Early bear take triples in Adirondack range

Staff report

Ray Brook, N.Y. – New York’s Adirondack range early bear season
harvest may triple last year’s take, based on preliminary reports
from successful hunters.

DEC wildlife biologist Ed Reed said that, as of Oct. 2, about
190 bruins had been harvested. And with a full 10 days left in the
early season, the total kill may triple last year’s tally of just
74 bears.

‘We should be well over 200 by now,’ Reed said later in the
first week of October. ‘It’s really a product of the weather. We
had a nice, wet year last year and there was plenty of food for the
bears and they didn’t have to travel to find it. This year it’s
been so dry they’re moving everywhere, and that makes them much
more vulnerable.’

The early season tally also virtually guarantees the 2007
harvest will easily top the 2006 take of just 318 bears. That
marked the second consecutive year of a lower-than-average harvest
in the Adirondacks, which have now been supplanted by the Catskills
as the region’s biggest bear producer.

‘The harvest has really been low for the past three years, and
now the population has built back up a bit, so it’s probably a good
thing that hunters are taking some,’ Reed said. ‘We fully expected
this, based on conditions and the low harvests in recent
years.’

Last year’s early season harvest in the Adirondacks – the lone
range where an early season is held – was a full 70 percent below
the 10-year average. Most of last year’s kill actually came on the
fringe areas of the Adirondacks where some agriculture was taking
place.

The top three counties in the early bear harvest last year were
Herkimer (14), St. Lawrence (11) and Warren (10).

Reed said DEC biologists haven’t heard of any big bruins being
taken this year.

‘When they call in to report their harvest they don’t provide
that information, but usually we hear about any real big bears
being taken, and we haven’t yet this season,’ he said.

While the bears have been roaming in search of food, finding
apples hasn’t been a problem. A bumper crop of apples is being seen
this year, with supplies much greater than the hard mast such as
acorns and beech nuts.

‘We’ve had reports of bears hitting apple trees regularly – a
sow and three cubs in the Lake Placid area,’ Reed said.

In addition, Reed said DEC has issued ‘a couple tickets’ for
illegal baiting of bears this fall.

‘We don’t know how much baiting goes on, but we’re sure there’s
some, and this year the bears would be very vulnerable to that,’ he
said.

The Adirondacks’ early bear season ended Oct 12, and is followed
by a muzzleloader bear and deer season Oct. 13-19, and a regular
season that parallels the firearms deer season (Oct. 20-Dec. 2).
The archery season for bears ends Oct. 19 in the Adirondacks.

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