For Release: IMMEDIATE
> Contact: Maureen Wren
> Wednesday, March 3, 2004
> (518) 402-8000
> DEC SEEKS COMMENTS FROM HUNTERS ON FALL 2004 WATERFOWL SEASON
> Task Forces to Help Set Season Dates in Western, Southeastern,
> and Northeastern Zones
> New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
> Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today invited waterfowl hunters to submit
> their recommendations for the dates of the Fall 2004 duck hunting season
> to regional waterfowl hunting task forces or DEC's waterfowl
> season-setting team.
> DEC established hunter task forces in 1997 to obtain comments on
> specific hunting season dates for areas where hunter preferences vary
> widely. For the last seven years, these task forces have provided DEC
> with recommendations that have helped create a balanced hunting
> opportunity that is representative of the various interests in each
> "Hunter task forces have been successful in helping DEC
> establish season dates that provide the best opportunities for waterfowl
> hunting in specific regions," Commissioner Crotty said. "We look
> forward to working with waterfowl hunters and task force members to
> ensure an enjoyable and successful season in 2004."
> Waterfowl hunters can actively participate in the season-setting
> process by providing comments directly to task force members whose names
> and contact information are on the attached list. Comments should be
> sent to members by March 31, 2004, to be considered for this year's
> seasons. The task forces are scheduled to meet in April 2004 and DEC
> plans to announce tentative hunting season dates in June. Comments on
> the process may be directed to members of the DEC season-setting team,
> whose names and contact information are also attached.
> New York State is divided into five waterfowl hunting zones:
> Western, Southeastern, Northeastern, Lake Champlain, and Long Island.
> DEC recently appointed task forces for the Western, Southeastern, and
> Northeastern Zones to assist in making recommendations for the Fall 2004
> hunting season. Representatives from the New York State Conservation
> Council, Inc., Waterfowl Committee, established waterfowl hunting
> organizations, and individual waterfowl hunters were chosen to take part
> to provide a broad range of input. It will be the job of task force
> members to act as representatives of duck hunters in each zone.
> Each task force will recommend opening and closing dates for the
> duck hunting season, including "split seasons," which would divide the
> season into separate periods, if that is desired. Task forces will
> also recommend dates for a Youth Waterfowl Hunting Weekend. The
> recommended dates must be within the Atlantic Flyway framework
> established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. If duck populations
> remain consistent with recent years, DEC expects the U.S. Fish and
> Wildlife Service to continue to allow a 60-day season between September
> 27 and January 25.
> Fall 2004 waterfowl seasons for the Western, Southeastern, and
> Northeastern Zones will be based on task force recommendations. Seasons
> in the Long Island Zones will continue to be set by Bureau of Wildlife
> staff, while seasons in the Lake Champlain Zone will be set by the
> Vermont Fish and Wildlife Management Board, with consultation from DEC.
> Although there are no formal task forces in these two zones, sportsmen
> and women can offer input by contacting any DEC season-setting team
> member on the attached list.
> Descriptions of New York State's waterfowl hunting zones can be
> found on the DEC website at www.dec.state.ny.us and are listed in DEC's
> Waterfowl Hunting Guide.