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June 17, 2011 - Field Notes

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

Get Involved - Volunteer!

  • Harvest Wild Lupine for the Karner Blue Butterfly.
    Karner blue butterfly on wild lupine flowers.
    ~Photo credit: Walley Haley~

    Join us along with the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission and the Nature Conservancy as staff, interns and volunteers collect seed from the wild lupine during the last two weeks of June. Primarily found on dry, sandy soils and in open to partially shaded habitats, wild lupine is a native perennial flowering plant critical for the survival of the federally endangered Karner blue butterfly. In late autumn, the harvested seeds are planted throughout the preserves to help increase potential habitat for this butterfly. To find out how you can participate, contact Margo Olsen at (518) 450-0321 at the Saratoga Wilton Preserve or Wendy Craney at (518) 456-0655 (ext. 2, 1211) at the Albany Pine Bush Preserve.
  • WANTED: Lake Ontario Bass Anglers.
    With the largemouth and smallmouth bass fishing season opening on June 18, 2011, DEC is seeking volunteers for the Lake Ontario Black Bass Angler Diary Program. The annual program provides information on the fishing quality experienced by bass anglers in Lake Ontario, as well as size, gender, and other characteristic information of bass caught. If you are interested in participating, please send your name, address, and e-mail to the program's email address. You will be contacted with instructions and will receive an angler diary log to use for recording your basic fishing activities.
  • Become a Sportsman Education Instructor!
    Interested in teaching the safety and ethical responsibilities of hunting, trapping, or bowhunting to new and upcoming hunters? Consider participating as a volunteer sportsman education instructor if you are 18 years or older and have at least three years of experience in one or more of the four fields - hunting, bowhunting, trapping and waterfowl identification. Learn how to apply and join the sportsman educator team in this important and rewarding activity by visiting our How to Become a Sportsman Education Instructor webpage.

Health and Safety

  • Safe to Consume and Harvest Gastropods and Shellfish in Waters of the Towns of Huntington and Southampton.
    In May, due to the detection of a harmful marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning, several waters in the Towns of Huntington and Southampton were closed to harvesting shellfish (clams, oysters, mussels, scallops) and gastropods (conch, whelk, moon-snails). After continuing routine lab testing and identifying that the bio-toxin was no longer present in early June, DEC lifted the closures. Effective as of June 10, the following waters have been re-opened for the safe harvest of gastropods and shellfish:
    • Town of Huntington: All areas of Northport Bay; Centerport Harbor; Duck Island Harbor; Lloyd Harbor; Coast Guard Cove; and, Huntington Bay, lying south of a line extending from the northernmost point of land at Lloyd Point to the northernmost point of land at Eatons Neck Point.
    • Town of Southampton: All areas of Shinnecock Bay, and its tributaries, lying west of the Ponquoge Bridge and east of the Post Lane Bridge in Quogue.

For the most up-to-date shellfish harvest closures and consumption advisories, call the Emergency Shellfish Closure Hotline 24/7 at 631-444-0480 or visit the Shellfishing Closures webpage.

Significant Notes

  • Bowhunters Help DEC Monitor Wildlife Populations.
    bow hunter in tree stand
    The view from a tree stand helps
    bowhunters spot a variety of wildlife
    Last fall, more than 3,500 New York bowhunters volunteered to participate in the Bowhunter Sighting Log program. Through the program, bowhunters count and record the number of deer, turkeys, coyotes, foxes and other animals they see while hunting, which aids in providing DEC with information on long-term population trends. Cooperators last year provided data for 47,329 days and 187,504 hours of hunting. The log was started on an experimental basis in several areas of the state in 1995 and expanded to cover the entire state in the fall of 1998. Cooperating bow hunters are very dedicated, with over 2,000 hunters sending in their data over the past 10 years! Thank you to all those who volunteer! Complete survey results and information on how to participate can be found on the Bowhunter Sighting Log webpage.
  • Read the Latest Division Monthly Highlights.
    Check out the latest issue of our Division Monthly Highlights (PDF, 349 kB), which includes significant activities conducted by our fish and wildlife staff through April 2011. In this issue you will find results of the 2011 Ostego Lake ice fishing survey; learn about the process and results of the wild rainbow trout egg-take in Cayuga Inlet; read about how we establish fish contaminant analysis protocols to ensure safe consumption; learn about our trout stocking efforts in Lake Erie; find out about our fisheries outreach efforts for high school students; and more!
  • Commercial Fishery Trip Limit Changes.
    Effective, June 15, 2011, the horseshoe crab daily trip limit was reduced to 30 crabs. For more information and to review other trip limits, visit the DEC Commercial Fishing Limits webpage.
  • Tentative 2011-12 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Available.
    To help plan your outdoor activities in advance, tentative hunting season dates for ducks, geese, woodcock, snipe, and rails can now be found on the Waterfowl Seasons and Information webpage. The tentative season dates were developed by a team of DEC staff representing all regions of New York State, taking into consideration anticipated federal regulations for the coming year and recommendations from Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces. Once approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and before going afield for the 2011-12 game bird hunting season, hunters should check the DEC website for final season dates, bag limits and other regulations.

