hunting

Friday, September 22, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Hunting for big game at Letchworth State Park is allowable with bows, crossbows, shotguns, muzzleloaders, and handguns and by permit only. Hunting with rifles is not allowed in the park.

Applications for hunting permits are available by calling (585) 493-3600 or online at www.nysparks.com and should be mailed to Hunting Permit, One Letchworth State Park, Castile.

Additionally, archery hunting permits will be self-issued for the following schedule:

    • Eastside hunting begins Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 19; and

    • Westside hunting begins Oct. 17 and runs through Dec. 19.

Crossbow hunting will be allowed from Nov. 4 through Dec. 19.

The special archery-only – antlerless deer only – hunting season runs from Oct. 30 through Dec. 19 in the southern portion of the park. Applications are available by calling (585) 493-3600 or online at www.nysparks.com and should be mailed to:  Special Archery Permit, One Letchworth State Park, Castile, 14427.

Friday, August 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, Sports, hunting, fishing.

free_fishing_nys_628_1.jpg

Information from a press release, file photo.

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced new Free Fishing Days throughout the state:

    • Sept. 23 – National Hunting and Fishing Day;

    • Nov. 11 – Veterans Day;

    • Feb. 17 and 18 – weekend preceding Presidents Day; and

    • June 23 and 24 – last full weekend in June.

Legislation providing for the additional free fishing days was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June 2014 as a component of his New York Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative. These free events give those new to the sport a chance to try it out without a license. The new free fishing days provide the opportunity to experience ice fishing and fall fishing in New York, including the trout and salmon fishing on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain tributaries.

In addition to the Free Fishing Days program, the governor's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative will now allow organizations and groups to conduct individual free fishing events. Those looking to learn how to fish should take advantage of the various fishing education programs conducted by DEC and other groups throughout the state. 

For a complete list of 2017 programs click here.

Free fishing day participants are reminded that although the requirement for a fishing license is waived during Free Fishing Days all other fishing regulations remain in effect.

Looking for a place to fish? Recommended fishing locations can be found by clicking here

Information can also be found on the Public Fishing Rights program page. Maps are available for download by clicking here

Contour (depth) maps are also available for 400 lakes and ponds.

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:47 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting.

Press release:

New hunters and trappers planning to go afield this season must first complete a mandatory hunter, bowhunter, or trapper education course before obtaining the appropriate sporting license or hunting privilege, says New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos.

With state licenses now on sale, first-time hunters and trappers are encouraged to sign up for courses, as they fill quickly. Each year, more than 45,000 New Yorkers take DEC's hunter and trapper education courses.

"Hunting and trapping are proud traditions in New York State that continue to be safely enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors each year and hunting opportunities have never been better," Seggos said. "DEC's Sportsman Education Program is effective in producing safe, ethical hunters, and we are grateful to the volunteer instructors that serve as the backbone to deliver our program. I encourage all prospective hunters to sign up early for one of the hundreds of courses offered all across New York."

DEC works closely with thousands of dedicated DEC-certified instructors statewide to provide these training courses free of charge. Courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and Waterfowl Hunter Education.

DEC's online registration system makes it easy to view a list of all available courses with the student's proximity to course locations. Students can register from any device 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Courses are added continuously throughout the year. To locate a nearby hunter or trapper education course click here or call (716)372-0645.

All courses require students to review course materials and complete a homework sheet prior to attending the classroom and field session. The homework portion of the course provides an introduction to the subject and enhances the students' understanding of the course material. Proof of the completed homework is required to attend the course.

Students should register for the course well in advance of the course date in order to allow time to complete the homework requirement, which takes approximately three hours. All courses will require successful completion of an in-person field day to earn certification.

Access to the homework materials and online homework options can be found by clicking here or follow the guidelines listed in the various course announcements when you register.

Actual course manuals and homework sheets are always available from DEC wildlife offices and sportsman education instructors.

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the release of a draft New York State Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan for public comment.

The plan describes proposed regulatory changes and actions that DEC will take to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) entering or spreading in New York. It was designed to protect both wild white-tailed deer and moose, as well as captive cervids including deer and elk held at enclosed facilities.

DEC biologists worked with the State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets veterinarians and wildlife health experts at Cornell University to craft a comprehensive set of steps that are the most advanced CWD prevention strategies in the nation.

