In a statement issued to the press New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens praised Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative. Under this initiative, New York is streamlining the purchase of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improving fishing access at various sites across the state, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish, expanding fishing clinics and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. The reduced fees become effective February 1, 2014.
Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,500 license sales outlets statewide. Sporting licenses can also be ordered by telephone or online. The 2013-2014 sporting licenses are valid beginning October 1, 2013. The new hunting & trapping and freshwater fishing regulation guides are available at all license issuing outlets as well as from the DEC website.
To further encourage fishing in New York State, Governor Cuomo signed legislation last year expanding the opportunity for free fishing clinics. The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give all people an opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer. New York’s sport fishing industry generates an estimated $1.8 billion in economic activity annually, supporting nearly 17,000 jobs.
DEC’s Automated Licensing System (DECALS) is a computerized system for issuing sporting licenses and tracking license sales and revenues. DECALS may also be used for donations to the Habitat Access Stamp Program, Venison Donation Coalition, Conservation Fund and the Trail Maintenance Program. The DECALS Call Center at (1-866-933-2257) is accessible from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday from August 12 to October 12 for questions regarding license purchases. Regular Call Center weekday hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will resume on October 14.
License buyers should have the following items ready when applying: complete name and address information, customer ID number if you have it, proof of residency information (driver’s license number or non-driver’s ID number with a valid NYS address to qualify for a resident license), and, if purchasing by phone or internet, a credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to provide proof of a hunting education certification or a copy of a previous license, if this information is not already contained in their DECALS file.
Sales of all sporting licenses are deposited into the Conservation Fund, which is used to manage New York’s fish and wildlife populations and protect and manage wildlife habitat.
Be a Mentor
The Youth Firearms Deer Hunt was a success in 2012 and will continue to provide opportunities for adult hunters to share their expertise and pass on important traditions to young hunters. DEC also provides special hunting opportunities for junior hunters by offering youth hunts for waterfowl, wild turkey, and pheasants. Learn more about Opportunities for Junior Hunters and Trappers on DEC’s website or find details and a permission form in the 2013-2014 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.
Anglers are encouraged to grow the sport of fishing, by taking someone new fishing in 2013. Recent legislation now allows angler groups to conduct an unlimited number of free sportfishing clinics and no longer require direct DEC involvement. The requirement for a fishing license is waived for participants in these events. For more information on Conduct a Free Fishing Clinic vist the DEC website.
DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches support DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fishing and wildlife-related recreation and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a way to help conserve New York’s rich wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in the state.
Additionally, anyone – not just hunters and anglers – can help feed the hungry by contributing to the Venison Donation Program at all license issuing outlets. Individuals should inform the license sales agent if they are interested in making a donation of $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, the Venison Donation Coalition has paid for the processing of more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served. For more information about the Venison Donation Coalition program, visit DEC’s website.
Participate in Citizen Science
Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers and anglers help DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. Information on how to participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other Citizen Science programs available on DEC’s website.