Albany, NY - July 28th, 2014 - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys for two popular game birds: wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants as part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative.
"Science efforts that the public can assist in providing our wildlife managers with invaluable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources," Commissioner Martens said. "I encourage residents to take the time to record your observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the forests and fields around your home or driving through the state's beautiful landscapes this summer."
Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey
Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival and poult survival. This index allows DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential.
During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. Those interested in participating can download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form along with instructions and the data sheet directly from DEC's website. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting a regional DEC office, calling (518) 402-8886, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org (type "Turkey Survey" in the subject line). New this year, participants can submit their observations on-line! Visit the link above and click "Summer Wild Turkey Sighting On-line Report".
Monitoring Pheasants in the Genesee Valley Focus Area
Farmers in the 13 counties that comprise the Lake Plains of New York have partnered with DEC since 1945 to help survey wild pheasant populations. DEC is pleased to continue this effort in the newly established "Pheasant Habitat Focus Area" in the Genesee Valley (portions of Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties). The focus area was created as part of DEC's recently completed ten-year management plan for ring-necked pheasants. The goal of the focus area is to concentrate the efforts of public and private habitat conservation programs to benefit pheasants and other grassland birds. Surveys like these will help in monitoring pheasant populations and in evaluating the success of habitat management efforts in the focus area.
Those that farm land in Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming or Monroe counties, consider participating in the Farmer-Pheasant Inventory. No special observations are required; just those made during your normal spring and summer farming activities. If interested, contact DEC's Bureau of Wildlife at (518) 402-8886 or by e-mail (email@example.com, write "Farmer-Pheasant Inventory" in the subject line).
Those that do not farm, but would like to contribute pheasant observations from Livingston, Genesee, Wyoming and Monroe counties can join the Summer Pheasant Sighting Survey. During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age of all pheasants observed during normal travel. A survey form from the DEC website can be obtained and printed or call (518) 402-8886.
The NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.
In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.