"New York is leading the way in protecting our valuable deer and moose herds," Seggos said. "Not only does this horrible disease kill animals slowly, but wild white-tailed deer hunting represents a $1.5 billion industry in the state.

"Our CWD Risk Minimization Plan is in the best interest of all of us who care about wildlife and especially about the health of our wild white-tail deer herd. Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's commitment to high-quality hunting opportunities in New York also supports our taking action now to prevent a serious problem down the road."

Disease prevention is the only cost-effective way to keep CWD out of New York. Together with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York is using cutting-edge science and common sense to ensure that everything possible is done to protect the state's herds from CWD.

"The Department's veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians were responsible for the early detection of New York's only CWD incident and played critical roles in the response to the discovery of CWD in 2005,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

“Our staff continue to work hard to control the risk of this serious disease and maintain our early detection system. This plan will further support these efforts to protect our wildlife."

CWD, an always fatal brain disease found in species of the deer family, was discovered in Oneida County’s wild and captive white-tailed deer in 2005. More than 47,000 deer have been tested statewide since 2002, and there has been no reoccurrence of the disease since 2005. New York is the only state to have eliminated CWD once it was found in wild populations. In North America, CWD has been found in 24 states, including neighboring Pennsylvania and Ohio, and two Canadian provinces.

CWD was first identified in Colorado in 1967 and is caused by infectious prions, which are misfolded proteins that cannot be broken down by the body's normal processes. They cause holes to form in the brain. Prions are found in deer parts and products including urine and feces; they can remain infectious in soil for years and even be taken up into plant tissues. It is in the same family of diseases, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, as "mad cow" disease in cattle.

Millions of cattle were destroyed because of mad cow disease in England and Europe in the 1990s and the disease also caused a fatal brain condition in some humans that ate contaminated beef products. Although there have been no known cases of CWD in humans, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that no one knowingly eat CWD-positive venison.

The proposed plan would streamline operations between DEC and the State Department of Agriculture and strengthen the state's regulations to prevent introduction of CWD.

Some examples of the proposed changes include:

    • Prohibit the importation of certain parts from any CWD-susceptible cervid taken outside of New York. Require that these animals be deboned or quartered and only the meat, raw hide or cape, and cleaned body parts, such as skull cap, antlers, jaws, and teeth, or finished taxidermy mounts be allowed for import into the state;

    • Prohibit the retail sale, possession, use, and distribution of deer or elk urine and any products from CWD-susceptible animals that may contain prions, including glands, or other excreted material while allowing New York captive cervid facilities to continue to export deer urine outside of the State;

    • Maintain and reinforce the prohibition on the feeding of wild deer and moose in New York State;

    • Provide DEC Division of Law Enforcement the necessary authority to enforce Department of Agriculture and Market's CWD regulations;

    • Explore possible penalties or charges to defray costs associated with the removal of escaped cervids from the environment or the response to disease outbreaks;

    • Require all taxidermists and deer processors (people who butcher deer for hire) to dispose of cervid waste and waste byproducts in compliance with 6 NYCRR Part 360, such as in a municipal landfill;

    • Promotion of improved fencing methods for captive cervids to further prevent contact with wild deer or moose;

    • Partner with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance captive cervid testing while continuing DEC's rigorous surveillance testing in hunter-harvested deer;

    • Improve record keeping and data sharing between departments through joint inspections of captive cervid facilities, electronic reporting, and animal marking;

    • Improve handling requirements, record keeping, and disease testing of wild white-tailed deer temporarily held in captivity for wildlife rehabilitation; and

    • Develop a communication plan and strategy to re-engage stakeholders, including captive cervid owners and the public, in CWD risk minimization measures and updates on CWD research.

The New York State Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan has had extensive outreach and vetting by sporting groups in the state to address the concerns of myriad stakeholders while maintaining the strength of purpose to protect the public and the environment. The plan updates reporting requirements, improves communication to stakeholders, and simplifies regulations to reduce confusion while protecting our natural resources.

The draft plan is available for public review on the DEC website

Written comments on the draft plan will be accepted through Sept. 1. Comments can be submitted via email at wildlife@dec.ny.gov, subject: CWD Plan or by writing to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany 12233-4754.

Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 1:04 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, hunting, Sports.

