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Bad News: Emerald Ash Borer hits the Catskills
New York's New
Ready for Relaunch: Greetings folks. We've spent the last six weeks rebuilding what will be the new version of ADKHunter.com. We're excited about the release of the new website, which should transpire some time between now and April 1, 2015. We're not foolin'! At some point or another some or all of the pages affiliated with this website will be down. Should that happen, it could be anywhere from 16-72 hours before everything is to be reconfigured. Eventually, the new pages will populate and you'll be able to check them out. Please bear with us during the re-org and know that the new site will also be a work in progress. Once it's up and running, we hope you like it and will participate as you always have. Thanks so much for all your support since Oct. of 2000. We've got some great hunters and more so, some great people who hunt in the Adirondacks.
-Dan Ladd - Webmaster: ADKHunter.com
Latest Adirondack & Northern Zone
DEC Invites Hunter Input on Fall 2015 Waterfowl SeasonsHunters are invited to submit recommendations to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces for the dates of the fall 2015 duck hunting seasons by April 8, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC evaluates the task force recommendations in setting waterfowl seasons, which must comply with federal rules.
Task Forces to Help Set Season Dates for Waterfowl Hunting in New York
“Input and feedback from New York’s hunters is important to DEC in many aspects of wildlife management,” Commissioner Joe Martens said. “This includes determining the most beneficial timing for sportsmen and women to hold the state’s waterfowl hunting season.”
New York is divided into five waterfowl hunting zones: Western, Southeastern, Northeastern, Lake Champlain and Long Island. DEC recently appointed task forces for each zone (except Lake Champlain) to solicit recommendations for the fall 2015 hunting seasons, including opening and closing dates, split seasons and a special hunting weekend for junior hunters (hunters ages 12-15). Each task force includes representatives from the New York State Conservation Council, established waterfowl hunting organizations and individual waterfowl hunters who provide input representing diverse points of view.
Waterfowl seasons in the Lake Champlain Zone will continue to be set by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Management Board, with input from DEC and waterfowl hunters in New York and Vermont. Although there is no formal task force for this zone, hunters can send their suggestions to any DEC season-setting team member.
The recommended dates must be within federal guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). For fall 2015, DEC expects the USFWS to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than Sept. 26, 2015 and closing no later than Jan. 31, 2016.
Waterfowl hunters can participate in the season-setting process by providing duck season suggestions to any task force member on or before April 8, 2015. Names and contact information for all task force members are listed in alphabetical order on DEC’s website: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42364.html.
Comments can be provided to DEC’s Bureau of Wildlife by mail, telephone or e-mail, with e-mail being the preferred method at SeasonWaterfowl@dec.ny.gov. The task forces will meet in April, and DEC plans to announce tentative duck hunting season dates in June.
Input on hunting seasons for other migratory game birds, including Canada geese, snow geese, brant and woodcock, may also be submitted to any member of DEC’s season-setting team (see list on the DEC website: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42364.html#Team). However, due to greater uncertainty about federal regulations for those species, decisions and tentative dates will probably not be known until summer.
Descriptions of New York State’s waterfowl hunting zones can be found on the DEC website (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28497.html) and are listed in DEC’s Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Regulations brochure. The final waterfowl hunting season dates will be posted on the DEC website and announced by news release in late August.
NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame to induct 12(3/9) The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame proudly announces that it has inducted 12 new members, including two posthumously in the Pioneer Category. These inductees represent all areas of the state and many fields of endeavor. The NYSOHOF is an organization dedicated to honoring those individuals who have spent many years preserving our outdoor heritage, working for conservation, or enhancing our outdoor sports for future generations.
Gordon Batcheller of Rensselaer County has been a wildlife biologist with the DEC and is currently chief of the bureau of wildlife. He played a key role in supporting legislative efforts to provide special youth hunts for turkey, waterfowl, and deer. As a member of international wildlife organizations he was able to negotiate agreements that advanced the techniques of trappers and staved off trade actions that threatened fur harvests and markets.
Bill Lansley of Onondaga County has been an important volunteer in countless activities ranging from fishing programs at Carpenters Brook Hatchery, Lions Camp Hickory, and Take a Soldier Fishing. The successful Pheasant Raising Program at Jamesville Correctional Facility and Sportsman’s Days at Carpenters Brook hatchery along with the Onondaga County Federation’s Women In Nature program are some of his major accomplishments.
Frank Miskey, Jr. from Erie County has been involved with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen for many years in many roles. He has also been a master Hunter Safety instructor conducting class in hunting, trapping, bowhunting, and waterfowl. He frequently serves as mentor in youth hunts and assists in the wounded warrior program.
Chuck Parker of Oswego County has spent a lifetime involved in regional sportsmen’s organizations, including the Oswego County Sportsmen’s Foundation, hunter safety education, Region 7 Fish & Wildlife Management Board, and the Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. Since 2001 he has been involved with the NYS Conservation Council and currently serves as president.
Al Reigle of Erie County has been the spokesman and public image of trapping in western NY in many ways including being a long time mentor and instructor for trapping education. He has organized the trapper booth at the Erie County Fair Conservation Building and represents Erie County Trapper’s Association at National Hunting Fishing Day events.
Leo Roth of Monroe County is the outdoor editor of the Rochester Democrat Chronicle who has promoted outdoor sports, unique stories of sportsmen and programs such as kids fishing. He has also been a strong advocate of preserving the Seneca White Deer, Casting for Kids (Red Cross Benefit), and catch and release for steelhead on streams in the local area.
