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For Release: Thursday, August 17, 2017

Waterfowl Hunting Permits Needed for Duck Season Opening Weekend at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas

Special Permits Promote Hunter Safety and Increase Hunting Quality on High-Use Days

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that special permits will be issued for the opening weekend of duck season to hunt waterfowl at two popular state-managed locations. The permit requirement applies to waterfowl hunting at the Oak Orchard and Tonawanda Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) located primarily in Genesee and Niagara counties, with small portions in Orleans and Erie counties. The special permits promote hunter safety and increase the quality of hunting on days when the areas receive the greatest use.

A special permit is required to hunt waterfowl (ducks and geese) at Oak Orchard and Tonawanda WMAs on the first two days of duck season, October 28 and 29, 2017. These days are the only times the special permits are needed. Waterfowl may be hunted without a special permit during the remainder of the season. The permit system has been used successfully at both wildlife management areas for many years. No special permits are required to hunt other game species at Oak Orchard or Tonawanda WMAs.

Opening weekend waterfowl hunting permits for the two Wildlife Management Areas will be distributed by a random lottery. For each of the two days, DEC typically issues 100 permits for Tonawanda WMA and 50 permits for Oak Orchard WMA.

To apply for the lottery, hunters must send in a postcard with their name, address, and their first three choices, in order of preference, clearly indicated. Hunters must choose from four options: Oak Orchard first Saturday; Oak Orchard first Sunday; Tonawanda first Saturday; and Tonawanda first Sunday.

Applicants must also complete a Waterfowl Identification Course and their course certificate number must be indicated on the postcard. Applications will be accepted through September 15, 2017, and must be mailed to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, New York 14013. Each permittee will be allowed to bring one companion over the age of 18 and an additional companion 18 years old or younger.

Duplicate permits will not be issued to hunters already issued a permit to hunt on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. Any cards submitted by hunters selected to hunt on Iroquois on the first Saturday will be excluded from the lottery for that day at both Oak Orchard and Tonawanda.

Issued permits are nontransferable and are not valid for companion(s) unless the permittee is present and hunting within 50 yards. The permittee is responsible for completing and returning the questionnaire portion of the permit to the New York State Bureau of Wildlife by November 15, 2017. If the completed questionnaire is not received by November 15, the permittee will be ineligible for next year's (2018) lottery.

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