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conservation chatter corner

with ron schroder

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YOUR IN ON THE OUTDOORS FOR WESTERN NEW YORK
www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com

 

4 - 2 – 21

 

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.

 

NEW 2021 FRESHWATER FISHING REGULATIONS GUIDE AVAILABLE: New for 2021, DEC streamlined its annual fishing regulations guide. By and large, contents in the new guide are limited to a summary of the laws and regulations anglers need to know before hitting the water. Waterbodies are now listed alphabetically by DEC region to make looking up regulations easier. Also, the guide's smaller size will allow anglers to easily keep a copy in their tacklebox.
You can download the new guide online and print it at home. Hard copies will be available in the near future wherever sporting licenses are sold.

2021 NY Fishing Regulations Guide Cover  

 

MOSS BALL ALERT: Invasive zebra mussels have been found in and on aquarium “moss balls”. DEC is urging pet and aquarium stores, as well as consumers, to immediately remove and properly dispose of commercially purchased moss balls for aquariums. Consumers should be advised that moss ball products purchased from PetSmart and Petco may be subject to a voluntary product recall. It is important that you remove any moss balls —that were purchased within the last year— from your tank and properly dispose of them. Zebra mussel larvae are so small that you cannot see them and they can quickly take over your tank, damage filter systems, and, if released, cause great harm to waterbodies. Here's what you should do:

Dispose of any moss balls from your tank in a sealed garbage bag. Other aquarium plants should be disposed of too as they may harbor zebra mussels from the moss balls.

If you're able to disinfect your tank (after safely removing any animals) you should apply household bleach - one cup of bleach per gallon of water - and let it sit for 10 minutes before disposing of water down the sink or toilet.

Be sure to disinfect filters, gravel, and structures with a solution of bleach as well. Water from filters must also be treated with household bleach before disposing of water down the sink or drain.

For larger tanks that cannot be easily drained, please email isinfo@dec.ny.gov for instructions.

If you find zebra mussels in your tank or on a moss ball, please take a photo if possible and report the observation, via email at isinfo@dec.ny.gov, or by phone at (518) 402-9405.

Remember, just because you can't see zebra mussels does not mean their larvae are not present.

Close-up of zebra mussel in moss ball

 

WINTER FISH KILLS: New Yorkers may be seeing more dead fish in the water this spring than in past years. The winter of 2020-2021 created optimal conditions for winterkills, which usually occur in shallow waterbodies with aquatic plant growth.

Winterkill occurs when snow that accumulates on the ice reduces the amount of light penetrating through the water, inhibiting the photosynthesis cycle in plants and reducing the amount of oxygen (a byproduct of the cycle) available to fish and other organisms. The problem is exacerbated when fish die, as the decomposition process also consumes any available oxygen in the pond.

To report a fish kill contact your Regional DEC Fisheries Office.

Fish Kill

 

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR AMPHIBIANS CROSSING THE ROAD: With the arrival of spring temperatures, amphibians have begun their annual migrations to woodland pools to breed. Often, they must cross roads to reach these pools. In New York, this migration usually occurs on rainy nights in late March and early April, when the night air temperature is above 40F. When these conditions exist there can be explosive, "big night" migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move. Volunteers can help document these locations and help amphibians like wood frogs, spotted salamanders, American toads, or spring peepers safely cross the road. Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season. Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow-moving; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Wilderness Rescue: Town of Italy, Yates County: On Mar. 20 at 4:20 p.m., Forest Ranger Dormer was dispatched to a rescue in the High Tor Wildlife Management Area. A 20-year-old individual from Geneseo was hiking with friends and fell into the Parrish Gully. Ranger Dormer responded, along with DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officer Levanway and DEC Bureau of Environmental Crimes Investigation (BECI) Lt. Didion. Once on scene, the Naples Fire Department and the Ontario County Ropes Rescue Team quickly located the subject and hoisted him out to a waiting UTV. The subject was brought to a roadside ambulance but refused transport to a local hospital, and instead sought additional treatment on his own.

Noises in the Dark - Steuben County: On March 16, ECO Baker received reports from New York State Police of a dead bear in Bradford. ECO Baker responded, along with ECOs Fuerch and Dussault. The Officers determined the bear had been shot in the head and interviewed the suspect. The man said he was in his house getting tools when he came out and was startled by an animal approximately 20 yards away. The man went back into the house and grabbed his spotlight and gun and then realized it was a bear. The man said he yelled and shot in the air to frighten the bear, but when it didn't leave, he shot the bear. The suspect was charged with taking a bear out of season and multiple other violations.

Turkey Caught Breaking and Entering - Erie County: On March 23, an Erie County woman had a rude awakening when a turkey broke into her home. The woman heard a large bang and crash from her upstairs bedroom and discovered a turkey had busted through a glass window. The woman confined the bird to an upstairs bathroom by closing the door until ECO Machnica arrived to assist. The turkey flew around the bathroom, crashing into mirrors and walls, leaving broken glass everywhere. ECO Machnica contacted ECO Koepf for assistance to remove the turkey. The two Officers used a neighbor's fishing net to pin down the turkey and then grabbed the bird and brought it outside before it could cause further damage. The ECOs then set the turkey free and helped the woman clean-up the mess left behind.

a wild turkey standing on top of various household items in the bathroom

Turkey perched atop the mess created in bathroom of Erie County home

DU REPORT TO NY MEMBERS:

Dear New York DU member:

Thanks to your support, Ducks Unlimited and numerous partners protected, enhanced or restored 369 acres of wetland and grassland habitat on five New York project sites in 2020, greatly improving water quality and wildlife habitat.

The milestones in 2020 were achieved with field staff taking extra precautions and using creative solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The acres conserved added to a sizeable historical investment in New York. Over the last 30 years, Ducks Unlimited has conserved nearly 57,000 wetland and grassland acres across the state, investing more than $41 million in wetland habitats.

Partners included the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; Audubon; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Cargill and North American Wetlands Conservation Act grants.

"More than 60% of New York's wetlands have been lost due to human development," said Ed Farley, DU regional biologist for Wisconsin. "Our landscape-level conservation efforts help more than ducks. Wetlands benefit local residents by reducing flooding risk, improving water quality and boosting the economy."

Highlights from 2020 include:

Cayuga County

Ducks Unlimited supporters celebrated the completion of the Loop Road project, a 140-acre restoration of Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area. The restoration included 125 acres of emergent marsh and 15 acres of grassland along the Seneca River. The site transformed a former agricultural field back into a natural wetland floodplain with shallow areas. The project improves water quality in the Seneca River by reducing soil erosion and sediment and nutrient run-off from rainfall. The management area is popular with hunters, birders and hikers.

Erie County

DU and partners engineered new channels and potholes at the 150-acre Buckhorn Marsh, the largest remaining emergent marsh habitat in the highly developed Niagara River area on Grand Island, just south of the Niagara Power Dam. The project restored connectivity from the Niagara River and throughout the marsh system.

Genesee County

Ducks Unlimited and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation enhanced 123 acres of habitat in Windmill Marsh at Oak Orchard Wildlife Management Area. The project allows state managers to draw down water levels to control invasive vegetation that has degraded the marsh.

Monroe County

The 191-acre Cranberry Pond is a Lake Ontario coastal marsh that's vital to the semi-annual migrations of waterfowl and other birds of the Atlantic Flyway. The marsh has been degraded by cattails, and Ducks Unlimited and the New York Audubon Society will improve habitat by improving channels and potholes. In addition to providing quality staging areas for birds, the enhanced marsh will be important to human recreation. Located near the urban center of Rochester, Cranberry Pond will be an inviting location for hunting, kayaking and birding.

For  a complete report of 2020 activities and a look into what's planned for 2021 and beyond, see the New York Conservation Report and visit https://www.ducks.org/new-york.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

 

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

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3 - 26 – 21

 

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.

 

2020 BEAR HARVEST TOTALS ANNOUNCED: New York State bear hunters took 1,723 black bears during the 2020 hunting seasons.

Hunters took an estimated 1,152 bears in the Southern Zone, comparable to the record set in 2019, and 11 percent greater than the recent five-year average. While take in the regular season was lower than last year, hunters had record success during the early and bow seasons.

In the Northern Zone, hunters harvested an estimated 571 bears-the highest number since 2015. A productive early season in the Northern Zone is generally followed by a relatively low regular season harvest, with the reverse anticipated in the year to come. The 2020 bear harvest followed this pattern, with an early season harvest that increased four-fold from 2019, and a regular season harvest that dropped approximately 25 percent from 2019 numbers.

Bear Harvest Totals

Area/Season                   2020                    2019                    2015-2019 Average

Northern Zone                 571                      326                      459

Early                                  298                      64                        165

Bow                                   47                        19                        40

Muzzleloader                   64                        30                        53

Regular                           161                      213                      201                                                               

Youth                                 1                          0                          0

Southern Zone              1,152                   1,179                   1,035

Early                                  366                      184                      187

Bow                                   417                      352                      336

Muzzleloader                   3                          17                        15

Regular                           356                      619                      490

Youth                                 10                        7                          9

Statewide                        1,723                   1,505                   1,495    

Notable Numbers

3: the number of bears harvested per 10 square miles in Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) 3K, which includes southern Sullivan County and a portion of Orange County. WMU 3K had the greatest bear harvest density of any unit, but the town of Monroe in Orange County yielded 4.5 bears for every 10 square miles.

116: the greatest number of bears reported taken on any one day was recorded on September 12, the opening day of the early bear season in the Southern Zone.

550 pounds: the heaviest dressed-weight bear reported to DEC in 2020, taken in the town of Greenville, Orange County. Scaled weights of dressed bears were submitted for 26 percent of bears taken in 2020.

13: the number of tagged bears reported in the 2020 harvest. These 13 bears included two bears originally tagged in Pennsylvania and one from New Jersey. The remainder were originally tagged in New York for a variety of reasons, including research, nuisance response, relocated urban bears, or released rehabilitated bears.

911: the number of hunter-killed bears from which DEC collected teeth for age analysis in 2020. Hunters who reported their harvest and submitted a tooth for age analysis will receive a 2020 Black Bear Management Coordinator Patch. Results of the age analysis are expected to be available later this year.

DEC's harvest estimates rely on successful hunters reporting their harvest. For more information on game harvest reporting, visit DEC's website. A complete summary of the 2020 bear harvest with results and maps by county, town, and WMU is available on DEC's website.

 

DEC AND WATERFOWL HUNTER TASK FORCE SEEKING INPUT ON 2021-2022 CANADA GOOSE AND SPECIAL SEASON DATES: DEC and the Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces are seeking input on your preferences for Canada goose, brant, scaup, youth, and military hunting season dates. Season frameworks for each zone:

- In the West Central, East Central, Northeast, Lake Champlain, and Hudson Valley are anticipated to be 30 days long with a one-bird bag limit;

-In the South Zone where very few migratory geese are harvested will remain 80 days with a 5-bird bag limit.

- The Long Island goose zone season lengths and bag limits will remain the same length as last year.

- Brant season is expected to be 50 days long with a two-bird bag limit.

- The scaup season will be a “hybrid season” similar to 2020-21, where the bag limit will be two per day for 20 days and a one-bird limit for the remaining 40 days.

Please provide your feedback to: seasonwaterfowl@dec.ny.gov. Comments will be forwarded to the appropriate task force members. Be sure to include the waterfowl hunting zone that your comments apply to in the e-mail subject line.

 

ANTICIPATED 2021-2022 DUCK SEASON DATES: Starting with the 2019-2020 duck season, DEC, with the assistance of Cornell University and the Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces, implemented a structured process for selecting duck season dates in the four main zones of the state. The process incorporated input from a greater number of duck hunters through a survey and recent duck migration and abundance trends that were specific to each zone to maximize opportunity. With no changes anticipated in the federal frameworks (i.e., season length) for 2021-2022, the duck seasons dates in each zone will be:

Northeastern Zone: October 2nd - October 24th and October 30st - December 5th

Southeastern Zone: October 16th - November 28th and December 4th - December 19th

Western Zone: October 16th - November 7th and November 27th - January 2rd

Long Island Zone: November 2oth - November 28th and December 11th - January 30th

For more information on how these dates were determined for each zone, visit DEC's website. DEC intends to reassess hunter values after the 2023-2024 hunting season. At that time, DEC will also update duck migration data to ensure there have been no significant changes to the timing of duck movements through each zone.

HELP PREVENT RABBIT HEMORRHAGIC DISEASE FROM HARMING NY’S RABBITS AND HARES:

Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease (RHD) is a fatal virus that affects rabbits and hares. A new strain, RHDV2, was identified in 2010. In 2020, RHDV2 jumped to wild rabbits and hares in the southwestern U.S., where it spread to six states within four months. The virus can infect wild rabbits and hares in addition to domestic rabbits. RHDV2 is extremely hardy, easily transmitted, and highly lethal to rabbits and hares. It does not infect humans or other animals like dogs or cats. RHDV2 spreads easily through direct contact between rabbits or contact with contaminated environments or objects.
The most likely routes of introduction to New York are through transported domestic rabbits, internationally imported rabbit products, or people who travel to outbreak areas in the Southwest. Below are ways you can help stop the spread:

If you keep domestic rabbits, prevent intermingling with other rabbits. If you get new rabbits, quarantine them for two weeks and use separate equipment and clothing to care for them.

If you are a wildlife rehabilitator who cares for wild rabbits, do not keep domestic rabbits as pets or have contact with domestic rabbits; maintain good disinfection techniques and change PPE between rabbit litters or individual rabbits.

If you are a rabbit or hare hunter, avoid contact with domestic rabbits, and do not bring rabbit carcasses killed in other states to New York.

If you are a hiker, camper, or traveler, and you have been to known RHDV2 outbreak areas, disinfect footwear with a 10 percent bleach solution (one part household bleach, nine parts water) before going afield in New York.

Please report any unusual wild rabbit mortalities you encounter to the DEC Wildlife Health Unit at (518) 478-2203.

Read the RHDV2 factsheet (PDF) to learn more about how it spreads, ways to prevent it, and what you can do to help.

a rabbit in the grass

 

EXTENDED TRAPPING SEASONS IN CENTRAL AND WESTERN NEW YORK:

DEC reminds trappers about extended beaver trapping season dates for Central and Western New York. DEC extended the beaver trapping season in these regions until April 7, 2021, after new regulations were enacted in November 2020.

The beaver season date changes are part of a larger regulation change affecting mink, muskrat, and beaver trapping season dates in New York State. DEC first proposed the changes following a 2017 survey of furbearer trappers and hunters about season timing preferences. Trappers and furbearer hunters indicated a preference for dates that would maximize pelt quality to promote wise, sustainable use of the abundant furbearer resources in New York. The new season dates will expand trapper opportunities in Central and Western New York, streamline water trapping dates, and more effectively manage the state's healthy beaver population. The full summary of changes is outlined below.

Beaver Trapping: Beaver trapping season throughout the entire Southern Zone (with the exception of New York City and Long Island) will now run from Nov. 10 through April 7. In the Northern Zone, the beaver trapping season is unchanged and is open from Nov. 1 through April 7. Please note that the printed version of the 2020-2021 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide does not reflect the newly adopted season dates.

Mink & Muskrat Trapping: In Central and Western New York (WMUs 6P, 7F, 7H, 7J, 7M, 7P, 7R, 7S, 8A, 8C, 8F, 8G, 8H, 8J, 8M, 8N, 8P, 8R, 8S, 8T, 8W, 8X, 8Y, 9A, 9C, 9F, 9G, 9H, 9J, 9K, 9M, 9N, 9P, 9R, 9S, 9T, 9W, 9X, 9Y), the mink and muskrat trapping season will now run from Nov. 10 through Feb. 15 each year, reflecting an earlier season opening date. The season in southeastern New York remains unchanged, running from Nov. 10 through April 7. Beginning this fall, the mink and muskrat trapping season in the Northern Zone will run from Nov. 1 through April 15, a slightly later opening date.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Wilderness Rescue: Town of Fabius, Onondaga County: On Nov. 27 at 4:05 p.m., DEC's Central Dispatch received a call from a hiker lost in the Highland Forest County Park with a hiking companion. The pair became disoriented while hiking the trails and concerned when it started to get dark. Forest Ranger Chappell arrived on scene at 4:50 p.m. Along with members of the Fabius Fire Department, rescuers located the hikers from Liverpool and Fayetteville at 5:15 p.m., and escorted them out of the woods.

Wilderness Rescue: Town of Persia, Cattaraugus County: On Jan. 2 at 11:00 a.m., Forest Rangers were notified of a pair of stranded kayakers on Cattaraugus Creek. The two men had been paddling in high water conditions when one paddler flipped and lost his kayak. The second subject lost his kayak attempting to grab the first. One kayaker landed on the Erie County side of the creek and was able to hike out on his own. The other kayaker landed on the Cattaraugus County side of the creek in an area without safe trail access. Forest Ranger Sprague responded to the scene and rappelled down to kayaker. The Ranger harnessed the man to be raised out on a system set up by Forest Ranger Rogers and Gowanda Fire Department and Ambulance. Members of the District 1 Rescue Team also responded to assist. The kayaker did not require medical assistance and was released.

Forest Ranger climbs a steep embankment while rescuing kayaker

Kayaker rescued from Cattaraugus Creek

Sniffing Out Trouble - Oswego County: DEC's Division of Law Enforcement recently completed a three-month K9 Basic Training School in Pulaski with three newly acquired young German Shepherd dogs. The K9 teams learned to track humans through all terrain and environmental conditions. The teams then advanced to burnt gunpowder detection training to help find spent casing/shot shell components and firearms in the field. From there, the K9 teams moved on to wildlife detection where the dogs were trained to detect venison and bear meat. They were put through numerous real-life scenarios such as wildlife being hidden by poachers or taken illegally. Over the next year, the three K9 teams will be certified in identifying at least one additional wildlife species. The dogs' keen sense of smell assists in police investigations, including illegal hunting crimes and the taking of wildlife across New York State. The K9s also trained in basic obedience, handler protection, and criminal apprehension.

ECO poses for photo with K9 partner
ECO Dussault and K9 Vinny, named after retired DEC Captain William Vincent Powell

First Call, High Stakes - Oneida County: Early into his shift on March 6, ECO Tabor began a snowmobile patrol when Oneida County 911 reported a possible overdose victim. The closest Officer in the area, ECO Tabor responded to the location to find a non-responsive subject in the back seat of a vehicle. The patient's daughter and son-in-law were attempting CPR when ECO Tabor took over chest compressions while the son-in-law provided rescue breaths. The patient exhibited bouts of gasping and non-responsiveness until Woodgate Fire Department paramedics arrived on scene. Paramedics administered Narcan and supplemental oxygen and the patient responded to the treatment. ECO Tabor helped move the patient to an ambulance for further treatment.

Second Call, Low Water - Oneida County: Following his response to the medical emergency on March 6, ECO Tabor was dispatched to the Black River where Forestport residents noticed the flowing waters of the river had stopped and pools of water appeared to be drying up. ECO Tabor interviewed several individuals and determined the Forestport Reservoir's hydroelectric dam had a broken sensor, which caused the water control system to malfunction and divert much of the reservoir water into the adjacent Black River Canal. Fortunately, the water reentered the river approximately one-quarter mile downstream without causing any significant issues. A contractor manually fixed the gates to restore water flow to the Black River and a more extensive fix under the oversight of DEC's Dam Safety Section and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is underway.

snowy river flowing, but very low water levels
DEC investigated a broken sensor that prevented water from flowing to the Black River

Pair charged with illegally shooting deer from a road - Chautauqua County: On Dec. 12, ECOs partnered with Town of Ellicott Police to arrest two men on numerous violations of Environmental Conservation Law following the illegal taking of a deer in the town of Poland. Investigators found that at approximately 9 p.m., one of the men shot a deer from Sprague Hill Road with a spotlight, on posted property, and with a rifle equipped with a silencer. Officers determined that the rifle and silencer were provided by the other man who was also at the scene when the deer was shot. ECO Kinney began investigating after a landowner reported blood and drag marks in the snow near his property shortly after the incident. The men, both 22, were charged with the illegal taking of a deer at night with a light, discharging a firearm from a roadway, using a silencer, and trespassing. The men are due in the Town of Poland Court to answer the charges in February.

Crime Doesn’t Pay: Macomb County, Michigan: Three men from Harrison Township, Michigan, were arraigned, sentenced and fined nearly $20,000 in the 42nd District Court in New Baltimore on charges related to illegally hunting and baiting waterfowl in December.

Richard Schaller, 52, Robert Kucinski, 49, and Timothy Morris, 58, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 misdemeanor charges, including:

Taking, possessing an over-limit of Canada geese.

Taking, possessing an over-limit of mallards.

Taking, possessing an over-limit of hen mallards.

Taking, hunting waterfowl over a baited area.

Additionally, Schaller was charged with one count of placing bait for the purpose of taking waterfowl.

Each man was ordered to pay $6,500 in reimbursement to the state – $500 per waterfowl, totaling $19,500 – plus court fines totaling more than $3,000 collectively. Each man also permanently forfeited the firearms used to take the waterfowl and lost the right to hunt waterfowl through February 2022.

 

PENNSYLVANIA HARVESTS 389,000 DEER: Pennsylvania was one of only three states that harvested more than 300,000 deer and Keystone State hunters blew past that mark by nearly 90,000. When Burhans submitted the PGC annual report to the state’s General Assembly recently, it showed Pennsylvania hunters took advantage of the extra days and they bagged more than 389,000 white-tailed deer. Even with the significant increase in those heading out to the woods and fields, Pennsylvania hunters did so responsibly, receiving fewer wildlife game violations than all of last year. Burhans praised Pennsylvania hunters.

 

Residential Brush Burning Prohibited in New York State March 16 Through May 14:

Air Burning leavesThe annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning will begin March 16, and run through May 14. With spring approaching, DEC is reminding residents that conditions for wildfires are heightened in springtime when most wildfires occur.

Even though some areas of the state remain blanketed in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. DEC will post a Fire Danger Map rating for the 2021 fire season on DEC's website once there is a moderate risk anywhere in the state.

Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. In 2020, DEC Forest Rangers extinguished 192 wildfires that burned a total of more than 1,122 acres. In addition, local fire departments, many of which are volunteer, all too often have to leave their jobs and families to respond to wildfires caused by illegal debris fires.

Forest Rangers, DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs), and local authorities enforce the burn ban. Violators of the State's open burning regulation are subject to criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's website.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

 

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

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3 - 19 – 21

 

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.

 

NO RAINBOW TROUT SAMPLING EVENTS THIS YEAR FOR FINGER LAKES TRIBUTARIES: The 2021 rainbow trout sampling events for Naples Creek in Ontario County and Cold Brook in Steuben County will not be held as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 

525 ACRES IN WESTERN NEW YORK AQUIRED FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has acquired of 525 acres in the town of North Collins, Erie County, to create the Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The land offers hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife viewing, and other recreational opportunities and becomes the largest State-owned WMA in Erie County.   

"The new Clear Lake Wildlife Management Area will provide outstanding wildlife-based recreational opportunities for visitors while protecting important habitat for many local species,” said DEC Region 9 Director Abby Snyder. “DEC will continue to work with our public and private partners to conserve critical parcels like this that connect our communities to natural resources.”

Transferred to DEC by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the Clear Lake WMA includes the Clear Lake Reservoir and surrounding scenic property. The 43-acre lake offers excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and provides important habitat for turtles, salamanders, and waterfowl such as Canada geese, wood ducks, and mallards. The lake was constructed in the 1920s for use as a water reservoir for the former Gowanda Psychiatric Center and was later used by the Collins Correctional Facility.

An ideal location for wildlife habitat, the parcel’s diverse landscape includes mature forest, wetlands, brushland, and open fields that support a variety of species including ruffed grouse, wild turkey, woodcock, white-tailed deer, beaver, muskrat, raccoon, red and gray fox, and migratory songbirds.   

Clear Lake WMA will be actively managed by DEC Region 9’s Bureau of Wildlife with the primary goal of preserving and enhancing the property’s wildlife habitat and providing active wildlife-dependent recreation. In addition, non-wildlife dependent recreational activities such as hiking, kayaking, and canoeing are also allowed as long as these activities do not impede or interfere with the primary wildlife management usage goals of the area. Prohibited activities at Clear Lake WMA include swimming, camping, horseback riding, mountain biking, target shooting, or the use of motorized boats, boat trailers, ATVs, or snowmobiles. Please check on-site signage for authorized activities when visiting.

Clear Lake WMA can be accessed on the north side of Genesee Road in North Collins, west of Route 75.  DEC recently installed two parking areas to improve public access to the site. The parking area located on the lake’s east side is designated for use by visitors hand-launching small boats, kayaks, or canoes. Please note that use of trailers is not allowed.

WMAs are lands owned by New York State under the control and management of DEC's Division of Fish and Wildlife. These lands are acquired primarily for wildlife reproduction and survival, as well as providing for wildlife-based recreational opportunities. WMAs provide exceptional areas for the public to interact with a wide variety of wildlife species. There are 123 WMAs across the state, comprising approximately 235,000 acres.

Since the early 1900s, the WMA program established permanent public access to lands in New York State for the conservation and promotion of its fish and wildlife resources. Clear Lake WMA will be maintained by federal funding from the Pittman Robertson Act, now known as Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration, which apportions revenues generated from the excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition and archery equipment to state wildlife agencies for conservation efforts and hunter education programs.   

Maps and additional information about Clear Lake WMA can be found on DEC’s website.

 

 LAKE ERIE STEELHEAD: SPRING FISHING FORECAST: Angler with steelheadFor those impatiently waiting for the opening of the trout fishing season on April 1st, you might want to consider making a trip to one of New York’s Great Lakes tributaries, where the spring steelhead season is already in full swing. Angler surveys (PDF) conducted on New York’s Lake Erie tributaries show that April typically has one of the highest catch rates of the season, with rising temperatures, melting snow, and spring rains all pointing to steelhead runs heating up in the coming weeks. Each tributary responds differently to spring runoff, so monitoring the USGS stream gauges at this time of year is critical. Large tributaries may be unfishable for weeks, but the smaller tributaries may have great conditions that can save a fishing trip. However, don’t wait too long as spring runs of fish can come in waves but leave just as quickly. Steelhead fishing offers a great opportunity to get out this spring and target one of the fiercest, most acrobatic fish available in New York waters.

 

ONLINE FALCONRY, WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR, AND LEASHED TRACKING DOG EXAMS SCHEDULED: 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, April 30. To ensure access to the examinations, and prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC is offering exams online this year instead of in-person. The exams will be available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on April 30. Registrants will have two hours to take each exam.

To register for any of these exams, click on the exam registration link and follow the directions provided. An email will be sent acknowledging registration.

Apprentice Falconry License

Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world and requires a significant commitment of 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 on the DEC website at no cost. 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 care for 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 on the DEC website at no cost. There is no cost for the five-year wildlife rehabilitation license.

