Hunting for consistency

The state Department of Environmental Conservation seeks to reduce confusion about regulations pertaining to migratory game birds.

In June, the DEC proposed changes to its migratory game bird program. These revisions would create consistencies between its rules and those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Current lack of agreement between federal and state regulations leads to confusion among hunters and the general public and potentially undermines the enforcement of the state regulations,” according to language in the proposal.

Members of the public may comment on the proposed changes until Aug. 2. The DEC’s proposal has six parts:

“Special waterfowl hunting opportunities for veterans and active members of the military would be outlined in the state migratory game bird program, as is permitted by the federal government,” according to a story published Friday by the Watertown Daily Times. This rule change would permit veterans and military personnel to participate in outdoor activities without competition from other hunting parties.

“Similarly, the existing special waterfowl hunting opportunities for youth are upheld in the proposal, but mentors who accompany youth during the youth opportunity timeframes will no longer be allowed to carry a firearm, longbow or crossbow,” the article reported. “During non-mentoring ventures, however, the DEC is proposing hunters be allowed to use crossbows as a hunting implement to be consistent with crossbow regulations for other small game species. The proposed regulations would also correct and clarify prohibitions related to hunting methods allowed during special goose seasons, and clarify conflicting zone boundary descriptions between federal and state regulations. The DEC reports the regulation adjustments would not require any additional hunter paperwork, enforcement costs or additional costs for coordinating the migratory game bird program.”

These proposals are reasonable changes to state regulations. But DEC authorities should hear from residents, particularly hunters who will be affected by the revisions. They should take some time to review the plan and comment on what the DEC is recommending.

Visit the DEC’s Fish and Wildlife Regulatory Revisions website at http://wdt.me/AWyGhQ to read the document. Direct comments to Joshua Stiller, 625 Broadway, Fifth Floor, Albany, NY 12233; by calling 518-402-8883; or sending an email to wildliferegs@dec.ny.gov.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1