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For Release: Friday, September 28, 2018

DEC Announces Start Dates for 2018-2019 Trapping Season on Oak Orchard, Tonawanda, and John White Wildlife Management Areas

Trapping Permits Available Oct. 1

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced dates for the 2018-2019 trapping season for Oak Orchard, Tonawanda, and John White wildlife management areas (WMAs).

Beginning Oct. 1, trapping permits will be issued for these WMAs for the 2018-2019 license year. Permit applications can be obtained weekdays from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30 at the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge Office on Casey Road between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or by writing to the DEC Bureau of Wildlife, 1101 Casey Road, Box B, Basom, New York 14013.

Trappers that obtain a permit will be required to report harvest and trapping efforts on each area. The Western New York trapping season for fox, raccoon, coyote, and other upland furbearing animals opens Oct. 25, 2018, and closes Feb. 15, 2019. However, the start of upland trapping will be delayed until Nov. 1, 2018, on the John White WMA.

This year trapping season for mink, muskrat, and beaver in this area will run from Nov. 25, 2018 until Feb. 15, 2019. However, trapping for muskrats and mink is restricted on these three WMAs to a shorter season than the rest of Western New York, and will be allowed Dec. 1, 2018 to Feb. 15, 2019.

Due to the ongoing drought, wetland muskrat and mink trapping will likely be limited to certain marshes to allow the muskrat population to recover, especially in marshes where increased muskrat numbers will benefit marsh habitat conditions. This decision will be made by Oct. 1; information will be provided when trapping permits are issued.

Trappers can set a maximum of 25 traps for muskrat and mink on the three areas. DEC issues 25 numbered tags to each trapper that obtains a permit. The tags must be attached to each trap used. Traps without tags are considered illegal. In addition, an individual trapper can only operate traps tagged with their assigned numbers. Traps set for upland trapping and beaver will not require numbered tags and will not be considered in the trap limit. The trap limit provides a more equitable distribution of the harvest and prevents trappers from monopolizing better trapping areas.

Management of the muskrat population promotes prime emergent marsh habitats used by waterfowl and uncommon marsh birds such as the Black Tern and Least Bittern. The trap limit and the possible additional trapping restrictions restriction will allow Bureau of Wildlife personnel to better regulate the muskrat harvest according to water availability, habitat needs, and population.

Hunters and trappers are reminded that no gas or electric motor boats are allowed on Oak Orchard or Tonawanda WMAs.

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