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Waterfowl seasons set to begin

Duck and goose hunters can check out Santa's delivery of those cold-weather gear items early Monday morning.

Seasons reopen for ducks, coots, mergansers, sea ducks, Canada geese and snow geese a half hour before sunrise Monday across the Western Zone, which includes all of Western New York.

All these seasons remain open until Jan. 9, but Canada geese hunters have to keep in mind differing bag limits for hunts in the West Central and South areas.

West Central, which divides Niagara and Orleans counties, splits Genesee County, dips into the Finger Lakes region and includes most of the Lake Ontario shoreline in New York State, has a three-bird limit during the late Canada goose season. The South area, which extends from the entire Niagara River and Lake Erie shoreline east along the Southern Tier and abuts most of the state's Pennsylvania border, allows for a five-bird daily limit.

An additional late Canada goose season will reopen only in that South area from Feb. 25 to March 10, allowing a five-bird daily take.

Overall season assessments for ducks have eastern mallard numbers down slightly and resident geese numbers solid, with migrant geese expected to be higher than the count last spring.

Snow geese, where flocks gather and migrate, continue to increase and pose harm to wetland habitat areas. For the fourth year, a late season for snow has been set. A 25-bird per day limit exists for the seasons starting Monday to Jan. 9 and Jan. 29 to April 15.

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Back tag clipped

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe last week applauded the enactment of legislation that will remove the requirement for hunters and trappers to display their licenses on an outer garment while afield.

The new regulation takes effect in 60 days. So Keystone State hunters and trappers will need to continue to wear their licenses on an outer garment until Feb. 13.

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River Academy set

Riverkeeper is holding open registration for the Spring 2012 semester of its popular River Academy Course.

Conducted in partnership with Erie Community College, the River Academy is a comprehensive training course that provides an introduction to the Niagara River watershed through Saturday morning classes in stream science. The River Academy program features local experts sharing their passion for Niagara River hydrology, geology, ecology, contamination issues, land use impacts, restoration project design, mapping, stream assessment and more. Sessions will include field trips and hands-on workshops. Participants will receive a certificate upon graduation.

Classes will be held from 6 to 7:20 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Saturday mornings at the Riverkeeper office and field locations. The course begins Jan. 19 and concludes on May 12. Students not seeking course credit may attend Saturday sessions only.

For more information and registration details, contact Robbyn Drake at 852-7483, Ext. 12, or email: rdrake@bnriverkeeper.org.

email: odrswill@gmail.com

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