Despite a couple of "fake news" postings floating around Facebook and the internet, nothing has changed at all in regards to New York state's normal hunting and fishing seasons.
Trout season will officially open Wednesday, April 1, statewide.
Stockings have still been occurring despite being general restrictions due to the coronavirus. The only difference this year is that no volunteers were allowed to partake in the stocking events as in seasons past.
The following are creeks to be stocked in Montgomery County: Canajoharie Creek in Canajoharie; Crum Creek in St Johnsville; Kayaderasseras Creek, Amsterdam; Otsquago Creek in Minden; Timmerman Creek in St. Johnsville.
Much more detailed county-by-county information, including numbers, size, and relative stocking time periods, may be found by visiting the DEC website http://www.dec.ny.gov/
Also, as a side note, and being that opening day of trout season is upon us, I made a few phones calls around to bait shops to see who still remained open. Ross's Bait in Amsterdam is closed, but Jim's in Mayfield, The Wiggly Worm in Ballston Lake, and Conroy's in Watervilet are all open.
BLACK STREET ARCHERY
In a recent DEC email, outdoor activities, including archery, were highly encouraged events to fend off the socially distant blues we are succumbing to by COVID-19. Archery may be practiced upon one's own property, as long as the nearest dwelling is at least 150 feet away.
One of the most popular local Archery pro shops wanted to share a message:
"We want everyone to know that Black Street Archery is closely monitoring the presence of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community. With the guidance from NYS officials and the CDC we are taking every precaution to reduce the potential impact of the virus on our customers and everyone in our Community. We have and will continue to monitor and implement any way that we can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus.
"Effective IMMEDIATELY we will close our doors to walk-ins.
"If anyone is in need of bow repairs or would like archery equipment, please call and Jeff will make every effort to schedule an individual appointment. Do your part to follow the guidelines that have been implemented to keep us all safe and healthy. Again, feel free to call to schedule an appointment."
Jeff Frasier (518) 332-5092
PISTOL PERMIT PROCESS SUSPENSIONS
To anyone that is in mid-process of applying for a pistol permit, well, let's just say it is going to be a long time added on to what already is usually a very long time.
Out of many states, New York has taken some of the most extreme measures (surprise). According to a phone survey of all 62 New York counties conducted by 2ANYS, 52 counties (84% statewide) have suspended or ignored their duty to continue processing pistol permits.
Thirty-eight counties confirmed that they have suspended pistol permitting activities until further notice, six counties have stopped tracking whether permit applications are being processed, and two counties are no longer making staff available to process permits.
One county admitted that delays will occur as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and five additional counties have already imposed a de facto ban on permits.
“During a period of crisis when entire law enforcement patrol divisions could be brought down by COVID-19 exposure and 911 response times could grow to an hour or more as a result, government agents are making it impossible for citizens to lawfully defend themselves in the home,” said 2ANYS founder Steve Felano.
MAINE FREE LICENSE
There have been many postings across the statewide hunting and fishing forums of New York that are encouraging a free period during the virus outbreak to allow for outdoor activities normally requiring a license to be waived.
Well, Maine's Department of Inland Fisheries was the first to actually jump on this and will offer free fishing opportunities from now until April 30 before a license is required. All normal regulations do still apply, such as bag limits and size restrictions, but as of now anyone may fish in Maine without an up-to-date license.
SPOTTED LANTERN FLY
Amidst all the talk of quarantine, there is another on the radar as well; not in the sense of a virus, but in the sense of a very invasive, problematic insect.
Stemming from China and Asia, the Spotted Lantern Fly has been around now for a couple years.
Causing massive damage to fruit trees, this little bug is cause for some pretty big alarm. New York is one of the top apple producing states in the country, and this invasive insect could have profound effects on that crop.
Similar measures are being taken in response to the SLF as those in place for the emerald ash boring beetle.
Warmer temperatures will begin to prompt activity of the insect; if you have seen a spotted lantern fly in any stage of its development or egg cases, the NYS Department of Agriculture and DEC would like to know. Pennsylvania has already quarantined 26 counties. Please report any sightings to [email protected]
For more in depth information about Pennsylvania's quarantine, please visit:
Jerrod Vila covers outdoors for The Recorder.