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March 8, 2013 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

New E-mail System and a Farewell to Field Notes

This spring, DEC will offer a new way to deliver information to you that will eliminate the need for DEC's Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Field Notes newsletter. The new e-mail delivery system will send news on a variety of topics similar to those in Field Notes, ranging from hunting and trapping, freshwater and saltwater fishing, and boating, to commercial fishing, wildlife viewing, camping, and more. Furthermore, the new system will enable you to decide which topics you want to receive and how often.

Before the new system is launched at the end of March, current Field Notes subscribers will receive more details about the transition and available options. There will also be one final issue of Field Notes distributed on Friday, March 22, so stay tuned!

Tracking Northern Harriers with Color

Color marked bird wing and a northern harrier in flight
Top image: A pink dye placed on the underside of
the primary flight feathers gives this northern harrier a
unique identification color marker
~Photo by DEC
Bottom image: Northern harrier in flight
~Photo by Dan Pancamo

DEC is color marking and banding northern harriers in areas of eastern New York to gather more information on local movements of this state-threatened hawk. Through color marking, which uses dyes in various patterns on the underside of flight feathers or tail feathers and banding with colored and numbered leg bands, each bird can be uniquely identified.

DEC would like to know if you spot a color-marked or banded northern harrier in a survey location or elsewhere this winter. Survey locations include the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area, Coxsackie Creek Grassland Preserve in Greene County and Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge in Ulster County.

Please report your sightings to Mark NOHA@gw.dec.state.ny.us, and provide as much detail as possible, such as the color and area dyed, leg band color and number, bird gender and date and location of observation.

Proposed Changes for Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Regulations

Map of proposed bobcat hunting and trapping seasons and a photo of a bobcat
Map showing proposed changes for bobcat hunting and
trapping seasons. Blue highlighted areas indicate
wildlife management units proposed for bobcat
hunting and trapping starting in 2013.
See a larger map image

DEC is proposing amendments to bobcat hunting and trapping regulations starting in 2013, as specified in the five-year Bobcat Management Plan adopted last fall.

The proposed changes include:

  • Simplifying existing hunting and trapping seasons (yellow areas on the map) to simultaneously end on February 15. This will offer increased opportunities for trappers and hunters in northern areas where seasons currently end December 10.
  • Establishing new hunting and trapping seasons from October 25 through the Friday before the third Saturday in November in several wildlife management units (blue areas on the map). Hunters and trappers in these areas will be required to obtain a special, free permit from DEC, complete a diary of hunting or trapping activity, and submit a tooth from harvested bobcats.

To review regulatory text changes, an impact statement, and information about submitting comments, visit DEC's Proposed Regulations webpage.

March 23-24: Annual Winter Raptor Festival in Washington County

red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed hawk at Winter Raptor Fest 2011
~ Photo by Natalie Sacco

Mark your calendars for the third annual Winter Raptor Fest at the Gallup Ridge Farm in Fort Edward. This fun-filled two-day festival offers a rare opportunity to meet owls, hawks and falcons up close and learn about these captivating raptors. Wildlife rehabilitators and biologists will be on hand to answer questions, discuss current raptor research and more. You also can watch the birds in action during aerial demonstrations, and, conditions permitting, take a guided snowshoe walk or enjoy a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh.

The festival is located within the Washington County Grasslands Important Bird Area (IBA) that serves as essential habitat for many state-threatened and state-endangered raptor species. For additional details on festival events, vendors, admission, directions and more, visit the Friends of the IBA Winter Raptor Fest (External Link) website.

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Listed below are recreational sporting season dates for Saturday, March 9 through Friday, March 22 only. Visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage or view the Sporting Seasons calendar to see more fishing, hunting and trapping seasons.


  • March 15: Final day for the following freshwater fishing seasons statewide:
    • Northern pike
    • Pickerel
    • Tiger muskellunge
    • Walleye
  • March 15: Ice shanties must be removed from waterbodies statewide.
  • March 16: Striped bass fishing season opens on the Hudson River north of the George Washington Bridge. The daily harvest limit is one fish with a minimum length of 18 inches. Anglers must enroll in the recreational marine fishing registry prior to pursuing striped bass.

Hunting and Trapping

  • March 9: Final day for snow and Canada goose hunting seasons on Long Island.
  • March 10: Final day for Canada goose hunting season in the South Goose Hunting Area
  • March 15: Final day for beaver trapping season in the southern portion of western New York.
Small Game

More Noteworthy DEC News

Below are DEC press releases not to be missed!

Did You Know...?

horseshoe crabs on the beach
Thousands of horseshoe crabs can be seen along
the shorelines of Long Island during spawning season
in the spring.
~ Photo by Elizabeth Branca

The blue blood of a horseshoe crab has unique bacteria-fighting abilities, which is used by pharmaceutical and biomedical industries to ensure that products like intravenous drugs, vaccines and medical devices are free of bacterial contamination. Only about 30% of a crab's blood is taken, and each crab is returned to the wild, where it resumes normal feeding and breeding activity.

Get more interesting facts about this prehistoric-looking creature on DEC's Horseshoe Crab webpage and by reading a previous Conservationist article, "Giants at Our Feet."

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