Dave Simmons from Oswego County has been active as a leader of local sporting organizations throughout central New York, including the Onondaga County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs. He has been a major fundraiser for many organizations and personally sponsors many youth groups involved in hunting and conservation. Among the many groups he is involved in as an instructor are Women In Nature and Sportsmen’s Days at Carpenter Brook Hatchery.
Larry Steiner of Otsego County has been a quiet, driving force behind the scenes at the Adirondack-Catskill Chapter of the Safari Club and dozens of major projects owe their success to his time, financial, and physical support. These include Hunters Against Hunger, Safari Wheels (wheelchairs for handicapped sportsmen), Venison Donation, and National Archery in Schools Program. He has also sponsored many youth and handicapped special hunts as well as sending women and youngsters to SCI leadership education camps.
Bill Wilbur of Oswego County has devoted many years to the National Wild Turkey Foundation (NWTF), especially the JAKES (youth) and Wheels (handicapped) programs of area chapters. He has presented many programs to schools, serves as mentor to young hunters, and currently serves as president the NYS Chapter of NWTF. In addition he has been chair of the board of Oswego County Federation of Sportsmen and involved with hunts for handicapped sportsmen.
John Wulff of Sullivan County has been a major contributor to the popularity of fly fishing, especially for women and children. She established the Lee Wulff Award in memory of her late husband to recognize individuals who help preserve wild game fish habitat and promote educational programs for youngsters. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Catskill Fly Fishing Center Museum and devotes considerable time and resources to its operation.
In the Pioneer Category the NYSOHOF has inducted the late Joe Jemiolo of Erie County and the late Lee Wulff of Sullivan County. Jemiolo was actively involved with the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen, the Erie County Fisheries Advisory Board, North Chautauqua Conservation Club, and many other conservation groups. Wulff was a familiar face on the American Sportsman TV show helping to popularize fly fishing and catch and release. The Lee Wulff Fly Fishing School in the Catskills has been a major supporter of youth fishing and conservation.
The new inductees will be honored at the annual banquet and will have their plaques displayed at the NYSOHOF Museum in Vail Mills, NY. These inductees will be formally inducted at the annual banquet on Saturday, April 25, 2015 at the Rusty Rail in Canastota, NY. Family and friends are invited to join in this evening of celebration. Registration will begin at 4:30 pm with dinner at 5:30 pm followed by the presentations. Reservations must be made by April 18 by calling (315) 363-3896 or (315) 829-3588 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
DEC ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR PHEASANT RELEASE PROGRAM
(3/2) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that the application period has begun for its cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program, which enhances opportunities for pheasant hunting in New York. The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership with sportsmen and sportswomen, 4-H youth, and landowners who are interested in rearing and releasing pheasants.
The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s. DEC provides day-old chicks at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May, or June.
No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program can be released on private shooting preserves, and all release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. The program is funded through the State Conservation Fund from license fees paid by hunters, trappers, and anglers.
The birds require daily care to monitor the health of the birds and to ensure there is adequate feed and water for the rapidly growing chicks. The pheasants may be released beginning when they are eight weeks old and no later than Dec. 1. Individuals interested in these programs should contact their nearest DEC regional office (please refer to offices listed below) for applications and additional information.
In 2014, DEC distributed 37,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants. Applications must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15, 2015 - see contact information below.
R5 - Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties:
1115 Route 86, PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977
R6 - Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida and St. Lawrence counties:
317 Washington Street
Watertown, NY 13601
A “Pheasant Rearing Guide” is available on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7271.html.
Draft Conservation Plan for Bald Eagles in New York State Now Available for Public Review and Comment
Comments Accepted Until April 10
(3/2) A proposed conservation plan to manage New York’s population of the bald eagle is now available for public review and comment, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The Conservation Plan for Bald Eagles in New York State describes the historic and current status of the bald eagle in the state and provides guidelines for future management actions.
“New York State was instrumental in the restoration and recovery of the bald eagle in the northeast United States and continues to play an important role in providing suitable habitat for our nation’s symbol,” Commissioner Martens said. “Since the bald eagle depends primarily on freshwater rivers, lakes and streams for its food, a flourishing eagle population is a good indicator of New York’s high quality water ways. Conservation of the bald eagle and its habitat plays an important role in preserving our biodiversity and ecosystem health. The plan aims to maintain the bald eagle’s geographic diversity and ultimately ensure a healthy population within the state.”
The bald eagle, currently listed as a threatened species in New York, continues to make a remarkable recovery across the state. The Conservation Plan serves as a guide for landowners, resource managers, local government agencies and other stakeholders to manage and perpetuate the bald eagle and its habitat in New York. This plan is also intended to inform the public of actions recommended to achieve the goal of a continued healthy bald eagle population, including its essential habitat and the ecosystems it depends upon.
The plan establishes objectives for bald eagles in New York and lays out actions to accomplish those objectives. Key objectives include:
Key actions to meet these objectives include:
-Increased human disturbance;
-Collisions with cars, trains, electric lines, wind turbines and other structures; and,
-Environmental contaminants including lead and PCBs.
