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For Release: Friday, September 2, 2016

DEC Reminds New Yorkers to Purchase Hunting and Fishing Licenses at the Great New York State Fair

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos to Obtain His First Hunting License at the State Fair on Saturday

Hunters and Trappers Reminded to Take Education Courses

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today reminded New Yorkers that hunting and fishing licenses are available for purchase at the Great New York State Fair. As hunting season approaches, new hunters and trappers planning to go afield this season are also reminded to complete a mandatory hunter, bowhunter or trapper education course.

"Hunting and trapping are proud and economically important traditions in New York State that are safely enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and visitors each year," said Commissioner Seggos. "I'm excited to purchase my hunting license at the Great New York State Fair this year and encourage anyone interested to join me in taking a hunter education course and purchasing a license this season."

Outdoor recreation and sporting activities generate significant economic revenue across the state. According to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, sportsmen and women spent $4.95 billion on hunting and fishing in New York in 2011, and support more than 56,000 jobs. Revenues from the sale of sporting licenses directly support New York State's efforts to protect, preserve, and enhance wildlife and their habitats.

Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is providing $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account, leveraging federal funds to manage, protect, and restore fish and wildlife habitats - an initiative that will improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.

Commissioner Seggos and a team of DEC employees have taken the hunters education course, and Seggos will purchase his first hunting license on Saturday, September 2, at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse.

Hunter education courses are held across the state

DEC's free education courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education, and Waterfowl Identification. However, courses fill up quickly. Interested new hunters and trappers should sign up for a course soon and complete it before going afield this fall.

DEC's on-line registration system features a list of all available hunter and trapper education courses and locations. Students can register from any device - smartphone, tablet or computer - 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Education courses are added continuously throughout the year, so participants should check the on-line system frequently to find a course or call 1-888-HUNT-ED2 (1-888-486-8332) or 518-402-8966.

New course homework requirements instituted this year

All hunter education and trapper education courses now require students to review course materials and complete a homework sheet prior to attending classroom and field sessions. The new homework requirement provides an introduction to hunting in New York State and enhances students' understanding of the course material. Students should register for the course well in advance of the classroom and field date(s) in order to allow time to complete the homework requirement, which takes approximately three hours. All courses require successful completion of an in-person field day to earn certification for the course.

Access to the homework materials and online homework options can be found on DEC's website; participants may also follow the guidelines listed in the various course announcements during registration. Actual course manuals and homework sheets are always available from DEC wildlife offices and sportsman education instructors.

Education courses produce results in hunter safety

New York's hunter education courses are highly effective in fostering safe hunters. Approximately 500,000 licensed hunters spend an estimated 10 to 15 million days afield each year. Recent reports indicate that 2015 had the third-lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents on record in New York. The 2015 hunting season yielded the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality since the 1950s.

These low numbers are achieved through training and the regulations governing hunting activities in New York State. DEC's Sportsman Education Program is designed to teach and promote safe and effective hunting principles, practices, and strategies. The program has been extremely successful over its 66 years of existence. For details on last year's hunter safety record, visit the Hunter Safety Statistics web page on DEC's website.

Purchasing your hunting license

Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of DEC's license-issuing agents licenses, in person, by telephone, or online. In addition, licenses can also be purchased at the Great New York State Fair in the DEC Aquarium Building. Hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning September 1, 2016.

"Hunting, trapping, and fishing in New York have never been better and are an essential economic driver for communities across the state," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Governor Cuomo's continued commitments to the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative are bolstering our efforts to provide world class hunting and fishing opportunities statewide. DEC is committed to enhancing our science-based management programs to provide opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen to go afield during the upcoming hunting and trapping seasons."

Deer Management Permits

Deer Management Permits will be available at all license-issuing outlets or by phone, internet, or mail through October 1, 2016. Deer Management Permits, which are used to ensure proper management of the deer herd, are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale. Selected customers will receive their permits immediately. The chances of obtaining a Deer Management Permit remain the same throughout the application period. Hunters do not need to rush to apply for a Deer Management Permit on the first day of sale. The 2016 chances of selection for a Deer Management Permit in each Wildlife Management Unit are available online, through License Issuing Agents, or the Deer Management Permits Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Detailed information on Deer Management Permits is available on DEC's website.

The new Hunting & Trapping Regulations guide is an easy-to-read compendium of pertinent rules and regulations and is available in August at all license-issuing outlets and on the DEC Hunting Regulations webpage along with a list of license-issuing agents. The list is also available at our online License Center or by contacting the DEC Call Center at 1-866-933-2257.

Expanded Call Center Hours

Starting August 1, the DEC Call Center is accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays through October 1, 2016. Regular call center weekday hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will resume on October 2.

Individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license:

  • Complete name and address information;
  • DEC customer ID number (if applicable);
  • Proof of residency (e.g., driver's license or non-driver's ID with a valid NYS address); and
  • if purchasing by phone or internet, a valid credit card.

If not already entered in DEC's automated licensing system, individuals are required to provide proof of hunter or trapper education certification or a copy of a previous license for all hunting and trapping license purchases. For additional information, visit the General Sporting License Information web page on DEC's website.

New Opportunities for Junior Hunters & Trappers

In an effort to foster the next generation of hunters in New York, the DEC has expanded opportunities for junior hunters (licensees ages 12-15) and trappers (under 12 years old) by designating special youth hunts for deer, wild turkey, pheasants, and waterfowl through the Mentored Youth Hunter and Trapper Program. These opportunities allow youth hunters and trappers to spend time in the field with experienced adults and gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting and trapping community. You can find more information about these programs and other opportunities for junior hunters and trappers on DEC's website.

Habitat Stamps and Trail Supporter Patch

DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches support the state's efforts to conserve habitat, increase public access for fishing and wildlife-related recreation, and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a simple way to help conserve New York's rich wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in the state.

The Venison Donation Program

Additionally, anyone - not just hunters and anglers - can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license issuing outlet. Individuals should inform the license sales agent if they are interested in making a donation of $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, these funds have been used by the Venison Donation Coalition for the processing of more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served. For more information about the Venison Donation Coalition program, visit DEC's website.

Participate in Citizen Science to Benefit Wildlife Management

Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers and anglers help the DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. Information on how to participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other Citizen Science programs is available on the Citizen Science: Wildlife Observation Data Collection web page on DEC's website.

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