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 by aiding hunters in locating wounded big game that otherwise may go unrecovered. A leashed tracking dog study guide is available on the DEC website at no cost. There is a $50 license fee for the five-year leashed tracking dog 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 register for these exams, visit the DEC Special Licenses Unit webpage. The link to the registration web page is provided on each of the individual license web pages. For questions or assistance, please contact the Special Licenses Unit at: NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 Phone: 518-402-8985, Fax: 518-402-8925, Email: SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov.

 

NEW YORK'S ANGLER ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS PROGRAM - 2020 RECAP: Did you know DEC has a program that recognizes anglers that catch large fish? Between the three categories (State Record, Annual Award and Catch & Release) and the 40+ eligible fish species, the Angler Achievement Awards program offers many opportunities for anglers to submit their qualifying catch.

Here's how the 2020 program shook out.
Of the 145 total entries submitted, an overwhelming majority (126) were considered under the Catch & Release Category. Of those, over half (70) were largemouth and smallmouth bass catches. This makes sense because they are the most popular sportfish in New York. Ten anglers submitted their kept fish under the Annual Award Category, and three lucky anglers established new state records! One was a tie.

1 lb. 9 oz. Pumpkinseed - Caught by Jordan Tontarski on January 26, 2020 from the Black River in Jefferson County. (This tied a record previously set in 1994 from Indian Lake in State record rock bassHamilton County by R. Kennard Mosher.)

3 lb. 8 oz. White Bass - Caught by Morgan Fonzi on May 6,

2020 from the Lower Niagara River in Niagara County.

2 lb. 0 oz. Rock Bass - Caught by Jason Leusch on May 24, 2020 from Port Bay on Lake Ontario, Wayne County.

To read more about the 2020 entries, visit the Angler Achievement Awards webpage. 

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:
Wildland Fire: Town of Ossian, Livingston County:
On Oct. 7, Acting Lt. Staples was contacted by DEC Operations staff because they could smell and see smoke at Ossian State Forest but couldn't locate a fire. Operations staff later called back and said that they had found the small ground fire. Forest Rangers Dormer and Cordell responded with a six-wheel ATV equipped with a pump and worked on suppressing the one-tenth-of-an-acre fire along with Fire Warden Clark's assistance over a period of five days. Ranger Dormer determined the cause of the fire to be an improperly extinguished campfire. For more information about fire safety when camping, go to DEC's website.

Forest Ranger in the woods monitoring a smoky wildfire
A Forest Ranger monitors a small ground fire at Ossian State Forest

Spearing Salmon at Eighteen Mile Creek - Town of Newfane, Niagara County: In the early morning hours of Oct. 18, DEC's Division of Law Enforcement dispatch received a complaint about four men in Eighteen Mile Creek spearing and netting salmon. The complainant reported that two of the men scared the salmon while the other two men speared the fish. The caller shared a description of the poachers and waited for responding units. The responding ECO contacted the Niagara County Sheriff's Office for assistance on scene. When the Officers arrived, they spotted one of the men bringing salmon and a spear to a vehicle. The responding Officers detained the subject until the ECO arrived. The suspects face charges of fishing without a valid license, taking fish by means other than angling, illegal possession of spear on closed waters, fishing a half-hour after sunset until a half-hour before sunrise, and disturbing of waters with intent to drive fish.

photo of confiscated net and spear
Illegal fishing materials used by alleged salmon poachers

Firewood Detail Prevents Invasive Species - Tompkins County: On Oct. 23, Lieutenant Fay organized a joint firewood / invasive species checkpoint at the entrance to Robert H. Treman State Park in the town of Ithaca with a team of Zone 4 ECOs and Foresters from the DEC Division of Lands and Forests. Team members checked incoming campers for firewood transported more than 50 miles, which is a violation of state law. During the detail, the ECOs and DEC staff confiscated two bundles of firewood. The responsible parties were unaware of the regulations but after being educated about the transport of invasive pests in untreated firewood, freely turned in the unlawful firewood for proper destruction.

October is National Firewood Awareness Month and the DEC Division of Law Enforcement is assisting agency partners with outreach, education, and enforcement of firewood transportation regulations. Many people bring firewood as they head out to camp, hunt, or enjoy the great outdoors, but most don't realize their wood may be hiding the eggs, larvae, spores, adults, or even seeds of invasive threats. Transporting infested firewood allows invasive species to spread further and faster than these pests could on their own. For more information, visit DEC's website.

long line of RVs wait for ECOs to look at their firewood
Firewood detail in Tompkins County

Lost Hikers Located - Cortland County: On Oct. 25, ECO Kostuk responded to a call from Cortland County 911 for two lost hikers in Cuyler Hill State Forest in the town of Truxton. When Officer Kostuk arrived on the scene, he spoke to the son of the lost hikers, who stated he became separated from his parents when they chose to avoid hiking a more difficult section of the trail. The son provided ECO Kostuk with his parents' last known location and the Officer went to work. Coordinating with Cortland County Dispatch, the ECO eventually located the couple at a lodge just off the main Finger Lakes Trail. Both hikers were in good health, albeit shaken up. ECO Kostuk escorted the pair out of the woods and back to their vehicle, where they were reunited with their son.

Wilderness Search: Town of Collins, Erie County: On Nov. 7 at 6:00 p.m., Forest Ranger Rogers was contacted by Erie County Sheriff's Deputies about two lost hikers on the north side of the Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area. Once on scene, Ranger Rogers was accompanied by a Deputy to the coordinates provided by Erie County Dispatch, locating the lost hikers from Corfu. Based upon their location, Ranger Rogers hiked the subjects out to the Button Road access instead of returning to the Holcomb Pond trailhead. The accompanying Deputy contacted his counterparts on the roadside and directed them go to that location so the hikers could be transported back to their vehicle.

Wildland Fire: Town of Ossian, Livingston County: On Nov. 8 at 6:55 a.m., Central Dispatch received a call concerning a fire on Ossian State Forest. Forest Rangers Cordell and Dormer responded and worked with local volunteer fire departments to establish a control line around the fire. Forest Rangers Thaine and Wickens also responded to assist. By 5:00 p.m., there was a control line around the 48-acre fire and all resources had cleared the scene. On Nov. 9, Rangers returned to the fire to continue suppression efforts and investigate its cause, which is currently unknown.

Forest Ranger in the woods helping exstinguish a forest fire
DEC Forest Ranger responds to fire at Ossian State Forest

A Deer at the Ballpark - Monroe County: On Nov. 8, the City of Rochester Police Department contacted ECO Muchow to assist with a deer trapped in a gate at Frontier Field, home of the Rochester Red Wings baseball team. Rochester officers tried to push the deer through the gate but were unsuccessful. ECO Muchow asked an employee of Frontier Field for tools to try to bend the bars to free the deer. The employee came through with two chain hoists that worked perfectly to make a little more room for ECO Muchow to lift the deer and pushed her through. The deer ran away and did not appear to be injured.

Deer with its back end stuck in the metal bars of a fence
Deer trapped in a gate at a Rochester baseball field.
 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

 

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

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3 - 12 – 21

 

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.

 

DEC TO RESUME IN-PERSON HUNTER EDUCATION CLASSES APRIL 1: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that instructors will resume holding in-person, instructor-led Hunter Education Program (HEP) courses starting April 1, 2021. DEC will continue to offer online hunter education courses, as well.

COVID-19 safety protocols will be followed in every in-person course, including health screening upon arrival, mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, smaller class sizes, and sanitizing hands and equipment.

In-person courses are free and taught by volunteer HEP instructors. Courses are offered in hunter, bowhunter, trapper, and waterfowl hunter education. Registration is required and all in-person courses require mandatory homework that must be completed prior to participating in the class. For more information, or to register for a HEP course, visit the Hunter Education Program page on DEC's website.

Although the number of courses offered may be limited this spring, interested participants are encouraged to check back often as new courses may be added. Online courses are also available. The cost of the online hunter education course is $19.95. The course can be found on DEC's hunter-ed website. DEC also continues to offer an online bowhunter education course.

Since March 2020, DEC has seen more than a 12 percent increase in hunting and fishing license sales compared to sales from the previous 12-month period. During this time, which roughly coincides with New York State on PAUSE, resident turkey permits have increased more than 13 percent and junior hunting licenses increased by more than 25 percent. Certain types of lifetime licenses also increased by as much as 50 percent. A combination of factors, including the availability of online hunter education for new hunters and more time available to participate in the hunting and other activities as New Yorkers looked for recreational options during the pandemic, likely contributed to the increase.

 

NEW YORK DEC WORKS TO IMPROVE BROWN TROUT GENETICS: Staff from DEC Regions 6 and 7 Fisheries Units, along with the Rome Fish Disease Control Unit (Rome Lab), recently completed a wild brown trout collection on upper Oriskany Creek in Madison County. That section of the creek has not been stocked since the early 1990s because of the healthy wild trout population present. These “wild” trout are naturalized “Rome Strain” fish which exhibit “the right stuff” for success in New York streams.

Milt (sperm) is collected from the “Oriskany” males and transported back to the Rome Lab where it’s mixed with eggs from “hatchery” females. Infusing wild fish genetics and traits into the DEC hatchery brood stock better adapts these “new” Rome Strain brown trout to life in streams after stocking, ultimately increasing their survival and recruitment to a fishery. While the project is in its fifth year, the first stocking of these brown trout descended from an Oriskany milt collection will begin (partially) in 2023 and fully replace our current browns in 2024. To date, only experimental streams in various regions of NYS have received these fish, and results have been encouraging.

 

RESTORING CISCO IN KEUKA LAKE: On October 15, staff from DEC Region 8 Fisheries, Bath Fish Hatchery, and United States Geological Survey -Tunison (USGS) stocked 205,000 cisco (Coregonus artedi) into Keuka Lake as part of an experimental native forage fish restoration project. The stocked fish came from eggs collected from Chaumont Bay in Lake Ontario and were reared at USGS Tunison Lab and DEC’s Bath and Oneida hatcheries. Researchers implanted 60 cisco with small acoustic tags and strategically placed 20 receivers throughout the lake to record tagged fish movements. DEC, USGS, and Cornell University are collaborating to study the movements, survival, and habitat use of cisco. This was the third year of stocking with a total of 399,000 cisco stocked. Cisco were last collected in Keuka Lake in 1994. Recent changes relating to decreasing lake productivity and a collapse in the non-native alewife population provided the opportune time to attempt cisco restoration in Keuka Lake. Cisco are a native species that are generally better suited than alewives for low productivity waters, are longer lived, and can be recreationally harvested.

 

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:
SAR Training: Town of Persia, Cattaraugus County:
On Sept. 12 and 13, Rangers from Region 9 participated in a two-day training exercise sponsored by the regional tech rescue team. The first day consisted of two rope rescue scenarios in the Zoar gorge, which forced members of different departments to jointly utilize equipment and experience. On the second day of the training, Rangers reviewed the use of various tools and methods to complete swiftwater rescues. Departments from both Erie and Cattaraugus counties participated, as well as Erie County Sheriff's SWAT.

Forest Rangers and paddlers kayaking
Forest Rangers participate in two-day rescue training in Cattaraugus County

Too Many Bucks - Jefferson/ Onondaga Counties: On Sept. 8, ECO Noyes concluded a five-month investigation stemming from violations committed during the 2019 deer hunting season. ECO Noyes learned in April that an individual had shot two bucks on the same morning in the town of Ellisburg, and illegally used his friend's tag on the second buck. After locating and interviewing Jason Burns of Cicero, the suspected poacher, ECO Noyes discovered several more instances of ECL violations-a total of 18 violations in Jefferson and Onondaga counties, including three bucks and one doe shot illegally. ECO Tabor worked with an Onondaga County ECO to file charges in the Town of Cicero Court and Town of Ellisburg Court against Burns. He agreed to a civil compromise and paid a penalty of $500.

Wildland Fire: Town of Conesus, Livingston County: On Sept. 21, Livingston County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Dormer about a tree on fire in the Hemlock Lake State Forest. Forest Rangers Dormer, Carpenter, and Cordell, along with Fire Warden Bolonda, used a Ranger boat to transport hose, pump, and hand tools to fell and extinguish the tree in a hard-to-access area along Hemlock Lake. While investigating the fire on Sept. 24, Ranger Dormer observed another fire 200 feet uphill from the Hemlock Lake fire. Ranger Dormer and Fire Wardens Bolonda and Clark conducted fire line construction and mop up of the second fire over the following days.

smoldering tree in the woods from a wildfire
Forest Rangers arrive at Hemlock Lake Fire

Wildland Fire: Town of Woodhull, Steuben County: On Sept. 25 at 3 p.m., Forest Ranger Carpenter received a call from Steuben County 911 to assist the Woodhull Volunteer Fire Department and other local volunteer fire departments with a fire that originated from a disabled motor vehicle along State Route 417. Due to the steep slope adjacent to the highway, the fire progressed quickly up the slope and spread into a mix of grass pasture and woodland timber litter, burning a total of 7.9 acres. Ranger Carpenter patrolled the fire the following two days and extinguished small areas of ground fire in the fire perimeter.

Wilderness Search: Town of Arkwright, Chautauqua County: On Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m., Forest Ranger Sprague received a call for assistance in locating two lost hikers near Arkwright Falls. Ranger Sprague drove to hikers' vehicle on Burnham Road and met up with two New York State Troopers at approximately 7:40 p.m. After receiving coordinates from Chautauqua County Dispatch, Ranger Sprague advised the hikers to stay put while he and Trooper Murphy hiked to their location. The responders located the 26-year-old hikers from Boston and Lackawanna at approximately 8:30 p.m. with no injuries. Ranger Sprague provided water to the subjects and led them out to a nearby road. The hikers arrived back at their vehicle at 9 p.m.

ATV Rollover - Erie County: On Aug. 18, ECO Mathis responded to an ATV rollover accident in the town of Concord. A man suffered injuries after the ATV he was operating deep in the woods up a steep incline rolled on top of him. EMS stabilized the subject and ECO Mathis, Erie County Sheriff's Deputies, and members of the Gowanda and Morton's Corners Fire Department carried him out to a waiting ambulance for transport to a local hospital.


ONE OLD FISH: During their annual coldwater survey, DEC’s Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit staff captured a 36 inch, 21 pound lake trout with a coded tag that revealed it to be 35 years old.

 

FUTURE "HOLIDAY" DEER HUNT FOR NEW YORK'S SOUTHERN ZONE: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) late last year, released a proposal to potentially expand deer hunting opportunities in the Southern Zone in the future. The proposed regulations would create additional bowhunting and muzzleloader hunting opportunities from Dec. 26 through Jan.1, and would only apply to New York's Southern Zone.

The new season would provide an additional seven days of late season hunting with bows and muzzleloaders. Hunters must purchase the bowhunting or muzzleloading privilege to participate in the late bow or muzzleloader seasons and may use all deer carcass tags valid during those seasons.

This proposed, additional hunting opportunity does not impact when snowmobile trails may open. Snowmobile trails are opened after the end of the regular big game hunting season, subject to adequate snow cover and local agreements.

Details of the proposal are published in the Sept. 9 New York State Register.  

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

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8 – 28 – 20

 

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.

 

CANADA GOOSE HUNTING SEASON TO OPEN SEPT. 1 THROUGH MOST OF NEW YORK STATE: Canada goose hunting season opens Tuesday, Sept. 1, throughout most of the state. In addition, for the first time and for the 2020-2021 hunting season, DEC has incorporated the Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration into the DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS) licensing system.

"Resident" Canada geese are those that do not migrate significant distances to breed in northern Canada. Typically, resident geese are the birds commonly associated with nuisance situations in urban and rural areas. Over the past 25 years, New York's estimated resident Canada geese population has grown from 80,000 birds in 1995, to more than 360,000 today.

As the resident goose population has grown, season lengths and bag limits have been liberalized in an effort to reduce or stabilize their numbers. For more information on the differences between migratory and resident geese and how these birds are managed, read the article "Canada Geese in New York-Residents or Visitors?" in the August 2019, issue of DEC's Conservationist magazine.

The September Canada goose season occurs in all goose hunting zones except the Western Long Island zone. All upstate areas open Sept. 1, and run through Sept. 25. Canada goose seasons in the Central and Eastern Long Island zones begin on the Tuesday following the Labor Day holiday (Sept. 8, 2020) and run through Sept. 30. In the Western Long Island zone, the season opens on Oct. 10.

The September season includes liberal bag limits (eight to 15 birds per day, depending on zone), extended shooting hours, and other special regulations to maximize hunter success. Additional information about waterfowl hunting regulations, season dates, hunting area boundaries, and bag limits can be found on DEC's website.

License Requirements

To participate in the September Canada goose hunting season, hunters must:

> Possess a 2020-2021 hunting license (now on sale at all license issuing agents and many town halls and sporting goods stores);

> Be registered for the 2020-2021 New York Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). See below for details; and

> All hunters 16 years of age or older must have a 2020-2021 federal duck stamp signed across the face of the stamp in ink.

For a list of ways to purchase a hunting license, visit DEC's website. To register with HIP visit DEC's webpage.

New HIP Registration Process

New this year to the DECALS licensing system, the HIP registration links a hunter's HIP number to their licensing profile and allows the hunter to log-in and retrieve their HIP number in the event it is misplaced. The transition will greatly improve data quality, which in turn will improve estimates of hunter participation and harvest.

HIP is a federal legal requirement that began in 1991. Anyone who hunts migratory game birds, including woodcock, must have proof of participation whenever they go afield. Failure to carry proof is a violation equal to hunting without a license. HIP provides the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) with a national registry of migratory game bird hunters from which they can select participants for harvest surveys. Only a small percentage of HIP participants will be selected for harvest surveys, which will be mailed to them by the USFWS. This information helps USFWS and DEC monitor the harvest of migratory game birds and is used to establish annual hunting regulations.

To register for HIP, log-in to DEC's online licensing website and complete the below steps.

Those not already registered in the new online licensing system will first need to register:

Choose the 'sign up' option and enter date of birth and DEC customer ID number (from a previous or current hunting license or backtag) or Driver's License number; and

Create a Username and Password.

For new account holder and return customers, follow the steps below to register for HIP:

Log in and navigate to the 'Buy License' line at the top of the web page;

Those holding an existing hunting license (or those in the process of purchasing a new hunting license), will be given the option of 'purchasing' a HIP registration for $0; and

When proceeding to checkout, customer will be prompted to answer a series of questions pertaining to their migratory game bird hunting activities last year. This includes the approximate number of each of the following birds harvested last season (woodcock, ducks, geese, brant, rails, snipe, coots, gallinule, and sea ducks [scoters, eiders, and long-tailed ducks]).

Following the completed checkout process, the customer can access their HIP number by returning to their customer profile page and clicking on the 'Game Harvest and HIP' tab in the left-hand column and the dropdown arrow next to their HIP item to view their number, which proves participation in HIP. Hunters are required to carry this number with them in some form while migratory game bird hunting.

Customers unable to register for HIP through DEC's online system or encounter problems may contact the DECALS licensing hotline (1-866-933-2257) and talk to a representative to assist with the registration process.

 

BOW VIRTUAL ARCHERY CHALLENGE: If you want to participate in fun archery challenges and improve your skills, join NY Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) September 8, 2020 for the first ever BOW Virtual Archery Challenge!

On September 8th, we will post a video explaining the archery challenge on the BOW NY, New York Outdoors Women Facebook page. Over the course of two weeks, we will introduce three different and fun archery challenges to help you become better archers today than you were yesterday.

Anyone who would like to participate can upload their video in the comments of the archery challenge post. For every completed challenge you enter, we will enter your name to win a spectacular BOW prize!  Each participant gets one entry per challenge, up to three entries for completing all three challenges.

 

BEYOND BOW WEBINAR: BECOMING AN OUTDOOR TRIP LEADER: Are you interested in leading a trip for your family outing, a group of friends, a volunteer organization or for an outdoor adventure company? Join this workshop webinar to talk about the exciting role of being a trip leader. Our topics will include a discussion of the characteristics and skills of a good leader, the steps for planning for a trip, communicating with the participants and group management techniques.

Instructor Barb Brenner has been leading trips for many years at an outdoor adventure company. In addition to her leadership trips, she has also thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the John Muir Trail. Barb has planned and led numerous trips including a 15-day wilderness canoe trip for herself and three other women in the Wabakimi Provincial Park!
September 16th, 2020 - 6:30 PM – Free - Register now! Contact BOW NY for more information. 

 

FALL BOW VIRTUAL WORKSHOP: September 21, 2020 - September 25, 2020 - Free
Each evening starting at 6:30 p.m. we will host a free, one-hour webinar introducing you to a new outdoor skill!

Virtual classes will include:

Food Preservation

Intro to Bowhunting

Fish and Game Cooking

Q & A Panel with Women Who Hunt

and more!

Registration will open September 4th.
We will send out a link for registration through DEC Delivers, and it will be available on the BOW NY, New York Outdoors Women Facebook page.

Contact BOW NY for more information. 

 

HATCHERYS V/S HERONS: DEC’s nine cold water fish hatcheries collectively produce over 6.4 million fish annually. Unfortunately, a significant number of these trout and salmon are lost to a variety of predators in search of a “free meal.” One predator that causes most fish losses is the great blue heron. At the Caledonia Hatchery it’s not uncommon to have upwards of 40 great blue herons surrounding the ponds during the spring.

Over the years a host of methods have been employed to deter herons from preying on hatchery fish: from sound cannons, to balloons, to dancing “tube men” and decoys - even getting a watch dog to chase them off the property. The only way to effectively prevent fish losses from predation is to totally enclose the ponds within a building structure.

The Rome Hatchery, and just recently the Bath Hatchery, have built pole barn style buildings over some of their outdoor ponds and have greatly reduced their fish losses. Bath went from about eight percent fish losses, down to less than one percent!

Besides essentially eliminating fish losses, the pond enclosures also:

> Reduce algae growth in the ponds

> Keep water temperatures down

> Keep leaves out of the ponds in the fall

> Prevent fish diseases

>Make the working environment safer for hatchery staff

(https://www.thefishingwire.com/releases/d249e929-e26f-4682-a68a-a889e65fd3c8)

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Out of State: Whooping Crane Killing Earns $10,000 Fine plus $75,000 Restitution

United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Kaenon A. Constantin, 28, was sentenced on July 30, 2020, to five years of probation for killing and transporting a federally protected and endangered whooping crane.
During his period of probation, Constantin must complete 360 hours of community service related to wildlife conservation. As part of the sentence, Constantin’s hunting privileges have been suspended until he completes the community service. United States Magistrate Judge Hanna also ordered Constantin to pay a $10,000 fine and to pay $75,000 in civil restitution to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
In November of 2019, Constantin was named in a federal bill of information for violating the Lacey Act in May of 2016. Specifically, on May 20, 2016, Constantin and a juvenile used .22 caliber rifles to shoot at a pair of whooping cranes located in a field within Acadia Parish. One of the cranes fell dead in the field, and Constantin and his accomplice retrieved its carcass. The other crane flew too far north into another field and couldn’t be retrieved, but investigators later recovered its carcass.
Constantin and the juvenile found a transponder on the crane’s leg used by LDWF in tracking the crane. Constantin and the juvenile then cut the transponder off of the crane and transported the crane, knife, severed legs and transponders to a nearby road where they discarded the evidence.
When initially approached by investigators shortly after the crime, Constantin lied about his involvement, causing the investigation to continue for nearly two more years before he finally confessed in April of 2018. LDWF agents cited Constantin on April 2, 2018.
The Lacey Act is a comprehensive federal law that protects against wildlife crimes, such as international and domestic wildlife trafficking. The Act prohibits, among other actions, a person from knowingly transporting wildlife, when in the exercise of due care the person should have known that the wildlife was taken or possessed in violation of, or in a manner unlawful under, any underlying law, treaty, or regulation of the United States. Whooping cranes are a federally protected species under federal laws and regulations, including the Endangered Species Act. They are large birds, standing nearly five feet tall and with wingspans of 7.5 feet.
U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Special Agent in Charge Stephen Clark stated, “We take our mission partnering with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries in conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats very seriously. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, considers the illegal taking of protected wildlife species a high priority, and we will continue to work closely with our state agencies to assist them in these important joint investigations."
The United States Fish & Wildlife Service and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Danny Siefker prosecuted the case.

 

GROUNDBREAKING FOR PROJECT TO IMPROVE FLOOD RESILIENCY AT IRONDEQUOIT BAY STATE MARINE PARK: The $2.67 million project, which is part of the Governor's Lake Ontario Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative, will repair damage from flooding in 2017 and 2019, and raise the boat launch, docks and parking lot so they can continue to operate during times of high water. In addition to elevating the parking area and boat launch, the project will consist of additional transient docks, a playground, an American with Disabilities Act-accessible fishing pier, and a recreational pavilion.
The Town of Irondequoit is also breaking ground on a nearby project to improve storm drainage sewers along Culver Road, which is the gateway to the Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park and several key businesses. This $500,000 investment is designed to mitigate flooding in the roadway and reduce the potential for a road closure during high water events, which is essential to keep open for emergency services and access to local establishments in the area.
This project will help mitigate the devastating impacts of flooding by modifying the existing storm drains along Culver Road, installing new check valves and creating permanent connections for temporary water pumps, as necessary. In addition to these measures, the project aims to direct floodwaters away from homes in the area to prevent flooding of residential households.
Irondequoit Bay is about five miles northeast of Rochester and empties into Lake Ontario. The 44-acre Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park is on the northwest shoreline adjacent to Culver Road and Sea Breeze Drive. During the last decade, there have been more than 400,000 visitors to the park, which is operated and maintained by the town of Irondequoit.
 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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8 – 21 – 20

 

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.

 

NEW AND IMPROVED BOAT LAUNCH SITE COMPLETED: Major improvements have been completed at Cleveland Dock, located at 69 State Route 49 in the Village of Cleveland, Oswego County. This dock provides access to the excellent fishing on Oneida Lake and draws visitors for other recreational activities including fishing, ice fishing, and boat docking. The site also provides emergency services access and helps connect boaters to the New York State Canal system. Numerous improvements were completed including timber guide rails, railings, sidewalk, benches, lamp posts, a hand launch for non-motorized boats, and parking lot upgrades. In addition, universally accessible site features include parking spaces and access along the edge of the pier, a picnic table, and fishing access along the pier railing.

 

2020 DMP TARGETS AND CHANCES OF BEING SELECTED FOR A DOE TAG:

This fall, DEC is increasing the statewide allocation of Deer Management Permits (DMPs) in hopes that hunters will respond by increasing the antlerless deer harvest by about 10%. See DMP Availability and Probability of Selection to review DEC's target allocation of DMPs for each WMU and to anticipate your odds of being selected for a tag.

There's no need to rush out to be first in line for a DMP, though. Your chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the entire application period. Just be sure to apply for a DMP before the October 1 deadline. For questions, call the DMP Hotline (1-866-472-4332) or read about the DMP application process.