DEC will accept comments on the draft plan until Friday, April 10, 2015. Comments or questions should be addressed by email to firstname.lastname@example.org (note “bald eagle” in the subject line), or by phone, contact Dan Rosenblatt at 518-402-8884. Comments can also be mailed to DEC’s Wildlife Diversity Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.
DEC REGIONAL NATURAL RESOURCE SUPERVISOR
TOM MARTIN HONORED AS NYSAF “FORESTER OF THE YEAR”
(3/2) The New York Society of American Foresters (NYSAF) honored state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 5 Natural Resource Supervisor Tom Martin as its 2014 Forester of the Year. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the practice and profession of forestry, the conservation and stewardship of forest resources in New York and the objectives of the Society of American Foresters.
In addition, NYSAF presented DEC Private Forest Stewardship Program Manager Sloane Crawford with its Distinguished Service award and DEC Region 6 Natural Resource Supervisor Fred Munk received the Chair’s Commendation award.
“DEC is committed to preserving the health and vitality of New York’s forest lands and our talented staff has been instrumental in achieving this goal,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “I congratulate Tom Martin, Sloane Crawford and Fred Munk on receiving well-deserved recognition from NYSAF and thank them for their many years of service in managing state-owned forest lands. Their work protects and enhances New York’s natural resources, which helps ensure our forested lands offer exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreation and provide economic benefits to regional communities.”
NYSAF Chair Mariann Johnston said, “NYSAF is proud to recognize these individuals for their services and contributions to the profession. The willingness of Mr. Martin, Mr. Crawford and Mr. Munk to serve their colleagues at the professional level is a hallmark of the collegiality and engagement that makes NYSAF a great organization. The words and actions of this year’s awardees have distinguished them as leaders in the forestry and natural resource profession in New York State, and we are particularly pleased to recognize and thank these three DEC employees for their efforts.”
Tom Martin has been directly involved in significant Adirondack forestry initiatives and policy decisions for the past 16 years. He previously served as a Regional Forester for DEC Region 5, and was subsequently named Regional Natural Resource Supervisor, where he oversees forestry programs and the divisions of Fish and Wildlife, and Minerals.
Martin helped to lead New York’s effort to acquire over a million acres of land within the Adirondack Park. He regularly meets with local officials to discuss conservation issues, which is critical to building local community support for specific forest objectives, while also incorporating regional needs into forest planning. He has developed key partnerships with Adirondack towns and counties, the Adirondack Mountain Club, regional rod and game clubs, Adirondack Trail Improvement Society and others to maintain roads, trails, parking areas and other public use infrastructure that provides access to the beautiful lands and waters in the region.
Sloane Crawford received NYSAF’s Distinguished Service Award, which honors a NYSAF member for his/her outstanding professional service, dedication and long-standing contributions to the New York Society of American Foresters.
Crawford manages DEC’s private forest owner assistance program and is an expert on the state’s forest resources and the importance of sustainable management of these resources. He has been a tireless advocate for science-based forestry in New York for decades, and his knowledge and guidance have served as the foundation for NYSAF’s advances in forest policy, including the recent series of NYSAF Position Statements and work with the Council of Forest Resource Organizations (CFRO). He regularly provides information and guidance to industry, organizations and local officials to ensure New York’s forests provide sustainable forest products, abundant wildlife, access to open space and outdoor recreation, and other valuable opportunities.
Fred Munk was presented with NYSAF’s Chair Commendation, which recognizes a person or organization for special assistance, contributions or service to the Chair of the NY Society.
Munk has served as treasurer for the NYSAF Annual Meeting the past four years, which enables the program committee to focus on meeting planning and logistics. His willingness to take this responsibility also allowed the committee to maintain a clear accounting of meeting expenditures separate from its operating expenses. He was specifically recognized for providing a consistent wealth of sound advice and guidance to the organization’s leadership over the years.
The New York Society of American Foresters (NYSAF) was chartered in 1918, just 18 years after the founding of the forestry profession and our parent organization, the Society of American Foresters. There are currently over 300 members in NYSAF. The Society of American Foresters (SAF) is the national scientific and educational organization representing the forestry profession in the United States. Founded in 1900 by Gifford Pinchot, it is the largest professional society for foresters in the world. The mission of the Society of American Foresters is to advance the science, education, technology, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish professional excellence; and, to use the knowledge, skills, and conservation ethic of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society.
2014 MARKS THE SECOND BEST YEAR FOR SAFE HUNTING IN NEW YORK(2/2) The 2014 New York hunting season closed with the second lowest number of hunting related-shooting incidents on record, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
“Hunting is a tradition in New York State that continues to be safely enjoyed by many,” said Commissioner Martens. “Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative recognizes all the benefits the sporting community brings to New York’s economy and commends hunters for continuing their safe hunting practices. I thank our hunters for following the safety guidelines and for making this past year a successful hunting season.”
New York’s hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has fallen by more than 75 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to 4.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
A total of 22 hunting incidents occurred in 2014, including one unfortunate fatality which occurred while hunting small game. Eight of this year’s accidents were self-inflicted, eleven involved members of the same hunting party and only three occurred where the victim and shooter did not know each other. This was the first year on record without an incident occurring during the spring turkey season. The lowest total number of hunting incidents in any year occurred just a year ago (19 incidents in 2013).
All incidents are thoroughly investigated by trained Environmental Conservation Officers. The findings of these investigations are used to improve New York’s Hunter Education Course to ensure that the most common causes of incidents are addressed and emphasized during instruction. Only incidents involving firearms, bows, and crossbows are included. Incidents involving tree stand use or other hunter health-related mishaps are not.
