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Gull Depredation Permit Questions and Answers

This document provides some general information about Federal and State permit requirements pertaining to take of ring-billed, herring, and great black-backed gulls in New York State. In this document, the term "take" refers to any disturbance or removal of adult or juvenile ring-billed, herring, or great black-backed gulls or their nests or eggs.

It is the responsibility of any parties who wish to take ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls in New York State to understand and comply with all applicable Federal and State regulations and permit requirements, as referenced below.

When do I need a permit to take ring-billed, herring and great black-backed gulls?
Federal and State permits are generally required for any person to disturb or destroy nests or eggs of ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls, or to capture, handle or kill adult or juvenile ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls.

When is a federal permit required to take ring-billed, herring and great black-backed gulls?
A Federal depredation permit is required before any person may take, possess, or transport migratory birds, including ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls, for depredation control purposes. No permit is required merely to scare or herd depredating ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls, as long as no birds are physically harmed.

When is a State permit required to take ring-billed, herring and great black-backed gulls?
Any take of ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls requires a State permit from DEC. However, DEC has established a "General Depredation Permit (GDP) for Take of ring-billed, herring and great black-backed gulls" that eliminates the need for individual State permits (permits issued to a specific person or organization) in several situations. The GDP defines the conditions under which an individual permit from DEC is not required. There is no need to apply to DEC for permission to conduct activities covered by the GDP.

What activities are allowed by DEC's General Depredation Permit (GDP)?
The GDP allows any person to scare or herd ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls, take any number of nests and eggs found on rooftops, other man-made structures, or along public walkways. In addition, up to 250 adult or juvenile ring-billed Gull, 250 adult or juvenile herring Gull, or 50 adult or juvenile Great Black-backed Gull may be taken annually. However, no more than 15 of any species per day may be taken without an individual State permit. The GDP has specific conditions and reporting requirements that must be followed, and a copy of the GDP must be carried by any person conducting activities authorized by it.

What if I don't qualify for the State General Depredation Permit?
If you are authorized by a Federal migratory bird depredation permit to take ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gulls, but your activities are not fully covered by the GDP, then you must apply to DEC for a State Depredation License. For information and application materials, contact:

NYSDEC
Special Licenses Unit
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4752
(518) 402-8985

What are some activities not authorized by the State General Depredation Permit?
The take of ring-billed, herring or great black-backed gull nests or eggs from nesting sites other than rooftops, man-made structures, or along public walkways is not covered by the GDP (e.g. along shorelines or on islands). The take of more than 250 ring-billed, 250 herring or 50 great black-backed gulls annually, or more than 15 of any one species per day is not covered by the GDP. In these situations an individual permit from DEC would be needed.

What are the reporting requirements for Federal and State permits?
All Federal migratory bird depredation permits, and individual State permits, require an annual report of activities from the permittee.

Where can I get more information on permit requirements for take of ring-billed, herring and great black-backed gulls?
For information about Federal migratory bird depredation permits, contact:

Permit Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
P.O. Box 779
Hadley, MA 01035-0779
(413) 253-8642
http://www.fws.gov/permits/

For more information about the New York State General Depredation Permit or individual permits, contact:

NYSDEC
Bureau of Wildlife
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-4754