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December 17, 2010 - Field Notes

Noteworthy News from the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources

Significant Notes

  • Share a Tale of an Outdoor Adventure!
    Have a great story you'd like to share from your outdoor excursions? Enter DEC's contest, "Great Stories from the Great Outdoors" and share an inspirational tale of your glorious outdoor experiences for a chance to win a prize. Write about anything from a simple walk through the woods to an outdoor activity challenge. The contest is open to all and runs through February 28, 2011. Review the DEC press release to find details on how to submit your noteworthy story.
  • Emergency Shellfish Harvest Regulations.
    The Bureau of Marine Resources adopted an emergency regulation, effective December 13, 2010 through February 11, 2010, which extends the current emergency shellfish closures (first adopted September 22, 2010) and prohibits the harvest, sale and subsequent consumption of shellfish that have an increased potential to cause illness in consumers. The areas that remain uncertified (closed) for shellfish harvesting are: Hempstead Bay, Nicoll Bay, Three Mile Harbor, Hog Creek and West Creek. Detailed closure area maps can be found online. For questions or concerns please call (631) 444-0475.
  • Black Bears are Thriving in New York.
    Over the past several decades, black bear populations have been growing substantially and expanding their range, particularly in New York's southern tier. Once thought to inhabit only large forests, black bears can now be found in a variety of habitats including developed areas, and bears are occasionally observed in every upstate county. With more bears in more places, New Yorkers are encouraged to keep bears wild by eliminating bear access to bird feeders, garbage, and other human related food sources. Visit the Black Bear Management webpage to view a map comparing 1995 and 2007 bear population trends.
  • Striped Bass Commercial Fishing Closed.
    Effective, December 16, 2010, the striped bass commercial fishery closed. The closure will remain in effect until July 1, 2011. Review additional commercial trip limit regulations online. For questions or concerns, contact the Bureau of Marine Resources by email or call (631) 444-5621.
  • "Operation Dark Night" Seizes Deer Poachers.
    Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) charge 137 individuals with more than 250 offenses through an initiative termed "Operation Dark Night". From Montauk to Buffalo, this major operation focused on the illegal taking of deer by use of artificial light at night. This illegal act, termed "deer jacking", is when a poacher shines a spotlight on a deer to "freeze" the animal long enough to shoot it while it is most vulnerable. ECO's put in long hours during the night to catch those partaking in this criminal activity. For more information on this extensive operation, read the DEC press release.

The St. Lawrence King

  • World Class Musky Fishing.
    59 inch and 56 pound muskellunge
    Bob Walters holds up
    a 56 pound muskellunge
    caught on November
    30, 2010. ~Photo
    courtesy of Bob Walters~
    November 30, 2010 turned out to be a great day for Eddy Beers as he fished the St. Lawrence River with Bob Walters, a fishing guide from Clayton, NY. Eddy landed a 59 inch musky that unofficially tipped the scales around 56 pounds. The team attempted a live release, but unfortunately, the fish did not respond to resuscitation attempts and succumbed. This fish was most likely a female and at least 20 years of age. A world class fish for sure.
    Read "Saving Muskies" below to learn how world class fish like this remain in the St. Lawrence River.
  • Saving Muskies.
    Although top-notch musky fishing is available on the St. Lawrence River today, muskellunge populations were in danger of collapse in the late 1960's. At that time, the biology of the species was virtually unknown, and as a result, little was done to manage and protect them. In the 1980s, an international working group of researchers and managers from the DEC, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), and SUNY ESF joined forces to form the Escoid Working Group. Efforts from this group led to a vast collection of information on muskellunge, which helped create consistent international regulations to effectively manage the species and its critical habitats. Additionally, "Save the River", an environmental advocacy group, has been an instrumental partner with DEC in promoting a catch and release philosophy to anglers, which undoubtedly has led to improvements in the fishery. A tremendous amount of effort from many individuals has been invested into learning about, and restoring musky to its rightful place as "King of the St. Lawrence".

    Further information on muskellunge management and research initiatives (PDF, 421 kb - link leaves DEC website) may be found on the SUNY ESF web site.
December 2010 Conservationist magazine cover

Need a last minute gift idea?
Give the gift of the outdoors---a subscription to the Conservationist magazine. A one-year subscription is only 12 dollars, and if you order before December 31, you'll receive a free 128-page full-color guide to critters of New Your State. Be sure to check out the December issue online at www.TheConservationist.org. Read about winter fun at Niagara Falls, the debate over real vs. artificial holiday trees, and winter camping in Adirondack lean-tos (including a set of detailed plans for building your own lean-to). With the holidays nearly upon us, now is the perfect time to give a gift subscription to the Conservationist magazine. For more info, visit www.TheConservationist.org.

Fish and Game Season Reminders

Fish (Saltwater)

  • December 20: Last Day for Recreational Blackfish Fishing.
    The final day to go fishing for blackfish (tautog) is December 20, 2010. The season will re-open for blackfish on January 17, 2011. For other saltwater fishing opportunities, visit the saltwater fishing regulations webpage.

Migratory Waterfowl

  • December 18: Canada Geese Hunting Opens in Hudson Valley Zone.
    Hunting for Canada geese in the Hudson Valley Zone opens on December 18, 2010 and continues through January 3, 2011. View the 2010-11 Canada Goose Hunting Season webpage to identify the appropriate hunting zone and season bag limit. Please remember that all licensed waterfowl hunters must register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP) and have a federal migratory bird/duck stamp; details on this and additional information can be found in the migratory waterfowl hunting regulations and license requirements online.

Big Game

  • December 21: Last Day to Hunt Deer with Muzzleloader in Southern Zone.
    The final day to hunt deer with a muzzleloader in the Southern Zone is December 21, 2010. View the Deer Muzzleloader Season Map to identify hunting area boundaries that will be closing.
  • December 21: Last Day to Hunt Bear with Bow and Muzzleloader in all Southern Areas.
    The final day for muzzleloader hunting and bowhunting bear in all Southern Zone Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) is December 21, 2010. View the appropriate Bear Season Map to identify hunting area boundaries that will be closing.
game harvest report logo


Successful hunters must report take on deer, bear and turkey within 7 days. (On November 17, 2010, regulations extended the reporting deadline from 48 hours to 7 days). Simply report your take online or call toll-free at 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778).

Click on the icon to get started
on your harvest report!

Get all available hunting dates by visiting the Hunting Seasons webpage.

Did You Know...?

least weasel in summer and winter

A least weasel has adapted to blend in with the snowy background of winter by altering the color of its fur coat to white as the cold season arrives.
In the photographs to the right see the difference in the summer coat color (top image) and winter coat color (bottom image) of the least weasel (Mustela nivalis).

*Photograph credits (some rights reserved): top image by Bering Land Bridge National Preserve (link leaves DEC website); bottom image by Marko K (link leaves DEC website)~

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