Entries Tagged as 'wildlife'
May 21st, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News
DEC Urges New Yorkers Not To Disturb Fawns and Other Young Wildlife
New Yorkers should keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals are in the peak season for giving birth, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today cautioned.
It is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both apparently abandoned. Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is also fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance for their survival, however, in nearly all cases this is a mistake and typically human interaction does more damage than good. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance and do not attempt to touch the animal.
Young wildlife quickly venture into the world on shaky legs or fragile wings. While most are learning survival from one or both parents, some normally receive little or no care. Often, wild animal parents stay away from their young when people are near. For all of these young animals, the perils of survival are a natural part of life in the wild.
White-tailed deer fawns present a good example of how human intervention with young wildlife can be problematic. Most fawns are born during late May and the first half of June. While fawns are able to walk shortly after birth, they spend most of their first several days lying still. During this period a fawn is also usually left alone by the adult female (doe) except when nursing. People occasionally find a lone fawn and mistakenly assume it has been orphaned or abandoned, which is very rare. Fawns should never be picked up. If human presence is detected by the doe, the doe may delay its next visit to nurse.
A fawn’s best chance to survive is by being raised by the adult doe. Fawns nurse three to four times a day, usually for less than 30 minutes at a time, but otherwise the doe keeps her distance. This helps reduce the chance that she will attract a predator to the fawn. The fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain motionless all help it avoid detection by predators and people.
By the end of its second week, a fawn begins to move about more and spend more time with the doe. It also begins to eat grass and leaves. At about ten weeks of age, fawns are no longer dependent on milk, although they continue to nurse occasionally into the fall. During August, all deer begin to grow their winter coat and fawns lose their spots during this process.
Related: Sad ending for baby squirrels
Should you find a fawn or other young wildlife, If You Care, Leave It There. In nearly all cases that is the best thing for the animal. DO NOT consider young wildlife as possible pets. This is illegal and is bad for the animal. Wild animals are not well suited for life in captivity and they may carry diseases that can be given to people. Resist the temptation to take them out of the wild. For more information and answers to frequently asked questions about young wildlife, visit the DEC website at: Care of Young Wildlife
March 26th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued guidance on preventing conflicts with coyotes and nuisance bear encounters. With the onset of warmer weather, New York’s black bear population will be on the move and coyotes are setting up denning areas for soon-to-arrive pups. Conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes become territorial around den sites and increase the frequency and intensity of foraging to provide food for their young.
People and coyotes can usually coexist if the coyotes’ natural fear of people is maintained. Below are some steps you can take to reduce/prevent coyote problems from occurring:
- Do not feed coyotes.
- Do not allow pets to run free or to be outside unattended.
- Do not feed pets outside.
- Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
- Fence or enclose compost piles so they are not accessible to coyotes.
- Eliminate availability of bird seed. Coyotes are attracted to the concentration of birds and rodents that come to feeders. If you feed birds, clean up waste seed and spillage.
- Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level.
- Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
- If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior – make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones to scare it away.
- Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.
The Eastern coyote is a firmly established wildlife species in New York, and is an integral part of our ecosystems, from rural farmlands and forests to populated urban and suburban areas. In most cases, coyotes avoid people as much as possible. Coyotes provide many benefits to New Yorkers through observation, photography, hunting and trapping; their calling at night can provide a haunting but harmless reminder of wildlife in our midst. However, if coyotes learn to associate people with food (e.g., garbage, pet food), they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for conflicts increases dramatically.
It is important to keep pets safe. Cats allowed to roam free are at risk from many different factors including domestic dogs and cars. To protect your cat, keep it indoors, or allow it outside only under supervision.
Coyotes view other canines such as domestic dogs as a threat to their young during the spring denning season. Both a dog and a coyote believe that one’s backyard is their territory. Coyotes avoid confrontations with most medium to large-sized dogs, but small breeds may be at risk in some situations. For this reason, do not allow dogs to roam unattended.
If coyotes are seen repeatedly during the daytime in a populated area in close proximity to residences, please report this to the local DEC office, as this may indicate that some individual coyotes may have lost their fear of people and could pose a threat to unattended pets or small children.
For additional information, visit DEC’s website: Coyote Conflicts
Black bears will take advantage of almost any readily available food source, including bird feeders and garbage. To prevent encounters between bears and humans, people should never intentionally feed bears and should take every precaution to discourage bears from seeking out food sources in neighborhoods and other residential areas.
Typically, black bears are timid and will avoid all contact with humans. However, bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbeque grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses.
It is not only illegal to intentionally feed bears, it is also illegal to inadvertently feed them. Specifically, after written notice from DEC, the incidental or indirect feeding of bears through food attractants such as garbage, pet food or bird seed is illegal. DEC has the authority to require the removal of these and other food attractants when bears become problematic.
