Monday, October 14, 2013

Georgia State Record Alligator

In September, Georgia hunter Jim Overman, age 43, harvested a new state record alligator at Lake Seminole.

According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, the 13-foot, 10 ¾-inch gator beats the former record by 1 ¾ inches.

After extensive restoration efforts, American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) now flourish over most of their historic range. Georgia's alligator population is managed through a regulated hunting season.

For information on alligator hunting in Georgia, visit

source: Georgia Department of Natural Resources

Friday, October 11, 2013

Mississippi Wild Turkey Brood Survey

Each year from June to August, the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) conducts a survey to monitor wild turkey reproduction across the state. The "brood survey", as it is commonly known, enlists numerous observers who note all turkeys seen during the three-month survey period.

The resulting information allows turkey biologists to measure reproductive success and gives hunters an objective look at how turkeys are faring across the Magnolia State.

Dave Godwin, the MDWFP Wild Turkey Program Coordinator, reports that the brood survey data indicates reduced turkey reproduction for much of the state during 2013. "We witnessed our best hatch in over a decade last summer, but unfortunately it was followed up with a decreased hatch in most areas this year," said Godwin.

According to Godwin, the proportion of hen wild turkeys observed with young in 2013 declined 43 percent from the previous year's tally, and the average brood size dropped substantially as well. 

Adam Butler, MDWFP Wild Turkey Program Biologist, suggests several factors that could be responsible for this year's decreased hatch.  "We had an unusual spring this year.  Springtime nesting activity seemed delayed as a result of the late winter and cool spring, and the later the birds get started nesting, the worse they tend to do," Butler said.

He also pointed out that untimely rains during the nesting and early brooding period likely had a negative impact. Another factor could be the abundant hatch of 2012, which may have skewed the population in favor of juvenile hens.

Research has shown that young hens tend to nest less frequently, and they are often not as successful.   

For more information regarding wild turkeys in Mississippi, visit

source: Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks

Thursday, October 10, 2013

2013 Montana Elk Hunting

Montana's general, five-week long, elk hunting season opens Oct. 26. Overall, Montana's elk populations are in good shape, according to  Montana FWP.

Once again this season, Montana hunters will pursue elk under some very favorable regulations although the weather could play a big part in hunter success.

Depending on the hunting district regulations hunters can pursue brow-tined bull elk, spike bull elk, either-sex elk, or antlerless elk.

For more information on elk hunting in Montana, visit FWP's website at

source: Montana FWP

2013 Montana Deer Hunting

Deer hunters in Montana could experience a mix of hunting success across the state when the general deer season opens Oct. 26.

Montana FWP wildlife biologists are reporting higher fawn production and survival, although outbreaks of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) have been reported in some areas.

Depending on the hunting district regulations hunters can pursue antlered mule deer bucks, either-sex mule deer, antlered white-tailed deer, either-sex white-tailed deer.

For more information on Montana deer hunting, visit FWP's website at

source: Montana FWP

Vermont Deer Hunting

Vermont is home to a healthy white-tailed deer population, which could lead to opportunites for hunters this season.

“Vermont’s deer herd has benefitted from two relatively mild winters in a row,” according to Vermont deer biologist Adam Murkowski. “Mild winter weather coupled with a healthy and robust deer population mean herd growth is expected in many regions of the state this year, and hunters can choose between several different deer hunting opportunities starting in October and continuing into December.”

The 2012 Vermont Deer Harvest Report, available from the Fish and Wildlife Department’s web site ( has a wealth of information to help plan a hunt, including the number of deer taken in each town.

The "2013 Vermont Hunting, Fishing & Trapping LAWS and GUIDE" explains all of Vermont’s hunting regulations and includes maps showing public hunting areas. The guide is available on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife website and where licenses are sold.   

Vermont hunting Licenses are available on Fish and Wildlife’s web site and from license agents statewide.

source: Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

2013 West Virginia Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook

The 2013 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook is available on the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources website and will be available soon at DNR offices across the state, according to Curtis I. Taylor, chief for the DNR Wildlife Resources Section.

Since 1971, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section, in cooperation with volunteers from numerous other agencies, has conducted a fall mast survey to determine the abundance of mast produced by 18 species of trees and shrubs.

"The availability of fall foods has a significant impact on wildlife populations and harvests,” said Taylor. “Our biologists have used the mast survey data to demonstrate the strong correlation between mast conditions and deer, bear and turkey harvests. In addition to the impact on harvests, the amount of food available each year can affect the reproductive success of numerous species which will affect population sizes in the following years."

Beechnut and hickory were above their long-term average. Soft mast, including apple, crabapple and hawthorn were also well above average.

Production of acorns is well below average and will have noticeable effects on the 2013–2014 hunting seasons because oak makes up the majority of the hard mast biomass.

According to Taylor, hunters can find a wealth of facts in the Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook. Copies of the 2013 Mast Survey and Hunting Outlook may be found on the DNR website at:

source:  West Virginia Division of Natural Resources

New York State Hunting

On October 3, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced that hunters and trappers could begin hunting and trapping in upstate New York.

Hunting, trapping, and related activities provide significant benefits to New York's economy, especially in rural areas. A recent national survey estimated that hunter expenditures on equipment and trip-related expenses in New York totaled more than $1.5 billion in 2011.

Governor Cuomo recently announced a new initiative to make New York even more attractive to hunters and anglers. The "NY Open for Fishing and Hunting" plan streamlines sporting licenses and reduces fees to benefit sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the state.

Fees will also be lowered for non-residents to encourage out-of-state hunters to experience the great game opportunities in New York. These changes will first go into effect in 2014.

All new hunters or trappers planning to go afield this upcoming hunting and trapping season must first complete a mandatory hunter or trapper education course before they can obtain the appropriate sporting license. Training in safe handling of firearms and hunting is a legal requirement for anyone hunting in New York.

Courses are free to take and are taught by DEC-certified instructors. Although primarily offered for first-time hunters or trappers, anyone is welcome to attend a sportsman education course, whether it is for a refresher or an interest of the topic. For more on basic hunting safety rules visit DEC's website.

For general information about hunting or trapping in New York, or to get additional information about specific opportunities, visit DEC's hunting or trapping pages.

DEC advises hunters and trappers to confirm the exact dates, bag limits, legal implements, and other regulations pertaining to any area where hunting or trapping is planned before going afield.

source: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)