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.”
Whether you hunt white-tailed deer primarily for fresh venison, the experience and memories, or a set of antlers, many hunters appreciate being able to observe and harvest larger, older age class bucks. In 2016, DEC launched the “Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow” educational campaign. The campaign promotes individual choice and voluntary restraint to shift the age composition of bucks harvested by hunters in New York State towards older age classes, while still providing hunters the freedom to harvest any buck they desire.
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.
Fall is here and that means hunting and trapping seasons are opening for deer, turkey, 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.
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.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that DEC has adopted new rules for deer and bear hunting in New York. Rule changes include extending hunting hours and dress code requirements when afield to improve hunter safety.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that hunter education courses will be resuming their in-person format on April 1. The DEC will also continue to offer online hunter education courses.
In-person courses will be free and are taught by volunteer Hunter Education Program instructors. You may take a class in hunting, bowhunting, trapping, and waterfowl education. Registration is required for both online and in-person courses, and the in-person courses require mandatory homework which must be completed prior to the course.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced that applications for the DEC’s cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program are now available until March 25. This program, provided through the DEC’s partnership with hunters, 4-H youth, and interested landowners. enables people to raise and release pheasants in order to enhance the state’s fall hunting opportunities.
The program began in the early 1900’s, when the State Conservation Department, the precursor of the DEC, gave out pheasant eggs and pheasant chicks to farmers and the rural youth. This tradition extends into modern times, and day old chicks are available for free to applicants that can provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the chicks in April, May, or June.
The NYS DEC is calling for hunters and trappers to submit photos and essays about what motivates them to trek out into the wilderness and practice what they love. Whether it be a family tradition, a connection to nature, or just to feed your family, the DEC is asking for the people of New York to share their stories so that they may encourage others to get outside and do the same. The winners of the contest will appear in the 2021-2022 New York Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, which has over half a million readers.
Essays should be non-fiction, original material told from a first-person perspective, of 50 to 500 words in length. The contest has a limit of one entry per person with a maximum of two photos per entry. Photos must be taken in New York State.
The DEC encourages every hunter and outdoor recreationalist to wear blaze orange, or fluorescent pink. These vibrant colors are used to prevent another hunter mistaking you for wildlife and accidentally shooting at you.
Hunters who wear orange or pink are 7 times less likely to be shot. New York State law requires armed deer and bear hunters aged 14 and 15, along with their mentors, to wear a fluorescent hunter orange or pink. The vibrant colors must be visible from all directions. A shirt, jacket, or vest must have at least 250 square inches of solid or patterned fluorescence. You may instead opt to wear a hat with a least 50 percent orange or pink
The DEC reported record-breaking sales of hunting and trapping licenses for upcoming seasons, nearly tripling prior years’ sales on opening day for big game hunting and trapping licenses, as well as Deer Management Permits. More then double were sold on the second day, and close to double on the following first two weeks.
The DEC has reopened in-person Hunter Education Courses, including Bowhunter Education, and Trapper Education courses, granted they will be following strict social distancing guidelines along with other precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19. The DEC turned the Hunter Ed program into an online certification course once Covid-19 began, which resulted in a dramatic 105-percent increase in participants completing the course compared to their traditional in-person courses offered the previous year.
Small game hunting season starts Oct. 1 across New York State. Special youth hunts and new opportunities for active-duty military members and veterans are also available this hunting season.
There are several youth-only hunting seasons for pheasants and waterfowl prior to the start of the regular season. Dates, bag limits, and other regulations for small game can be viewed in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations guide, which can be obtained from a license-issuing agent or on the DEC’s website.
Hunting seasons for ducks, geese, and brant (waterfowl) begin early October in several parts of New York State, but young hunters can get the jump on the season opener with the following youth waterfowl days and locations:
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) are offering youth ages 12 through 15 an opportunity to hunt waterfowl with an ECO this fall, with events scheduled in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties.
St. Lawrence County hunt
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) of St. Lawrence County are partnering with the Massena Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) and the DEC Wildlife staff at the Wilson Hill Wildlife Management Area to offer youth between the ages of 12 and 15 the opportunity to hunt waterfowl and pheasant this coming fall. This opportunity consists of a three-day event beginning with an in-class lesson at the Massena Rod and Gun Club on Thursday, Sept. 10, which will prepare the youth to spend the next two Saturdays hunting.
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.
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