The state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing new rules for deer and bear hunting in New York.
The changes are meant to implement the state's five-year deer management plan, which it finished last October. Comments previously submitted on the draft deer management plan were used in developing this rule-making proposal.
"Regulation changes are needed to implement many of the strategies of the recently adopted management plan for white-tailed deer," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a written statement. "The changes to the deer hunting seasons, mandatory antler restrictions, use of deer management permits, and development of deer management focus areas will increase opportunities for New York hunters, consistent with input we've received from the public and deer management goals."
Mike Lynch/Lake Placid News
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments on its newly proposed deer and bear hunting rules until May 21.
Bob Brown of Saranac Lake, vice president of the Franklin County Federation of Fish and Game Clubs, was satisfied with most of the plan.
"The DEC did a good job with all the changes," he said.
Brown said his only objection is relatively minor, related to a requirement that hunters in a section of the Catskills only take bucks with three points or more. Still, that rule won't affect hunters here.
"It's a different situation," he said.
The DEC will accept public comments on the hunting proposals through May 21. The department encourages people not to resubmit their previous comments from the full deer management plan or previous regulatory proposals.
Among the changes to deer hunting regulations in the Adirondacks is the establishment of a three-day youth firearms season for children 14 and 15 years old. The DEC anticipates participation by approximately 16,000 youth hunters, roughly one youth hunter for every 2 to 3 square miles of deer habitat in New York, it said in a press release.
"The youth season will run concurrently with early bowhunting season and is not expected to have any noticeable impact on deer behavior or bowhunter success, particularly in light of the more than 100,000 small game hunters also afield during the early fall," the DEC said.
Youth deer hunts are held concurrent with bowhunting seasons in many other states, including Connecticut, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Here are some other proposed changes that would affect the Adirondacks:
- Delay the muzzleloader and regular season start dates by up to one week later than certain years to increase bowhunting opportunities and accommodate the proposed youth firearms season. This rule will begin the muzzleloader and regular seasons one week later in six of 10 years, allowing for a longer early bowhunting season these years. Muzzleloading season starts the third Saturday of October and regular deer hunting starts the fourth Saturday in October.
- Establish a late bowhunting season, concurrent with the late muzzleloading season, to increase bowhunting opportunities. This rule will increase bowhunting opportunities by an additional seven days and will be similar to the concurrent bow and muzzleloader seasons south of the Adirondacks.
- Adjust bear seasons to remain consistent with bow, muzzleloader and regular seasons for deer.
To see more detailed explanations of these proposals, including instructions for providing comments, visit the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html. The proposed rule-making can also be viewed in detail in the April 4 publication of the New York State Register, which will be posted at www.dos.state.ny.us/info/register/2012.html.