hunting

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..

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 1:51 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting, wildlife, DEC, bears.

Press release:

This winter, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wildlife biologists are seeking the public's help to learn about new black bear dens throughout New York.

As part of DEC's ongoing monitoring of black bears in the state, wildlife biologists periodically check on the mammals during the winter den season. The bears may be fitted with a radio collar to help biologists track their activities throughout the rest of the year and to relocate dens in subsequent years for monitoring cub production, condition and survival.

Bears may den in a rock crevice, tree cavity, or under heavy brush or fallen trees. Since female bears generally give birth in January or early February, a high-pitched squeal from the cubs may be audible if near a den. New York hikers and hunters typically cover countless miles of wooded terrain each year. DEC urges anyone who finds a bear den to not approach or disturb the den, but simply to note the location and move away from the den site.

DEC requests that anyone locating a bear den contact their local DEC Wildlife Office with specifics about the den location, including GPS coordinates if possible. 

More information about black bears in New York is available at DEC's Black Bear Web page.

Friday, October 14, 2016 at 12:09 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, trapping.

Press release:

Furbearer trapping and hunting seasons begin soon in many parts of the state, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced recently. Trappers should note changes to fisher and marten trapping seasons, as well as changes to some general trapping regulations.

"New York has a strong tradition of furbearer trapping and hunting, and the community that enjoys and contributes to this tradition is a vital partner in managing this resource in a sustainable manner," Seggos said. "Hunters' and trappers' input and concerns were an important part of the changes made to fisher trapping seasons beginning this fall."

While coyote hunting season began Oct. 1 in much the state, hunting seasons for other furbearers such as bobcat, raccoon and fox begins Oct. 25. One of the changes to trapping regulations this fall include the requirement of a special permit and expanded opportunity for fisher in select Wildlife Management Units (WMU) in Central and Western New York. Wyoming County is in WMU 9.

The changes to the fisher trapping season include:

    • New six-day season in Wildlife Management Units 4O, 4F, 7A, 7M, 7P, 7R, 7S, 8T, 8W, 8X, 8Y, 9J, 9K, 9M, 9N, 9P, 9R, 9S, 9T, 9X, and 9Y in Central and Western New York beginning Oct. 25;

    • Shorter season for fisher and marten in Adirondack Wildlife Management Units 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6F, and 6J to 30 days with the season beginning on Nov. 1; and

    • All fisher and marten trappers are required to obtain a special, free permit from their regional wildlife office, submit a trapping activity log, and submit the skull or jaw from harvested fishers and martens. This permit allows DEC biologists to collect important biological information on the animals, learn more about this popular game species, and ensure the harvest is sustainable.

This fall will be the fourth season for the bobcat Harvest Expansion Area (HEA) in WMUs 3R, 3S, 4A, 4F, 4O, 5R, 6R, 6S, 7S, 8T, 8W, 8X, 8Y, 9J, 9K, 9M, 9N, 9P, 9R, 9S, 9T, 9W, 9X, and 9Y. The season in the HEA runs from Oct. 25 through Nov.18. 

Bobcat hunters and trappers in the HEA are required to obtain a special, free permit from their regional wildlife office. Bobcat hunting/trapping activity logs and submission of the bobcat skull, jaw, or carcass are no longer required.

To obtain a free fisher, fisher/marten, or bobcat HEA permit, hunters and trappers should contact the regional wildlife office at (716) 851-7200. To apply by email: wildlife@dec.ny.gov; type Fisher/Marten Permit, or Bobcat Permit in the subject line. 

Only one fisher or fisher/marten permit is needed to trap these species anywhere in New York where the season is open. Additionally, only one bobcat permit is needed to hunt or trap bobcats in the HEA. 

Hunters and trappers must provide the following information:

    • Name

    • DEC ID # (from license or back tag)

    • Mailing address

    • Phone or email

    • Species (fisher, fisher/marten, bobcat)

    • If requesting a permit by e-mail, include the county or WMU where you plan to hunt (bobcat) or trap (fisher, marten, or bobcat).

Trappers should also be aware that beginning this fall there are modifications to some general trapping regulations. Minor revisions clarify the intent of regulations and make it easier for trappers to understand and law enforcement officers to implement.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 10:31 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, Sports, fishing.

Press release:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently unveiled new regulations concerning deer and bear hunting, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced.

These regulations increase opportunities for junior hunters to take bears, rescind an antlerless-only rule from 2015 in portions of southeastern New York and the Lake Plains, reduce antlerless harvests in two management units in the western Adirondacks, and clarify when special season tags may be used by bow and muzzleloader hunters.

"We rely on hunters to help us meet our science-based population management goals, and these new regulations will help us explore alternative season structures that will advance improved population management," Seggos said. "The youth hunt has been very popular with families across the state, and we're pleased to offer this expanded opportunity for junior hunters."

The new bear hunting regulation now includes the taking of bears in the youth firearms hunt over Columbus Day weekend that was previously a deer-only event. The 2015 regulation that prohibited harvest of antlered deer during portions of the bow and muzzleloader seasons in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 1C, 3M, 3S, 4J, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8N, 9A, and 9F has been rescinded. The taking of both antlered and antlerless deer during the entire bow and muzzleloader seasons in these units is now allowed. Wyoming County is in Region 9.

