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May 18, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Significant Notes

young male black bear
Young black bears will climb trees
if they feel threatened.
~Photo courtesy of USFWS

Handling Black Bears in Urban and Suburban Areas
Bears turn up in urban and suburban areas throughout New York State every year. During spring and early summer, young males set out on their own and sometimes travel into cities and towns where bird feed, garbage and pet food are available. When this happens, DEC's first response is to monitor the bear's movements, collaborate with local police and ensure the bear can find its own way safely out of town. Yet, when a bear seeks refuge in a tree and crowds form, the situation becomes more difficult. If a safe escape route exists and the crowd leaves, the bear might wait until dark and then return to its natural habitat. If there is no escape route or curious onlookers remain, DEC may tranquilize and relocate the bear. However, the best scenario is for the bear to find its own way back out of town. Learn more about how to prevent conflicts with bears by visiting DEC's Nuisance Black Bears webpage.

Shellfish and Carnivorous Gastropod Harvest Closures
Harvest of shellfish (mussels, clams, scallops and oysters) and carnivorous gastropods (conch, whelk, moon snails, etc.) is prohibited for several underwater lands within the towns of Huntington, Southampton, Riverhead and Hempstead. Closures are implemented throughout the year to protect public health. For descriptions of closures as of May 16, visit DEC's online press release information regarding Temporary Shellfish Closures. Harvesters can check the most current closure status by calling the shellfish emergency information line at 631-444-0480.

Updates on Commercial Fisheries for Black Sea Bass and Horseshoe Crab
As of May 15, the commercial black sea bass fishery opened with a daily trip limit of 50 pounds. The horseshoe crab fishery trip limit decreased to 100 crabs per day. Effective May 23, the horseshoe crab trip limit will decrease to 30 crabs per day. The horseshoe crab fishery trip limit reductions are set to ensure the 2012 spring quota is not exceeded. Based on current and remaining outstanding harvest reports, the fishery is projected to reach the 75% threshold by May 23. For more information, visit DEC's Commercial Fishing Limits webpage.

river otter going into the water
Volunteers observe as an otter is released back
into the wild with its newly implanted tracking.

River Otter Restoration Ten Years Later
From 1995 to 2001, wild river otters were live-trapped, implanted with a tracking microchip and released in western and central portions of the state where populations were thought to be extinct. This was done as a cooperative effort by many partners, collectively called the River Otter Project (ROP). The most recent microchip data was acquired from an otter that was killed by a car near Ithaca, NY in April. Information from the microchip indicated the otter was released in October 2000 near Bear Swamp. It also indicated the otter was at least 12 years old, which exceeds the average lifespan of wild otters by up to 4 years! Based on the longevity of this otter and other observation reports from the public, we believe the ROP was a success. A more formal evaluation is planned, but DEC encourages you to continue reporting your observations and submitting photos of wild river otters to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us. You can learn more about river otters and the ROP on DEC's River Otter webpage.

Recreational Sporting Season Information

Still Time for Good Spring Turkey Hunting
Based on reports through the first half of the spring turkey hunting season, harvest was higher than last year by about 5%. As the season progresses, dominant adult gobblers are generally "abandoned" by hens busy incubating a full clutch of eggs. This means mid to late May can be a very productive time to hunt, as adult males often are more responsive to calling. Listen carefully; the muffling effect of tree foliage makes gobbles hard to hear. If you hear a gobble, chances are the bird is close, so quickly and quietly prepare to shoot. As required by DEC regulations, be sure to report your harvest online or by phone. The information you provide aids in proper turkey management. Have a happy and safe hunt!

Upcoming Recreational Season Reminders

The reminders listed below include open and final recreational season dates for the weeks of May 18 through June 1. 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 30 - Last day for winter flounder fishing.

Turkey Hunting
May 31 - Last day for spring turkey hunting. Don't forget to report your turkey harvest this spring.

Other News

Below are noteworthy DEC press releases not to be missed:

Tiger spiketail dragonfly resting on a finger
Female tiger spiketail dragonfly. The
needle-like ovipositor is visible at the
base of her abdomen.
~ Photo by Barbara Hager

Did You Know...?

Spiketail dragonflies are so named because the female's long "ovipositor," or egg-laying organ, extends beyond the tip of the abdomen. Females lay their eggs by hovering above shallow water and then driving the ovipositor vertically into the muddy shoreline or stream bottom in a motion reminiscent of a sewing machine needle.

Learn more about dragonflies and damselflies in a previous Conservationist article, "Flying Jewels of New York."

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