“These declining statistics prove that New York has a safety-conscious generation of hunters. This is due in part to the committed efforts of more than 2,500 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors who are trained and certified by DEC,” added Commissioner Martens.
Sportsman education is an essential background to have in the field and teaches future sportsmen and sportswomen how to be safe, responsible and ethical hunters and trappers. All courses are offered free of charge.
While hunting is safer than ever, accidents happen, and it is important to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. Many, if not all of these incidents could have been prevented, if only the shooter or victim had followed the primary rules of hunter safety to:
The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.
Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Executive Budget proposes to establish a new capital account, the Habitat Conservation and Access Account. The bill would provide up to $1.5M annually from the State Fish and Game Trust Account and all proceeds from the sale of the Habitat Stamp to a new Habitat Conservation and Access Account to ensure that DEC has funds available for management, protection and restoration of fish and wildlife habitat, and for the improvement and development of public access for fish and wildlife related recreation.
For more information, including the 2014 Hunting Safety Statistics, visit the Sportsman Education Program page on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.
DEC REGION 5 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION POLICE
2014 HUNTING SEASON REPORT
(1/12) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) ticketed numerous poachers for violating hunting and firearm laws and regulation during the big game hunting season. “Enforcing hunting and trapping laws helps to ensure suitable populations of deer, bear and other wildlife in the region and throughout the state,” said Regional Environmental Conservation Police Captain Daniel Darrah. “It also ensures that the large majority of law abiding hunters are provided are fair opportunity to pursue game that these poachers are taking. DEC and the Environmental Conservation Police appreciate the thousands of hunters who consistently adhere to hunting regulations and guidelines, and who pass on the traditions of safety, responsibility and conservation to the next generation.”
ECOs charged 152 individuals with a total of 270 total charges. The charges included 91 misdemeanors and 179 violations. The breakdown of the charges include:
DEC REMINDS ANGLERS TO PUT SAFETY FIRST
WHEN ENJOYING ICE FISHING(1/12) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today reminded ice anglers to enjoy the ice responsibly. Three to four inches of solid ice is usually safe for anglers accessing ice on foot. Ice thickness can vary on every body of water or even within the same body of water. Anglers should be particularly wary of areas of moving water and around boat docks and houses where bubblers may be installed to reduce ice buildup. The presence of snowmobile tracks or footprints on the ice should not be taken as evidence of safe ice conditions.
Individuals are strongly encouraged to check ice conditions and avoid situations that appear to present even a remote risk. Testing the thickness of ice can easily be done with an auger or ice spud at various spots.
“Ice fishing is a very popular sport in New York State and interest in the sport is increasing,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Unlike other fishing techniques that may require a boat or special equipment, ice fishing is relatively simple and inexpensive. All one needs is a warm pair of boots, a good ice auger, some tip-ups or a jigging rod and the willingness to walk a bit to have success.”
Based on DEC’s last statewide angler survey, more than 800,000 days are spent ice fishing New York’s waters annually. For more information ice fishing visit DEC’s website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7733.html.
The use of fish for bait is very popular when ice fishing and bait fish may be used in most but not all waters that are open to ice fishing. Visit the DEC website for a list of special regulation by county to find out where bait fish can and cannot be used, and for other regulations that apply to baitfish at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/71546.html.
Anglers are reminded to take these important steps when using baitfish while ice fishing:
NYSOWA Opens Nominations for
New York M. Paul Keesler Outdoor Citizen Award
(2/2) The NYSOWA M. Paul Keesler New York Outdoor Citizen Award will be presented to an individual or organization that effectively has raised the public’s awareness of outdoor recreational opportunities and conservation issues in New York State. The award recipient will be officially announced at the annual conference of the New York State Outdoor Writers Association (NYSOWA) this spring.
The award was created to honor worthy individuals and organizations, at the same time perpetuating the name of one of NYSOWA’s dearest members. The late M. Paul Keesler spent nearly five decades promoting and conserving the outdoor wonders and recreational opportunities within New York State. Beginning with outdoor columns for the Utica Observer Dispatch and progressing to the founding of The Mid-York Sportsman, which grew into the New York Sportsman, Keesler, and his magazine’s contributors, enlightened and educated readers statewide and beyond to the wild treasures of the Empire State. In addition to his newspaper and magazine accomplishments, Keesler wrote books on canoe fishing New York waterways and on his beloved West Canada Creek and Mohawk Valley, the latter perhaps the most comprehensive book ever written on the area.
Previous recipients of the award were William (Bill) Lloyd of Newport, N.Y. (2007), Dennis Money of Canandaigua (2008), Bill Hilts, Sr. of Lockport (2009), William Schwerd of Saratoga (2010), Nina Schoch of Saranac Lake (2011), Ed Feldmann (posthumous) 2012, Stan Pascoo (2013), and Leo Maloney (2014).
Anyone may submit a nomination of 350 words or less and have it endorsed by an active member of NYSOWA. To review award criterion and the nominating process, visit http://www.nysowa.org. To learn of a NYSOWA member in a nominator’s area who might endorse such a nomination, contact, Will Elliott (585) 502-5207, or check the web site.
Nominations must be received by April 1, 2015.
