Albany – Deer hunters in New York killed over 220,000 whitetails
last season, a 16-percent increase over the 2006-07 tally, DEC
officials have announced.
Harvest numbers increased across the board, with the number of
bucks and antlerless deer taken up last season. Bowhunters and
muzzleloaders took more deer than the previous year, according to
the DEC statistics.
DEC biologists had predicted heading into the season that the
harvest would increase. Part of that jump was almost automatically
built in through an increase in Deer Management Permits, which
jumped by 40 percent last season – from 330,000 the previous year
to about 466,000 tags statewide.
“Results were right where we projected, with continued growth
(of the deer herd) in many Southern Zone (wildlife management)
units,” DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said. “Overall, New York
hunters had a safe and successful season.”
The 2007 take included 104,451 bucks and 114,690 antlerless
deer, a combination of does and “button bucks.” The buck harvest
was up 8 percent over 2006’s 96,569 total, while the antlerless
harvest climbed 24 percent over the 2006 total of 92,539.
DEC big game biologist Jeremy Hurst said they’ll continue to
analyze the harvest numbers this spring.
“We’ll get to the real nuts and bolts of analysis over the new
few months, particularly when we begin to look at each Wildlife
Management Unit in preparation for setting 2008 DMP quotas,” he
Officials cautioned that the statewide harvest numbers can be
misleading, noting that nearly half – 48 percent – of the state’s
WMUs had deer populations below objective levels established by DEC
with the help of citizen task forces. Another 29 percent of the WMU
had deer numbers above desired levels.
New York’s muzzleloader and bowhunters also killed more
whitetails last season. The muzzleloader take of 17,207 was a
record high, and 8 percent above the previous year’s total of
15,746. DEC officials said more than 232,000 muzzleloading licenses
were purchased last season.
Bowhunters bagged 31,060 deer last year, up from 29,455. Over
4,800 of the deer were harvested in areas open to bowhunting only
near the cities of Albany and Rochester, as well as in Westchester
County and on Long Island.
DEC officials said about 10,100 deer were taken via the state’s
controversial Deer Management Assistance Program, in which the
state issues permits to remove whitetails from specific properties
to reduce crop damage.
DEC avoids using total harvest numbers in individual counties to
show hunter success, since those numbers are impacted by hunter
density and, more importantly, the number of DMPs issued in those
Western and west-central New York continues to lead the state in
total deer densities, led by Yates County (12.8 deer per square
mile); Allegany (10.3); Wyoming (9.7); Ontario (9.7) and Genesee
Buck harvest density leaders were Allegany (4.5 bucks per square
mile); Yates (4.3); Wyoming (4.0); Steuben (4.0) and Tompkins
A pilot antler restriction program in some Sullivan and Ulster
county WMUs has, according to DEC, “demonstrated success in
reducing the harvest of yearling bucks and shifting the composition
of harvest toward slightly older bucks. The percentage of yearling
bucks in those four WMUs, at 57 percent before antler restrictions
– at least three points on one side – went into effect, is now down
to 33 percent yearlings, with 43 percent 2-year-old bucks and 24
percent 3.5 years and older.
The 2007 deer hunting season was marred by five fatalities, but
at the same time statistics showed a record low number of
hunting-related shooting incidents, at 14 during the deer
In addition, no new cases of Chronic Wasting Disease were
discovered in testing of nearly 7,500 deer last year, including
more than 1,400 within the CWD Containment Area in Oneida and
Madison counties, where the disease was found three years ago.