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Entries Tagged as 'bear'

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Officers Investigating Bear Attack in Fulton County

August 12th, 2015 · 2 Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoOn Tuesday, August 11, at approximately 5 p.m., a 55-year-old man from Troy, NY, was walking his small dog in the Stewart’s Landing area of the Ferris Lake Wild Forest in the Town of Stratford, when the unleashed dog encountered a bear. The bear attacked the dog and then the dog owner after the man tried to separate the animals. He was able to strike the bear on the nose with a stick causing the bear to run away. Both the victim and his dog suffered bites, scratches and puncture wounds. The injuries to the man are not considered life threatening.

Bear - ready to harvestFollowing the attack, the victim walked out to Stewart Landing Road with his dog where a passing motorist picked them up and transported them to the end of the road. A second motorist arrived and helped to contact emergency services. An S&S Volunteer Ambulance Service responded to the scene and transported the victim to a hospital in Utica. The dog was taken to a local veterinarian.

DEC ECO’s, Forest rangers and wildlife staff, with the assistance of trained bear dogs and their handlers, attempted to locate the bear through the night. Based on the extensive search, DEC believes the bear has left the area and poses no continuing threat at this time.

If you encounter a bear, DEC recommends the following tips:

  • Never approach, surround or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened.
  • Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Never run from a bear: stay calm, speak in a loud and calm voice, slowly back away and leave the area.
  • Use noise to scare away bears from your campsite: yell, clap or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite.
  • Do not throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: Doing so will only encourage bears to approach and “bully” people to get food.

To report the feeding of bears or a bear encounter, contact the nearest Regional DEC Office. A list of regional offices can be found on DEC’s website.

More information on encounters with bears.

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DEC Announces Early Bear Hunting Seasons to Begin

September 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Bear Hunting Seasons Begin September 6 in Portions of Southeastern New York and September 13 in Northern New York

NYSDEC LogoUnder Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today announced that the new 2014 early bear hunting seasons open at sunrise on Saturday, September 6, in portions of New York’s southern zone and Saturday, September 13, in the northern zone.

“Early black bear hunting seasons are an important tool for managers to control bear populations, and beginning Saturday, hunters will have a new opportunity to pursue bears in portions of the Catskills and western Hudson Valley,” said Commissioner Martens. “Opening these early seasons demonstrates Governor Cuomo’s commitment to increasing hunting opportunities here in New York State for sportsmen and women.”

Following recommendations in DEC’s recently adopted bear management plan to reduce bear populations in the region, the new early firearms bear season runs from September 6-21 in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3A, 3C, 3H, 3J, 3K, 3M, 3P, 3R, 4P, and 4R. The early bowhunting season for bears will then open in all of the Southern Zone on October 1, followed by the regular firearms season beginning November 15.

Bear in GrassNew this year, DEC has also expanded bear hunting in northern New York to include WMUs 6A, 6G, 6K and 6N. In these newly opened units, bear hunting begins with bowhunting equipment only from September 13 through October 17. In the rest of northern New York (WMUs 5A, 5C, 5F, 5G, 5H, 5J, 6C, 6F, 6H, and 6J), the early firearms season begins Saturday, September 13 and continues until October 17. Muzzleloader season then opens in all northern WMUs on October 18, followed by the regular firearms season for bear on October 25.

During these early seasons, or whenever hunting in warm conditions, bear hunters should be prepared to skin and cool harvested bears as soon as possible to protect the quality of the meat. Hunters may consider skinning and quartering the bear in the field and packing out the meat in game bags.

As part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, New York streamlined the hunting and fishing license structure, made it consistent for resident and non-residents, and reduced license fees. Some hunters and anglers may not be familiar with these license changes, but licensing-issuing agents are prepared to provide assistance and ensure the license buyers secure all the desired permits and privileges. Highlights of the sporting licenses changes are available on DEC’s website.

In addition, the new Hunting & Trapping regulation guides are available at all license issuing outlets, as well as on DEC’s website.

In support of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have not reached their full potential. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

DEC regulates black bear hunting to manage populations toward levels that are acceptable to the public. Information about black bear hunting in New York, including season dates and regulations, is available on DEC’s website. Additionally, DEC’s booklet Hunting the Black Bear in New York (PDF) (937 KB), includes tips on bear hunting and proper care of harvested bears.

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DEC Guidance for Discouraging Nuisance Black Bear

July 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe summer outdoor recreation season is well underway and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is advising homeowners and tourists about ways to discourage bears from becoming a nuisance. Black bears will take advantage of almost any readily available food source. Once bears learn about human food sources, it is not easy to recondition them to the wild and this can lead to conflicts between bears and people. It is against the law to feed bear, deer and moose.

