In the not so distant past, biologists from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) performed season setting in New York State 's Western Zone. They received and considered inputs from waterfowlers but, when all was said and done, it was NYSDEC who set the waterfowl season. In 1997, reacting to increasing waterfowler dissatisfaction with season dates, NYSDEC formed the Western Zone Waterfowl Task Force (WTF). The WTF is comprised of 10-11 waterfowlers -- NYS Conservation Waterfowl Committee members from DEC Regions 7/8/9, representatives from Western Zone waterfowl clubs, and at-large members recommended by County Sportsman's Federations. WTF members routinely canvas waterfowlers in their areas seeking recommendations for season dates.
FL&WNYWA's impact on the season setting process goes far beyond its representation on the WTF. For years, FL&WNYWA meetings have served as a conduit for exchange of credible data concerning waterfowl migration and harvest within the Western Zone of NY. USFWS waterfowl population counts and fall flight forecast data are routinely presented by club members along with harvest data from the Iroquois and Montezuma NWRs and state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) such as Tonawanda and Oak Orchard. These data helped to identify the principal migratory timeframes within the zone, a key ingredient to the season setting process.
The initial Task Force meetings were difficult and lengthy because they involved educating everyone concerning the migratory trends in the various geographic regions within the Zone. Meetings have improved in recent years as WTF members have become familiar with the various needs, concerns, tradeoffs, and migratory patterns. Since the inception of the WTF, waterfowler complaints about season dates have dropped dramatically.
FL&WNYWA-assembled season setting data, presented at previous WTF meetings, are available in PDF format below. A listing of the most recent Task Force membership, along with contact info, is also provided. You are encouraged to provide input to any of the listed WTF members. The latest NYSDEC regulations brochure and season date announcement are also provided.
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