Press release

Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) recently announced the Senate has once again passed a bill (S-2923) that will eliminate a requirement that hunters display and wear back tags while hunting in New York State. The legislation would amend environmental conservation law and eliminate confusion over hunting requirements. 

“The current law is not uniform and causes confusion for hunters,” Gallivan said.  “The back tag requirement only applies to some parts of New York State and is an example of a regulation that simply is not necessary. In fact, most states don’t require back tags at all.”

Currently, back tags are not required to be worn or displayed while hunting in the Northern zone and Catskill Park area of New York, but are required elsewhere in the state. New York is one of just two states that require the use of back tags, which lead to confusion among hunters, especially along New York’s borders.

The Senate passed the bill in 2015 and 2016, but it died in the Assembly. The measure will be sent back to the Assembly for consideration.

Monday, April 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, fishing, Sports, DEC, announcements.

dec_pocket_ranger_app.jpg

Press release, photo submitted

New features have been added to the New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife mobile app, say officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 

The new E-license and Game Harvest features allows the user to:

    • report game harvests with a smartphone or mobile device while afield

    • create game harvest reports even when out of cellular range

    • access an electronic version of a current sporting licenses

    • share harvest reports with friends and followers on Facebook

To access the new features, users need only click on the HuntFishNY icon within the app. The New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or by going to the DEC website.

As a reminder, it is a legal requirement to report all deer, bear and turkey harvests within seven days of harvest.

DEC urges hunters to remember the hunting safety basics they learned in their sportsman education courses when going afield this spring hunting season. While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable.

Safety rules include:

    • Assume every gun is loaded.

    • Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction.

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

    • Be sure of your target and beyond.

    • DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in your 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, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Sports, hunting.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is opening spring turkey season on May 1. However, DEC's annual youth turkey hunting weekend is scheduled for April 22 and 23.

The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters 12 to 15 years old is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County. DEC encourages experienced hunters to take a novice hunter afield this spring, whether the novice is a young person or an adult getting into the sport for the first time.

"Hunting is an excellent way to connect people to the natural world," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Spending time afield with a new hunter is a chance to teach them about conservation, the environment, and wildlife. It's the perfect opportunity to put novice hunters on the path to becoming safe and responsible hunters."

DEC reports that the turkey population experienced reproductive success in the summer of 2015, and combined with relatively mild winters in 2015-16 and 2016-17, it is anticipated that the spring harvest will be up from last year and above the five-year average (about 20,000 birds). The estimated turkey harvest for spring 2016 was 18,400 birds, and nearly 6,000 junior hunters harvested an estimated 1,300 birds during the two-day youth hunt in 2016.

Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 22 and 23

    • Hunters 12 to 15 years of age are eligible and must hold a hunting license and a turkey permit.

    • Youth 12-13 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 21 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian. Youth 14-15 years of age must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian or adult over 18 years of age with written permission from their parent or legal guardian.

    • The accompanying adult must have a current hunting license and turkey permit. The adult may assist the youth hunter, including calling, but may not carry a firearm, bow, or crossbow, or kill or attempt to kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt.

    • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.

    • The youth turkey hunt is open in all of Upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and across Suffolk County.

    • The bag limit for the youth weekend is one bearded bird. This bird becomes part of the youth's regular spring season bag limit of two bearded birds. A second bird may be taken only in upstate New York, north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary, beginning May 1.

    • Crossbows may only be used by hunters age 14 or older.

    • All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other details for the spring turkey season, May 1 through 31:

    • Hunting is permitted in most areas of the state, except for New York City and Long Island.

    • Hunters must have a turkey hunting permit in addition to their hunting license.

    • Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to noon each day.

    • Hunters may take two bearded turkeys during the spring season, but only one bird per day.

    • Hunters may not use rifles or handguns firing a bullet. Hunters may hunt with a shotgun or handgun loaded with shot sizes no larger than No. 2 or smaller than No. 8, or with a bow or crossbow.

    • Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with the turkey permit and immediately attach it to any turkey harvested.

    • Successful hunters must report their harvest within seven days of taking a bird. Call 1-866-426-3778 or report a harvest online at DEC's website.

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2016-17 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting" pages at DEC's website.

New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters, largely due to the annual efforts of more than 3,000 volunteer sportsman education instructors. 

