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December 02, 2011 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Significant Notes

Conserving the Bog Brook Unique Area.
Extensive conservation efforts are under development to restore special wetland habitat classified as "graminoid fen" in the state-owned Bog Brook Unique Area in Putnam County. Overgrown with invasive plant species and flooded with elevated water levels, the fen is losing its ability to sustain many rare plant and animal species it usually supports. To restore this area to its natural state, DEC staff are considering a strategy that may include multiple techniques such as: prescribed burns, periodic livestock grazing, and physical hand removal techniques to reduce the growth of invasive plants, as well as use buffers to aid in returning natural water flow. Visit the DEC website for details on the habitat and management of the Bog Brook Unique Area, and also learn about graminoid fens (link leaves DEC website) on the NY Natural Heritage Conservation Guide website.

DEC Officers Ticket Poachers Statewide.
From late October through most of November, DEC Officers (ECOs) went out in full force to catch individuals partaking in deer jacking - a practice that involves shining a spotlight to freeze deer in their tracks, making the animal vulnerable and easy to shoot. Around 80 individuals were caught participating in this and other poaching activities and now face fines from $250 to $4,000, possible imprisonment for up to three years, and revocation of hunting privileges for up to five years. For more details on this operation and the list of ticketed individuals, visit the DEC website. If you have information regarding illegal hunting activities, please contact the DEC Turn in Poachers & Polluters (TIPP) hotline at 1-800-847-TIPP (ext.7332).

2011 Commercial Weekly Fluke (Summer Flounder) Program Postponed.
New York's 2011 annual fluke (summer flounder) quota is now 95% harvested and is unable to support the weekly fluke harvest program for the year. While the weekly harvest program remains closed, commercial fisherman may still harvest a daily trip limit of 70 pounds. The weekly fluke program is expected to begin in January 2012. Visit the DEC website for details on the 2011 summer flounder annual quota.

Get Involved!

Your Observations Can Help the Health of the Great Lakes!
If you spend time around the Great Lakes shoreline, please consider sharing your observations of injured or dead animals, or algal blooms by using the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative - Wildlife Health Event Reporter (GLRI-WHER) (link leaves DEC website). Scientists working in state, federal and non-profit agencies are looking for your help to identify events that are important in research of avian botulism and algal bloom outbreaks, in the interest of protecting wildlife from this disease as well as algal neurotoxins. For a healthy Great Lakes ecosystem, do your part and share what you see by setting up a reporter account (link leaves DEC website) on the GLRI-WHER website. E-mail any questions regarding reporting to botnet@wdin.org. For more details on avian (type E) botulism, visit the DEC website.

The December 2011 Conservationist is Here!

Conservationist magazine cover image of a snowy owl
Cover image photo of snowy owl
© Eric Dresser

Don't miss the December issue of Conservationist magazine! In it, you'll find a stunning portfolio of wildlife images by renowned photographer Eric Dresser, tons of information on how you can participate in scientific research by recording the wildlife you see, and a great essay about hunkering down for a winter storm in a northern hunting camp with an uninvited "guest." You can also enjoy all the regular features like On Patrol and letters from our readers, and find out what your neighbors are seeing in their back yards! So be sure to check out the December Conservationist!

To subscribe, call 1-800-678-6399, or visit us online at TheConservationist.org.

And don't forget to order a gift subscription for someone on your holiday shopping list!

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Upcoming Seasons

The reminders listed below include open and final recreational season dates occurring over the next two weeks only (December 2 through December 16). For all season dates and to view more information about hunting and fishing in New York, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage.

Saltwater Fishing

December 15 marks the final day for striped bass fishing in marine waters south of the George Washington Bridge.

Deer & Bear Hunting
(view the deer and bear season maps to identify open hunting zones

In the Northern Zone:

  • December 4 marks the final day for the deer and bear regular hunting season.
  • December 5 through December 11 marks the open season for deer muzzleloader hunting in the following Wildlife Management Units only: 5A, 5G, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6H, 6G.

In the Southern Zone:

  • December 11 marks the final day for regular firearm deer and bear hunting. The regular bowhunting season for Westchester County remains open through December 31.
  • December 12 through December 20 marks the open season for deer and bear bowhunting and muzzleloader hunting. For the deer muzzleloader season, the following Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) will not be open: 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C.

Waterfowl Hunting
(view the following maps to identify waterfowl hunting zones and Canada goose hunting areas that are described below)

For Canada Goose:

  • December 3 marks the final day for hunting in the Lake Champlain Goose Hunting Area for the 2011 season.
  • December 5 marks the final day for hunting in the Northeast Goose Hunting Area for the season.
  • December 5 to January 29 marks the open season for hunting in the Eastern Long Island Goose Hunting Area.
  • December 11 marks the final day of the first split season in the South Goose Hunting Area. The season will re-open on December 26.
  • December 12 marks the final day for hunting in the East Central Goose Hunting Area for the 2011 season.

For Duck, Coot, Merganser:

  • December 5 marks the final day of the first split season for hunting in the Western Waterfowl Zone. The second split season will reopen on December 26.
  • December 5 to January 29 marks the open season in the Long Island Waterfowl Zone.
  • December 10 marks the final day for hunting in the Northeast Waterfowl Zone for the 2011 season.

For Snow Goose:

  • December 10 marks the final day of the first split season for hunting in the Western Waterfowl Zone. The season will reopen on December 26.

For Brant:

  • December 15 to January 29 marks the open season of the last split season for hunting in the Long Island Waterfowl Zone.

Furbearer Trapping

Small Game and Furbearer Hunting

Other News in the Press

Below are additional links to noteworthy DEC press releases:

  • Public Meeting Slated at Crown Point Historic Site Museum: NYS DEC and Office of Parks and Recreation to Prepare a Draft Management Plan for the Crown Point Historic Site and Campground.
  • DEC to Hold Public Information Meetings on Draft Regulations to Protect New York's Water Resources: 60-day Public Comment Period Runs through January 22, 2012.
  • Unprecedented Turnout at DEC Hearings on High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing: 6,000 Attend and More than 1,250 Comments Received.

Did You Know...?

snowshoe hare blending in with the winter background

Triggered by the shortening of daylight hours, the varying hare, or snowshoe hare transforms its fur coat to survive the Adirondack winters. Numerous air chambers within each newly grown guard hair aids in insulation and also reflects light, which causes its appearance to change from a brownish-gray to an ivory white. With a combination of its camouflage coat and snowshoe-like feet that serve in both keeping it atop the snowy surface and gaining running speeds of 25 mph, this small animal is well adapted to evade predators!

~ Photo copyright © Eric Dresser. You can view a larger image of this eye catching varying hare photo, among other great wildlife shots taken by photographer Eric Dresser in the December issue of the Conservationist magazine!

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