DEC adopts new rules to protect wildlife managed areas

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Effective January 1, 2022, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will adopt new regulations governing the public use of Wildlife Management Areas (WMA). The DEC says it will update its rules in specific areas of wildlife management to ensure the WMAs across the state continues to meet the primary goals of conserving wildlife while providing opportunities to safely hunt, trap, and appreciate wildlife.

The DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife manages 125 WMAs with several unique and multiple uses in areas across the state, which comprises nearly 250,000 acres officials say. DEC will adopt the new regulations following a public comment period earlier this year. 

Regulations include:

  • Any use of motorized vehicles including motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and some motorized equipment are restricted, such as chainsaws
  • Snowmobiles will be allowed in WMAs on designated routes covered by a minimum of three inches of snow or ice and only from the close of the regular big game hunting season until March 31

The DEC says this measure will help prevent the degradation of trails and habitat, particularly during winter and spring thaws.

  • The DEC seeks to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species
  • The restriction of discharge of firearms other than for hunting or trapping to designated areas, with only paper targets allowed
  • The use of electric or non-powered boats will be restricted in wildlife areas
  • Boats may not be stored or anchored overnight on wildlife areas
  • Require that dogs be kept on a leash and under control. Except when legally used for hunting on lands designated as dog-training areas during training seasons, or when participating in a DEC-licensed field trial

The DEC says visitors to New York State WMAs should be aware of rules governing the management of site-specific area’s wildlife restrictions. For more information please visit the DEC’s ny.gov webpage.

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