By Assemblyman Will Barclay
As fall weather settles upon the area and the colors change, for many that means one thing: the opening of hunting season is here.
Upstate New York has some of the best hunting, trapping and fishing in the country with thousands of lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and millions of acres of forest and open space rich with wildlife.
Those who venture out to hunt and fish tend to appreciate and often help conserve our area’s natural resources.
Outdoor sports also help our state, regional and local economies.
The state estimates that consumer spending on these activities totaled more than $5 billion in 2011, the last year data was available.
Nearly $1.9 billion of that was spent on trip-related purchases including transportation, food and lodging.
About 2 million people hunt, fish and trap in the state ranking New York third in the nation for the number of sportsmen obtaining licenses and permits.
Only Texas and Florida issue more licenses.
Upstate New York counties including, Oswego, Onondaga and Jefferson counties, are among the top 10 counties in the state for total hunting and fishing license sales.
New York is also a destination for many who take part in outdoor sports.
It’s estimated that 20% of the revenue collected from license fees in the 2013 license year was from out of state residents.
Data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Census Bureau indicates there also was a significant increase in the number of New York residents who hunt and fish from 2001 to 2011.
Increasing Opportunities for Youth
In 2012, New York’s first Youth Firearms Deer Hunt was held on Columbus Day weekend.
This has since become an annual event, thanks in part to legislation that passed to expand big game hunting for junior hunters (those 14-15 years old).
The annual weekend took place again this past Columbus Day holiday.
The expansion of big game hunting for our youth helps keep deer population in check and gives families an opportunity to hunt safely together.
Prior to New York enacting the youth hunt, New York families were taking their kids out of state because bordering states allowed youth big game hunting.
Now that New York has youth big game hunting, it is a great opportunity to provide young people the chance to learn from an experienced, licensed hunter so the sport continues and the next generation learns at an earlier age about the sport and appreciating nature.
To learn more about hunting and fishing in New York State, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/62.html.
To share recent hunting and fishing photos and be included in an online photo gallery on the DEC’s website, visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/54055.html.
If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office.
My office can be reached by mail at 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.