The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society and Pure Fishing-Berkley line have awarded the New York BASS Federation the 2013 Berkley Conservation Institute’s Conservation Award. The federation received the award for its weed and plant debris removal program for boats, trailers and launch areas, referred to as the Ramp Monkeys project, and for hours and hours of efforts removing water chestnut. The award includes $2,000, which will be accepted by Barb Elliott, Conservation Director, at a special awards banquet at the Bassmasters Classic.
The Ramp Monkeys project encouraged New York BASS Nation youth clubs to form groups called Ramp Monkeys that would attend area bass tournaments, remove plant debris from launch areas and then clean, drain and dry each boat and trailer when it exits the water. The operation is an opportunity for outreach to anglers and boaters and an educational experience for the youth members. The NYBN members also continued to battle invasive water chestnuts by physically removing the plants from lakes and canals and rivers. Members have removed hundreds of pounds of chestnuts and preliminary inspections of areas addressed in past years showed very few plants had re-established.
WHERE TO SHOOT APP
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has created an app that helps target shooters and gun owners locate shooting ranges.
Available for iOS and Android devices, "Where To Shoot" puts North America's most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges in the palm of your hand. It also includes video tips for shooters, news and firearm safety information.
Users can search by current location, state or zip code and find specifics about each range, including shooting activities offered, accessibility and contact information. The app also makes it easy to get directions to the range.
The app is modeled after NSSF's popular WhereToShoot.org website and is updated frequently with range information in every U.S. state and Canadian province. New tips for hunters and shooters are also added regularly.
Visit www.wheretoshoot.org on your iOS or Android device for more information and to download.
APPLY FOR PHEASANT PROGRAM
The application period is now open for the State Department of Environmental Conservation’s cooperative Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program. The goal of the program is to enhance pheasant hunting opportunities in New York State through a partnership between DEC and the sporting community, 4-H youths and landowners interested in rearing and releasing pheasants. In 2013, DEC distributed 41,500 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants.
The Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program began in the early 1900s. In the early days, pheasant eggs and chicks were distributed to farmers and rural youth. Today, day-old chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to provide a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Approved applicants will receive the day-old chicks in April, May or June. No chicks obtained through the Day-Old Pheasant Chick Program can be released on private shooting preserves. All release sites must be approved in advance by DEC and must be open for public pheasant hunting opportunities. The program is funded through the state Conservation Fund from license fees paid by hunters, trappers and anglers.
Daily care is necessary to monitor the health of the birds and to ensure that there is adequate feed and water for the rapidly growing chicks. The pheasants may be released beginning when they are eight weeks old and no later than Dec. 1.
Applications for the Pheasant Release Program must be filed with a DEC regional wildlife manager by March 15. A “Pheasant Rearing Guide” and additional information on the Day-Old Chick Program is available on the DEC website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7271.html or by calling the DEC Region 7 Wildlife Office at (607) 753-3095 ext. 247 or Region 8 Wildlife Office at (585) 226-5380
REMOVE DUCK BLINDS SOON
According to Section 33-b of the New York State Navigation Law, “Every duck blind, placed in the waters of lakes within the state of New York, shall have prominently placed thereon, in some permanent manner, the owner's full name and address, and further each duck blind so placed shall be removed from the water no later than the fifteenth day of March following its placement. The willful failure of an owner of a duck blind to affix such identification or remove it from the water by the prescribed date shall subject said owner to a fine of one hundred dollars."
This law was enacted as a result of a boat sinking after hitting posts from a duck blind on the north end of Cayuga Lake back in the 1970s. The blinds in the north end of the lake would be left and several of them would be completely or partially removed by the ice during the spring thaw leaving posts that were dangerous to boaters. During a couple of spring thaws, the blinds ended up blocking water flow at the dam at the Mud Locks.
WOOD DUCK NESTING BOXES
This is the time of the year to remove certain duck blinds; it is also the best time of year to install wood duck nesting boxes in certain areas.
If you are looking for a fun activity during is very cold and long winter that will benefit local waterfowl; consider a family project of building wood duck nesting boxes. Ducks Unlimited has wood duck box plans and provides information on where and how to position your boxes. If you have access to a wetland with some activity from cavity nesting birds such as wood duck (goldeyes, mergansers and buffleheads also nest in cavities) during the year; you have a place to install wood duck boxes.
Because nesting sites are limited in number, once your boxes are used, they will likely be used season after season. Yearly maintenance is a must in order to keep the boxes ready for new tenants. Maintenance such as replacing nesting material and tightening loose screws and mounts is recommended late fall through early spring. Right now while waters are iced over may be the best time to access certain areas and install a box.
For information on building, installing and maintaining a wood duck nesting box go to Duck Unlimited’s web site at www.duck.org.
TREES FOR SCHOOLS
Schools across New York are eligible to receive free seedlings for spring planting through the DEC School Seedling Program which provides 50 tree seedlings or a mixed packet of 30 wildlife shrubs to any public or private school that would like to participate.
The seedlings can be planted on school grounds or other community spaces. Teachers and students are encouraged to plan the project ahead of time by discussing the value trees contribute to the environment and to determine the objectives of tree planting.
To participate in DEC’s School Seedling Program, schools can download an application at www.dec.ny.gov/animals/9393.html , contact the Saratoga Tree Nursery at (518) 581-1439 or contact the DEC Region 7 forestry office at (607) 753-3095 to request a “School Seedlings” brochure. The brochure contains all the information necessary to place an order. Applications must be received at the nursery by March 31.