DEC suggests hunters follow the cardinal rules of hunting safety: assume every gun is loaded; control the muzzle; keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot; be absolutely sure of your target and what may be beyond it; and don't stalk. Set up with your back against a large tree and call birds to you. 

To find a sportsman education class in your area, go to the Sportsman Education web page on DEC's website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (888-486-8332). To view a video on hunter safety tips, watch DEC's Hunter Safety video on YouTube (Link leaves DEC's website).

Turkey hunters in pursuit of that wary gobbler in the spring are ideally suited for monitoring ruffed grouse during the breeding season. Turkey hunters can record the number of grouse they hear drumming while afield to help DEC track the distribution and abundance of this game bird. To get a survey form, go to the Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey web page on DEC's website or call (518) 402-8883.

To participate in DEC's Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey or other wildlife surveys, visit the "Citizen Science" page at DEC's website.

DEC has created a Hunting and Trapping Photo Gallery for junior hunters 12 to 15 years old, young trappers under 16, and hunters who have harvested their first big or small game animal. To share the first successful hunt, visit the photo gallery.

Friday, April 7, 2017 at 11:17 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting.

tricounty_fishing_derby_-_arcade_3.jpg

File photo.

Trout season is officially open in New York State. There are 7,500 lakes and ponds, and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams for resident and visiting anglers to fish.

The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) trout hatchery program will stock catchable-size trout in early April. Its website offers a list of stocked waters and the anticipated number of fish to be stocked in 2017. For more information, contact the Fisheries Office (716) 372-0645.

For information on buying a fishing license click here. The license is valid for one year from the date of purchase.

Get ready for turkey season.

The Youth Hunt for Wild Turkey, April 22 and 23, is an opportunity for adults to mentor those 12 through 15 years old. Get the details on the Youth Turkey Hunt Web page. Regular spring turkey season begins May 1 and runs through the month. 

See the Turkey Hunting Web page for tips on enjoying a safe and productive time afield.

Nature Notes: Adult males, also called "toms" or "gobblers," have red, blue, and white skin on the head during the spring breeding display.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 9:51 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, Sports.

This information was provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation:

Of the more than 2,400 white-tailed deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), none tested positive last season, say officials with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Since 2002, the DEC has tested more than 40,000 wild white-tailed deer for CWD.

CWD is a highly contagious disease that affects deer, elk, moose and reindeer. It is always fatal and there are no vaccines or treatments available. CWD is caused by a misfolded protein called a "prion" that can infect animals through animal-to-animal contact or via contaminated environments. According to Scitable by Nature Education, misfolded proteins result when a protein follows the wrong folding pathway or energy-minimizing funnel, causing an error in protein conformation. Additionally, misfolding can happen spontaneously.

For wildlife diseases like CWD, prevention is the most effective management policy. There are several recommendations for both hunters and anyone that encounters deer that will prevent introduction of infectious prions, including:

    • Do not use deer urine-based lures or cover scents. Prions are shed in a deer's bodily fluids before the deer appears sick. Prions bind to soil and plants and remain infectious to deer that ingest contaminated soil. There is no method of disinfection.

    • Dispose of carcass waste, even from New York deer, into a proper waste stream either by putting butcher scrap in with your household trash or otherwise assuring it ends up in a licensed landfill. Landowners may dispose of their own deer on their property, but it is illegal for businesses such as butchers and taxidermists to dispose of waste generated from their business in any way other than a landfill or rendering facility.

    • Debone or quarter your deer before you bring it back to New York. This practice removes "high risk" parts such as the brain and spinal cord that could potentially spread CWD. If a whole intact carcass is brought in from a prohibited state, province, or any high-fence shooting facility, the person will be ticketed and the entire animal, including trophy heads, will be confiscated and destroyed. Meat, hide and cape, antlers, cleaned skull cap with antlers attached, finished taxidermy mounts, tanned hides, and clean upper canine teeth are permitted.

    • Do not feed wild deer or moose. Animals concentrated together can spread disease quickly. In the event of a CWD outbreak in New York, state agencies are prepared. DEC has an Interagency CWD Response Plan with the Department of Agriculture and Markets if the disease is detected in either captive cervids or wild white-tailed deer or moose. There are no documented cases of CWD infecting humans, but DEC urges caution when handling or processing CWD-susceptible animals.