Send Nominations to Will Elliott, 777 Bernd Rd., Pavilion, NY 14525 or e-mail at mailto:email@example.com
DEC ADVISES BACKCOUNTRY VISITORS OF WINTER CONDITIONS THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE ADIRONDACKS
(12/11) The recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reports today. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.
“Now that snows have arrived in the Adirondacks, winter recreationist can take advantage of all that the Park has to offer during the upcoming holiday vacation period,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “However, recreationist must be aware that winter can also present troublesome – even perilous – conditions to the unprepared. Visitors exploring the backcountry should dress for cold weather and use snowshoes and skis to navigate trails.”
Snow depths range from 6 to 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the eastern Adirondacks with the thinner depths in the western portion. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. Seasonal access roads are closed. Motor vehicles should not be driving on seasonal access roads that serve as snowmobile trails in the winter such as the Moose River Plains Road. Most gates and designated snowmobile trails are or will be open by the weekend. Snowmobilers should check on local trail conditions before heading out. Skiers and snowshoers using designated snowmobile trails should keep to the side to allow safe passage of snowmobiles. Snowmobiles should slow down when passing skiers and snowshoers.
Visitors to the Eastern High Peaks are required to use snowshoes or cross-country skis for their safety and the safety of other backcountry users. It is strongly recommended that visitors to other parts of the Adirondacks do the same.
Snowshoes or skis ease travel on snow and prevent “post holing”, which can ruin trails and cause sudden falls resulting in injuries. Ice crampons should be carried for use on icy mountaintops and other exposed areas. In addition, backcountry visitors should follow these safety guidelines:
Traveling through snow takes more energy and time than hiking the same distance, especially in freshly fallen snow. Plan trips accordingly. Ice has only recently formed on most waters especially on large waterbodies. Alternating periods of freezing and thawing have occurred over the past month weakening any ice that is present. Always check ice thickness before traveling across it. Avoid ice over running water, near inlets & outlet and near boathouses & docks - especially those with "bubblers" or other ice prevention devices. Ice that holds snow will not hold the weight of a snowmobile at this time and may not hold the weight of a person. Skiers and snowshoers are reminded that the Avalanche Pass Slide in the Eastern High Peaks is closed to public recreation of any type during the winter.
Call the DEC Forest Ranger Emergency Dispatch at 518-891-0235 to report lost or injured people or other backcountry emergencies. The DEC Adirondack Trail Information web page (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7865.html) provides current trail condition information and links to current weather, snow cover and other important information to help ensure a safe and enjoyable Adirondack backcountry winter experience.<>
(1/1) A third year of a research project on wild turkey survival to help improve the management of this popular game bird will kick off in January, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced.
DEC SEEKING LANDOWNERS TO ASSIST WITH WILD TURKEY RESEARCH
“Wild turkey populations have changed dramatically in New York over the past decade,” Commissioner Martens said. “This project will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and harvest to help guide management of this important game species. I encourage landowners that have wild turkey on their property this winter to consider participating in this study.”
Over the past 10 years wild turkey populations have declined in many parts of New York State. To better understand the factors influencing population changes and how these changes affect turkey management, DEC is beginning the third year of a four-year study. This project will provide wildlife managers with current estimates of harvest and survival rates for female wild turkeys, or hens, in New York and guide management efforts.
Beginning in January, DEC will embark on a statewide effort to capture wild turkey hens and fit them with leg bands to obtain accurate data on survival and harvest. A small number of these birds will also be tagged with satellite radio-transmitters. All of the work will be done by DEC personnel on both public and private lands from January through March. The research will be concentrated in DEC Regions 3 through 9, across the state from the Hudson Valley to North Country and Western New York.
DEC is looking for landowners in DEC Regions 3 through 9 interested in allowing birds to be trapped on their land, as well as alerting project coordinators when they see turkeys on their property on a regular basis. Once turkeys are trapped and banded, they will immediately be released at the same location. Not all locations are suitable for deploying capture equipment, so landowners should contact their regional project coordinator to discuss the suitability of their property. Observations of turkey flocks during January through March can be reported to the project coordinator for that region or can be reported using the Winter Flock Survey form found on DEC’s website at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48756.html.
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.
For more information on this project, contact DEC by e-mail at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. “Turkey Study” should be listed as the subject line in any e-mails.
2014 banner year for Lake Champlain salmon restoration
(2/2) ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – Officials from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today announced that 2014 assessment results show continued gains in the Lake Champlain landlocked Atlantic salmon fishery restoration program.
“It’s extremely encouraging to see the collaborative efforts of New York, Vermont and federal agency staff fostering the long-term sustainability of the Lake Champlain fishery,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens. “Our staffs have made great strides in controlling sea lamprey, benefiting anglers and surrounding communities. However, we must remain vigilant in combatting the invasive sea lamprey so the fishery can continue to rebound and flourish.”
The three groups, which work collaboratively on restoration efforts and make up the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative, reported a number of highlights from recent evaluation activities that indicate further improvement to the lake’s salmon population.
“We’ve seen several indicators from our 2014 assessments that make it very clear that sea lamprey control and our other salmon restoration initiatives, are continuing to be effective in strengthening the salmon population in Lake Champlain,” said Brian Chipman, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “This is a great sign for the salmon, for the health of Lake Champlain’s fisheries and for anglers.”
