Monday, February 12, 2024

Six Free Fishing Days in 2024

Aria Furlong with her perch

Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced six designated Free Fishing Days in New York will take place on: February 17 to 18 (Presidents’ Day Weekend), June 29 to 30, September 28 (National Hunting and Fishing Day) and November 11 (Veterans Day). During these days, the fishing license requirement is waived for freshwater fishing on New York’s waters.

The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport of freshwater fishing at no cost, to introduce people to a new hobby, and to encourage people to support conservation by purchasing a New York State fishing license.

DEC offers a host of resources for those interested in getting started in fishing. The I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing provides information on everything from rigging up a fishing rod, to identifying your catch, and understanding fishing regulations. There’s also a video series on DEC’s YouTube channel that complements the Beginners Guide. DEC’s Places to Fish webpages are a reliable source of information when planning your next fishing trip. In addition to Free Fishing Days, there are also “learn to fish” opportunities available through DEC-approved free fishing clinics. For a list of what’s currently scheduled visit the DEC website.

Editor’s Note: A reminder that anglers are encouraged to check ice conditions as recent warm temps have created thin, unstable ice conditions, according to NYS DEC reports. Read more information about ice fishing safety at this link. 

Pictured above: Aria Furlong with a perch. Photo provided by the Long Lake Fish & Game Club.


Thursday, August 3, 2023

Rebate Available for Eligible Hunters to Purchase Non-Lead Ammunition

bald eagles
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced DEC is seeking hunters to participate in a multi-year study of non-lead ammunition impacts on the State’s eagle conservation efforts. DEC is partnering with the New York Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University, U.S. Geological Survey, and Conservation Science Global on the study to determine the reduction in bald and golden eagle deaths that can be achieved from increased use of non-lead ammunition for deer hunting.

Eagles can ingest lead bullet fragments when scavenging the remains left behind after a hunter field dresses a deer. While the bald eagle population is doing well in New York, research has shown that lead-related mortality has slowed population growth. The golden eagle population in the eastern U.S. is relatively stable, although vulnerable to a potential population decline due to lead poisoning. This study aims to determine whether this source of mortality can be reduced by increasing the proportion of hunters using non-lead ammunition.

To help recruit hunters to participate in the study, DEC’s research partners will be offering rebates of up to $60 for the purchase of certified non-lead ammunition and participation in pre- and post-hunt surveys. Administration of the rebates will be fulfilled by Conservation Science Global. Participation in the rebate program is voluntary and will be available to hunters issued a Deer Management Permit (DMP) in the following Wildlife Management Units (WMUs): 3H, 4F, 4G, 4H, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4W, and 6G. These WMUs were selected based on greater abundance of eagles and deer harvest success. Focusing eligibility to these areas will concentrate the impact of non-lead ammunition use, allowing for a greater ability to estimate the effects on eagle populations.

The first year of the study will be implemented during the 2023-24 hunting season. DEC expects to continue offering rebates during the 2024 and 2025 hunting seasons. For more information and where eligible hunters can participate, visit the Hunters for Eagle Conservation website.

This research was identified as a high priority in DEC’s report, “Minimizing Risks to Wildlife and People from Lead Hunting Ammunition.” Since the release of this report in April 2022, DEC and partners have taken several steps to implement recommendations in the plan towards minimizing the risks associated with lead ammunition for hunting. For more information, visit DEC’s website.

DEC photo


Saturday, April 29, 2023

DEC Announces Spring Turkey Season Opens May 1

Wild turkeys

On April 21, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that spring turkey season opens May 1, in all counties north of the Bronx-Westchester County boundary and, new for 2023, in Suffolk County on Long Island (Wildlife Management Unit 1C).

“Opening a spring turkey season on Long Island is a success story for wildlife conservation,” Commissioner Seggos said. “After their translocation to Long Island in the 1990s, turkey numbers in Suffolk County increased to a level where these birds can now be responsibly and sustainably harvested through recreational hunting. DEC encourages turkey hunters throughout the state to act responsibly, follow regulations, and adhere to the cardinal rules of hunting safety for a safe and enjoyable season afield.”

» Continue Reading.


Monday, April 24, 2023

Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskellunge Season Opens May 1

Marty Pierce took 1st place in Pike with his 13.63lb 39 inch pike.