 

SEEKING WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHERS!: DEC Bureau of Wildlife is seeking photographs from the public to use in all DEC materials, including reports, social media, posters, newsletters, and our website. While many people have adjusted their summer plans in the wake of the pandemic, New York's wildlife is as busy as ever with seasonal activities We invite you to capture and share moments in the lives of your wild neighbors—whether feathered, smooth, furry, or scaly. If you sit outside quietly for an hour, you might be surprised at what kinds of critters visit your own backyard! Submit your photos online if you would like to participate. You can submit photos until Friday, September 11 at 11:59 a.m.

 

TRACKING ANIMAL MOVEMENT AND MIGRATION WITH MOTUS:

The Northeast Motus Collaboration recently installed a Motus Wildlife Tracking Station on Lake Shore Marshes Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Located on the edge of Lake Ontario, this station is the first of five that are being installed on WMAs in New York this summer to track wildlife movement.

Researchers attach tiny tracking devices to birds, bats and insects to help learn more about when, where and how these animals move across the landscape. When a tagged animal flies past a station, information about that individual is instantly recorded. One of the greatest advantages is that the whole system is highly collaborative; data are almost immediately available for anyone to view and explore local or regional movements of tagged species.

Knowing more about migration and movements will help us better understand, manage and protect wildlife species that are too small to be tracked with other approaches. Motus partners and collaborators have tagged over 200 species to study using this approach, including songbirds, shorebirds, butterflies and dragonflies. Learn more about the Motus Wildlife Tracking System, view videos, and explore new resources for students and educators.

The Northeast Motus Collaboration is a partnership between the Willistown Conservation Trust, the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art, Project Owlnet, and Powdermill Nature Reserve/Carnegie Museum of Natural History, with nearly 1,000 stations worldwide.

 

MORGAN HILL TRAIL USERS REJOICE: Recently, DEC's Region 7 operations crew based out of Cortland sub-office completed a new, year-round parking facility at Morgan Hill State Forest in the Onondaga County town of Fabius. Located at the intersection of Shackham Road and State Forest Public Forest Access Road, the parking area will serve all visitors in every season.

As outlined in the Hill and Hollow Unit Management Plan, creation of additional visitor parking and winter parking were major concerns of the public. With the recent surge in fat tire winter mountain biking and an expanding single-track bike trail system, it became evident to DEC land managers and the Town of Fabius Highway Department that the site needed a safer alternative to parking on the shoulder of the road.

Additionally, the new parking area will serve the snowmobiling community for those looking to trailer up to the forest and have quick access to the trail system. The site also provides access to the nearby Finger Lakes Trail and North Country National Scenic Trail.

 

HELP MONARCHS ON THEIR LONG MIGRATION SOUTH:  Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus) begin their annual fall migration in mid-August. These butterflies are the great-great-grandchildren of the monarchs that migrated to Mexico last fall.

You can help monarchs by providing food (nectar) and keeping those areas protected:

> Turn a portion of your lawn into a wildflower meadow—plant milkweed or other native wildflowers.

> Delay mowing areas with milkweed until later in the fall.

> Avoid using herbicides—they kill all life-stages of monarchs (egg, caterpillar, cocoon, and adult).

Report sightings of adults online. View a map of the sightings so far this year.

Don’t know when their migration peaks in your area? Check out DEC’s migration chart.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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8 – 14 – 20

 

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.

 

DEER MANAGEMENT PERMITS (DMPS): DMPs are available at all license-issuing outlets, by phone, or online through Oct. 1, 2020. DMPs are used to manage the deer herd and are issued through an instant random selection process at the point of sale. The chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the application period; hunters need not rush to apply. The 2020 chances of selection for a DMP in each Wildlife Management Unit are available online, through license issuing agents, or by calling the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Detailed information on Deer Management Permits and this fall's Deer Season Forecast is available on DEC's website.

The new Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which provides an easy-to-read compendium of all pertinent rules and regulations, is available on the DEC Hunting Regulations webpage. A summary of hunting and trapping regulations is currently available at license issuing agents, and copies of the full hunting and trapping regulations guide will be available at license issuing agents beginning Sept. 1.

 

DELTA WATERFOWL FORECASTS A STRONG FALL DUCK FLIGHT:

Excellent breeding conditions in the Dakotas and Manitoba helped produce an

abundance of ducks, which should benefit hunters this season

Delta Waterfowl forecasts that a mix of average to above average breeding conditions in the prairie pothole region, combined with a stable population of breeding ducks, will result in a strong fall flight for the upcoming waterfowl season. Importantly, The Duck Hunters Organization expects improved flights of dabbling ducks over 2019, especially for blue-winged teal, mallards and gadwalls.

Delta’s analysis is delivered despite cancellation of the 2020 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey — a key barometer of the fall flight that’s otherwise been conducted annually since 1955 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Canadian Wildlife Service. Fortunately, a survey was successfully conducted in an all-important region for nesting waterfowl: The North Dakota Game and Fish Department estimated a statewide breeding population of 4 million ducks, an 18 percent increase over 2019.

“The Service’s cancellation of the survey due to Covid-19 means we don’t have estimates of breeding duck populations or pond (wetland) counts this year,” said Dr. Frank Rohwer, president of Delta Waterfowl. “However, a far more important metric for predicting a quality hunting season is duck production — that’s the overriding factor in whether we’ll see a good fall flight.”

Based on long-term data indicating that most duck populations are well above average (including a 2019 estimate of 38.9 million breeding ducks, 10 percent above average), and the breeding habitat conditions observed across critical regions this spring, Delta concludes that most duck species experienced good to great production. Overall, Delta estimates that spring habitat conditions were excellent in the Dakotas, very good in Manitoba, good in Alberta and poor in Saskatchewan.

Therefore duck production among species likely varied based on their regional preferences.

Delta expects that mallards took advantage of wet conditions in the Dakotas and prairie Manitoba, which will send plenty of greenheads down the Central and Mississippi flyways. This was reflected in the North Dakota survey, which estimated 872,982 breeding mallards, the 18th highest index recorded.

“Mallards almost never have a terrible year because their nesting range is massive, and they renest aggressively throughout the breeding season,” Rohwer said. “I don’t think it will be a phenomenal fall mallard flight, but it should be very good.”

The Dakota prairies are the core breeding range of blue-winged teal, which spells good news for early teal seasons. Bluewings increased 58 percent in the North Dakota survey.

“Bluewings were off the charts in the Dakotas and should in turn provide an outstanding fall flight,” Rohwer said. “Green-winged teal are more challenging to predict, but they typically nest farther north in the stable wetlands of the Canadian parklands and boreal forest. It’s rare for greenwings to have a bad year.”

Delta anticipates an average fall flight of gadwalls. Roughly 50 percent of the population nests in prairie Saskatchewan, where conditions suffered from low precipitation, while the other half settles in the Dakotas. Breeding gadwalls climbed 6.16 percent to 440,379 birds in the North Dakota survey.

The news is less favorable for pintails, as conditions were well below average in prairie Saskatchewan — the traditional heart of the pintail’s breeding range. However, an increasing ratio of pintails have settled in the Dakotas in recent years in response to vastly better wetland conditions.

“If enough pintails nested in the U.S. prairies, it could help offset the drier conditions in Canada,” Rohwer said. “Regardless I don’t expect a good year for pintails. This wasn’t the spring we needed to get them back on track.”

Wigeon are believed to have had an average nesting season, given conditions in their preferred prairie Canada breeding grounds.

Delta expects a decreased fall flight of canvasbacks due to the poor nesting conditions in the Saskatchewan parklands.

“The canvasbacks that nested in Manitoba will fare better, but it’s just not going to be a good year for cans,” Rohwer said. “They’re very inflexible nesters and will fly right past good water in the Dakotas to reach the Canadian parklands.”

Redheads are far more adaptable in their habits based on the presence of water, which they found plenty of in the Dakotas. Though redheads declined in the North Dakota survey by 11.64 percent, their breeding population estimate of 203,121 birds remains a whopping 72.34 percent above the long-term average.

“The Dakotas will give redheads a much better fall flight than canvasbacks,” Rohwer said. “Even more cans than normal settled in the Dakotas, though not in any significant numbers.”

Production of bluebills is likely to differ between lessers and greaters. Lesser scaup are predicted to have had a decent nesting season in the U.S. and Canadian prairies, climbing 39.62 percent in the North Dakota survey to 275,190. However, greater scaup have experienced poor success in northern Canada’s boreal forest for many years, and 2020 was probably no exception.

“Scaup nest in the uplands, which is unique among divers,” Rohwer said. “I suspect that increasing predator populations are among the reasons they’re doing so lousy in the boreal.”

A close relative of bluebills, ring-necked ducks are expected to have furthered their upward-trending population this spring.

“I’m sure ringnecks kept doing what they do — increasing,” Rohwer said. “They’re spreading south from the western boreal forest, finding relatively stable water conditions in the Canadian parklands and replacing bluebills big time.”

Conditions in the Atlantic Flyway were good to very good in eastern Canada and average in the northeastern U.S. Production of eastern mallards — a population that’s been in decline — was likely strong, particularly in Canada. Good nesting conditions were also present for black ducks, ring-necked ducks and wood ducks.

Overall, there should be plenty of ducks winging south in the months ahead. That’s noteworthy for waterfowlers, because a large fall flight — particularly one consisting of ample numbers of naïve, juvenile ducks — is essential to a successful waterfowl season.

For more information, contact John Devney, senior vice president (888) 987-3695 ext. 5218, jdevney@deltawaterfowl.org, or Dr. Frank Rohwer, president (888) 987-3695 ext. 5217, frohwer@deltawaterfowl.org.

Delta Waterfowl Foundation is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and ensure the tradition of duck hunting in North America. Visit deltawaterfowl.org.

 

DEC NOW ACCEPTING WATERFOWL HUNTING PERMIT LOTTERY ENTRIES FOR DUCK HUNTING OPENING WEEKEND AT OAK ORCHARD AND TONAWANDA WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREAS: Special permits will be issued for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations in Western New York. The permit requirement applies to waterfowl hunting at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) located primarily in Genesee and Niagara counties (with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties). The intent of the special permits is to promote hunter safety, reduce hunter conflicts, and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.

A special permit is required to hunt waterfowl at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs on the duck season's first Saturday and first Sunday of the Western Zone Duck Season. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit any other days of the open duck season. The permit system has been used successfully at both WMAs for many years. Special permits are not required to hunt other game species in these WMAs.

DEC has announced 2020-2021 duck hunting season dates. Western New York's opening day/weekend dates for duck hunting are Oct. 17 and 18. Goose season is not open during the opening weekend of duck season in 2020. No special permit is needed for goose season this year.

Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two WMAs will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC anticipates issuing 100 permits for the Tonawanda WMA and 50 permits for Oak Orchard WMA.

To apply for the lottery, hunters will fill out an online form. This link can also be found on the DEC webpage for Tonawanda and Oak Orchard WMAs. Hunters must enter their name, email address, zip code, and waterfowl ID number (applicants must have taken a waterfowl identification course to enter the lottery). Hunters also need to indicate their choices of hunt day (Saturday or Sunday) and area (Oak Orchard or Tonawanda) in order of preference. There is also an option to request email updates regarding habitat conditions (helpful information when planning your trip) and restoration projects at these WMAs

For general questions, or for those unable to access the survey online, please call DEC's regional wildlife office at 585-948-5182. Callers may need to leave a message and all messages will be returned as soon as possible.

Online applications will be accepted through midnight Sept. 15, 2020. Anyone unable to complete the online survey should contact the office before Sept. 15.

Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger. Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards. The permittee is responsible for completing an online harvest report (a link will be provided with your permit) by Nov. 15, 2020; even if the hunter did not go hunting, they must report. If the completed questionnaire is not received by Nov. 15, the permittee will be ineligible for the 2021 lottery.

 

ON-LINE AND IN-PERSON HUNTER EDUCATION TRAINING COURSES: All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must pass one or more courses before they can purchase a license. Traditionally, hunter and trapper education have been in-person courses taught by trained volunteer instructors certified by DEC. In April 2020, DEC began offering online hunter education courses in response to COVID-19. Be sure to check the DEC website about the availability of both in-person and on-line courses before registering.

In-person courses have a field day where new hunters can get hands-on experience. All in-person courses are free of charge, but space may be limited. Currently, all in-person classes are cancelled through Aug. 31, but if and when they resume, will fill quickly, so be sure to sign-up early Visit DEC's website for more information on materials, including a list of courses and course registration.

All the requirements to earn a New York State hunter education certificate can also be met by completing DEC's online hunter education course and passing the exam. Upon passing, participants will receive a hunter education certificate so they can purchase a hunting license. Participants must be New York State residents and the cost of the course is $19.95. The online course can be accessed at DEC's website.

New York State is also offering a new online bowhunter education certification course. Upon passing, hunters will receive their bowhunter education certificate so they can purchase a bowhunting privilege. Participants must be New York State residents and the cost of the course is $30. The online course can be accessed at DEC's website.

 

2020-21 HUNTING AND TRAPPING LICENSES WENT ON SALE AUG. 10: Hunting and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) for the 2020-2021 season went on sale Monday, August 10. With liberal bag limits and some of the longest seasons around, New Yorkers can enjoy hunting continuously from September 1 (squirrel) into April (snow geese).

Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of DEC's license-issuing agents or by telephone at 866-933-2257. The new hunting and trapping licenses are valid from Sept. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021, while annual fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.

New York's habitat serves a vital role in maintaining healthy and sustainable fish and wildlife resources. Purchasing a hunting or trapping license helps to support DEC's important conservation projects and ensures the future of natural resources for generations to come. DEC also encourages outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat & Access Stamp each year. Funds from the $5 Habitat & Access Stamp support projects to conserve habitat and improve public access for fish-and-wildlife-related activities. This year's Habitat & Access Stamp features a northern leopard frog. Last year's Habitat & Access Stamp featuring a bull moose was the most popular stamp in DEC history, with more than 25,000 sold.

The DEC Call Center is accessible from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 1. Regular call center weekday hours will resume on Oct. 2.

Individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license:

Complete contact information (e.g. name, address, email address, telephone number);

DEC customer ID number (if applicable);

Proof of residency (e.g., driver's license or non-driver's ID with a valid New York State 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 the General Sporting License Information webpage on DEC's website.

In July, DEC launched a new system for the sale of fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. The new DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS) includes user-friendly information to help users locate vendors, receive instant copies of a license, enter and view harvest information, and more.

Previous DECALS logins will not work in the new system. To access current accounts, click on the 'Sign Up' link on the new DECALS website and use date of birth and DEC customer ID number or a driver's license number to locate existing files and create a new login. Please call DEC's customer service line at 866-933-2257 with any questions.

 

PROVINCE OF ONTARIO TAKING STEPS TO PROTECT FISH AND WILDLIFE HABITAT WITH FALL HARVEST OF DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS: The Ontario government is taking steps to protect fish stocks and natural habitat from the harmful impacts of double-crested cormorants by introducing a fall harvest for the species. The harvest will help address concerns about impacts to local ecosystems by cormorants, a bird that preys on fish, eating a pound a day, and that can damage trees in which they nest and roost.

Following public consultations, the province has made changes to its initial proposal and has decided to introduce a hunting season that will run annually from September 15 to December 31, starting in 2020.

In 2019, the ministry and partner agencies surveyed cormorant colonies across the Great Lakes and select inland lakes in Ontario. Based on nest count surveys, there are an estimated minimum of 143,000 breeding cormorants in 344 colonies across the province. Combined with historical data, trends suggest that cormorant populations are increasing in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior and are stable on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Huron.

Ontario has a healthy and sustainable cormorant population. We will continue to monitor the cormorant population status and trends to support sustainability of cormorants in the province.

Quick Facts

> Double-crested cormorants are fish-eating birds, usually eating easy-to-catch fish species.

> They nest on the ground or in trees on islands and peninsulas.

> In large amounts, cormorant droppings, called guano, can kill trees and other vegetation and destroy traditional nesting habitats for some other colonial waterbirds.

> Competition between cormorants and some colonial nesting waterbirds has been well documented, including the displacement of some other species by cormorants.

> Hunters are responsible for appropriately identifying their target and ensuring they are harvesting only double-crested cormorants.

While some hunters may choose to consume cormorants, those who choose not to consume the cormorants they harvest must retrieve the birds and dispose of them properly.

(https://news.ontario.ca/mnr/en/2020/07/ontario-taking-steps-to-protect-fish-and-wildlife-habitat.html)

Bird Photo

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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8 – 7 – 20

 

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.

 

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETED OF NEW OTISCO LAKE BOAT LAUNCH SITE: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the new boat launch site on Otisco Lake is complete and open to the public. Prior to the launch's completion, Otisco was the only Finger Lake without a public boat launch.

The site is located at 1490 West Valley Road, Spafford, Onondaga County. Features that enhance access for visitors of all abilities include:

> New concrete launch ramp and floating boarding dock to allow the launching of trailered motorboats even if water levels fluctuate;

> Accessible-designated parking for one vehicle with trailer and one passenger vehicle; and

> Wheelchair-accessible portable toilet.

Features that enhance site safety and access include:

> Solar-powered safety lighting, down-lit to minimize light pollution;

> Invasive species disposal bin;

> Designated boat preparation area for safer and more efficient launching;

> Paved parking area with separate entrance and exit that accommodates 13 vehicles with trailers and 13 single vehicles.

 

REMEMBER TO REPORT TURKEY SIGHTINGS DURING AUGUST: While you are exploring the forests and fields around your home this summer, be sure to keep an eye out for wild turkeys. Reported observations of wild turkeys are used to track changes in abundance and productivity (number of poults produced per adult hen) over time and in different parts of the state. It also helps forecast hunting prospects for the coming fall season and for subsequent spring seasons. Survey forms can be downloaded from the DEC website or you can submit your observations online. Thanks for your help!

 

DEC SEEKS NEW PARTICIPANTS FOR BOWHUNTER WILDLIFE SIGHTING LOG: Do you bowhunt? DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife is seeking new participants for the New York Bowhunter Sighting Log. The program, implemented over two decades ago, is designed to provide information on long-term population trends for certain wildlife species. Because bowhunters spend so much time sitting still in the same place, they are ideal wildlife observers. Cooperators keep a record of their bowhunting activities and wildlife species seen from their stand. The data, collected annually from thousands of bowhunters, is useful for population monitoring and helps biologists make informed management decisions. For more information, please visit DEC's bowhunter sighting log webpage.

 

PASSING OF A FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE: Ned Holmes passed peacefully on July 31, 2020, at the age of 85.  Ned graduated with a BS and MS from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY which led him into a 37 year career with the New York State Conservation Department/Department of Environmental Conservation.  After his dedicated career he retired as the Natural Resources Supervisor at the DEC Region 8, Avon, NY.  He was involved with the Livingston County Center for Dispute Settlement as a mediator for 25 years, the Genesee Valley Greenway Board, Fiddlers of the Genesee, was a mentor for youth through Catholic Charities, and was also active on numerous church boards and was a past board member for the American Wildlife Research Foundation.

Ned was always on the go and had many interests. He was an avid cyclist, touring North America and Europe. He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro at age 73 to raise money for cancer research, and enjoyed hunting and fishing. In addition, Ned was a member of the Genesee Valley Aeromodelers Club.  Ned enjoyed sharing his passion of nature with others, actively mentoring youth in outdoor activities.

In light of the precautions necessitated by COVID-19, a private service will be held for the family at the Honeoye United Church of Christ, Honeoye, NY.  In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in his memory to the Honeoye UCC, PO Box 127, Honeoye, NY 14471 or to the Finger Lakes Aquarium & Museum, 3369, Guyanoga Road, Branchport, NY 14418.  To send a condolence or share a memory please visit:  www.doughertyfuneralhomes.com

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Push Ups for Suicide Awareness - Onondaga County: On May 20, Bureau of Environmental Crimes Lieutenant Neil Stevens and ECOs Paul Sherman, Don Damrath, Matt Foster, and Matt Burdick joined 50 other police officers from 15 different agencies at the New York State Fairgrounds for the "22 Push-Ups for 22 Days" challenge. This national challenge raises awareness about the high suicide rates of military combat veterans and law enforcement officers. The five Region 7 ECOs volunteered to participate in the challenge, and easily completed the 22 push-ups. Video: 22 Push-Up Challenge Finale.mp4

five eco officers standings in front af a building with flags flying behind them
ECOs participate in 22 Push-up Challenge to raise
awareness about veteran and law enforcement suicides

Eagle Released at Letchworth State Park - Livingston County: On June 6, a rehabilitated bald eagle took to the skies over Letchworth State Park after being found injured at the park several months ago. On December 14, 2019, New York State Park Police requested assistance from ECOs Josh Crain and Ron Gross to capture the injured eagle. Once captured, the Officers transferred the eagle to Cornell University for evaluation where experts determined it needed surgery, including placement of a pin in its wing. After surgery, the eagle was transferred to Messenger Woods Wildlife Care and Education Center, where it underwent extensive rehabilitation in a 165-foot flight cage until ready for release back at Letchworth.

the eagle flying with it's wings expanded
Rehabilitated eagle released at Letchworth State Park

Mystery Snake Finds New Home - Steuben County: On June 10, ECO Ron Gross received a complaint from an individual in Corning who found a python in their apartment. ECO Gross responded and identified the snake as a ball python, a common pet. The python is legal to own and often sold at pet stores, but the subject had no idea where it came from and neither did anyone else in the building. The subject who found the snake suspected it may have escaped or been left behind by previous tenants. One of the subject's neighbors asked if she could keep the animal as a pet. Since ball pythons are not regulated by DEC and the animal appeared to be in good health, ECO Gross allowed the neighbor to take possession of the animal.

someone holding the ball python in their hand
Ball python found in apartment building

Wilderness Rescue: Town of Niles, Cayuga County: On August 1 at 5:50 p.m., Cayuga County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Lunt about a 28-year-old woman who was unable to safely climb out of the gorge at the bottom of Carpenter Falls. At 6:40 p.m., Ranger Lunt arrived on scene and, working with the Cayuga County Rope Rescue Team, raised the uninjured woman 80 feet up a steep incline to safety. The incident concluded at 6:50 p.m.

From Out Of State: Whooping Crane Killing Earns $10,000 Fine plus $75,000 Restitution:  United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced that Kaenon A. Constantin, 28, was sentenced on July 30, 2020, to five years of probation and massive fines for killing and transporting a federally protected and endangered whooping crane.

In November of 2019, Constantin was named in a federal bill of information for violating the Lacey Act in May of 2016. Specifically, on May 20, 2016, Constantin and a juvenile used .22 caliber rifles to shoot at a pair of whooping cranes located in a field within Acadia Parish. One of the cranes fell dead in the field, and Constantin and his accomplice retrieved its carcass. The other crane flew too far north into another field and couldn’t be retrieved, but investigators later recovered its carcass.

(https://www.thefishingwire.com/releases/b91ca0a4-4bab-4e30-81cd-eed310c15350)

 

UPSTATE COYOTES AND BEARS - ON LONG ISLAND IT’S SHARKS: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) remind New Yorkers that the state's coastal communities are part of a natural environment with a rich diversity of marine life, including sharks. During the State's response to COVID-19, more people are staying close to home and enjoying the outdoors. To help increase awareness of the potential for interactions with sharks, DEC and OPRHP are issuing tips to minimize interactions when in the water and working with State and local partners with heightened awareness to monitor for sharks in New York's waters.

Many species of sharks can be found in New York's marine waters and sharks play an important role in regulating and maintaining the balance of intricate marine ecosystems. There have been 19 shark sightings reported to DEC in the last 12 months, including sandbar, hammerhead, and thresher sharks, many reported by anglers far off-shore. Sharks can range in size from the four-foot, sand-dwelling Spiny Dogfish, to plankton-eating Basking Sharks that reach up to 40 feet in length. The biological characteristics of sharks can also differ greatly, including their prey and hunting styles. For a complete list of sharks found in New York waters, or to report shark sightings, visit DEC's website.

Dusky shark swimming in shallow water

                                                         DEC Photo: Dusky Shark

Although it is impossible to eliminate risk altogether when participating in any outdoor activity, DEC encourages the public to minimize potential interactions with sharks and reduce overall risk with the following tips:

> Avoid swimming in the ocean at dusk, dawn, or night time;

> Avoid areas with schools of bait fish. These areas are often characterized by fish splashing on the surface; diving terns and gulls; or the presence of marine mammals such as dolphins;

> Avoid areas with seals;

> Avoid murky water;

> Avoid isolation. Swim, paddle, kayak, and surf in groups;

> Swim close to shore, where your feet can touch the bottom;

> Avoid areas where people are fishing;

> Adhere to all signage at beaches; and

> Always follow instructions of lifeguards and parks staff.

In the event of a shark bite:

> Ensure your environment and surroundings are safe;

> Call 9-1-1 or tell someone to call 9-1-1 immediately;

If you have first aid training, provide "Stop the Bleed" to the injured until help arrives;

If you are not directly caring for the individual, seek out first responders and direct them to individuals involved; and

Stay out of the water.

While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL and follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)/New York State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for the preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and/or troubled breathing;

Practice social distancing. Keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others even when outdoors;

Wear a mask when you cannot maintain social distancing;

Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and high-fives;

Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and

Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.

DEC and OPRHP's PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL campaign encourages New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, show respect for all outdoor adventurers, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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7 – 31 – 20

 

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.

 

NEW APPLICANT - GUIDES LICENSE EXAMS SCHEDULED FOR SEPT. 17, 2020: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has scheduled New Outdoor Guide Applicant License Exams for Sept. 17, 2020. This exam will be offered to all applicants that have been delayed by the abundance of caution and efforts to limit the community spread of COVID-19, DEC previously postponed examinations scheduled in March, April, May, and June.

The licensing of outdoor guides is administered by DEC Forest Rangers. New York State Environmental Conservation Law requires DEC to publish a list of guides. A list of current New York State Licensed Guides is available on-line. Applicants do not need to be a resident of New York State to receive a guide's license.

A guide is a person, at least 18 years of age, who offers services for hire, part or all of which includes directing, instructing, or aiding another in fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting/canoeing/kayaking, or rock and ice climbing.

DEC will offer exams for new applicants interested in the Licensed Guide Program at select DEC Regional Offices. New applicants interested in taking the Licensed Guide Program exam can download the application from DEC's website (PDF) directly.

For more information on DEC's Licensed Guide Program, visit DEC's website or contact Colleen Kayser with the NYS DEC Forest Rangers at 518-402-8838.

 

DEC AGAIN SEEKS POOL OWNERS FOR CITIZEN SCIENCE SURVEY OF INVASIVE BEETLE: DEC is encouraging New York pool owners to participate in DEC's annual Asian Longhorned Beetle Swimming Pool Survey. This is the time of year when Asian longhorned beetles (ALB) emerge as adults and are most active outside of their host tree. The goal of the survey is to look for and find these exotic, invasive beetles before these pests cause serious damage to our forests and street trees. They have caused the death of hundreds of thousands of trees across the country. DEC is requesting that people with swimming pools periodically check their pool filters for any insects that resemble ALB.

