Additional Public Meeting on Deer and Bear Proposals

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that an additional public meeting on deer and bear hunting in the Southern Zone will be held in Sullivan County to discuss the recently-announced proposed regulation changes and accept public comment.

The second meeting will be held from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31, 2006, at Granite Associates (CVI) at One Cablevision Center in Liberty, Sullivan County. The first meeting announced will continue to take place on Wednesday, May 17, from 7-9 p.m. at the Schoharie County Cooperative Extension Building in Cobleskill, Schoharie County.

Written comments will also be accepted via our website or by mail until June 5, 2006. To send written comments on the proposals, go to www.dec.state.ny.us and select "Proposed Environmental Regulations" from the left column, or mail to: Jeremy Hurst, NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Following the end of the comment period, DEC will review public input for potential inclusion into the proposed regulations.

The proposed changes affecting the Southern Catskills involve an expansion of the current antler restriction pilot program to include Wildlife Management Units 3H and 3K. The current antler restriction program was initiated in WMUs 3C and 3J in 2005 and is designed to expand the age structure of the buck population. The proposed expansion is based on a strong level of local support and will require that bucks taken in WMUs 3H and 3K have at least one antler with at least three points to be legal. Young hunters, under the age of 17, would be exempt from this requirement.

In the Northern Catskills, DEC is proposing adding WMUs 4F, 4G and 4H to the areas open to bear hunting. These units have demonstrated an increasing trend in the number and frequency of bear nuisance problems in recent years. Bear activity and complaint levels have risen by over 100 percent since 1999. The proposed expansion of the bear hunting area to include WMUs 4F, 4G and 4H is aimed at the stabilization and or reduction in the number of bears in these areas and thus the reduction of negative interactions between bears and people.

To view the text of the proposed rulemaking, please visit the DEC website at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/propregs/part1text.html. Designated boundaries for the WMUs can be found on the DEC website at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/wmunits.html .