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Bad News: Emerald Ash Borer hits the Catskills
Almost there: Anglers are finding it easier to find places to fish with each passing day. This weekend I spent some time in the central ADKs, mainly just for a quick get-a-way with my wife. Still, we tossed our kayaks on top of the SUV and I brought my trout fishing gear. We didn't look too hard but found Raquette and Blue Mountain Lakes to be iced over. In fact, I was nearly able to walk on Blue (not that I advise that). On our way home we headed east and wound up putting in at Brant Lake where the boat launch (left) is currently underwater. It made for a nice Easter afternoon.
This weekend we have the youth turkey hunt to look forward to. And, for more details on the crossbow package click here.
2013 Adirondack Bucks
Click here for more photos from 2013
DEC Announces 2013 Bear Harvest Results
Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone
(4/9) New York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. “New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Martens. “With abundant natural foods this past year, bears were in great condition, and we heard of several hunters who took bears weighing more than 500 pounds dressed. Under New York's Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state.”
Regionally, bear hunters took a record 636 bears from the Southeastern bear hunting area and a near record 342 bears (2nd highest take) from the Central-Western bear hunting area. These high harvests reflect that bear populations have increased over the past decade. In addition, an abundance of hard mast (e.g., acorns and other nuts) kept many bears actively feeding later into the fall and available for harvest through the duration of the regular firearms season. Hunters took 224 bears in the Central-Western area and 431 bears in the Southeastern area during the regular firearms season. Bear populations in these ranges are in need of higher harvest rates in coming years in order to stabilize population growth generally and reduce populations in the Catskill region.
In the Adirondack bear hunting area, hunters took a total of 380 bears, fewer than the recent 5-year average. However, Adirondack bear harvest is the tale of two seasons. Bear harvest during the early bear season, which runs from mid-September through mid-October, is strongly influenced by availability of soft mast (e.g., apples, cherries and berries), and harvests tend to be poor during years with abundant soft mast like the 2013 year. Early season only accounted for 84 bears taken, approximately 65 percent below average. In contrast, hunters did well during the regular season, taking 246 bears, about 13 percent greater than average.
A complete summary of the 2013 bear harvest with results by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
NYS Black Bear Management Plan
In January, DEC released a draft black bear management plan for public review and comment. The plan describes DEC’s approach to bear management which includes population management through regulated hunting, mitigation of human-bear conflicts, and technical guidance and outreach to the public about bears and conflict avoidance. The plan proposed several changes to bear hunting, including expanding the area open to bear hunting to encompass all of upstate New York and establishing a supplemental firearms season in September for bears in the Catskill and lower Hudson Valley region. DEC is reviewing the comments received on the plan and anticipates publishing a final version of the plan this spring. See www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html to review the draft plan.
NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program
Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests, and many hunters also submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears (see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45598.html). For all hunters who report their harvest and submit a tooth, 680 hunters in 2013, DEC provides a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear’s age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2013, but we anticipate hunters will receive their patch by September 2014.
Governor Cuomo’s 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 initiative 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, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.
Photo: Dan Reed
4-H Basic Archery & Basic Rifle Programs
Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Warren County 4-H program is offering the following youth shooting sports opportunities:
Sunday, April 13th—Basic Archery (indoor). Time: 10AM - 3:30 PM. Open to youth ages 8 and older. Dunham’s Bay Fish & Game Club. Class is limited to 18 students. This program introduces the student to the common types of bows and arrows, as well as the steps for successful shooting.
Sunday, April 13th—Intermediate 4-H Archery Fun Shoot. Time: 4PM - 5PM. This program is open to those who have completed the 4-H Basic Archery program and are currently enrolled 4-H members.
Saturday, May 3rd—Basic .22 Rifle (outdoor). Time: 11AM - 5PM. Open to youth 12 years of age or older. Class is limited to 12 students. Students will learn about basic firearm parts, different action types, range rules, personal protective equipment, and personal responsibility. Firearms and ammunition are provided by grants from the Friends of the NRA and the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance.
Pre-registration for all programs is required. Please bring your own lunch. The cost for each program is $5 for currently enrolled 4-H members or $15 for non-members (includes a year’s membership in 4-H). New members attending more than one program will only have to pay the membership fee once.
If you would like more information about Warren County 4-H Shooting Sports or any program that 4-H offers in Warren County, please call or e-mail John Bowe at 518-668-4881 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
DEC SUBMITS PROPOSAL TO AMEND JAY MOUNTAIN
WILDERNESS UNIT MANAGEMENT PLAN
Action to Ensure the UMP is Consistent with Voter-approved Constitutional Amendment That Allows NYCO to Conduct Exploratory Sampling
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today submitted a proposed amendment to the 2010 Jay Mountain Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP) to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to ensure the UMP is consistent with the constitutional amendment approved by voters in November 2013 that permits exploratory sampling on the state-owned parcel in the Town of Lewis, Essex County, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced.
The constitutional amendment authorizes NYCO Materials, Inc. to conduct sampling on the 200-acre parcel, known as Lot 8, to determine the quantity and quality of wollastonite on the site, which is adjacent to the company’s long-standing mine. The exploratory sampling will also provide information that DEC will use to accurately appraise the value of Lot 8 for a potential land exchange if NYCO decides to expand its mining operations.
