From the October 2011 Conservationist
By Jenna Kerwin and Eileen Stegemann
New Record Brookie
Don Germain of Forestport, Oneida County, recently broke the state record for brook trout. On June 15, Don caught a five-pound, eight-ounce brookie while fishing on South Lake in the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park. Mr. Germain sent details of his 22-inch fish to DEC's Angler Achievement Awards Program, which allows anglers to receive special recognition for impressive catches. Learn more about the Angler Achievement Awards Program, see past winners, and to find out how to apply with your own lunker on the DEC website.
Deer Season Forecasts
Now that big game hunting seasons are right around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to look back on last year-and forward to this fall. In 2010, hunters took a total of 230,000 deer: 123,000 antlerless and 107,000 adult bucks, up slightly from the past few years. More than 16,000 junior hunters contributed to the harvest by taking approximately 4,900 deer. This fall, hunters should expect the statewide deer take to increase slightly again. Also, DEC tested 1,780 hunter-harvested deer for Chronic Wasting Disease last year, and found no infected deer. See complete 2010 harvest details, and check out the 2011 season forecasts.
Bowhunter Sighting Log
Many bowhunters participate in DEC's Bowhunter Sighting Log by keeping a diary of their bowhunting activity and the number of animals they see. This data helps DEC keep track of deer and other wildlife populations. DEC needs more bowhunter participation in many northern, eastern and southeastern counties, and in Westchester and Suffolk Counties. If you'd like to participate, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your name, address, hunter ID (back tag number), a list of the counties where you hunt, and whether or not you have previously participated in New York's bowhunter log.
Recent legislation allows 12- and 13-year-olds to hunt big game with a Junior Bowhunting license. See the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program for detailed information on youth hunting requirements.
Hunters may now use crossbows to hunt deer and bear in parts of New York. However, crossbows are not legal in bowhunting-only areas of the state. When using a crossbow, hunters must carry a certificate stating they have reviewed the legal requirements and safety information regarding crossbow use. See information on legal hunting areas and seasons, or find a Certificate of Qualification.
More Bear Hunting
DEC recently opened several areas east of the Hudson River to black bear hunting and changed bear hunting season dates in the Southern Zone. The regular black bear season will now open earlier in parts of central and western New York. More details about bear hunting. Learn more about black bears.
Did You Know?
DEC publishes a periodic electronic newsletter about deer and bear management and hunting opportunities in New York called NYBigGame. Subscribe using GovDelivery.
Photo: Susan L. Shafer In honor of the United Nations' designation of 2011 as International Year of Forests, DEC is holding a "Forest Photo Contest." People may submit forest-oriented photographs in several different categories, including "enjoying the forests" and "forest products." All submissions should be sent by November 1st, and will be reviewed by DEC. Winners will be announced on December 1st. See the Forest Photo Contest web page for specific details, including a list of submission categories and where to send your photos.
Reducing Fish Kills
Every day, industrial facilities in New York use more than 16 billion gallons of water for cooling purposes. In turn, more than 17 billion fish of all life stages (egg, fry, juvenile, adult) are killed during these processes. To reduce this impact, all industrial facilities will soon be required to use the best technology available for their cooling systems. One such technology is a closed-cycle cooling system, which has a significantly reduced impact on fish. Visit DEC's Aquatic Habitat Protection web page for more information.
Marine License Refunds
On August 5, Governor Cuomo directed DEC to refund all license fees paid by individuals and charter operators for marine recreational fishing for the 2011 season. All payments are expected to be mailed by the end of summer. In place of the marine license, the NYS Legislature established a no-fee recreational marine fishing registry. The registry will allow fisheries biologists to gather data to help better manage marine resources. See more information on the marine recreational fishing registry.
Year of the Turtle
Photo: Donna Kalled
Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and various other conservation groups designated 2011 as Year of the Turtle to help raise awareness of the threats to turtle populations. Many turtle species are in danger of extinction due to habitat loss, pet trade, and exploitation for human use. Visit Year of the Turtle to learn more and to find ways to join turtle conservation efforts.
Three Fishing Lines Legal
New York freshwater anglers may now use up to three fishing lines, with or without a rod. Before this new law went into effect, only two lines were permitted. This amended law does not change fishing season dates, size limits, or daily limits.
Cougar Traveled Through NY
Recent DNA testing confirmed that a mountain lion spotted in December 2010 in Lake George, NY, was the same animal that was killed by a motor vehicle in Milford, CT in June this year. A necropsy conducted by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection revealed that the lean, 140-pound young male most likely had never been in captivity. Genetic testing linked this mountain lion to a breeding population in the Black Hills of South Dakota, indicating he traveled about 1,800 miles- the longest distance ever recorded for a mountain lion.