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Entries Tagged as 'wildlife'

Adirondacks: Fourth of July Holiday Weekend Notice

July 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe Adirondacks are open for summer recreation, come and enjoy all that our lands and waters have to offer! Please be advised of the following conditions and prepare for them to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience. This information focuses on the High Peaks Region, for more information or for information on other areas in the Adirondacks visit the DEC trail information web pages at: Adirondack Trail Information

ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY VISITORS

If you are recreating in the Adirondacks this Fourth of July Holiday weekend, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation asks that you be aware of the following:

HIGH USAGE LEVELS: Visitors to the Adirondacks should expect to encounter more people on the water and trails this holiday weekend. Popular campgrounds, trailhead parking lots, boat launch sites and interior campsites will likely fill to capacity. The Eastern High Peaks may reach capacity by Thursday. Plan accordingly and seek recreational opportunities in other less used areas of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

ESSEX CHAIN LAKES: 22 designated tent sites are currently available the area around the Essex Chain Lakes. Thirteen designated along the shores of the waters of the complex require a free permit. Campers must call 518-582-2000 or visit the Adirondack Interpretive Center facility at 5922 State Route 28N in Newcomb, NY, to reserve a tent site. Campers can pick up their reserved permit at the AIC facility between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. any day of the week. See the Essex Chain Lakes Complex web page for more information on camping and other outdoor recreational opportunities in this area.

POOR MAN’S DOWNHILL SHUTTLE BUS: The Town of Wilmington will operate a shuttle bus for mountain bikers on Sunday July 6, between 1 pm and 4 pm. The shuttle will take mountain bikers from the downhill trailhead off Route 86 to the uphill trailhead off Route 431. The Poor Man’s Downhill is a multi-use trail on the northeast side of Whiteface Mountain. The trail begins just below the toll booth for the Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway and ends 1,150 feet lower and nearly 3 miles away in the hamlet of Wilmington.

MUDDY & WET TRAILS: Mud and water will be present on all trails. Trails along water may be flooded. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters and walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

BEAR RESISTANT CANISTERS: Regulation requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. NYSDEC encourages the use of bear resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.

OTHER BEAR AVOIDANCE TIPS

  • Store all food, toiletries and garbage in bear-resistant canisters.
  • Outside the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, if you don’t have a bear canister, hang food. Store all food, toiletries and garbage in the hang bag. Use a 75 ft. (25 m) long dark- colored cord. Hang the bag 15 ft (5 m) above the ground and at least 10 ft (3 m) away from trees.
  • Keep food in bear-resistant canister or food hangs at all times – take down only what is needed for cooking and eating.
  • Never leave food unattended unless it is in a bear-resistant canister or in a food hang.
  • Cook early, no later than 5 p.m., and never cook or eat in your sleeping area.

BITING INSECTS: Black Flies, Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) are everywhere. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:

  • Wear light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts and long pants;
  • Tuck shirts into pants, the bottom of pant legs into socks and button sleeves at the wrist;
  • Wear a headnet when insects are thick and use an insect repellant with DEET.

Visit the Adirondack Trail Information web page for current weather forecasts, regulations, safety tips, trail conditions, and more.

Enjoy your visit to the Adirondacks!
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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Hunting or Trapping of Wild Boars in New York Now Prohibited

April 29th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

New DEC Regulation Works Toward Statewide Eradication

NYSDEC LogoA new regulation that prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State was formally adopted state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts.

“Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC’s ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York,” said Commissioner Martens. “Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state.”

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.”

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013, which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian Boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.

Feral SwineHowever, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.

“Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder,’ the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”

Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the new regulation prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until September 1, 2015.

The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.

Anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York should report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Eurasian boar” in the subject line.

Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free-roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so please try to get a picture and include it with your report.

Full text of the regulation can be viewed on DEC’s website.

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DEC: 2013 Deer Harvest Comparable to Last Year

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoHunters harvested approximately 243,550 deer during the 2013-14 hunting seasons, nearly equivalent to the statewide take last year, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

“Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative offers many hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen for the growing population of deer,” said Commission Martens. “Throughout the state, hunters play an essential role by helping to maintain healthy and ecologically sound deer populations.”

The 2013 deer take included approximately 128,850 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and about 114,700 adult bucks (1.5 years or older), both estimates being within 4 percent of the 2012 take (see table below). Hunters in the Northern Zone walked out of the woods with roughly 32,300 deer, including 19,500 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, excluding Long Island, hunters took 208,300 deer, including about 94,200 adult bucks. To compare these harvest estimates with other past seasons, go to: Deer and Bear Harvests
2013 Deer Harvest

This year marked New York’s second Youth Deer Hunt, held over Columbus Day Weekend. During the Youth Deer Hunt, 14 and 15-year-old junior hunters could take one deer, antlered or antlerless, with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult mentor. An estimated 8,860 junior hunters participated in the Youth Deer Hunt, resulting in 1,275 deer taken (728 adult bucks and 547 antlerless deer).

