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December 14, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Hellbender Recovery Efforts Proving Successful

Eastern hellbenders can reach up to two feet in length and live up to 30 years in wild.
Eastern hellbenders can reach up to two feet in
length and live up to 30 years in the wild
~Photo by Ken Roblee

Last month, a captive-raised hellbender named "Audrey" from DEC's Hellbender Headstart Program was one of the first to be recaptured in the wild. Audrey showed signs of adapting well to the wild, weighing nearly 40 grams more than on her release date in July 2012.

Beginning in 2009, Audrey and just over 400 other young hellbenders were raised at the Buffalo Zoo as part of DEC's effort to revitalize dwindling New York populations of eastern hellbenders -- one of three large salamander species in North America. To date, 146 juveniles have been released into the Allegany River watershed, with the rest to be released in 2013. A small chip called a pit-tag was implanted in each animal to track its progress. DEC plans to monitor release sites through 2017 and hopes to find more success stories like Audrey.

Special Gifts for Outdoor Enthusiasts

If you have a family member or friend who enjoys the outdoors, consider giving them a gift from DEC. The following are unique gifts for that person on your list who loves nature and outdoor adventure:

  • Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Workshop. A great gift for a woman (though men are welcome too) who'd like to learn new outdoor skills. The annual BOW workshop offers more than 40 courses on topics ranging from hunting and fishing to hiking, camping and nature study. Beyond BOW workshops are offered year-round, with upcoming courses on winter survival skills and snowshoeing.
  • Lifetime Sporting License. A lifetime sporting license for fishing, hunting or trapping, or an all-inclusive sportsman license makes the perfect gift for an avid hunter or angler or for the youngster who wants to get started.
  • Conservationist subscription. An annual subscription for only $12 provides seven issues of Conservationist magazine, which features stunning photographs, intriguing articles on nature and the environment and information about scenic sites to visit in New York State.

Don't Miss the December Conservationist!

Conservationist Magazine Wolf Cover

Where can you find a Barosaurus protecting its young from a marauding Allosaurus, a grizzly bear, a running wolf and several bison all together in one place? In the December 2012 Conservationist, of course! You won't want to miss this issue.

In addition to a behind-the-scenes view of the American Museum of Natural History's Hall of Mammals exhibit featuring the animals mentioned above, you will also find a portfolio of historic Adirondack photography by the infamous Seneca Ray Stoddard, an article on what it takes to complete basic training to become a DEC Forest Ranger or Conservation Officer, the latest in alternative energy, essays, photos from our readers, and much more!

To get your copy, call 1-800-678-6399, or visit us online.

Commercial Fishery Updates for Fluke and Striped Bass

Effective December 12, 2012, the fluke (summer flounder) commercial fishery opened with a 210-pound daily trip limit. NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service determined that the original 2012 commercial summer flounder quota was incorrect. The correct 2012 quota is 953,773 pounds, which offers increased harvest opportunities in New York State before the end of the year. As of January 1, 2013, the commercial daily trip limit will be 70 pounds. Effective December 16, 2012, the striped bass commercial fishery will close. Visit DEC's Commercial Fishing webpage to find the latest on commercial trip limits, annual quota distributions and more.

Join Audubon's 113th Annual Christmas Bird Count

Snow bunting
Snow bunting photograph taken at a CBC at
Mohonk Lake-Ashokan Reservoir, NY
~Photo by Peter Schoenberger,
courtesy National Audubon Society

If you enjoy watching birds, consider joining other bird watchers this holiday season for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC). From December 14 through January 5, more than 2,000 CBC circles nationwide will record the number of birds participants observe. In New York State, more than 70 circles are available. New this year, the $5 fee has been eliminated, and participants can join in the fun for free!

Your observations will be added to more than a century's worth of data that provides researchers and conservation biologists with valuable information on the health and status of early winter bird populations across North America. Visit Audubon's Christmas Bird Count (External Link) webpage for more information and to find a CBC circle near you.

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Listed below are recreational sporting dates for Saturday, December 15 through Friday, December 28 only. To view all fishing, hunting and trapping seasons, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage or the new Sporting Seasons calendar

Fishing (Saltwater)
Big Game (Deer and Bear)
Remember to report
Hunters are required to
report harvest of
bear, deer or turkey
within seven days
  • December 18: Southern zone final day for bowhunting and muzzleloading. Bowhunting remains open in Westchester County for both deer and bear, and in Suffolk County for deer only through December 31.
Furbearer Trapping

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

  • December 15: Final day for Canada goose season in the Northeastern Canada Goose Hunting Area
  • December 16: Final day for duck, coot and merganser season in the Northeastern Waterfowl Zone
  • December 20: Final day for duck, coot and merganser season in the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Zone
  • December 22: Final day for Canada goose season in the East Central Canada Goose Hunting Area

More Noteworthy DEC News

Below are DEC press releases not to be missed!

Did You Know...?

crossbill bird
~Photo by Dave Menke, courtesy USFWS

While the beak on a crossbill bird may look odd and cumbersome, it is actually highly specialized and useful for picking seeds from pinecones. With such a particular appetite, crossbills are always in search of the largest supply of cone seeds to eat. Once a sufficient pinecone source is found, the bird will begin to breed, even if it is during the middle of a cold winter.

Read more about this expert pinecone-eating finch on Cornell's All About Birds (External Link) website.

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