DEC Announces Tentative 2006-07 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Denise M. Sheehan today announced the tentative schedule for most of New York's 2006-2007 waterfowl hunting seasons, allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to plan outdoor activities well in advance.
"By announcing this schedule, we are giving hunters who enjoy this exciting sport a better opportunity to plan vacations and activities around the hunting seasons,"Commissioner Sheehan said. "Although the dates won't be finalized until late summer when federal regulations are official, preliminary indications of waterfowl populations and habitat conditions suggest that the tentative season dates will conform with expected federal requirements for the coming year."
The September Canada goose season opens September 1 in most areas of the state. Tentative dates for this season are as follows:
Lake Champlain Zone: September 5-September 25
Long Island Zone: September 5-September 30
All other zones: September 1-September 25
The daily bag limit for Canada geese taken during September will be 8 geese per day, except in the Lake Champlain Zone where it will be 5 geese per day. The September season is designed to increase the harvest of local-nesting or "resident" Canada geese. Approximately 40,000 birds are taken annually by September goose hunters in New York. Dates for the regular fall goose hunting seasons, when migratory Canada geese are present, will be announced in late summer after breeding population data from northern Canada is evaluated.
The annual Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend will be held in each zone this fall, providing additional days for junior hunters (ages 12-15) to hunt ducks, geese and brant. This special opportunity is intended to encourage experienced waterfowl hunters to help teach young hunters the techniques and ethics of this sport. The junior hunter must be fully licensed and accompanied by an adult hunter in accordance with all New York State regulations, and only the junior hunter may take birds on these days. Tentative dates for Youth Waterfowl hunting weekends are as follows:
Northeastern and Southeastern Zones: September 23-24 (Saturday-Sunday)
Western Zone: October 8-9 (Sunday-Columbus Day)
Long Island Zone: November 11-12 (Saturday-Sunday)
Regular duck hunting seasons will begin during October in most zones and continue well into December or January in all areas. Tentative dates for duck seasons are as follows:
Northeastern Zone: October 7 - October 15 and October 25 - December 14
Southeastern Zone: October 14 - October 22 and November 11 - December 31
Western Zone: October 21 - December 6 and December 26 - January 7
Long Island Zone: November 22 - November 26 and December 5 - January 28
The tentative duck hunting season dates were developed by a team of DEC biologists representing all regions of New York. The season selections were based on anticipated federal regulations for the coming year and hunter input. DEC's season-setting team assumed that duck seasons would again be 60 days in length and that bag limits for most species would be the same as last year.
In the Western, Northeastern, and Southeastern zones, DEC adopted dates recommended by three waterfowl hunter task forces. This approach has helped DEC set seasons in areas where hunter preferences are diverse. For the Long Island zone, DEC staff relied on hunter input from correspondence and public meetings held in recent years. No dates are available at this time for the Lake Champlain Zone because they are to be determined by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board following a mid-August public hearing to be held in Burlington, Vermont. The dates will be based on recommendations received from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, DEC, and public comments from the hearing.
As soon as the final federal waterfowl hunting regulations are known, the official State regulations for the 2006-2007 waterfowl seasons will be posted on DEC's website and announced by a statewide news release. The regulations will include seasons for Canada geese, snow geese and brant, which are too uncertain to predict at this time. Final duck season dates are expected to stay as listed here unless federal regulations require changes. Hunters should confirm the final season dates before going afield.
DEC plans to mail a copy of the 2006-2007 regulations brochure to everyone who registered in New York's Harvest Information Program (HIP) last year. Copies will also be available in late September wherever hunting licenses are sold. Hunters must register with HIP for each state they intend to hunt in and for each hunting season. Hunters may register for HIP on-line at www.wetland.net or by calling 1-866-GAME-RPT (1-866-426-3778). The HIP website and phone number will be activated in mid August. HIP provides hunter names and addresses that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service uses for harvest surveys and DEC uses to mail hunters the annual regulations brochure.
For more information about waterfowl in New York, visit the DEC website: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/waterfowl/index.html