From the April 2011 Conservationist
By Jenna Kerwin and Eileen Stegemann
Don't Feed Bears
(Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
To prevent human-bear conflicts caused by bears seeking out human-provided food, DEC recently announced a new regulation prohibiting the intentional and direct feeding of black bears. The regulation also prohibits, after written notice from DEC, the incidental or indirect feeding of black bears through food attractants such as garbage or bird seed. Additionally, DEC generally recommends stopping bird-feeding activities in the spring when bears are emerging from dens and natural foods for birds are more abundant. Read about the new regulation. Read more about black bears.
April 18-24 is National Wildfire Awareness Week. During this week, DEC will promote safe practices with outdoor fires like campfires, promote the prevention of forest fires, and work with the Firewise Communities program. The Firewise program is designed for homeowners, community leaders, planners, local government officials and firefighters to take a proactive approach in identifying property risks associated with wildfire, as well as how to protect against such risks. You can read more about Firewise by visiting DEC's "Firewise New York" webpage. Learn more about fire safety and read tips for safe burning practices. Open burning of residential waste is the single largest cause of wildfires in New York. In 2009, DEC extended restrictions on open burning to prohibit the practice in all communities state- wide, regardless of population size, with certain exceptions, including burning tree limbs and branches at limited times of the year. During last year's eight-week ban period (March 16 to May 14, 2010), the new regulation resulted in a 33 percent decrease in wildfires caused by debris burning.
Bear Crossing Signs
DEC recently worked with the NYS Department of Transportation to install bear crossing signs along select highways in the western half of the state. The effort was the result of reviewing several years of data to determine the areas with the most bear/vehicle collisions. The first group of signs was installed in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties along I-86, as well as state routes 16 and 219, just north of the Pennsylvania border.
Youth Turkey Hunt
Photo courtesy Colleen Dye
DEC's annual Youth Wild Turkey Hunt weekend will be held April 23-24, 2011. The weekend gives junior hunters ages 12-15 an opportunity to spend time in the field with experienced adult hunters in pursuit of wild turkeys before the regular turkey season opens. Both adult and junior hunters must have a hunting license and a turkey permit in order to participate. Additionally, adult hunters cannot carry a firearm or longbow, or kill a wild turkey during the youth hunt. Suffolk County will be included for the first time this year. Visit DEC's "Youth Hunt for Wild Turkey" webpage for complete details.
Fun Web Fact
The results are in: the DEC web pages that are visited most frequently by the public are hunting and fishing pages. In addition, the three most common search terms used are "hunting," "fishing" and "lake." Happy web surfing!
Become a Licensed Outdoor Guide
Interested in becoming a guide for fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting/canoeing/kayaking, or rock climbing? Then sign up to take a licensed guide examination held at select DEC offices. Examinations are currently scheduled for the following dates in 2011: April 14, May 19, June 30, September 22 and October 20. Detailed information can be found on the licensed guide application form webpage.