"Preventing the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease in New York State is among DEC's top wildlife priorities. We're working hard to ensure the health of our deer herd and to protect the recreational and viewing opportunities deer provide," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "We recognize that hunters play an important role in keeping CWD out of New York, because the most effective way to protect New York's deer herd is to keep out CWD."

In 2005, CWD was found in captive and wild white-tailed deer in Oneida County. After intensive disease response efforts, no subsequent cases have been detected. In the 2016-2017 surveillance period, 2,447 samples were tested from hunter-harvested deer and 102 clinical deer that appeared sick or abnormal. DEC partners with meat processors and taxidermists to obtain samples each year.

For more information on CWD, visit DEC's website.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, fishing, Sports, DEC.

tricounty_fishing_derby_-_arcade_1.jpg

Press release (file photo):

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing four free sportfishing days be added to complement the state's existing free sportfishing days. DEC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes. The days are based on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's signed legislation in 2014 authorizing additional statewide free fishing days.

First established in 1991, free sportfishing days allow New York residents and non-residents to fish for free without a fishing license at any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams.

The free events give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby, and encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York State fishing license.

The proposed additions are:

    • Presidents Day Weekend (the weekend immediately preceding Presidents Day in the month of February) – These two days generally coincide with winter recess for schools, making it ideal for families to try ice fishing.

    • National Hunting and Fishing Day (one day) – Takes place annually on the 4th Saturday in September and links to events taking place nationwide. Fishing at this time of year is generally good for many species, including fall salmon fishing in the Great Lakes tributaries.

    • Veterans Day (one day) – Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it an excellent tribute to veterans and those currently serving in the military. Cuomo specified Veterans Day as a free fishing day in 2015, and this proposal would make it a permanent free fishing day.

In addition, to avoid confusion concerning the existing free fishing days in June, DEC is proposing the regulation be changed from "the weekend which includes the last Saturday in June," to the "last full weekend in June."

Defining specific free fishing days allows DEC to more effectively promote these days well in advance of their occurrence, ultimately increasing public participation. Furthermore, having a designated set of free fishing days allows those planning vacations around these dates to do so without issue.

Public comments will be accepted through May 6.

Comments can be sent to the address Joelle Ernst, NYSDEC Division of Fish and Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4753 or emailed to fwfish@dec.ny.gov - enter "Free Sportfishing Days" in the subject line.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:31 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that the 2016 hunting season in New York had only 13 hunting-related shooting incidents. This is the lowest number on record since DEC began compiling hunting-related shooting statistics in 1958.

"Hunting is a proud tradition in New York State that continues to be safely enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors each year," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The trend of declining hunting accidents is proof that our Sportsman Education Program is working, thanks in large part, to the efforts of the 3,000 volunteer instructors that teach our hunter safety courses every year."

Of the 13 hunting-related shooting incidents in 2016, seven incidents were self-inflicted and six incidents involved more than one person. In 2015, there were 23 incidents. In 1966, there were 166 incidents, 13 of which were fatal.

Despite these low numbers, there were four fatalities in 2016 -- two two-party incidents and two self-inflicted incidents.

"While hunting is safer than ever, accidents can still happen," Seggos said. "It is important to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. We urge every hunter going afield this year to wear hunter orange. It's the smart thing to do."

This year's report indicated that eight of the people involved in multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange.

With approximately 500,000 licensed hunters spending an estimated 10 to 15 million days afield each year, New York continues its trend of declining hunting-related shooting incidents. The incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has declined almost 80 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to three-and-one-half incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the ‘60s.

DEC encourages hunters to follow the primary rules of hunter safety:

    • Assume every firearm is loaded;

    • Control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire;

    • Identify your target and what is beyond; and

    • Wear hunter orange.

DEC's Sportsman Education Program is mandatory for all hunters. The program was introduced in 1949 and has significantly reduced the number of hunting incidents. Beginning in 2016, DEC instituted new course homework requirements for all hunter and trapper education courses. Students are now required to review course materials and complete homework prior to attending classroom and field sessions.

The new homework portion of the course provides an introduction to the subject and enhances students' understanding of the course material. DEC offers all courses free of charge. The Sportsman Education Program is always looking for interested individuals to volunteer their time to help students take the first step in developing the skills and knowledge to be better hunters and trappers.

