Fishing and hunting are important recreational uses of the Angle Fly Preserve property and are required by an easement placed on the property by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Whether you come to Angle Fly to hike, hunt, fish, snowshoe or birdwatch, the following information and regulations are important and useful. Please respect the parking spaces reserved for hunters and the kiosks where hunters identify their presence and location in the preserve with numbered pins.

To participate in the program or for general questions about the program, please contact 

Bob Mendoza, Hunting Committee Chair,  bmendoza@somerslandtrust.org

or Somers Parks and Recreation Department, parks@somersny.com.

Nature Out of Balance 

The toll on our forests and gardens from an out-of-balance population of white-tailed deer continues to grow. With their natural predators all but eliminated, deer reproduce rapidly and a herd can double in size in two years. Recreational hunting serves as an important and cost-effective tool for deer management. Each year, more municipalities and nature preserves turn to controlled hunting programs to grapple with this unbalance. 

Disappearing Understory is a Serious Health Issue for Forests

Angle Fly Preserve shows clear signs of an overpopulation of deer. As you hike the Preserve, notice the "browse line" through much of the forest. It looks as if someone has trimmed off the foliage at head height but is actually caused by deer eating everything they can reach. Notice, too, that there are not many healthy young saplings in the spaces between the mature trees. Deer nip them off nearly as soon as they sprout. They never have a chance.

A forest grows in distinct layers, each playing a vital role in the long-term life of the forest. Over-browsing by deer devastates the level of the forest called the understory. The understory is the nursery of the forest, where young saplings compete for the chance to replace large mature trees that will inevitably fall from disease or storms. Without an understory, the forest cannot regenerate. And that has a domino effect on wildlife more generally, as many other species of plant and animal lose available habitat with the decline of the forest.

Invasive Plants Profit From Deer Activity

Invasive plant populations in Angle Fly Preserve have increased alarmingly, forcing out native species. This can be directly linked to the large deer population. When a tree falls today, with the degraded understory, it is the invasive vines and shrubs that rush in to fill the opening instead of a maple or oak. Perversely, deer are little interested in nibbling on invasive species, instead strongly preferring native shrubs and trees. 

Even worse, some invasives, such as Japanese barberry, change soil conditions to make it difficult for native plants to grow. The symbiotic effects of deer grazing and invasive plant proliferation has nearly eliminated forest regeneration in most areas of the preserve.

Hunting and Biodiversity

The overall purpose of acquiring Angle Fly Preserve was to protect its biodiversity and secure opportunities for outdoor recreation. Hunting is regulated as a management strategy to aid the reestablishment of native vegetation. Reduction of the overall population of the herd is the major goal. Hunters are asked to abide by regulations designed to further these objectives.

Hunters participating in the Angle Fly Preserve hunting program provide vital information on the number and location of deer on the property and also on the status of other wildlife through regular submission of hunting reports.

Hunters have been known to shoot coyotes they encounter. This is prohibited at Angle Fly Preserve as coyote are the deer’s only remaining natural predator in the local ecosystem. Coyotes prey on sick, wounded, and young deer, helping maintain a healthy deer population while not directly competing with hunters. Coyote represent another element in an overall effort at deer management.

Hunting Season Dates

Deer hunting in Westchester County runs from October 1 through December 31 each year. New York State imposes restrictions on the number of deer that may be harvested annually. This number may change from year to year.

Turkey hunting has a spring and a fall season, with different dates and different bag limits each year. For current details, please refer to the Official Guide to Laws and Regulations for Hunting in New York State.

Deer Harvest Guidelines

The purpose of the program is to effectively and safely reduce the population of the deer herd in Angle Fly Preserve. To meet these goals, the committee overseeing hunting has determined it best to harvest any legal deer. At season's end, the committee evaluates the success of this approach and whether a formal system of tags will be necessary in the future.

Overall Bow Hunting Regulations

  1. Hunting is permitted in designated areas of the preserve by NYS licensed hunters.  All NYS and Westchester County laws regulating the practice of hunting apply except that there will be no shotguns used on the preserve for the taking of any wild life. Hunting is restricted to deer and turkey except for falconers holding a valid NYSDEC falconry license pursuing small game in the appropriate season. Hunters are restricted to the use of a bow for turkey.
     