Historically found only in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Allegheny River watersheds in New York, walleye are now found in more than 140 waters from all the major watersheds of the state, primarily due to stocking and other DEC management efforts. Opportunities to catch lunker northern pike can also be found throughout much of the state, especially in the northeast and west. Visit DEC’s website for information on where to go fishing for walleyepike and other coolwater sportfish.

Last year, DEC added a new feature to its official HuntFishNY app called The Tackle Box. Fishing regulations, boating access, and stocking information are all available in a map-based interface from the convenience of a smart phone. Other features include driving directions to state boat launch sites and an offline feature that allows a user to access information when cell coverage isn’t available. The HuntFishNY app, which includes the Tackle Box, is free of charge and available through the App store (iOS) and Google Play (Android) for anyone to download on their tablet or smart phone. For more information on the HuntFishNY app and new Tackle Box feature visit the DEC website.

digital version of the 2023 Freshwater Fishing Regulations guide is available to download on the DEC website. Hard copies of the guide are available wherever sporting licenses are sold. For locations visit the DECALS website.

Photo at top: Marty Pierce took 1st place in Pike at this year’s Long Lake/Lake Eaton Ice Fishing Derby with his 13.63lb 39 inch pike. Photo provided by the Long Lake Fish & Game Club.


Saturday, April 22, 2023

Walleye, Northern Pike, Pickerel, and Tiger Muskellunge Season Opens May 1

On April 21, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that the fishing season for walleye, northern pike, pickerel and tiger muskellunge begins on May 1.

“Early spring can be an exceptional time for fishing in New York, with species like walleye and northern pike becoming more active and aggressive as water temperatures rise,” said Commissioner Seggos. “I encourage all anglers to find the time to get out on the water this spring to enjoy, and share with others, the great fishing that can be found here in New York.”

» Continue Reading.


Friday, March 31, 2023

Good news for Lake Champlain’s trout

trout

News of a reduction to planned lake trout stocking levels in Lake Champlain is another positive sign of the growing strength of the lake’s wild-reproducing populations.

Fisheries managers announced plans to halve the number of lake trout stocked into the lake this fall, cutting the number to 41,000.

University of Vermont fisheries biologist Ellen Marsden and researchers in her lab in recent years have documented evidence that about 10 years ago, lake trout first introduced decades earlier finally started to spawn fish that “recruited” out of the first year of life and into the juvenile stage. Those fish have now grown into reproductive maturity and are continuing to thrive.

“This isn’t just a flash in the pan,” Marsden said.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 2, 2023

DEC: 2022 Hunting Season Ties Record for Safest-Ever Year

On February 27, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the 2022 hunting seasons tied 2021 for the safest-ever year, with the lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents since record-keeping began. DEC Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) investigated nine hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) in 2022, including one fatality.

“It’s clear from these findings that the vast majority of New York hunters follow the State’s stringent safety guidelines and do their part to ensure a safe and enjoyable season,” Commissioner Seggos said. “This record year for safety is a testament to the DEC expert staff, volunteers, and local hunting clubs that work collaboratively to teach safety to hunters of all ages. I commend their efforts and for all hunters who safely and responsibly contributed to our conservation efforts this season.”

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 9, 2023

Attention Ruffed Grouse Hunters – Watch out for Spruce Grouse

Ruffed grouse and spruce grouse identification

Ruffed grouse hunters are reminded to positively identify their quarry before shooting. The Northern Zone, specifically Wildlife Management Units 5C, 5F, 6F, and 6J, is also home to the spruce grouse. The spruce grouse is a state-endangered species and is not legal to hunt. Loss of a spruce grouse, particularly a female spruce grouse, could be a significant setback for a small local population.

Spruce grouse occur in lowland conifer forests in the Adirondacks. During the fall, spruce grouse frequently make their way to roads to eat gravel and occasionally travel into upland hardwood forests where ruffed grouse occur. Small game hunters in the Adirondack region must be able to distinguish between these species so that spruce grouse are not shot by mistake. For tips on how to discern the two species, view the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide or the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.

