Happy New Year! Winter has been slow to start in my area but with snow predicted it may show up after all. This time of year is great to get outside but be sure to be safe. There is some ice in the North Country but it is spotty. Take a spud! While some are still out chasing deer on Long Island and in areas of Tompkins County, others are chasing small game and furbearers. Soon the lakes will tighten up and we’ll be chasing tip up flags.
Get out there and enjoy your public lands and waters!
NYBHA Chapter Chair
Chapter News from December
Hunters of Color Mentored Hunt at Hannacroix Preserve
NY BHA partnered for the third year in the Capital region with Hunters of Color and The Nature Conservancy to bring in new hunters. We mentored 13 new hunters this year with 10 using crossbows and three, more experienced new hunters using muzzleloaders. National Deer Association biologist Matt Ross was on hand to teach us everything deer and Colleen Kimble, NYS Hunters Education Instructor was on hand to help with in depth hunter safety and also was a mentor. Mentees participated in skinning and processing a deer and shared some great wild game meals. Stay tuned for a recap of the event on social media.
- Join us January 20th on Great Sacandaga Lake near Broadalbin, NY with WildHERness and Artemis Sportswomen to learn to ice fish! This family event will be geared to meeting other members and learning how to fish the hard water. We will meet at the Broadalbin boat ramp (667 Lakeview Rd Broadalbin, NY 12025) at 10 am. At 5 pm we will meet up at the Broadalbin Hotel (59 W Main St Broadalbin, NY 12024) to socialize and tell fish stories. In the event that the fishing portion is canceled due to ice conditions we will still meet up at the hotel at 5pm. Be sure to bring your NY fishing license and warm clothes. Ice fishing gear will be available for participants to borrow during the event. If you plan to come, please RSVP here: NY Intro to Ice Fishing.
- Come out January 26-28 to the NY State Fair Grounds in Syracuse and see the New York BHA crew at the New York Sportsman's Expo. Stop by and swap stories, share pictures and pick up some merch!
Legislative / Policy Update
Unit/Recreation Management Plans and Proposals - DEC regularly seeks public input as they work to manage our public lands. While they will regularly receive input from other groups, often hunters and anglers are fairly silent. It directly benefits the hunting and angling communities for you to take a look at these plans and voice your feedback directly to DEC. They do listen to your input and in the past, our voices have resulted in wins for hunters and anglers. Current plans open for feedback include:
- Keuka Highlands UMP and Keuka Lowlands UMP - comments open until further notice
- Great Divide Unit Management Plan (formerly Erwin UMP and Great Divide UMP) - comments open until further notice
With the legislature back in session in Albany for 2024, it’s a good time to contact your elected officials on important issues. The following are a few bills of interest.
Lead ammo ban on all public lands - Both the Assembly and the Senate have bills proposing banning all lead ammunition only on public lands. The bill passed in the Assembly and the relevant bill in the Senate is S4976. While we are very much in favor of hunters voluntarily switching to non-toxic ammunition, we feel that these bills are likely to be ineffective and unfairly target only public land hunters. Reach out to your elected officials!
New York wildlife crossing act - A bill that directs the Department of Transportation to identify sites along all highways, thruways and parkways in the state where wildlife crossings are most needed to increase public safety and improve habitat connectivity and create a priority list of wildlife opportunity areas where federal grant monies may be available to implement the top five projects identified. We are in favor of this proposed bill and encourage you to reach out to your elected officials to get this one over the finish line. The relevant bills are S4198 and A4243.
Back tags, hunting rights, crossbows and dogs - A few other bills to keep your eye on:
- Remove the requirements for back tags - S367 / A1486
- Hunting dogs cannot be deemed running at large - A2224
- Remove restrictions on crossbow size/weight - S2250 / A4372
- Constitutional right to hunt and fish - S870 / A3348
- Prohibits leasing public land for gas production - S724
- Ban leg gripping traps - A110 / S1619
Call for Volunteers
We need your help! We are looking for volunteers to help with the following efforts.
- Regional Event Coordinators - Want to help us plan gatherings for your fellow NY BHA members? We need help with local Pint Nights as well as our upcoming NY Rendezvous
- Policy and Legislative work - Our Policy team and newly forming Legislative team needs passionate folks to jump in and help us do the important work to protect our public lands and access for hunters and anglers!
- Mentorship work - We want to build a list of folks in the state who are open to being mentors for new hunters and anglers. We have opportunities and need for folks who can give a little all the way up to folks who want to really invest a lot. Everything from answering questions to being a one on one coach to participating on our larger weekend long hunt camps for new hunters.
- Conservation work - We are working with DEC to have more opportunities for events to do quality habitat work on our public lands. Want to roll your sleeves up and help, we would love to have you!
If you are interested in volunteering a bit of your time and talents, please let us know by filling out and submitting this form.
How to Connect with Us
Here are a few ways you can keep in touch with the New York BHA chapter:
Stay up to date with events and blogs from New York on our BHA web page at New York Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
Join our Facebook group at New York BHA on Facebook.
Follow us on Instagram New York BHA (@newyorkbha).
Contact the Chapter Board by email: [email protected]
Thank our sponsors: New York BHA Corporate Sponsors
Join us at an upcoming event: BHA Events
Signup to be a volunteer: NY BHA Volunteer