Thursday, March 22, 2012

DEC Seeks Input on Waterfowl Hunting Seasons

Hunters are invited to submit recommendations for the dates of the Fall 2012 duck hunting seasons to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. DEC will evaluate the task force recommendations in setting waterfowl seasons, which must comply with federal rules.

DEC is soliciting recommendations for the Fall 2012 hunting seasons, including opening and closing dates, split seasons and a special hunting weekend for youths. The recommended dates must be within federal guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). For Fall 2012, DEC expects the USFWS to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than September 22, 2012, and closing no later than January 27, 2013.

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, where regulations 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 the Champlain Zone, hunters can send their suggestions to any task force member on, or before March 30, 2012. Names and contact information for all task force members are listed in alphabetical order on the DEC website.

Comments can be provided by mail, telephone or e-mail. The task forces will meet in late March and 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 be submitted also 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 later in the 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 tentative waterfowl hunting season dates will be posted on the DEC website and announced in June.

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