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December 28, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

2013 Recreational Black Sea Bass Season Measures

The recreational black sea bass fishery, originally scheduled to close on December 31, 2012, has been extended by emergency regulation to remain open through February 28, 2013, with a 15-fish possession limit and a reduced minimum size limit of 12.5 inches. These limits are identical to recreational black sea bass regulations in federal waters (3 to 200 miles from shore). Anglers fishing in states other than New York are advised to check local fishing regulations. This latest change resulted from a joint decision with the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council (MAMFC) in mid-December to open recreational harvest of black sea bass in January and February, which hasn't occurred since 2009. For the latest season details, visit DEC's Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations webpage. As a reminder, anglers must enroll or re-enroll in the New York State Recreational Marine Fishing Registry prior to fishing in 2013.

Find a Fishing Hotspot in North Central New York

Now available on DEC's website are 26 new pages on excellent fishing spots in Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties. Each new page offers information about the area's physical features, access locations, fish species to catch, applicable special regulations and more. Whichever waterbody you choose, you won't be disappointed, as north central New York offers a tremendous variety of fishing opportunities for coldwater species like brook and lake trout, to cool and warmwater species like muskies, walleye, bass and panfish. Visit DEC's North Central NY Fishing webpage and find a new lake to explore!

Crossbows Prohibited Following Law Expiration on December 31

Starting in 2013, crossbows will be prohibited for big game hunting, and hunters with physical disabilities may need to reapply for a special permit when using modified archery equipment to hunt big or small game. The Environmental Conservation Law that allowed crossbow use for big game hunting and required a physician's verification of physical disability in place of a special permit since February 2011 will expire on December 31. The immediate effect of this crossbow law expiration will impact the January special firearms deer hunting season in Suffolk County and the special deer hunting season in the "Deer Management Focus Area" in Tompkins County, which both start in January. Hunters may visit DEC's Crossbow Hunting or Modified Archery/Longbow webpages, which will be updated in January to reflect these changes.

ASMFC Approves Atlantic Menhaden Amendment 2

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) recently approved Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic menhaden. The amended plan aims to increase the stock to four times its current size and sets a reduction on the Atlantic coastwide catch by approximately 25 percent from 2011 landings. Starting in 2013, the reduced total allowable catch (TAC) of 170,800 million tons will be allocated on a state-by-state basis based on the fishery's landings history from 2009 through 2011. Additionally, when a state reaches its portion of the TAC, the plan requires it to close its fisheries and deduct any overages from the following year's quota. States may share unused quota and are allocated a 6,000-pound bycatch limit for non-directed fisheries after the state TAC has been reached. For more details on Amendment 2, visit the "Breaking News" page on the ASMFC' website (External Link).

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Listed below are recreational sporting season dates for Saturday, December 29, 2012 through Friday, January 11, 2013 only. To view all fishing, hunting and trapping seasons, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage or the new Sporting Seasons calendar.

Fishing (Saltwater)
  • December 31: Final day for scup fishing in marine and coastal waters.
  • January 1: Black sea bass, which was set to close on December 31, remains open through February 28, with a 15-fish possession limit and a reduced minimum size limit of 12.5 inches. See more details above regarding the 2013 black sea bass season measures.
  • January 1: 2013 Recreational Marine Fishing Registry begins. All marine anglers must enroll or re-enroll in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry prior to fishing in 2013. The registry is valid for one calendar year, from January 1 through December 31.

Big Game (Deer and Bear)

Game report logo
You must report your take
of bear, deer or turkey
within seven days via
DEC's online reporting
system or by calling
  • December 31: Final day for regular bowhunting seasons in Westchester and Suffolk counties
  • January 7: Special firearms deer season opens in Suffolk County. Hunting is permitted on weekdays only with a special permit. For more information, visit DEC's Special Firearms Season in Suffolk County webpage.


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

  • December 29:
    • Canada goose season opens for South and West Central Goose Hunting Areas.
    • Duck, coot and merganser season reopens in the Western Waterfowl Hunting.
    • Snow goose season final day on Lake Champlain (the season will reopen on January 16).
  • December 30: Duck, coot and merganser season final day in the Southeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone.
  • January 5: Canada goose season final day in the Hudson Valley Goose Hunting Area.

Small Game

  • December 31: Final day for the following seasons:
    • Pheasant - Long Island and northern portion of central and western NY
    • Quail - on Long Island
  • January 1: Varying/Snowshoe Hare season opens in the southern portion of western and central NY.

More Noteworthy DEC News

Below are DEC press releases not to be missed!

Did You Know...?

Fishers are members of the weasel family and
are comparable in size to a cat

With the name fisher, one would expect this animal's primary food source to be fish. On the contrary, fishers eat a variety of foods, ranging from small mammals and birds to fruits and nuts. What's most intriguing about their diet is they are the only known North American mammal that seeks and kills porcupines-leaving nothing but quills and a few large bones behind.

Read more interesting facts about this forest-dweller on DEC's Fisher webpage.

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