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DEC seeks comments on proposed hunting regs

December 1, 2016
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is asking the public to submit comments on several proposed changes to state hunting regulations. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 23.

There are five proposed changes to rules, including several on white-tailed deer, bobcat hunting and trapping, pesticide use and eliminating the hunting season for diamondback turtles.

The DEC says that the five changes are still just informal ideas, and a formal rule-making process will be undertaken sometime next year. But in the meantime, the DEC is asking the public to chime in with thoughts on the proposed changes.

"Prior to initiating a formal rulemaking process, DEC routinely seeks public input regarding concerns or interest in potential changes to regulations," a press release from the department said. "It is helpful to obtain informal feedback to gauge public interest and support, and to learn of any concerns that may exist, before the formal rulemaking process is initiated."


White-tailed deer

Proposed changes to big game hunting regulations revolve around white-tailed deer, although none of the three proposed changes will actually affect how hunting is done.

Two changes, which are included in one rule change, are about the illegal feeding of deer. One would change the law that bans the feeding of deer to clarify what constitutes bait or feed, while also clarifying that incidental feeding from birdfeeders would only be an illegal act if the owner of the feeder has been warned for feeding before.

"A general prohibition on feeding white-tailed deer has been in effect since 2002," the DEC says in its proposal. "Updated regulations are needed to address additional concerns related to deer feeding while maintaining appropriate exemptions for agriculture and wildlife food plots."

The birdfeeder rule would clarify in the law "that incidental feeding such as the attraction of deer or moose to a birdfeeder would only be considered a violation if the department had previously issued a written warning to the person responsible for the incidental feeding. This will allow the department to respond appropriately to specific complaints of nuisance situations without limiting bird feeding in general."

The second proposed regulation change would strengthen chronic wasting disease protections by increasing oversight, adding some animals to the list of potential CWD carriers and requiring butchers and taxidermists to properly dispose of waste products.

"Chronic wasting disease represents a serious threat to New York State's wild white-tailed population. DEC's existing CWD regulation is antiquated and does not provide adequate measures to protect the deer population," the DEC said.

This rule change would add caribou and reindeer to the list of animals that could carry CWD, would make illegal 'the importation of all CWD-susceptible carcasses taken outside New York,' and would prohibit "the retail sale and use of urine, glands or excreted materials from any CWD-susceptible animals for scents, lures, or attractants while afield."

A third change to the law concerns use of a pesticide that kills ticks on deer in Suffolk and Nassau counties.


Small game changes

The DEC is also proposing two changes to small game hunting regulations that would affect the taking of bobcats and diamondback terrapin turtles.

The first would remove a current requirement that necessitates a special permit to take bobcats in certain wildlife management units. The requirement would be removed because DEC requires bobcat pelts to be "pelt-sealed" by DEC staff, so the information gathered by issuing the special permit is redundant. This change will not affect the bobcat hunting season in any way. Pelt-sealing is when DEC staff affixes a plastic tag to the pelt.

"All hunters and trappers are already required to possess a hunting or trapping license to take a bobcat anywhere in New York where the season is open," the DEC said. "Mandatory pelt-sealing allows DEC staff to monitor harvest and to estimate the number of hunters and trappers pursuing bobcats."

The second small game change would remove the diamondback terrapin turtle's open season.

"Declines in terrapin populations and increasing pressures from habitat loss, nesting predation and commercial harvest for specialized markets has prompted closure of harvest in all of the states in the terrapin's range with the exception of New York," the DEC said. "Concerns for New York terrapin populations have prompted this change to repeal Part 3.1 to close the open season and provide protection to the species from harvest.

"Amending part 3.2 to add diamondback terrapin to the list of native turtles with no open season would effectively protect the species in all lifestages from being collected in the wild without a special license to collect and possess."

To see the proposed changes, visit Written comments may be submitted via email to, or mailed to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754.



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