Deer Management

  • Comments Needed on Draft Deer Management Plan.
    The Bureau of Wildlife has drafted a five-year Deer Management Plan (PDF, 2.5 mB), which describes six primary goals encompassing the current priorities for deer management and the values and issues expressed by the public:
    1. Manage deer populations at levels appropriate for human and ecological concerns;
    2. Promote and enhance deer hunting as an important recreational activity, tradition, and population management tool;
    3. Reduce negative impacts caused by deer;
    4. Foster public understanding and communication about deer ecology, deer management, economic aspects and recreational opportunities;
    5. Manage deer to promote healthy and sustainable forests and enhance habitat conservation efforts to benefit deer and other species; and
    6. Ensure that the necessary resources are available to support sound management of white-tailed deer in New York.

DEC is seeking comments on this draft plan through July 28. More details can be found by visiting our Deer Management webpage. Comments can be sent by email or by mail to:
DEC Deer Management Plan
NYSDEC
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4754

  • Pilot Antler Restriction Program Evaluation.
    The Bureau of Wildlife has completed an assessment of a pilot antler restriction program within southern areas of the Catskills. Through the support of hunters, this program was initiated in 2005 to help reduce harvest of young, small-antlered bucks and to potentially allow them to live to older ages. To analyze its effects, wildlife staff evaluated changes evident in deer harvest. Additionally, the Human Dimensions Research Unit of Cornell University surveyed hunters living in the area to evaluate their experiences and attitudes about hunting under antler restrictions. The final reports and key findings of this pilot program can be found on the Antler Restriction Program webpage.

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Free Fishing Weekend

-- June 25-26, 2011 --

  • Free Fishing Weekend! The annual free fishing weekend held in the last weekend of June provides a great opportunity for you to catch a tasty fish in the fresh or marine waters of New York without the requirement to purchase a freshwater fishing license or enroll in the marine registry. Remember to review regulations of saltwater sportfish limits or freshwater sportfish limits before going to catch your meal!

    In addition to this free fishing weekend, New York offers free fishing clinics throughout the year. At these clinics you can fish with no license, learn about the variety of fish in New York, the types of fishing equipment and best fishing techniques to use, and much more.

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

Other News in the Press

Below are additional links to noteworthy DEC press releases. Click on the links for detailed information:

  • DEC Announces Saltwater Fishing Registry: Future Harvest Quotas Based on Number of Registrants
  • Suffolk County Environmental Conservation Officer Named "Officer of the Year" by the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association
  • Emerald Ash Borer Detected In Buffalo: Collaborative Control Efforts Underway to Contain First Infestation Found in Erie County
  • I FISH NY Free Fishing Clinics Summer 2011

Did You Know...?

lightning bug on a leaf
Lightning bug of the Photinus sp.
~Photo Credit: © 2008 Sam Houston,
Courtesy of life.nbii.gov~

Lighting up a hot summer night, the twinkling insects called "lightning bugs" or "fireflies" are more related to a beetle than a fly. There are around 175 different species of fireflies in the entire U.S., with each one using a specific "Morse code" flash to attract the right species as a mate. Some may mimic and alter their flashing code just to lure in another species to eat as a meal.

Learn more about the firefly and their elaborate light displays, by reading "Fireflying," a previous DEC Conservationist magazine article available online.

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