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May 04, 2012 - Field Notes

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

Get Involved

American kestrel perched on a branch
American kestrels perch on
branches or powerlines near
open fields in search of their
favorite meal, large insects.
~Photo by Greg Hume

Build and Monitor a Nest Box to Help American Kestrels!
You can help researchers determine the cause of declining American kestrel populations by building, installing and monitoring a nest box this summer. The American kestrel is the most colorful raptor and is only about the size of a robin, making it the smallest member of the falcon family. By submitting your recorded observations on the nesting behavior and other habits of this bird, you can help aid in its conservation. For more information on how you can help and to obtain a nest box blueprint, please visit the Peregrine Fund's American Kestrel Partnership (External Link) website.

Wildlife Health and Disease

Wild turkey head with LPDV skin lesions
Skin lesions caused by LPDV (pictured above)
are similar to those caused by avian pox virus.
~Photo courtesy of Southeastern Cooperative
Wildlife Disease Study (SCWDS).

New Disease in Wild Turkeys
DEC needs your help in identifying whether an emerging disease called Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus (LPDV) is present in New York State's wild turkeys. Skin lesions sometimes caused by LPDV resemble those caused by avian pox, another viral disease that has frequently been recorded in wild turkeys in New York. Because of the similarity in lesions, we are concerned that the presence of LPDV may be overlooked or dismissed as avian pox. DEC's Wildlife Health Unit would like to obtain samples of birds you harvest or encounter with these lesions. For instructions on how to provide a sample, please contact your regional DEC office or e-mail us at fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us. DEC advises against eating any wild animals that appear sick. You can read more about LPDV in turkeys in the January issue of the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study Briefs (PDF)(External Link) and more about avian pox in the National Wild Turkey Federation article, Avian Pox: a Disease that Can Affect Any Bird (PDF)(External Link).

Bat with white-nose syndrome fungus on its muzzle and wings
This little brown bat shows
evidence of white-nose
syndrome, a white-fungal
growth on its muzzle and wings.
~Photo by Al Hicks

2012 Survey Results for Hibernating Bat Populations
This past winter's state hibernating bat survey showed some encouraging results. In the Albany area, where white-nose syndrome (WNS) was first discovered in 2007, little brown bat numbers in three out of five caves had increased. The cave with the largest increase went from 1,496 little brown bats in 2011 to 2,402 this year, a difference of about 60 percent. To see the full details of this survey and find information on WNS, visit DEC's 2012 Winter Bat Survey Results online.

Significant Notes

Several Updates for Commercial Fishery Trip Limits

The following commercial fishery limits became effective May 1:

  • Bluefish - Daily trip limit is 2,000 pounds. The Period 2 (May through June) daily trip limit has been raised from what was specified in the quota distribution plan because New York State landed only half the bluefish quota for Period 1 (January through April) -- 71,000 pounds of the 146,000 pounds allowed.
  • Scup - Daily trip limit is 500 pounds.
  • Spiny dogfish - Daily trip limit is 3,000 pounds.
  • Summer flounder - Daily trip limit is 210 pounds. Only holders of a summer flounder commercial permit may take summer flounder for commercial purposes.

The following commercial fishery limit will become effective May 15:

  • Black Sea Bass - Daily trip limit will be set at 50 pounds.

DEC Renews Partnership Agreement with National Wild Turkey Federation
Continuing more than two decades of a productive conservation alliance, DEC and the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF)(External Link) recently renewed their partnership to conserve wild turkeys in New York State. To successfully meet conservation challenges, both DEC and NWTF agreed that working together in planning, developing, implementing and promoting efforts to improve the wild turkey resource will provide benefits exceeding those achieved through separate initiatives.

youth hunter with her turkey harvest
Delaware County youth hunter, age
14, proudly displays her bird.

Harvest Report for 2012 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt
Reported harvest for the ninth annual Youth Turkey Hunt held April 21-22, 2012 was on par with last season but below the long-term average. Factors contributing to this included inclement weather in several areas across the state on Sunday and fewer birds due to poor production for the past few years and the severe winter of 2011. Despite the weekend's challenging weather, junior hunters (ages 12-15) in 53 of the 56 counties open to this special youth hunt harvested turkeys. You can view several photos of proud, successful youth hunters on DEC's Hunting and Trapping Photo Gallery webpage.

Laws and Rulemakings

Comment on Proposed Regulations for Commercial Sale of Black Bass
DEC is proposing changes to regulations for commercially sold smallmouth and largemouth bass (black bass) to make it easier to sell farm-raised black bass. The proposed changes will allow anyone who purchases the fish from a licensed hatchery, such as fish markets, to resell the fish in New York State. Under current regulations, only licensed hatchery operators can sell black bass. DEC is accepting formal public comments on the proposals through June 18, 2012. For more details and to find out how to submit comments, see DEC's press release, "Proposed Changes to Commercial Black Bass Regulations" online.

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

game reporting logo
Don't forget to report
your turkey harvest

The reminders listed below include open and final recreational season dates for the weeks of May 4 through May 18. For all season dates and to view more information about hunting, trapping and fishing in New York State, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage.


  • May 5 - Opening Day for Northern Pike, Pickerel, Tiger Muskellunge and Walleye
    Daily catch and size limits for each species are available on DEC's Statewide Angling Regulations webpage. Exceptions may apply per waterbody, so please review Special Regulations by County to ensure rules do not vary where you will be angling.
  • May 14 - Final Day for Oyster Toadfish Fishing
  • May 15 - Opening Day Carp Bowfishing
    For season details, visit DEC's Carp Fishing in New York webpage.

Other News in the Press

Below are links to noteworthy DEC press releases:

Did You Know...?

fur auction
Fur pelts are lined up for an auction.

In New York State, more than 250,000 furbearing animals are harvested each year, estimating at a value of around $4-5 million at an auction (this value can fluctuate depending on the market). Muskrat, raccoon and beaver are the most commonly harvested species, whereas, fisher, otter and bobcat are typically the most valuable, averaging close to $100 per skin or "pelt." Currently, there are approximately 12,000 licensed trappers and a number of small game hunters that harvest furbearer mammals.

Visit DEC's website for facts and information on Furbearer Mammals in New York State.

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