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For Release: Monday, May 4, 2015

DEC: 2014-15 Deer Harvest Similar to Previous Year

Hunters harvested approximately 238,670 deer during the 2014-15 hunting seasons, slightly less than the statewide take the previous year, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.

"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.

To compare these harvest estimates with other seasons in the past, please see DEC's website.

2014 Deer Harvest Comparison
2014
Total
2013
Total
Previous 5-Year Average
(2009-2013)
Total Take 238,672 243,567 233,556
Adult Male 108,604 114,716 110,546
Adult Female 90,321 88,634 85,301
Antlerless 130,068 128,851 123,011

Deer Management
Permits Issues

671,782 650,472 563,090

Deer Management
Permit Take

100,381 98,945 92,013
Deer Management
Assistance Program
Take
12,627 12,285 11,144
Muzzleloader 15,071 14,970 16,938
Bowhunting 35,388 36,676 35,657
Crossbow 5,535 NA -
Youth Hunt 1,182 1,275 -

Youth Deer Hunt
This year 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). A photo gallery showcasing successful junior hunters is available on DEC's website.

Hunters Continue Trends to Voluntarily Reduce Harvest of Young Bucks
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.

Crossbows
Hunters were once again able to use crossbows for deer hunting in 2014, and an estimated 5,535 deer were taken with a crossbow. 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.

Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.

Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Enacted Budget adds an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state's hatcheries in NY Works funding. The Budget also creates a new capital account which along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.

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