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DEC asks for hunter input on fall 2017 waterfowl seasons

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Thu, Jan 19th 2017 04:00 pm

Task forces help set season dates for waterfowl hunting in New York

Hunters are invited to submit recommendations to regional waterfowl hunter task forces to help set the dates of the fall 2017 duck-hunting seasons for each of the state's waterfowl hunting zones. Entries are due by Feb. 19, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced. 

DEC evaluates waterfowl hunter task force recommendations in setting waterfowl seasons, which must comply with federal rules. New York is divided into five waterfowl hunting zones: western, southeastern, northeastern, Lake Champlain and Long Island. DEC-appointed task forces for each zone (except Lake Champlain) are soliciting recommendations for the fall 2017 hunting seasons, including opening and closing dates, split seasons, and a special hunting weekend for junior hunters (hunters ages 12-15). 

Each task force includes representatives from the New York State Conservation Council, established waterfowl hunting organizations, and individual waterfowl hunters who provide input representing 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 task force member (see below).

The recommended season dates must be within federal guidelines established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For fall 2017, 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. 23 and closing no later than Jan. 28, 2018.

In an effort to encourage input from the public, DEC developed an online input tool for hunters to provide opinions on waterfowl seasons. The feedback received will be summarized and shared with the task forces at their annual meetings in March. The task force uses this feedback, as well as feedback received from other sources to develop season date recommendations.

There are three ways for interested hunters to provide their opinions on future waterfowl seasons:

•Via the online hunter input tool (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42364.html).

•Directly contacting one of the task force members in the hunter's zone. The list of members can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42364.html.

•Sending an email to the waterfowl season input mailbox ([email protected]). Suggestions sent to this mailbox will be forwarded to all of the task force members in the zone.

Descriptions of New York state's waterfowl hunting zones can be found on the DEC website (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28497.html) and are listed in the annual New York Hunting and Trapping Guide. The final waterfowl hunting season dates will be posted on DEC's website and announced by news release in mid-summer.

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