NYLON – The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the official figures for the total deer harvest for the 2014-2015 hunting season, showing that total harvests are healthy and just barely lower than the totals for 2013-2014.
According to a press release from the DEC, New York State’s hunters harvested approximately 238,670 deer during the 2014-15 hunting seasons, slightly less than the statewide take of 238,672 the previous year.
“Regulated deer reduces the negative impacts of deer on forests, communities and crop producers while also providing over 10 million pounds of high quality local protein annually,” said Commissioner Martens. “Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative expands hunting opportunities statewide for sportsmen and sportswomen by improving access, streamlining fishing and hunting licenses and reducing license fees.”
The estimated 2014-15 deer take included 130,068 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and 108,604 adult bucks (1.5 years or older). Statewide, this represents a very stable antlerless harvest (up by 1 percent) and only a minor decrease in buck harvest, down 5 percent from 2013 and 2 percent from the recent 5-year average. Regionally, hunters in the Northern Zone took 29,075 deer, including 16,727 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, hunters took 206,106 deer, including about 90,702 adult bucks. The estimated harvest on Long Island (Suffolk County) was 3,491 deer, including 1,175 adult bucks.
This year also marked New York’s third annual Youth Deer Hunt, held over Columbus Day Weekend. During the annual Youth Deer Hunt, following mandatory safety training, 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 9,033 junior hunters participated in the 2014 Youth Deer Hunt, resulting in 1,182 deer taken (618 adult bucks and 564 antlerless deer).
In 2014, only 52 percent of the bucks taken in areas without antler restrictions (48 percent statewide) were 1.5 years old, compared to 67 percent in 2000 and 72 percent in the early 1990s. As a result, even though the statewide buck harvest dropped slightly from the past few years, hunters in 2014 took an estimated 56,247 bucks aged 2.5 years or older, more than ever before.
This was also the first hunting season where hunters could again use crossbows, taking an estimated 5,535 deer this way. The new law in 2014 allowed hunters, 14 years and older, to use crossbows during a portion of the early bowhunting seasons and throughout the regular firearms season and muzzleloader seasons. Formerly in 2011 and 2012, crossbows were lawful only during the regular firearms season and late muzzleloader seasons, and take by crossbows averaged only 465 deer those years.
Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff’s examination of nearly 15,200 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and calculating the total harvest from the reporting rate for each zone and tag type. Additional information about the 2014-15 deer harvests, including charts and maps describing the harvest, is available on DEC’s website.
NYLON is the New York Local Online News section of the GeneseeSun.com, dedicated to uniting communities outside of Livingston County.
PHOTO CAPTION: Youth hunter Luke Kosciol, 13, a Livingston County resident with his deer from the 2014 Bow Season. (Photo/DEC Photo Gallery)
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