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November 30, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Rabbit Hunters' Assistance Needed

Cottontail Rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
~Photo by Jim Marshall

If you hunt cottontails in Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia or Rensselaer County, or in the Sterling Forest State Park in Orange County, DEC is interested in collecting your harvested rabbit heads. Because the appearance of different cottontail species is virtually identical, not many people realize more than one type lives in New York State. The widely recognized eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and native but less familiar New England cottontail (S. transitionalis) occur east of the Hudson River, while the once widespread Appalachian cottontail (S. obscurus) may still exist in parts of the state. Only by examination of DNA or skull morphology can an individual species be identified. By submitting your harvested rabbit head, you can greatly assist DEC's efforts to learn more about the distribution of various cottontail species. To find out more, visit DEC's New England Cottontail Survey webpage.

Get the Latest Monthly Highlights

The latest issues of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Monthly Highlights are now available on DEC's website. September and October's highlights include details on sea lamprey control efforts, stream habitat enhancement monitoring, Catskill fish hatchery renovations, a new home for endangered sunfish, annual angler survey summaries for Lake Erie, and more. These highlights summarize information on the various research and outreach activities conducted by DEC's Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources staff aimed at protecting and enhancing our state's natural resources and related recreational activities.

December 1 - Commercial Horseshoe Crab Fishery Closure

Effective Saturday, December 1, 2012, the horseshoe crab commercial fishery will close. As of November 28, landings exceeded the 150,000 annual commercial limit for 2012, which resulted in shutting down the winter horseshoe crab fishery. As a reminder, you must submit vessel trip reports even when you are not fishing. For questions, contact DEC's Bureau of Marine Resources Crustaceans Office at 631-444-0444.

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Seasons

Listed below are upcoming recreational sporting seasons for Saturday, December 1 through Friday, December 14 only. To view all fishing, hunting and trapping seasons, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage or the new Sporting Seasons calendar.

Fishing (Freshwater)
  • December 1: Catch and release season begins for black bass (largemouth bass and smallmouth bass). Only artificial lures may be used. Please view the Special Freshwater Fishing Regulations by County for regulations that may vary in waterbodies near you.
Fishing (Saltwater)
  • December 14: Final day for tautog/blackfish season in marine and coastal waters.

Report your harvest logo
You must report your take
of bear, deer or turkey
within seven days
via DEC's online
online reporting system
or by calling 1-888-426-3778

Hunting/Trapping

Big Game (Deer and Bear)

  • December 2: Northern Zone final day for regular firearms season
  • December 3: Northern Zone late bowhunter and muzzleloader season for deer only opens in select wildlife management units (WMUs): 5A, 5G, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6G and 6H.
  • December 9: Final day for the following:
    • Southern Zone regular firearms season
    • Northern Zone late bowhunter and muzzleloader season for deer
  • December 10: Southern Zone muzzleloader and late bowhunter season opens

Waterfowl
View maps and descriptions of Waterfowl Hunting Zones or Canada Goose Hunting Areas for the seasons listed below:

  • December 1: Final day for the following seasons:
    • Canada goose in Lake Champlain
    • Brant in Lake Champlain and southeastern waterfowl hunting zones
  • December 2: The following seasons reopen in the Long Island waterfowl hunting zone:
    • Canada goose in central and eastern Long Island Canada goose hunting areas only
    • Ducks, coots and mergansers
  • December 8: Canada goose season opens in the Hudson Valley Canada goose hunting area.
  • December 9: Final day for ducks, coots and mergansers in the western waterfowl hunting zone (season reopens on December 29)
  • December 11: Final day for Canada goose hunting in the south Canada goose hunting area (season reopens on December 29)
  • December 12: Brant season opens in the Long Island waterfowl hunting zone.

Small Game

  • December 10: Varying/Snowshoe Hare season opens in eastern areas and a portion of central areas upstate.

Furbearer Trapping

More Noteworthy DEC News

Below are DEC press releases not to be missed!

Did You Know...?

Bald Eagle in tree
~Photo by Ryan Haugherty,
courtesy of USFWS

Bald eagles mate for life, which can be up to 30 years or more. The pair continuously reuses the same nest, repairing and rebuilding it with mud, twigs and branches each year. Eventually, their nest can grow to be more than six feet across and eight feet deep and weigh up to a ton!

Read more about this captivating raptor on DEC's Bald Eagle webpage.




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