Successful junior hunters: Youth Deer Hunt Photo Gallery

More Antlerless Deer Need to be Taken
This year’s harvest shows a continuing trend of concern to DEC deer managers. In many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including portions of southeastern New York and the Lake Plains region of western New York, harvest trends indicate that deer populations are too high – above levels recommended by local stakeholder groups who live, hunt or manage land in those areas. Even with very liberal opportunities for take of antlerless deer, not enough females are being taken to reduce populations to desired levels. In these areas, DEC and hunters must begin considering new ways to the increase antlerless deer take to achieve deer populations that are compatible with ecosystem health and consistent with the public’s interests.

Older Bucks Becoming a Larger Portion of Adult Buck Harvests
Adirondack White Tail DeerHunters took a record number of bucks (approximately 55,300) aged 2.5 years or older in 2013. These older bucks, which many hunters desire, accounted for 48 percent of harvested adult bucks statewide in 2013, compared to only 33 percent (45,350) in 2000 when New York’s deer population peaked, and only 28 percent (about 33,000) in the early 1990s. In part, this is influenced by the overall size of the deer population, which in much of the state is larger than desired. Although mandatory antler restrictions in 11 WMUs in southeastern New York are a contributing factor, many New York hunters outside those areas are voluntarily choosing not to take young bucks, thereby letting these bucks get another year or two older before they are taken.

Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of nearly 16,200 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources. Much additional information about the 2013-14 deer harvests, including charts and maps describing the harvest, is available on DEC’s website at: Deer and Bear Harvests

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, and improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

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DEC Announces 2013 Bear Harvest Results

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone

NYSDEC LogoNew York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

“New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Martens. “With abundant natural foods this past year, bears were in great condition, and we heard of several hunters who took bears weighing more than 500 pounds dressed. Under New York’s Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state.”

Bear in GrassRegionally, bear hunters took a record 636 bears from the Southeastern bear hunting area and a near record 342 bears (2nd highest take) from the Central-Western bear hunting area. These high harvests reflect that bear populations have increased over the past decade. In addition, an abundance of hard mast (e.g., acorns and other nuts) kept many bears actively feeding later into the fall and available for harvest through the duration of the regular firearms season. Hunters took 224 bears in the Central-Western area and 431 bears in the Southeastern area during the regular firearms season. Bear populations in these ranges are in need of higher harvest rates in coming years in order to stabilize population growth generally and reduce populations in the Catskill region.

2013 Black Bear Harvest Comparison
2013 Bear Harvest

In the Adirondack bear hunting area, hunters took a total of 380 bears, fewer than the recent 5-year average. However, Adirondack bear harvest is the tale of two seasons. Bear harvest during the early bear season, which runs from mid-September through mid-October, is strongly influenced by availability of soft mast (e.g., apples, cherries and berries), and harvests tend to be poor during years with abundant soft mast like the 2013 year. Early season only accounted for 84 bears taken, approximately 65 percent below average. In contrast, hunters did well during the regular season, taking 246 bears, about 13 percent greater than average.

A complete summary of the 2013 bear harvest with results by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available on the DEC website.

NYS Black Bear Management Plan

In January, DEC released a draft black bear management plan for public review and comment. The plan describes DEC’s approach to bear management which includes population management through regulated hunting, mitigation of human-bear conflicts, and technical guidance and outreach to the public about bears and conflict avoidance. The plan proposed several changes to bear hunting, including expanding the area open to bear hunting to encompass all of upstate New York and establishing a supplemental firearms season in September for bears in the Catskill and lower Hudson Valley region. DEC is reviewing the comments received on the plan and anticipates publishing a final version of the plan this spring. See Black Bear Management to review the draft plan.

NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program

Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests, and many hunters also submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears. For all hunters who report their harvest and submit a tooth, 680 hunters in 2013, DEC provides a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear’s age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2013, but we anticipate hunters will receive their patch by September 2014.

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

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State Helicopters Assist in DEC Project to Reintroduce Brook Trout to Remote Adirondack Pond

March 26th, 2014 · 2 Comments · Adirondack News

Transport of Lime Part of Effort to Mitigate Effects of Acid Rain and Create Hospitable Habitat for Brook Trout in Hawk Pond

NYSDEC LogoAs part of Governor’s Cuomo’s NY’s Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative and a collaborate effort to mitigate the impact of acid rain and restore brook trout to the Adirondacks, state helicopters delivered 34 tons of lime to an acidified pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the town of Webb, Herkimer County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Judy Drabicki announced.