“This is an important step in the process to evaluate the site for a potential land exchange between the State and NYCO that would expand public access and recreation opportunities in the Adirondacks, while also supporting the regional economy,” Commissioner Martens said.
The current Jay Mountain Wilderness Area includes Lot 8, which is part of the State Forest Preserve and is governed by Article XIV, Section 1 of the State Constitution (Article XIV). The property is also subject to the provisions of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) as outlined in the 2010 Unit Management Plan for the Jay Mountain Wilderness area.
The amendment is intended to:
· recognize that a constitutional amendment approved by the voters on November 5, 2013 implicitly repeals APSLMP guidelines for Wilderness that otherwise would prohibit NYCO’s mineral sampling operations within the Jay Mountain Wilderness area;
· make the UMP consistent with the constitutional amendment; and
· note that detailed terms and conditions governing the mineral sampling operations will be set forth in a Temporary Revocable Permit (TRP) issued by DEC.
If Lot 8 is ultimately conveyed to NYCO, an amendment to the APSLMP’s area description of the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area will recognize that Lot 8 will no longer be contained in the Wilderness Area.
The Constitutional amendment approved by statewide voters revised restrictions related to Lot 8 to allow NYCO to conduct mineral sampling to determine the quantity and quality of wollastonite on approximately 200 acres of Forest Preserve lands. Data and information from this the drilling sampling will be provided to the State so that a land appraisal can be made.
During this first phase to implement the constitutional amendment, Lot 8 will remain part of the State Forest Preserve, subject to Article XIV. However, for the limited purpose of the sampling operations, the amendment suspends Article XIV directives that Forest Preserve lands must be “forever kept as wild forest lands” and that timber situated on the lands will not be “removed, sold or destroyed.” This will allow for the creation of corridors and areas required for transportation of equipment, development of drill pads and the use of mechanized mineral sampling equipment. The second phase, conveyance of Lot 8 to NYCO, will occur after the State has appraised the value of Lot 8.
If NYCO decides not to expand its existing wollastonite mine onto adjacent Lot 8, then the company is required to compensate the State for the disturbance resulting from the mineral sampling operations. NYCO will be required to convey to the state an amount of land no less than the acreage and value of the portions of Lot 8 disturbed by the sampling operations. These parcels, to be added to the Forest Preserve, would be subject to approval by the State Legislature.
If NYCO opts to expand its mine onto Lot 8, the company must convey to the state other lands that are equal to or greater than the acreage and assessed land value of Lot 8, and the total assessed value must be at least $1 million. The lands to be conveyed also would require State Legislature approval.
In addition, when NYCO terminates all mining operations on Lot 8, the company will be required to reclaim the site and convey title to these lands back to the state for inclusion in the Forest Preserve.
Lot 8 was assessed by the New York Natural Heritage Program in July 2013 and inventoried by DEC staff in early 2014. These site visits helped to determine if any significant natural communities or unique forest traits are present and to obtain a general assessment of the existing forest stand relative to surrounding forest areas. The assessment did not identify any unusual or unique resources on the site, especially in the context of surrounding state lands
Vermont Moose Hunting Applications Are Available
Vermont moose hunting permit applications are now available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s website (http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com). Printed applications will be available from Vermont license agents in early May.
The 285 regular moose season permits to be issued this year represent a 20 percent decrease from the 355 permits issued last year. Hunters are expected to harvest close to 150 moose during the regular season hunt which starts October 18 and ends October 23.
An additional 50 permits are designated for the October 1-7 archery moose season when hunters are expected to take about 15 moose.
“We recommended a reduction in permits this year based on the biological data we have collected on Vermont’s moose and our calculated population estimates indicating moose densities are below management goals in some areas,” said biologist Cedric Alexander, Vermont’s moose project leader. “It’s the intent of this proposal to allow slow population growth in some regions while continuing to stabilize moose numbers elsewhere.”
Alexander says applicants need to realize some Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) boundaries have changed to better reflect current wildlife populations and habitat conditions. Check page 22 of the 2014 Hunting, Fishing & Trapping Laws and Guide or go to Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s website for the new WMU maps and descriptions: (http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/wmu_maps.cfm).
Lottery applications are $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. The deadline to apply is June 10. Winners of the permit lottery will purchase resident hunting permits for $100 and nonresident hunting permits for $350. Hunters also will have the option to bid on five moose hunting permits in an auction to be announced later.
Alexander estimates Vermont has 2,500 moose statewide with the greatest concentration in the Northeast Kingdom.
DEC REMINDS NEW YORKERS THAT RESIDENTIAL BRUSH BURNING IN
SMALL COMMUNITIES IS PROHIBITED THROUGH MAY 14
(4/9) Because of increased fire risk typical during the spring months, residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited in New York State from March 16 through May 14, 2014, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminded New Yorkers today.
“Reducing fire risks is critical to protecting lives and natural resources, and preventing damage to homes due to wildfires,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “Prohibiting residential burning during the high-risk spring fire season significantly decreases the number of fires. As the weather turns warmer, we urge residents to abide by the ban and make safety a priority.”
Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of wildfires in the state. As temperatures get warmer and grasses and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily. These fires can be further fueled by winds and the lack of green vegetation.
