New York 2006-2007 Sporting Licenses Available

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Denise M. Sheehan today announced that 2006-07 hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) may be purchased beginning Monday, August 14, 2006. Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC's 1,600 license sales outlets statewide. They can also be purchased via the internet or ordered by mail and by phone. All sporting licenses are valid beginning October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007.

Commissioner Sheehan also announced an expansion of the areas open to black bear hunting in the Southern Zone, an expansion of the existing antler restriction pilot study, and modification of the regulations intended to protect against further introduction or spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).

"As DEC kicks off another license year, we continue to help meet the needs of sportsmen and sportswomen by making improvements to better serve the public and protect our natural resources," Commissioner Sheehan said. "These regulation changes reflect a commitment to deer and bear management that is effective at controlling wildlife populations and consistent with human interests. Opportunities for deer and bear hunting in New York are among the best in the Northeast and these regulation changes will continue to provide New York sportsmen and women a diversity of sporting opportunities."

This year, regular Northern Zone big game hunting season runs October 21, - December 3, 2006 and regular Southern Zone big game hunting season runs November 18, - December 10, 2006. This year's Northern Zone archery season runs from September 27 - October 20, 2006. The Southern Zone's archery season runs October 14 - November 17, 2006 and resumes December 11 - December 19, 2006.

Over the past decade, black bear populations have grown and expanded their range in the Northern Catskills. Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 4F, 4G and 4H 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 in this area since 1999. Expansion of the bear hunting area to include WMUs 4F, 4G and 4H is expected to result in a significant reduction in negative bear-human interactions while providing additional hunting opportunities.

DEC has also expanded the pilot antler restriction program in the Southern Catskills to include WMUs 3H and 3K located primarily in Sullivan County as a result of strong support among local sportsmen and based on deer populations. The pilot antler restriction program was initiated in WMUs 3C and 3J in 2005 and is intended to expand the age structure of the buck population. This harvest strategy requires that bucks taken in WMUs 3C and 3J and now also WMUs 3H and 3K have at least three antler points on a side to be legal. Hunters under 17 years of age are exempt from the three-point requirement.

Chronic Wasting Disease regulations have been updated in response to the finding of the disease in a moose in Colorado and deer in West Virginia. Hunters bringing carcasses into New York from West Virginia must now process them to remove tissues of concern prior to import, and moose have been added to the list of susceptible species that previously included deer and elk.

More than 8,000 wild deer have been tested for CWD in New York following the discovery of CWD in 2 wild and 5 captive deer in April 2005, and no additional animals have tested positive for the disease. Special restrictions are in place within the State's CWD Containment Area of Oneida and Madison counties, governing how harvested deer and specific deer parts may be possessed, transported, and disposed. Mandatory testing of all deer taken in the containment area will be occurring again this fall, as well as random testing in other counties throughout New York State.

New this fall, successful hunters in the containment area will have the option to bring either only the deer head or the entire field dressed carcass to the Oneida Deer Check Station (see Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide 2006-2007 or DEC website for specific guidelines). Background information about CWD, DEC's response, and pertinent regulations can be found at on the DEC's website.

The Department of Environmental Conservation Automated Licensing System (DECALS) is New York State's program for issuing sporting licenses and is also used to track sales and revenues. DEC continues to improve and enhance DECALS to better meet the needs of hunters. Beginning August 14, 2006, individuals will be able to purchase 2006-07 licenses and permits through DECALS at all license issuing outlets across the State. For hunters who have previously purchased a DEC license, applications may be submitted electronically via DEC's website at . Applications may also be downloaded from the website and submitted by mail or phone (1-866-472-4332). If the applicant has previously purchased a license through DECALS, he or she can also purchase licenses by phone by calling 1-866-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257). Hours of operation for the call center are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Applicants should have the following items ready: complete name and address information; proof of residency information (driver's license number or non-driver's ID number to qualify for a resident license); and, if purchasing by phone, credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to show proof of hunting education certification or a copy of last year's license, or this information must already be contained in their DECALS file.

Deer Management Permits, for antlerless deer only, will be available at all license issuing outlets, by phone and by mail, from August 14, 2006 through midnight October 1, 2006. DMPs are issued by an instant lottery selection process at the point of sale, so customers who are selected for DMPs will receive their permits immediately. The probabilities for DMP selection in each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) are determined by the number of applications expected for each WMU and the number of DMPs DEC must issue to effectively manage the deer herd. An applicant's chances of selection are also affected by the customer's residency, number of preference points, land ownership and disabled veterans status. Chances of selection in each WMU are listed in this year's Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide, available at license issuing outlets and are available on DEC's website at . Chances of receiving a DMP remain the same throughout the application period from August 14 through October 1, 2006, so hunters don't need to rush to apply for a DMP on the first day of sale. Applicants are reminded that DMPs are only valid for use in the WMU specified on the permit.

If a significant number of DMPs are still available in a WMU after October 1, 2006, sales of leftover DMPs will commence on November 1, 2006 and will continue on a first-come/first-served basis until the end of the hunting season or until all DMPs have been issued in the WMU.

DEC plans to issue approximately 330,000 deer management permits this year, about 5 percent more than last year's objective. The slight increase in DMP targets for 2006 is generally a result of expected deer population increases in many areas following the mild winter of 2005-06 and reduced deer harvests in 2004 and 2005.

For specific boundaries of the WMUs affected by regulation changes and for all current hunting regulations for deer and bear, access DEC's website at .

DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp when they purchase their license. The Habitat/Access Stamp is an optional stamp that is available to people who want to support the DEC's efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife related recreation. This year's stamp features a line drawing of a wild turkey. Buying a $5.00 habitat stamp is the perfect way for young or old, angler or hunter, birder or photographer to help conserve New York's fabulous wildlife heritage. If you purchase a Habitat/Access stamp you will also receive a limited edition Habitat/Access lapel pin by mail. More information is available at on DEC's website.

Help feed the hungry by contributing to the Venison Donation Program either by donating venison or with a voluntary monetary donation at all license issuing outlets. You don't have to be a hunter or angler to help. Individuals should inform the license sales agent that they want to make a donation of one dollar or more to support the Venison Donation Program. For more information about the Venison Donation Coalition, go to on DEC's website.