One primary indicator is the strength of annual spawning runs – which produced several record or near-record numbers in 2014. Some of the key data points include:
Lamprey wounds on salmon declined from 19 wounds per 100 fish in 2013 to 15 wounds per 100 fish in 2014, meeting the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative’s target wounding level for salmon. Lamprey wounds on lake trout also declined to 30 wounds per 100 fish in 2014, from 54 in 2013.
In stark contrast to the 2014 results, sea lamprey abundance was near its peak in 2003, as indicated by a rate of 93 wounds per 100 salmon. That year, salmon returns were very low, with only 84 collected from Hatchery Brook, 21 from the Lamoille River, and 14 from the Winooski River.
“The reduction in lamprey wounding rates indicate an overall decrease in sea lamprey abundance in Lake Champlain, and highlights the continued success and improvements in the sea lamprey control program,” said Bradley Young, sea lamprey control program supervisor with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “Through technological advances in survey and treatment methods and the inclusion of newly identified lamprey population infestations, the control program has gained more ground and become more comprehensive in its approach.”
As a result, lamprey are having less of an impact in Lake Champlain which is beneficial to a range of fish species including northern pike, walleye and lake sturgeon, in addition to trout and salmon. Ultimately, these forward steps are expected to translate into better fishing on Lake Champlain in the coming years.
DEC SHARES DRAFT PLAN TO MODIFY IMPERIAL DAM
(1/12) A draft plan to modify the Imperial Dam on the Saranac River is available for public review, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Bob Stegemann announced. The plan protects human health, private property and public infrastructure while improving natural habitat for aquatic and wetlands species. “DEC is seeking to inform the public and gather input on the preliminary plan addressing the Imperial Dam’s safety issues,” said Director Stegemann. “DEC’s plan will protect people that live, work and travel downstream of the dam. The proposal will also provide access to nine miles of upstream habitat for salmon and trout, while continuing to serve as a barrier to breeding sea lamprey.”
A public availability session on the preliminary plan will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, January 21 at the Town of Plattsburgh Town Hall at 151 Banker Road. Staff from DEC and its consulting firm will present information on the preliminary plan for the dam and the process for moving the project forward. DEC will also answer questions and accept comments from the public. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Please provide any requests for specific accommodation in advance to DEC at 518-897-1248.
“I am exceptionally pleased at this long-awaited news,” said Derrick Miller, President of the Lake Champlain Chapter of Trout Unlimited. “Our members and many people throughout the North Country are delighted that the historic Atlantic salmon spawning habitat in the Saranac River will be restored. This is great news for conservationists and anglers alike.”
The preliminary design for the dam modification includes decreasing the height of the spillway by 8.5 feet and constructing a concrete fish ladder on the left bank (northern side) of the dam. Work will require permits and other approvals, including an Army Corps of Engineers Permit, a DEC wetlands permit and a DEC water quality certification.
The proposed project will increase the dam’s spillway capacity and bring it into compliance with dam safety regulations. The lowered spillway will achieve the required spillway capacity of 45,650 cubic feet per second.
The fish ladder will allow landlocked salmon and trout access to nine miles of the Saranac River upstream of the dam providing a significant increase in spawning habitat for these species and enhance efforts to restore the Lake Champlain fishery. The fish ladder is designed to prevent lamprey from moving upstream.
The plan involves dredging 91,600 cubic yards of material behind the dam to prevent those sediments from being washed downstream and into Lake Champlain. Dredging will create a 200-foot wide channel following the existing river channel approximately 3,800 feet upstream from the face of the dam.
Comments may be mailed to DEC Regional Fishery Manager Lance Durfey, P.O. Box 296, Ray Brook, NY 12977; or e-mailed to mailto:Reg5fish@dec.ny.gov. Comments should be submitted by COB Friday, February 6, 2015.
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2014 Weekly Reports
(12/11) Snow & Smokepoles: If there's one thing that's been inconsistent this deer season it has been the weather, and that continues to be the case. There isn't a big woods deer hunter out there who doesn't get ancy to go hunting when fresh snow hits the ground but some times it can be too much of a good thing. Just as some of us saw on Thanksgiving, we've got a good blanket of fresh snow on the ground for the weekend hunt. Depending on the depth, that can make walking in the woods a real chore, but the road map that deer leave behind can lead to the day's venison, or that of days or seasons ahead.
Here in the southeastern ADKs we've had a pretty good acorn crop and after last Saturday's storm we had snow in higher elevations. Deer were feeding heavily, pawing the ground where acorns lie underneath. In one spot I saw the imprint of a buck's antlers in one of these pawing. If only I could find the buck that made it.
Perhaps this weekend as we with muzzleloaders, bows and crossbows have a few more days to hunt and we'll make the best of it. It may not be easy in the snow, but sometimes you just get lucky. It won't happen, however, if you're not out there. Hopefully, wet weather that is predicted for Saturday will hold off. Otherwise, we'll have to literally keep our powder dry. Good luck.
12/3) Last Shot: Six weeks and seven weekends sure passes quickly. Such is the Northern Zone big game season that is about to close this weekend (Sunset on Sunday). Many of us are still looking to fill our tags, and I am among them. Deer have not come easy this year but in just the past week encounters have increased, lending hope to the weekend that lies ahead. I may not be a pretty one, at least for Saturday, as the forecast calls for rain in much of the southern Adirondacks. We'll see how it plays out and perhaps it will be more snow-like instead. We've also got another full moon approaching on Saturday which could jump-start some rutting activity. Common sense tells us to hunt food sources, and given the acorn crop in parts of the region, that could be just about anyplace. Still, many of us have experienced seeing bucks still with does during the later part of the season. Here's hoping that if we find the deer, we find the bucks before time runs out. The late muzzleloading season (as well as for crossbow and archery) gives many of us another chance from Dec. 8-14. Not all WMU's are open, so be sure to check the regulations guide. Good luck this weekend.