New York adopted tougher restrictions on open burning in 2009 to help prevent wildfires and reduce pollution emissions. The regulations allow residential brush fires in towns during most of the year but prohibit such burning in spring months when most wildfires occur. Campfires using charcoal or untreated wood are allowed but should not be left unattended and must be extinguished after use. Burning garbage or leaves is prohibited year-round.
Fire department data for 2010-2013, showed a 56 percent reduction in wildfires during the burn ban period for these years as compared to the previous five years. In addition, 80 percent of all communities across New York had a reduction in the number of fires as compared to the previous 10 years.
Violators of the open burning state 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 at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/67751.html.
Some towns, primarily in and around the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park, are designated “fire towns” and open burning is prohibited year-round in these municipalities unless an individual or group has a written permit from DEC. To find out whether a municipality is designated a “fire town” or to obtain a permit, contact the appropriate DEC regional office. A list of regional offices is available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html.
NO DETECTION OF CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE IN NEW YORK DEER
(3/30) Testing of more than 2,500 samples of deer statewide found no deer infected with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. CWD continues to pose a threat to New York’s wild white-tailed deer as Pennsylvania discovered CWD in both captive white-tailed deer and wild, free-ranging white-tailed deer in 2012. Since 2002, DEC annually has tested hunter-harvested white-tailed deer for CWD. The last confirmed case of CWD in New York was in 2005.
“New York State hunting relies on a healthy deer population and CWD could devastate the state’s wild deer herd,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “DEC thanks cooperating hunters, meat processors and taxidermists that contributed samples for testing. Successful CWD surveillance depends on all of us. By testing both sick and healthy-appearing deer, DEC looks to identify the earliest intrusion of CWD into New York.”
Public reporting of sick and abnormal deer throughout the year is also important because these animals are collected and tested for CWD. DEC’s Wildlife Health Unit conducts full necropsies (animal autopsy) to determine the source of illness or cause of death on many species, including deer.
In 2012, DEC revised the state CWD surveillance program to include information on population density, deer age and sex, and risk factors, including border counties with Pennsylvania. The goal was to collect samples from the highest risk areas. For further details on the initiation and timeline of DEC’s CWD surveillance program, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/33220.html.
Hunters going to Pennsylvania and other CWD-positive states are not permitted to bring back whole carcasses. Prions, the protein that causes CWD, concentrates in tissues like the brain and spinal cord and remain infectious to other deer. It is permitted to bring meat and cleaned skull caps and capes back from a successful hunt. The purpose of this is to prevent the importation of CWD-infected material.
CWD is a fatal disease of deer, elk and moose that is now found in 22 states. It is in the family of diseases known as “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies” or TSEs, which includes “Mad Cow” disease. No human cases of CWD have ever been reported, according to the Federal Centers for Disease Control.
DEC continues to conduct its educational campaign to inform hunters and the public about CWD. Prevention is the only proven management strategy for wildlife diseases. Therefore, hunters are encouraged to protect New York’s deer herd by knowing and following the regulations for hunting outside of New York. Deboning meat will remove the highly infectious parts. In addition to carcasses, urine can also contain prions that can infect deer.
Avoid using deer urine or choose synthetic alternatives. Prions can bind to soil and remain infectious to wild deer for years.
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of fishing and hunting licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. This year, Governor Cuomo unveiled the NYS Adventure License, which allows outdoor enthusiasts, boaters, anglers and hunters to consolidate their recreation licenses and benefits onto their New York State Driver’s License, and the NYS Adventure License Plates, featuring nine plate designs available for free to those buying new lifetime hunting, fishing or park licenses in 2014.
In support of this initiative, this year Governor Cuomo has proposed creating 50 new land access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the Governor’s 2014-15 budget proposes to: include $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; limit the liability of landowners who allow recreational activities on their properties, which could open up vast, untapped resources for additional hunting, fishing and many other recreational pursuits; and allow crossbow hunting once again in New York State.
It is also illegal to feed deer. Concentrating deer at a feed or bait pile concentrates animals and helps spread disease. Report sick deer or deer behaving abnormally to your nearest DEC office. For a listing of regional DEC offices, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/558.html.
To learn more about CWD, visit DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7191.html.
DEC Invites Hunter Input on Fall 2014 Waterfowl Seasons
(3.29) Through Governor Cuomo's NY's Open for Fishing & Hunting Initiative, hunters are invited to submit recommendations to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces for the dates of the fall 2014 duck hunting seasons by April 4, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. DEC will evaluate the task force recommendations in setting waterfowl seasons, which must comply with federal rules.
"DEC encourages public input and feedback to help in many aspects of wildlife management and that includes determining the waterfowl hunting season dates that are most advantageous for sportsmen and women," Commissioner Martens said.
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 2014 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 from 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 2014, 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. 27, 2014 and closing no later than Jan. 25, 2015.
Waterfowl hunters can participate in the season-setting process by providing duck season suggestions to any task force member on or before April 4, 2014. Names and contact information for all task force members are listed in alphabetical order on DEC's website.
Comments can be provided to DEC's Bureau of Wildlife by mail, telephone or e-mail, with e-mail being the preferred method at email@example.com. 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. 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 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.
