Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Changes coming to DMAP program

Albany – DEC’s budget crunch is forcing deer managers to
streamline the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) and
nuisance permit program.

Wildlife officials are grappling with trying to offer the two
programs in a way that will allow sufficient oversight and at the
same time reduce costs.

Initial reports indicated the DMAP would be scrapped, but DEC
officials are now saying a modified program will be offered.

“Our ability to spend within the Conservation Fund was reduced
by 40 percent; it’s a big change for us,”_DEC wildlife biologist
Jeremy Hurst said. “Both the DMAP and nuisance programs will be
affected. Since our Conservation_Fund allotment was reduced,
program costs have to be reduced.”

Under DMAP, the state issues a special permit and a
pre-determined number of antlerless deer tags to a landowner or
property manager who is responsible for doling out the tags. The
permits may be used only during the deer hunting season and the
program is designed to trim whitetail numbers in areas where crop
damage or other forest damage is taking place.

The nuisance permit program goes a step further, allowing deer
to be taken outside the regular deer season – even during the night
– on specific lands where DEC has approved participation in the
program.

DEC officials say they’re trying to come up with a more
efficient way of handling the DMAP and nuisance permit program in
light of the reduced funding, while still maintaining solid
oversight of both programs.

“We have a lot still yet to be figured out,”_Hurst said. “We
have some concerns over the level of oversight of the programs,
given our travel restrictions. We haven’t really come to a full
decision on how that’s going to be handled.”

Among the options considered are a different way of approving
new applications for the program, and using other sources – perhaps
environmental conservation officers – to verify damage to crops.
But ECOs are under similar travel restrictions and budgetary
constraints, which may make that a problem.

Jason Kemper, chairman of the state’s Conservation Fund Advisory
Board, said that group is concerned about DEC’s ability to properly
oversee the programs given the travel restrictions.

“Absolutely that’s a concern,” he said. “If we can come up with
a better way of managing the programs, that would be great. Maybe
it’s an opportunity to push landowners a bit more to allow hunters
on their properties.”

Sportsmen have long criticized the DMAP and nuisance permit
programs, contending the DEC doesn’t have control over the
programs, that many deer kills aren’t being reported and that the
programs are used by some landowners to create their own private
hunting clubs with plenty of antlerless deer permits to go
around.

DEC officials counter that landowners found to be in violation
of their permits will be prosecuted and said that has happened at
times.

Hurst said one change in the DMAP will be the printing of
different tags to be used in the program. “They’ll be less costly
and they’ll look different,” he said of the Tyvek-type tag. “And it
will involve a bit of a different reporting process whereby the
landowner will be responsible for all of the reporting rather than
the hunters themselves.”

Hurst said that system may give DEC a better handle on the DMAP
deer take since it will prompt “better communication between the
landowner and the hunters. In the past the landowner may not know
what’s happening in terms of harvests, and this will require a
greater level of accountability, so that’s a real positive
change.”

Printing and mailing costs, Hurst said, will be “markedly
reduced.”

Tags for the nuisance permit program have already been printed
for 2010, but will be changed for 2011.

Hurst said that despite the overhaul of the two programs, DEC’s
ability to manage the state’s deer herd won’t be compromised.

“Our deer management program will remain solid,” he said.

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