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Deer hunters dismayed over the take this past year had their fears validated with the Department of Environmental Conservation's release of its 2004 Deer Harvest Statistics.

While bad, numbers were expected to be worse. Biologists and technicians were looking at a 20 to 25 percent drop in the total take, but 2004 saw only an 18 percent drop from 2003 in both the total take and the buck kill.

A reduction of Deer Management Permits issued to control antlerless deer numbers helped to reduce the harvest this year.

The best news coming from the 2004 deer season stats was a record low for deer-hunting related shooting incidents. During all hunts of the 2004 seasons, 18 people sustained injuries among the more than 680,000 persons hunting. The second safest year was 2003, with a total of 20 injuries. Ice skaters and skiers would like to see such a low number of injuries per thousand participants.

Botulism workshop

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network will hold a "Botulism in the Lower Great Lakes Workshop" from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Woodlawn Beach State Park on Tuesday.

Presenters from Canada and U.S. states bordering Lake Erie and Lake Ontario will discuss agency programs and research findings. Lunch and refreshments are free, but participants must register in advance. For details and directions, call Helen Domske (645-3610).

Suggestions wanted

The DEC's season-setting task forces have begun seeking recommendations for the 2005-2006 waterfowl hunting seasons.

To make suggestions to Western Zone Task Force members, contact: John Armitage, Bergen, (585) 721-8386; Don Bronson, Burt, 778-5914; Jim Farrell, Portland, 792-9041; Ed Fiorino, Albion, (585) 589-7042; or Ken Zolnowski, Cheektowaga, 631-6909.

A new page on the DEC Web site accepts suggestedseasondatesat:www.dec.state.ny. us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/guide/miggbinput.html.