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2011-2012 NY Sporting Licenses Available Beginning August 15, 2011

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that 2011-2012 hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) may be purchased beginning Monday, August 15.

Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,500 license sales outlets statewide. Sporting licenses can also be ordered by mail or by telephone and via the internet at www.dec.ny.gov. The 2011-2012 sporting licenses are valid beginning October 1, 2011, through September 30, 2012.

“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,” Commissioner Martens said. “With a new deer management plan soon to be adopted, statewide management plans being developed for black bear and furbearers, and construction of new or upgrades to existing boat launches, we’re continually working to make improvements to better serve the public and protect our natural resources.”

Due to unforeseen delays associated with production of the hunting and trapping and fishing regulations guide books, they may not be available at license sales outlets on August 15. Those purchasing a license and not receiving a guide can download a copy from the DEC website (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html for the hunting/trapping guide and http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html for the fishing guide) or return to any license vendor at a later date and request the 2011-2012 guide(s) desired.

DEC Automated Licensing System
DEC’s Automated Licensing System (DECALS) is New York State’s program 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, please 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 August 15 to October 15, 2011. Regular weekday hours of 8 am to 5 pm will resume on October 17, 2011.

License buyers should have the following items ready when applying: complete name and address information, customer ID number if you have it, proof of residency information (driver’s license number or non-driver’s ID number 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 2011-2012
Hunters and trappers should be aware of several new regulations in effect for 2011-2012:

Crossbows may now be used for hunting big game (deer and bear) during the early bear season, regular firearms seasons, the special January firearms season in Suffolk County, and all late muzzleloading seasons. See www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html for more information.

Recent legislation lowered the minimum age for youth hunters to purchase a Junior Bowhunting license for big game hunting from 14 to 12 years of age. See the Junior Hunter Mentoring Program for detailed information on youth hunting requirements.

Bear hunting is now open in new areas in eastern New York and bear hunting season dates in central and western New York have been modified to create a uniform season across the Southern Zone. See Deer and Bear Hunting Seasons for season dates and locations.

Woodcock season has been expanded to 45 days. See Woodcock Hunting Seasons for dates.

New legislation now allows use of rifles for big game hunting in Wyoming and Cortland counties and in the portion of Chautauqua County south of Route 20.

More detail for each of these regulation changes is available in the 2011-2012 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/37136.html.

Anglers should be aware that although the majority of fishing regulations have not changed from 2010-2011, significant changes have been made to the regulations for use and transportation of baitfish. Transportation corridors through which uncertified baitfish can be transported in motor vehicles have been established for Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and adjoining waters, as well as the Hudson River see: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/47282.html.

Deer Management Permits
DEC issues Deer Management Permits (DMPs), often called doe tags, to move the population closer toward objective levels in each Wildlife Management Unit (a map of WMU boundaries across the state can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/8302.html). The target DMP allocation for 2011 varies by unit depending on the management objective, but overall DEC intends to issue approximately 10% more DMPs than in 2010. In addition to the Adirondack and Tug Hill units where DMPs are not authorized, WMUs 3A, 4L, 4S, 4U, and 4Z will be closed for DMPs in 2011. Applicants are reminded that DMPs are only valid for antlerless deer in the WMU specified on the permit.

For specific boundaries of the WMUs mentioned in this announcement and for all current hunting, fishing and trapping regulations, access the DEC website www.dec.ny.gov.

DMPs will be available at all license issuing outlets and by phone, internet or mail, from August15, 2011 through close of business October 1, 2011. 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, at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30409.html, or you may call the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Chances of getting a DMP remain the same throughout the application period, so 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 October 1, leftover DMP sales will commence on November 1, 2011 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 Suffolk County (WMU 1C). For information about Bonus DMPs see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/10001.html.

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 14-15 year olds to hunt big game with a firearm and 12-15 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 and at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/46245.html.

Take the Pledge to introduce someone new to the sport of fishing
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. Over 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 at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishing.html. Together we can create a future generation of anglers that value the great outdoors we all cherish.

Contribute Via Habitat Stamps, Trail Supporter Patch, or donation directly to support the Conservation Fund or the Venison Donation Program

DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches help support the 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 that 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 Venison Donation Coalition, 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 you can participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other citizen science programs, see www.dec.ny.gov/animals/1155.html.

The latest updates on New York’s fish and wildlife can be easily accessed by subscribing to Field Notes (www.dec.ny.gov/about/63801.html), a free online e-mail list.

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How to Shoot a Compound Bow Properly – Ultimate Guide

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Shooting a compound bow might seem as simple as picking up the bow, drawing the string with an arrow, and releasing it. If that’s how you think it works, then you’re dead wrong. It takes a world of knowledge and practice to learn how to properly shoot a compound bow. Luckily for you, we’re going to teach you how to do it with this compound bow shooting tutorial.

Preparing the Bow

Your compound bow should use high-quality strings that aren’t worn or heavily used. Your bow should be in good shape and properly maintained. You should be aware of how much draw pressure your bow can handle. If possible, use a compound bow that you’ve used before and that you’re familiar with, or use a compound bow that an expert archer has provided. Ideally, you should learn how to shoot a compound bow from someone who has a lot of experience shooting such a bow successfully.

