The opening day of the firearms big game (deer and bear) season in the southern zone of New York State is the busiest hunting day of the year. But this year's opening weekend throughout most of the …
The opening day of the firearms big game (deer and bear) season in the southern zone of New York State is the busiest hunting day of the year. But this year's opening weekend throughout most of the southern zone had about half of the Environmental Conservation Officers and related staff, who would normally be on patrol checking for poachers, checking licenses and doing what they do best as Conservation Officers.
The Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo has said that the state is in a financial crisis. DEC is vested heavily in the COVID-19 pandemic and had to make adjustments. Mileage and overtime for Conservation Officers was an issue.
Larry DiDonato, a former NY DEC Conservation Officer, said it best in a column he wrote for a Hudson Valley newspaper, “Due to the recent DEC's decision, Conservation Officers will have less resources and be less able to catch road hunters, deer jackers and game hogs, not to mention having less capability to respond to hunter related shooting incidents. It just doesn't make any sense.”
DiDonato went on to say that in his 30-year career as a Conservation Officer and ECO supervisor, he could not recall a single time when conservation officers were told to actually stay home on opening day of the deer season.
These are obviously tough times where agencies like the NY DEC are facing financial crisis and nobody wants to be in that situation. But in our hunting world, this shouldn't have been the time for layoffs and shorting of DEC staff to occur, especially for the opening of the Southern Zone's big game firearms season.
One would think with a record number of hunters afield this year including new hunters, it would seem that DEC staffing situation would be the other way around and more staffing help should have been added.
now legal in PA!
Furbearer hunters in Pennsylvania now have the option of using handheld and sporting-arm mounted night-vision and infrared optics. Previously, all hunting use of night-vision and infrared optics was prohibited by PA state law.
The change to allow the use of night-vision equipment was drafted by the PA Game Commission's Bureau of Wildlife Protection, which reviewed data from other states that permit the use of night-vision equipment and determined there were no safety concerns regarding their use for hunting furbearers in PA.
There are hunting seasons for the following furbearers in PA: raccoons, foxes, coyotes, opossums, striped skunks, weasels, bobcats and porcupines.
Jack Danchak is the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County.
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