Giant gray squirrels are not uncommon in the southern tier forest lands of New York State. Forrest Fisher Photo
Hunters and Trappers Favorite Time of Year…Open Season
Hunting seasons for big game like whitetail deer and black bear are underway with the archery season. Likewise, many small game species, like ruffed grouse, pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, and wild turkey, are also open and in progress.
Hunting and trapping seasons for bobcat, raccoon and fox, and trapping seasons for fisher and mink began in some regions of the state on October 25th. Be sure to check the New York State Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide for the season dates and regulations for your hunting or trapping area.
Wild turkey hunting in the Southern Zone began October 20th and runs through Nov. 2nd. Hunters are required to have a turkey permit, and the statewide season bag limit is one bird of either sex.
Remember, harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and by regulation, hunters must report their harvest of a turkey within seven days of taking the animal. DEC encourages hunters to, “Take it, tag it, and then report it.”
Trappers should note special permit requirements are required for fisher and marten trapping seasons. Fisher season began on October 25th in many WMUs and fisher and marten season began today in the Adirondacks. All fisher and marten trappers must obtain a special, free permit from their regional wildlife office, submit a trapping activity log, and submit the skull or jaw from harvested fishers and martens.
DEC’s wildlife managers rely on the information supplied by trappers to help manage populations of these popular furbearers. To obtain a free fisher or fisher/marten permit, trappers should contact their regional wildlife office or apply by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only one fisher or fisher/marten permit is needed to trap these species anywhere in New York where the season is open. For more information, see page 54 in the Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.
As always, please follow the basic rules of hunter safety to protect yourself and other hunters this season.
Public Comments on the Draft Plan Accepted Through September 1
Goal: Protect Wild Whitetail Deer, Moose and Captive Elk and Other Species
New York is Leading Way to Protect Wildlife and Hunter Resources
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the release of a draft New York State Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan for public comment. The plan describes proposed regulatory changes and actions that DEC will take to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) entering or spreading in New York and was designed to protect both wild white-tailed deer and moose, as well as captive cervids including deer and elk held at enclosed facilities.
DEC biologists worked with New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets veterinarians and wildlife health experts at Cornell University to craft a comprehensive set of steps that are the most advanced CWD prevention strategies in the nation.
“New York is leading the way in protecting our valuable deer and moose herds,” said Commissioner Seggos. “Not only does this horrible disease kill animals slowly, but wild white-tailed deer hunting represents a $1.5 billion industry in the state. Our CWD Risk Minimization Plan is in the best interest of all of us who care about wildlife and especially about the health of our wild white-tail deer herd. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to high-quality hunting opportunities in New York also supports our taking action now to prevent a serious problem down the road.”
Disease prevention is the only cost-effective way to keep CWD out of New York. Together with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York is using cutting-edge science and common sense to ensure that everything possible is done to protect the state’s wild deer and moose and captive deer and elk herds from CWD.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The Department’s veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians were responsible for the early detection of New York’s only CWD incident and played critical roles in the response to the discovery of CWD in 2005. Our staff continue to work hard to control the risk of this serious disease and maintain our early detection system. This plan will further support these efforts to protect our wildlife.”
CWD, an always fatal brain disease found in species of the deer family, was discovered in Oneida County wild and captive white-tailed deer in 2005. More than 47,000 deer have been tested statewide since 2002, and there has been no reoccurrence of the disease since 2005. New York is the only state to have eliminated CWD once it was found in wild populations. In North America, CWD has been found in 24 states and two Canadian provinces including neighboring Pennsylvania and Ohio.
CWD was first identified in Colorado in 1967 and is caused by infectious prions, which are misfolded proteins that cannot be broken down by the body’s normal processes. They cause holes to form in the brain. Prions are found in deer parts and products including urine and feces; they can remain infectious in soil for years and even be taken up into plant tissues. CWD is in the same family of diseases, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, as “mad cow” disease in cattle. Millions of cattle were destroyed because of mad cow disease in England and Europe in the 1990s and the disease also caused a fatal brain condition in some humans that ate contaminated beef products. Although there have been no known cases of CWD in humans, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that no one knowingly eat CWD-positive venison.
The proposed plan would streamline operations between DEC and the State Department of Agriculture and strengthen the state’s regulations to prevent introduction of CWD. Some examples of the proposed changes include:
Prohibit the importation of certain parts from any CWD-susceptible cervid taken outside of New York. Require that these animals be deboned or quartered and only the meat, raw hide or cape, and cleaned body parts, such as skull cap, antlers, jaws, and teeth, or finished taxidermy mounts be allowed for import into the state.
Prohibit the retail sale, possession, use, and distribution of deer or elk urine and any products from CWD-susceptible animals that may contain prions, including glands, or other excreted material while allowing New York captive cervid facilities to continue to export deer urine outside of New York State.
Maintain and reinforce the prohibition on the feeding of wild deer and moose in New York State.
Provide DEC Division of Law Enforcement the necessary authority to enforce Department of Agriculture and Market’s CWD regulations.
Explore possible penalties or charges to defray costs associated with the removal of escaped cervids from the environment or the response to disease outbreaks.
Require all taxidermists and deer processors (people who butcher deer for hire) to dispose of cervid waste and waste byproducts in compliance with 6 NYCRR Part 360, such as in a municipal landfill.
Promotion of improved fencing methods for captive cervids to further prevent contact with wild deer or moose.
Partner with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance captive cervid testing while continuing DEC’s rigorous surveillance testing in hunter-harvested deer.
Improve record keeping and data sharing between departments through joint inspections of captive cervid facilities, electronic reporting, and animal marking.
Improve handling requirements, record keeping, and disease testing of wild white-tailed deer temporarily held in captivity for wildlife rehabilitation.
Develop a communication plan and strategy to re-engage stakeholders, including captive cervid owners and the public, in CWD risk minimization measures and updates on CWD research.
The New York State Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan has had extensive outreach and vetting by sporting groups in the state to address the concerns of myriad stakeholders while maintaining the strength of purpose to protect the public and the environment. The plan updates reporting requirements, improves communication to stakeholders, and simplifies regulations to reduce confusion while protecting our natural resources.
The draft plan is available for public review on the DEC website. Written comments on the draft plan will be accepted through September 1, 2017. Comments can be submitted by e-mail (email@example.com, subject: “CWD Plan”) or by writing to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.