conservation chatter corner
with ron schroder
YOUR IN ON THE OUTDOORS
FOR WESTERN NEW YORK
6 - 22 – 18
Welcome to this week’s Conservation Chatter Corner – little bits of happenings concerning our outdoors and you, the sportspeople who enjoy being part of that outdoors.
BOATUS ALERT: NEW YORK’S RECREATIONAL BOATERS NEED TO ACT NOW:
TOPIC: Proposed legislation to have ‘adverse impact’ on boating
WHAT: The New York Senate and Assembly are considering legislation, SB 9092 and AB 9806a, that would require all boat operators in the Empire State to complete a boating safety course within one year. Currently only those born after May 1996 must meet this requirement. While Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) firmly supports boater education, these bills will have an adverse impact on boating in New York.
WHY: With our experience as a leading advocate of boating safety for more than 50 years, BoatUS recognizes the bills’ proposed expansion to require education for all New York boaters within such a short time period would be nearly impossible to meet. With a limited number of approved instructors, expansion of classes to meet demand will be a challenge. And for those taking paid courses, the costs will undoubtedly increase. As the state's only authorized provider of a free New York online boating safety course, it is our assessment that SB 9092 and AB 9806a are a step backward in making boating safety education more accessible for all New York boaters, anglers and sailors.
HOW: Please contact your state representatives now to ask them to oppose these bills and urge them to work with BoatUS and others in the recreational boating safety community to develop smart improvements to the state's boating safety laws.
Click Take Action to be taken to a prefilled message.
MUTE SWAN REMOVAL FROM ONEIDA LAKE: A group of swans from Oneida Lake has been euthanized. Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture say that the swans were removed from Oneida Lake on Monday and euthanized. The six swans were killed after a woman was attacked by one of the Swans while kayaking on June 7.
The mute swan (Cygnus olor) is a non-native, invasive species brought to North America in the late 1800s to beautify estates in the Lower Hudson Valley and on Long Island. Over the past century, swans that escaped or were released established wild populations in downstate New York that now number close to 2,000 birds. A separate population of mute swans became established near Rochester in the late 1980s, but past control efforts by DEC and other agencies have helped to limit their numbers.
Mute swans compete with native wildlife for aquatic food plants and nesting areas. In addition, people are unable to use some water areas where the highly territorial birds nest. The goal of the draft plan is to prevent any further mute swan population growth to minimize impacts to native wildlife and habitats, as well as minimize conflicts with property owners and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Mute swans are likely to remain in most areas of Long Island, New York City, and the lower Hudson Valley where they have been seen for many years, but DEC will encourage non-lethal population controls to protect local wildlife and habitats and will authorize control measures to ensure that mute swans do not interfere with human interests.
The draft Mute Swan Plan is available on DEC's website, along with an assessment of public comments.
DEC Announces Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator and Leashed Tracking Dog Examinations: Examinations for individuals seeking a license to practice the sport of falconry, become a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, August 10, 2018, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The exams will run from 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional Offices across the state. A list of DEC Regional Offices can be found on DEC's website. The deadline for registering to take any of these free exams is Friday, July 20, 2018, and exam registration forms can be found on DEC's webpage.
Apprentice Falconry License
Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world and requires a significant commitment in time and effort. Apprentices are limited to possessing one bird, either an American kestrel or a red-tailed hawk A falconry study guide and examination manual are available at no cost from DEC. The cost of a five-year falconry license is $40.
To qualify for the Apprentice Falconry license, applicants must:
score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;
be at least 14 years of age;
possess a valid New York State hunting license; and
maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing falconry raptors.
Wildlife Rehabilitator License
Wildlife rehabilitators provide for the care of injured, sick and orphaned wild animals for the purpose of returning rehabilitated animals to the wild. Prospective applicants are encouraged to gain experience by serving as an assistant to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. A wildlife rehabilitator study guide and examination manual are available at no cost from DEC. There is no cost for the license, which is good for five years.
To qualify for the Wildlife Rehabilitator License, applicants must:
score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;
be at least 16 years of age; and
be interviewed by DEC Regional wildlife staff.
Leashed Tracking Dog Handler
Leashed tracking dog handlers use their dogs to track and recover dead, wounded or injured big game. Leashed tracking dog handlers provide a valuable service in aiding hunters in locating wounded big game that otherwise may go unrecovered. A leashed tracking dog study guide is available at no cost from DEC. There is a $50 license fee for the five-year license and a $25 non-refundable application fee.
To qualify for a Leashed Tracking Dog Handler License, applicants must:
score 80 percent or higher on the written exam; and
possess a valid New York State hunting license.
To apply for any of these exams, visit the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website and fill out an exam registration form. You can mail, fax or email the completed form to: NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 Phone: 518-402-8985, Fax: 518-402-8925, Email: SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov
EIGHT TIPS FOR BOATERS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES AND THEIR PASSENGERS DURING A STORM:
1. Everyone should wear a life jacket at all times while on the water. Storms can create large waves that could knock a passenger from the boat.