If you suspect an ALB, take a photo and:

Send an email with the subject heading "ALB Pool Survey".

Text an image to (518) 491-7391, and type "ALB Pool Survey" in the body of the text, or
mail a printed image to the Forest Health Diagnostic Lab at 108 Game Farm Road, Delmar, NY 12054.

Save the insect. Freeze the insect in a plastic bag or Tupperware container until you hear back from us.

No Pool? No Problem! You can still help! Look for the telltale signs of ALB damage on your trees, such as exit holes, accumulation of coarse sawdust, pits in the bark, and oozing sap.

                                   Photo by DEC

 

DEC ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SPONSORED PHEASANT HUNT PROGRAM: The

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that DEC is accepting applications for sponsored pheasant hunts. Sponsored hunts are free, non-competitive events coordinated by a group, club, individual, or organization to benefit youth, women, first-time hunters, veterans, and people with disabilities. As part of the program, DEC provides up to 50 game farm-raised pheasants to each sponsoring organization free of charge.

In addition to the pheasants reared for fall stocking throughout New York State, DEC's Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca raises 2,000 pheasants each year for sponsored hunts. In a sponsored hunt, dedicated local hunters share their expertise with beginners in a supportive environment. This program gives individuals the chance to embark on a life-long pursuit of hunting and outdoor enjoyment.

Volunteers are key to this program's success. To sponsor a hunt, interested individuals and organizations should contact the local DEC regional office for an application (a list of DEC regional offices is provided below). Program requirements and applications are available for download on DEC's website. All applications must be received by the local regional wildlife office no later than September 1. Successful applicants will be notified via phone. If an application is approved, sponsors are required to arrange with the Reynolds Game Farm to coordinate a delivery time, date, and location.

New Yorkers are encouraged to recreate responsibly and Play Smart * Play Safe * Play Local. Organizers of sponsored hunts should be prepared to follow state guidelines for social gatherings to minimize the community spread of COVID-19. Social gatherings are only permitted if 10 or fewer people are in attendance in Phase One regions, 25 or fewer people in Phases Two and Three regions, and 50 or fewer people in attendance in Phase Four regions.

Central/Western New York Regions are:

R7 - Broome, Cayuga, Chenango, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Tioga and Tompkins counties:
1285 Fisher Ave.
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-3095 x 247

R8 - Chemung, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Wayne and Yates counties:
6274 East Avon-Lima Rd.
Avon, NY 14414
(585) 226-5380

R9 - Allegany, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie, Niagara and Wyoming counties:
182 East Union, Suite 3
Allegany, NY 14706-1328
(716) 372-0645

         DEC Photo

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Duckling Rescue - Onondaga County: On May 6, ECO Don Damrath and Geddes Police Officer Mike Sheppard reunited 15 Mallard ducklings with their mother after the ducklings fell into a storm drain at a busy intersection. A local business employee and Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection staff retrieved 12 of the ducklings, but three ducklings swam deeper into the drainpipe and refused to come out. ECO Damrath coaxed the three stragglers from the pipe using recorded duckling sounds. ECO Damrath and Officer Sheppard then secured the trio and reunited them with their siblings and mother at a nearby pond.

Three baby ducklings in a cardboard box

Kit Rescue - Tioga County: On May 10, ECO Eric Templeton responded to the town of Nichols to investigate a report of a young fox kit stuck in a window well. Upon arrival, ECO Templeton was informed the baby fox had fallen into one of the homeowner's window wells and had been there since the previous day. The homeowner had placed a board into the window well, but the baby fox was unable to climb out. ECO Templeton put on his protective equipment, recovered the fox, and transported the animal, unharmed, to a wildlife rehabilitator in Ithaca.

An ECO holds a tiny grey fox kit in his hands after rescue
ECO Eric Templeton and rescued gray fox

 

BOW ONLINE LEARNING: Subscribe to our new BOW New York YouTube channel!

There, you'll find our Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Instructor Profile Series, video tutorials on outdoor skills, recorded live tutorials you may have missed, and playlists of other great videos to learn new skills!
Instructor Profile Series - This week :

BOW NY founder, Kelly Stang, discusses how and why she brought Becoming an Outdoors-Woman to New York.

BOW instructing team Barb Brenner and Lydia D'Amato describe their outdoor adventures, and their journey to becoming long-time instructors in the program.

Check back every week for new instructor profiles.

 

SAFETY ALERT: HENRY REPEATING ARMS COMPANY RECALLS H015-SERIES SINGLE SHOT RIFLES, SINGLE SHOT SHOTGUNS: Henry Repeating Arms Company announced that it is voluntarily recalling all H015-series Single Shot Rifles and Single Shot Shotguns manufactured prior to July 1, 2020. Henry has recently discovered a potential safety issue wherein, under certain conditions, it is possible that some of these models may discharge without the trigger being pulled if the hammer is partially cocked and released. To prevent the possibility of death or serious personal injury, you should immediately stop using all H015-series Single Shot Rifles and Single Shot Shotguns and not load or fire them until they have been upgraded.

The safety issue leading to this voluntary recall was discovered internally while testing the existing fire control system for a trigger pull upgrade. This is the first product safety recall in the company’s nearly 25-year history. Although not every Henry H015-series firearm may be affected, Henry Repeating Arms is requesting that all Single Shot Rifles and Single Shot Shotguns be returned to be upgraded free of charge pursuant to this recall to prevent the possibility of the firearm discharging without the trigger being pulled. All H015 owners should visit the Henry H015 Recall website at HenryUSA.com/recall, email recall@henryusa.com, or call 1-866-200-2354 (M-F, 9am ET-5pm ET) to obtain additional information and begin the upgrade process.

Henry Repeating Arms will upgrade all returned Single Shot Rifles and Single Shot Shotguns in the order in which they are received. Henry Repeating Arms is ready to begin performing the upgrade as the firearms are received. Information on the current turnaround time for firearms returned to be upgraded will be provided at HenryUSA.com/recall. Henry Repeating Arms will make every effort to minimize the amount of time required to upgrade and return your firearm. As a sign of appreciation to its customers, Henry Repeating Arms will also perform an unrelated performance upgrade to improve the trigger pull on all firearms returned pursuant to this recall free of charge.

 

BIRD SHIRTS: If you are into wildlife T-shirts like I am, you might want to check out this website.

Choose from a variety of T-shirt colors adorned with impressive artwork featuring your favorite birds – owls, eagles, puffins, loons, bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals, ostriches, and more. You can wear a new tee featuring remarkable bird artwork that you can wear while birding – or anytime. Bird Shirts are made from 100 percent cotton that are hand-dyed, high-quality garments. All shirt designs are made from water-based inks and the printing process gives these T-shirts a soft feel, unlike the heavy plastic “shield” created by most screen printing.

Enjoy choosing among all the colorful art-based Bird Shirts that feature a fun variety of artwork with a mix of T-shirt colors at https://www.animalshirts.net/birdshirts/. Other wildlife (deer, fox, tigers, etc.) are also included.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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7 – 24 – 20

 

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.

 

JOHN IS GONE: At age 77, John Adamski passed away peacefully at his home in Dansville with his family by his side on Saturday, July 11, 2020. 

Many know John as the founder of the Finger Lakes Museum where he served as the Board President until 2015. He had a passion for the outdoors, which was shown through his lens as a photographer, as well as his writing as an outdoor author for many magazines and newspapers. John was a successful architect and homebuilder for many years. He designed many homes in the Rochester area, as well as in the Finger Lakes region. He loved fishing and was a charter boat Captain on Lake Ontario for over 10 years. Most of all, John loved sharing stories about his wildlife encounters and adventures in person or through social media, where he posted multiple times a day. Memorial contributions may be made to: Finger Lakes Museum, www.fingerlakesmuseum.org. To share a memory or a condolence, please visit: www.doughertyfuneralhomes.com.

John was also a cofounder of this Website and a friend. He will be missed.

 

GREAT AMERICAN OUTDOORS ACT PASSES CONGRESS: This past week, the United States House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly (310-107) to pass the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422).

Introduced in March by multiple Senators from both sides of the aisle, the Great American Outdoors Act will provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund at $900 million annually and address the $19 billion maintenance backlog on our public lands. The LWCF, created in 1965, provides funding for land and water conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation projects. The Fund is not tax-funded; rather, it's funded by royalties collected from offshore oil and gas operations. 

The LWCF has provided funding for conservation projects in all 50 states and nearly every county in the United States. The Great American Outdoors Act will ensure that the LWCF will be fully funded at $900 million annually for just the third time in the Fund's half-century history. For reference, the Fund is slated to receive $495 million this year - the highest allocation in the last 17 years. 

Additionally, the Great American Outdoors Act will dedicate $9.5 billion to repair and restore public land infrastructure over a period of five years, with the National Park Service (NPS) receiving 70% of these funds. Other federal agencies, such as the US Forest Service (USFS), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will receive most of the remainder.

The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act in both the Senate and House of Representatives is a conservation achievement unparalleled in recent decades, and our organizations are celebrating the bill's passage and the hard work of our dedicated members. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump's desk, and he has vowed on multiple occasions that he would support bipartisan legislation to fully fund the LWCF.

 

STATE PARTNERING WITH U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS TO TEST NEW SYSTEM TO INTERCEPT AND TREAT HARMFUL ALGAL BLOOMS: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a virtual public information session about a collaborative pilot study designed to reduce the impact of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Chautauqua Lake will be held on Tuesday, July 28, at 6 p.m. The pilot study will use innovative equipment to skim HABs from the lake and convert the material into useable bioenergy and fertilizer.

For several years, Chautauqua Lake has been impacted by large, persistent algal blooms during the late summer months. Part of New York's nation-leading HABs Initiative, in 2018, Chautauqua Lake was listed as one of 12 priority lakes and action plans were developed to address the causes of each lake's blooms. Chautauqua Lake offers a unique opportunity to study short-term methods for mitigating the physical presence of large HABs, while the HABs Action Plan and other state initiatives address the factors that contribute to HABs to improve the health of the lake.

The USACE's Engineer Research and Development Center is deploying its innovative research demonstration project - named Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment and Transformation System (HABITATS) - in portions of the southern half of Chautauqua Lake later this year. The pilot project uses floating skimmers on the lake to collect surface water laden with HABs. Once collected, the blooms are put through shore-based or mobile treatment processes, which detoxify the algae, concentrate it, and convert it into biocrude fuel and fertilizer. During the process, treated water is cleaned, clarified, and safely returned to the lake. For additional information, visit USACE's website.

To register for the Tuesday, July 28, virtual public information session, visit the Eventbrite page for details.

When it comes to HABs, DEC encourages New Yorkers to "KNOW IT, AVOID IT, REPORT IT." KNOW IT - naturally occurring harmful algal blooms vary in appearance from scattered green dots in the water, to long, linear green streaks, pea soup or spilled green paint, to blue-green or white coloration. AVOID IT - People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scums on the surface. REPORT IT - If members of the public suspect a HAB, report it through the NYHABs online reporting form available on DEC's website. For more information about HABs, including bloom notifications, which are updated daily from late spring through fall, visit DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) webpage.

 

APPLICATION DEADLINE FOR THE DEER MANAGEMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IS AUGUST 1: Landowners who are experiencing damage from deer may wish to consider applying for extra harvest tags through the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP). DMAP helps qualifying landowners and resource managers implement site-specific deer management on their lands to address crop damage or forest regeneration problems, protect areas of sensitive and rare plants, or conduct custom deer management programs. It can also be used by municipalities to reduce deer-related problems in residential communities.

DMAP permittees receive antlerless deer harvest tags that they can distribute to licensed hunters of their choice for use on the property where they are experiencing problems. The tags can be used only during open deer hunting seasons.

To see the eligibility requirements for DMAP or to download an application form, visit the DMAP webpage. Applications for this fall must be submitted to your regional wildlife office by August 1.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Wilderness Rescue: Town of Persia, Cattaraugus County: On July 19 at 1:30 p.m., Forest Ranger Bob Rogers responded to Zoar Valley for a reported injured hiker. The 58-year-old woman from Grand Island was part of a party of eight hikers when she fell and twisted her ankle while trying to get around fallen trees. Ranger Rogers, Assistant Forest Ranger Korah Witherell, and members of local fire departments quickly located the woman and provided basic first aid, including splinting her ankle. The injury was non-weight bearing, so the subject was carried out during a thunderstorm. The hikers and rescuers were out of the woods by 3:15 p.m.

Petroleum Spill - Onondaga County: On July 17, ECO Don Damrath received and responded to a complaint at an auto repair facility in the city of Syracuse concerning petroleum products possibly entering a stormwater drain on the property. Officer Damrath discovered leaking 55-gallon drums and other signs to suggest that the products were making it to the drain, even with heavy rains washing away some of the evidence The owner of the property was instructed to clean up the mess, properly store used oil, and remove waste tires also on-site. ECOs charged the owner with depositing noxious, offensive, or poisonous substances into public waters via the storm drain under Environmental Conservation Law.

Photo of oil drums and old tires, some of the oil drums leaking onto the pavement
Leaking drums at auto repair shop in Syracuse

Wilderness Rescue: Town of Collins, Erie County: On July 11 at 4 p.m., Forest Ranger Wayne Krulish and Assistant Forest Ranger (AFR) Korah Witherell patrolled the Zoar Valley Unique Area ensuring all visitors were accounted for following a heavy rainfall. Two vehicles remained in the Valentine Flats parking area and Ranger Krulish and AFR Witherell hiked in and located the individuals at the north side of the Cattaraugus Creek main branch where the two had been fishing. Heavy thunderstorms caused the creek to rise quickly, preventing the visiting anglers from crossing to return to their vehicles. They were advised to remain in their location until Rangers could assist and help the pair hike out of the gorge. While Rangers were en route, Erie County 911 dispatched a helicopter to pick up the hikers. The helicopter returned the pair to the Valentine Flats parking area at about 7:30 p.m. Ranger Krulish interviewed the two hikers and issued tickets for unlawful use of the area.

Closed Case: Abandoned Oil Well Investigation - Steuben County: Earlier this year, an investigation conducted by DEC BECI investigators and ECOs concluded in an Order on Consent for multiple violations of DEC's oil and gas well regulations by a natural gas exploration and production company based in Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania. The case began after investigators and officers conducted an inspection at multiple crude oil wells owned and operated by Plants and Goodwin Inc. DEC cited 19 offenses at seven different wells for violations of state regulations relating to oil well operations and reporting. The investigation also revealed an offense of the State Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit issued to Plants and Goodwin Inc. DEC issued an Order on Consent wherein the responsible party was brought into compliance with a $5,000 penalty.

Rusty oil well in the woods
Oil well in Steuben County reported to be in operation but proven to be non-operational

 

NEW FISHING, HUNTING, AND TRAPPING LICENSING SYSTEM: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced earlier in the summer, the launch of the State's new system for the sale of fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. The new DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS) includes user-friendly information to help users locate vendors, receive instant copies of a license, enter and view harvest information, and more.

As the system's new features are updated, additional functionality launching on DECALS will include:

> Events calendar with upcoming season dates, youth hunts, free fishing days and clinics, and more;

> Full integration with DEC's Hunter Education Program enabling users to more easily register for courses and automatically update certifications; and

> Auto-renewal options for all annual licenses.

> Users can access DECALS by phone and online. New York State's 1,100 license issuing agents are expected to be up and running on the new DECALS system soon, so contact local agents before heading out to purchase licenses in person. Call DEC's customer service hotline (866-933-2257) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or go to the DECALS website and buy licenses online.

Please note that previous DECALS logins will not work in the new system. To access current accounts, click on the 'Sign Up' link on the new DECALS website and use date of birth and DEC customer ID number or a driver's license number to locate existing files and create a new login. Please call DEC's customer service line at 866-933-2257 with any questions.

The new system is developed and supported by Kalkomey, a company that specializes in outdoor recreation and education web applications. Kalkomey currently provides hunter education classes for 46 states, including New York, as well as in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. DEC recently announced the success of Kalkomey's online hunter and bowhunter safety courses for New York State, which allow new hunters to take classes online during the State's response to COVID-19. Nearly 28,000 men, women, and children have taken the course to date, which was extended through Aug. 31, 2020.

Students who successfully complete the online courses and pass the final exam will receive their hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate. The courses are available to individuals 11 and older, but only those 12 or older may purchase a hunting license. Students can complete the courses from a computer, tablet, or smart phone at any time. Visit DEC's Hunter Education Program page to learn more or to sign up.

To take and receive a hunter education certificate or bowhunter education certificate through the online course, participants must be New York State residents. The cost of the hunter education course is $19.95 and the cost for the bowhunter education course is $30. Both courses can be accessed at DEC's website. The online courses will be available through Aug. 31, 2020.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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Sorry for missing period - Computer Problems.

 

5 – 22 – 20

 

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.

 

ANGLERS CAUTIONED TO AVOID SPAWNING LAKE STURGEON: Lake sturgeon can be unintentionally caught by anglers fishing in certain waters in New York during May and June when they’re spawning. The stress incurred from being caught by an angler can inhibit a lake sturgeon’s ability to spawn. It takes many years for female sturgeon to become sexually mature, and they only spawn every 4-7 years, so missing a spawning opportunity can have a big impact on the growth of a population. 

Keep in mind, lake sturgeon are listed as a threatened species in New York. There is no open season for lake sturgeon and possession is prohibited, so anglers should not be targeting these rare fish. If you catch a sturgeon, you should move to another area or change fishing gear to avoid catching another. Should you hook a lake sturgeon, follow these practices to ensure that it is returned to the water unharmed:

Avoid bringing the fish out of the water if possible.

Use pliers to remove the hook; sturgeon are almost always hooked in the mouth.

Always support the fish horizontally. Don't hold sturgeon in a vertical position by their head, gills, or tails.

Never touch their eyes or gills.

Minimize their time out of the water and return them to the water immediately once they are freed from fishing gear.

Be a lake sturgeon champion for New York and fish responsibly - it can make all the difference in returning this giant to our waters.

                                                                                                                  DEC Photo

 

MUSKELLUNGE SEASON OPENS MAY 30 IN MOST STATE WATERS: Anglers seeking the ultimate trophy fish don’t have to wait much longer. The fishing season for muskellunge, New York’s largest freshwater sportfish, opens on May 30 across much of the state. In New York’s Great Lakes waters (Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River) the season opens on June 20.

Capable of growing to 50 pounds or more, special techniques are often required when fishing for these massive predators. See Muskie 101 for tips on how to catch and handle them. New York’s most renowned muskellunge fisheries are in the St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River and Chautauqua Lake, but there are other quality waters including Waneta, Greenwood, Bear, and Cassadaga lakes and the Susquehanna, Chenango, Grass and Great Chazy rivers.

                                                            Photo DEC

 

 

BOWFISHING FOR CARP: Season started May 15.  You need a small game or fishing license to participate, and you must be in an area where both fishing and the discharge of a bow are permitted.  Only carp may be taken, so the same rule as in all hunting  applies - be sure of your target.  Hitting a fish other than a carp could be expensive.  One final observation: Some bowfishermen have been known to throw the carp back into the water after getting it.  Don’t!  It’s not like angling.  There is no catch and release.  Be considerate of others.  Remember, a rotting fish smells like . . . well, a rotten fish.  Disposing of your catch properly is not just a nice idea, it’s the law.

 

FIRST NEW YORK STATE RECORD FISH ESTABLISHED FOR 2020:

Morgan Fonzi record white bassWhile out fishing with his dad, Joe, on May 6th, Morgan Fonzi reeled in a new state record white bass from the Lower Niagara River. Weighing in at 3 lbs. 8 oz, it surpassed the previous state record set in 1992 by 2 ounces. Interestingly, the father-son duo had been out the day before when Joe Fonzi caught one even larger. When they realized what the (then) state record white bass weighed, they set out the following day specifically targeting that species and the rest is history.

It's safe to say, the fishing season in New York State is off to a great start! 

Congratulations Morgan!

For more information on New York's Angler Achievement Awards Program which covers state records, visit DEC's website.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Nothing from New York but in Michigan, DNR officers arrested a Pickford man who allegedly poached 18 wolves and three bald eagles after an investigation that lasted for months. Kurt Johnston Duncan, 56, was arraigned Wednesday in Chippewa County District court on a staggering 125 misdemeanor charges involving wildlife. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. The DNR did not give a lot of details on this case, but they shared a photo of officers investigating illegal snares allegedly set by Duncan.  

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

MAY

23-25 - 56th Annual National Lake Trout Derby on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York, NY. The derby is a Finger Lakes tradition that brings participants from far and wide to enjoy the scenic waters of the region while competing for a $10,000 grand prize, among others! It is open to anyone with a New York State Fishing License. Registration for the derby is located online as well as in varying towns along Seneca Lake. All derby registration information and prize breakdowns are listed on www.laketroutderby.com Qualifying fish include lake trout, landlocked salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout. An award ceremony will be held on the final day of the Trout Derby at the Tiki Bar North/Stivers Marine Weigh Station at 401 Boody’s Hill Road, Waterloo NY. (For information call (315) 789 5520.)  

31 - Close of Spring Turkey Hunting Season

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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5 – 15  – 20

 

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.

 

NATIONAL SAFE BOATING WEEK: National Safe Boating Week, which begins this Saturday, May 16, and runs through Friday, May 22, is the traditional early boating season reminder to help recreational boaters embrace safety all season long. However, the important National Safe Boating week recommendation urging life jacket wear is now joined by an equally important boating safety message — how to stay safe during the time of COVID-19.

The BoatUS Foundation offers two National Safe Boating Week tips:

Do everything you can to social distanceBoats should maintain a 50-foot separation on the water and not raft up; wash your hands and/or use sanitizer frequently; and pack all essentials. Additional tips can be found at the National Safe Boating Council’s CDC-based Tips for Navigating Social Distancing + Boating. The Marine Retailers Association of Americas offers boat storage facilities such as marinas, dealers or boat clubs a downloadable Communicate Safe Boating to Your Customers with tips for arriving at a marina, launching, storing and returning to the dock.

Your life jacket will save you. If there was one action a boater could easily take to dramatically increase safety aboard, it’s wearing his/her life jacket more often. According to U.S. Coast Guard statistics, approximately 84% of those who drowned were not wearing one. “The best life jacket is the one your will wear,” says Edmonston. “Inflatable life jackets are light, comfortable, keep you cool on a hot day, and are easily worn because you forget you are wearing one.” Boaters also need to have a properly sized U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket for every person aboard, and can borrow a child’s life jacket for free at over 575 BoatUS Life Jacket Loaner Program sites.

For more information on National Safe Boating Week, go to safeboatingcampaign.com.

 

TURKEY SEASON: Well, we’re at the halfway point of the spring wild turkey hunting season and hunter reports are running good and bad.  For some, the season is already over with two birds in the freezer. While others are wondering what their chances are.  That depends on who you talk to.  Some experienced hunters will tell you it’s tougher in the latter part of the season because there are fewer birds left, and those that remain are smarter.  Others claim the remaining toms will be more receptive to your calls because most hens will be on the nest.  Both theories make sense and maybe one factor offsets the other.  One thing that isn’t in dispute is that visibility is decreasing as the leaves come out, making it more of a must that you be sure of your target and don’t take instinctive shots. A past example: One hunter, who was stalking a decoy, learned the hard way as he shot at a movement beyond the decoy, which turned out to be the hunter in wait, waving him away from the decoy. Luckily not a fatality but a very serious injury. It’s also a lesson for the “hunter in wait” don’t move if you see someone coming. Use your voice to let him know you are there. There’s no excuse for incidents like this. Be sure of your target! 

 

TURKEY HUNTER CHARGED WITH SHOOTING TWO HUNTERS: The wild turkey spring season is at its half-way point and unfortunately no longer accident free. State Police have charged a Lockport man with a misdemeanor assault charge today following an early morning turkey hunting accident in Niagara County that left two hunters injured. Scott Brown, 59, of Lockport, has been charged with third-degree assault and reckless endangerment, second degree.

The two injured hunters told investigators they had permission to hunt the property. They said they came across some turkey decoys and turned to leave, believing someone was already hunting there. Scott was charged for allegedly firing at the two men hitting one in the face and the other in the back. The injuries were not life-threatening. Scott allegedly spoke to the two men saying he was sorry and then left the scene. He was later located by troopers and arrested. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due back in Niagara Court later this month.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Duckling Rescue - Onondaga County: On May 6, ECO Don Damrath and Geddes Police Officer Mike Sheppard reunited 15 Mallard ducklings with their mother after the ducklings fell into a storm drain at a busy intersection. A local business employee and Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection staff retrieved 12 of the ducklings, but three ducklings swam deeper into the drainpipe and refused to come out. ECO Damrath coaxed the three stragglers from the pipe using recorded duckling sounds. ECO Damrath and Officer Sheppard then secured the trio and reunited them with their siblings and mother at a nearby pond.

Three baby ducklings in a cardboard box
Rescued ducklings in Onondaga County

Kit Rescue - Tioga County: On May 10, ECO Eric Templeton responded to the town of Nichols to investigate a report of a young fox kit stuck in a window well. Upon arrival, ECO Templeton was informed the baby fox had fallen into one of the homeowner's window wells and had been there since the previous day. The homeowner had placed a board into the window well, but the baby fox was unable to climb out. ECO Templeton put on his protective equipment, recovered the fox, and transported the animal, unharmed, to a wildlife rehabilitator in Ithaca.

An ECO holds a tiny grey fox kit in his hands after rescue
ECO Eric Templeton and rescued gray fox

TIPS FOR WATCHING WILDLIFE AT NIGHT: The best time to witness nocturnal wildlife is about 30 minutes after sunset. Follow these tips to maximize your nighttime wildlife watch:
-Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers or running shoes so that you can walk around quietly.
-Check which direction the wind is blowing and sit downwind so that the animals won't be able to smell you.
-Bring a blanket—it gets cold sitting on the ground.
-Place a piece of red cellophane paper over your flashlight and secure it with a rubber band. The red light allows your eyes to adjust to the darkness better, and you won't disturb the animals as much as with a bright white flashlight.
-Pick an area where there are a lot of night-flying insects—near water, flood lights or street lights. Certain animals feed on insects, and insects are attracted to light and water.
-Use binoculars to get a close view of animals; binoculars enable you to see animals better from a respectable and safe distance.
-Don't feed the animals!

                                                        Night Wildlife Watching You

 

IF YOU CARE, LEAVE IT THERE: New Yorkers should keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals are in the peak season for giving birth, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) cautioned.

 

 

It is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both apparently abandoned. Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is also fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance for their survival, however, in nearly all cases this is a mistake and typically human interaction does more damage than good. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance and do not attempt to touch the animal.

Young wildlife quickly venture into the world on shaky legs or fragile wings. While most are learning survival from one or both parents, some normally receive little or no care. Often, wild animal parents stay away from their young when people are near. For all of these young animals, the perils of survival are a natural part of life in the wild.

