With Deer-Bear season set to open this weekend in the Southern Zone, the DEC is encouraging hunters to use one of their check stations to report their harvest. Your not required to use one of the facilities, it's just a polite ask from officials.

Reporting your harvest is required, but using the check station is strictly on a voluntary basis. Using the facilities enables the DEC to collect more accurate data on age, population and biological information on species. In the case of bear, they even pull a tooth to get data.

It won't be easy to help unless you're hunting in the Finger Lakes area. The Check Stations are at the Hector Ranger Station 5218 State Route 414 in Hector and DEC Headquarters 6247 East Avon-Lima Road in Avon. Both sites will only operate opening weekend, November 21st and 22nd. The Hector Ranger station will be open from noon until 5 p.m. each day, DEC headquarters operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

Of course reporting your harvest is required within 7 days of taking it, but it can be done online or by calling 1-866-426-3778. Here's the info you'll need for the report.

The 12-digit DOC # or the Customer ID # on your license privilege panel, carcass tag, or back tag
Your date of birth
Location of kill: County, Town, and Wildlife Management Unit
Date of kill and hunting season
Implement used in hunt
Sex of the animal

For bear harvests, hunters are also asked to save the skull or lower jaw for the DEC to collect a tooth to age the bear. They will either contact you to arrange collection of the tooth or will send you a packet with instructions for collecting the tooth and a return envelope.

More info is available at the DEC's website.

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