'Be safe, be seen': DEC urges safety with hunting, trapping seasons underway

RAY BROOK — Hunters and non-hunters alike are urged to dress in high-visibility clothing when enjoying the outdoors during hunting and trapping season.

That was the message from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation in a press release Monday.

“Whether you are a hiker, a nature photographer, a leaf peeper, or a mountain biker, I encourage you to follow a few simple safety measures and make your choice of recreation as safe as possible while hunters and trappers are afield," New York State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

DEC encourages every outdoor enthusiast to wear blaze orange, pink, or another bright color, especially during fall and winter. Doing so will allow these individuals to be seen more easily and from greater distances.

"Data from hunting-related shooting incidents show us that hunters that wear hunter orange are seven times safer," Commissioner Seggos said. "If it makes sense for hunters, it makes sense for other outdoor enthusiasts as well."

Wearing blaze orange or pink or another bright color also makes it easier to be found by a forest ranger, environmental conservation police officer or other rescue personnel if visitors become lost, sick or injured while afield.

Pet owners are encouraged to dress dogs, as well. Dogs should wear blaze orange or pink or another bright color and stay leashed at all times.

Trapping seasons for many species including fox and coyote are open throughout the fall and early winter; traps set for these species can also capture dogs that are not under control.

Trapping is a highly regulated activity and regulations are strongly enforced. Trappers are required to take an educational course before getting a license and DEC works closely with the trapping community to encourage trapping techniques that minimize risks to non-target wildlife and other animals like dogs.

Keeping dogs on a leash is safer for the dog, for other people and gives pet owners peace of mind, the release noted.

Hunting is among the most popular forms of wildlife recreation in the state, drawing nearly 700,000 New Yorkers and more than 50,000 out-of-staters.

Hikers should be aware that they may meet hunters bearing firearms or archery equipment while hiking on trails. Hikers are encouraged to recognize that these are fellow outdoor recreationists with the legal right to participate in these activities on Forest Preserve and Conservation Easement lands.

HUNTING WITHIN STATE PARKS

New York state lands offer many places to hunt, including 81 parks, three historic sites, three golf courses, and 50 boat launches that provide chances to hunt a variety of different wildlife including big game, small game, turkey, furbearers, waterfowl and migratory bird species.

Visit tinyurl.com/yb227yr9 to learn more about Statewide Hunting Regulations in New York State Parks and visit tinyurl.com/y6vylywv for the Policy on Possession of an Unloaded Firearm for the Purpose of Accessing Adjacent Lands for Lawful Hunting Purposes.

In addition to a valid hunting license, all hunters wishing to take advantage of select hunting seasons within state parks need to obtain a regional hunting permit for each individual park.

The hunting permit will specify which species can be hunted, any additional seasonal restrictions, areas available for hunting, and what implements (e.g. shotgun, bow, or crossbow) can be used.

Please contact the park directly to learn about what hunting opportunities are available at that location.

For information on hunting safety, and hunting seasons, and trapping seasons, please visit DEC's website.

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