Where were you at sunup last Monday morning?
Diehard waterfowl hunters were probably lying in a blind or hunched over in a crop field awaiting the first “honk honk” of the season as Canada geese flocks headed out to feed.
I’m sure most were setting out decoys in the dark and hoping their calls would bring them within gun range.
Early season in most areas opened Sept. 1. Lake Champlain, Central and Eastern Long Island opened Sept. 2. All early seasons except Central and Eastern Long Island will close Sept. 25. Those two will close Sept. 30. Western Long Island has no early season. The daily limit is 15 with the exception of Lake Champlain, which is eight. For full details, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28496.html.
There are several things required to hunt geese. A current hunting license and registration with the Harvest Information Program. Registration for HIP is free and can be done by phone at (888) 427-5447 or online at http://www.ny-hip.com/. A federal “duck stamp,” $15, is also available at most post offices, by calling (800) 382-5499 or online at www.fws.gov/duckstamps/.
Only nontoxic shot (steel, bismuth/tin, tungsten, etc.) can be used to hunt migratory birds, and shotguns may not hold more than three shells or be larger than 10-gauge. Rifles, handguns and crossbows may not be used. For full details and boundaries of the Canada geese season, go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28496.html and www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28175.html.
The gray, black and fox squirrel hunting season also opened Monday in all New York state with the exception of Long Island, which opens Nov. 1 and runs through February. Shooting time is sunrise to sunset; daily bag limit is six.
This season, I’m going to be using an airgun to get the ingredients needed for my rabbit stew. I’ll tell readers about this next week.
Final crossbow regs
Last week, the state Department of Environmental Conservation released the final rule changes to implement the new and long-awaited crossbow hunting season that will begin this year. The law authorizes DEC to allow the use of a crossbow to hunt deer, bear and small game.
The general outline begins with crossbows cannot be used for hunting any wildlife in Suffolk, Nassau or Westchester counties.
I believe hunting with a regular bow is allowed in these counties, and am not sure why crossbows can’t be. My guess is because of the continuous opposition of New York Bowhunters Inc. Crossbows can’t be used to hunt deer or bear in Wildlife Management Units 4J (Albany County) and 8C (Monroe County). Don’t have an answer why here, either.
So when can it be used? Crossbows can be used during the Northern Zone early bear and muzzleloader seasons, Northern and Southern Zones regular firearms seasons and the Southern Zone late muzzleloader season.
Crossbows can also be used for deer in the Northern Zone early and late muzzleloader seasons, Southern Zone late muzzleloader season using Bow/Muzzleloader tags, Deer Management Permits, Deer Management Assistance Permit tags, unfilled Regular Big Game tag (late season only) or regular firearms seasons using Regular Big Game Tag, DMP tags or DMAP tags.
Limited portions of the bowhunting seasons may be used by those who possess the muzzleloading privilege. Crossbows can also be used in the Southern Zone during the last 14 days of the early bowhunting season (Nov. 1-14), and in the Northern Zone during the last 10 days of the season (Oct. 15-24), which includes the seven-day early muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone. Only Bow/Muzzleloader tags, DMPs or DMAPs may be used during these times.
Crossbows may be used only by licensees 14 or older, and all hunters must have completed a DEC Standard Hunter Education course on or after April 1, 2014, or completed a DEC-approved online or other training program. Hunters must carry a signed self-certification in the field when hunting with a crossbow as proof of compliance. Taking carp or any other fish species with a crossbow is prohibited. Not sure why on this one, either.
Junior big-game hunters (ages 14-15) may not use a crossbow to take a deer during the Youth Deer Hunt weekend, Oct. 11-13. Adult mentors accompanying a junior big-game hunter on the Youth Hunting weekend may not possess a crossbow or firearm while afield on those days.
The new regulations also allow for the hunting of several small game during their regular season with a crossbow, including wild turkey (in both fall and spring). The crossbow cannot be used for hunting waterfowl or other migratory game birds.
You cannot possess a crossbow in the Northern Zone when hunting small game (except coyotes) with the aid of a dog or when accompanied by a dog. Crossbows may be used to take unprotected wildlife such as red squirrels and woodchucks at any time.
I strongly suggest going to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/68802.html if you plan to hunt with a crossbow.
I hope those who hunt with a crossbow and are successful will send me their buck/doe tales with all the details. Good luck.