LIVINGSTON COUNTY – The regular deer season is off to a great start for thousands of hunters in Livingston County. Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) offices have been swamped since the season opener on Saturday with calls and check-ins as grinning hunters stop by to have their deer checked out by certified examiners.
The DEC office in Avon was bustling on Monday, the third day of the regular, or gun season. One happy hunter from Rochester rolled up with a beefy nine-point buck on his truck, overjoyed that he had stopped by his parent’s land in West Sparta on opening day in time to position himself for this big guy.
“I’m from Rochester, but my folks own 90 acres in West Sparta,” said a proud George Sweazy. “I have a two-year-old, so I haven’t been out at all until now.”
Sweazy’s deer was checked over by examiner Jen Kurilovitch, who determined that the buck was fully mature and in his prime. She parted the deer’s mouth with a curved steel bar and examined the teeth.
“I’d say he’s about four-and-a-half years old,” said Kurilovitch. “We open their mouth with the spreader on big deer like this to avoid cutting the cheek, since he says he wants it mounted.”
Meanwhile, DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECO’s) were coming in and out of the office, working hard to keep everyone hunting safely and legally.
According to the DEC, 243,567 deer were harvested in New York State in 2013, up from 242,957 in 2012 and 228,359 in 2011. Of the 2013 harvest, only 36,676 were taken with bows. The remaining 80,691 were picked up in the regular season, when the numbers really start to climb.
With the addition of centerfire rifles to the mix of hunting tools this year, Livingston County’s harvest numbers are poised to climb.
Sweazy added that he has high hopes for future hunting trips to Livingston County.
“I started shaking as soon as I saw him coming across the field from the apples,” said Sweazy. “I must have seen eight little button bucks after this guy. Hopefully they’re his. A buddy of mine said he just saw a deer with a rack this one could fit inside of.”
The DEC invites anyone with a legally harvested and tagged deer to stop by their county office, 6274 Avon-Lima Road in Avon, and have their deer’s age determined by an examiner. The check-in can tell you for sure how old your deer is, and contributes to DEC statistics on the deer harvest and population demographics statewide.
PHOTO CAPTION: Kurilovitch examines George Sweazy’s big buck. Photo by Conrad Baker.
NOTE: The proud hunter’s name was originally posted as Jim Sweazy and has been duly updated.