Only incidents involving firearms, bows, and crossbows are included in the annual report. Incidents involving falls from tree stands or hunter health-related issues are not included. Investigations of all hunting-related shooting incidents are undertaken by DEC's environmental conservation officers.

For more information on taking a course, becoming an instructor, and on the 2016 Hunting Safety Statistics, visit the Sportsman Education Program Web page on DEC's website.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 12:09 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, events, hunting, fishing.

dec_free_fishing_weekend.jpg

Press release (photo submitted):

This weekend is the first of several free fishing days in New York State for 2017. 

The free fishing days open up the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds, and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams to all resident and non-residents to fish without a license.

While fishing is permitted without a license, anglers are reminded that fishing regulations remain in effect during these days.

Additional free fishing days include:

    • June 24-25;

    • Sept. 23 – National Hunting and Fishing Day; and

    • Nov. 11 – Veterans Day.

New to ice fishing? Check out the Ice Fishing chapter of DEC’s  I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started with ice fishing. 

Additional information, including tips on ice fishing safety and a list of waters open to ice fishing, can be found at DEC’s ice fishing Web page.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 at 4:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, Sports, pheasants, outdoor, nature, announcements.

Daily care is necessary to monitor the health of pheasant chicks to ensure there is adequate feed and water for the rapidly growing birds. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting applications for the cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program.

The program enhances the opportunities for pheasant hunting in New York State through a partnership among the DEC, sportsmen, 4-H youth groups, and landowners interested in rearing and releasing pheasants. Additionally, it is funded through the State Conservation Fund, which is supported by license fees paid by hunters, trappers, and anglers.

The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s, when pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth. Today, day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site.

The pheasants may be released when they are 8 weeks old and no later than Dec. 1. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May, or June. All release sites must be approved in advance by the DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities.

In 2016, the DEC distributed more than 34,000 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified applicants. 

Those interested in participating call the R9 DEC office for Wyoming, Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, and Niagara counties, at (716) 372-0645, 182 E. Union, Suite 3, Allegany.

Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 25. A "Pheasant Rearing Guide" and applications are also available on DEC's website.

Monday, January 16, 2017 at 6:36 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, hunting, fishing, Sports.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding ice anglers to use caution and common sense as ice fishing season begins across much of the state.

Four inches or more of solid ice is considered to be safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice anglers should note that ice thickness can vary on each body of water and even on the same body of water.

As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, Feb. 18 and 19 have been designated as a free fishing weekend. The requirement for a fishing license is waived during this period. 

"Ice fishing is a popular sport in New York and interest in it increases every year," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Safety is the first thing to consider when taking part in the sport, and we remind people to use good judgement when venturing onto the ice. Ice fishing is great for families looking to try something new, and parents can mix in skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or other activities during ice fishing trips to keep everyone interested and happy."

Anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be considered as evidence of safe ice conditions. Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can be done easily with an auger or ice spud at various spots.

The free fishing weekend is a great opportunity to try ice fishing for the first time and for experienced anglers to introduce their friends to the sport. Beginning ice anglers are encouraged to download the Ice Fishing Chapter of DEC's new I FISH NY Beginners' Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started. Additional information, including a list of waters open to ice fishing, can found on the DEC ice fishing Web page and the Public Lakes and Ponds map.

The use of fish for bait is popular when ice fishing, and bait fish may be used in most, but not all, waters open to ice fishing. Visit the DEC website for a list of Special Regulations by County to find out where bait fish can and cannot be used, and for other regulations that apply to baitfish.

Anglers are reminded to take these important steps when using baitfish while ice fishing:

    • Follow the baitfish regulations to prevent the spread of harmful fish diseases and invasive species;

    • Use only certified disease-free baitfish purchased at a local tackle store, or use only personally collected baitfish for use in the same water body in which they were caught;

    • Do not reuse baitfish in another water-body if the water the fish were purchased in has not been replaced;

    • Dump unused baitfish and water in an appropriate location on dry land.

Anglers are reminded to make sure that they have a valid fishing license before heading out on the ice during non-free fishing weekends. Fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase. To learn more, visit DEC's Sporting Licenses Web page.

Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 11:39 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, Sports, DEC.