PHASE 3 OF TNC PURCHASE OF FORMER FINCH LANDS
NEW STATE FOREST PRESERVE LAND ACQUISITIONS
(3/17) The Governor's ofice recently announced the latest phase of New York State's acquisition of 69,000 acres to the State Forest Preserve formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Company, as well as $875,000 in available grants for projects to develop sites within the Adirondack Park and further position the region as a world-class tourism and recreation destination. The lands acquired from the properties formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Company will protect miles of waterways and open spaces. To better improve the recreational and economic opportunities available, the $875,000 in grants will fund hiking, horseback riding trails, biking, snowmobiling and connector trails, as well as smart growth planning in the region.
Third Phase of Acquisitions of the former Finch Pruyn & Co. Properties
In fulfillment of its 2012 pledge to expand the State Forest Preserve and acquire 69,000 acres of former Finch properties over the next five years, New York State has purchased an additional 8,451 acres of former Finch lands in Fulton, Warren, Essex and Hamilton counties. The State will pay $5.7 million to acquire the tracts from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), using the State’s Environmental Protection Funds (EPF). Already, the state has completed two acquisition phases totaling 30,037 acres. The 14 new parcels contain miles of rivers and streams, ponds, wildlife habitat and trails, and offer exceptional opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, cross country skiing and mountain biking. The properties include:
In addition to thousands of acres in the Adirondack Park, this phase of the land acquisition includes properties just south of the “blue line” in Saratoga County, favored for its mountain biking trails, hunting and other recreational activities. These properties -- the Daniels Road tract (519 acres), the Penn York tract (241 acres) and the Town Line tract (176 acres) -- also offer exceptional forest settings, attractive hilly terrain, wetlands, marshes and riparian habitats. In addition, the Town of Edinburg will be able to move forward with the acquisition of 1,248 acres on Fox Hill Road, and plans to improve outdoor recreation and snowmobile trails with a boardwalk over wetlands. Another 154 acres known as Town Corners will consolidate wetlands in Greenfield.
$875,000 in Grants for Recreational and Smart Growth Projects
New York’s Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), in conjunction with TNC and DEC, is offering grants to local municipalities to support the implementation of projects that will enhance public access to the acquired land. In addition, EPF grants will be available to advance smart growth principles of economic development and environmental protection. Specifically, these grants for community development in the Adirondack Park consist of:
A Request for Applications (RFA) is expected to be released in early spring. The Adirondack Smart Growth grant program will only be available through the new, statewide Grants Getaway, a web-based grants management system that can be used to browse all state agency grants available and anticipated grant opportunities. All applicants will need to register to use the gateway, and not-for-profit applicants are required to “pre-qualify” through the gateway for all grants opportunities. For additional information or to register for the program, visit the New York State Grants Reform website at www.grantsreform.ny.gov.
New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Honors Dr. Nina Schoch
(3/12) The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame proudly announces that its class of inductees for 2014 will include Dr. Nina Schoch of Ray Brook, NY. Schoch will be honored at the annual banquet April 26 in Canastota, NY. Nina Schoch is best known for her role in conservation of the Adirondack loon. Under her leadership theBRIloon program has involved hundreds of volunteers, school children, and government agencies in protecting the iconic symbol of the Adirondack wilderness. The loon census, banding, research on health issues, and public awareness programs of the ACLP have contributed greatly to the dramatic increase in the loon population in the past three decades.
A key part of her success has been involving citizens in the research, volunteer efforts, and spreading the word about how to protect loons. “Science on the Fly,” a middle school curriculum involves students in the scientific process, research, and awareness of environmental issues. Involving volunteers in the census and banding of loons has made many people aware of the problems and helped create a large pool of citizens willing to speak or support these environmental issues.
Nina Schoch’s influence has spread beyond the preservation of the Adirondack loons. Her scientific research on the amount and the dangers of mercury in the environment has contributed to the policies and efforts to control emissions and mercury deposition. She initiated a program with Gremlin sinker Company where anglers could trade lead sinkers for non-toxic ones. The publicity campaign and placement of containers to recycle fishing line at boat launches throughout the Adirondacks is helping make people aware of the threat of discarded fishing line, hooks, etc to loons, other waterfowl, and eagles.
The New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame is an organization dedicated to honoring sportsmen who have made significant achievements in outdoors-related fields. More importantly, they are recognized for their long-time service in preserving our outdoor heritage and helping others experience it. The NYSOHOF is also involved in programs such as kids fishing clinics, youth hunts, seminars, and similar activities.
The annual banquet and induction will involve sportsmen and organizations from all across New York State. It will be held April 26 at the Rusty Rail in Canastota with registration and social hour beginning at 5 pm and dinner at 6 pm. Guests and interested parties are welcome. For information or reservations please call (315) 363-3896 or (315) 829-3588. RSVP by April 19.
STATE UNVEILS NEW HUNTING, FISHING, HIKING AND RECREATIONAL PROJECTS
New Access Points Allow for More Outdoor Recreation Across New York State
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveiled 50 proposed new outdoor access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts to 380,000 acres of untapped State-owned lands across New York. The new access points will allow for more than $6 million in projects for access to hunting and fishing, boat launches, and new hiking opportunities.
