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11, 2004 -- THE New York State Depart ment of Environmental Conservation announced a tentative schedule for the 2004-05 waterfowl hunting seasons, giving you time to plan hunting trips for the fall.
The dates won't be finalized until late summer, when federal regulations are official, but they usually hold up since the DEC sets them to conform to federal requirements.

One question mark involves canvasback hunting as the feds are waiting for spring and summer population surveys to determine whether a limited season should be held.

Two Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days will be held in each zone this fall, giving added days for junior hunters (ages 12 to 15) to hunt ducks, coots, mergansers and Canada geese.

The September Canada goose seasons are similar to last year: Lake Champlain Zone, Sept. 7-25; Long Island, Sept. 7-30; all other zones, Sept. 1-25. The daily bag during the September season is eight, except in the Lake Champlain Zone, where it remains three per day.

The DEC plans to mail a copy of the 2004-05 regulations brochure to everyone registered in New York's Harvest Information Program (HIP) last year. You must register with HIP for each state where you intend to hunt and each license year (last year's numbers are good through Sept. 30). You can register for New York by calling (866) 426-3778.

The tentative dates are:

Ducks, coots, and mergansers: Northeast Zone, Oct. 2-17 and Oct. 23-Dec. 5; Southeast, Oct. 9-17 and Nov. 13-Jan. 2; and Long Island, Nov. 20-28 and Dec. 11-Jan. 30. Sea ducks dates are the same for each zone except on Long Island, which are Oct. 16-Jan. 30.

Youth Days: Northeast, Sept. 18-19; Southeast, Sept. 25-26; Long Island, Oct. 30-31.

Pintails: Northeast, Oct. 2-17 and Oct. 23-Nov. 5; Southeast, Nov. 13-Dec. 12; Long Island, Jan. 1-30.

Snow geese: Northeast, Oct. 2-Jan. 1 and Feb. 24-March 10; Southeast, Oct. 9-Jan. 8 and Feb. 24-March 10; and Long Island, Nov. 20-March 6.

Brant: Northeast, Oct. 2-Nov. 20; Southeast, Oct. 9-Nov. 27; Long Island, Dec. 12-Jan. 30.

New Jersey hunters are being asked to show support for this fall's black-bear hunt. The New Jersey DEP is looking to shut down the hunt, scheduled for Dec. 6-11, which would make the anti-hunting crowd very happy.

You have until July 16 to send in comments in support of the 2004-05 Fish and Game Code, which will be compiled and presented to the Fish and Game Council. They should be mailed to Martin McHugh, Director Division of Fish & Wildlife, P.O. Box 400, Trenton, N.J. 08625, fax (609) 292-8207.

The public may attend the council meeting In Robbinsville on July 20 at 1 p.m.

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