It is in the best interest of both bears and people for bears to get their food solely from wild sources. Once a bear learns to associate certain structures with food, it can become a serious nuisance to people and a threat to itself. Bears that lose their natural fear of humans are much more likely to be illegally shot, hit by an automobile or destroyed under a DEC nuisance permit. Some studies suggest that when a bear is fed, either directly or indirectly, its life expectancy is cut by as much as 50 percent.
Once a bear becomes a problem, DEC is often asked to relocate the bear. Contrary to popular belief, bear relocations are rarely effective at solving the problem. Bears are extremely mobile and have excellent homing abilities. Relocated bears often return to their original capture site or may continue their bad habits at a new location. If the circumstances that led to the original problem are not corrected, other bears will quickly be attracted to the site and the bear/human conflicts will persist.
In addition to being ineffective, bear relocations are extremely time consuming and often dangerous. The heavy door on the bear traps, although not dangerous to bears, presents a potential danger to curious humans and pets. The simplest way to avoid a nuisance encounter is to remove all food sources. Removing the food source will remove the bear.
Because virtually all nuisance bear problems are the result of hungry bears being attracted to human food, pet food, bird food or garbage, these problems can be minimized by taking these simple precautions:
- Never feed bears. It is illegal.
- If you believe that bears are being fed, please report it to DEC.
- Stop feeding birds as soon as the snow melts. Birds do not need supplemental food in the summer, when natural foods are most abundant.
- Clean up all seed fragments and shells left over from winter feeding as the smell will attract bears.
- Dispose of garbage as frequently as possible and store in a secure building prior to disposal.
- If garbage is picked up at the curb, put the garbage out just before the scheduled pickup or place it in a roadside bear-resistant container. Do not put garbage out the night before pick-up at the curb.
- Clean garbage cans frequently with ammonia.
- Do not burn garbage, it’s illegal and it attracts bears.
- Do not add meat scraps, bones or melon rinds to your compost pile.
- Clean up barbecue grills before night fall, and after they cool down store them inside.
- Feed pets indoors and store pet food indoors. If pets must be fed outdoors, take in all uneaten food and dishes before dark.
- Turn off kitchen exhaust fans that vent to the outside whenever possible.
- When camping, keep food out of sight and secured in the trunk of a hard topped, locked vehicle if one is available. If a vehicle is not available, hang food and garbage from a tree at least eight feet off the ground. Keep picnic tables, utensils, fireplaces and the surrounding areas clean.
To learn more about black bears, look for DEC’s DVD Living with New York Black Bears at your public library or visit: Black Bear
Everyone is asked to respect bears as wild animals – from a distance. For more information about bears in your area, contact the nearest regional DEC office. Visit: DEC Regional Office Directory
March 19th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Adirondack News
New York bear hunters took 1,337 black bears during the 2012 hunting seasons, making last year the third highest bear harvest on record in New York, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. Only the 2003 harvest (1,864) and 2009 harvest (1,487) surpassed last year’s take.
“New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Martens. “Black bears are thriving in New York, and they represent a great resource for all New Yorkers. Through the NY’s Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, Governor Cuomo is improving opportunities for hunting in New York State.”
Regionally, bear harvest increased in the Adirondacks but decreased in the Southeastern and Central-Western bear hunting areas. Though overall population size plays a large role in harvest totals, annual variations in take are also strongly influenced by environmental factors such as natural food availability and snow fall that affect bear activity and hunting pressure. These environmental influences were very apparent in the harvest totals of the past few years.
In the Adirondacks, hunters took 606 bears in 2012, returning to a more normal harvest level after an exceptionally low harvest in 2011. This past season, hunters found greatest success during the early season (386 bears; mid-September until mid-October) compared to the regular season (132 bears; late October to early December). This pattern was expected after a summer of low natural food availability. The early season harvest is always high in such years because bears are moving more in search of food and many are closer to human food sources, which in both cases makes them more vulnerable to harvest. In fact, towns along the western and southern fringe of the Adirondacks saw some of the highest harvests as bears were found feeding in corn fields during the early season. Bears also tend to den early when natural foods are scarce, so fewer bears were available to hunters during the regular season.
In the Southeastern bear hunting area, bear take dropped from the record 630 taken in 2011 to 442 taken in 2012. Similarly, take in the Central-Western bear hunting area dropped from the record 353 in 2011 to 289 in 2012. In both areas, take during bow season contributed substantially to the overall take (51 percent Southeastern, 37 percent Central-Western) and increased from 2011, reflecting the longer bow season initiated in 2012 and greater availability of bears during this period. Notably, take during the regular season dropped in both areas. The drop was most pronounced in Southeastern New York where biologists anticipated a potential reduced harvest due to early denning behavior associated with the general lack of soft and hard mast (apples, acorns and beechnuts).
