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DEC seeking public input on bear, mute geese management

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The state Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking input on the management of black bears and mute swans.

Among the goals for the department are to maintain bear populations, enhance bear hunting and minimize the frequency of human-bear encounters.

For the swans, the department said it looks to eliminate free-ranging types of the swan from the state by 2025, but allow ownership of the bird in captivity.

“Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance populations, hunting opportunities and environmental impacts,” Joe Martens, state Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner, said in a statement. “These plans will guide the management of these species for the next 10 years, and we encourage people to review and submit comments on the draft plans.”

Bears have been reported in areas of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, and the department’s guidelines call for populations to remain around current levels for the 10-year time frame.

Other parts of the plan include calls for the expansion of bear hunting into all areas of upstate New York, a supplemental hunting season in the Catskills region and assessment of existing regulations and statutes that limit bear management capacity. The department also is looking to increase public knowledge of the bears.

The department said the swans, typically found on Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley, have increased their range in recent years to the Lake Ontario area.

In addition to being aggressive toward people, the birds are said to destroy aquatic vegetation and displace native wildlife.

There are about 2,200 of the swans in the state. Some methods proposed by the department include informing the public of their risk, prohibiting their import and release and allowing them to be hunted in some situations.

The full bear plan can be viewed at http://wdt.me/Ex9BKP, and the swan plan can be viewed at http://wdt.me/Sobnrg.

Comments on the plans can be mailed to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bear Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4754 and NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4754. Email comments on the two plans can be mailed to to fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us, with the department requesting senders to put “Bear Plan” or “Swan Plan” in the subject line.

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