Stance

You should face the target at about a 45-degree angle. Your feet should be parallel to one another and about 17-25 inches apart. Your toes should be directly facing the target. If you use such a stance you’ll have a much easier time drawing your bow and you’ll have a better chance of hitting your target dead-on.

Grip

Use a firm but relaxed grip with your bow-holding hand. If your grip is too tight on the bow then you won’t have as much accuracy on your shot. Try using a wrist sling if you are unable to master the art of a firm yet comfortable grip. Don’t be ashamed because the main point is accuracy and whatever you can do to attain the perfect shot is fine. Never, and I repeat NEVER, shoot with an open hand. You don’t ever want to grab the bow with your drawing hand during a shot – this is undoubtedly the worst mistake you can make when shooting a compound bow because it can lead to fatal errors.

Anchor

When you draw the string, you should be locking your string hand against the side of your face. This is what’s known as the “anchor” position. The string and your hand will be on the right side of your face, and vice versa if you are left-handed. You can achieve the highest level of archery accuracy by anchoring the string at the corner of your mouth – or under your chin.

Draw

You should extend your bow arm directly toward your target with the string gripped firmly between your fingers… or by using a mechanical release device, if you prefer. Point the bow at the target and pull the string smoothly and firmly. Extend the bow all the way, pull the string back to its maximum point of a full draw, and resist the urge to move the compound bow forward. Make sure that you use a bow that is suited for you because a bow with a draw that is too heavy will destroy your accuracy.

Aim

If you’re using a bow that is equipped with a sight then aiming will be easier, but it still won’t be perfect. Bow sights are good for average shooters, especially if a laser sight is involved. The key to natural aiming is practice. The best archers usually aim slightly above the target (depending on wind conditions) so they can aim while still looking directly at the target.

Release

Your release can determine whether or not your shot hits the mark. You need a smooth release, and you need to relax all of your fingers completely before you release the string for the shot. Even the slightest amount of finger tension can disrupt your aim. If you have a mechanical release aid the shot will be easier because all you have to do is draw, aim, and pull the release trigger for the compound bow. This type of mechanism can fail you, however… if you slap the trigger then the arrow will go astray.

Follow-Through

Just as in golf, the follow-through is extremely important in archery. Why? The arrow has already been released, right? You need to keep aiming until your arrow hits the target. The follow-through is largely a mental thing. You need to see your arrow hitting the target while you are steadily holding your bow. Never lower your bow after the arrow has been released. Stay in formation and hold your position until the arrow hits the target.

Practice

If you want to become an expert at shooting a compound bow then you need to practice. The saying “practice makes perfect” isn’t really true. You need to invoke the saying of “perfect practice makes perfect” because practicing something the wrong way will get you nowhere. When your target of choice is out of season then you shouldn’t lay back and watch TV until it’s time to hunt again. Set up targets and keep a compound bow in your hands as much as you can.

Conclusion

After reading this article there’s no excuse for becoming an expert compound bow shooter. From choosing the right equipment to shooting correctly there is an equation to correctly shooting a compound bow. Do you have any tips on shooting a compound bow? If so, we’d love to hear from you in the Comments section below.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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New changes are heading our way for the 2015 deer season in New York. For those of us hunting in Westchester County and a few other WMUs that have historically had an overpopulation of deer we now have a newly created 2-week long antlerless-only season – the only problem is that it’s the first 2-weeks of bow season.

For some, that’s not an issue, but to others, it just crushed their chances of killing that buck they’ve been patterning since the season ended in 2014. Why? Because those first 2-weeks also happen to be the last few days you can catch a buck on its summer pattern.

The DEC says that management goals are not being met in these WMUs which is why we need the antlerless-only season. Well, I can tell you changing the first two weeks to antlerless-only is going to have a minimal impact, if any, on the antlerless harvest. The guys that want to shoot bucks will be spending their time in NJ or CT and the rest of us, well, we kill does all season long so it’s business as usual for us.

If the DEC really wanted to increase the antlerless harvest we could have looked to our neighbors over in CT and simply extended the hunting season for another month by starting in September, extending into January or both.

We also are still a 2-buck state (1 Regular Season buck tag, 1 Either Sex archery tag). If we dropped one of the tags, like most of the ‘big-buck’ states, and became a 1-buck state I think you’d also see the antlerless harvest go up…not to mention we’d probably have a few more decent bucks running around.

Time will tell how these new regulations end up working, but I think we already know, this isn’t going to work.

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Bowhunting News

NYS DEC Misses the Mark with New Regulations

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First meeting of 2014 for the WCBA

The Westchester County Bowhunters Association will hold its winter meeting on January 21,2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Teatown Lake Reservation Ossining, NY.

One of the hot topics for discussion I’m sure will be the plans that Teatown has for using sharpshooters to cull 75 deer from the reservation property. Why Teatown isn’t using a free resource like Westchester County’s own bowhunters and is choosing to use taxpayer money to hire sharp shooters is beyond me. Hopefully, we get some answers on this Tuesday night.

About the WCBA: Since 1979, the Westchester County Bowhunters Association has worked at expanding the knowledge of local non-hunters in order that they understand the importance of sound wildlife conservation, and by that we mean effectively controlling Westchester County’s deer populations through Bow hunting.

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