DEC is looking for ruffed grouse hunters to submit feathers from harvested birds in order to assess recruitment (number of young produced per adult female grouse) for different parts of the state. Interested hunters should visit the Ruffed Grouse Hunting Information page on DEC’s website.

Photo at top provided by the NYS DEC.


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

DEC Reminds Outdoor Enthusiasts, Hunters to Share the Woods Safely this Season

With the Southern Zone regular big game season beginning Saturday, Nov. 19 throughout much of the southern part of New York State, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is encouraging outdoor enthusiasts to respectfully share the woods and follow common-sense safety precautions this fall and winter.

“With most public land across New York State open to multiple forms of recreation, from hiking and nature photography to hunting and trapping, visitors should be cautious, courteous, and responsible when sharing the woods to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience,” said Commissioner Seggos. “DEC encourages all visitors to review the safety guidelines for hunting and recreating in the woods before going afield and respectfully sharing the outdoors with others.”

DEC requires big game hunters using a firearm to wear hunter orange or pink and encourages non-hunters to wear blaze orange, blaze pink, or another bright color during fall and winter months to be seen more easily and from greater distances. In addition, wearing bright colors makes it easier for Forest Rangers, Environmental Conservation Police Officers, and other rescue personnel to find lost, sick, or injured people afield.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 16, 2022

DEC: Hunting for Sustainable Fall Meals

Fall is here and that means hunting and trapping seasons are opening for deerturkey, and other game. Whether you are in the field or your kitchen, here are some tips to hunt, cook, and eat in a sustainable way:

  • Learn a variety of recipes to make the most of your game harvests. From jerky to meatballs to crockpot stews options abound.
  • Make compostable items part of your menu, this includes vegetables like carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and more. They will provide a nice compliment to your meal and result in little or no waste.
  • Learn about venison donation programs in your area. If you have too much meat, there are ways to share with those in need so they too can have a healthy meal. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

DEC Recreation Highlight: Sharing Trails with Hunters & Trappers

 

Hunting and trapping seasons are beginning to open throughout New York State. These activities are enjoyed by many as forms of recreation and a means of providing for their families. These activities can also benefit forest ecosystems by helping maintain healthy animal populations while reducing nuisance wildlife issues and, in some cases, decreasing the transmission of wildlife diseases. Whether you are a hunter, trapper, or just enjoy getting outdoors in the fall, learning how to share public lands with other users will help keep you and fellow visitors safe.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 2, 2022

DEC Announces Start of Several Hunting Seasons Across New York State

On Tuesday, September 27, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the beginning of several hunting seasons in New York, including bowhunting for bear and deer in the Northern and Southern zones and the start of small game hunting seasons statewide.

“This is an exciting time of year for hunters who now have an opportunity to head afield and experience the tremendous hunting opportunities here in New York for both big and small game,” Commissioner Seggos said. “In addition, the late summer weather, fall foliage, and extended hunting hours combine to create outstanding conditions for new and experienced hunters who enjoy the sport.”

» Continue Reading.


Monday, September 5, 2022

DEC to Host St. Lawrence County Youth Waterfowl and Pheasant Hunt

dec logoOn August 24, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the annual St. Lawrence County Youth Hunt will be held this September, providing an exciting opportunity for junior hunters to learn from expert Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs). The program is free for participants.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 31, 2022

DEC: Several Hunting Seasons Begin in September


DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos reminded hunters that September marks the beginning of several hunting opportunities in New York State. Hunting seasons for squirrel and Canada goose begin September 1 in upstate New York, and the early bear season and early antlerless deer season begin September 10 in select wildlife management units (WMUs).

“Early hunting seasons are a great opportunity to mentor new hunters and introduce them to the conservation value and importance of hunting,” said Seggos. “The early bear season, antlerless deer season, and September goose season are all designed to reduce or stabilize wildlife populations in particular areas of the state. By participating in these seasons, hunters help manage wildlife populations toward socially and ecologically desirable levels, while also obtaining excellent meat for their families and friends.”

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

DEC Announces 2022 Deer Management Assistance Program for Valcour Island, Clinton County

dec logoOn Tuesday, August 23, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) for Valcour Island will continue in 2022. The program, launched in the fall of 2020, offers opportunities to take antlerless deer on Valcour Island with antlerless deer tags.

» Continue Reading.



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