From the October 2010 Conservationist
By Jenna Kerwin and Eileen Stegemann
Deer and Bear Hunting
With opening day in the northern zone just around the corner, New Yorkers anticipate another safe and successful deer hunting season this fall. Hunters took about 223,000 deer in each of the past two years, of which about 102,000 were antlered deer in 2009, and 106,000 in 2008. Hunters should expect the statewide deer take to decline slightly in 2010, consistent with management goals to reduce antlerless harvest a bit in many wildlife management units. View the 2010 deer hunting season forecasts .
The 2009 bear take was the second-highest ever recorded in New York State. Hunters took 1,487 black bears last year, 15% more than the year before. This increase was principally due to a strong surge in bear harvest in the Adirondack bear area. In the southern bear hunting areas, bear takes were also the second highest on record. Bowhunters are especially important in these areas, accounting for move than a third of the bear take in the southeast, and almost 50% of the bear take in the central-western area. Information about deer and bear hunting.
In January, DEC adopted a ten-year management plan for ring-necked pheasants. The plan is the third in a series of pheasant management plans developed with input from sportsmen, and includes goals, objectives, and proposals for both wild and captive-bred pheasants. Some highlights include: longer pheasant hunting seasons, more areas that allow the taking of hen and cock pheasants, increased adult pheasant production, and establishment of a focus area in western New York to concentrate habitat improvement efforts for wild pheasants. View the complete plan.
The Association for Conservation Information recently recognized DEC, awarding the agency second place in the Education and Outreach category for their 2009 National Awards, for the fall 2009 "Alien Invasion" issue of Conservationist for Kids.
Invasive species continue to be in the news, especially as emerald ash borer has now been found in the Catskills and is no longer limited to western New York. The "Alien Invasion" issue of Conservationist for Kids has proven to be an excellent educational tool for DEC staff, youth group leaders and classroom teachers seeking to inform youth and their families about invasive species and what people can do to limit their spread. Conservationist subscribers receive Conservationist for Kids three times a year in the magazine.
Rome Fish Hatchery is being updated. Located approximately 2.5 miles outside Rome, the hatchery has been providing fish to New York State waters for more than 75 years. Brown and brook trout are currently raised here, with more than 1,700,000 fish produced just this year. But the aging facility needed a facelift and so the old hatchery building, built in 1932, is being replaced with a new energy-efficient "green" building. A big addition is a new visitor center that will demonstrate how fish are raised and the role hatcheries play in fishery management. Inside, a new aquarium will show species of fish raised at the hatchery. Archives of records and older equipment may also be displayed. The new facility is expected to be fully operational by the end of this fall. Rome Hatchery is open to the public 365 days a year for self-guided tours. More information on the DEC fish hatcheries.
Recently staff from a number of central New York DEC offices collaborated on a project that saved a lot of money. The Operations Division needed a 1,000-square-foot storage barn for its Kirkwood facility, but couldn't afford to buy lumber. So, staff contacted the Division of Lands and Forests to see if they could use trees from state land. Sherburne Supervising Forester Bob Slavicek had noticed that several trees on the Rogers Environmental Education Center property in Sherburne were diseased, rotten, in danger of falling, or encroaching on electric lines. After looking at the trees with Bob, Center Director Marsha Guzewich readily agreed to their use. Once the trees were removed and milled, the lumber was transported to Kirkwood where a crew will build the barn this fall and winter.
Fifth-grade students across the state are invited to take part in the "Trees are Terrific" Arbor Day Poster Contest. Previously co-sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation, DEC is pleased to continue this contest, which is a great opportunity for teachers, students and parents to increase their knowledge about the importance of trees in our lives. Teachers can download the packet from DEC's website to use in the classroom, and students are encouraged to design a theme-based poster and submit it to DEC. The winning artwork is featured on New York's Arbor Day bookmark, distributed to schools and libraries all over the state, and distributed by International Paper to clients worldwide. The deadline for poster submissions for the 2011 Arbor Day poster contest (theme: "Take the challenge