(11/25) Happy Thanksgiving: With the holiday bearing down upon us, and a snowstorm for the southern and perhaps, eastern Adirondacks, what better time to be hunting than right now? The late season is the great season when all the conditions are right, at least that's this hunter's opinion. We're in the middle of a busy hunting vacation and just wanted to take the time to let you know what we're seeing in the woods. Rubs and scrapes have dwindled off and trail camera activity has also decreased. The bucks hunters are seeing, and shooting, are still hanging around does and it appears plenty of breeding is still going on. Our own group's observations reflect that. For many hunters it is tough going and we are not seeing a lot of deer, I can relate to that too. Still, quite a few bucks, and some nice ones at that, are being taken. We'll catch up on some photos after the holiday weekend. As of this post there are 12 days left in the season. Be sure to make the best of it. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
(11/19) The Meat of the Rut - Part II: Once again, mid-November is proving to be productive for Adirondack deer hunters. Take a look at the photos below and you'll see evidence of that. Nearly every hunter we've heard from that has seen a buck as reported them to be following does. This is the time to be in the woods. If bucks are breeding does there will be other bucks nearby and when that doe is bred the bucks will be on the move looking for another doe. No matter your hunting technique, if you know where some does reside then be sure to "check in" on them and see if they have any company. Meanwhile, we're doing some hunting ourselves and will post updates when we can. Good luck!
(11/12) The Meat of the Rut: The heart of the Northern Zone deer season is upon us and if there is a time to hunt, it is now. Yes, the Nov. 6 Full Moon and all that surrounds it has produced some fine bucks, but the action is far from over. This hunter has always felt that the middle and later parts of November are the very best part of the gun season. Sometimes it gets real cold, other times we gett more much snow than we bargained for, but there are still plenty of bucks out there to chase for those of us willing to go after them. Right now, it should be all about the ladies as bucks will be pursuiing does as they come intot their estrous cycles. If you've got some known doe hangouts be sure to spend some time there no matter what hunting technique you'll use. Between now and the end of the month we'll be hitting the woods hard ourselves and will be in the woods and/or at deer camp. Southern Zone opens Nov. 15 which should take a little pressure off the Adirondacks. And, the colder weather should get deer moving. Here's wishing everyone a safe and successfull rut hunt. Go get em'!
(11/5) Hunter's Moon: If you've been in the woods recently you'll see (hopefully) that they are literally opening up visibly and with good buck sign. Bucks are making rubs consistently now and in many areas scrapes are becoming more common. Photos of successful hunters are rolling in as are reports of bucks being spotted on the move. Although we'd like to see things just a little cooler, a pretty good weather weekend is anticipated and some areas may even see some snow! Thursday's (Nov. 6) full moon is bright in the sky also and is what many hunters center their activities around. Many of us have most of our hunting time in the days ahead. Good luck, and keep us in the loop.
(10/29) Week 2: This coming weekend is shaping up to be a good one, as it should be when the calendar says it's November. It looks like the warmer weather is finaly going to break and that is good news for deer hunters. Any drop in temperature should get deer moving and it looks like that is going to happen throuought the weekend, espcially by Sunday. Recent rain and wind has brought down some leaves but there is still quite a bit of underbrush, especially on the fringes of the Adirondack region and to the south. One good sign many hunters, including our group, found during the opening weekend was active scrapes. Along with some rubs showing up it appears the bucks are gearing up. Moon theorists say things are going to happen early around the Thursday, Nov. 6 Full Moon and after. We shall see. Some folks have had some luck already (see photos below). Congrats to those who got off to a good start and good luck in tehe days ahead.
(10/22) Here we go: Another Adirondack muzzleloading weekend has come and gone, with some rain to follow. While this wet weather has altered many of our hunting plans this week, the rain is much needed. Although, it may change some plans for those who have been strategizing their hunts around water sources. We had an interesting few days of hunting, letting a young buck pass and missing an opportunity on a much bigger one. Mainly, we tried to cover some ground and do some in-season scouting which revealed a solid, but not over-estimated acorn crop here in the southeastern ADKs. Some oaks are raining acorns while others are barren of them. Buck sign in the form of rubs is starting to show up and many hunters are reporting finding numerous rubs, especially farther north in the region. It will be interesting to see what this mid-week storm does for visibility as there is still a lot of green on the underbrush, especially where there is beech. Our 44-day Big Game season opens Saturday, Oct. 25. Good luck and please hunt safely.
(10/15) Change in Seasons: First off, let me say that I love archery hunting, and archery shooting. Since Sept. 27 I've spent plenty of time in the woods either on stand with my compound bow, or going for a walk/stalk with my recurve. This crossbow thing is brand new to me. For the past decade I have followed closely the crossbow debate with really no opinion one way or the other. It's hard to take a stand on something that you know little about.
