ALBANY - The 2012-13 hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and deer management permits are now available for purchase.
"Hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities in New York are fantastic and DEC is committed to helping provide outdoor enthusiasts with numerous recreational opportunities to enjoy the beauty of our state throughout the year," New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said. "DEC continually works to make improvements to better serve the public and protect our natural resources. Recently, we adopted a new deer management plan, we are developing statewide management plans for black bear and furbearers, and we continue our effort to build and upgrade boat launches."
Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC's 1,500 license sales outlets statewide. Sporting licenses can also be ordered by telephone or by visiting the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html. The 2012-13 sporting licenses are valid beginning Oct. 1. The new hunting and trapping and freshwater fishing regulation guides are available at all license issuing outlets as well as from the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov.
DEC's Automated Licensing System, or DECALS, is New York State's computerized system for issuing sporting licenses and tracking license sales and revenues. DECALS may also be used for donations to the Habitat Access Stamp Program, Venison Donation Coalition, Conservation Fund and the Trail Maintenance Program. DEC continues to improve and enhance DECALS to better meet the needs of sportsmen and women. For questions regarding license purchases, call DECALS Call Center at 1-866-933-2257. Hours of operation for the call center are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday from Aug. 13 to Oct. 13. Regular weekday hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. will resume on Oct. 15.
License buyers should have the following items ready when applying: complete name and address information; customer ID number if possible; proof of residency information such as a driver's license number or non-driver's ID number with a valid NYS address to qualify for a resident license;, and, if purchasing by phone or internet, credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to provide proof of hunting education certification or a copy of a previous license, or this information must already be contained in their DECALS file.
Sales of all sporting licenses are deposited into the Conservation Fund, which is used for the management of New York's fish and wildlife populations and for protection and management of wildlife habitat.
New Regulations for 2012-2013
Hunters should be aware of several new laws and regulations in effect for 2012-13:
The Southern Zone bowhunting season and the regular season in Westchester County begins on Oct. 1, bowhunting only;
A late bowhunting season will run concurrent with the late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone;
The Northern Zone regular season will now begin on the second Saturday after Columbus Day each year, Oct. 20 this season;
Deer management permits, or doe tags, may be used in all seasons in the Northern Zone. DMPs may only be used in the Wildlife Management Unit for which they are issued;
Mandatory antler restrictions - 3 points on one side minimum - are now in effect in WMUs 3A, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S and 4W during all seasons for all hunters 17 years and older;
All of Suffolk County will be open for the special January firearms season, subject to local discharge ordinances;
A Deer Management Focus Area in central Tompkins County will intensify use of hunting to assist communities in the Ithaca area with the burden of overabundant deer populations;
Bear hunting seasons will run concurrently with the newly adjusted deer seasons;
New legislation now allows use of rifles for big game hunting in Cayuga Count;.
More detail for each of these regulation changes is available in the 2012-2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide which can be found online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html.
Anglers should be aware that while the majority of fishing regulations have not changed, some changes were made for the 2012-13 season. Some of these changes were made on popular fishing waters such as Lake Erie, the Upper Niagara River, the Salmon River, Great Lakes tributaries and Oneida Lake. Anglers are advised to review the 2012-13 Fishing Regulations Guide available online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html to determine if regulations changes have occurred on waters they intend to fish.
Deer management permits
Deer management permits will be available at all license-issuing outlets and by phone, internet or mail, from Aug. 13 through close of business Oct. 1. DMPs are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale, and customers who are selected for DMPs will receive their permits immediately. Chances of selection in each WMU are available at License Issuing Agent locations, on the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332 or online at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30409.html. Chances of getting a DMP remain the same throughout the application period - hunters do not need to rush to apply for a DMP on the first day of sale.
If a significant number of DMPs are still available in a WMU after Oct. 1, leftover DMP sales will commence on Nov. 1 and will continue on a first-come, first-serve basis until the end of the hunting season or until all DMPs have been issued in the WMU. Additionally, bonus DMPs will be available in the bowhunting-only WMUs 3S, 4J and 8C and in WMUs 1C, 9A and possible others. For information about bonus DMPs see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/10001.html.
The target DMP allocation for 2012 varies by unit depending on the management objective, but overall DEC intends to issue about 10 to12 percent more DMPs than in 2011. In addition to the Adirondack and Tug Hill units where DMPs are not authorized, WMUs 3A, 4L, 4U, 4Z and 6A will have no DMPs in 2012. Hunters are reminded that DMPs are only valid for antlerless deer in the WMU specified on the permit.
Be a mentor to a new hunter or trapper
Adult hunters and trappers are encouraged to pass along their traditions and become a mentor for a junior hunter or trapper. The junior hunter and trapper mentoring program allows 14 and 15 year olds to hunt big game with a firearm and 12 to 15 year olds to hunt big game with a bow while accompanied and supervised by an experienced adult hunter. Unlicensed youth less than 12 years of age may also accompany and assist a licensed and experienced adult trapper. More details about these opportunities are available in this year's Hunting and Trapping Laws and Regulations Guide or Junior Hunter Mentoring Program webpage at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html.
Due to pending legislation, it is unknown if the youth hunt for deer, tentatively scheduled over Columbus Day weekend, will occur. If legislation is passed for the youth hunt, DEC will publicize this via news release and on the website.
Anglers are encouraged to "Take the Pledge" and help grow the sport of fishing in New York State by taking someone new fishing this year. More than 11,000 New York anglers have participated in this joint program of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and the Department since its inception in 2006. Anglers interested in Taking the Pledge can do so on DEC's fishing page at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html.
The I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State features a map and brochure and provides information on over 320 lakes and ponds and 110 rivers and streams recommended by DEC Fisheries staff across the state. The map can be requested by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org with NY FISHING MAP in the subject line. New for 2012 are the interactive maps of public fishing waters and boat launch sites which can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/42978.html. Additional fishing information can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7832.html.
Contribute or donation
DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches help support DEC's efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish- and wildlife-related recreation and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a way to help conserve New York's fabulous wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in New York State. Additionally, anyone - not just hunters and anglers - can help feed the hungry by contributing to the Venison Donation Program at all license issuing outlets. Individuals should inform the license sales agent they want to make a donation of $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, the Venison Donation Coalition has paid for the processing of more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served. For more information about the program, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8351.html.
Participate in Citizen Science to Benefit Wildlife Management
Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers and anglers help DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. To learn about how to participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other citizen science programs, see Citizen Science: Wildlife Observation Data Collection online at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/1155.html.
The latest updates on New York's fish and wildlife can be easily accessed on the Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources E-mail News, a free online e-mail list. Sign up at www.dec.ny.gov/about/63801.html