North Country waterfowl hunters should know that New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says the upcoming waterfowl hunting season dates and updated regulations, available now on the DEC website at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28503.html, will become official as soon as federal and state rule-making procedures are finalized in the next several weeks.
This year's season selections were developed by a team of DEC biologists from around the state, with input from waterfowl hunters, including hunter task forces. DEC has looked to task forces to help select waterfowl hunting season dates for more than a decade.
DEC says most duck populations in New York are in great shape this year due to favorable habitat conditions across the continent for waterfowl nesting and brood-rearing. Breeding populations of eastern mallards and wood ducks -- the two most commonly harvested ducks in New York -- are similar to or higher than last year.
Hunting seasons for Canada geese are set. Goose season in the North Country opens in early September, according to the plan.
A special spring season for snow geese will continue for the third year in all of upstate New York. These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range. Special spring seasons have been established in many eastern states and provinces to increase hunter harvest and help reduce this population. The daily limit for snow geese was increased this year to 25 per day.
Hunters 16 or older must have a 2010 federal duck stamp to hunt during any of the 2010-2011 seasons They cost $15 and are available at most post offices and some sporting goods stores. They are also available by calling toll-free (800) 852-4897 or at www.duckstamp.com. Stamps must be signed across the face by the hunter before they become valid, but they do not have to be attached to the hunting license.
And all migratory game bird (waterfowl, woodcock, snipe, rails and gallinules) hunters, including junior hunters (age 12-15), must register with New York's Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to going afield on or after Sept. 1. Hunters must register every year and for each state in which they plan to hunt migratory game birds, and also must carry proof of compliance whenever going afield. To register in HIP, call toll-free (888) 427-5447 or visit www.NY-HIP.com.