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Message from the Governor


Hunting in New York –
Safe, Enjoyable, Rewarding

The 2015 hunting season in New York proved to be one of the safest on record and yielded the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality since the 1950s. I commend and thank all of you and our strong network of volunteer hunter education instructors for instilling a strong safety ethic with the hunters of New York. To further our hunter education efforts, we recently adopted new procedures where hunter education class participants must complete home study and homework prior to their class to better prepare themselves for the instructor-led training.

With this year’s historic increase to the Environmental Protection Fund to $300 million, and ongoing investments in the New York Works program, we will continue our strong efforts to protect more land and promote increased access opportunities for public recreation. In the spring we completed the largest Adirondack land acquisition in the past 100 years with the purchase of the Boreas Ponds Tract. These lands will provide unparalleled opportunities for hunting, hiking, and wildlife observation. This past year we also added several parcels to New York’s network of Wildlife Management Areas which are specifically managed for wildlife, their habitats, and wildlife-dependent recreation.

In addition to acquiring and opening up more land for wildlife recreation, we are also making great strides to improve management of this amazing areas. Following through on our commitment of enhanced habitat management on our public lands, DEC’s Young Forest Initiative is leading to the creation of Habitat Management Plans for New York’s Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). These plans provide the roadmap for management of all wildlife habitats which is essential to ensuring strong populations of popular game species. DEC staff have established an aggressive timeline for completion of these plans so we can quickly begin the necessary on-the-ground habitat management.

When you go afield this fall, you will find new, accessible trails, improved parking areas, recently-constructed observation blinds, and better-quality information at our access sites. Continuing with the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year’s budget, coupled with the budgets from the two previous years, provides $17 million for projects to improve recreation access to state forests, wildlife areas and unique areas. More than 50 projects have been completed to date from Suffolk County on Long Island to St. Lawrence County in northern New York to Chautauqua County in the western part of the State.

The 2016-17 Hunting and Trapping Guide has a wealth of information about wildlife and wildlife management in New York. DEC staff go to great lengths to provide you with all the information you need to have a safe and enjoyable time outside. In addition to understanding and following the rules and regulations outlined within, I encourage you to read the updates and articles in this guide to keep apprised of the latest information and help us manage New York’s outstanding natural resources.

I wish you all a safe and successful season with many enjoyable days spent afield with family and friends,

Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor, State of New York

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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