Since 2005, DEC has expanded the area open to bear hunting in Southeastern and Central-Western New York and increased season length, aligning bear seasons with deer seasons. These actions were implemented to reduce bear population growth and range expansion. Most recently, in 2011, DEC expanded bear hunting into eastern New York from Rockland and Westchester to Washington counties. Hunters took 22 bears from these newly opened areas, with eight bears coming from each of Washington and Rensselaer counties.
Governor Cuomo’s Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish, expanding fishing clinics and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.
A complete summary of the 2012 bear harvest with breakdown by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available at Deer and Bear Harvests on the DEC website.
NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program
Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests. Hunters also are asked to submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears. Typically, for all hunters who reported their harvest and submitted a tooth, DEC issues a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear’s age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2011 and 2012. DEC anticipates that eligible hunters from 2011 and 2012 will receive their patch(es) in late summer 2013.
February 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News
Effort Will Counteract Effects of Acid Rain and Facilitate the Return of Brook Trout to Lyon Lake
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin to deliver 80 tons of lime to an acidified lake in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area north of Stillwater Reservoir in the town of Webb, Herkimer County today, DEC Regional Director Judy Drabicki announced.
State police helicopters and their crews will be among the 40 plus staff required to complete this liming operation. From a staging area at Stillwater Reservoir on the ice near the boat launch site, sling loads of 2,000 pounds of lime will be hauled by helicopter for 3.8 miles into Lyon Lake. The lime will be left on the lake and helicopter will return to Stillwater for the next load. This trip will be repeated 80 times over four days, weather cooperating, to get all the lime out to Lyon Lake where DEC staff spreads it across the lake’s frozen surfaces.
“This is largest liming operation DEC ever embarked on, an effort involving months of planning and coordination with DEC staff, Forest Rangers and the critical state police helicopters and pilots and crews,” Director Drabicki said. “Adding lime to the lake will allow brook trout to once again live in this waterbody. This is just the latest effort by Governor Cuomo and DEC to expand opportunities for the fishing and hunting community.”
When the lake thaws in the spring, the lime will combine with lake water and make the water less acid. This will be the first lime treatment for Lyon Lake. DEC plans to stock the lake with native Adirondack brook trout during this fall’s aerial stocking.
DEC has great hopes for reestablishment of brook trout in some larger Adirondack ponds and lakes. Fisheries staff has noted that the larger water bodies maintain a deep cold water layer right through the summer (referred to as stratification), unlike the smaller ponds which now mix right through the summer. This results in warmer water temperatures in these smaller ponds that are not as suitable for brook trout.
Anyone looking for additional information on DEC’s liming program or a list of Adirondack trout ponds can call the Watertown fisheries office at
January 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News
Rulemaking Filed to Allow Hunting
from October 1 through April 15 Annually
State regulations to expand the special snow goose harvest program in New York have been amended to allow hunters to take snow geese during a special harvest program from now through April 15 in upstate New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.
This special harvest is in addition to the regular hunting season which runs from October 1 through January 15. Previously, the special season would not have opened until March 11. DEC filed a Notice of Emergency Adoption and Proposed Rule Making with the Department of State on January 23, 2013, and the changes took effect immediately.
“Extending the snow geese season is just one more way Governor Cuomo and DEC are working to expand opportunities for New York’s sportsmen and women,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “We encourage the hunting community to take full advantage of this opportunity.”
The expanded special season will increase hunter opportunity to harvest snow geese throughout the winter and early spring, when they are most abundant in New York. The special season was established in 2008 to help reduce environmental damage caused by the overabundance of snow geese in eastern North America. Snow geese are an arctic breeding goose species that reached record high population levels in North America in recent years – from approximately 50,000 birds in the 1960s to more than one million birds in recent years.
Wildlife agencies, ecologists and environmental organizations have expressed concern about the impacts that overabundant snow geese are having on arctic ecosystems, coastal wetlands and agricultural crops. In response to those concerns, federal hunting regulations were liberalized in 2008, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) adopted a conservation order allowing states in the Atlantic Flyway to implement special snow goose harvest programs in addition to its regular hunting seasons. Based on guidance from USFWS, DEC decided to have one continuous season this year.
The special season includes a bag limit of 25 snow geese per day. Hunters are also allowed to use electronic calls and unplugged guns, shotguns capable of holding more than three shells, when no co-occurring open season exists for other migratory waterfowl. The special program does not include Long Island because relatively few snow geese occur in that region of the state during spring.
For more information about hunting snow geese or other migratory game birds in New York, visit the DEC website: Snow Goose Season.