DEC’s arrogance could be warning of things to come

Regardless of whether you hunt or not, buy hunting and fishing licenses or not, the handling and mindset behind the closing of the Reynolds Game Farm near Ithaca—the last remaining DEC pheasant-raising facility in the state— and the disposition of the remaining 8,000 pheasants there should make you a nervous, since no one had any say whatsoever in the DEC decision, not even those who’d footed the entire bill.

Keep in mind three things surrounding this charade, which is what it basically is. First is that this program was totally funded annually by sportsmen dollars through licenses and special federal taxes on sporting equipment such as guns and ammo, etc. Not a penny of the general public’s tax money was involved. Second is neither the State nor the DEC ever consulted the state’s sportsmen, or any of their representative groups such as the Conservation Fund Advisory Board, Fish and Wildlife Management Board or the New York State Conservation Council on the matter prior to making the decision and announcement.

The third thing to keep in mind is that this was done, according to the administration, as a budget-saving measure because of the state's critical financial situation. That in itself is a very lame excuse when the actual figures (and “supposed savings”) are closely reviewed.

The source of the following financial numbers is the Fiscal Report portion (provided by the NYS Division of the Budget) of the 2007-2008 Conservation Fund Advisory Board’s (CFAB) Annual Report and provided by Fred Neff, a past director of the NYS Conservation Council.

1. Total DEC Budget for 2008 (estimate) - at least $1 Billion. Probably closer to $1.5 Billion.

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