During midsummer and dry conditions, the black bear’s natural foods are much more difficult to find. DEC Wildlife and Law Enforcement staff respond with technical advice as quickly as possible but local residents and visitors are responsible for preventing bears from gaining access to food items such as bird food, garbage and unattended coolers.

Bear in GrassBlack bears are generally timid and avoid people but if allowed access to human foods, chronic problems can develop. It is against DEC regulations to directly or indirectly feed bears and people who feed bears, intentionally or otherwise, are doing bears a great disservice. Once a bear learns to get food from people, it can be difficult to change the animal’s behavior. Bears are vulnerable to motor vehicle collisions in populated areas. In addition, if behaviors reach certain thresholds, in order to protect public safety, DEC biologists may determine it necessary to euthanize an offending bear. It is always a last resort to take a bear.

Once a bear becomes a problem, people often request that the bear be moved. Bear relocations can work if the bear isn’t solely feeding from human sources. Relocating bears is extremely time consuming and does not solve the overriding problem if people are feeding them. Bears are extremely mobile and have an excellent sense of smell and homing abilities and may return to the original capture site or start a new problem where there was none. If food attractants are not managed correctly new bears will be quickly attracted and the problem will persist. The key to preventing or solving most problems between bears and people is to eliminate the artificial food sources provided by people.

New Yorkers can help by following these guidelines:

  • When camping, keep food out of sight and secured in a vehicle if one is available. Hang food and garbage from a tree, out of reach (8 feet or higher). Also, keep picnic tables, utensils, fireplaces and the area around them clean. Do not leave coolers unattended.
  • Do not feed birds through the summer. Birds don’t really need supplemental food this time of year when their natural food is most abundant.
  • Dispose of garbage as frequently as possible. Store it in clean, secure containers (top-latched, tied or chained). Double bag meat scraps in a zip lock bag. Use ammonia soaked rags inside the garbage bag before closing. Tie off garbage bag before placing in container.
  • Do not leave dirty diapers or diaper pails outside.
  • If you live in an area frequented by bears, periodically disinfect or scrub garbage cans with Lysol, ammonia or bleach & water, store your garbage cans in a secure place such as a garage, cellar or a bear-resistant container, instead of a porch if possible.
  • If your garbage is picked up at the curb, put the garbage out just before the scheduled pickup or place it in a roadside bear-resistant container. Don’t put garbage out the night before pick-up at the curb.
  • Feed pets and store foods indoors. If you must feed outdoors, give only enough food for one feeding, take in all uneaten food and dishes before dark.
  • Remember that the smell of cooked foods may attract wandering bears closer to your house. Clean up after your picnic or barbecue. Keep barbeque grills as clean as possible and after they cool down store them inside. Do not overlook cleaning the grease trap.
  • Don’t add meat scraps, bones or melon rinds to your compost pile.
  • Don’t leave food visible for bears to see in through windows. Close blinds if necessary.
  • It’s against the law to feed a bear. If you witness bear feeding activity, report the incident to DEC Law Enforcement immediately.

Residents and tourists alike are asked to respect bears as wild animals so everyone can enjoy them with a minimum of problems.
More information: Reducing Human-Bear Conflicts

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Adirondacks: Fourth of July Holiday Weekend Notice

July 3rd, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe Adirondacks are open for summer recreation, come and enjoy all that our lands and waters have to offer! Please be advised of the following conditions and prepare for them to ensure a safe and enjoyable outdoor recreational experience. This information focuses on the High Peaks Region, for more information or for information on other areas in the Adirondacks visit the DEC trail information web pages at: Adirondack Trail Information

ADIRONDACK BACKCOUNTRY VISITORS

If you are recreating in the Adirondacks this Fourth of July Holiday weekend, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation asks that you be aware of the following:

HIGH USAGE LEVELS: Visitors to the Adirondacks should expect to encounter more people on the water and trails this holiday weekend. Popular campgrounds, trailhead parking lots, boat launch sites and interior campsites will likely fill to capacity. The Eastern High Peaks may reach capacity by Thursday. Plan accordingly and seek recreational opportunities in other less used areas of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

ESSEX CHAIN LAKES: 22 designated tent sites are currently available the area around the Essex Chain Lakes. Thirteen designated along the shores of the waters of the complex require a free permit. Campers must call 518-582-2000 or visit the Adirondack Interpretive Center facility at 5922 State Route 28N in Newcomb, NY, to reserve a tent site. Campers can pick up their reserved permit at the AIC facility between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. any day of the week. See the Essex Chain Lakes Complex web page for more information on camping and other outdoor recreational opportunities in this area.

