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DEC Proposes New Migratory Bird Regulations

DEC announced the release of proposed regulation changes to the state’s migratory game bird program. The proposed changes would create a special hunting opportunity for military veterans and active duty armed forces, make it easier for hunters to obtain a duck stamp, and would clarify or correct conflicting language between state and federal regulations.

  • Specifically, this proposed rulemaking would modify 6 NYCRR Part 2.3 to: Allow for a new two-day waterfowl hunting opportunity for veterans and active military members in addition to the regular waterfowl seasons;

  • Allow for the general public to purchase electronic federal migratory bird conservation and hunting stamps and to make these electronic stamps legal for the purposes of hunting;

  • Explicitly prohibit licensed adult hunters serving as mentors from carrying a firearm, longbow, or crossbow in the field when accompanying a youth hunter participating in the youth waterfowl hunt to be consistent with other mentored hunting opportunities;

  • Allow crossbows as a hunting implement to be consistent with other small game species;

  • Correct and clarify prohibitions related to methods allowed during special goose seasons;

  • Clarify conflicting zone boundary descriptions between federal and state regulations.

Late last summer, the federal government approved the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act. The legislation allows states to establish special two-day military days in each waterfowl zone for qualifying members of the active duty armed forces or military veterans to hunt migratory birds (including ducks, geese, and brant). Standard licensing requirements would apply. Based on an informal survey of New York waterfowl hunters last fall, there was overwhelming support for DEC to participate starting in 2020-2021. These proposed regulations would allow DEC to enact this special hunting opportunity for the upcoming season.

To view the proposed rulemaking and/or provide comment, please visit DEC's website or the NY State Register.

Comments are due by August 2nd.

Proposed Trapping Season Changes Now Online

DEC is proposing changes to the current beaver, mink and muskrat trapping seasons. The proposed changes would expand beaver trapping opportunities in central and western New York and would align the start dates of mink and muskrat trapping seasons with beaver trapping seasons throughout the state.

Specifically, this proposed rulemaking would modify 6 NYCRR Parts 6.1 and 6.2 to:

  • Move the start date of the beaver season in western New York from November 25 to November 10, providing two additional weeks of trapping opportunity;

  • Extend the closing date of beaver trapping in central and western NY to April 7th, providing additional trapping opportunity after ice out and aligning the end date with the rest of the Southern Zone and with trapper season date preferences;

  • Shift the start date for mink and muskrat trapping in the Northern Zone from October 25 to November 1 to better align with trapper season date preferences and to align Northern Zone mink and muskrat trapping with the beaver season.

  • Shift the start date for mink and muskrat in central and western NY from November 25 to November 10. This will align the start date of the season throughout the Southern Zone and with the start of beaver trapping season.

Modifying the season dates for these species will allow DEC to improve management of species like beaver and to better address our goal of meeting the public desire for sustainable use of these resources. With the number of nuisance beaver complaints received by DEC increasing steadily each year, particularly in central and western New York, the proposed changes will allow DEC to minimize the damage and other problems caused by beavers. In addition, the proposed changes will better align trapping seasons with preferred season dates as indicated by a survey of licensed trappers.

To view the proposed rulemaking and/or provide comment, please visit DEC's website or the NY State Register.

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