Deer hunters take notice: Free hunting tags help Doodletown forests

ANCRAM — Deer hunters take notice: The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be offering deer hunting tags for this season at the Doodletown Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Columbia County.

The tags may be obtained at the Ancram Town Hall parking lot, at 1416 County Road 7 in Ancram. Tags will be available from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23.

The remaining tags will then be available at DEC Region 4 Headquarters at 1130 North Westcott Road in Schenectady, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The tags will be available to anyone with a valid New York State hunting license. The DEC has given notice that only a limited number of tags will be available; they’ll be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The goal of the Deer Management Assistance Program within Doodletown WMA is to create a healthier, more biologically diverse forest ecosystem,” stated DEC Regional Director Keith Goertz when announcing the deer tag program.

He explained that by keeping the WMA deer population under control, species that live in the young forest have a better chance to thrive. That includes the New England cottontail — one of a number of important species managed at Doodletown, which Goertz said he hopes will have a better chance to regenerate through this initiative.

The DEC has taken planned management actions to protect the New England cottontail’s critical habitat in order to support the species’ proliferation.

According to Goertz, the DEC Forestry and Wildlife staff believe the deer population at the Doodletown WMA pose a threat to the forest’s chances to fully regenerate.

“[It] will inhibit the desired regrowth of the forest after management cuts designed to improve New England cottontail habitat are made in the coming years,” he said.

The giveaway hunting tags, he said, will accomplish two goals with one action.

“This is a great opportunity for hunters to take an additional deer while helping with forest management,” said Goertz.

The Doodletown WMA area covers 1,078 acres of primarily forested land in the towns of Ancram, Taghkanic and Gallatin.

Its main purposes are for “wildlife management, wildlife habitat management and wildlife-dependent recreation,” stated the DEC.

For details about the Doodletown WMA, go to www.dec.ny.gov.

For details about the remaining tags, call the Region 4 Wildlife Office at 518-357-2158.

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