POOR MAN’S DOWNHILL SHUTTLE BUS: The Town of Wilmington will operate a shuttle bus for mountain bikers on Sunday July 6, between 1 pm and 4 pm. The shuttle will take mountain bikers from the downhill trailhead off Route 86 to the uphill trailhead off Route 431. The Poor Man’s Downhill is a multi-use trail on the northeast side of Whiteface Mountain. The trail begins just below the toll booth for the Whiteface Mountain Veteran’s Memorial Highway and ends 1,150 feet lower and nearly 3 miles away in the hamlet of Wilmington.

MUDDY & WET TRAILS: Mud and water will be present on all trails. Trails along water may be flooded. Wear waterproof footwear and gaiters and walk through – not around – mud and water to prevent eroding and widening the trail.

BEAR RESISTANT CANISTERS: Regulation requires the use of bear-resistant canisters by overnight users in the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness between April 1 and November 30. NYSDEC encourages the use of bear resistant canisters throughout the Adirondacks.

OTHER BEAR AVOIDANCE TIPS

  • Store all food, toiletries and garbage in bear-resistant canisters.
  • Outside the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness, if you don’t have a bear canister, hang food. Store all food, toiletries and garbage in the hang bag. Use a 75 ft. (25 m) long dark- colored cord. Hang the bag 15 ft (5 m) above the ground and at least 10 ft (3 m) away from trees.
  • Keep food in bear-resistant canister or food hangs at all times – take down only what is needed for cooking and eating.
  • Never leave food unattended unless it is in a bear-resistant canister or in a food hang.
  • Cook early, no later than 5 p.m., and never cook or eat in your sleeping area.

BITING INSECTS: Black Flies, Mosquitoes, Deer Flies and/or Midges (No-see-ums) are everywhere. Follow these steps to minimize the nuisance of biting insects:

  • Wear light colored clothing, long sleeve shirts and long pants;
  • Tuck shirts into pants, the bottom of pant legs into socks and button sleeves at the wrist;
  • Wear a headnet when insects are thick and use an insect repellant with DEET.

Visit the Adirondack Trail Information web page for current weather forecasts, regulations, safety tips, trail conditions, and more.

Enjoy your visit to the Adirondacks!
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

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DEC Announces 2013 Bear Harvest Results

April 7th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone

NYSDEC LogoNew York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

“New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Martens. “With abundant natural foods this past year, bears were in great condition, and we heard of several hunters who took bears weighing more than 500 pounds dressed. Under New York’s Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state.”

Bear in GrassRegionally, bear hunters took a record 636 bears from the Southeastern bear hunting area and a near record 342 bears (2nd highest take) from the Central-Western bear hunting area. These high harvests reflect that bear populations have increased over the past decade. In addition, an abundance of hard mast (e.g., acorns and other nuts) kept many bears actively feeding later into the fall and available for harvest through the duration of the regular firearms season. Hunters took 224 bears in the Central-Western area and 431 bears in the Southeastern area during the regular firearms season. Bear populations in these ranges are in need of higher harvest rates in coming years in order to stabilize population growth generally and reduce populations in the Catskill region.

2013 Black Bear Harvest Comparison
2013 Bear Harvest

In the Adirondack bear hunting area, hunters took a total of 380 bears, fewer than the recent 5-year average. However, Adirondack bear harvest is the tale of two seasons. Bear harvest during the early bear season, which runs from mid-September through mid-October, is strongly influenced by availability of soft mast (e.g., apples, cherries and berries), and harvests tend to be poor during years with abundant soft mast like the 2013 year. Early season only accounted for 84 bears taken, approximately 65 percent below average. In contrast, hunters did well during the regular season, taking 246 bears, about 13 percent greater than average.

A complete summary of the 2013 bear harvest with results by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available on the DEC website.

NYS Black Bear Management Plan

In January, DEC released a draft black bear management plan for public review and comment. The plan describes DEC’s approach to bear management which includes population management through regulated hunting, mitigation of human-bear conflicts, and technical guidance and outreach to the public about bears and conflict avoidance. The plan proposed several changes to bear hunting, including expanding the area open to bear hunting to encompass all of upstate New York and establishing a supplemental firearms season in September for bears in the Catskill and lower Hudson Valley region. DEC is reviewing the comments received on the plan and anticipates publishing a final version of the plan this spring. See Black Bear Management to review the draft plan.

NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program

Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests, and many hunters also submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears. For all hunters who report their harvest and submit a tooth, 680 hunters in 2013, DEC provides a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear’s age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2013, but we anticipate hunters will receive their patch by September 2014.

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.