As time went on, I found myself favoring crossbow use. The more I talked with people who simply could not shoot a bow - and I know there is adaptive archery equipment - the more I realized they deserve an opportunity to hunt outside of gun season just like anyone else. Also, as someone who follows the hunting inudustry closely I saw the crossbow gaining in popularity across the country. It was only a matter of time before it became a reality in New York. And now, it has.
I also knew that as an outdoor communicator I would need to learn about the crossbow if I'm going to write about it and interact with readers who use, or choose note to use it. And so I've acquired one. Before shooting it I watched the assembly and safety videos and have since learned as much as I can up to this point. I don't know if I'm going to be a long-term crossbow hunter or not, but I'm going to find out; just like thousands of other New York hunters. The Crossbow Season is here, it opened today and I spent the wayning part of the day in a ground blind where there were more bugs than bucks. It was 78-degrees today, too warm for Adironack hunting. But, there's only one "opening day" and I wanted to check it out. I hope to get out again before the end of the week. The funny thing is, my effective range, in my mind, is 30-yards. About the same with my compound. I'll be elaborating on this a bit more in two upcomming newspaper columns: the Thursday, Oct. 9 issue of The Chronicle, and the Sunday, Oct. 19 issue of the Press-Republican.
With Muzzlelaoding Season opening Saturday, Oct. 18, many of us won't be using our crossbows too much. Although I'm not much of a Southern Zone hunter, I may venture over that way in November when there is a two-week season there and get a little more time in with this new impliment.
That said, hunters throughout the Adirondacks are primed for the muzzleloading season. Visibility is minimal in places and where there are oaks, there seem to be plenty of acorns. Deer are spread out and there is some early buck sign showing up. It's a tough call as to whether to hunt the food, the buck sign, or hopefully, both! Good luck with both the crossbow and the smokepole in the coming days.
(10/8) Columbus Day: Right now, hunting in the Adirondacks is all about small game - including turkeys - and bowhunting. Things are about to change as the long-anticipated Northern Zone Crossbow season opens Wednesday, Oct. 15. While that is exciting and will surely put more hunters in the woods (some of us consider that a good thing) we've also got New York's third annual youth deer hunt this weekend, Oct. 11-13. We at ADKhunter wish all the young hunters and their mentors out there a safe and successful hunt. The weather is looking a bit warm with temps in the 60s in some areas, which is a little warm for hunting comfortable for stand hunters.
In the woods things appear to be all about food. In the foothills and permitter of the ADKs where oaks are present there are plenty of acorns. With so many food options deer seem to be scattered and hard to pattern. They're showing up on trail cameras at different times and may be under one oak tree one day, another the next. At least they're getting in good shape for a potentially long winter. The best thing about hunting in the Adirondacks around Columbus Day is the scenery, which is spectacular nearly anywhere you go. Enjoy your long weekend, if you have it, and let us know how the hunting goes.
(9/24) The End of an Era: The Northern Zone early archery season opens this Saturday, Sept. 27 and has be
en traditionally a four-day hunt using a leftover tag from the previous license year, should you have one. That's all coming to end after this year's hunt. The sporting license year in New York is now Sept. 1 - Aug. 31, rather than Oct. 1 - Sept. 30. With this year being an overlap between the the two license years, we can still use our tags from the 2013-14 if we have them, but next year you'll have to use your 2015-16 tags for both early bear and early archery (deer) as they'll become valid on Sept. 1, 2015. That said, I'm still not sure which licensee, not tag, I'm supposed to carry with me in the woods this weekend so I'll carry both. But, I've still got my yellow tags from last year to tie to a deer if I'm fortunate enough to kill one.
As for the weekend, and the four-day hunt, things are looking pretty warm. Parts of the Adirondacks, especially to the south, could see temps in the '80s this weekend with it not being much cooler elsewhere. To this hunter, warm weather is the absolute worst hunting conditions there are. I just like traditional fall weather. But, the calendar says it's "deer season" and I'm ready to go hunting. The mornings should be cool and enjoyable over the next few days but some us may be swatting mosquitos are cranking up our ThermaCell units for our afternoon outings. Scouting reports from hunters are indicating some buck rubs (left) showing up already and while apples are in short supply there is an acorn crop out there this year where oaks are prevalent. What I'm finding in my haunts is that some, but not all of the oaks, have acorns. Many are still premature.
The early bear season remains quiet but we do have some reports of success from the western Adirondacks, Lewis County, and over towards the Tug Hill area. We've also heard that two females were killed on the highways in that region. Whether you're after deer, bear, waterfowl or other small game this weekend; have a good time, be safe and let us know if you have some luck and what you're seeing for deer sign in the woods.
Big Deer TV: Earlier this summer, in July, a group of Adirondack hunters were featured on Big Deer TV, on the Sportsman Channel. Many of us missed the episode but are sure it will re-air in the future. We'll keep an eye out for it and let you know when it comes around again. Meanwhile, here's a story about the show from the Leader-Herald newspaper in Gloversville.
9/17 Cold Start: Bear season has been open for less than a week and so far we haven't heard of any luck yet. In fact, the only guys who are having success is DEC nailing bear-baiters. If you have been in the woods chasing bears, please let us know how you are doing and also what you are seeing for deer sign, mast cropts, etc. Grouse season opens this weekend (Sept. 20) in the Northern Zone. Nothing better than a little "wild chicken" in the frying pan. We're also looking at a cold snap that could put an end to the growing season and perhaps kick-start the foliage season into high gear.