2. Monitor the weather around you, and use a weather radio for updates from the National Weather Service. If storms are predicted or are building, pull your boat out of the water or consider postponing your outing.
3. Secure all gear above and below decks.
4. Keep everyone onboard away from electrical and ungrounded components, and remain as low in the boat as possible.
5. Slow down but keep enough power to maintain headway and steering.
6. Turn on your navigation lights.
7. If possible, head for the nearest shore that’s safe to approach. It may be best to ride it out in open water rather than try to approach the shore in heavy wind and waves.
8. Boats should head the bow into the waves at a 45-degree angle. Personal watercrafts should head directly into the waves.
Thinking through these actions in advance can help prepare you in the event that you find yourself on the water when a storm hits. It’s also a good idea to leave a float plan with a friend or relative who isn’t going on the boat with you. Be sure to include where you’re going and when you expect to return so they can follow up to make sure you made it home safely.
The Coast Guard offers free boater education courses that cover instruction on the basic skills required to safely operate a boat or personal watercraft, navigational rules, legal requirements and boating emergencies.
THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:
Release of the Rescued Merlin - Cattaraugus County: On April 18, ECO Robert Nosal responded to a complaint of an injured hawk in the yard of a residence in Randolph. ECO Nosal found the injured merlin, a small falcon slightly larger than an American kestrel, thrashing in some brush. The ECO captured the merlin and transported the bird to the Erie County SPCA, where it was X-rayed and determined to have a broken wing. The merlin underwent surgery for the broken wing and on June 6, ECO Nosal received a call from the SPCA that it was ready to be released. ECO Nosal took the merlin to the same area where it had been captured and released it. The healthy bird immediately flew away.
ECO Nosal releasing the merlin
Busy Day for Boat Patrol - Cayuga County: On June 6, ECOs Mark Colesante and Tim Brown conducted a boat patrol of the Seneca River. While ECO Colesante waited for ECO Brown at the boat lauch, he checked several people fishing from the shore. One woman had 64 sunfish and bluegills in her bucket, 14 over the daily limit. Her husband was found with fish under the limit. However, when ECO Colesante checked the trunk of their vehicle, he discovered more sunfish and bluegills in a cooler mixed with carp and catfish. Overall, the two fishermen were in possession of 134 sunfish. By then, ECO Brown had arrived. He and ECO Colesante issued each angler tickets for taking over the daily limit of sunfish and bluegills. Later that same day, ECO Colesante watched two men using what he believed to be spear guns on the Owasco Outlet at Emerson Park. The ECO approached the two fishermen as they pulled their kayaks up on shore and both men admitted to using sling spears to take fish. The pair had not been successful, but it is unlawful to use sling spears in New York State for freshwater fishing. The two fishermen were issued tickets for fishing by means other than angling.
Fawn First Aid - Onondaga County: On June 7, ECO Rick Head responded to a call on the east side of Syracuse regarding an injured fawn. When ECO Head arrived, he found a young fawn with a serious cut to the right front shoulder. The fawn was bedded down closely to second uninjured fawn. On the advice of a local wildlife rehabilitator, the officer captured the injured deer and brought it to the Marcellus Veterinary Clinic, where Dr. Steven Bruck sutured the wound. Following treatment, the ECO released the young deer back to the original location, close to its sibling and mother.
Strange Rattle in the Engine - Delaware County: On June 11, Lt. Nate Ver Hague and ECO Mark Vencak responded to a complaint of a rattlesnake resting on an engine block in the town of Hancock. The complainant told them that he had opened the hood of his car to jump start the vehicle and heard the distinctive rattle of a snake. He backed away and saw a large rattlesnake resting in the center of the engine block. Disturbed, the snake slithered over to the battery and curled up there. The officers confirmed the snake was a timber rattlesnake seeking shelter. ECO Vencak carefully extracted the snake from the engine compartment as Lt Ver Hague untangled the tail wrapped around part of the engine. The officers released the snake nearby, next to several large boulders - a much more snake-appropriate habitat.
DEER HABITAT IMPROVEMENT: Most fawns in New York are born in late May or early June, and the first few months are a critical period for survival. Fawn survival is heavily influenced by habitat quality, and those fawns that have good hiding cover and quality forage have the odds in their favor.
You can improve habitat for fawns on your lands by promoting native forbs in fields and forests.
• Avoid mowing large fields until mid-August - mowing fields in June can kill or injure fawns. Large, un-mowed fields provide excellent cover from predators and high quality native forage for fawns and their mothers.
• Create patches of young forest within your woodlot – removing overstory trees and allowing more sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor, will stimulate growth of herbaceous plants and new tree seedlings. Fawn survival is typically lower in wooded areas than in areas with some agriculture and fields, but increased greenery on the forest floor improves cover for fawns, helping them to stay camouflaged and protected from predators. It also provides more food for the fawn and its nursing doe. Overstory tree removal is best done during winter or another period outside of the breeding, nesting or brood-rearing season for many wildlife species
• Keep winter in mind – Thinking ahead to winter projects, it is much easier to identify trees by their leaves than by their bark. Summer can be a good time to mark trees for winter-time cutting projects designed to enhance year-round browse and cover. Contact a DEC forester or biologist for advice.
