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Hooks&Antlers: Sporting Licenses Changes Significant

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Even though 2014-15 sporting licenses are now on sale, there has been minimal publicity about new license availability.

This low-key approach on the part of DEC is likely due to a new E-licensing system that merited some testing to get the kinks out prior to requiring the system to handle the high volume of traffic that occurs annually at this time of the year.

Although the system is up and working and individuals can purchase new licenses, there was a significant glitch in the system regarding Deer Management Permit (DMP) applications. As a result, DEC has temporarily suspended applications for DMPS.

Apparently the system did not differentiate the probabilities of successful DMP application based on residency.

Instead, the system offered the same probability for New York residents and non-residents when residents should have had a higher probability of success when applying for DMPs. Officials are currently working on resolving the problem.

Changes for 2014-15

In addition to replacing the Verizon-based system with an Accela-based one, DEC has instituted a number of other changes that will affect sportsmen and women.

Most notably is the license year which will now run from September 1 to August 31 instead of from the traditional dates of October 1 to September 30. This change makes sense because DEC offers a number of September hunting seasons, and it seems logical to make licenses valid prior to the onset of the hunting seasons rather than in the following month.

Hunters should note that for this year only, when hunting species with open seasons in September, individuals may use either last year’s license (2013-14) or this year’s license (2014-15).

Too, the license structure has changed, and licenses that offered combination privileges such as sportsman and super sportsman are no longer available. Instead, individuals will have to purchase individual licenses, privileges, and stamps. Detailed information on available licenses, privileges, and stamps can be found in the new Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide. See pages 14-15 for residents and pages 16-17 for non-residents.

More Changes

Changes have also been made regarding crossbows, bear seasons, and setback distances. Crossbows are now a legal implement for hunting small and big game under conditions established by the State Legislature. For more information on crossbow hunting qualifications, safety rules, big game hunting, small game hunting, and more; see pages 8-9 of the new guide.

Because of New York’s expanding and increasing-in-number black bear population, DEC has adopted changes to bear hunting seasons that open most of upstate New York for bear hunting and create an early bear season in parts of southeastern New York. For local hunters, the new changes allow for black bear hunting in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 6A, 6G, 6N, and 6K during the bow, crossbow, muzzleloading, and regular seasons. Except for a portion of WMU 6K, these areas were closed to all bear hunting in past years.

Another change calls for decreased setback distances when discharging a crossbow or bow. Although the setback distance remains 500 feet for discharging firearms, the new distance is 250 feet for a crossbow and 150 feet for a bow.

Angling-license Change

The angling regulations for 2014-15 remain essentially the same as this past year. The one change worth noting, however, is that the license year for anglers is now 365 days from the date of purchase.

Whereas the angling-license year traditionally ran from date of purchase until September 30, an angler’s license is now valid for one year from the date of purchase, regardless of when that purchase occurs during the calendar year.

DEC Boat Lunches

The spread of aquatic invasive species and fish diseases is a major threat to state waters. In an effort to limit any unwanted spread of a species or disease, boaters are required to remove all visible plant and animal material from their boats, trailers, and associated equipment; and to drain bilges, livewells, baitwells, and other water-holding compartments when launching or leaving DEC boat launch facilities. In reality, boaters would be wise to adopt these practices when using any launch facility, not just DEC ones.

Outdoors Calendar

Today—2014-15 Sporting Licenses are now on sale.

August 11—Trap and Skeet Shoot at Lisbon Sportsmen’s Club on Pray Rd. at 5:30 p.m.

August 12—Monthly meeting of Canton Sportsmen’s Club (Nickerson Rd.) at 6:30 p.m.

August 12—Monthly meeting of Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of SLC at Canton Boces at 7 p.m.

August 13—Trap Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 7 p.m.(869-6051).

August 14—Sporting Clays Shoot at Black Lake F&G Association at 1 p.m. (323-5585).

August 14—SLC Trappers Association meets at Lisbon Library at 6:30 p.m.

August 16-17—Clayton-1000 Islands Gun and Sportsmen Show at Cerow Arena (482-4596).

August 16-29—Perch River, Wilson Hill, and Upper & Lower Lakes WMAs open to public.

August 23—Outdoor Adventure Day at Fort Drum (788-8450).

August 23—NNY Bassmasters Tournament at St. Lawrence River, Ogdensburg (www.nnybassmasters.com).

August 30—Outdoor Heritage Family Rendezvous II at Black Lake F&G Association (www.BLFGA.org).

August 30—Spider’s Basic Fishing Program (Free) at Wellesley Island State Park (482-2479).

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