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Entries Tagged as 'hunt'

DEC: 2013 Deer Harvest Comparable to Last Year

April 24th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoHunters harvested approximately 243,550 deer during the 2013-14 hunting seasons, nearly equivalent to the statewide take last year, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

“Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative offers many hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen for the growing population of deer,” said Commission Martens. “Throughout the state, hunters play an essential role by helping to maintain healthy and ecologically sound deer populations.”

The 2013 deer take included approximately 128,850 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and about 114,700 adult bucks (1.5 years or older), both estimates being within 4 percent of the 2012 take (see table below). Hunters in the Northern Zone walked out of the woods with roughly 32,300 deer, including 19,500 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, excluding Long Island, hunters took 208,300 deer, including about 94,200 adult bucks. To compare these harvest estimates with other past seasons, go to: Deer and Bear Harvests
2013 Deer Harvest

This year marked New York’s second Youth Deer Hunt, held over Columbus Day Weekend. During the Youth Deer Hunt, 14 and 15-year-old junior hunters could take one deer, antlered or antlerless, with a firearm when properly accompanied by a licensed and experienced adult mentor. An estimated 8,860 junior hunters participated in the Youth Deer Hunt, resulting in 1,275 deer taken (728 adult bucks and 547 antlerless deer).

Successful junior hunters: Youth Deer Hunt Photo Gallery

More Antlerless Deer Need to be Taken
This year’s harvest shows a continuing trend of concern to DEC deer managers. In many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including portions of southeastern New York and the Lake Plains region of western New York, harvest trends indicate that deer populations are too high – above levels recommended by local stakeholder groups who live, hunt or manage land in those areas. Even with very liberal opportunities for take of antlerless deer, not enough females are being taken to reduce populations to desired levels. In these areas, DEC and hunters must begin considering new ways to the increase antlerless deer take to achieve deer populations that are compatible with ecosystem health and consistent with the public’s interests.

Older Bucks Becoming a Larger Portion of Adult Buck Harvests
Adirondack White Tail DeerHunters took a record number of bucks (approximately 55,300) aged 2.5 years or older in 2013. These older bucks, which many hunters desire, accounted for 48 percent of harvested adult bucks statewide in 2013, compared to only 33 percent (45,350) in 2000 when New York’s deer population peaked, and only 28 percent (about 33,000) in the early 1990s. In part, this is influenced by the overall size of the deer population, which in much of the state is larger than desired. Although mandatory antler restrictions in 11 WMUs in southeastern New York are a contributing factor, many New York hunters outside those areas are voluntarily choosing not to take young bucks, thereby letting these bucks get another year or two older before they are taken.

Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of nearly 16,200 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources. Much additional information about the 2013-14 deer harvests, including charts and maps describing the harvest, is available on DEC’s website at: Deer and Bear Harvests

Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, and 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. 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 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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Eurasian Boars No Longer “Fair Game” in New York

December 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Proposed Regulations Would Prohibit Hunting or Trapping of Wild Boars in New York

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) Joe Martens today announced the proposal of new regulations that would prohibit hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York. The proposal is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. Public comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted until January 25, 2014.


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“Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, private property and public safety wherever they occur,”Commissioner Martens said. “It’s important that we do all in our power to ensure that this invasive species does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York State.”

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions now occur across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.”

Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013 which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.

However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York, and to date more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.

“Many hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,”Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our swine eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder’, the name for a group of pigs sometimes numbering 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method, and this often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”

Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the proposed regulation would prohibit anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar can be done at hunting preserves until 2015.

The proposed regulations provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.

Commissioner Martens encouraged anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York to report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Feral Swine”in the subject line.

Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all feral swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of feral swine are greatly appreciated, so please try and get a picture and include it with your report.

Text of the proposed regulation was published in the New York State Register on December 11, 2013. The full text of the regulation change and instructions for submitting comments can be found on DEC’s website at: Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and Recently Adopted Regulations. Comments on the proposed regulations can be sent by email to WildlifeRegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to: Kelly Stang, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Hard copies of the full text may be requested from the same address listed above.

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DEC Police Investigation Leads to Weapons & Drug Arrests for Two Fulton County Men

October 30th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoOn October 24, 2013, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Environmental Conservation Police and New York State Police arrested two Fulton County men on a dozen different charges, including two felony weapons and drug charges.


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After an investigation, Environmental Conservation Police charged Todd M. Harwood, 35, of Gloversville, NY, with five misdemeanors – three counts of illegally killing a deer and one count each of possessing a pistol while muzzleloader hunting and exceeding the bag limit for deer. Harwood also was charged with three violations of hunting deer over bait.

Environmental Conservation Police sought assistance in their investigation from New York State Police. This resulted in a felony criminal possession of a weapon charge against Harwood.

The State Police part of the investigation also resulted in Steven D. Olsen 34, of Gloversville, NY, being arrested and charged with a felony for criminal possession of marijuana and two misdemeanors – unlawful possession of a large capacity ammunition clip and illegally growing marijuana.

Harwood faces maximum penalties for all charges of $15,750 in fines and up to seven years in jail.

Olsen faces maximum penalties for all charges of$7,000 in fines and up to seven years in jail.

Harwood and Olsen were arraigned in the Town of Mayfield Criminal Court and remanded to the Fulton County Jail in lieu of bail.

Bail was set for Harwood at $7,500 cash or $15,000 bond. Bail was set for Olsen at $6,000 cash or $12,000 bond.

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Public Hunting Grounds

April 14th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack Life

Public Hunting Grounds

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Man Charged by DEC for Illegal Trapping Pleads Guilty

March 20th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoA Franklin County man pleaded guilty last week to 31 violations of Environmental Conservation Law related to illegal trapping, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today.

On February 11, DEC Environmental Conservation Police charged Terry J. Hurteau, 56, of Tupper Lake, for offenses including unlawfully setting 15 snares for coyote, multiple counts for unlawful use of body gripping traps on land and multiple counts of failing to tag traps. He was issued appearance tickets for the Town of Tupper Lake Court.

DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) initially responded to complaints about a coyote running through the yards of some Tupper Lake residence. The callers reported that the coyote appeared injured and tangled in what appeared to be wire.

ECOs located the coyote by tracking it through the snow. Due to the extent of its injuries and its entanglement in the snare, the animal was euthanized. However, the ECOs were able to use the snare to begin the investigation which led them to Hurteau.

Hurteau’s activities were extreme and flagrant violations of trapping law and regulation. They do not reflect the behavior of the vast majority of ethical trappers.

Hurteau appeared in court on March 6, and pleaded guilty to all charges. He was ordered to pay total of $3,875 in fines and surcharges.

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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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