Press release:

Anglers and hunters should be aware of at least two currently active non-Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) websites where one can, purportedly, purchase a fishing license, hunting license, or receive hunter education training that meets New York requirements.

According to the DEC, the websites are Fishinglicense.org and Hunting-license.org

Among other things, these sites offer information on how their products can simplify the purchase of a New York State fishing license or hunting license. Though some of the logistical licensing information is correct and may be useful, these sites also offer a consumer the ability to purchase time-saving downloads for recreational licensing services. These services are “specifically not affiliated” with the DEC. 

The consumer on these sites should understand that they are only getting assistance for their money and not an actual fishing or hunting license. Additionally, the money being charged by these websites is not a credit toward the purchase of any New York fishing or hunting license.

All of the New York licensing information that one needs can be found on the DEC Sporting Licenses webpage.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting, DEC, wildlife.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has posted options for several changes to wildlife regulations in 2017 on its website. The DEC is inviting the public to review and provide comments.

Prior to initiating a formal rulemaking process, DEC routinely seeks public input in continuing efforts to keep hunters and the public informed.

In many situations, DEC uses scientific surveys to gather public opinion about potential rule changes. In other cases, DEC communicates informally through emails, letters or meetings in response to ideas and suggestions. In all situations, it is helpful to obtain informal feedback to gauge public interest and support and to learn of any concerns that may exist before the formal rulemaking process is initiated.

DEC is inviting informal feedback regarding several issues:

    • Prohibiting feeding wild white-tailed deer;

    • Issuing permits for 4-Poster TickicideTM and 4-PosterTM deer treatment devices;

    • Strengthening measures to protect New York deer from Chronic Wasting Disease;

    • Eliminating the special permit for hunting and trapping bobcats in the Harvest Expansion Area; and

    • Closing the season for take of diamondback terrapin.

The issues listed are not formal proposals at this time, but rather options being considered as potential changes for 2017. Visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/104785.html to read the details of each issue and to provide feedback.

Submit your comments by Dec. 23 to wildlife@dec.ny.gov or by writing to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, 12233-4754.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, hunting, Sports, DEC.

Press release:

In the wake of a number of recent hunting-related shooting incidents, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding hunters to follow basic hunter safety rules when going afield this hunting season.

"While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. But every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable," Seggos said. "We urge hunters to use common sense and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunters Education Course."

DEC's Hunting Safety Rules:

    • Assume every gun is loaded;

    • Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction;

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot;

    • Be sure of your target and beyond;

    • DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in your 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, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle;

    • Always be prepared for winter conditions when venturing in the woods, inform a friend or relative of your whereabouts, and pack emergency supplies.

DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) are currently investigating two hunting-related shooting fatalities that occurred in the last week, both involving accidental shootings that could have been avoided.

DEC requires every hunter to take a special Hunters Education Course before they can receive a license to hunt. Since New York's Sportsman Education Program was first introduced in 1950, the number of hunting-related accidents have declined by 80 percent.

A DEC report showed 2015 was the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality in New York since record-keeping on hunting statistics began more than 60 years ago. Last year also continued the trend of declining incidents with respect to New York's hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters). The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.

There were 23 hunting incidents documented in 2015, the third lowest number on record, with 10 incidents self-inflicted and 13 two-party incidents.

View and print the 2015 Hunter Safety Statistics report (PDF, 141 KB)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting.

Press release

With the start of New York's most popular big game seasons just days away, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging hunters to be safe, enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, and consider passing up shots on young bucks.

"Regulated hunting of deer and bear is one of the most important conservation efforts needed to implement DEC's science based management strategies each year, and the opening of the regular season is a cherished tradition for many New Yorkers," Seggos said. "New York's deer and bear populations are great resources that provide more than nine million pounds of quality, locally grown, organic meat to families across the state and I wish all hunters a safe and successful season."

DEC is encouraging all hunters across the state to pass up shots at young, small-antlered bucks. In a multi-year study conducted with Cornell University, more than 7,000 hunters surveyed across the state reported wanting more opportunities for taking mature bucks without mandatory restrictions on antler size. DEC has been working with several leading sportsmen's groups across the state to educate hunters on their role in deer management, the impacts of harvest choices, and changes in the deer population as more and more hunters voluntarily refrain from taking young bucks.