"Expanding access to more of the beautiful lands that New York has to offer will open recreational opportunities that for too long have not been available to our residents and tourists," Governor Cuomo said. "These projects will enrich the outdoor activity offerings, improve the quality of life in our communities, and position New York State as a recreation destination."
The universally designed projects will provide people of all ages and abilities access to a variety of beautiful natural areas and a range of activities and experiences. In addition to hunting access, boat launches, fishing platforms and hiking trails, there will be improved access to existing recreational trails, additional parking areas, trail maps, signage and kiosks. Many projects will make trails and launches available to persons with disabilities for the first time.
These plans also support the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, which aims to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state by improving recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen. This includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing, reducing license fees, and improving access for fishing and hunting opportunities at various sites across the state.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, "For generations, New Yorkers and visitors to our state have enjoyed recreational activities in our spectacular forests and scenic trails, and on pristine lakes and rivers. Governor Cuomo's commitment to expanding outdoor access and recreational opportunities builds on New York's rich outdoor heritage and will be benefit hunters, anglers and people of all ages."
The proposed properties are as follows:
• Grass River Conservation Easement, St. Lawrence County
• East Branch of Fish Creek South Easement, Lewis County
• Oswegatchie Waterway and State Forest Access Site at Wegatchie, St. Lawrence County
• Fish Creek WMA, St. Lawrence County
• Vanderwhacker Mt. Wild Forest, Essex County
• Meacham Lake Campground and Debar Mountain Wild Forest, Franklin County
• Township 19 Conservation Easement, Hamilton County
• Blue Ridge, Township 20, Township 33, Somerville road, Lake Desloation Tract Conservation Easements, Hamilton and Essex Counties
• Hand Hollow State Forest – new acquisition, Columbia County
• Washington County Grasslands State Forest Area, Washington County
• Saddles State Forest, Warren County
Central New York
• Skaneateles Lake Fishing Access, Cayuga County
• Three Rivers WMA, Onondaga County
• Deer Creek Marsh WMA, Oswego County
• Cleveland Dock Fishing Access Site, Oswego County
• Redfield Island Boat Launch – Upper Salmon River, Oswego County
• Sandy Creek Fishing Access Site, Monroe County
• Black Creek Fishing Access Site, Monroe County
• Braddock Bay Fish and WMA, Monroe County
• Fishing Access Sites at Waneta Lamoka Lake, Cayuta Lake, Seneca River, Port Bay West Fishing Access, Schuyler, Seneca and Wayne Counties
• High Tor WMA – Bristol Hills Branch of Finger Lakes Trail, Ontario and Yates Counties
• Rocky Point Natural Resource Management Area, Suffolk County
• Underhill Unique Area, Nassau County
• Kings Park Unique Area, Suffolk County
• Otis Pike Preserve, Suffolk County
• Tivoli Bays Wildlife Management Area, Dutchess County
• Lower Esopus Fishing Access Site, Ulster County
• Vernooy Kill State Forest and Sundown Wild Forest, Ulster County
• Stewart State Forest, Orange County
• Huckleberry Ridge State Forest, Orange County
• Mount Tremper Day Use Area, Ulster County
• West Mountain State Forest, Dutchess County
• Black River Wild Forest – Mill Creek Road, Herkimer County
• Utica Marsh Trails, Oneida County
• Susquehanna State Forest, Otsego County
• Goodyear Lake, Otsego County
• Colliersville Fishing Access Site, Otsego County
• Looking Glass Pond Schoharie Reforestation Area, Schoharie County
• Hand Hollow State Forest – new acquisition, Columbia County
New York City
• North Mount Loretto State Forest, Richmond County
• Mount Loretto Unique Area, Richmond County
• St. Francis Woodlands, Richmond County
• Old Place Creek Fishing Access, Richmond County
• Birdseye Hollow and Moss Hill State Forests, Steuben County
• Sanford Lake Recreation Area, Steuben County
Western New York
• Spicer Creek WMA, Erie County
• Phillips Creek Horse Trails, Allegany County
• Welsville-Addison-Galeton Railroad Trail, Allegany County
• Watts Flats WMA, Chautauqua County
2013 CONTINUES RECORD TREND FOR SAFE HUNTING IN NEW YORK
New York’s Sportsman Education Program is a Key Factor
(3/3) The 2013 New York hunting season had the lowest number of hunting related shooting incidents on record, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The tradition of hunting in New York continues to be safely enjoyed by our sportsmen and women who venture afield. “Governor Cuomo recognizes all the benefits the sporting community brings to New York’s economy and commends sportsmen and women for setting a record in hunting safety,” said 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. Under New York’s Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state.”
New York’s hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has fallen by more than 70 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.
Down from 24 in 2012, a total of 19 hunting accidents occurred in 2013, including unfortunately two fatalities. Fourteen of this year’s accidents where self inflicted. Investigations of all accidents are completed 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 accidents are addressed and emphasized during instruction.
These declining statistics prove that New York has a safety-conscious generation of hunters, in great thanks to the committed efforts of more than 2,500 volunteer Sportsman Education Instructors. These trained instructors, who are certified by DEC, teach safe, responsible and ethical outdoor practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in conservation. 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:
In support of this initiative, Governor Cuomo this year has proposed the creation of 50 new land access projects, which will connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the Governor’s budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries.