White-tailed deer fawns present a good example of how human intervention with young wildlife can be problematic. Most fawns are born during late May and the first half of June. While fawns are able to walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their first several days lying still. During this period a fawn is also usually left alone by the adult female (doe) except when nursing. People occasionally find a lone fawn and mistakenly assume it has been orphaned or abandoned, which is very rare. Fawns should never be picked up. If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay its next visit to nurse.

A fawn’s best chance to survive is by being raised by the adult doe. Fawns nurse three to four times a day, usually for less than 30 minutes at a time, but otherwise the doe keeps her distance. This helps reduce the chance that she will attract a predator to the fawn. The fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain motionless all help it avoid detection by predators and people.     

By the end of its second week, a fawn begins to move about more and spend more time with the doe. It also begins to eat grass and leaves. At about ten weeks of age, fawns are no longer dependent on milk, although they continue to nurse occasionally into the fall. During August, all deer begin to grow their winter coat and fawns lose their spots during this process.

Should you find a fawn or other young wildlife, If You Care, Leave It There. In nearly all cases that is the best thing for the animal. DO NOT consider young wildlife as possible pets. This is illegal and is bad for the animal. Wild animals are not well suited for life in captivity and they may carry diseases that can be given to people. Resist the temptation to take them out of the wild. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about young wildlife, visit the DEC website at: www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6956.html

 

 

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

16 – Free Learn To Catch a Fish Day at the Silver Lake State Park, Silver Springs, NY (11:00 am – 3:00 pm) Free Sport Fishing Events are fishing programs where participants can fish for free; no freshwater fishing license or enrollment in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry is required. In addition to fishing, participants can learn about fish identification, fishing equipment and techniques, fisheries management, angling ethics and aquatic ecology.  (For information contact Douglas Kelly, NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation at 585-493-3605.)

16 - The Wilson Harbor Invitational Tournament. The contest is a challenging test for one day. Bring your six-best salmon (chinook or coho) and see who scores the highest based on 10 points per fish and one point per pound. The basic concept is the same. However, here is what’s been put on the table for the 2020 competition. Observers no longer are required for teams, but polygraph testing will return. The rod limit is being increased from 6 to 8 rods and the Canadian border is again open for the contest. Remember that the regulations are slightly different in the lake in Canadian waters, such as rod limits. The tournament is limited to 50 boats and the entry fee is $1,000. Canadian money is accepted at par to help offset travel costs and the increased costs of docking and accommodations to encourage international participation. (For information, visit www.wilsonharborinvitational.com.)

16 – Niagara Frontier Friends of NRA Banquet at Salvatore's Italian Gardens, 6461 Transit Road,
Depew, NY (5:00 pm) (Cost: $50.00) (For information contact Georgina Grosofsky 716-866-7656  or email friendsofnrageorgina@gmail.com)

23-25 - 56th Annual National Lake Trout Derby on Seneca Lake in Geneva, New York, NY. The derby is a Finger Lakes tradition that brings participants from far and wide to enjoy the scenic waters of the region while competing for a $10,000 grand prize, among others! It is open to anyone with a New York State Fishing License. Registration for the derby is located online as well as in varying towns along Seneca Lake. All derby registration information and prize breakdowns are listed on www.laketroutderby.com Qualifying fish include lake trout, landlocked salmon, brown trout and rainbow trout. An award ceremony will be held on the final day of the Trout Derby at the Tiki Bar North/Stivers Marine Weigh Station at 401 Boody’s Hill Road, Waterloo NY. (For information call (315) 789 5520.)  

31 - Close of Spring Turkey Hunting Season

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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5 – 8  – 20

 

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.

 

GOVERNORS OF NEW YORK, NEW JERSEY AND CONNECTICUT ANNOUNCE PLANS TO REOPEN MARINAS, BOATYARDS: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont recently announced marinas, boatyards and marine manufacturers will be allowed open for personal use as long as strict social distancing and sanitization protocols are followed. Chartered watercraft services or rentals will not be allowed, and restaurant activity at these sites must be limited to take-out or delivery only, like anywhere else in the three states. This announcement aligns the policies of the three states on this particular service.

“We’ve committed to working with our regional partners throughout this crisis to align our policies when and where appropriate,” said Governor Murphy. “A unified approach is the most effective way to alleviate confusion for the residents of our states during the ongoing public health emergency.”

“Throughout this pandemic, we’ve worked closely with our friends in neighboring states to implement a uniform regional approach to reducing the spread of the virus,” Governor Cuomo said. “Aligning our polices in this area is another example of that strong partnership, and will help ensure there is no confusion or ‘state shopping’ when it comes to marinas and boatyards.”

“Our states share workforces, resources, public transit, and we all have share a connection on the water,” Governor Lamont said. “This is yet another example of how our states have shared interests, which is all the more reason to collaborate on these kinds of decisions. This decision provides uniformity across our marinas.”

 

2020 CHINOOK SALMON AND STEELHEAD PEN-REARING PROJECTS: Fishing stocking in the waterEach year, DEC works with volunteer groups to stock a portion of the Lake Ontario Chinook salmon and steelhead in pen-rearing projects where the fish are held at the stocking location for 21 days prior to release. Previous studies have shown that pen-rearing improves both the survival of stocked fish and adult returns to the stocking site. This spring, the volunteer groups were able to develop alternate plans to operate the pen-rearing projects while still maintaining effective social distancing. Stocking of Lake Ontario pen-rearing projects began on April 3rd and was completed on April 14th. We were able to stock all planned Chinook salmon pen-rearing sites and three out of four planned steelhead pen-rearing sites this year. The pen-rearing program is a great example of DEC and anglers working together to provide enhanced management of the Lake Ontario fishery.

 

 

U.S.C.G. CAUTIONS BOATERS RE COLD WATER:  The Coast Guard reminds recreational boaters and paddlers to be aware of the risks involving cold water drownings.
Even as the area heads into warmer weather, it can still take many months for the rivers, lakes, and waterways to catch up. The water may be significantly colder than the outside ambient temperature.
Always wear a life jacket while out on the water. There is no time to don a life jacket when an accident or emergency occurs. The best vest is the one you wear.

“While hypothermia is a real concern, the true cause of most drownings this time of year is the rapid loss of one’s ability to swim or tread water due to cold water immersion,” said Capt. Nathan Coulter, chief of incident management for the 13th Coast Guard District. “Water temperatures in lakes and rivers are still near 50 degrees. If you enter water at those temperatures without a wet-suit or personal flotation device you may have less than 10 minutes to survive. Stay safe by dressing for the water temperature, not the air temperature.”

According to Frank Golden and Michael Tipton, internationally recognized experts in cold-water survival, water below 60-degrees Fahrenheit is immediately life-threatening, and many Washington waterways stay below 60-degrees Fahrenheit year round.

Sudden cold-water immersion makes it difficult, if not impossible, for boaters to keep their heads above water and stay afloat. Boating fatality statistics have shown that wearing a life jacket gives boaters the best chance of survival in the event of an accident, especially in cold water.

Small vessels such as kayaks, canoes, rafts, row boats, paddle boards, sailing vessels and open motorboats less than 21-feet long are the most vulnerable to capsizing.

Wear personal protective clothing, including dry or wet suits, clothing appropriate for a swim in the water temperature where you are venturing.

Boaters don’t just need to wear the proper gear but also need to equip their boats with required and recommended safety gear, such as a hand-held VHF-FM marine-band radio, a personal locator beacon and flares.
File a float plan. Take the time to write your contact information, with a waterproof permanent marker, on your kayak, paddle board or other personal water craft. A name, address and phone number can assist first responders in locating you, should your vessel be found.
New and inexperienced boaters should seek education before heading out on the water. Safety courses are offered through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and other state and local agencies, which are often offered at little or no cost.

 

BOATUS QUESTIONS WORK STOPPAGE ON THE ERIE CANAL: The New York State Canal System has long been recognized as essential transportation infrastructure, important to irrigation and flood control, the upstate economy, and communities that line its 524-mile length. However, the Canal Corporation’s parent agency, New York Power Authority (NYPA), ordered a work stoppage in March that has left eight canal locks dry with repair projects incomplete. This not only threatens this year’s May 15 opening but also could have lasting consequences.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the national advocacy, services and safety group with more than 600,000 members — 39,000 in the Empire State alone — supports efforts by canal advocates to seek answers from NYPA about why essential infrastructure is not being maintained and when the work will resume so that negative impacts on navigation and communities can be minimized.

An April 14 article in The Buffalo News, “With Erie Canal Boating Season in Jeopardy, Business Owners, Officials Voice Concerns,” reported that workers were sent home March 17, and lock projects from Lockport to Whitehall, typically part of annual routine winter maintenance, could take up to 60 days to complete.

Said BoatUS Vice President of Public Affairs Scott Croft, “For nearly 200 years, the New York State Canal System has been essential transportation infrastructure. We’d like to know why maintenance activity has been allowed to stop while construction activities on the state’s trail system, parks and roads continue. The canal system is not only a critical waterway for recreational boaters, but also to the full recovery of New York State. It’s an economic engine for upstate communities from May through October, and its vital to have as much of the season as possible. We are hoping with the Governor Cuomo's recent April 19 executive order 202.96 to open marinas as essential will help encourage NYPA to act now to get the waterway ready for the season.”

Added Croft, “We can’t allow the system to fall behind. We don’t want the stoppage to potentially create a false choice down the road in which reduced water depth or minimized navigation is justified by a lack of scheduled maintenance. If the locks remain dry, there will be regions of the canal where recreational boaters and commercial vessels will not be able to navigate, directly affecting local economies.” Lock E23 in Brewerton, traditionally one of the busiest locks on the canal, is affected by the work stoppage. Other locks affected include E34/E35 (Lockport); E33 (Rochester), E26 (Clyde), E19 (Schuyler) E13 (Yosts), E7 (Niskayuna) and C12 (Whitehall).

Recreational boating contributes an $8.4 billion economic impact to New York, the third largest boating economy in the nation behind Florida and California. New York State recreational boating supports more than 2,300 businesses and provides nearly 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in the state. There are 444,103 registered boats in New York.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Sorry No Reports for Central/Western New York Area.

Barricaded Bears - Sullivan County: On April 15, ECOs Glen Parker and Ricky Wood responded to a bear complaint in Rock Hill. Upon arrival, the ECOs found two yearling black bears stuck inside a shed. The bears had knocked over a number of items inside the shed and were trapped inside. With assistance from two New York State Troopers, the ECOs were able to open the shed doors just wide enough for the bears to escape back into the nearby forest.

Two young bears in a wooden shed
Barricaded yearling black bears in Rock Hill

Injured Owl Fledgling - Sullivan County: On April 22, ECOs Glen Parker and Christopher Doroski responded to reports of an injured owl fledgling in the town of Neversink. Upon arrival, the officers located the owl and captured it without incident. The owl was taken to the New Paltz Animal Hospital where it was evaluated and determined to be underweight and suffering from an injured keel. The owl will be relayed to the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center for recovery after its injuries are treated.

ECO poses for a picture with owl fledgling
ECO Doroski with owl fledgling

Not an Alligator - Schenectady County:

On April 27 at 9:45 a.m., ECOs responded to reports of a possible alligator siting at Steinmetz Park in Schenectady. The ECOs canvassed the park for signs of an alligator and found none. With the aid of binoculars, the responding officers observed a large common snapping turtle with a 16-inch carapace/shell just below the surface of the water, which could have been mistaken as an alligator swimming. A second canvass of the pond's edge revealed no tracks along the shoreline. The Schenectady Police Department has set up a portable camera pole overlooking the pond for future continuous observation. Area residents should call the DEC Law Enforcement Dispatch Center at 1-844-DEC-ECOs (1-844-332-3267) to report any additional sightings.

Blurry photo of large aquatic animal
Photos sent to DEC of alleged alligator

Wildfire: Town of Volney, Oswego County: On April 25 at 4:50 p.m., Oswego County 911 contacted Forest Ranger Michael Chappell to assist with a brush fire caused by a campfire on Bunny Drive in the town of Volney. When the Ranger arrived on scene, the fire was contained. Ranger Chappell assisted the responding fire department with extinguishing standing trees that were burning on the property. The fire was declared out at 6 p.m.

 

SNAKES: Now that the weather is warm, more people are starting to see snakes in their backyards, along trails, and in the woods. However, seeing a snake outside is no cause for alarm—if you see one, don’t panic. Leave it alone and walk away.

Regardless of whether a snake is venomous or non-venomous, snakes pose little threat to pets and children — if left alone. When confronted or harassed, snakes are more likely to flee than they are to bite. However, if given no escape route or they are restrained, they will bite or lunge toward their perceived aggressor to defend themselves. Watching for snakes and giving them a wide berth is an easy habit to learn, and powerfully effective for preventing snake bites.

To encourage a snake to leave your yard, try gently spraying it with a garden hose. This tactic can easily, and from a safe distance, entice the snake to go elsewhere. Removing one snake is a short-term solution that will not prevent another one from taking its place, and in the long-term does not reduce problems. However, here are a few tips that people can follow to make their backyards less hospitable to snakes.

· Clean up clutter – remove hiding places like piles of rocks, wood and other debris that attract rodents and snakes.

· Keep the lawn mowed. Snakes and their rodent prey prefer tall grasses where they can hide. They’re also easier to spot in shorter grass.

· Discourage snakes from entering your home by closing gaps and holes, repairing damage to siding and the foundation, and sealing openings under doors, windows and around water pipes.

When it comes to snakes, Hall says the most important thing people can do is to educate themselves and others about these beneficial reptiles and learn to appreciate them as an important part of the ecosystem.

Snakes are strictly carnivorous, preying on smaller animals such as rodents, slugs and insects. Snakes also serve as an important food source for other animals like foxes, raccoons, eagles, hawks, and owls. Instead of being widely feared and unjustly persecuted, snakes should be appreciated for the awesome creatures they are and treated with respect.

Photo by John Adamski

 

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

No events on record remain open.

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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4 – 17 – 20

 

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.

 

A MESSAGE SENT TO ALL DEC HUNTER EDUCATION PROGRAM (HEP) INSTRUCTORS:

To give you an idea of the impact the Covid-19 cancellations have had on the Hunter Education Program (HEP), check out the following numbers:
From March 18 to April 30 (our current cancellation date) there were:
150+ hunter education courses cancelled with 2,657 students already registered
50+ bowhunter education courses cancelled with 675 students registered
10+ trapper education courses cancelled with 150 students registered
That is 210+ HEP courses cancelled and almost 3,500 student registrations in the system. And the numbers would have been higher if we hadn’t stopped new courses from opening.

HEP staff have received numerous pleas from instructors, parents, and students asking how they can get someone certified before spring turkey season begins or before the youth turkey hunting weekend in late April. Since NY accepts a hunter education certificate from any state in order to purchase a hunting license, many have figured out that taking a fully online course in another state enables them to get certified, and allows them to purchase a hunting license in New York before turkey season. However, many states that offer a fully online course are now restricting their online courses to residents only because so many non-residents, from New York, and many other states that also cancelled their hunter education courses, are overwhelming their computer systems or costing them a lot of money.

As a result, New York is now going to offer a fully online hunter education course so that students can get certified during this time when we cannot offer in-person courses. The online course is going to be offered through Kalkomey, the company that we use for Event Manager and the online homework. I approached Kalkomey approximately two weeks ago to see if we could get an online course operational in time for students to get certified before spring turkey season. They did an amazing job getting it all together so quickly.

The course will cost $19.95 per person. Right now the course will be available for a limited time, from April 15 through June 30, 2020. By late June, we will make a decision on whether to keep the course open for a longer period of time. Anyone age 11 or older can take the online course and you must be a resident of New York State. Students who successfully complete the course, and pass the final exam, will get a hunter education certificate. Starting Wednesday, the course can be found at https://www.hunter-ed.com/newyork/

Kalkomey is charging a fee for students to take this online course. That money stays with Kalkomey and helps pay for the customer support they provide for the online course. Providing this fee-based online course is an action that had to be taken at this time in order to continue offering hunter education courses, and to fulfill our legal obligation to issue hunter education certificates for those who want to purchase a hunting license.

HEP staff will email all the students who were registered for a hunter education course in March and April that was cancelled due to COVID-19. The email will let them know about the online course option if they need to get a hunter education certificate prior to turkey season.
I want to make it very clear, we are not eliminating in-person courses, and we have no plans to eliminate in-person courses in the future. We all know the value of hands-on, in-person courses. As soon as we have permission to resume scheduling in-person courses, we will let you know.
Please realize that all of us in the HEP are working from home. There are many challenges that come with working from home, as I am sure many of you who are also working from home have come to realize. We cannot mail paper copies to those that do not have email, we may take longer to answer an email question from you, most of us do not have state cell phones for you to call us, we may not have all the files and databases we have on our work computers, we may not have internet access at our home, and we may be homeschooling our kids while trying to get all our work done. Please be patient as we all try to do the best we can.

Thank you for understanding and thank you for your dedication to the Hunter Education Program.
Please stay safe and healthy.

Kelly Stang - Hunter Education Program Administrator

 

FORMER BASSMASTER CLASSIC CHAMP MIKE IACONELLI PLANS FREE ONLINE FISHING CLINIC:  The clinic is designed to help people interested in learning to fish get started as a way to be both active and socially responsible during the COVID-19 pandemic

What: Planned in partnership with Berkley Fishing, Ike’s Fishing 101 is a free entry-level fishing clinic, designed to give families and young anglers the information they need to be successful when fishing. Though fishing is ideally an activity to bring people together, during the COVID-19 pandemic fishing also serves as an ideal social-distancing activity that gets participants outdoors where they can reap the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Sales data from the last month shows that sales of entry level rod and reel combos are soaring, indicating that more people are embracing fishing during this time. This clinic is meant to help them be more successful—and have more fun—on the water.

When: 2 p.m. (Eastern) daily beginning on Monday, April 20 and running through Friday, April 24. Each episode will last approximately one hour.

Where: Live episodes will be broadcast via Facebook Live on the Mike Iaconelli Fishing Facebook page (@MikeIaconelliFishing) and the Mike Iaconelli Instagram page (@mikeiaconelli).A Facebook and/or Instagram account will be needed for access to live episodes. There are no costs or fees associated with participation in the clinic.

Host: Mike Iaconelli, a native of southern New Jersey, is a fanfavorite professional angler with more than 20 years of professional competition to his credit. Iaconelli competes on the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour and is the only angler to ever win the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Championship. In addition to competing at the highest levels of professional bass fishing, Iaconelli is driven to grow the sport of fishing with his own entertainment, education and charitable organizations: The Bass University, Ike Live Podcast, Going Ike YouTube Series and The Ike Foundation®. Iaconelli is host of the television show, “City Limits” on the Pursuit Channel and “Fish My City with Mike Iaconelli” on NatGeo Wild.

Curriculum: Episode 1 — Let’s Try Fishing

Fishing provides a great connection to nature and the outdoors. Fishing teaches lots of basic skills as well as important life lessons. Fishing can also be the ultimate form of social distancing. Fishing is easy to learn and a lot of fun

Episode 2 — Basic Fishing Gear

The great thing about fishing is you don't need a ton of specialized gear or a lot of money to get started. Just a rod and reels, some fishing line and a little bit of tackle. This episode will explain fishing gear and where to get it.

Episode 3 — Preparing Your Fishing Gear

Before heading out for your first fishing trip, prepare gear for a great day on the water by setting up a rod and reel, learning toattach bobbers and weights with basic knots and how to hold a rod and reel correctly. Practicing at home is fun, too!

Episode 4 — Finding a Fishing Spot

Finding a fishing spot near your home can be easy. Doesn't matter if you live in the country, in the suburbs or in a city. The great thing about both freshwater and saltwater fish species is that they are highly adaptable and can live in a wide variation of places. And don't worry if you don't have a boat as there are plenty of places where you can fish from the bank.

Episode 5 — Let’s Go Fishing

In the final episode, Mike Iaconelli takes his family to the water to put into use all the information learned throughout the course. Topics will include what to do once you get to your fishing location, picking a spot, making the cast, detecting bites, setting the hook and reeling in the fish.

 

THE GOOD GUYS AT WORK:

Wilderness Rescue: Village of Warsaw, Wyoming County: On April 8 at 11:23 p.m., NYSP in Batavia contacted DEC's Central Dispatch requesting assistance in locating a missing 13-year-old boy in the village of Warsaw. The boy was playing with friends near his home when he went missing. Forest Ranger Lt. Tim Flanigan responded to the scene to conduct interviews and assist with the search. Forest Ranger John Kennedy also responded and conducted drone flights while the Warsaw Police Department, Wyoming County Sheriff's Office, friends, family, and volunteers searched the area. On April 9 at 5:45 a.m., Warsaw Police Officer Nick Wright located the boy and transported him back home where he was evaluated by Warsaw Ambulance and turned over to his parents. Ranger Kennedy interviewed the boy and discovered that at approximately 7 p.m., he was playing tag with his two brothers and a friend in a wooded area near his residence when the group ran ahead without him. He could not catch up with the others and became disoriented. After walking for some time, he saw lights and started heading in that direction. He came out of the woods at a nearby hardware center and sat on a bench. Officer Wright spotted the boy there and helped him to return home. Rangers were cleared of the scene at 8 a.m.

 

AMERICAN WOODCOCK: THE HARBINGERS OF SPRING: The arrival of American Woodcock back to New York is a telltale sign that spring is here to stay. Despite their diminutive size, woodcock are one of the earliest ground-nesting birds in the state. Just this week, DEC Biologist Jeremy Hurst found this female nesting in the snow on his property near Albany. If you’re curious where NY’s woodcock come from - DEC is currently part of a large cooperative research project to track both Fall and Spring migration of woodcock throughout their eastern range using tiny GPS transmitters. For weekly updates on their migration, please visit the Eastern Woodcock Migration Research Cooperative's website.

Getting outdoors and observing wildlife is a great way to stave off cabin fever in these tough times of social distancing. The coming weeks are also the perfect time to get outdoors and listen for the distinctive breeding calls and display of the American woodcock. Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website for audio recordings. Each spring, in an effort to attract a female, the male woodcock will periodically “peent” from the ground. Then he will fly 300-500 feet in the air and slowly fly in a circle while rubbing his outermost flight feathers together to make a “twinkling” sound. Once you’ve heard this distinctive calling display, you can’t miss it! The best time to hear woodcock is April through May during the final hour of light, often just after legal sunset. To improve your odds of finding these birds, look for old farm fields that are becoming overgrown or agricultural fields near dense cover. Finding places with less noise pollution will also greatly increase your odds of hearing woodcock – so skip the field with a babbling brook next to it.

 

SPRING TURKEY SEASON STARTS MAY 1 – YOUTH HUNT APRIL 25/26: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC's annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place April 25-26. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters aged 12 to 15 is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.

Turkey hunters took about 17,000 birds in New York during the 2019 spring season. Spring harvest success is often tied to productivity two years prior, as hunters like to focus on adult gobblers (i.e., two-year-old birds). While the cold, wet start to the 2019 breeding season meant low reproductive success and poor recruitment in many areas, conditions were better in summer 2018. The population gains made in 2018, combined with good overwinter survival because of abundant food in the fall and relatively mild winter conditions this year, may offset 2019's poor reproductive success.

Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 25 and 26

* Hunters 12-15 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 in 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. In Suffolk and Westchester counties it is illegal to use a crossbow to hunt wild turkeys; and

* All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, 2020:

* 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 (except crossbows may not be used in Westchester County);

* Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their 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 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online at DEC's Game Harvest Reporting website; and

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting" pages of DEC's website.

Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart!

While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course:

> Point your gun in a safe direction;

> Treat every gun as if it were loaded;

> Be sure of your target and beyond;

> Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and

> Stalking stinks! Set-up with your back against a tree or other object wider than your shoulders and call birds to you.

> DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters. A blaze orange or blaze pink vest or other material can be hung in a nearby tree when you are set-up and calling birds so other hunters are alerted to your presence.

>A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, hunter education courses have been cancelled through April 30. To find a hunter education class in your area, visit DEC's Hunter Education Program website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).

"Hunting Safe" also means following social distancing and other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Purchase licenses and/or turkey permits online to avoid visiting busy stores or because stores may be closed or have limited hours. Licenses and tags purchased online take 10-14 days to arrive, so online purchases for the youth turkey hunt should be made by April 10, and for the regular season by April 16;

Hunt close to home. Opt for day trips instead of staying at a hunting camp to avoid close contact with other hunters;

Avoid crowds at parking areas and other locations where people congregate. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others;

Avoid high-traffic destinations. If a hunting location is crowded, choose a different spot or time to visit. For alternative hunting locations visit DEC's website.

Hunt alone. If hunting with someone not from your household, whether an adult or youth, practice social distancing, take separate vehicles to the hunting location, and make sure to maintain at least six feet of distance. Only share a hunting blind with someone from your household;

Carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face and wash mouth calls after handling; and

If hunters do not feel well, they should stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.

For more information about getting outdoors and #RecreateLocal, go to DEC's Website.

 

 

 

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

APRIL 2020

18 - Seager Marine Perch Tournament headquartered at Seager Marine, 21 Parrish Street, Canandaigua, NY. (6:00 am – 3:00 pm) Pre-Register is by mail: $40 per team (1 – 3 persons). Teams weigh in 5 perch for total weight. (For information and registration forms visit seagermarine.com or call 585-394-1372 x216.)

18-19 - New York State Arms Collectors Association Gun Show at the NYS Fairgrounds Expo Center, 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse , NY (Sat., 9 am-5 pm; Sun., 9 am-3 pm) 1,000 tables. (Admission: $7.00/seniors $5.00/children under 12 free) (For information contact Sandy Ackerman Klinger, 346 Paul Street, Endicott, NY 13760, 607-748-1010 email sandynysac@yahoo.com)

24 – Arbor Day

24-26 - 32nd Annual Bird of Prey Days at Braddock Bay at Braddock Bay Park, 199 East Manitou Road, Rochester, New York. Braddock Bay Raptor Research will host the Bird of Prey Days festival at Braddock Bay Park on Lake Ontario and home to one of the best spring raptor migrations on the continent! People of all ages are invited to come out and learn about hawks, eagles, falcons, owls, and other species in support BBRR’s conservation efforts. Activities will be held inside and out, including hawkwatching, raptor banding, owl prowls, live raptor programs, educational and art displays, and kids activities. $5 suggested donation for adults, kids are free. (For information contact: Braddock Bay Raptor Research, 585-267-5483, information@bbrr.org.)

25 - Central New York Friends of NRA Banquet at The Fireside Inn, 2345 West Genesee Road, Route 370, Baldwinsville, NY (5:30 pm) (Cost: $45.00) (For information contact James Middleton 315- 695-3981 or email: jlmiddleton1109@yahoo.com.)

