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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging local hunters to visit the deer and bear check station on Route 16 in Holland, Erie County, during the opening weekend of the regular big game season.

"With just a few minutes of their time, hunters in Western New York can help inform DEC's big game harvest research and provide us with valuable biological data to study the region’s big game populations,” said DEC Region 9 Big Game Biologist Ryan Rockefeller.

DEC's Region 9 check station will operate Saturday, Nov. 20, from noon until 8 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. The check station is located on Route 16 in Holland, heading northbound about one mile south of the town of Holland. Hunters are encouraged to bring their harvested deer and bear to the check station where DEC staff will determine age and collect biological and harvest information. Participation is voluntary and helps DEC gather valuable data to assess the status of the area's big game population. DEC also collects biological and harvest information from thousands of deer across the state each year by visiting facilities that process the venison for hunters.

As in previous years, hunters wishing to donate their harvest to "Hunters Helping the Hungry" sponsored by the Venison Donation Coalition, may drop off a deer at the Holland check station before 6 p.m. on Nov. 20 and 21.

DEC reminds New York hunters of the importance of reporting their harvest. Harvest reporting is critical to wildlife management, and hunters are required to report their harvest of deer, bear, and turkey within seven days of taking the animal. The easiest way to report is via DEC's HuntFishNY mobile app. Through this app, hunters, anglers, and trappers can access an electronic version of their licenses and privileges, and report the harvest of deer, bear, and turkey quickly while afield on their mobile device. Hunters may still use the phone report system, but online and mobile systems are faster, more convenient, and easier for hunters to accurately enter information.

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