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February 10, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Significant Notes

two adult swans on the right and one juvenile on the left
Tundra swans on Lake Champlain, January 26, 2012
~Photo by Glen Drapeau

Rare Winter Visitor on Lake Champlain
Three tundra swans have taken up temporary residence at Ausable Marsh Wildlife Management Area on Lake Champlain this winter. The swans, two adults and one juvenile, are drawing bird-watchers and waterfowl enthusiasts from all over the North Country to catch a glimpse of these rarely seen birds. Tundra swans breed in the high arctic and usually spend the winter along the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. They migrate through western New York and are occasionally encountered there. To learn more about tundra swans, visit Cornell's website, allaboutbirds.org (link leaves DEC website)

I FISH NY brochure map to freswhater fishing cover image

New Web-Version of the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing
You can now navigate through maps online to find great places to fish in New York State. The information comes from the I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing released earlier this year with details like types of fish and available amenities at great fishing locations on over 400 lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. Look for "Public Fishing Lakes and Ponds" and "Public Fishing Rivers and Streams" on DEC's Google Maps and Google Earth web page. If you would prefer a brochure in hand rather than look online, send your name and mail address to fwfish@gw.dec.state.ny.us with "NY Fishing Map" in the subject line.

2011 Ties for Safest Year in New York Hunting History
The 2011 hunting season tied 2009 for New York State's safest year of hunting based on the number of hunting-related shooting incidents. In the 2011 hunting seasons, 26 personal-injury hunting-related shooting incidents were reported, which unfortunately included 4 fatalities. While hunting-related incidents still occur, the past five-year average is 5.3 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s. A large part of the improvement can be attributed to the New York State Sportsman Education Program, which teaches first-time hunters how to be ethical, responsible and safe in the field. You can review more facts and figures on hunting-related incidents in the DEC press release.

male spruce grouse
~Photo courtesy of
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Comment on the Draft Spruce Grouse Recovery Plan
DEC is looking for comments on the comprehensive spruce grouse recovery plan, which evaluates current populations and strategies for preventing the loss of this species in New York State. Key provisions in the plan include maintaining preferred habitat in the northwest Adirondacks and the possible introduction of wild birds from nearby states or Canada to increase the size, distribution and genetic variation of the current population. You can download the Draft Spruce Grouse Recovery Plan (link leaves DEC website) in either Adobe PDF or Word and submit your comments by March 1. Comments or questions should be mailed to John Ozard, NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, or e-mailed to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us with "spruce grouse plan" in the subject line.

Seeking Information on the Killing of a Bald Eagle
DEC's Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) are seeking help identifying the person responsible for killing a female bald eagle on the Oswegatchie River in St. Lawrence County at the end of January. Initial evaluation revealed the eagle had been shot by someone along River Road in the Town of Oswegatchie. The eagle was sent to the DEC Wildlife Pathology Lab for further examination to find the cause of death. Anyone with information is asked to call DEC's Region 6 ECO Office at 315-785-2231 or toll free at 1-800-TIPP-DEC (1-800-847-7332), or send an e-mail to r6dsptch@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Noteworthy Dates

March and April - Conservation Course for Youth on Long Island
Children ages 12-16 can enroll in a two-day course to learn basic principles of conservation, sportsman education and general outdoor skills. Two separate two-day events will be held at the Peconic River Sportsman's Club in Manorville, NY. The first event on March 17 and 18 will focus on bow hunter safety, and the second event on April 14 and 15 will focus on firearm safety. Each class is limited to 50 participants that are selected by a panel reviewing a 75-word application. Download the application and details (PDF) on how to enroll today. For more information call 631-444-0255.

The February Conservationist

magazine cover showing an ice climber going up a vertical cliff
Cover image of 2012 issue.
~ Photo by Ryan Stephiuk

Don't miss the February issue of Conservationist magazine! In it, you'll experience the thrill and beauty of ice climbing, discover secrets about New York's smallest and most threatened frog, learn the latest about how white-nose disease has affected the state's bats, and join ECOs as they teach college students about their work. You can also read about the memories of a happy camper and enjoy all the regular features like "On Patrol" and letters from readers. So be sure to check out the February Conservationist!

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

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Upcoming Seasons

The reminders listed below include open and final recreational season dates for the weeks of February 10 through February 25. For all season dates and to view more information about hunting and fishing in New York State, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage.

Waterfowl Hunting

  • February 15 - Final day of the special late Canada goose season in portion of Long Island
    The special late Canada goose season is in a small portion (north shore) of the Central Long Island Area. Hunting in the Western Long Island Area remains open through March 10. More details are available on the 2011-12 Canada Goose Hunting web page.
  • February 25 through March 10 - Open Canada goose hunting season in the South Goose Hunting Area
  • February 25 through April 15 - Open snow goose hunting season in the Northeastern Hunting Zone

Small Game Hunting and Furbearer Hunting and Trapping
View the appropriate season maps for
Small Game Hunting, Furbearer Hunting and Furbearer Trapping to identify the boundaries of the following areas that will be closing.

  • February 15 - Final Day for several hunting and trapping opportunities across upstate New York areas, including:
    • Hunting and trapping for weasel, opossum, skunk, raccoon and fox, as well as trapping for coyote in all upstate areas of New York
    • Hunting and trapping for bobcat in all remaining open areas of New York
    • Trapping for beaver in parts of central and western areas of the state
    • Trapping for mink and muskrat in all central and western areas of the state
  • February 25 - Final day for several hunting and trapping opportunities on Long Island, including:
    • Hunting and trapping for weasel, opossum, skunk, raccoon, and fox
    • Trapping for mink and muskrat

Did You Know...?

Groundhog scoping if all is clear
A groundhog (woodchuck) emerging from one of several holes
that lead to its underground network of tunnels.
~Photo by Dave Spier

Groundhogs, or woodchucks, are fascinating mammals; folklore about waking from hibernation to predict the arrival of spring and chucking wood aside. They are rodents of species Marmota monax, a relative of ground squirrels and chipmunks. They have the ability to swim and climb trees to evade predators. They also dig an extensive network of over 40 feet of underground tunnels they can disappear into from several entrance holes above. And by the way, they chew mostly on tender plants. Beavers are the wood chuckers.

Learn more about woodchucks in DEC's brochure, "Squirrel Species in New York State (PDF)" (1.13 MB)

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