On March 6 and 7, approximately 40 DEC staff and New York State Police helicopter crews conducted the liming operation, which included 46 helicopter flights to transport 1,500 pounds of lime from a staging area near the boat launch at Stillwater Reservoir to Hawk Pond. The lime was deposited on the ice at the pond and later spread across the frozen surface. The liming of acidic lakes or ponds is a management tool used to neutralize the water’s acidity and create water quality that is more favorable for fish and aquatic life. When the pond thaws this spring, the lime will enter the water and reduce its acidity level.

“Each year, fisheries staff select an Adirondack pond for liming to reintroduce brook trout in the Adirondacks,” Regional Director Drabicki said. “This effort involves months of planning and coordination with DEC operations staff, forest rangers and forestry staff, along with State police helicopters, pilots and crews. This joint effort is critical to reclaim waters impaired by acid rain and restore native habitats to these Adirondack waters.”

This operation is the first lime treatment for Hawk Pond. This fall, two strains of brook trout will be stocked in the pond: the Horn Lake strain of brook trout, and a heritage/domestic cross. Once the fish have had the chance to spawn, biologists will be able to use the genetics for each strain of the stocked fish to determine which parents are producing offspring and which strain is performing the best in the pond. This research will help guide future management decisions involving Adirondack brook trout ponds.

DEC fishery staff is optimistic that these operations will successfully return brook trout to some large Adirondack ponds and lakes. Larger water bodies in the Adirondacks maintain a deep cold water layer right through the summer (referred to as stratification), unlike the smaller ponds where water layers mix, which results in warmer water temperatures that are not as suitable for brook trout.

For additional information on DEC’s liming program or a list of Adirondack trout ponds, contact the Watertown fisheries office at 315-785-2263.

New York Adventure Plates

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of fishing and hunting licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions. This year, Governor Cuomo unveiled the NYS Adventure License, which allows outdoor enthusiasts, boaters, anglers and hunters to consolidate their recreation licenses and benefits onto their New York State Driver’s License, and the NYS Adventure License Plates, featuring nine plate designs available for free to those buying new lifetime hunting, fishing or park licenses in 2014. More information here: NY State Adventure License

In support of this initiative, this year Governor Cuomo has proposed creating 50 new land access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the Governor’s 2014-15 budget proposes to: include $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; limit the liability of landowners who allow recreational activities on their properties, which could open up vast, untapped resources for additional hunting, fishing and many other recreational pursuits; and allow crossbow hunting once again in New York State.

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DEC: Emptying and Cleaning Feeders and Bird Baths Can Limit Spread of Disease

February 27th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Common Redpolls with Salmonella Frequented Bird Feeders across 13 Counties in 2013

NYSDEC LogoIn January and February 2013, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) confirmed infections with the bacteria Salmonella in common redpolls that frequented bird feeders across 13 counties*. No confirmed cases have been identified to-date in 2014, however it is the time of year when DEC receives reports of dead common redpolls that became infected with Salmonella at bird feeders. Proper maintenance of bird feeders can help prevent disease transmission, particularly in these late winter months when songbirds are especially vulnerable.

Salmonellosis or “Songbird Fever” is among the most common diseases associated with bird feeders. Outbreaks can affect many bird species including cardinals, goldfinches, sparrows, cowbirds and pine siskins. The bacteria can be shed in the bird’s feces even when the bird appears healthy. Salmonellosis can spread through contact with infected birds, contaminated seed, seed waste on the ground or water in bird baths. It is important to note that salmonellosis is a zoonotic disease and can be spread to both people and domestic animals. Other common songbird diseases that are spread through bird feeders are Mycoplasma Conjunctivitis (an eye infection of House Finches) and Trichomoniasis (an oral parasite of songbirds, pigeons and doves).

A bird feeder surrounded by the various species of birds is a common sight in many residential backyards. Bird feeders can be a safe and enjoyable way to watch birds from the comfort of one’s home but under the right circumstances birdfeeders can also be a place where diseases can spread very quickly between birds because of their close contact with each other.

New Yorkers can help curtail the spread of disease in songbirds by emptying and cleaning feeders and bird baths with hot soapy water at least every two weeks. It is also a good idea to soak feeders in a dilute 10 percent bleach solution and allow them to dry before re-hanging them. Waste seed on the ground beneath feeders should be cleaned up and discarded. Spreading feeders out and relocating feeders periodically can also limit the build-up of waste. Practice good hygiene when cleaning feeders and bird baths by wearing gloves to handle seed waste and washing hands after performing maintenance. If you observe multiple sick or dead birds at your feeder, please report them to your local DEC office. A list of DEC’s office can be found here: DEC Regional Office Directory

The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology’s Project Feeder Watch has a great deal of helpful information about feeding backyard birds at: Feeding Birds

*(Adirondack Region: Fulton, Herkimer, and Essex Counties)

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Bobcat Saying Hello

January 23rd, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Happy New Year!

Maybe we’ll confirm a cougar this year. Until then, this:

via nature.org

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