  2. Bow hunters will be proficiency tested through an evaluation of their archery skills prior to hunting on AFP. Skill evaluation is offered on several different days prior to each year’s hunting seasons. Hunters need qualify only once.
     

  3. Hunters have access to a total of 12 designated parking spaces — 8 in the central section and 4 in eastern section of the property. Yearly placards are issued by Somers Parks and Recreation Department upon determination that the hunter holds a valid NYSDEC hunting license for the appropriate game and has passed the proficiency test. The number of hunters at any one time cannot exceed the capacity of the parking area designated for hunters with the exception of local residents accessing the AFP on foot.
     

  4. Hunting on the Angle Fly Preserve commences on the first day of the regulated hunting seasons for turkey (spring and fall) and the fall deer season.  Turkey hunting is permitted between one-half hour before sunrise until 12 noon on each day of the regulated turkey hunting season. Angle Fly Preserve is open to hunters from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset for the fall hunting season, and from one hour before sunrise until 12:30 PM during the spring turkey season.
     

  5. Each hunter will complete “observation sheets” to report any wild life observed while hunting on Angle Fly Preserve.
     

  6. Enforcement of the signed agreements and adherence to hunting regulations will be the responsibility of Somers Parks and Recreation Department.  Hunters failing to follow these regulations will have their hunting privileges revoked.
     

  7. All DEC general hunting regulations must be followed by each hunter accessing Angle Fly.

Definitions

Bow – Includes long (stick), compound, or recurved bow.

To hunt – To pursue, shoot, kill or capture (other than trap) wildlife and includes all lesser acts that disturb or worry wildlife whether or not they result in taking.  Hunting also includes all acts to assist another person in taking wildlife.

Manner of Taking

It is illegal to take or hurt wildlife:
 

  • While in or on a motor vehicle (except by the holder of a Non Ambulatory Hunter Permit)

  • With the aid of a vehicles lights

  • On or from any public road

  • With any firearm (defined as a gun)

  • With a spear

  • With a bow equipped with any mechanical device which is attached to the bow (other than bowstring) for drawing, holding or releasing the bowstring except for a physically disabled person in possession of a Handicapped Archer Permit (compound bows are legal)

  • With a spear gun or crossbow except for a physically disabled person in possession of a Modified Crossbow Permit

  • With an arrow with an explosive head or shaft

  • With any device designed or intended to deliver drugs to an animal
     

Baiting

It is illegal to hunt with the aid of bait, or over any area when hunting big game, upland game birds, turkey or waterfowl.

Discharge of Bows

In Angle Fly Preserve, you may not discharge a bow:

  • So that the arrow passes over any part of a public highway

  • Within 500 feet of any school, playground, or occupied church

  • Within 500 feet of a dwelling, farm building or structure in occupation

You may hunt waterfowl, over water, within 500 feet of a dwelling or public structure as long as neither is within 500 feet in the direction you are shooting
 

Fishing

Fly fishing has occurred on Angle Fly Brook from at least the nineteenth century. While fly fishing is allowed, it is with the primary goal of protecting the population of native brook troutFishing in all ponds and streams on the property are governed by the following rules:

  • All applicable NYSDEC regulations apply, e.g. season, catch limits, protected species, permits and licenses

  • Artificial lures only

  • Barbless hooks

  • Angle Fly Preserve is a designated catch and release management area

 

 

Photos top to bottom: Meadow in Angle Fly © Peter Burckmyer, Deer-browsed sapling tops © Lauretta Jones, Deer exclosure scout project © Lauretta Jones, Deer scraping on tree © Lauretta Jones, Bob MacGregor orienting volunteers© Mike Lubchenko, GoldStarPhotos.com, Treetops in autumn at Angle Fly Preserve © Gail Simpson, Angle Fly Brook in spring © Lauretta Jones, Angle Fly Brook in fall © peter Burckmyer, Young native brook trout from Angle Fly Brook fish survey (it was counted and returned to the brook).

ANGLE FLY PRESERVE WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM

The Somers Land Trust is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit all volunteer organization committed to preserving open space in the town of Somers, NY. We work to protect the natural landscape  of our community through stewardship, advocacy and education.

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PO Box 248, Somers NY 10589

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