New York Mixed Bag: DEC seeks turkey hunters to participate in annual grouse drumming survey – Outdoor News

Albany — DEC would like New York’s turkey hunters to once again help track the distribution and abundance of ruffed grouse by participating in the annual grouse drumming survey. During the spring breeding season, male grouse are “drumming,” beating their wings in the hope of attracting a mate. Turkey hunters can record the number of ruffed grouse they hear drumming while afield to help monitor this game bird.

To learn more, visit the DEC website.

The survey form can be downloaded here.


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DEC Completes Chautauqua Lake Annual Muskellunge Survey and Egg Take

Allegany, N.Y. — DEC’s Region 9 Fisheries Unit and the Chautauqua Fish Hatchery have conducted an annual spring trap net survey on Chautauqua Lake since 1978 that serves dual purposes – to monitor the status of the muskie population and to collect muskie brood stock for hatchery production.

Survey and egg collections are typically conducted during the last week of April and first week of May with approximately 40 mated pairs needed to obtain the 2 million eggs required for hatchery production.

Chautauqua Lake in western New York serves as the primary brood stock source for pure strain muskie stocking in New York State waters. However, this years’ egg collection began a little earlier and on nearby Cassadaga Lake where crews were able to collect about 20% of the target. While most of fish hover around the 40-inch mark, an occasional true trophy muskie shows up. Muskie season remains closed until June 1.

DEC Reminds Anglers To Guard Against Invasive Species

Albany — As the warm-weather fishing seasons intensify, DEC reminds anglers to protect New York waters from aquatic invasives species. Invasives can out-compete native species, damage economies and ecosystems, and negatively impact recreation.

Follow these guidelines to help prevent the spread of AI:

• Clean, Drain, Dry fishing equipment. AIS such as hydrilla, spiny water flea, and didymo can be carried between water bodies on fishing equipment. Before moving to a new location and after you’ve finished fishing.

• Clean plants and mud from fishing gear, boots, and waders and put it in the trash. Consider using rubber boots with studs rather than felt-soled waders, which can be difficult to clean;

• Drain water from gear and bait buckets onto land. If keeping bait, drain the water and replace it with spring water or dechlorinated tap water;

• Dry your equipment with a towel or let it air dry;

• If possible, disinfect equipment using hot water (at 140°F for 30 seconds).

Also, anglers should purchase certified bait to make sure it’s disease-free. After fishing, dispose of unused bait in the trash rather than throwing it into a water body. Never release caught bait or fish into a different water body.

Anglers can report suspected AIS sightings to iMapInvasives, New York’s invasive species database at

Applications Being Accepted for 2024 Janice & Paul Keesler Scholarships

Newport, N.Y. — The Janice & Paul Keesler Scholarship Fund is accepting applications from qualified students who wish to receive scholarship assistance. These scholarships are potentially available to any New York State resident who has been accepted into an accredited institution of higher learning and is, or will be, working toward obtaining a degree in some facet of wildlife management.

Janice and Paul Keesler were avid sports persons who wrote and lectured about the outdoors and founded and published the nationally recognized and respected New York Sportsman Magazine. A great loss to all those who appreciate the wonder of nature, Janice passed away suddenly in 1988 and Paul in 2005 after a battle with cancer.

More information, including applications, is available at:; by email: [email protected]; or, write: Janice & Paul Keesler Scholarship Fund c/o Bridget Keesler, PO Box 485, Newport, NY 13416. The application deadline is Sept. 22.

The scholarships will be distributed in the fall of 2024. To date, the fund has had the honor of distributing more than $31,500 in grants to deserving wildlife management students.

Boquet River Barrier Getting $500K In Federal Funding

Lewis, N.Y. — A project on the Boquet River, in Essex County, will be the recipient of $500,000 in federal funding courtesy of the National Fish Passage Program.

The project will replace an existing dual culvert crossing over the North Branch of the Boquet River with a 120-foot bridge on Moss Road, just east of Interstate 87 in Lewis. The funding will improve fish passage around an outdated culvert, a barrier which is fragmenting the river.

The project is one of 43 in 29 states recently announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior that will improve fish passage around outdated or obsolete dams, culverts, levees and other barriers.