For more information, including the 2013 Hunting Safety Statistics, visit the Sportsman Education Program DEC web page at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html.
Four national conservation organizations team up for conservation
(3/3) MEMPHIS, Tenn. – February 21, 2014 – Four of the nation’s largest wild bird conservation organizations have joined forces to ensure that wild bird habitat conservation and our shared hunting heritage remain strong for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited (DU), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goal of furthering sporting traditions across North America.
“By entering into this unique partnership, we will be able to reach more than 1 million conservation supporters throughout North America,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This MOU is the first step to ensuring our hunting heritage remains strong. I look forward to working with each organization and I know that together we can accomplish great things.”
The goals of the partnership will be achieved through the support of an engaged and growing community of sportsmen and women and other outdoor enthusiasts, including the members and supporters of the partner organizations, who all share similar visions.
“We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization.”
This historic partnership also takes cooperation to an entirely new level, proving that conservation organizations aren’t always competitors. Rather, this MOU shows how separate organizations can come together to achieve common goals.
Combined, these organizations have helped conserve more than 30 million acres of wildlife habitat, and through this partnership, shared conservation goals will be achieved more efficiently.
“In the face of the most rapid loss of wildlife habitat in modern times, it simply makes sense for our organizations to team up wherever possible,” explains Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “From our local chapters holding youth mentor hunts to state land acquisition projects, our goal is to accomplish more for current and future generations of bird hunters as partners in conservation.
DEC Adopts Sauger Conservation Management Plan
(1/5) The New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation (DEC) adopted a conservation management plan
for one of New York's most imperiled fish species, the sauger. Sauger
are uniquely adapted to thrive in large turbid rivers and lakes and
were once common in New York portions of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the
St. Lawrence River, and Lake Champlain.
Possessing a magazine loaded with more than 7 rounds / New PL section 265.37
From the NYS Rifle and Pistol Association - March 2014
New PL section 265.37 had made it a crime to load any magazine with more than 7 rounds of ammunition, regardless of the capacity of the magazine. On December 31st, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York issued a decision as a result of challenges to various provisions of the New York Safe Act. While the federal district court upheld most of its provisions, the Court held that this section, "Unlawful Possession of Certain Ammunition Feeding Devices," was unconstitutional. As a result of the Court’s decision members are instructed not to enforce PL 265.37 at this time.
As you see this is a direct result of The NYSRPA and other Plaintiffs Legal action in Buffalo, NY. We are in the process of notifying the NYSP and others that the decision also declared unconstitutional the “Muzzle Brake” section of the SAFE Act; therefore those sections of the Penal Code and the enclosed “Field Guide” should also be revised.
We would like to thank The Westchester County Firearms Owners Association, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, AR15.com, NYS Amateur Trap Association and the other plaintiffs for lending their stories to our suit. I would also like to personally thank Scott Somavilla of WCFAO for his support and guidance and the others who remain anonymous for their important support. We could not have done it without all of you.
We are presently waiting for all documents to be filed in our Appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, when that happens we will let everyone know the next step and post those documents. I would like to thank all of the supporters who have stood by the NYSRPA and helped us grow into the Nation’s largest NRA State Association.
Read the NYS Police Field Guide to the NY SAFE Act
Firearm Use Prohibited on SUNY-ESF Forest Properties(8/29) Changes in New York state law now prohibit the use of firearms on North Country property that is operated by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).
The college, located in Syracuse, N.Y., has several regional campuses throughout the state, including the Ranger School and Dubuar Memorial Forest in Wanakena and Pack Forest in Warrensburg. The property is used for education, research and demonstration. “Traditionally, the college has allowed the use of firearms for hunting on our properties,” said Robert Davis, director of forest properties at ESF. “But changes in the law now prohibit that use. Hunting that does not involve rifles, shotguns, or firearms, as defined in section 265.00 of the New York State Penal Law, is still permissible.” Criminal possession of a firearm on the properties is a Class E felony.
ADKHunter.com notes: Because SUNY ESF does not actually own these lands, Syracuse University does, SUNY-ESF is not comfortable with the exemption written into the NY Safe Act for SUNY ESF forest properties because it says they have to both own AND maintain them. They're trying to work it out in the next legislative session but won't be able to in time for the upcoming hunting seasons. Squirrel season is already open, bear opens Sept. 14, grouse Sept. 20. SUNY-ESF does not want to see the average hunter or student get a Class E felony as the SAFE Act implies in this case.
2013 Hunting Season Field Reports
(12/16) Done Deal: Another Adirondack big game season is in the books and I hope you had a good one. Judging from the photos that have rolled in this season from the North Country I'd say it's an above average year for sure. I can't complain about my own luck as well. I let a few small bucks pass this year before taking a 7-pointer during the last week of the season. I was all set for the late muzzleloading season but it was some tough weather for sure. Sunday's snowstorm gave us a little more than we bargained for and I opted to clean it up rather than try to track deer in it. As I write this there are two more days left in the Southern Zone. Now it's time to make some venison jerky, do some small game hunting and get ready for ice fishing season. Be sure to check in during the weeks ahead s we commonly get photos from hunters right into January. We'll get caught up on the Southern Zone photos when we can. Until then, a Merry Christmas to all.
