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.
In June, black bear movement increases as the breeding season begins and yearling (one-year-old) bears disperse to find their own space. Inevitably some of these bears, particularly yearlings, wander through places these animals would not normally inhabit, like suburban or urban neighborhoods.
Bears have an acute sense of smell and may attempt to consume anything they perceive as edible, including improperly stored garbage, birdseed, livestock, pet food, and barbecue grill grease traps. Once a bear has discovered a food source, it may return or seek similar foods at neighboring properties, learning bad behavior that can damage human property and may lead to the death of the bear.
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.
Do you birdwatch in Upstate New York? If so then you can contribute to the Breeding Bird Atlas, (the BBA).
On its third iteration, the purpose of the BBA is to observe breeding birds of New York State from 2020-2024 in order to observe comparisons between the past and future NY BBAs to see how locations and population sizes change over time. The data collected is important for conservation programs for birds and their habitats. Everyone is encouraged to participate from 2020-2024, amateur and advanced birdwatchers alike can contribute as little or as much as they want.
The Coronavirus pandemic is asserting its influence on Adirondack summer recreation, amplifying worries about public safety and the increased number of visitors, especially in the High Peaks. There are many questions: will there be more hikers this season? Fewer? Will choked trail heads be COVID vectors? Will novice visitors seeking to escape both the coronavirus and social isolation mean an increase in unprepared hikers and rescues? Will a decrease in the usual resources such as open facilities, trail stewards and shuttles cause our visitor management challenges to be overwhelming? No one knows. Understandably, concern is high.
At this time of year, when spring comes around and the flowers and trees start to bloom, the DEC receives calls about fox sightings around rural and suburban areas.
The Red Fox is small furbearer about 10 – 12 lbs.- (The size of a house cat) and during the spring they seek out den sites in order to raise their young (called “kits”). These den sites happen to sometimes be in less-than-ideal locations occasionally, including under porches and sheds. So, what should you do if this happens? The DEC has some recommendations:
According to information from the NYS DEC, an invasive species is a non-native species that causes harm to the ecosystem they have invaded (including harm to the economy and human health). Called “Invasives” for short, they can come from as close as a few states away, or from the other side of the world. They are sometimes purposely introduced in order to create huntable or viewable populations, or as business enterprises. Sometimes they are accidentally introduced from something as innocent as the bottom of your shoe, forgetting to clean off your boat after a long trip, or from over-seas shipping crates and boat ballasts.
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.
It is that time of year again where spring cleaning is on the forefront of everyone’s minds. But before you begin, the DEC wants to remind us how important it is that you properly recycle everything instead of just throwing it away.
It is certainly easier to just toss everything, but don’t forget that most everything requires limited natural resources to produce, and in the efforts of conservation, the DEC wants to share some tips to reduce the amount of waste generated this spring-cleaning season.
Starting this Memorial Day Weekend, Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute’s (PSC AWI) Stewardship Program will begin its work at public boat launches throughout the Adirondacks.
In partnership with NYS’s Department of Environmental Conservation, boat stewards will be assisting to CLEAN. DRAIN. DRY boats in the essential work to help protect the state’s waters from aquatic invasive species like hydrilla, water chestnut, and spiny waterflea.
In 2019, stewards talked with more than 250,000 water recreationists about aquatic invasive species and what can be done to prevent their spread. They also kept a lookout for invasive species at the waterbodies where they worked.
Water-access campsites at DEC campgrounds remain closed to overnight camping until DEC’s campgrounds reopen. This includes, but is not limited to:
Saranac Lake Islands Campground;
Indian Lake Campground;
Lake George Islands Campground
Tioga Point Campground;
Forked Lake Campground; and
Alger Island Campground.
Boaters and other day users should continue to social distance on the water and on shore and avoid crowded sites. Boaters and day use visitors should use mainland bathroom facilities before going out on the water, as outhouse facilities at DEC day use sites and campsites are not currently maintained or sanitized.
Primitive tent sites outside of DEC campgrounds remain available for those who are recreating locally but are limited to a maximum of three nights with nine people or less from the same household. Additional information about camping can be found at: https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/camping.html
Celebrate New York State Compost Awareness Week (running through May 9) by supporting this year’s theme: “Soil Loves Compost.” Learn to recognize the importance of compost in supplying nutrients to soil, improving soil structure and supporting plant health.
Add greens, browns, water and air, as well as yard trimmings and food scraps into a rich compost to spread amoungst the plants in your back yard. Turn waste into something viable to the health of your garden, and develop your own blend of compost style. To learn more about composting and Compost Awarness Week, and to learn how you can try your hand at it, follow this link: https://www.nysar3.org/page/international-compost-awareness-week-2019-165.html
Also, as previously covered, take part in the virtual 2020 NYS Organics Summit! Learn about composting in your community and connect with local experts to learn how to better manage organic waste in New York State.
Starting today (Saturday, May 2), it’s open season for cool water fish like walleye, northern pike, pickerel, and the tiger muskellunge.
Historically, walleye only inhabited waters in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, and Allegheny River watersheds in New York. Today, primarily due to stocking and other DEC management efforts, walleye occur in more than 140 waters from all of the major watersheds of the state.
Visit the DEC’s website here to find prime fishing locations, and check out the feature article “Prized ‘Eyes,” in DEC’s Freshwater Fishing Digest, where the DEC reveals how they manage walleye, and where to catch them.
Kristyn Hanna proudly holds a walleye she caught from Oneida Lake in February 2019. DEC photo