View Full Version : NY: Beware of errors in new, improved hunting guidebook

Bob S
08-23-2007, 07:45 PM
ARTICLE (http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007708230305)

August 23, 2007

Double-check your season's opening days!

By Bill Conners
Outdoors columnist

Other states have been offsetting the publication cost of their hunting and fishing regulations guides by selling advertising space in them for years.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's 2007-08 hunting and trapping guide has something approaching the equivalent of 18 pages of ads and a new, updated look to it - both long overdue.

More than 900,000 copies of the guide are produced each year, making it an inviting venue for advertisers.

The new format looks like your typical sporting magazine. Gone, hopefully forever, is the old newsprint guide. It's now glossy, showy and contemporary.

The DEC should be commended for giving the publication a facelift.

Along with information regarding Environmental Conservation Law as it relates to hunting and trapping, the new guide has articles touching on those activities. The guide sports an impressive list of advertisers.

I also noticed a photo on page 55 that will be of local interest. At first glance, what looked like one of those family photo things is actually Dick Henry - formerly the big-game biologist from the Region 3 DEC office in New Paltz - holding a wild turkey in his arms. Henry is now the Region 4 Wildlife Manager.

Apparently, the photo is there to accompany an article about a turkey survival study that requires researchers to capture, band and then release wild turkeys. I suspect that someone snapped the picture just before they released Dick and the turkey back into the wild.

As for the errors, unfortunately there are several of them in the new guide dealing with season dates. The DEC is trying to get the word out about them so that hunters who actually refer to the guide will not run afoul of the law come hunting season.

I'm not sure what action an Environmental Conservation Officer will take if he or she caught you hunting or in possession of game as a result of the error in the guide. I would assume that each case will be decided on its own merits.

One of the Southern Zone errors could get you in trouble should you not catch it. The real date for the opening of the Regular Deer Season is Saturday, Nov. 17, not Thursday, Nov. 15. We went to a Saturday opener last year.

If you aren't aware of the error, you could get caught dragging a deer out of the woods two days before the season opens. If you can't convince the ECO who catches you that it was an innocent mistake - and if the local judge doesn't have as sense of humor - you could be in possession of some mighty expensive venison.

The guide also says that opening day for the Northern Zone Regular Deer season is Oct. 18. It actually opens on Oct. 20. Again, hopefully everyone will get the word.

The other error that affects this area is that the guide says that the Early Archery Season opens Oct. 18. It actually opens Oct. 13. If you were not aware of the error, you could lose five days of the archery season.

Dates for the use of Bow/Muzzleloader Either Sex and Antlerless tags during the Northern Zone Bowhunting season were also incorrect. The tags can be used from Oct. 1 until Oct. 19.

It might pay to go back you to where you purchased your license and get a correction sheet.

"Conservationist" future

Controversy surrounding another DEC publication has been flying across the wires for the last week or so.

"The Conservationist'' magazine, published by the department for the last 50 years or more, has been a sore spot with the sporting community for years.

It has been years since there was equitable coverage of hunting and fishing in the magazine, according to the sportsmen and women who purchase the licenses in this state.

I don't know where the rumors originated from, but there is a tremendous amount of angst out there that the magazine's "already scant coverage" of hunting, fishing and trapping is about to take a hit. I've had a couple of conversations with the media relations people in Albany, they assure me that there is no truth to the rumors.

However, something has been said to someone to unleash this tornado, and it's never easy to get the genie back in the bottle. The new commissioner was met with a lot of resistance from the sporting community during the Senate confirmation process.

Should coverage of the outdoor sports fall off, it will open the door to a chorus of, "I told you so's," that would certainly be counter-productive.

And it's not like that there isn't an archive of past issues stacked in attics all across the state. Only time will tell if the rumors have any truth to them. Woe is me if they do.

DEC spokesperson Maureen Wren assured me: "Yes, there is a shift of focus on some issues within the department, but that will not result in reduced coverage of hunting and fishing and trapping issues."

We'll see.

Bill Conners of the Federation of Dutchess County Fish and Game Clubs writes on outdoors news, notes and issues every Thursday in Players. He can be reached via e-mail at con ners@vh.net, or by calling the Players Hot Line at 845-437-4848.