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DEC announcement will allow hunters to plan trips

ALBANY New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis has announced the tentative schedule for many of New York's 2008-2009 waterfowl hunting seasons, allowing sportsmen and sportswomen to plan outdoor activities well in advance. "We are announcing this schedule to give all hunters who enjoy this sport a better opportunity to plan vacations and activities around the hunting seasons," said Grannis. "Although the dates won't be final until late summer when federal regulations are official, we expect the tentative season dates will conform with federal requirements for the coming year." As soon as the final federal waterfowl hunting regulations are known, the final season dates and other regulations for 2008-2009 waterfowl seasons in New York will be posted on DEC's Web site and announced by a statewide news release. Hunters should confirm the final season dates before going afield. Tentative dates for the September Canada goose seasons are as follows: Sept. 1-25 for the Northeastern, Southeastern and Western zones; Sept. 2-25 for the Lake Champlain zone; and Sept. 2-30 for the Long Island zone. The bag limit for geese during September is eight per day, with the exception of the Lake Champlain zone, where the limit is five geese per day. The September season is designed to increase the harvest of local-nesting or "resident" Canada geese, which are causing more problems every year. Approximately 40,000 birds are taken annually by September goose hunters in New York, helping to slow the growth of populations where hunting is allowed. Tentative dates for the Youth Waterfowl hunting weekends (Saturday-Sunday) are as follows: Sept. 20-21 for the Northeastern and Southeastern zones; Sept. 27-28 for the Lake Champlain zone; Oct. 11-12 for the Western zone; and Nov. 8-9 for the Long Island zone. The Youth Waterfowl hunting weekends provide additional days for junior hunters (ages 12-15) to hunt ducks, geese and brant. This special opportunity is intended to encourage experienced waterfowl hunters to help teach young hunters the techniques and ethics of this sport. The junior hunter must be fully licensed and accompanied by an adult hunter in accordance with all New York State regulations, and only the junior hunter may take birds on these days. Tentative dates for the regular duck hunting seasons are as follows: Oct. 4-13 and Oct. 25-Dec. 13for the Northeastern zone; Oct. 11-19 and Nov.8-Dec. 28 for the Southeastern zone; Oct. 25-Dec. 7 and Dec. 27-Jan. 11, 2009 for the Western zone; and Nov. 27-Jan. 25, 2009 for the Long Island zone. Overall bag limits for ducks are expected to be the same as last year (six ducks per day), although changes to daily limits for a few species are possible. Tentative dates for the regular fall Canada Goose hunting seasons have not been determined, pending completion of population status assessments later this summer. However, tentative opening dates have been selected for most areas, as follows: In upstate New York, excluding the Lake Champlain zone, the regular Canada goose season is expected to open on Saturday, Oct. 25, assuming that is the earliest date allowed by federal regulations. Tentative dates for duck and goose seasons in the Lake Champlain zone are not available because they will be determined by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board following a mid-August public hearing in Burlington, Vt. The DEC urges New York waterfowl hunters to attend that hearing and provide input on Lake Champlain seasons; meeting details will be announced later this summer. Copies of the 2008-2009 regulations brochure will be available in late September wherever hunting licenses are sold. DEC also plans to mail a copy of the brochure to everyone who registered in New York's Harvest Information Program last year. The brochures are not routinely provided to post offices. For more information about waterfowl hunting seasons in New York, visit the DEC Web site at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28503.html.

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