In these WMUs, deer populations are above desired levels, and the antlerless-only rule was implemented in 2015 as part of a multiphase process to increase antlerless harvest. However, reported harvest of female deer did not differ substantially between the WMUs with the antlerless-only periods and nearby WMUs without the rule, nor did the antlerless-only periods increase reported female take as desired.

In contrast, deer populations in WMUs 6F and 6J have been declining, so harvest of antlerless deer is now prohibited during the early muzzleloader season in these units. Winter weather conditions are a primary driver of deer abundance in the northern part of the state, and the winters of 2013 and 2014 were especially harsh. Coupled with mild conditions this past winter, reducing the harvest of antlerless deer should prevent further population decline and stimulate growth. The DEC expects this change to be temporary.

The final regulatory change is simply a technical correction to clarify that hunters who purchase both the bow and muzzleloader license privileges may use the bow/muzzleloader either-sex and bow/muzzleloader antlerless-only deer tags in either season or both in one of the seasons with the appropriate implement. This has always been DEC's intent, but ambiguity in the previous wording of the regulation could have led to confusion. Hunters who purchase just one of the special season privileges are still only allowed to use the bow/muzzleloader tag during that particular special season.

Under the 2016-17 budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative provides $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account. This money along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds, will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat and will improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.

This year's commitment builds on the previous $6 million in funding for 50 new projects. The projects provide access to approximately 380,000 acres of existing State lands for recreation, including boat launches, bird-watching areas, trails and hunting blinds. It also provides $8 million for upgrades and improvements to fish hatcheries statewide.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 3:48 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

Sporting licenses and Deer Management Permits for the 2016-17 season will be available for purchase Monday. Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) license-issuing agents, in person, by telephone, or online. Hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning Sept. 1.

"Hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities in New York have never been better and are an essential economic driver for communities across the state," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's continued commitments to the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative are bolstering our efforts to provide world-class hunting and fishing opportunities statewide. The DEC is committed to enhancing our science-based management programs to provide for abundant opportunities for our sportsmen and sportswomen to go afield during the upcoming hunting and trapping seasons."

Under the 2016-17 budget, the initiative provides $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account, leveraging federal funds to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitats – an initiative that will improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.

Outdoor recreation and sporting activities continue to generate significant economic revenue across the state. According to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, sportsmen spent $4.95 billion on hunting and fishing in New York in 2011 and support more than 56,000 jobs across the state. In addition, spending by hunters and anglers generated $623 million in state and local taxes that same year. Revenues from the sale of all sporting licenses provide direct support to the state's efforts to protect, preserve and enhance wildlife species and the habitats they depend on.

Deer Management Permits

Deer Management Permits will be available through Oct. 1. The permits, which are used to ensure proper management of the deer herd, are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale. Customers who are selected will receive their permits immediately. The chances of obtaining a Deer Management Permit remain the same throughout the application period – hunters do not need to rush to apply for one on the first day of sale. The 2016 chances of selection in each Wildlife Management Unit are available online, through License Issuing Agents, or the Deer Management Permits Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Detailed information 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, will be available in August. The guide will be at all license issuing outlets and on the DEC Hunting Regulations webpage along with a list of license-issuing agents. You can also find that list at License Center or by contacting the DEC Call Center at 1-866-933-2257.

Expanded Call Center Hours

Starting Aug. 1, the DEC Call Center will be accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 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:

    • Complete name and address information;

    • DEC customer ID number (if applicable);

    • Proof of residency (driver's license or non-driver's ID with a valid NYS address); and

    • If purchasing by phone or internet, a valid credit card.

If not already entered in DEC's automated licensing system, individuals are required to provide proof of hunter or trapper education certification or a copy of a previous license for all hunting and trapping license purchases. For additional information, visit General Sporting License Information

Other Programs:

Free Sportsmen Education Training Courses Offered

DEC works closely with thousands of dedicated certified instructors statewide to provide sportsmen education training courses free of charge. Courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education and Waterfowl Identification. Courses do fill quickly, so anyone interested should register soon. Education courses are added continuously throughout the year. To locate a nearby hunter or trapper education course, visit Sportsman Education or call  (716) 851-7200.

New Opportunities for Junior Hunters & Trappers

In an effort to foster the next generation of hunters in New York, the DEC has expanded opportunities for junior hunters (licensees 12 to 15 years old) and trappers (under 12 years old) by designating special youth hunts for deer, wild turkey, pheasants, and waterfowl through the Mentored Youth Hunter and Trapper Program. These opportunities allow youth hunters and trappers to spend time in the field with experienced adults and gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting and trapping community.

Habitat Stamps and Trail Supporter Patch

The DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches support the state's efforts to conserve habitat, increase public access for fishing and wildlife-related recreation, and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a simple way to help conserve New York's rich wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in the state.

The Venison Donation Program

Additionally, anyone – not just hunters and anglers – can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license issuing outlet. Individuals should inform the license sales agent if they are interested in making a donation of $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, these funds have been used by the Venison Donation Coalition for the processing of more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served.

Participate in Citizen Science to Benefit Wildlife Management

Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers and anglers help the DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. Information on how to participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other Citizen Science programs is available at Citizen Science: Wildlife Observation Data Collection

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