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NY DEC Proposes Opening More Bear Hunting Areas

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New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced proposed changes that would open new areas east of the Hudson River to black bear hunting and establish uniform bear hunting season dates across the Southern Zone beginning in the 2011 hunting season.

“The proposed adjustments to bear hunting in the Southern bear range are part of our continuing effort to better manage bear populations and provide excellent hunting opportunities in New York State,” Commissioner Martens said. “Black bears are thriving in New York and have expanded their range considerably in recent years. Increasing opportunities for bear hunting in the Southern Zone will help alleviate agricultural and homeowner conflicts with bears, provide recreational opportunity, and facilitate wise use of bear meat and hides.”

The specific changes proposed for the Southern bear range would:

Open Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3F, 3G, 3N, 3R, 3S, 4C, 4K, 4L, 4T, 4U, 4Y, 4Z, 5S and 5T to black bear hunting for the archery, regular and muzzleloading seasons. This would include all of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Rensselaer, and Washington counties, and the portion of Rockland that was not already open for black bear hunting. Season dates for these units will be the same as those in place for adjacent units already open to bear hunting in the Southern bear range.

Establish an earlier start to the existing regular black bear season in wildlife management units in parts of central and western New York by removing the 7-day lag that has previously existed between the start of the regular deer season and the regular bear season in this portion of New York. This will provide a uniform bear hunting season framework for all bear hunting in the Southern Zone.

Bear hunting is the only viable and cost effective tool for managing bear numbers on a landscape scale. However, DEC also encourages public understanding and tolerance of bears through various educational efforts. Additional information about black bears is available at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/6960.html including tips for living with bears. DEC has also helped produce and distribute a DVD, “Living with Black Bears in New York,” which is available in most schools and public libraries throughout the state.

To see more detailed descriptions of the proposal, including instructions for providing comments, go to he DEC website. The proposed rulemaking can also be viewed in detail in the May 18, 2011 publication of the New York State Register.

DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposal through July 5, 2011. A map of the proposed area expansion is attached.

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Bear Hunting

New York’s First Early Black Bear Season a Success

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A flourishing black bear population and a newly established early-season give hunters additional opportunities to hunt black bears in New York.

The NYS DEC took a proactive approach to manage the State’s black bear population with the addition of an early black bear season in select WMUs for 2014. The early bear hunting season started on September 6th in portions of Southeastern New York and September 13th in Northern New York

Some of the highlights of the new plan include:

  • New early firearms bear season from September 6-21 in WMUs 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. Any hunting implement, including crossbows, are legal for use during the early black bear season.
  • Expanded bear hunting in northern New York which now includes WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K, and 6N. In these newly opened units, bear hunting begins with bowhunting equipment only from September 13 through October 17.

The downside with the early season bear hunting is the heat – the opening day had temperatures in the mid to high 80s with high humidity. Bear hunters will have to skin their harvest as quickly as possible to cool the meat and prevent spoilage. Hunters might also want to skin and quarter the bear in the field and picking out the meat in game bags.

Here’s a video from one successful hunter during this year’s early black bear season:

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Bear Hunting

Black Bears Around Campsites and Hiking Trails

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Recently, the NYS DEC issued some warnings about camping in areas with black bears. I frequently visit areas like this and it’s good to refresh yourself no matter how seasoned of a backpacker, hiker, or camper you are. Here are some tips from the DEC to remember while camping and hiking in bear country:

  • Store food, toiletries and garbage in bear resistant containers or “food hangs.” If you have no choice but to hang your food, be sure to use a dark colored cord. The cord should be 75 feet long and the bag should be hung 15 feet above the ground and at least 10 feet away from trees.
  • Keep food in hangs or in bear resistant container at all times, take down only what is needed for cooking. Bear resistant canisters are a highly effective means for preventing bears from getting food, toiletries and garbage from back country campers. For more information about bear resistant containers, see the DEC webpage at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7225.html.
  • Bear resistant containers are required to be used by all overnight campers within the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
  • Never leave food unattended unless it is in a bear resistant container or in a food hang.
  • Never cook or eat in your sleeping area.
  • Cook early, no later than 5 p.m.
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Bear Hunting

Maine Black Bear Raffle

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This was something I came across that you don’t quite hear about everyday, but I thought it was worth mentioning and spreading the word about.In the little town of North Berwick, Maine, 200 Noble High School students are trying to raise $100,000 for a school music trip down to New York City. However, selling cup cakes just wasn’t cutting it so one of the student’s grandfather decided to offer up a raffle for a 6-day black bear hunt.

Grandfather of a choral student in the school music department and a Master Maine Guide, Varney figured the sale of $10 tickets for a chance to hunt at one of his son’s 50 “bear sites” might help raise the funds needed for the children to make the trip.

The winner gets lodging and meals for two at one of the family’s bear camps in northwestern Maine for the first week of the 2008 bear-hunting season. Hot and cold running water, “a flush toilet,” bedding and meals — including a lobster bake and “trash can turkey” dinner — are included. A Ragged Lake Guide Service guide is part of the prize and winners are warned their cell phones won’t work at the remote camp.

Winners who don’t want to hunt can photograph bears and other wildlife in the remote area between Mt. Katahdin and the Canadian border, said Varney, or take $1,000 cash.

Tickets will be sold until April 30 and the winner drawn May 1. Rod and gun clubs are getting out the word and Noble music boosters will be selling tickets at the Kittery Trading Post on Feb. 2.

To purchase tickets for the Black bear hunt raffle, or more information send inquires to Varney at noblesro@sad60.k12.me.us.

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