In support of this initiative, this year’s budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state’s fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.

This year’s budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.

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DEC Issues Guidance to Avoid Conflict With Coyotes and Black Bears

March 26th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued guidance on preventing conflicts with coyotes and nuisance bear encounters. With the onset of warmer weather, New York’s black bear population will be on the move and coyotes are setting up denning areas for soon-to-arrive pups. Conflicts with people and pets may result as coyotes become territorial around den sites and increase the frequency and intensity of foraging to provide food for their young.

COYOTES
People and coyotes can usually coexist if the coyotes’ natural fear of people is maintained. Below are some steps you can take to reduce/prevent coyote problems from occurring:

  • Do not feed coyotes.
  • Do not allow pets to run free or to be outside unattended.
  • Do not feed pets outside.
  • Make any garbage inaccessible to coyotes and other animals.
  • Fence or enclose compost piles so they are not accessible to coyotes.
  • Eliminate availability of bird seed. Coyotes are attracted to the concentration of birds and rodents that come to feeders. If you feed birds, clean up waste seed and spillage.
  • Fencing your yard may deter coyotes. The fence should be tight to the ground, preferably extending six inches below ground level.
  • Teach children to appreciate coyotes from a distance.
  • If you see a coyote, be aggressive in your behavior – make loud noises, wave your arms, throw sticks and stones to scare it away.
  • Ask your neighbors to follow these same steps.

The Eastern coyote is a firmly established wildlife species in New York, and is an integral part of our ecosystems, from rural farmlands and forests to populated urban and suburban areas. In most cases, coyotes avoid people as much as possible. Coyotes provide many benefits to New Yorkers through observation, photography, hunting and trapping; their calling at night can provide a haunting but harmless reminder of wildlife in our midst. However, if coyotes learn to associate people with food (e.g., garbage, pet food), they may lose their natural fear of humans, and the potential for conflicts increases dramatically.

It is important to keep pets safe. Cats allowed to roam free are at risk from many different factors including domestic dogs and cars. To protect your cat, keep it indoors, or allow it outside only under supervision.

Coyotes view other canines such as domestic dogs as a threat to their young during the spring denning season. Both a dog and a coyote believe that one’s backyard is their territory. Coyotes avoid confrontations with most medium to large-sized dogs, but small breeds may be at risk in some situations. For this reason, do not allow dogs to roam unattended.

If coyotes are seen repeatedly during the daytime in a populated area in close proximity to residences, please report this to the local DEC office, as this may indicate that some individual coyotes may have lost their fear of people and could pose a threat to unattended pets or small children.

For additional information, visit DEC’s website: Coyote Conflicts

BLACK BEARS
Black bears will take advantage of almost any readily available food source, including bird feeders and garbage. To prevent encounters between bears and humans, people should never intentionally feed bears and should take every precaution to discourage bears from seeking out food sources in neighborhoods and other residential areas.

Typically, black bears are timid and will avoid all contact with humans. However, bears will become a nuisance and can cause significant damage if they believe they can obtain an easy meal from bird feeders, garbage cans, dumpsters, barbeque grills, tents, vehicles, out-buildings or houses.

It is not only illegal to intentionally feed bears, it is also illegal to inadvertently feed them. Specifically, after written notice from DEC, the incidental or indirect feeding of bears through food attractants such as garbage, pet food or bird seed is illegal. DEC has the authority to require the removal of these and other food attractants when bears become problematic.

Bear in GrassIt is in the best interest of both bears and people for bears to get their food solely from wild sources. Once a bear learns to associate certain structures with food, it can become a serious nuisance to people and a threat to itself. Bears that lose their natural fear of humans are much more likely to be illegally shot, hit by an automobile or destroyed under a DEC nuisance permit. Some studies suggest that when a bear is fed, either directly or indirectly, its life expectancy is cut by as much as 50 percent.

Once a bear becomes a problem, DEC is often asked to relocate the bear. Contrary to popular belief, bear relocations are rarely effective at solving the problem. Bears are extremely mobile and have excellent homing abilities. Relocated bears often return to their original capture site or may continue their bad habits at a new location. If the circumstances that led to the original problem are not corrected, other bears will quickly be attracted to the site and the bear/human conflicts will persist.

In addition to being ineffective, bear relocations are extremely time consuming and often dangerous. The heavy door on the bear traps, although not dangerous to bears, presents a potential danger to curious humans and pets. The simplest way to avoid a nuisance encounter is to remove all food sources. Removing the food source will remove the bear.