"Many hunters have told DEC that they would like to see more older bucks, and hunters can make a difference in the future of the sport by passing up young bucks," Seggos said.

Many hunters are already voluntarily passing up young bucks, and the proportion of older bucks available in the herd has increased substantially in the past decade. As more hunters choose to pass young bucks, all hunters will enjoy the opportunity to see and take larger, older bucks.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at 1:07 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting.

The 2016 regular deer and bear hunting seasons in New York's Southern Zone begin at sunrise on Saturday, and continue through Dec. 11. The Southern Zone regular season is New York's most popular hunting season, with about 85 percent of the state’s 550,000 licensed hunters participating. Harvests during this season account for nearly 60 percent of the total annual statewide deer take and 30 to 60 percent of the statewide bear harvest.

Following the regular deer and bear seasons in the Southern Zone, late bowhunting and muzzleloading seasons will run from Dec. 12 through Dec. 20. Hunters taking part in these special seasons must possess a hunting license and either bowhunting or muzzleloading privileges.

In the Northern Zone, the regular deer and bear hunting season opened Oct. 22, and will close at sunset Dec. 4. The Northern Zone includes the Adirondacks, Tug Hill Plateau, Eastern Lake Ontario Plain, and the Champlain and St. Lawrence valleys. A late bowhunting and muzzleloading season for deer will be open in portions of the Northern Zone from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11.

Other Reminders for the 2016 Southern Zone Regular Hunting Season

    • Recent legislation allows the use of rifles for big game hunting to continue in Albany County for two years and to continue indefinitely in Livingston County. See Rifle, Shotgun, and Bow Areas on DEC's website for other areas where rifles can be used.

    • Crossbows may be used during the regular deer seasons in all parts of New York except Westchester and Suffolk counties, and the bow-only portions of Albany and Monroe counties. Crossbows may also be used during the late muzzleloading season for hunters possessing a muzzleloading privilege. See Crossbow Hunting on DEC's website for license and training requirements, general rules, and season opportunities.

    • The Deer Management Focus Area will continue to assist communities in the Ithaca area with the burden of overabundant deer populations.

    • Mandatory antler restrictions (three points on one side minimum) remain in effect in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W during all seasons for all hunters 17 years and older.

    • Successful bear hunters are asked to submit a tooth from their bear to DEC so the agency can age the bear and monitor bear population dynamics. See the Bear Tooth Collection web page on DEC's website for instructions.

    • Remember, Hunger Has A Cure... The Venison Donation Program is a great way to help those less fortunate while assisting with deer management in New York.

    • Remember Firearms Safety:

        • Point guns in a safe direction.

        • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.

        • Be sure of the target and beyond.

        • Keep the finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.

        • Remember to wear Hunter Orange.

For specific descriptions of regulations and open areas, hunters should refer to the 2016-2017 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide available on DEC's website. Hunters are urged to review all regulations and safety tips contained in the guide. Hunters may also be interested to read DEC's booklet, Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF, 763 KB), or to review DEC's unit-by-unit Deer Hunting Forecasts, which are both available online.

Monday, November 14, 2016 at 4:34 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting.

Press release

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) encourages hunters to visit the deer and bear check station during the upcoming opening weekend of the regular big game season.

DEC's check station, located on Route 16, in Holland, (northbound about one mile south of the Town of Holland), will operate Nov. 19 from noon to 8 p.m., and Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participation is voluntary but helps DEC gather valuable data necessary for assessing the status of the area's big game population.

"We welcome hunters to participate in DEC's data collection and research efforts again this year," said DEC Regional Wildlife Manager Ken Baginski. "Although it is a completely voluntary program, we encourage hunters to take a few extra minutes to help us collect important data on harvested deer and increase our knowledge about diseases in the game population."

Hunters are encouraged to bring their deer to the check station where DEC staff will determine deer age and collect other important biological and harvest information. With black bear season opening the same day as deer season again this year, staff will check harvested bears as well.

Technicians from NYS Department of Health (DOH) may also be present at the check station to examine deer for ticks and collect samples to test for Lyme disease.

As in previous years, hunters wishing to donate their harvest to Hunters Helping the Hungry sponsored by the Venison Donation Coalition, may drop off a deer at the Holland check station during days of operation before 6 p.m..

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