Press-Republican

Outdoors

March 30, 2014

DEC invites hunter input on fall 2014 waterfowl seasons

Hunters are invited to submit recommendations to regional Waterfowl Hunter Task Forces for the dates of the fall 2014 duck hunting seasons by April 4, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced.

DEC will evaluate the task force recommendations in setting waterfowl seasons, which must comply with federal rules.

“DEC encourages public input and feedback to help in many aspects of wildlife management and that includes determining the waterfowl hunting season dates that are most advantageous for sportsmen and women,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said.

New York is divided into five waterfowl hunting zones: Western, Southeastern, Northeastern, Lake Champlain and Long Island. DEC recently appointed task forces for each zone (except Lake Champlain) to solicit recommendations for the fall 2014 hunting seasons, including opening and closing dates, split seasons and a special hunting weekend for junior hunters (hunters ages 12 to 15). Each task force includes representatives from the New York State Conservation Council, established waterfowl hunting organizations and individual waterfowl hunters who provide input from diverse points of view.

Waterfowl seasons in the Lake Champlain Zone will continue to be set by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Management Board, with input from DEC and waterfowl hunters in New York and Vermont. Although there is no formal task force for this zone, hunters can send their suggestions to any DEC season-setting team member.

The recommended dates must be within federal guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). For fall 2014, DEC expects the USFWS to allow a 60-day duck season, split into no more than two segments per zone, opening no earlier than Sept. 27, 2014, and closing no later than Jan. 25, 2015.

Waterfowl hunters can participate in the season-setting process by providing duck season suggestions to any task force member on or before April 4, 2014. Names and contact information for all task force members are listed in alphabetical order on DEC’s website: www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42364.html.

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