25 - Whitetails Unlimited – Stonybrook Chapter Hunters Night Out at the Dansville Fire Department, 11 Franklin Street, Dansville, NY. (Cost: Adult - $45.00/Spouse/Youth - $25.00) Through our Grassroots Program, WTU provides grants to local projects and activities that advance our mission. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth conservation and training event. (For information call Tricia Griese, 845-447-4543 or go to http://www.whitetailsunlimited.com/events/banquets/)

25-26 - Niagara Frontier - Hamburg Gun Show (Canceled) at the Hamburg Fairgrounds, 5820 S Park Avenue, Hamburg, New York ((9:00 am – 4:00 pm/9:00 am - 3:00pm) 300 tables. NICS background checks available. (Cost: $7.00/children under 12 free when accompanied by a paid adult) (90 Tables) (For information call Bruce Johnston 716-542-9929 or email nfgshows@aol.com)

25-26 - Greater Wellsville Trout Derby, Genesee River. (TIMES - Headquarters Opens at 12 pm, Friday April 24/Saturday Fishing 6 am to 7 pm/Sunday Fishing 6 am to 5 pm) (Registration Sites: Wellsville Town Clerk Office - 156 N. Main St., Wellsville Chamber of Commerce - 114 N. Main St., Strope Outdoor Supply - 5 William St. Addison NY. Over $25,000 money and 475 tagged fish. (FEES - If you register before April 1st the fee is $15, after April 1st the fee is $20) (For information/register go online to www.Trout-Derby.com or call 585-596-9274.)

25-26 - Spring Youth Turkey Hunt (Details page 45 19-20 Hunting & Trapping Guide)

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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4 – 10 – 20

 

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.

 

SPRING TURKEY SEASON STARTS MAY 1 – YOUTH HUNT APRIL 25/26: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that spring turkey season opens May 1 in all of Upstate New York north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary. In addition, DEC's annual youth turkey hunting weekend will take place April 25-26. The youth turkey hunt for junior hunters aged 12 to 15 is open in all of Upstate New York and Suffolk County.

Turkey hunters took about 17,000 birds in New York during the 2019 spring season. Spring harvest success is often tied to productivity two years prior, as hunters like to focus on adult gobblers (i.e., two-year-old birds). While the cold, wet start to the 2019 breeding season meant low reproductive success and poor recruitment in many areas, conditions were better in summer 2018. The population gains made in 2018, combined with good overwinter survival because of abundant food in the fall and relatively mild winter conditions this year, may offset 2019's poor reproductive success.

Important Details for the Youth Turkey Hunt on April 25 and 26

* Hunters 12-15 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 in 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. In Suffolk and Westchester counties it is illegal to use a crossbow to hunt wild turkeys; and

* All other wild turkey hunting regulations remain in effect.

Other Important Details for the Spring Turkey Season, May 1-31, 2020:

* 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 (except crossbows may not be used in Westchester County);

* Successful hunters must fill out the tag that comes with their 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 (1-866 GAMERPT) or report harvest online at DEC's Game Harvest Reporting website; and

For more information about turkey hunting in New York, see the 2019-20 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or visit the "Turkey Hunting" pages of DEC's website.

Hunt Safe, Hunt Smart!

While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made each year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable, and DEC encourages hunters to use common sense this season and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunter Education Course:

> Point your gun in a safe direction;

> Treat every gun as if it were loaded;

> Be sure of your target and beyond;

> Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot; and

> Stalking stinks! Set-up with your back against a tree or other object wider than your shoulders and call birds to you.

> DEC also encourages all hunters to wear blaze orange or blaze pink when moving between hunting spots to make themselves more visible to other hunters. A blaze orange or blaze pink vest or other material can be hung in a nearby tree when you are set-up and calling birds so other hunters are alerted to your presence.

>A hunter education class is required for all new hunters. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, hunter education courses have been cancelled through April 30. To find a hunter education class in your area, visit DEC's Hunter Education Program website or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332).

"Hunting Safe" also means following social distancing and other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Purchase licenses and/or turkey permits online to avoid visiting busy stores or because stores may be closed or have limited hours. Licenses and tags purchased online take 10-14 days to arrive, so online purchases for the youth turkey hunt should be made by April 10, and for the regular season by April 16;

Hunt close to home. Opt for day trips instead of staying at a hunting camp to avoid close contact with other hunters;

Avoid crowds at parking areas and other locations where people congregate. Keep a distance of six feet or more from others;

Avoid high-traffic destinations. If a hunting location is crowded, choose a different spot or time to visit. For alternative hunting locations visit DEC's website.

Hunt alone. If hunting with someone not from your household, whether an adult or youth, practice social distancing, take separate vehicles to the hunting location, and make sure to maintain at least six feet of distance. Only share a hunting blind with someone from your household;

Carry hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face and wash mouth calls after handling; and

If hunters do not feel well, they should stay home. Anyone 70 and older or with a compromised immune system should postpone their trip.

For more information about getting outdoors and #RecreateLocal, go to DEC's Website.

 

 

BOAT LAUNCH DOCK INSTALLATIONS UNDERWAY: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) announced that boat launch installations are ongoing across the state to ensure boaters have access to New York State's abundant recreational opportunities. Each spring, DEC and State Parks regional staff work to install docks at all sites, often before the opening day for various sportfish species. During the COVID -19 public health crisis, when boating and fishing DEC and State Parks encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally and use the hashtag #RecreateLocal, avoid busy waters, and follow the guidelines on DEC's website about fishing responsibly in New York State.

Docks are being installed at boat launches across the state. Schedules for boat launch installations can change based on water levels, weather, and ice conditions. Most sites are open for public use even if the boarding dock is not installed. Boaters are encouraged to call their regional fisheries office or State Park to check the boat launch status.

Restrooms at these facilities will remain closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent the community spread of COVID-19. Boat launches at DEC campgrounds remain closed at this time.

A list of New York State Boat Launching Sites (PDF, 7.7 MB) contains boating access and launching areas available to the public, as well as helpful information on launching and retrieving boats and aquatic invasive species. For people with mobility issues, DEC also maintains a photo album of accessible launch and fishing sites. For information about non-DEC boat launch site operations, please contact the specific municipality or agency.

Please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19.

New York's waters remain cold throughout the spring. Life jacket wear is required through May 1 on pleasure boats less than 21 feet long and dressing in layers is recommended to avoid hypothermia. Boaters should be alert at all times and follow the rules of the nautical road. Under Brianna's law, all operators of motorized vessels must take a safe boating course and earn a safe boating certificate by 2025. For information on recreational boating in New York, visit NYS Parks website.

 

EXPECT TO SEE MORE COYOTES AND FOX: Increased sightings of coyotes and fox in neighborhoods could be due to changes in human activity caused by COVID-19 or could coincide with the normal increase of activity seen every spring as pup-rearing season gears up.

While these animals, found across the state, are naturally wary of humans and tend to spend their time hiding and avoiding people whenever possible, glimpses of these elusive canines will become more frequent, with sightings peaking in May, as parents begin hunting day and night to feed their young.

To deter a coyote from coming near you, or into your yard, you can haze it by shouting, throwing small objects, and waving your arms in a threatening manner. You can also spray it with a water hose or shake a soda can filled with pennies to scare it away. The goal is to make the animal uncomfortable enough to leave the area and avoid contact with you.

Coyotes and fox rarely attack humans, although small pets, such as cats and small-breed dogs, can be taken as prey if left outside and unsupervised. For this reason, it is suggested that people keep small pets on a leash or keep them close enough to you that you can pick them up quickly if necessary. Past evidence shows that simply being nearby is the best way to keep small pets safe from coyotes when they’re outside. That, or keeping them in a coyote-proof enclosure; fencing should be at least 6’ tall and prevent animals from digging under.

To deter undesired wildlife from your yard, it is suggested clearing away brush along the edges of your yard, feeding pets indoors or removing food when your pet is finishing eating, and removing other food attractants such as unsecured garbage, bird seed on the ground and fallen fruit from trees.

In the absence of attractants, coyotes and fox will likely still pass through the area, but won’t make themselves at home. Combined with active hazing, this can effectively send the message to coyotes and fox that they are unwelcome.

This time of year, however, hazing is less likely to work if a den or young pups are nearby. Coyotes and fox are excellent parents and will not abandon their young, even if frightened.

Coyotes and fox tend to closely watch people who come near their den or pups, so if you are passing through a brushy or wooded area and notice a coyote watching you or even following at a distance, but only in a specific area, there may be a den nearby. Instead of hazing the coyote, it is suggested you leave the area calmly and, if possible, inform others to avoid the area for a few weeks. The dens are used only as a nursery for newborn pups. As soon as the pups can survive outside of the den, it will be abandoned.

                                                               Photo by John Adamski

 

NEW YORK RECEIVES $10,433,678: U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced $227,125,000 will be distributed from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia for specified park and outdoor recreation and conservation projects. This represents an increase of $57 million over last year’s LWCF allocation, which is due to President Trump’s energy agenda that has resulted in an increase in revenues from qualified leases on the Outer Continental Shelf.

These funds are awarded through federal matching grants that leverage public and private investment in America’s state and local public parks. The LWCF was established by Congress in 1964 to ensure access to outdoor recreation resources for present and future generations, and to provide money to federal, state and local governments to purchase land, water and wetlands for the benefit of all Americans. Funds are also used to permanently conserve outdoor recreation areas for public use and enjoyment. The funds enable state and local governments to improve park and other recreation areas in their communities by rehabilitating and upgrading existing parks, creating brand new parks in places that have none and developing and expanding trail systems that link communities to each other and to additional recreation opportunities.

Since the inception of the LWCF, more than $4.4 billion has been made available to state and local governments to fund more than 44,000 projects throughout the nation. The allocation for the State and Local Assistance Grant (state-side) Program is determined based on a formula set in the LWCF Act, and includes funds appropriated from the LWCF by Congress as well as revenue derived from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act.

The Fiscal Year 2020 apportionment for New York State is $10,433,678.

 

COMMON SENSE GUIDELINES PROMOTE SAFE RECREATION PRACTICES: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) encourage New Yorkers to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. DEC and State Parks recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. In addition, DEC and State Parks launched a new hashtag - #RecreateLocal - and encouraged New Yorkers to get outside and discover open spaces and parks close to home.

Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, fish, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with immediate household family members, and reduce stress and anxiety when practicing social distancing. While indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC’s public facilities may be closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent community spread of COVID-19, many parks, grounds, forests, and trails are open during daylight hours, seven days a week.

State Parks, lands, forests, and facilities are monitored by Park Police, Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and other staff. These parks, lands, forests, and facilities and visitors will incorporate physical distancing to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. In addition, these officers and staff respond to, and assist, local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and other response activities. Following this guidance will prevent unnecessary burdens on, and dangers to, State resources and local responders during the ongoing COVID-19 response.

For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density at State Parks, State Lands, and facilities:

> Closing all playgrounds;

> Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields;

> Canceling all public programs and events at State Parks, Lands, Forests, and facilities until further notice;

>Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;

> Camping changes: all state-operated campgrounds, cabins, and cottages are closed to overnight visitation through April 30. All visitors with reservations will be issued a full refund. We ask for your patience as refunds are processed. New York State has also suspended all new camping, cabin and cottage reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. If you’ve made a reservation for the season beginning May 1, and we determine your campground is safe to open, your reservation will be honored. However, visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff;

> Implementing precautionary measures at golf courses at State Parks, including increased intervals between tee times, removing bunker rakes and ball washers, and decreasing use of golf carts;

> DEC is closing access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and

> Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.

While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

> Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing,and/or troubled breathing;

> Practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;

> Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;

> Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and

> Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.

> DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to State Parks, State Lands, and other parks to:

Stay local and keep visits short;

> Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members;

> Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks;

> Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer;

> Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces;

> Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees;

> If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail, or return another time/day to visit; and

> If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

> New Yorkers over 70 years old or with a compromised immune system should not visit public spaces, including those outdoors. These New Yorkers should remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space, pre-screen visitors by taking their temperature, and require visitors to wear masks.

> New Yorkers who are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days should stay home and spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space. Do not visit public outdoor spaces.

Visitors to the Adirondack and Catskill Parks are reminded to always follow the Hiker Responsibility Code and avoid busy trailheads. Find the trails less traveled and visit when trails may not be as busy during daylight hours. DEC also encourages New Yorkers to be safe and sustainable when recreating outdoors.

Learn more about how you can protect natural spaces when exploring outdoors by following the seven principles of Leave no Trace. Additional information is available on the DEC website.

 

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

APRIL 2020

11 – Fulton - Montgomery Trappers and Foothills Trappers Fur Auction at the VFW, 129 Mohawk Street, Herkimer, NY. (Check in 6:00 am/Sale 8:00 am) (For information call Paul at 312-429-2969.)

15 - End of Dog Training Seasons

15 – End of Snow Goose Hunting Season in Western New York

18 - Seager Marine Perch Tournament headquartered at Seager Marine, 21 Parrish Street, Canandaigua, NY. (6:00 am – 3:00 pm) Pre-Register is by mail: $40 per team (1 – 3 persons). Teams weigh in 5 perch for total weight. (For information and registration forms visit seagermarine.com or call 585-394-1372 x216.)

18-19 - New York State Arms Collectors Association Gun Show at the NYS Fairgrounds Expo Center, 581 State Fair Boulevard, Syracuse , NY (Sat., 9 am-5 pm; Sun., 9 am-3 pm) 1,000 tables. (Admission: $7.00/seniors $5.00/children under 12 free) (For information contact Sandy Ackerman Klinger, 346 Paul Street, Endicott, NY 13760, 607-748-1010 email sandynysac@yahoo.com)

24 – Arbor Day

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

*******************************

 

4 – 3 – 20

 

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.

 

VOLUNTEERS ENCOURAGED TO SUBMIT OBSERVATIONS OF NEW YORK'S BREEDING BIRDS:  The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced a call for citizen science volunteers to help in the development of a comprehensive, statewide survey that takes place every two decades to detail New York's breeding bird distribution. Starting in 2020, five years of field surveys will be conducted by volunteers and project partners to provide the data that will be analyzed to create the third New York State Breeding Bird Atlas.

New York will be the first state in the nation to implement a third breeding bird atlas. In addition to detailing the current distribution of breeding birds in the State, the data can be used to evaluate trends in distribution and species abundance, as well as assess the response of various species to climate change. These changes in distribution help identify species that may be in trouble and allow for the development of management programs to help address those declines.

DEC is partnering with the New York Natural Heritage Program, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), Audubon New York, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, New York State Ornithological Association, and New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit on this project. When complete, the atlas will provide species-specific details about distribution, maps, and illustrations.

The last atlas was published in 2008, with information on its results available on DEC's website. Five years of fieldwork by more than 1,200 contributors provided the data for the second addition to New York's understanding of the state's avifauna (birds). This substantial book revealed striking changes in the distributions of many of our breeding birds since New York's first Breeding Bird Atlas was published in 1988. Data showed that half of New York's 253 species showed a significant change in their distribution, with 70 species showing increases and 58 species showing declines. A comparison study between the first two atlases showed that the distribution of 129 species moved northward an average of 3.58 kilometers due to climate change. The 2020 atlas will provide further data on this shift and climate change's potential impact on wildlife.

To participate, volunteers can make a free eBird account and submit data online through the atlas website or via the eBird mobile app. Simply record the species and any breeding behaviors observed. All sightings can count. As observations are reported, data can be viewed on the atlas website.

While enjoying the outdoors, please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

> Try to keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.

> Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, kissing, or sharing equipment like binoculars.

> Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

> Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

 

2019-20 NEW YORK DEER HARVEST ESTIMATES: Hunters in New York harvested an estimated 224,190 deer during the 2019-20 hunting seasons. The 2019 estimated deer take includes 103,787 antlerless deer and 120,403 antlered bucks. Statewide, this represents a nine percent decrease in antlerless harvest and a six percent increase in buck harvest from the last season. Regionally, hunters took 30,236 deer in the Northern Zone and 193,954 deer in the Southern Zone.

Across the state, hunters continued to voluntarily pass up young bucks The portion of yearlings (1.5 years old) in the adult buck harvest dropped to 37 percent, the lowest level ever, and for the first time, the harvest of 2.5-year-old bucks (41 percent) exceeded that of yearling bucks, demonstrating that New York hunters are adhering to the DEC campaign, Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow.

In addition, the 2019 season proved favorable for bowhunters, as take during the bowhunting season increased 18 percent from 2018. Deer take during the regular and muzzleloader seasons both dropped about six percent.

DEC's 2019 Deer Harvest Summary report (PDF, 7 MB) provides tables, charts, and maps detailing the deer harvest around the state that can be found on DEC's website. Past harvest summaries are also available on DEC's website.

2019 Deer Harvest Summary & Comparison:

                                                        2019                    2018                    Change             2014-18 Average

Total Take                                       224,190             227,787                  -1.6%                   217,184

Adult Male                                       120,403             113,385                  +6.2%                  107,274

Adult Female                                   82,176                 80,584                 +2.0%                  78,410

Antlerless                                        103,787             114,402                  -9.3%                   109,910

DMP Issued                                    624,612             618,186                 +1.0%                   624,525

DMP Take                                       81,134                 89,639                  -9.5%                   84,575

DMAP Take                                     8,257                   9,004                    -8.3%                   10,115

Muzzleloader*                                 16,944                 18,131                  -6.5%                   15,086

Bowhunting*                                    51,618                 43,832                 +17.8%                 41,472

Crossbow                                       10,569                 10,829                  -2.4%                    NA

Youth Hunt                                      1,148                   1,025                    +12.0%                1,105

Harvest Reporting Rate                  52.3%                  51.4%                                               46.3%   

Older Bucks (2.5+)                         62.6%                  58.8%                                               53.5%

* Values for Muzzleloader and Bow Season Take include deer taken on Bow/Muzz tags and DMPs

Notable Numbers

14.4 and 0.6 --- number of deer taken per square mile in the units with the highest (WMU 8R) and lowest (WMU 5F) harvest density.

62.6 percent --- portion of the adult buck harvest that was 2.5 years or older, the greatest in New York history and up from 40 percent a decade ago, and 30 percent in the 1990s.

65 percent --- portion of eligible junior hunters that participated in the 2019 Youth Deer Hunt.

15,574 --- number of hunter-harvested deer checked by DEC staff in 2019 to determine hunter reporting rate and collect biological data (e.g., age, sex, antler data).

2,658 --- deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in 2019-20; none tested positive. DEC has tested more than 54,000 deer for CWD since 2002.

Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters and DEC's examination of more than 15,000 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors across the state Harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and calculating the total harvest from the reporting rate for each zone and tag type. A full report of the 2019-20 deer harvest, as well as past deer and bear harvest summaries, is available at DEC's deer and bear harvests webpage.

No CWD Detections in New York in 2019

DEC tested 2,658 harvested deer across the state and found no evidence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the herd. DEC partners with cooperating meat processors and taxidermists in obtaining samples for testing each year.

CWD is a highly contagious disease that affects deer, elk, moose, and caribou. CWD poses a significant threat to New York's wild white-tailed deer herd. It is always fatal and there are no vaccines or treatments available. CWD is believed to be caused by a prion, which is an infectious protein, that can infect animals through animal-to-animal contact or contaminated environments. CWD has been found in 26 states.

To expand protections for New York deer and moose, DEC adopted regulations in 2019 to prohibit importation of carcasses of deer, elk, moose, and caribou taken anywhere outside of New York. Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) have increased enforcement efforts in recent years, seizing and destroying hunter-killed deer brought in illegally.

For wildlife diseases like CWD, prevention is the most effective management policy. Hunters are important partners in disease prevention and should adopt several practices to prevent the introduction of infectious prions:

Debone or process your deer, elk, moose, or caribou before returning to New York. This practice removes "high risk" parts (brain, spinal cord) that could potentially spread CWD. If you bring a whole, intact carcass from anywhere outside of New York, you will be ticketed and your entire animal (including trophy heads) will be confiscated and destroyed. Deboned meat, cleaned skull cap, antlers with no flesh adhering, raw or processed cape or hide, cleaned teeth or lower jaw, and finished taxidermy products are permitted.

Consider alternatives to natural deer urine or lure products. Prions are shed in a deer's bodily fluids before the deer appears sick. Commercially available urine products are not tested for prions. Prions bind to soil and plants and remain infectious to deer. There is no method of disinfection.

Dispose of carcass waste, even from New York deer, into a proper waste stream either by putting butcher scraps in with your household trash or otherwise assuring it goes to a licensed landfill. A landowner may dispose of their own deer on their property, but it is illegal in all cases for businesses (butchers and taxidermists) to dispose of waste generated from their business in any way other than a landfill or rendering facility.

Do not feed wild deer or moose. Animals concentrated together can spread disease quickly.

If there is another CWD outbreak in New York, DEC and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets will implement their Interagency CWD Response Plan (PDF). The plan will guide actions if the disease is detected in either captive cervids-any species of the deer family-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. For more of what DEC is doing and what you should know about CWD, visit DEC's website.

 

ACA ANNOUNCES ONLINE TOURNAMENT FOR COLLEGE ANGLERS: Over the past few weeks, the amount of social media posts and traffic from the young student anglers is staggering. We are being sent fish catch pictures, tagged in posts, and receiving mentions daily as many of you are adhering to social distancing warnings and continuing to fish at the same time. The Association of Collegiate Anglers (ACA) now wants to introduce the "ACA Online Tournament" for anglers to participate in as they go on their daily fishing adventures while social distancing.

The first ACA Online Tournament will begin Thursday, April 2, at sunrise and run through sunset on Wednesday, April 8, all local times. Prizes will be awarded to the Top Five longest bass to include smallmouth, largemouth or spotted bass caught over the course of the week by a collegiate angler. If a collegiate angler submits multiple fish, their longest fish will be the one that counts.

All fish must be measured with mouth closed and nose pressed against a measuring board with the tail flat on the board (not pinched). Photos that do not show that will be deemed ineligible. Anglers can fish any form of water, including public lakes, creeks, private ponds, and anywhere bass can be caught. ***You do not have to fish out of a boat to qualify.***

On Wednesday at 5:00 PM CST, ACA staff will provide a keyword that all anglers will be required to write on a piece of paper to show in each fish picture they submit. You will be required to have that word in the photo for the catch to be eligible. Remember, the fish must be measured with the mouth closed, and tail flat. Participating anglers must also be current college students.

All fish catch pictures must be submitted via the ACA website using the ACA Online Submission FormRead more.

For more information about the Bass Pro Shops Collegiate Bass Fishing Series, please visit www.CollegiateBassChampionship.com.

 

COMMON SENSE GUIDELINES PROMOTE SAFE RECREATION PRACTICES: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) encourage New Yorkers to engage in responsible recreation during the ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis. DEC and State Parks recommendations incorporate guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New York State Department of Health for reducing the spread of infectious diseases and encourage New Yorkers to recreate locally, practice physical distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others. In addition, DEC and State Parks launched a new hashtag - #RecreateLocal - and encouraged New Yorkers to get outside and discover open spaces and parks close to home.

Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, fish, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with immediate household family members, and reduce stress and anxiety when practicing social distancing. While indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC’s public facilities may be closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent community spread of COVID-19, many parks, grounds, forests, and trails are open during daylight hours, seven days a week.

State Parks, lands, forests, and facilities are monitored by Park Police, Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) and other staff. These parks, lands, forests, and facilities and visitors will incorporate physical distancing to limit the potential spread of COVID-19. In addition, these officers and staff respond to, and assist, local agencies with search and rescue missions, wildfire suppression, and other response activities. Following this guidance will prevent unnecessary burdens on, and dangers to, State resources and local responders during the ongoing COVID-19 response.

For the safety of all visitors and to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, DEC and State Parks are undertaking steps to reduce public density at State Parks, State Lands, and facilities:

> Closing all playgrounds;

> Limiting access to athletic courts and sporting fields;

> Canceling all public programs and events at State Parks, Lands, Forests, and facilities until further notice;

>Closing all indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, environmental education centers, visitor centers, and historic houses to the public until further notice;

> Camping changes: all state-operated campgrounds, cabins, and cottages are closed to overnight visitation through April 30. All visitors with reservations will be issued a full refund. We ask for your patience as refunds are processed. New York State has also suspended all new camping, cabin and cottage reservations for the 2020 season until further notice. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. If you’ve made a reservation for the season beginning May 1, and we determine your campground is safe to open, your reservation will be honored. However, visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff;

> Implementing precautionary measures at golf courses at State Parks, including increased intervals between tee times, removing bunker rakes and ball washers, and decreasing use of golf carts;

> DEC is closing access to DEC-controlled fire towers to the public. Trails and the summits to the towers remain open, but the towers themselves present a potential risk with multiple people climbing the stairs, in close quarters, unable to appropriately socially distance, and using the same handrails; and

> Limiting parking. If the parking lot is full, visit a different location to recreate responsibly. For visitor safety and the safety of others, do not park on roadsides and only park in designated parking areas.

While enjoying outdoor spaces, please continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)/State Department of Health (DOH) guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

> Stay home if you are sick, or showing or feeling any COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, coughing,and/or troubled breathing;

> Practice social distancing by keeping at least six (6) feet of distance between yourself and others, even when outdoors;

> Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, or high-fives;

> Wash hands often or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when soap and water are not available; and

> Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched, such as doorknobs and handrails.

> DEC and State Parks also encourage visitors to State Parks, State Lands, and other parks to:

Stay local and keep visits short;

> Visit in small groups limited to immediate household members;

> Maintain distance from others while in places where people tend to congregate, such as parking lots, trailheads, and scenic overlooks;

> Avoid games and activities that require close contact, such as basketball, football, or soccer;

> Avoid playground equipment like slides and swings and other frequently touched surfaces;

> Do not share equipment, such as bicycles, helmets, balls, or Frisbees;

> If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail, or return another time/day to visit; and

> If parking lots are full, please do not park along roadsides or other undesignated areas. To protect your safety and that of others, please choose a different area to visit, or return another time or day when parking is available.

> New Yorkers over 70 years old or with a compromised immune system should not visit public spaces, including those outdoors. These New Yorkers should remain indoors or spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space, pre-screen visitors by taking their temperature, and require visitors to wear masks.

> New Yorkers who are sick or have had contact with someone who is sick in the last 14 days should stay home and spend time in the backyard or other personal outdoor space. Do not visit public outdoor spaces.

Visitors to the Adirondack and Catskill Parks are reminded to always follow the Hiker Responsibility Code and avoid busy trailheads. Find the trails less traveled and visit when trails may not be as busy during daylight hours. DEC also encourages New Yorkers to be safe and sustainable when recreating outdoors.

Learn more about how you can protect natural spaces when exploring outdoors by following the seven principles of Leave no Trace. Additional information is available on the DEC website.

 

REDUCE BEAR CONFLICTS: The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds New Yorkers to take steps to reduce conflicts with bears.

Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless practices around properties, has consequences for entire communities. DEC advises everyone who lives in or visits bear habitat, which is much of Upstate New York, to remove items that are attractive to bears. People should take down bird feeders by April 1, store garbage inside secure buildings, and feed pets indoors. These actions are necessary to live responsibly with black bears, protect people, property, and bears. Allowing bears to find food naturally keeps them out of trouble and reduces negative interactions with people and property.

For more information about how to reduce human/bear conflicts, visit DEC's website.

