Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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NY: Bear kill down from near-record of ’09

2010 harvest still tops 1,000 bruins

Albany – New York bear hunters killed 1,064 bruins last season,
a harvest well below 2009’s near-record take and the lowest tally
since 2006.

DEC officials, however, said the overall harvest fell within the
harvest range of the 2005-07 seasons, when the bear take for those
years was 1,066, 796, and 1,117.

The total harvest was down 28 percent from 2009’s total of
1,487, which was the second-highest bear harvest ever recorded in
the state.

“Pretty average harvest numbers for up here,” said DEC Region 5
wildlife biologist Ed Reed of the Adirondack region’s bear kill. We
couldn’t really expect to match the 2009 numbers.”

The total harvest was down about 35 percent in the Adirondack
region, and about 20 percent lower in the Southeastern (formerly
known as the Catskill range) and Central-Western (formerly the
Allegany) regions.

DEC biologists said the 2010 total of 521 bears, although down
from 814 in 2010, “is consistent with the long-term average” for
the Adirondacks. Region 5 and 6 biologists said the availability of
soft mast such as apples and black cherry led to about a 40 percent
lower harvest during the early bear season in September and
October, and a lack of beechnuts may have been largely responsible
for the 25 percent dip in bear kills during the regular season,
which parallels the Northern Zone firearms deer season.

“If there’s beechnuts the bears are out in the hardwoods and the
hunters see them,” Reed said. “But there wasn’t a lot of beechnuts
last fall.”

A total of 255 bears were killed in the Adirondack region during
the early season and 160 during the regular season. Bowhunters took
35 bears and another 71 were shot by muzzleloader hunters.

Reed says the Adirondacks bear numbers have “pretty much
stabilized. They might be expanding a little around the edges,
however.”

In the Southeastern area, hunters took 401 bears, nearly half
(187) by bowhunters. Another 208 were killed during the regular
season and 6 during the muzzleloader bear season.

The 401 total is down from 494 in 2010, a tally that ranked as
that region’s second-highest ever (520 in 2008).

In the Central-Western bear hunting area, where bruins are
continuing to expand their range into areas where they’ve not
previously been seen, hunters took 142 bears in 2010. That total is
lower than the 2009 harvest of 179, which was that region’s
second-highest ever. Bowhunters in the Central-Western area were
responsible for about 65 percent of the harvest, taking 93 bruins.
Another 45 were killed during the regular season, while 4 were shot
by muzzleloader hunters.

DEC officials said field-dressed weights of bears were submitted
for just 24 percent of the bears killed last season, with the
heaviest reported bruin a 547-pounder (dressed weight) taken in the
Delaware County town of Stamford, which lies in Wildlife Management
Unit 4P.

Other big bears included a 428-pounder shot by a muzzleloader
hunter in the Franklin County town of Waverly (WMU 6F); a
403-pounder taken by a Chemung County bowhunter in Southport (WMU
8Y); a 385-pounder harvested by a Schuyler County hunter in the
town of Catharine (WMU 7R); and a 380-pound bear killed by a
muzzleloader hunter in Mayfield (Fulton County, WMU 5H).

The top five counties in total bear harvest were St. Lawrence
(97), Sullivan (92), Lewis (87), Delaware (85) and Ulster (72).

By wildlife management unit, WMU 5H in the Adirondack area led
the way with 161 bears taken. The Southeastern range was topped by
WMU 3K, with 62, while the Central-Western area was led by WMU 8X
(18).

In addition to reporting their harvest, hunters also are asked
to submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the
age of harvested bears. To encourage participation, DEC issues a
New York State Black Bear Cooperator Patch to all hunters who
reported their harvest and submitted a tooth.

The average age of bears harvested is typically 3-4 years old in
the Southeastern and Central-Western areas, while bears harvested
in the Adirondacks average about 5 years old.

A complete summary of the 2010 bear harvest is available online
at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html .

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