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Outdoors notebook: DEC proposes changes in hunting regulations

The Department of Environmental Conservation is attempting to standardize and simplify fish and game laws wherever possible. However, wild bird, beast and fish populations change with weather and environmental conditions each year and hunters and anglers see differing numbers and sizes of fish and game across the state.

DEC officials have proposed a series of hunting and trapping regulations changes, many of which should meet with approval from big-game hunters and fisher trappers in Western New York.

The new rules proposed include addition of harvesting a bear along with deer during the annual Youth Hunt prior to the big-game hunting season, eliminate the antlerless-only restriction at the start of bow season except for areas designated as antlerless, clarify uses of bow and muzzleloader tags and open a six-day season for fisher trapping in selected Wildlife Management Units in Central and Western New York.

Archery hunters took exception to an antlerless-only restriction period imposed shortly before the beginning of the 2015 bow season across much of the southern region of the state. Bear activity tends to be greater during warmer days early in the season, providing youths greater opportunities to harvest black bear, a species that is expanding in numbers and habitat areas.

For commenting on these and other proposed changes, the DEC will accept trapping input until June 10; hunting-change discussion can be submitted until June 25. For more details of these proposals and how to submit comments, visit

Basseye dates

Bob Rich Jr. announced the dates for the 15th Annual BassEye Celebrity Challenge, beginning with a kickoff party at the Rich Atrium on June 23 and the bass and walleye fishing competition out of Buffalo (Small Boat) Harbor State Park on June 24.

This fundraiser benefits Cystic Fibrosis Foundation treatment efforts and research that will lead to a cure.

Rich his penned a novel, “Looking Through Water,” published in November of 2015, and sales of this book have soared. continues to hold it at a 5-star reader rating.

As with Rich’s previous four non-fiction and story texts, proceeds from sales will go to a deserving recipient. Project Healing Waters, a program that helps injured veterans and healing active military personnel enjoy fly fishing, will benefit from the novel’s earnings.

“Looking Through Waters” is available at

The BassEye contest brings together local and national celebrities, along with skilled and experienced charter captains who volunteer their services, and donors to the CFF fundraising efforts. Each year, fishery dynamics change. Bass dominate catches one year, walleye make a greater showing the next year. Forecasts right now are for a good walleye fishery and a possible smallmouth showing in numbers if not sizes.

The object of the BassEye Challenge is to amass a good number of both species, with hopes of at least catching one of each for a BassEye entry. Anglers from the most seasoned charter captains to the newest of donors and celebrities marvel at the way catches come in each year. Results of BassEye catches often serve as a yardstick for the way the bass and walleye fishing unfolds through the summer and fall seasons at the Buffalo end of Lake Erie. For more details on the BassEye events, visit

Free trees

The New York Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation is offering free American Chestnut seedlings and nuts set for planting to landowners with tree-growing space anywhere in Western New York.

Rich Wells coordinates the ACF tree-planting program, which, he notes is an effort to “help restore an American icon.” To arrange for obtaining planting stock, check with Wells at 592-9596.