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For Release: Monday, March 11, 2019

DEC Announces 2018 Bear Harvest Results

New York Hunters Took 1,295 Black Bears During 2018 Hunting Seasons

New York State bear hunters took 1,295 black bears during the 2018 hunting seasons, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.

"Black bears continue to thrive in New York's exceptional bear habitat and the state's vast, accessible public lands offer great opportunities for bear hunting," said Commissioner Seggos. "The black bear hunting season provides valuable tools and data for DEC's wildlife managers in their work to maintain healthy bear populations across the state."

Hunters took an estimated 804 black bears in New York's Southern Zone in 2018, approximately 20 percent fewer than 2017 and the recent five-year average. With reduced natural forage for bears this past fall and deep snows in mid-November prior to the regular firearms season, many bears went into dens a few weeks earlier than normal. As a result, although bear take through the early season and bow season was comparable to 2017, take during the regular season declined by more than 40 percent from 2017.

Comparably, hunters took about 45 percent fewer bears during the Northern Zone regular season in 2018 than in 2017. Bear take during the early season was particularly strong, however, with a nearly three-fold increase over 2017 and a 50-percent increase over the five-year average. In total, hunters took an estimated 491 bears in the Northern Zone, about 25 percent more than 2017 and within the historical average range.

2018
Total
2017
Total
Recent
5-year Average (2013-2017)
Northern Zone 491 383 476
Southern Zone 804 1,037 1,056
Statewide 1,295 1,420 1,532

Notable Numbers

  • One bear harvested per 3.2 square miles. By DEC Wildlife Management Unit (WMU), the greatest bear harvest density occurred in WMU 3C which mainly covers Ulster County and includes portions of Sullivan and Greene counties. The town of Kingston in Ulster County (WMU 3C) yielded one bear for every 1.5 square miles.
  • 80: the greatest number of bears reported taken on any one day. It happened on November 17 - the opening day of the regular firearms season in the Southern Zone.
  • 585 pounds: the heaviest dressed weight bear reported to DEC in 2018, taken in the town of Shandaken, Ulster County. A 550-pound dressed weight bear was reported taken in Marbletown, Ulster County, and six bears were reported with dressed weights between 400-500 pounds. Scaled weights of dressed bears were submitted for 23 percent of bears taken in 2018.
  • Six: the number of tagged bears reported in the 2018 harvest. These included one bear originally tagged in Pennsylvania and two from New Jersey. The remainder were originally tagged in New York for a variety of reasons, including research, nuisance response, relocated urban bears, or released rehabilitated bears.
  • 767: the number of hunter-killed bears from which DEC collected teeth for age analysis in 2018. Hunters who reported their harvest and submitted a tooth for age analysis will receive a 2018 Black Bear Management Cooperator Patch. Results of the age analysis is expected to be available by September 2019.
  • Nine percent: the proportion of bears taken by non-resident hunters. Successful non-resident bear hunters hailed from 19 states, the farthest being Washington.

DEC's harvest estimates rely on successful hunters reporting their harvest. For more information on game harvest reporting, visit DEC's website.

2018 Bear Take Summary Report
A complete summary of the 2018 bear harvest with results and maps by county, town, and WMU is available on DEC's website.

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