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Road Huntin'

New York State has a handful of really odd hunting regulations. There is the ever controversial hunting age. New York has the highest minimum age requirement to hunt big game with a firearm in the nation at 16 years old. But it certainly doesnt end there. Consider this: You cant shoot a big game animal if its standing ankle deep in water. Youve got to wait until it makes the bank. You cant shoot within 500 feet of a dwelling, unless you own it or have the owners consent - then you can shoot from the back porch. You cant shoot game over bait - Cant feed them at all for that matter, but food plots are perfectly legal. You cant transfer your regular or primitive arms tag to someone in your hunting party, but transferring your deer management permit is fine. As hard as some of these requirements are to understand (not to mention enforce) the real doozie has got to be the regulations regarding hunting from a public road. The bottom line is, its completely legal to spot a deer from a motor vehicle, pull to the side of the road, get out, load your rifle and shoot the deer. Ethical? Well, thats a different discussion. But legal? Yes. Provided the round does not pass over any part of the highway, you do not shoot on or from the roadway and you are not on private property without permission. Its an interesting dilemma for conservation officers - particularly in a year when hunters are seeing more deer along the highways than ever. DEC biologists attribute the roadside sightings to a number of factors, most notable of which is a lack of food in the woods. Our dry summer killed most of the acorns, beech and hickory nuts. That forced the deer which consume an average of 5 to 8 pounds of food for every 100 pounds of body weight, per day to rely more heavily on grasses, sedges, ferns and other browse. The areas in which these thrive are along roads, cut forest openings, powerlines and at the edges of fields. DEC Public Affairs Specialist Dave Winchell said that fact has definitely increased the prevalence of illegal hunting activity along our roadways this season. We are seeing some significant amount of deer jacking in the northern Champlain Valley and in southern half of Washington County, Winchell said. It also has prompted increased patrols in these areas. Rattler Huntin
Dennis Riordan, 60, of Hampton Bay, NY was issued an administrative ticket by DEC Environmental Conservation Police on Oct. 18 for killing a timber rattlesnake in the Town of Bolton, Warren County. The timber rattlesnake is protected and listed as a threatened species under New York State Environmental Conservation Law. Riordan encountered the timber rattlesnake on a trail on Bass Ridge in the Tongue Mountain Range of the Lake George Wild Forest on Oct. 3 and shot it with a handgun. DEC Environmental Conservation Police received complaints and information about the incident from a few people, including Dr. William Brown who has been studying this snake population for decades. Riordan paid a $200 fine for the offense.

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