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Outdoors: DMAP provides help in deer management

Outdoors: DMAP provides help in deer management

The latest on the outdoors with The Recorder's Jerrod Vila
Outdoors: DMAP provides help in deer management

The DEC’s Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) helps qualifying landowners and resource managers implement site-specific deer management on their lands to address crop damage and forest regeneration problems and to conduct custom deer management. It also helps protect areas of sensitive and rare plants and enhances municipal deer harvest.

The Department of Environmental Conservation issues a special DMAP permit and a determined number of DMAP deer tags to a landowner or group of landowners whose property(s) is in need of site-specific deer management. DMAP is a hunting program. Permits and tags are valid for use only during the open deer hunting seasons and can only be used by licensed hunters. Only antlerless deer may be taken under the authority of a DMAP permit.

The question often arises who is eligible to receive  DMAP permits. The following, cited directly from the DEC website, will clarify. 

To be eligible for DMAP, applicant(s) must own or control lands in New York State that meet one of the following criteria:

— Land where agricultural damage has been documented or can be documented by the DEC, or a municipality that has an identified social or ecological problem due to deer within their municipal boundary. Municipal applicants must maintain a list of all participating properties with written consent of the associated landowners. They must ensure a process of tag distribution that provides equal opportunity for licensed hunters, or land where deer damage to significant natural communities has been documented or can be documented by the DEC.

— Land contained in one or more parcels totaling 100 or more acres of forest land and sharing a contiguous boundary, or multiple non-contiguous parcels of forest land of at least 100 acres each within the same or adjacent Wildlife Management Unit(s), where forest regeneration is negatively impacted by deer. Parcels of less than 100 acres may also be considered, if enrolled in the Real Property Tax Law section 480a program. The negative impact must be identified in an existing forest and/or land management plan for the land.

— Land contained in one or more parcels totaling 1000 or more acres and sharing a contiguous boundary that is involved in custom deer management such as Quality Deer Management (QDM). A deer management plan is required.

— Land where deer damage has been documented or can be documented by the DEC, and which is adjacent to or bordering a parcel of publicly-owned land that is at least 250 acres and is not open to deer hunting by law, regulation, or public agency policy.

Two or more landowners with contiguous boundaries may cooperate to meet the above acreage requirements to be eligible for DMAP.

To learn more about DMAP, determine if you are eligible, or to download a DMAP application, visit the webpage https://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/33973.html.

The DMAP application deadline is Aug. 1.

MUSHROOM FORAGING SEASON

The lack of precipitation throughout the majority of the spring and early summer have now given way to ample amounts of rainfall. So what does this mean, besides the fact that lawns have transitioned from a nice burnt yellowish brown to vibrant green and need to be mowed every few days? It signifies a kickoff to the summer mushroom foraging season, and specifically, (and one of my very favorite) chanterelles. The lovely golden yellow vase-like mushrooms that smell strongly of dried apricot and are synonymous with high-end cuisine. 

I was able to pick around 15 pounds of prime chanterelles in the last week or so, both golden (cantharellus cibarius) and smooth (cantharellus lateritius species with the larger goldens being more prevalent). 

The time to look is now. I have had my best luck three to four days after a soaking all-day rain. Not a little passing shower here or there or even a day of scattered thunderstorms, but a real washout, all day long, large frontal system which really soaks the ground extremely well. They begin to pop rather quickly and three to four days later seems just about the right amount of time for the best quality and size. They tend to get slugs and bugs, rot sets in and they go downhill pretty quickly, so get them while you can as the window tends to be quite narrow.

If your primary focus is on chanterelles then head for the largest stands of oak with the most mature (largest diameter) trees you can find. All throughout every hunting season as I roam the woods, I make mental notes of new areas I pass through if they are conducive to possibly producing chanterelles the following season. There is usually not any undergrowth in these particular areas as the canopy of mature hardwood trees drowns out most sunlight necessary for undergrowth to prosper.

I almost always find chanterelles in areas of heavy leaf litter. Once you spot one slow yourself way down and really start to look. Their yellow color sticks out quite well amidst a drab forest floor but they are surprisingly easy to overlook if not fully out in the open. Carefully flip over any seemingly out of place raised areas within the leaf litter and chances are more will be hiding under the facade of dead leaves.

I especially like to target transitional areas where mature oak grow along the edge of some other type of environment. Whether it be an overgrown field, a patch of coniferous trees, even an agricultural field; it seems to me that these places produce extra large amounts for reasons I do not know. 

What exactly is a mushroom? Rather a simple question; no? Surprisingly enough not a whole heck of a lot of people know what a mushroom actually is! Straight up, a mushroom is the tangible fruiting body of a fungi. Picture an apple tree, but fully underground, or wherever really, but hidden from view. This represents the fungi itself. Completely unseen to the eye. The branches of the apple tree represent the giant network of mycelium which come to the surface of the ground and the mushroom itself would be the apples. The fruiting body where reproduction takes place above ground (as spores) just like the seeds contained within an apple. The mushroom is just the very tip of an iceberg of fungi.

Time of year, moisture content, soil temperature, environmental conditions, and many other factors all play a role in when any given fungi “fruits” so to speak. Just as bucks go into rut and the tomatoes in your garden become ripe, it all revolves around the process of procreation. 

Please educate yourself prior to consuming any foraged wild mushrooms. This honestly could be a life or death mistake. As the saying goes, “Any mushroom is edible . . . once.” All joking aside there are many lookalikes out there. Please be 150% certain of what you have and are planning on eating. If there is any question at all over the edibility factor the answer is a hard no. There are numerous forums and Facebook groups with highly educated people that will give you the answers you seek. Do not be afraid to inquire.

Books are also great sources, but I find that the forums are a much better option because chances are someone has some experience with the particular mushroom in question and will offer up at the very least a Latin name for a starting point of research. Binomial Latin names are an extremely common place in the world of wild mushrooms. The Latin name always holds true as there can be numerous common or slang names for the same species depending on the given locale or demographic.

I urge you to become familiar with and use the Latin terminology as it leaves nothing to question. Foraging can be very fun and rewarding, but know and respect your own educational boundaries.

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