 

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

APRIL 2020

1 - Start of Statewide Fishing Seasons for Brook, Brown & Rainbow Trout, Hybrids of these Species and Splake, Lake Trout, Landlocked/Atlantic Salmon and Kokanee (See fishing regulation guide. Great Lakes and tributaries as well as some inland waters are open all year)(>10/15)

1 - Start of Trout Season in Green Lake (Onondaga County), Rushford Lake (Allegany County) (>11/30)

3 - Whitetails Unlimited – Cortland County Chapter Banquet at the, Elks Lodge #748, Cortland, NY. (5:30 pm)Through our Grassroots Program, WTU provides grants to local projects and activities that advance our mission. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth conservation and training event. (For information call Bill Bailey 413-244-2304.)

3-5 - 8th Annual Niagara County Bullhead Tournament sponsored by the Wilson Conservation Club. (4/3 5:00 pm – 4/5 1:00 pm) The contest is simple. Best two bullheads based on total weight will win the top prizes. Tiebreaker is total length for those two fish. You may only fish in Niagara County waters. The weigh-in will take place at the club, located at 2934 Wilson Cambria Road, Wilson, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Awards to follow. Register at CMC Auto Repair in Wilson or the Slippery Sinker in Olcott. You can also register through PayPal. (For more information contact Eric at 716-628-6078.)

4 - 13th Annual Trout Derby, 2020 headquarted at the Phelps Fire Hall, 77 Ontario Street, Phelps, NY (Sunrise – 12:30 pm) The fishing area for the derby is Canandaigua Outlet & Flint Creek. Weigh-In: BY 12:45pm, At Headquarters: Phelps Fire Hall. (Entry fee: Adults $10 / 15 & Under $5 (Due by 4/2/20 @ 5:00 PM. The fee includes: Entry to the derby and a chance to win a Lake Ontario Fishing Charter (donated by Scream'n Reel Charters) (For information contact Michael Vienna? 585-752-0863.)

4 - Beyond BOW Event - Women's Hunter Education Course at Springville Field & Stream 8900 Chaise Road, Springville NY (8:00 am – 5:00 pm) (For information email jennifer.pettit@dec.ny.gov)

4 – Brighton-Henrietta-Pittsford Ducks Unlimited 40 Annual Dinner at the Eagle Vale Country Club, 4344 Nine Mile Point Road, Fairport, NY (6:00 pm) (Cost: $90 Single $145 Couple) (For information contact Conor Vandemark  518-570-5832  conorvan@buffalo.edu or Carol Wahl  585-733-0280  dwahl2@frontier.com.)

4 – 42nd Annual Maple Sugaring at the Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, NY. (Breakfast 9:00 am-1:00 pm/Trail Demonstrations 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) This is a special addition to support the Center’s Walden Project. Explore the science and lore of maple syrup production with volunteer guides along the CNC Pioneer Trail and also enjoy a pancake breakfast. On the trail, participants learn how a tree makes sap and discover the different processing techniques while enjoying the outdoors. Other highlights include a 100 percent pure maple syrup tasting in the sugarhouse, and a pancake meal in the visitors center. All meals include pure maple syrup and a choice of beverage. Maple Sugaring is the CNC’s major annual fundraising event and helps maintain CNC operations. (Meal Cost: Adult - $10.00/Kids - $8.00) (For information call 585-374-6160)

4-5 - Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department Sportsmen’s Show at the Cattaraugus County Fair Grounds, off Route 353, Little Valley NY. (Sat 9:00 am – 4:00 pm/Sun 9:00 am – 3:00 pm) ($5.00 admission) (For information call Jim Miller at 716-938-6928)

4-5 – Tri-County Trout Derby headquarted at the Arcade Fire Department, 145 North St, Arcade, NY (Fishing starts 5:00 am both days.) (Entry Fee: Adult Registration – $20/After March 16 – $30/Child Registration (12 and under)  $20) Register at Arcade Area Chamber of Commerce Office, Machias Outdoors, Pioneer Motorsport or on line. Registration Pick-Up Friday, April 3rd, 2:00 – 7:00 pm at Pioneer Motorsport, 12220 Route 16, Chaffee, NY. Prizes: Trophy ($750); Rainbow Trout ($500); Cast-Off ($400); Bobber ($250); Jig ($200); and Lunker ($100). (For information cal 585-492-5103 or email office@arcadechamber.org.)

5 - Finger Lakes Friends of NRA Banquet at the Harbor Hotel, 16 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY (3:00 pm) (Cost: $50.00) (For information contact Kayla West 607-351-1382 flfriendsnra@gmail.com)

7 - End of Trapping Season for Beaver in Central and southeast portions of New York

11 – Fulton - Montgomery Trappers and Foothills Trappers Fur Auction at the VFW, 129 Mohawk Street, Herkimer, NY. (Check in 6:00 am/Sale 8:00 am) (For information call Paul at 312-429-2969.)

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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3 - 28 – 20

 

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.

 

NEW YORK'S TROUT AND SALMON FISHING SEASON OPENS APRIL 1: New York anglers are reminded that trout and salmon fishing season opens on Wednesday, April 1. New York's coldwater lakes and streams offer springtime trout anglers the opportunity to pursue trout in a wide array of settings across the state. During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature while angling in New York's waters is a great way to help maintain mental and physical health.

New York's diverse and abundant trout and salmon fishing results in a cumulative five million days spent fishing the state's freshwater fisheries and contributing economically to local communities. Anglers looking forward to pursuing stocked trout can visit the DEC website to find a complete list of this spring's planned trout stocking for 2.27 million catchable-size brook, brown, and rainbow trout in 307 lakes and ponds and roughly 2,845 miles of streams across the state.

Spring stockings will include 1.68 million brown trout, 424,860 rainbow trout, and 156,970 brook trout. Approximately 98,000 two-year-old brown trout 13-14 inches in length are included in the brown trout total. Nearly 1.6 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake, and coho salmon will be also be stocked by DEC this spring to provide exciting angling opportunities over the next several years. Almost 307,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in more than 300 Adirondack lakes and ponds this spring and fall to provide unique angling opportunities for future years.

On many waters, due to the constraints imposed by the recent discovery of zebra mussels at Rome Fish Hatchery, anglers can expect to find some species substitutions and changes in trout numbers compared to what was stocked in 2019. Additional information about DEC's strategic response to the discovery of this aquatic invasive species at the Rome Fish Hatchery and the impact on spring trout stocking is available on DEC's website. The list of waters stocked with trout in past years is available on the DEC website.

Robust populations of wild trout in waters ranging from small headwater streams to large rivers like the Upper Delaware offer outstanding fishing opportunities for anglers ready to test their skills. Trout fishing is a sport that can be readily combined with a hike or paddle and lead to a truly memorable outdoor experience.

While enjoying the outdoors, please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

> Try to keep at least six (6) feet of distance between you and others.

> Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.

> Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.

> Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

When fishing, DEC recommends avoiding busy waters and following the guidelines on DEC's website about fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Anglers fishing from boats should be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC's website.

 

RENEW YOUR FISHING LICENSE: Now that your annual fishing license is good for 365 days from the date of purchase, it is very easy to forget when it expires. Be sure to check the expiration date before heading out. Anglers desiring to receive an e-mail reminder to renew their fishing license each year should be sure to add their e-mail address to their DECALS profile. This can be done online or by calling the DEC Call Center at 1-866-933-2257 (M-F 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM).

 

VISITING NEW YORK STATE PARKS DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK:  New York state parks, trails, and grounds of historic sites are open for solitary outdoor recreation. To encourage social distancing during this crisis;

> All public programs and events are CANCELED until further notice.

> All indoor visitor facilities, such as nature centers, visitor centers, and historic houses, will be CLOSED to the public until further notice.

> For the safety of all visitors and to stop the spread of COVID-19, all State Park playgrounds, athletic courts and sporting fields are CLOSED.

If you do plan on visiting, it should be for a solitary nature break. Please limit outdoor recreational activities to non-contact, and avoid activities where you may come in close contact with other people. If you arrive at a park and crowds are forming, choose a different park, a different trail or return another time/day to visit. We appreciate your support and patience as we navigate this public health crisis together.

Learn more about COVID-19 and its impact on NY State Parks operations. Visit: COVID-19 UPDATE.

 

ANGLERS' REPORT CONFIRMS NEW YORK'S WORLD-CLASS FRESHWATER FISHING:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that the state's world-class fishing opportunities continue to draw anglers from near and far to New York's many productive freshwater sportfisheries. New data on angler effort, patterns, preferences, and attitudes was released as part of DEC's statewide survey of freshwater anglers, which helps DEC assess both the biological and human dimension aspects of managing New York's freshwater fisheries.

New York State offers world class fishing for a wide variety of cold water and warm water species. Whether it is smallmouth bass fishing on Lake Erie, brook trout fishing on a crystal-clear Adirondack lake, Pacific salmon fishing on Lake Ontario, fishing for stripers on the Hudson River, brown trout fishing on the Beaver Kill or fishing for panfish on a local pond, there is something special in New York for every angler. In its 2019 rankings, and for the first time ever, Bassmaster Magazine named the St. Lawrence River as the top bass fishing destination in the nation.

DEC has surveyed its licensed freshwater anglers once every decade since 1973. The survey announced today was conducted in 2018, and summarizes the input provided by approximately 11,000 anglers that fished the freshwaters of New York State during the 2017 calendar year.

Combined direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of freshwater angling in New York State totaled an estimated $2.14 billion and supported 10,961 jobs in 2017. Of this total, out-of-state anglers contributed approximately 26 percent, or $564 million. Freshwater anglers spent an estimated $252 million at New York fishing destinations in 2017, and an additional $204 million was expended at home or while traveling to fishing destinations. Purchases of fishing equipment and fishing-related equipment such as boats, motors, etc., generated an estimated $1.8 billion in additional expenditures.

Results of the survey revealed significant increases in angler effort for a number of waters when compared to a 2007 angler survey. The Saranac River experienced the greatest increase in angler effort (150 percent) as more anglers visited to fish primarily for smallmouth bass and brown trout. There was an increase of 141 percent in the number of anglers fishing Irondequoit Creek, a Lake Ontario tributary near Rochester, with a focus primarily on brown trout and steelhead. The Delaware River in southeastern New York has long been popular for trout fishing, and angler effort increased by about 140 percent from 2007. Conesus Lake saw an increase of 155 percent in angler activity, with northern pike, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass among the lake's most popular species. Other waterbodies that experienced a marked increase in angling activity included Whitney Point Reservoir (76 percent), Lake Champlain (72 percent), and the Batten Kill (61 percent).

Freshwater anglers enjoyed an estimated 19.89 million angler days in 2017 in New York's inland and Great Lakes waters, slightly more than a similar survey conducted for 2007. Many anglers fished for warmwater gamefish (44 percent), primarily largemouth and smallmouth bass. Coldwater gamefish were also popular (28 percent), including brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, steelhead, and Chinook salmon. Anglers fished primarily on inland lakes and ponds (49 percent), inland streams and rivers (25 percent), and the Great Lakes and their tributaries (22 percent).

Full results of DEC's Statewide Angler Survey can be found at DEC's website.

 

 

TAKING STEPS TO AVOID CONFLICTS WITH COYOTES: It’s that time of year again when many of New York's resident coyotes are setting up dens for pups that will arrive this spring. Coyotes are found throughout the state and are well adapted to suburban and even some urban environments. For the most part, coyotes will avoid contact with people. However, conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes tend to be territorial around den sites during the spring through mid-summer as they search almost constantly to provide food for their young. 

Incidents with people or pets are rare, but it a coyote in snowis important to be aware of coyote presence so you can take steps to reduce the chance of a negative interaction. While people tolerate coyotes in suburban environments more, it is important to take steps to maintain coyotes’ natural wariness of people. This can include removing sources of food, not allowing coyotes to approach people or pets, and not letting pets roam unsupervised. If you are approached by a coyote, make loud noises and wave your arms to look large. If you suspect that a coyote has a den in the area, it is best to calmly leave the area and give the coyotes space. Contact your local police department and DEC regional office for assistance if coyotes are exhibiting "bold" behaviors and show little or no fear of people.

While coyotes are an integral part of our natural ecosystem and provide many benefits, we strongly encourage all New Yorkers to do their part and follow common-sense tips to ensure coyotes remain wary of people and minimize the chance of conflicts.

 

ICE-OUT IS GOOD TIME FOR POND OWNERS TO CHECK FOR WINTERKILL: Private pond owners across the state should check for fish that may have succumbed to winterkill now that those ponds should be devoid of ice.

Winterkills typically occur in small, shallow ponds with abundant aquatic vegetation. Snow and ice covering a pond prevent the water from exchanging oxygen with the air. Excessive snow and thick ice allows little sunlight penetration, so plants are not able to produce enough oxygen. If excessive snow cover persists, the plants die and subsequent decomposition, along with respiration by various aquatic organisms, can completely deplete the oxygen, resulting in a fish kill.

Depending on the size of the pond, the presence of 40 or 50 dead fish would not indicate a large winterkill; however, thousands of dead fish of various species and sizes would be evidence of a major die-off event.

It is suggested owners check for fish – visually and by angling – this spring to help determine the status of the fish populations. The findings from these actions could indicate a pond is a candidate for restocking.

 

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php)

  (CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

MARCH 2020

26-29 - Inaugural Finger Lakes Birding Festival. The Finger Lakes Region is a critically important stopover for millions of waterfowl and birds of prey as they migrate north to their breeding grounds. The Montezuma Audubon Center, Braddock Bay Raptor Research, Sterling Nature Center and Onondaga Audubon will lead a variety of birding tours, lectures, and workshops during this four-day event at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, Braddock Bay, Sterling Nature Center and Onondaga Lake. Participants can expect to see up to three dozen waterfowl species and 20 species of raptors that utilize the region’s forests, wetlands, grasslands and waterways. Discounted hotel accommodations and program registrations will be available at www.facebook.com/fingerlakesbirdingfestival. (For information call 315-365-3588 or e-mail montezuma@audubon.org)

28 - Whitetails Unlimited – Tobehanna Creek Chapter Hunters Night Out at the The Community Center, 4th Street, Watkins Glen, NY. Deadline for ticket sales – 3-20-20. (Cost: Adult - $45.00/Spouse - $25.00/Youth - $25.00) Through our Grassroots Program, WTU provides grants to local projects and activities that advance our mission. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth conservation and training event. (For information go to http://www.whitetailsunlimited.com/events/banquets/)

28-29 - Andover Fire Dept Gun Show at the Andover Fire Hall, 60 South Main Street, Andover, NY (Sat 9:00 am – 4:00 pm/Sun 9:00 am – 3:00 pm) (Admission - $5.00/12 and under – Free) This event is hosted by the Andover Fire Department. All federal, state and local firearm ordinances and laws must be obeyed. The Allegany County Pistol Clerks on site both days. (For information contact Dennis Givens 607-478-5005 Email: dennis.givens@frontier.com or Matt Green 607-478-5327 Email: andoverfire@frontier.net)

28-29 – 42nd Annual Maple Sugaring (POSTPONED) at the Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, NY. (Breakfast 9:00 am-1:00 pm/Trail Demonstrations 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) Explore the science and lore of maple syrup production with volunteer guides along the CNC Pioneer Trail and also enjoy a pancake breakfast. On the trail, participants learn how a tree makes sap and discover the different processing techniques while enjoying the outdoors. Other highlights include a 100 percent pure maple syrup tasting in the sugarhouse, and a pancake meal in the visitors center. All meals include pure maple syrup and a choice of beverage. Maple Sugaring is the CNC’s major annual fundraising event and helps maintain CNC operations. (Meal Cost: Adult - $10.00/Kids - $8.00) (For information call 585-374-6160)

29 - End of Hunting Season for Coyotes

29 - Finger Lakes Trollers Fishing Tackle, Outdoor Show and Flea Market at the Community Center at Clute Park, Watkins Glen, NY (9:00 am – 2:00 pm) New, used and antique fishing tackle,fishing charters,archery, turkery hunting stuff,etc. There will be about 70 tables set up. (Tables are sold out). (Admission is $2.00 with kids under 10 free. Parking is free.) (For information call Mike Burt 607-765-9866)

31 - Close of Catch and Release (Artificial Lures Only) Season for Trout in Salmon Creek (Cayuga County), Salmon Creek Above Ludlow Falls & West Branch Owego Creek (Tompkins County), Spring Creek on Caledonia State Fish Hatchery Property (8:00 am B 4:00 pm) (Livingston County), Oatka Creek from Bowerman Road Upstream to Union Street and from the Wheatland Center Road Upstream to the Mouth of Spring Creek, and Spring Creek (Monroe County), East Koy & Wiscoy Creeks (Allegany County), Clear Creek, Lime Lake Outlet, McKinstry Creek, Elm Creek, Elton Creek, Mansfield Creek and Cattaraugus Creek Upstream of Springville Dam (Cattaraugus County), Hosmer Brook and Cattaraugus Creek Upstream of Springville Dam (Erie County), Wiscoy Creek (Minus Section 2 mile Each Side of East Hillside Road Bridge), East Koy Creek, Cattaraugus Creek Upstream of Springville Dam and Clear Creek from Mouth to County Line (Wyoming County)

31 - Falconry Season Closes

31 – Close of Crow Hunting Season

APRIL 2020

1 - Start of Statewide Fishing Seasons for Brook, Brown & Rainbow Trout, Hybrids of these Species and Splake, Lake Trout, Landlocked/Atlantic Salmon and Kokanee (See fishing regulation guide. Great Lakes and tributaries as well as some inland waters are open all year)(>10/15)

1 - Start of Trout Season in Green Lake (Onondaga County), Rushford Lake (Allegany County) (>11/30)

1 - 58th Annual Naples Creek Rainbow Trout Derby. (CANCELLED) Entry is by pre-registration only - registration sites are Sutton’s Sporting Goods, Main Street, Naples, NY (During business hours) and the Derby Headquarters - Naples Fire Hall, Vine St (3/31/19 – 5:00 - 10:00 pm, 4/01/20 - 4 am to sunrise) (Entry Fees - $8 Ages 16-64, $5 under 16, $5 ages 65 and over) Enter fish at Derby Headquarters, Naples Fire Hall, Vine Street, Naples, NY (For additional information contact Joyce Doran 585-374-2782 or go to https://www.facebook.com/naplestroutderby

1 - 17th Annual Riedman Foundation Opening Day Trout Derby (POSTPONED) at the Fish Hatchery at Powder Mills Park, 154 Park Road, Pittsford, NY (Register at Powder Horn Lodge – 6:30 am/Fishing 7:00 am – Noon) All ages are welcome to join in the fun at the Opening Day Trout Derby to benefit the Fish Hatchery at Powder Mills Park. Again this year, the contestant weighing in the largest brown trout will be recognized with the Bank of America Angler Award, a $500 prize. There will also be "largest catch" prizes awarded in three age categories. Entry is only $5 per angler age eight and older. Fishing will take place in designated areas of Irondequoit Creek within the boundaries of Powder Mills Park. The derby weigh station is at Powder Horn Lodge. Prizes will be awarded at noon. Entry forms can be downloaded at www.fishpowdermill.org. (For information call Ron Mitchell 585-586-1670 or email info@fishpowdermill.org.)

3 - Whitetails Unlimited – Cortland County Chapter Banquet at the, Elks Lodge #748, Cortland, NY. (5:30 pm)Through our Grassroots Program, WTU provides grants to local projects and activities that advance our mission. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth conservation and training event. (For information call Bill Bailey 413-244-2304.)

3-5 - 8th Annual Niagara County Bullhead Tournament sponsored by the Wilson Conservation Club. (4/3 5:00 pm – 4/5 1:00 pm) The contest is simple. Best two bullheads based on total weight will win the top prizes. Tiebreaker is total length for those two fish. You may only fish in Niagara County waters. The weigh-in will take place at the club, located at 2934 Wilson Cambria Road, Wilson, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. Awards to follow. Register at CMC Auto Repair in Wilson or the Slippery Sinker in Olcott. You can also register through PayPal. (For more information contact Eric at 716-628-6078.)

4 - 13th Annual Trout Derby, 2020 headquarted at the Phelps Fire Hall, 77 Ontario Street, Phelps, NY (Sunrise – 12:30 pm) The fishing area for the derby is Canandaigua Outlet & Flint Creek. Weigh-In: BY 12:45pm, At Headquarters: Phelps Fire Hall. (Entry fee: Adults $10 / 15 & Under $5 (Due by 4/2/20 @ 5:00 PM. The fee includes: Entry to the derby and a chance to win a Lake Ontario Fishing Charter (donated by Scream'n Reel Charters) (For information contact Michael Vienna? 585-752-0863.)

4 - Beyond BOW Event (CANCELLED)Women's Hunter Education Course at Springville Field & Stream 8900 Chaise Road, Springville NY (8:00 am – 5:00 pm) (For information email jennifer.pettit@dec.ny.gov)

4 – Brighton-Henrietta-Pittsford Ducks Unlimited 40 Annual Dinner at the Eagle Vale Country Club, 4344 Nine Mile Point Road, Fairport, NY (6:00 pm) (Cost: $90 Single $145 Couple) (For information contact Conor Vandemark  518-570-5832  conorvan@buffalo.edu or Carol Wahl  585-733-0280  dwahl2@frontier.com.)

4 – 42nd Annual Maple Sugaring (POSTPONED) at the Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, NY. (Breakfast 9:00 am-1:00 pm/Trail Demonstrations 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) This is a special addition to support the Center’s Walden Project. Explore the science and lore of maple syrup production with volunteer guides along the CNC Pioneer Trail and also enjoy a pancake breakfast. On the trail, participants learn how a tree makes sap and discover the different processing techniques while enjoying the outdoors. Other highlights include a 100 percent pure maple syrup tasting in the sugarhouse, and a pancake meal in the visitors center. All meals include pure maple syrup and a choice of beverage. Maple Sugaring is the CNC’s major annual fundraising event and helps maintain CNC operations. (Meal Cost: Adult - $10.00/Kids - $8.00) (For information call 585-374-6160)

4-5 - Little Valley Volunteer Fire Department Sportsmen’s Show at the Cattaraugus County Fair Grounds, off Route 353, Little Valley NY. (Sat 9:00 am – 4:00 pm/Sun 9:00 am – 3:00 pm) ($5.00 admission) (For information call Jim Miller at 716-938-6928)

4-5 – Tri-County Trout Derby headquarted at the Arcade Fire Department, 145 North St, Arcade, NY (Fishing starts 5:00 am both days.) (Entry Fee: Adult Registration – $20/After March 16 – $30/Child Registration (12 and under)  $20) Register at Arcade Area Chamber of Commerce Office, Machias Outdoors, Pioneer Motorsport or on line. Registration Pick-Up Friday, April 3rd, 2:00 – 7:00 pm at Pioneer Motorsport, 12220 Route 16, Chaffee, NY. Prizes: Trophy ($750); Rainbow Trout ($500); Cast-Off ($400); Bobber ($250); Jig ($200); and Lunker ($100). (For information cal 585-492-5103 or email office@arcadechamber.org.)

5 - Finger Lakes Friends of NRA Banquet at the Harbor Hotel, 16 N. Franklin Street, Watkins Glen, NY (3:00 pm) (Cost: $50.00) (For information contact Kayla West 607-351-1382 flfriendsnra@gmail.com)

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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3 - 20 – 20

 

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.

 

MONTEZUMA NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE LOOKS FOR PUBLIC REVIEW 2020 DRAFT HUNTING AND FISHING PLAN: Hunting and fishing are traditional uses of the National Wildlife Refuge System. At Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge (NWR, Refuge), we welcome people of all backgrounds and abilities to participate in recreational hunting and to enjoy fishing access from refuge lands into state waters.

Montezuma NWR is seeking public review and comment on its proposed hunting and fishing programs. You are invited to review the draft documents for the proposed hunting and fishing programs, including the Draft Hunting and Fishing Plan, Compatibility Determination, and Environmental Assessment. These documents will be available for a comment period, ending May 1, 2020.

The Refuge is encouraging the public to comment on the programs overall, not just changes to the current program. The proposed changes below would expand the Refuge’s current programs:

Species changes: Gallinule hunting would be opened during the regular waterfowl hunting season; small game (eastern cottontail rabbit and gray squirrel) hunting would be opened.

Hunting area changes: New units would be opened for hunting snow goose during NYDEC snow goose seasons and waterfowl during the New York State regular waterfowl season.

Regulations: Limits on the number of shells permitted into the waterfowl hunting areas would be removed; limits to the number of daily permits available for deer hunting would be removed; dogs would be allowed for hunting fall turkey and eastern cottontail rabbit.

Seasonal changes: Expansion of turkey hunting to include the state spring season.

Fishing: Expansion of fishing access from the refuge to adjacent state waters.

Draft documents are available online at the refuge’s official website homepage: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/montezuma/

You can contact the refuge at 315-237-9862 or at andrea_vanbeusichem@fws.gov to request more information.

There will be a Facebook Live briefing on March 26, 2020, at 12:00 noon, online on the Friends of the Montezuma Wetlands Complex Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheMWC/. This is an opportunity to hear about the plan (proposed changes and things that won’t change), and get directions about how to provide your comments on the draft plan.

You can submit comments to the refuge:

By mail - Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, Attn: Hunting & Fishing Comments, 3395 US Route 20 East, Seneca Falls, NY 13148 or

By email - andrea_vanbeusichem@fws.gov

Across the country, National Wildlife Refuges work closely with state agencies, tribes, and private partners to expand recreational hunting and fishing access. Hunting and fishing provide opportunities for communities, families, and individuals to enjoy the outdoors, support conservation efforts, and participate in a popular American tradition.

 

EXAMS NOW SCHEDULED FOR AUGUST 14, 2020:  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that out of an abundance of caution and to limit the community spread of COVID-19, DEC has postponed the examinations scheduled for April 3, 2020, to practice the sport of falconry, become a wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals. The exams were originally scheduled to be administered at DEC regional offices statewide.

DEC will offer these examinations on August 14, 2020, at most DEC Regional Offices. Individuals currently registered for the April 3 examinations can register for the August examinations by contacting the Special Licenses Unit at 518-402-8985 or SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov and request to have their names included for the August exams.

All others who wish to apply for the August exams can visit the DEC Special Licenses Unit website and complete an exam registration form. Applicants can mail, fax, or email the completed form to: NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752; fax: 518-402-8925; email: SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov. For phone inquiries, contact 518-402-8985.

 

LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT URGED BY THE NATIONAL DEER ALLIANCE (NDA): In a huge win for conservation, United States Senators from both sides of the aisle recently announced that President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have vowed to support bipartisan legislation to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

Senate Bill 3422, or the Great American Outdoors Act, will "provide full and permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and address the $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks," according to Senator Gardner. Essentially, the new bill will combine two previous bills: S.1081, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Permanent Funding Act and S.500, the Restore Our Parks Act.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund, created in 1965, provides funding for land and water conservation, outdoor recreation and historic preservation projects. The Fund is not tax-funded; rather, it's funded by royalties collected from offshore oil and gas operations. The Great American Outdoors Act will ensure that the LWCF will be fully funded at $900 million annually for the first time in the Fund's history. For reference, the Fund is slated to receive $495 million this year - the highest allocation in the last 17 years. 

