that time, biologists have been routinely monitoring moose in the state, informing the public about moose, and responding to situations where moose come into conflict with people.
DEC wildlife staff conducted the helicopter flights in January over seven days and approximately 42 hours of flight time. The survey divides the Adirondack park into grids and records every moose or group of moose seen. The survey crew then flies over to the sighting location, takes a GPS point, determines the number of animals, the age and sex of each animal, and notes general habitat characteristics for each moose sighted. Continue reading →
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that DEC and its partners are launching a preventative initiative to reduce the number of search and rescue incidents in the Adirondacks and help to ensure the public has an enjoyable and safe outdoor experience. The measure will increase engagement between hikers and experienced backcountry users and is part of DEC’s multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism while also addressing public safety in the Adirondack region.
The initiative is based on the successfulPreventative Search and Rescue programdeveloped by the National Park Service. This program has decreased the number of search and rescue incidents on popular backcountry routes in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite National Parks. Face-to-face education is a vital component of the program.
DEC Forest Rangers, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) stewards and educators, and the Adirondack 46ers’ volunteer trailhead stewards will promote proper planning and preparation through direct conversations with hikers at trailheads and on the trails. Continue reading →
The 2018 hunting seasons in New York tallied the lowest number of recorded hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) and tied the 2016 mark – 13 – as the safest on record, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. DEC documented five tree stand incidents and zero fatalities in 2018, down from 12 tree stand incidents the previous year. It is thought that better promotion of hunter safety is to thank for the low number of incidents. More hunters have been safety conscious this season, buying more safety equipment, practising better hunting methods, and even getting more sensible boots after looking on standingshoes.net. We always encourage safe hunting every year so it’s nice to see the numbers staying low.
Of the 13 HRSIs that occurred last year, seven were two-party firearm incidents, six were self-inflicted, and three resulted in fatalities that could have been prevented if hunting safety rules and common sense were followed. Of the three fatalities, two were self-inflicted and caused by unsafe handling of firearms and one was a two-party firearm incident caused by a failure to positively identify the target. DEC’S Hunting Safety Statistics and the 2018 Tree Stand Safety Statistics, are on DEC’s website.
Further examination of the seven two-party firearm incidents reveals that six (86 percent) of the victims involved were not wearing hunter orange, reinforcing the importance of identifying the target and beyond, and wearing hunter orange when afield—two major tenets of DEC’s hunter safety courses. Continue reading →
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner (Ag & Markets) Richard Ball announced that the state has finalized the New York State Interagency Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Risk Minimization Plan. The plan proposes regulatory changes and new actions to minimize the risk of CWD entering or spreading in New York State.
The plan is designed to protect both wild white-tailed deer and moose herds in New York, as well as captive cervids including deer and elk held at enclosed facilities.
The plan alls for increased public participation in the state’s efforts, and DEC and Ag & Markets are urging hunters and citizens to:
Report sick or abnormally behaving deer;
Do not feed wild deer;
Dispose of carcasses properly at approved landfills;
Use alternatives to urine-based lures or use synthetic forms of deer urine.