(12/12) It's never over... Until it's over, as the great Yogi Bera said. That's what some of us black powder rifle hunters can say as the weekend approaches. You've got one more chance to get that late season buck or possibly put some venison in your freezer. Many hunters will be targeting does this week as well. That's OK, but leave some for next year too, that is if you want your population to be solid. While fresh buck rubs are showing up again deer appear to be regrouping. If you find one deer this week you'll likely find a few, or you'll find nothing at all. It looks like Mother Nature is also going to deliver a cold blast which may also curtail deer activity a little bit. Some say that mid-day and afternoons are the best once the mercury dips into the teens and below. Time has still been hard to come by for photo updating, but we've got a bunch to catch up on and will get to it when we can. Meanwhile, good luck witht the smokepoles this weekend.
(12/5) Last Call: It's hard to believe that we're looking at the final weekend of yet another deer season. But that's where we're at. If you haven't filled that tag yet don't give up. We've been out there this week and had some luck. In fact, some bucks hunters have encountered were with does (well, a few of them are not anymore) and while we're starting to find some rubs and scrapes again, all indications are that there are still estrus does attracting bucks. Other than the rain that is about to hit us on Thursday and Friday, it's been a pretty good week weatherwise, and this final week may turn out to be some of the best weather of the season. The weekend is supposted to cool down a bit before a storm comes through on Monday. We'll see how it plays out. Most of the northern zone, minus the interior of the Adirondacks, has a week of muzzleloading hunting from Dec. 9-15 for yet some more hunting opportunities.
If you are hunting the Adirondacks on this final weekend (which is also the end of the Southern Zone rifle season) and into next week you may want to continue to key in on does, especially if you've got a spot that hasn't seen much hunting pressure this season. Bucks are still roaming and hanging with the does. Perhaps you'll get a look at one. Meanwhile, hunters are still knocking bucks down across the Adirondack region and we've got a pile of photos to post. We'll get to it next week when the season is over. Good luck!
(11/29) Giving Thanks: This is Thanksgiving weekend, traditionally one of the best times of the year to hunt in the Adirondacks. Although, it's a little later than usual. That said, last week was no slouch. On the heels of the Nov. 17 full moon things really took off last week and a number of bucks were taken or reported being seen following does. That's only going to go on for so long until some breeding starts and deer head for thicker cover. If you know where the does hang out, keep after them because there are bound to be some bucks around. Meanwhile, rubbing and scraping activity appear to have slowed down: a sign that the boys are having some action. When it starts back up again you know bucks are on the move. If you haven't filled a tag yet, don't feel bad, neither have I. But I know some of the best hunting comes late in the season. After a storm early this week it looks like the weather roller coaster will continue with lots of ups and downs. You never know what you're going to get for late season weather. Many of us would be thankful for some snow. A Happy Thanksgiving to all. Hunt safely and enjoy the time with your families.
(11/20) Chasing Bucks: That's what those of us with unfilled tags are hopefully doing. Although it's looking to be a little wet this weekend, and a bit colder followed by a cool-down next week. Typical November weather. We're on the move and won't have much time to update until after the weekend. After all, it's deer season. Adirondack hunters meanwhile, are still knocking down some bucks; even with Southern Zone now open. Numerous buck photos have come in and we'll get some up on the next update. Until then, keep after those rutting bucks and good luck
(11/15) What a Week: It's been a heck of a week of hunting in the Adirondacks. Especially if you like wind. That's what we've had for most of this week and many hunters have come out of the woods with red faces. A warm-up is expected for the weekend, and the Southern Zone opener, followed by some rain. Then things are supposed to get back to normal November weather later next week. I don't know if people like seeing their bucks on this website or if the hunting has just been great, but I can't recall a year since launching this website in 2000 when we've had so many buck photos come in during the first half of November. And there have been some real slammers. Now we're looking at a Full Moon on Nov. 17 for what is usually a pretty good time to hunt in the Adirondacks. I've found more scrapes this week than at any other time of the season and our group was fortunate to get another buck this week. As for the coming week, we likely won't get to update this site because of some much-needed time in the woods but we will catch up when we can. Keep at it and good luck to everyone.(11/11) It's Time: We wait all year for mid-November and it is finaly here. The time to be in the woods is NOW. Bucks are on the move and if you know where some does are hanging out be sure to key in on them as part of your hunting strategy. Bucks are being taken or seen by hunter that have been chasing does or roaming and looking for them. Buck sign is everywhere there are deer. The next few weeks are boing to be busy for us here at ADKHunter as it's time to do some hunting ourselves. We've got dozens of photos to post and will get to them later this week for sure. Meanwhile, it looks like we're in for a bit of a cold snap in the Adirondack region. That should really get deer moving and force us hunters to break out the wool. Hunt hard, and good luck.
(11/4) Ah, November: Unfortunately I did not get to hunt much over the weekend, mainly due to social functions.