Additionally, the new legislation will provide funding for the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog currently faced on our public lands. The Great American Outdoors Act will dedicate $9.5 billion to restore public land infrastructure over a period of five years, with the National Park Service (NPS) receiving 70% of these funds. Other federal agencies, such as the US Forest Service (USFS), US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will receive most of the remainder. 

The National Deer Alliance (NDA) outlines wild deer conservation, sportsmen access and state and federal land management as top priority areas. "This new, bipartisan legislation will ensure that our nation's public lands remain intact, well-managed and open to hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits," said Torin Miller, NDA's policy and outreach coordinator. "We're hopeful that the Administration, Congress and others will continue to work together to ensure permanent funding at the highest level for the LWCF and our public lands' maintenance backlog."

Join NDA in supporting legislation that fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund and tackles the huge maintenance backlog currently faced on our public lands. Urge your Senators to get up-to-speed on the bill and to support funding for conservation projects, public lands and outdoor recreation. 

 

KUDOS TO ALFRED  STATE: The Alfred State archery team competed in the 51st USA Archery Indoor Nationals in Lancaster, Pa., earlier this month, returning home with eight medals and one archer sitting in national contention for an individual championship.

The Indoor Nationals are held at 13 regional venues over a three-day weekend throughout the United States. At the Pennsylvania site, the team swept the podium in both the men’s compound and men’s hunter classes.

Women’s hunter class archer Chloe Miles, a veterinary technology major from Canisteo, took first place, and men’s Olympic recurve archer Ethan Frederick, a criminal justice major from Baldwinsville, took third place.

In men’s compound, Nathan Summerville, mechanical engineering technology, Fulton; Jacob Houseknecht, culinary arts, Candor; and Dylan Krise, surveying engineering technology, Gillett, Pa., finished first through third, respectively.

The trio of Jay Lawrence, surveying and geomatics engineering technology, Fort Ann; Jacob Patanella, mechanical engineering technology, Churchville; and Simon Bond, mechanical engineering technology, Orchard Park, went top to third in their own podium sweep for men’s hunter class.

So far, 10 of the 13 regional sites have completed their competitions and reported their scoring. The top eight archers from each collegiate class qualify for the USA Archery National Indoor Final held in Louisville, Kentucky, a format that includes head-to-head, single elimination that results in crowning individual national champions.

Lawrence, a sophomore, is currently positioned in fourth place in the national scoring and is among the top eight and awaiting the results from the final three venues.

Alfred State archery competes in the USA Archery Collegiate Archery Program and the next collegiate event will be the Eastern Regionals (outdoor target) hosted at James Madison University April 24-26. Before that collegiate tournament, the team will participate in regional events such as the ASA Winter CanAm Classic, an indoor 3D event in Syracuse.

 

BOATUS SPRING - HELPING RECREATIONAL BOATERS PREP FOR THE SUMMER BOATING SEASON: Getting the boat ready for the summer boating season is an exciting time for America’s nearly 12 million recreational boaters. Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has a Spring Commissioning Checklist to help boaters start the season right, along with a new YouTube Spring Fitting Out video library that shows you how to do some basic tasks, from changing the outdrive oil or fixing broken trailer lights to replacing zincs or changing a propeller.
Before You Launch

Inspect and replace hose clamps as necessary. Double clamp fuel lines and exhaust hoses with marine-rated stainless steel hose clamps. While not technically required, it’s a wise move to double clamp whenever possible on all hoses - especially those below the waterline.

Inspect all hoses for stiffness, rot, leaks and cracking, and replace any that are faulty. Make sure they fit snugly.

Inspect prop(s) for dings, pitting and distortion. Make sure cotter pins are secure.

Grip the prop (on inboard drive systems) and try moving the shaft up and down and side to side. If it’s loose and can be wiggled, the cutless bearing may need to be replaced.

Check the rudderstock to ensure it hasn’t been bent. Operate the wheel or tiller to ensure the steering works correctly.

Inspect the hull for blisters, distortions and stress cracks.

Make sure your engine intake sea strainer (if equipped) is not cracked or bent from ice and is free of corrosion, clean and properly secured.

With inboards, check the engine shaft and rudder stuffing boxes for correct adjustment. A stuffing box should leak no more than two drops each minute when the prop shaft is turning.

Inspect, lubricate and exercise seacocks.

Use a garden hose to check for deck leaks at ports and hatches. Renew caulk or gaskets as necessary.

Inspect and test the bilge pump and float switch to make sure they’re both working properly.

Check stove and remote LPG tanks for loose fittings and leaking hoses.

Inspect dock and anchor lines for chafe and wear.

If equipped, ensure that the stern drain plug is installed.

After the boat is launched, be sure to check all thru-hulls for leaks.

Engines and Fuel Systems

Inspect fuel lines, including fill and vent hoses, for softness, brittleness or cracking. Check all joints for leaks, and make sure all lines are well supported with noncombustible clips or straps with smooth edges.

Inspect fuel tanks, fuel pumps and filters for leaks. Ensure portable tanks and lines are completely drained of stale fuel before filling with fresh fuel. Clean or replace fuel filters and/or fuel-water separators if not done before winterization.

Every few years, remove and inspect exhaust manifolds for corrosion (for inboard-powered and inboard/outboard boats).

Charge battery.

Clean and tighten electrical connections, especially both ends of battery cables. Use a wire brush to clean battery terminals, and top up cells with distilled water (if applicable).

Inspect the bilge blower hose for leaks and run the blower to confirm correct operation.

Engine Outdrives and Outboards

Inspect rubber outdrive bellows for cracked, dried and/or deteriorated spots (look especially in the folds) and replace if suspect.

Check power steering and power trim oil levels.

Replace anodes/zincs that are more than half wasted.

Inspect the outer jacket of control cables. Cracks or swelling indicate corrosion and mean that the cable must be replaced.

Inspect lower unit oil level and top up as necessary.

Sailboat Rigging

Inspect swage fittings for cracks and heavy rust (some discoloration is acceptable). Inspect wire halyards and running backstays for “fishhooks” and rust.

Remove tape on turnbuckles and lubricate threads, preferably with Teflon. Replace old tape with fresh tape but don’t wrap airtight.

If you suspect the core around a chainplate is damp, remove the chainplate to inspect and make repairs.

Trailers

Inspect tire treads and sidewalls for cracks or lack of tread and replace as necessary. Check air pressure; don’t forget the spare.

Inspect wheel bearings and repack as necessary.

Test all lights and replace any broken bulbs or lenses.

Inspect winch to make sure it’s working properly. Inspect hitch chains.

Inspect trailer frame for rust. Sand and paint to prevent further deterioration.

Inspect brakes and brake fluid reservoir.

Safety

Check expiration dates on flares.

Inspect fire extinguishers. Replace if more than 12 years old or if age is unknown. More than 40 million Kidde extinguishers with plastic handles were recalled on Nov. 2, 2017.

Ensure you have properly sized and wearable life jackets in good condition for each passenger, including kids. Check inflatable life jacket cylinders and dissolvable “pill” bobbins in auto-inflating models.

Test smoke, carbon monoxide, fume and bilge alarms.

Check running lights for operation and spare bulb inventory.

Update paper charts and chartplotter software.

Replenish first-aid kit items that may have been used last season or are expired.

Check the operation of VHF radio(s) and that the MMSI number is correctly programmed in. (BoatUS members can obtain a free MMSI number at BoatUS.com/MMSI.)

Get a free vessel safety check from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary or U.S. Power Squadrons. Find out more at SafetySeal.net.

For the Dock

In addition to checking its entire length for wear or abrasions, check both ends of the shore power cable connections for burns, which indicate the cable and/or boat’s shore power inlet or the dock’s receptacle must be replaced.

Test ground-fault protection on your boat and private dock, and know how to prevent Electric Shock Drowning.

The Paperwork

Make sure your boat registration is up to date. Don’t forget your trailer tags.

Review your boat insurance policy and update coverage if needed. BoatUS provides free quotes at BoatUS.com/Insurance. Provide a copy to your marina or club.

Ensure your BoatUS Membership is in good standing. Login to BoatUS.com/Account to check your Membership status or join at BoatUS.com/Membership.

Download the free BoatUS App (BoatUS.com/App) to make it easy to summon on-water assistance and speed response times.

For more information about the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group, go to BoatUS.com.  

 

PA DEER HARVEST: Pennsylvania hunters posted their highest overall deer harvest in 15 years when they took 389,431 deer during the state’s 2019-20 hunting seasons, which closed in January.

The 2019-20 deer harvest topped the previous year’s harvest of 374,690 by about 4 percent. The last time the total deer harvest exceeded this season’s total was in 2004-05, when 409,320 whitetails were taken.

The statewide buck harvest saw a generous bump of 10 percent, coming in at 163,240. In the 2018-19 seasons, 147,750 bucks were taken. In the preceding license year, 163,750 bucks were harvested. The largest harvest in the antler-restrictions era – 165,416 – occurred in the first year.

The antlerless deer harvest over the 2019-20 seasons was 226,191, which includes 10,461 taken with chronic wasting disease Deer Management Assistance Program permits. The 2018-19 overall antlerless deer harvest was 226,940, which was about 10 percent larger than the 2017-18 harvest of 203,409.

The percentage of older bucks in the 2019-20 deer harvest remained amazingly high. About 66 percent of the bucks taken by hunters were at least 2 1/2 years old.. The remainder were 1½ years old.

“Pennsylvania deer hunters consistently continue to take 2½-year and older bucks over younger antlered bucks – by a two-to-one margin – in the Commonwealth,” said Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans. “If you hunted deer before antler restrictions, you know how significant this is. Most of us have waited a lifetime for deer hunting like Pennsylvania has today!

“The whitetail bucks roaming Penn’s Woods today are a product of an intensely managed deer herd,” Burhans noted. “But their existence also hinged on the willingness of deer hunters to sacrifice shooting spikes and small fork-horns for bucks with substantially more headgear!”

About 69 percent of the antlerless deer harvest was adult females; button-bucks comprised 16 percent and doe fawns made up 15 percent. In the 2018-19 seasons, adult females comprised 66 percent of the antlerless deer harvest.

Bowhunters accounted for about a third of Pennsylvania’s 2019-20 overall deer harvest, taking 145,908 deer (74,190 bucks and 71,718 antlerless deer) with either bows or crossbows. The 2018-19 archery buck harvest was 54,350, while the archery antlerless deer harvest was 56,369; unseasonably warm weather and rain impacted many fall bowhunting days in 2018.

The muzzleloader harvest – 29,604 – was up from to the previous year’s harvest of 23,909. The 2019-20 muzzleloader harvest included 1,260 antlered bucks compared to 1,290 bucks in the 2018-19 seasons.

  

THIS WEEK’S EVENTS: (For complete future listings go to the Calendar Page - http://www.huntfishnyoutdoors.com/events.php(CHECK EVENT IN ADVANCE. MANY ARE BEING CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

MARCH 2020

24 & 31 - The Children of the Stream Youth Fly Fishing Program at the Costello Community Room (P84) in the new addition to the Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, NY. (7:00 – 8:30 pm) This program is in its 19th year of providing weekly free fly tying and fly fishing classes to both youths and adults in our area. You do not need any prior experience to attend these classes, and the course is geared towards ages 10 and older. For more information contact Alberto Rey at 716-410-7003 or alberto@albertorey.com)

21 - Whitetails Unlimited – Broome County Chapter Hunters Night Out at the Holiday Inn Binghamton, 2 Hawley Street, Binghamton, NY. Deadline for ticket sales – March 14. (Cost: Adult - $50.00/Spouse - $30.00/Youth - $30.00) Through our Grassroots Program, WTU provides grants to local projects and activities that advance our mission. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth conservation and training event. (For information call Adam Hall at, 607-279-0227 or go to http://www.whitetailsunlimited.com/events/banquets/)

21 – South Western NY Friends of NRA Banquet at the Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino, 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd., Salamanca, NY (4:30 pm) (Cost: $50.00) (For information contact Ray Patchkofsky 585-307-9824 or email raymondpatchkofsky@yahoo.com)

21 - Family Outdoor Time: Wildlife Conservation at the Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 State Route 89, Savannah, NY (10:00 am – 12:00 pm) March is a great time to start planning spring yardwork projects.  Did you know, some yard maintenance can be harmful to our wildlife?  With a few simple changes to yardwork activities, not only will backyards look beautiful, they will also be more bird-friendly for native birds.  Families will also learn ways to keep invasive birds from taking over bird houses. (Fee: $5/person, $15/family.) (For information or register call 315-365-3588 or e-mail montezuma@audubon.org)

21 - Braddock Bay Raptor Research Hawk Watch meet at the Montezuma Audubon Center, 2295 State Route 89, Savannah, NY (9:00 am – 4:oo pm) Braddock Bay is a bird migration “hot spot” located on the southern shore of Lake Ontario just west of Rochester, NY. Early spring is the perfect time to look to the skies for many migratory raptor species so join us for a field trip to Braddock Bay Raptor Research (BBRR) for the chance to see hundreds of hawks, vultures, eagles, owls. We will meet with the President of BBRR, Daena Ford, for a live Bird of Prey presentation, take a short walk to search for Saw Whet Owls and Long-eared Owls, and we’ll visit the raptor banding station. Please pack a lunch, wear sturdy shoes, and dress for the weather. *RAINDATE- Sat. April 4. (Fee: $20/child, $30/adult. Fee to meet on location: $15/child, $25/adult. Pre-paid reservations required.) (For information or register call 315-365-3588 or e-mail montezuma@audubon.org)

21/22 - The 73rd Annual Batavia Gun and Sportsman Show at the Quality Inn & Suites Palm Island Waterpark, 8250 Park Road, Batavia, NY (Sat-9:00 am – 4:00 pm/Sun-9:00 am – 3:00 pm) This show is hosted by the Alabama Hunt Club. All federal, state and local firearm ordinances and laws must be obeyed. 150+ tables. (Cost: $5.00/under 12 free w/adult) (For information contact Denis Davis 585-798-6089 dwdavis70@gmail.com)

21-22 – 42nd Annual Maple Sugaring (Postponed) at the Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, NY. (Breakfast 9:00 am-1:00 pm/Trail Demonstrations 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) Explore the science and lore of maple syrup production with volunteer guides along the CNC Pioneer Trail and also enjoy a pancake breakfast. On the trail, participants learn how a tree makes sap and discover the different processing techniques while enjoying the outdoors. Other highlights include a 100 percent pure maple syrup tasting in the sugarhouse, and a pancake meal in the visitors center. All meals include pure maple syrup and a choice of beverage. Maple Sugaring is the CNC’s major annual fundraising event and helps maintain CNC operations. (Meal Cost: Adult - $10.00/Kids - $8.00) (For information call 585-374-6160)

22 - Tioga County Trappers Association Fur Sale at the Tioga County Sportsman's Association, 1141 Carmichael Road, Owego, NY. (9:00 am to 12:00 pm.) (For information contact Bill Swagler at 607-222-8554 or Mike Verry 607-427-5589.) 

26 - New York Forest Owners Association Seminar at the Waterman Conservation Education Center, 403 Hilyon Road, Apalachin, NY. (For more info call Stephen Kutney, 607-862-9152.)

26-29 - Inaugural Finger Lakes Birding Festival. The Finger Lakes Region is a critically important stopover for millions of waterfowl and birds of prey as they migrate north to their breeding grounds. The Montezuma Audubon Center, Braddock Bay Raptor Research, Sterling Nature Center and Onondaga Audubon will lead a variety of birding tours, lectures, and workshops during this four-day event at the Montezuma Wetlands Complex, Braddock Bay, Sterling Nature Center and Onondaga Lake. Participants can expect to see up to three dozen waterfowl species and 20 species of raptors that utilize the region’s forests, wetlands, grasslands and waterways. Discounted hotel accommodations and program registrations will be available at www.facebook.com/fingerlakesbirdingfestival. (For information call 315-365-3588 or e-mail montezuma@audubon.org)

28 - Whitetails Unlimited – Tobehanna Creek Chapter Hunters Night Out at the The Community Center, 4th Street, Watkins Glen, NY. Deadline for ticket sales – 3-20-20. (Cost: Adult - $45.00/Spouse - $25.00/Youth - $25.00) Through our Grassroots Program, WTU provides grants to local projects and activities that advance our mission. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth conservation and training event. (For information go to http://www.whitetailsunlimited.com/events/banquets/)

28-29 - Andover Fire Dept Gun Show at the Andover Fire Hall, 60 South Main Street, Andover, NY (Sat 9:00 am – 4:00 pm/Sun 9:00 am – 3:00 pm) (Admission - $5.00/12 and under – Free) This event is hosted by the Andover Fire Department. All federal, state and local firearm ordinances and laws must be obeyed. The Allegany County Pistol Clerks on site both days. (For information contact Dennis Givens 607-478-5005 Email: dennis.givens@frontier.com or Matt Green 607-478-5327 Email: andoverfire@frontier.net)

28-29 – 42nd Annual Maple Sugaring (Postponed) at the Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, NY. (Breakfast 9:00 am-1:00 pm/Trail Demonstrations 10:00 am – 2:00 pm) Explore the science and lore of maple syrup production with volunteer guides along the CNC Pioneer Trail and also enjoy a pancake breakfast. On the trail, participants learn how a tree makes sap and discover the different processing techniques while enjoying the outdoors. Other highlights include a 100 percent pure maple syrup tasting in the sugarhouse, and a pancake meal in the visitors center. All meals include pure maple syrup and a choice of beverage. Maple Sugaring is the CNC’s major annual fundraising event and helps maintain CNC operations. (Meal Cost: Adult - $10.00/Kids - $8.00) (For information call 585-374-6160)

29 - End of Hunting Season for Coyotes

29 - Finger Lakes Trollers Fishing Tackle, Outdoor Show and Flea Market at the Community Center at Clute Park, Watkins Glen, NY (9:00 am – 2:00 pm) New, used and antique fishing tackle,fishing charters,archery, turkery hunting stuff,etc. There will be about 70 tables set up. (Tables are sold out). (Admission is $2.00 with kids under 10 free. Parking is free.) (For information call Mike Burt 607-765-9866)

31 - Close of Catch and Release (Artificial Lures Only) Season for Trout in Salmon Creek (Cayuga County), Salmon Creek Above Ludlow Falls & West Branch Owego Creek (Tompkins County), Spring Creek on Caledonia State Fish Hatchery Property (8:00 am B 4:00 pm) (Livingston County), Oatka Creek from Bowerman Road Upstream to Union Street and from the Wheatland Center Road Upstream to the Mouth of Spring Creek, and Spring Creek (Monroe County), East Koy & Wiscoy Creeks (Allegany County), Clear Creek, Lime Lake Outlet, McKinstry Creek, Elm Creek, Elton Creek, Mansfield Creek and Cattaraugus Creek Upstream of Springville Dam (Cattaraugus County), Hosmer Brook and Cattaraugus Creek Upstream of Springville Dam (Erie County), Wiscoy Creek (Minus Section 2 mile Each Side of East Hillside Road Bridge), East Koy Creek, Cattaraugus Creek Upstream of Springville Dam and Clear Creek from Mouth to County Line (Wyoming County)

31 - Falconry Season Closes

31 – Close of Crow Hunting Season

 

Until our next meeting in the Corner, have a great time in the outdoors. This is Ron Schroder for – “Your In on The Outdoors for Western New York.”

What Do You Think? Have something for other sportspeople? Let us know HERE.

 

 

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3 - 13 – 20

 

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.

 

ONLINE MEETING TO PRESENT 2020 LAKE ONTARIO CHINOOK SALMON STOCKING STRATEGY:  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that an online public meeting will be held on March 18, to discuss changes in 2020 Chinook salmon stocking locations on Lake Ontario. These changes were developed in consultation with a focus group comprised of anglers and charter captains and are designed to maximize contributions of stocked salmon to sportfisheries.

DEC's stocking site allocations of salmon and trout are decades old and largely proportioned by shoreline miles within DEC's administrative regions bordering Lake Ontario. This proportional approach does not take into consideration fish movement studies, the benefits of pen rearing, and other factors that affect the success of the stocking program, including angler preferences, fishing effort, and geographic and seasonal differences in fish distribution. DEC is currently working with the Lake Ontario Fisheries Management Focus Group, a panel of 16 anglers representing open lake and tributary fisheries, to modify trout and salmon stocking allocations to optimize the benefits of stocked fish to the overall sportfishery.

In 2020, DEC will concentrate Chinook salmon stocking at fewer sites to enhance post-stocking survival and improve open lake fisheries overall. This strategy will also enhance New York State's late-summer staging fishery and existing tributary fisheries in key locations.

The online meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m., on Wednesday, March 18. Participants can use the following link to join the meeting: WebEx Meeting. Participants are directed to use the meeting number 647 538 274, password: Chinook2020.

Upon joining the meeting, participants will be prompted to connect to audio using their computer. To connect to audio via phone, use the following call-in information: toll free number 1-844-633-8697 and access code: 641 790 213.

Stocking information presented at the meeting will be posted on the DEC's website the day of the meeting. Questions regarding this meeting can be directed to Steve LaPan, Great Lakes Fisheries Section Head, at 315-654-2147 or fwfishlo@dec.ny.gov.

                        

CANCELLED - RAINBOW TROUT SAMPLING DATES FOR FINGER LAKES: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the dates and locations for the annual sampling of the rainbow trout run in Finger Lakes tributaries. This year, sampling is scheduled for:

Thursday, March 19, 9 a.m., at Naples Creek, just north of the village of Naples, Ontario County, at the Rt. 245 bridge; and Friday, March 20, 10 a.m., at Cold Brook (Keuka Inlet) in the hamlet of Pleasant Valley, Steuben County.

DEC is conducting the sampling to aid its ongoing assessment of Finger Lakes fisheries management practices and to provide up-to-date information for the opening day fishing forecast.

During sampling, data will be collected for each fish, including length, weight, sex, and spawning condition. A scale from the fish is used to determine age and growth rate. Sampling results will be available to the public at the DEC Region 8 Fisheries Office prior to the April 1 opening of the "inland" trout fishing season. Anglers wanting to fish for trout before April 1 are reminded that trout fishing is open year-round in the main bodies of the Finger Lakes.

Directions to Naples Creek: Sampling will start at the Rt. 245 bridge, just north of the Village of Naples. Rt. 245 joins Rt. 21 just north of the village. The Rt. 245 bridge is approximately 0.2 to 0.3 miles from the junction with Rt. 21.

Directions to Cold Brook: From the Avon DEC office, go south on I-390, continue Southern Tier Expressway (Route 17/ I-86) south to Exit 38 in Bath. Turn left off Exit 38 onto Washington Street (Rt. 54) and continue straight through the light at the intersection of Rt. 415, turn left (north) at the next light following Rt. 54 (Liberty Street). Continue on Rt. 54, approximately six miles, to Pleasant Valley. Turn left onto Hammondsport-Pleasant Valley Road (County Rt. 88). Sampling site is at the stream crossing, approximately 1/2 mile.

 

ANNUAL STATE YOUTH ARCHERY TOURNAMENT ON MARCH 20: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that students representing 37 schools across New York State will be competing in the 12th Annual National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse on Friday, March 20. The tournament recognizes school students' diligence and focus in the practice of target archery. Winners of the state competition will qualify for the national tournament to be held this spring.

The event will host 45 teams of students in one of three divisions: High School, grades 9-12; Middle School, grades 6-8; and Elementary School, grades 4-5. Awards are given out in each of the three divisions for 1st through 10th places. Individuals who place in the Top 10 in their division, and teams that place first in each of the three divisions, qualify to compete and represent New York State at the NASP national tournament held in Louisville, Kentucky, in May.

More than four million students at 8,500 schools in 47 states and five countries have participated in NASP. Since New York implemented the Archery in Schools program in 2008, more than 400 schools and 41,000 students have participated. Last year's state competition drew 542 students from 32 school districts. A brief video of the 2018 tournament is available on DEC's YouTube page.

Participating Western/Central NY Schools by County

Allegany County
Canaseraga Central School
Fillmore Elementary School
Fillmore High School
Genesee Valley Central School

Cattaraugus County
Hinsdale Central School District
Salamanca City School-Seneca Intermediate
Salamanca High School

Cayuga County
Port Byron High School

Erie County
Grand Island High School
Holland Middle School
Holland High School

Livingston County
Livonia Middle/High School

Onondaga County
Fabius Pompey Middle-High School
Liverpool Middle School

Ontario County
Bloomfield Middle-High School
Honeoye Central School District

Oswego County
Altmar Parish Williamstown

Tioga County
North Spencer Christian Academy

The NASP initiative is a great way to introduce young people to archery and serves as a potential conduit to becoming interested in hunting and the outdoors. Educators report that NASP inspires students of all athletic abilities to greater academic achievement. DEC has facilitated the statewide program since its inception, helping schools to start and run their programs, training instructors and staff on teaching methods, and facilitating the collection of equipment for start-up programs.

For more information on how schools can become involved, visit DEC's website. To learn more about the, National Archery in the Schools Program, visit NASP's webpage.

(MAY BE CANCELLED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS-19 CONCERNS.)

 

KUDOS: Rachael Paddock of Perry Central School has become the first Section V athlete to medal in air rifle shooting at the state championships. Rachael took the gold medal in the 3P air individual prone event with a perfect score of 100. She placed tied for 4th in the overall scoring (prone plus standing and kneeling). Her hopes are to make it to the Olympics. Good luck Rachael!

 

BRUSH BURNING PROHIBITED IN NYS MARCH 16 THROUGH MAY 14:  DEC reminds residents that with spring approaching, conditions for wildfires will become heightened, and residential brush burning is prohibited March 16 through May 14 across New York State.

Even though portions of the state are covered in snow, warming temperatures can quickly cause wildfire conditions to arise. DEC posts a fire danger rating map and forecast daily during fire season on its website and on the NY Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App available on DEC's website. Currently, wildfire conditions in the state are low risk.

Historically, open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in New York State. When temperatures are warmer and the past fall's debris, dead grass, and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation.

Violators of the state's open burning regulation are subject to both criminal and civil enforcement actions, with a minimum fine of $500 for a first offense. To report environmental law violations call, 1-800-TIPP DEC (1-800-847-7332), or report online on DEC's website.

 

 

DISEASE-SNIFFING DOGS AMONG CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE RESEARCH: Last month the Pennsylvania Game Commission first unveiled tentative plans to majorly crack down on the spread of chronic wasting disease or CWD in the state.

Researchers will soon take an even more innovative approach to detecting the always-fatal neurological disease that affects members of the cervid family. According to Penn Live, the University of Pennsylvania will begin researching the potential for dogs to detect the disease in deer feces.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is providing $242,246 for the project, which will be undertaken by the Penn School of Veterinary Working Dog Center.