Because virtually all nuisance bear problems are the result of hungry bears being attracted to human food, pet food, bird food or garbage, these problems can be minimized by taking these simple precautions:

  • Never feed bears. It is illegal.
  • If you believe that bears are being fed, please report it to DEC.
  • Stop feeding birds as soon as the snow melts. Birds do not need supplemental food in the summer, when natural foods are most abundant.
  • Clean up all seed fragments and shells left over from winter feeding as the smell will attract bears.
  • Dispose of garbage as frequently as possible and store in a secure building prior to disposal.
  • If garbage is picked up at the curb, put the garbage out just before the scheduled pickup or place it in a roadside bear-resistant container. Do not put garbage out the night before pick-up at the curb.
  • Clean garbage cans frequently with ammonia.
  • Do not burn garbage, it’s illegal and it attracts bears.
  • Do not add meat scraps, bones or melon rinds to your compost pile.
  • Clean up barbecue grills before night fall, and after they cool down store them inside.
  • Feed pets indoors and store pet food indoors. If pets must be fed outdoors, take in all uneaten food and dishes before dark.
  • Turn off kitchen exhaust fans that vent to the outside whenever possible.
  • When camping, keep food out of sight and secured in the trunk of a hard topped, locked vehicle if one is available. If a vehicle is not available, hang food and garbage from a tree at least eight feet off the ground. Keep picnic tables, utensils, fireplaces and the surrounding areas clean.

To learn more about black bears, look for DEC’s DVD Living with New York Black Bears at your public library or visit: Black Bear

Everyone is asked to respect bears as wild animals – from a distance. For more information about bears in your area, contact the nearest regional DEC office. Visit: DEC Regional Office Directory

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DEC: 2012 is One of the Highest Bear Harvests on Record in New York

March 19th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew York bear hunters took 1,337 black bears during the 2012 hunting seasons, making last year the third highest bear harvest on record in New York, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. Only the 2003 harvest (1,864) and 2009 harvest (1,487) surpassed last year’s take.

“New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Martens. “Black bears are thriving in New York, and they represent a great resource for all New Yorkers. Through the NY’s Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, Governor Cuomo is improving opportunities for hunting in New York State.”

Regionally, bear harvest increased in the Adirondacks but decreased in the Southeastern and Central-Western bear hunting areas. Though overall population size plays a large role in harvest totals, annual variations in take are also strongly influenced by environmental factors such as natural food availability and snow fall that affect bear activity and hunting pressure. These environmental influences were very apparent in the harvest totals of the past few years.

2012 New York Bear Harvest
In the Adirondacks, hunters took 606 bears in 2012, returning to a more normal harvest level after an exceptionally low harvest in 2011. This past season, hunters found greatest success during the early season (386 bears; mid-September until mid-October) compared to the regular season (132 bears; late October to early December). This pattern was expected after a summer of low natural food availability. The early season harvest is always high in such years because bears are moving more in search of food and many are closer to human food sources, which in both cases makes them more vulnerable to harvest. In fact, towns along the western and southern fringe of the Adirondacks saw some of the highest harvests as bears were found feeding in corn fields during the early season. Bears also tend to den early when natural foods are scarce, so fewer bears were available to hunters during the regular season.

Bear-favorite BeechIn the Southeastern bear hunting area, bear take dropped from the record 630 taken in 2011 to 442 taken in 2012. Similarly, take in the Central-Western bear hunting area dropped from the record 353 in 2011 to 289 in 2012. In both areas, take during bow season contributed substantially to the overall take (51 percent Southeastern, 37 percent Central-Western) and increased from 2011, reflecting the longer bow season initiated in 2012 and greater availability of bears during this period. Notably, take during the regular season dropped in both areas. The drop was most pronounced in Southeastern New York where biologists anticipated a potential reduced harvest due to early denning behavior associated with the general lack of soft and hard mast (apples, acorns and beechnuts).

Since 2005, DEC has expanded the area open to bear hunting in Southeastern and Central-Western New York and increased season length, aligning bear seasons with deer seasons. These actions were implemented to reduce bear population growth and range expansion. Most recently, in 2011, DEC expanded bear hunting into eastern New York from Rockland and Westchester to Washington counties. Hunters took 22 bears from these newly opened areas, with eight bears coming from each of Washington and Rensselaer counties.

Governor Cuomo’s Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative is an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, stocking as much as 900,000 pounds of fish, expanding fishing clinics and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

A complete summary of the 2012 bear harvest with breakdown by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available at Deer and Bear Harvests on the DEC website.

NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program
Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests. Hunters also are asked to submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears. Typically, for all hunters who reported their harvest and submitted a tooth, DEC issues a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear’s age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2011 and 2012. DEC anticipates that eligible hunters from 2011 and 2012 will receive their patch(es) in late summer 2013.

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