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March 25, 2011 - Field Notes

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

Field Notes Changing

To improve the quality and diversity of the information we provide for you, we will be stepping up efforts to develop information for our Division's website. This information will then be available as links, via Field Notes, as well as to the broader public audience who visit our website for information about our Division, our programs, and New York's fish, wildlife and marine resources, and the habitats on which they depend. With this overarching endeavor, the delivery of Field Notes to your e-mail inbox will be changing from each week to every other week. It has been nearly a year since the first newsletter was distributed and feedback has been very positive and very encouraging. I thank you for that. So please know that despite the change in the frequency by which we distribute Field Notes, we will continue to offer you significant news and highlights of our Division's programs and activities. I hope that you continue to enjoy receiving and reading Field Notes and I look forward to providing you additional information via our expanding Division webpages!


Division Director signature

Patricia Riexinger, Division Director

Watching Wildlife

Flock of mallard ducks
Photo Credit: Clayton Ferrell, USFWS
  • Spectacle of Migrating Birds.
    Get outside to see the early signs of spring, as thousands of birds undertake their seasonal journey along the Atlantic Flyway from their southern wintering grounds. Flocks of migratory waterfowl like geese, ducks and swans are among the first to arrive, as songbirds like the red-winged blackbird, Eastern bluebird, Eastern meadowlark and American robin take up residence and build their nests. Over the next few weeks, grab your binoculars and visit popular bird refuges, such as the Montezuma Wetland Complex and Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge, to watch the spectacle of birds arriving this spring. Also, visit DEC's Watchable Wildlife site to find a place near you for great bird and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Public Meetings and Recommendations

  • Seeking Hunter Advice for Fall 2011 Duck Season.
    Hunters may submit recommendations on or before April 15, 2011 to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces for the dates of the fall 2011 duck hunting season. Before dates are decided upon, DEC must evaluate task force recommendations and establish a season that complies with federal rules set by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). For fall 2011, DEC expects the USFWS to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than Sept. 24, 2011, and closing no later than Jan. 29, 2012. Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate by providing duck season suggestions to any task force member. For more information, read the DEC press release.
  • April 26 -- Management Plan for Hoffman Notch Wilderness Area.
    Spanning 38,500 acres in the Towns of North Hudson, Minerva and Schroon Lake in Essex County, the Hoffman Notch Wilderness area offers a place for the public to enjoy many recreational opportunities, such as hiking, camping, canoeing, fishing, trapping and hunting. The DEC is holding a public meeting to discuss the proposed management actions for this area, which must be completed before new facilities, such as trails, lean-tos, or parking areas can be constructed. The plan includes an analysis of the natural features of the area and the ability of the land to accommodate public use. The meeting will start at 6:30 on April 26 at the Schroon Lake Town Hall. For directions and more details on the draft management plan, read the DEC press release.

Significant Notes

  • Deer Management Plan Update.
    DEC continues to refine strategies and recommendations in development of a five-year deer management plan for New York State. We anticipate that the plan will be available for public review and comment by late May or early June. This time-frame will allow us to conclude a summary assessment of the pilot antler restriction program in the southern Catskills and address the future of mandatory antler restrictions in the pilot area and elsewhere in the deer management plan. Recently, several erroneous claims have circulated in some New York hunting blogs, online forums and news articles, implying that DEC intends to shut down the pilot antler restriction program regardless of hunter interests. These claims have no base. DEC does not have pre-determined intentions for the pilot antler restriction program but will use results of the summary assessment to help determine the future of the program. Review preliminary information about the deer management plan and a description of the antler restriction issue in New York.
  • Non-Toxic Shot Compliance.
    During the 2010 waterfowl hunting season, DEC's Law Enforcement found that 99% of the hunters checked were complying with regulations requiring the use of non-toxic shot when hunting waterfowl. Between September 2010 and January 2011, Environmental Conservation Officers checked 482 waterfowl hunters in the field, primarily in central and northern New York. Hunters were checked on public lands (294 hunters) as well as private lands (188 hunters). The results were impressive: only 2 hunters were found to be in possession of lead shot in the field. New York's 35,000 waterfowl hunters continue to contribute to waterfowl and wetland habitat conservation, and continue to follow excellent hunter safety standards. More details on this study and the commended efforts of waterfowl hunters can be found in the DEC press release.
  • Potential Slow Start for April 1 Trout and Salmon Season.
    Angling may prove difficult during the beginning of this year's fishing as the winter's heavy snows, and resultant high, cold water conditions may hinder angler's access to the streams. The 2011 Coldwater Fishing Forecast offers recommendations by DEC's fisheries staff on where to find good fishing opportunities this season. For additional details to prepare you for the April 1 opening day, read the DEC press release.

Recreational Sporting Seasons

A complete list of sporting season dates can be found by following the appropriate links:

Did You Know...?

blue claw crab and female crab full of eggs
Top right image: blue claw crab,
(credit: John J Mossesso, courtesy of nbii-life)
Bottom left image: a female blue crab's egg-filled abdomen,
(credit: Maryland DNR)

With an average lifespan of about three years, the female blue crab will mate only once. After mating, females will migrate from the upper reaches of the Hudson River downstream to saltier waters in the lower Hudson River and Long Island embayment's. Upon arrival, a cohesive sponge-like mass of around 600,000 to 8 million bright orange-yellow colored eggs are fertilized under her abdomen, and are later released into the water as larvae.

Read more about the blue crab and how DEC tracks its migration.

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