• DEC reminds you, if you happen to find a fawn: If you care, leave it there! For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the care of young wildlife, visit DEC’s website.
Employing these simple practices can help fawns survive into adulthood.
THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php)
22 - Concealed Carry Class - Legal Heat at Cabela’s Cheektowaga Store, 2003 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, NY (5:00 - 9:00 pm) Cabela’s has partnered with Legal Heat, the Nation’s Leading Firearms Training Firm to provide concealed carry classes to meet the qualifying requirements and documentation to obtain the Utah and Arizona concealed carry permits in a fun, informative, non-intimidating class. These permits will allow combined carry reciprocity in approximately 37+ states. Legal Heat's concealed carry class covers firearms safety, handling, transportation, storage, ammunition, self-defense and firearms laws, concealed carry techniques and much more. Legal Heat’s firearm training instructors are all NRA and Utah BCI certified, insured and among the most highly experienced in the industry and can answer your CCW questions. This course typically runs approximately 4 hours. This Legal Heat course does not have a test€or range requirement. The Utah and Arizona permits are open to residents of any state and can be applied for by mail. You do NOT have to reside in the state of UT or AZ to qualify to apply for their concealed carry permits. Register TODAY for this fun and informative class. Seating may be limited. (For information go to https://mylegalheat.com/cabelasor call 877-252-1055 ) (This class may qualify you for the NY permit in several NY counties but has not been formally approved by any NY counties yet.) (DO NOT BRING FIREARMS OR AMMUNITON INTO THE CLASSROOM.)
23 - FREE Kids Fishing Classes at the Oneida Lake Hatchery, Hatchery Road (off NY Route 49),
Constantia, NY (11:00 am – 1:00 pm) Also carp fishing classes included. All bait and tackle provided FREE. (For information email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.)
23 - The Olcott Kids Fishing Derby out of the Town of Newfane Marina (Niagara County) (8:00 am to noon.) Kids age 4 to 15 are eligible. (Call the marina at 716-778-5462 for information.)
23 - A Kids Fishing Contest on Hyde Park Lake in Niagara Falls, NY. (9:00 am – Noon) Held in conjunction with a summer bash. After fishing, try your hand at kayaking with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper at 12:30 p.m. (For information call 716-286-4840)
23 - Fly Fishing 101 at Orvis Buffalo Eastern Hills Mall, 4545 Transit Road, Williamsville, NY (8:00 – 11:00 am) Learn fly-fishing basics in one of our free Fly Fishing 101 classes. Perfect for beginners of all ages. Fly Fishing 101 will provide you with free lessons on fly casting and outfit rigging. Each participant will receive special offers on the essential equipment needed to get started. (For information/register contact Drew Nisbet - Orvis-Buffalo, 716-276-7200 firstname.lastname@example.org)
23 – 2nd Annual WNY Heroes – Military Veterans Walleye Fun Fish Day at Dunkirk Harbor. (Date is tentative.) (For information call Captain Jim Steel, 716-481-5348)
23 - Erie County Teach-Me-To-Fish Event at Chestnut Ridge Park Orchard Park, 6121 Chestnut Ridge Road, Orchard Park, NY (For information call Joe McAdams 716-570-3436)
23 – The 25th Annual Lew Meade Memorial Youth Fishing Tournament on Cassadaga Lake. (7:00 – 11:00 am) Hosted by the Cassadaga Lakes Association, this event is open to the public for age groups 7 years old and under, 8-10, 11-13 and 14-16 years old. Fishing will be from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. Trophies will be presented in each age group and for boys and girls. In addition, first place winners will receive their own kayaks. (For information call Steve Wickmark at 716-595-2900.)
23 - Muskies Inc #69 Tournament at Chautauqua Lake. (7:00 am - 3:30 pm) (For information call Clint Nicholson at 585-330-4087.)
23 - Kayak Lessons (Beginner and Intermediate) at the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium, 3369 Guyanoga Road, Branchport, NY (9:00 am – 12:00 pm) Beginning kayaking skills, taught by Pat Atkinson, NYS Outdoor Guide & FLM&A Educator, include safe entry and exit, equipment, forward, reverse, sweeps and draw strokes.
Intermediate kayaking skills, taught by Dan Murn, professional Kayaking Coach based out of Fairport, NY, include setting up seating position for comfort and effect using the whole body, refining strokes in each phase, the catch, pull, recovery and exit, reading moving water to get to your destination, and finding a landmark to focus on, such as a tree, island, bridge, boat dock, etc. Registration fee includes equipment rental. Children under the ages of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. (Cost: $20.00) (For information/register contact 315-595-2200 email@example.com)