Bear Hunting Season Opens Sept. 19 in Northern New York
DEC regulates black bear hunting to manage populations toward levels that are acceptable to the public. Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates regulations, is available on DEC’s website. Additionally, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF), includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.
In-Person Hunter Education Courses Are Resuming, Online Courses Extended The DEC is experiencing record-breaking sales of hunting and trapping licenses for upcoming seasons. Sales for big game hunting and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) were nearly triple prior years’ sales on opening day, more than double on the second day and nearly double the first two weeks.
DEC also announced that in-person Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, and Trapper Education courses have resumed with appropriate social distancing and other precautions to limit the community spread of COVID-19.
Each year, DEC works with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Atlantic Flyway Council to develop waterfowl hunting regulations and season dates. This year, DEC, with the assistance of Cornell University and the waterfowl hunter task forces, implemented a new process for selecting the 60-day duck season dates within the dates allowed by the USFWS. New York duck seasons offer opportunity to hunt from the first week of October through the last Sunday in January, depending on the waterfowl hunting zone. By having five waterfowl zones, it allows DEC to select dates that maximize duck abundance in each zone which varies based on habitat and latitude.
DEC is accepting applications for sponsored pheasant hunts — free, non-competitive events coordinated by a group, club, individual, or organization to benefit youth, women, first-time hunters, veterans, and/or people with disabilities.
As part of the program, DEC provides up to 50 game farm-raised pheasants to each sponsoring organization free of charge. Applications are due to applicants’ regional wildlife office by Sept. 1.
Hunting and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) for the 2020-2021 season will go on sale Monday, Aug. 10. With liberal bag limits and some of the longest seasons around, New Yorkers can enjoy hunting continuously from September 1 (squirrel) into April (snow geese).
Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of DEC’s license-issuing agents or by telephone at 866-933-2257. The new hunting and trapping licenses are valid from Sept. 1, 2020 through Aug. 31, 2021, while annual fishing licenses are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.
Starting July 15, the NYS DEC began offering its new online bowhunter education certification course, DEC commissioner Basil Seggos announced. “DEC began offering online hunter education courses this spring, and the response has been fantastic. I encourage all experienced and aspiring bowhunters to take advantage of this opportunity and sign up to take the bowhunter education course online.” Seggos went on to say.
If you wish to bow hunt deer or bear in New York State, a bowhunter education course along with a mandatory hunter education course are both required before the purchase of a hunting license. All of the DEC’s in person bowhunter education courses have been cancelled this year as a result of the State’s ongoing COVID-19 response. This new online course allows for new bowhunters to complete their required certifications in time for the fall hunting season. More than 30,000 people have completed the DEC’s new online hunter education course since its April 15 announcement.
With warm weather comes a lot of fishing, and for this summer the DEC has released some tips anglers can follow to help keep up the trout population:
Avoid catch and release fishing for heat stressed trout. Those that are already weakened by heat stress are at risk of death regardless of how carefully handled they are.
Do not disturb trout where they have gathered in unusually high numbers, as it is likely these fish are recovering from heat stress in a pocket of cold water.
Fish early in the morning, as stream temperatures are at their coolest then.
Have a go to plan B in case water temperatures are too high at your intended destination. Consider a body of water that is less prone to heat stress or fishing for a more heat tolerant species, like small mouth bass.
If you follow these tips you can fish while remaining conscientious about your environment and ensure healthy trout for generations to come.
Due to a slow, but steady decline in mallards across the northeastern United States, the mallard daily bag limit remains two birds (one hen) per day. Please see the Declining Mallards in the Atlantic Flyway (PDF) brochure for more information.
The DEC has announced that exams for those looking to become wildlife rehabilitators, practice falconry, or use leashed tracking dogs to locate wounded or injured big game animals will be held on Aug. 14 with a registration deadline of July 24.
In region 5, the exams will be held at DEC offices in Ray Brook and Warrensburg, with two exam times offered: 10 am – noon and 2-4 p.m.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced their new DEC Automated Licensing System (DECALS).
DECALS is an overwork of the previous licensing system designed to incorporate more user-friendly information to help users locate vendors, receive instant copies of a license, and enter and view harvest information and more.
As the system progresses and new features are added and updated, DECALS will include events calendars with upcoming season dates including youth hunts, clinics, and free fishing days. Full integration with the DEC’s Hunter Education Program which would make it easier to register for courses and automatically update certifications, and auto-renewal options for all annual licenses.
In order to get your hunting license, all aspiring hunters must complete a mandatory DEC hunter education course.
This course will continue to be available through Aug. 31, according to an announcement made by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) commissioner Basil Seggos.
The DEC is also making available an online bowhunter education course, available on July 15.
Since April, 24,000 hunters have completed the online hunter education course successfully. This is about a 20 percent increase from those who usually take the course, and of those who took it, 40 percent were women. This is also an increase from the typical in-person course, where 27 percent of students were women. Almost half of all who took the online course were 30 years or older.
Five waters in the Adirondacks (DEC’s Region 5) will be stocked with landlocked Atlantic salmon in the coming weeks. Ranging 2-6 pounds, the broodstock fish (used for spawning purposes) are from a hatchery operated by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Vermont.
Over 2,500 of these salmon will be stocked into Lake George, Schroon Lake, Moose Pond (Town of St. Armand), Taylor Pond (Town of Black Brook) and Lake Colby. Anglers are reminded that established fishing regulations for landlocked salmon apply to these waters
The Plan was written to communicate what outcomes the DEC will strive to achieve while managing for a diversity of fishing experiences and providing anglers with the means to find those experiences. Plan objectives and strategies address the management of both wild and stocked trout, habitat enhancement and protection, public access, and outreach.
The 2020 season for Largemouth and Smallmouth bass opens this Saturday, June 20 and runs through Nov.30. Most waters also allow a catch and release season which starts Dec. 1 and continues until regular fishing season opens.
Anglers can use artificial lures during the regular season. Some waters have regulations particular to them, and New York State anglers should be sure to check out the DEC’s fishing regulations guide before heading out to the water.
The New York State Department of Enviornmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos Announced in a DEC Newsletter that the statewide fishing season for Lake Erie, Upper Niagara River, Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and the St. Lawrence River opens on the third Saturday in June (June 20th) this year. The statewide muskellunge season opener falls on May 30th as well in all locations excluding the ones mentioned above.
At sometimes 50 pounds are more, Muskies are the largest freshwater fish in NYS, with a minimum size limit of 40 inches (or 54 inches in Great Lakes waters). Anglers should review the Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide on the DEC’s website before heading out on the water.
Muskellunge’s have always proved a challenge due to their size and their tenacity once hooked, earning them the nick name “the fish of 10,000 casts”. Their unpredictable nature has proven to be an irresistible challenge to many anglers come the summer season, and population management in New York entails habitat protection and enhancement, research, monitoring, stocking, and regulating as a consequence. At least 13 lakes and 19 rivers in New York State have muskellunge populations.
The DEC also wants to remind anglers that we are in fact still in a quarantine status, even though we have began reopening in phases. It is important to maintain a safe social distance while fishing. Remember to fish local, keep your trips short and avoid high traffic locations. When fishing on a boat, make sure it is large enough so persons on board can maintain 6 feet of space. If you don’t feel well, stay home, and be adaptive. Move quickly through parking lots and paths, and if a path is crowded, choose a different one.
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