The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) declared the commencement of most small game hunting seasons beginning Saturday, Oct. 1. Commissioner Basil Seggos of the DEC highlighted the state’s diverse hunting opportunities, noting increased bag limits for mallards and Canada geese as well as an extended goose season. In addition to traditional game, special hunting days are set aside for youth and military members across the state’s five waterfowl zones.
Youth Waterfowl Days are designated in various zones beginning from Sept. 23, while Military and Veteran Hunting Days commence on dates like Sept. 23 in the Northeast and Southeast Zones. Regular duck season openers are staggered across zones, starting with the Northeast & Lake Champlain Zones on Oct. 7. For grouse enthusiasts, the hunting season ranges from Oct. 1 through February’s end, with certain regional variations. However, hunters are urged to distinguish between ruffed grouse and the state-endangered spruce grouse, especially in the Northern Zone. The distinction is vital as any loss, particularly of a female spruce grouse, could harm local populations.
Safety remains paramount as the hunting seasons unfold. Commissioner Seggos emphasized the importance of firearm safety and recommended wearing blaze orange or pink to increase visibility to fellow hunters. According to DEC statistics, hunters donning such colors are seven times less likely to be mistaken for game. For detailed hunting schedules and regulations, the DEC directs hunters to its official website.
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