But that's all over now and I'm looking ahead. After a warm start on Saturday morning the front came through and cooled things down. As I bit my nails Sunday morning cursing for not being in the woods I knew it was going to be a good day. I found out later, that it was.My neighbor, Cameron Stark, age 17 is turning into quite a hunter. He's gotten a few deer with his bow but his moment came about 8am on Nov. 3 when a big 10-pointer came out of a drive. Cameron's aim was true and the 202-pound bruiser taken in Fort Ann is a real trophy. Welcome to the 200-pound club, Cameron. We hope to have more photos of this one down the road. I also got a call from my Iron Site Gang buddies who got a nice little buck on Sunday afternoon. And, we've gotten quite a few photos sent in from the early muzzleloading season so be sure to scroll down and take a look.Buck sign, meanwhile is showing up more and more every day. Good rubs are being reported, as are scrapes. One hunter I spoke with over the weekend, who also killed a 10-pointer on Friday (Nov. 1), was watching three does in the rain when a buck came in and chased one off. The bigger buck showed up later and that was his last mistake. Looks like things are really starting to crank up. Preliminary forecasts are calling for some possible snow for the weekend. Stay tuned!
(10/28) Good Start:What an opening weekend it was for some hunters. I can't recall as much early season success, especially on nice bucks, as I've seen in 13 years of running this website. There are some beauties for sure. And how about the snow that came in for the last few days of muzzleloading season? Some hunters, including well-known deer tracker, Joe DiNitto, capitlized on it. Photos continue to come in from the early muzleloading and bow season in the Northern Zone.While our crew didn't take a buck we had a very productive opening weekend of rifle season. We don't appear to have the solid beechnut crop that we're hearing about in the central ADKs, but there are some as well as a few (but not many) acorns. Buck sign is in good supply, especially rubs. We found 20 rubs in one spot and will be going back. One thing that seems to be in short supply is water, at least in places. We'll be keeping an eye on that as the season progresses. Right now, it looks like a warm start to the weekend will be followed by some cooler weather. Overall, visibility in the woods this fall seems to be better than in most years. Depending on where you are there is still some young beech and underbrush to contend with. Don't forget to turn those clocks back Saturday night.(10/24 The Frost is on the Pumpkin: When the Northern Zone big game rifle season opens this weekend hunters across the region can expect some crispy mornings along with daytime temperatures that may not even breach the 50 degree mark. That’s good news! Early season hunting is often characterized by warm temperatures and minimal deer movements. This shot of November weather in October should have the deer on their feet. And, if you follow lunar theories keep in mind that some breeding activity is expected on the heels of the Oct. 19 full Hunter’s moon. We’ll be curious to see if bucks are chasing does already. If so, we’ll take it.As for last weekend’s muzzleloading hunt; there was a lot of shooting in the area I was in on opening morning, including some from our own group. The result was a small buck harvested and some fresh tenderloin for breakfast at deer camp. As predicted, the mornings were nice but the weekend weather was warm. It’s been better mid-week for those hunters lucky enough to be able to hunt. Meanwhile, hunters are reporting a solid beech nut crop in some areas, spotty in others. Acorns seem to be more plentiful in the foothills of the ADKS. Good luck this opening weekend and be safe.
(10/17) Pumped: As I write this on Thursday morning the Northern Zone early muzzleloading season is less than 50 hours away. I couldn't be happier and am looking forward to a three-day weekend of hunting Adirondack bucks. We'll focus at first on the bigger woods where, other than youth, we tend to leave the antlerless deer be. Later in the weekend and during the week we'll hit a few spots where we're comfortable taking a doe.The real good news is that this warm weather is expected to break, at least early in the day. The mornings this weekend should be just right with temps in the 30s, or lower in parts further north, which should trigger deer movement. There may be some rain too, but hopefully not enought to wet our powder! As usual, I like to spend the mornings on stand and if conditions are right, do some exploring/still-hunting mid-day. I'll be looking for sign, feeding patterns and of course, deer. We're always curious to hear from other hunters on such findings as well, no matter where you hunt, as we start looking at the big picture of the forthcoming whitetail rut. Meanwhile, we got a few photos in from last weekend's youth hunt and expect to have a few more in future updates. Have a great, safe hunt this weekend.
(10/10)Child's Play: New York's second youth deer hunt is almost upon us. It looks to be a pretty good weekend in terms of the weather. Perhaps a bit warm mid-day during the three-day hunt but some cool mornings are in the works. This week's slight break in the warmth has been good for deer activity too and now that we are past peak foliage in most of the Adirondacks visibility should get better on a daily basis. Although there is still lots of green underbrush out there. Keep an eye out for rubs and scrapes and let us know of your findings as well as that of mast crops. It looks to be a good season and we hope the young hunters out there get the opportunity to kick of in fashion. As you'll see in teh photos below, the kids have been having some fun on waterfowl and pheasants and deer. We've also got a few bow bucks. Good luck, and hunt safely.
(10/3/13) Warm Bow Hunting: What can we say, this past week has been more conducive to fishing and hiking than hunting. The mornings have been spectacular but it's been pretty warm and buggy. After an eventful opening morning on Sept. 27 where one of my buddie's missed a buck things quited right down. We've only heard of a few deer being taken including the one below in the western ADKs. This weekend's weather looks to be more of the same, but we may get some much needed rain. One observation I have made is that the deer here in the southeastern ADKs are chooseing acorns (where available) over apples and have already gone somewhat nocturnal. Many are being sighted or caught on trail cameras moving just before daylight. 'Still haven't got into the beech stands yet but will be soon. We'll see what happens. Good luck out there.