For Release: Thursday, February 2, 2012
163 Hunters Participate in Deer Management Assistance Program at Beaver Meadow State Forest
The Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) at Beaver Meadow State Forest in Chenango County provided 163 hunters with antlerless deer tags, while reducing the impact of deer browsing which has caused serious impacts to the forest resources, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. DMAPS are special permits issued by DEC that allow for harvest of antlerless deer above and beyond the regular deer management permits (DMPs) that are issued to hunters by lottery selection for specific deer management units. The DMAPs are typically issued to landowners with very localized overpopulation issues and in this case, for use on a State Forest. DMAPs can only be used during the open deer seasons.
"The Deer Management Assistance Program is helping Beaver Meadow State Forest regenerate by reducing the number of deer eating seedlings and young trees," DEC Region 7 Director Kenneth Lynch said. "Fewer deer taken this year and we think that is a sign the program is working."
Many hunters were able to use their tags for multiple weeks. DEC allowed hunting during the bow, gun and muzzle loader seasons which ran from October 16 through December 21, 2011, enabling hunting enthusiasts of all styles to hunt at the forest. Fifty antlerless deer were taken with DMAP tags during the season.
Most of the hunters who were issued DMAP permits at Beaver Meadow were unable to obtain regular deer management permits that would allow them to harvest an antlerless deer in other areas of the state; thus, this provided them with an opportunity to take an additional deer. Every hunter who applied to the program had at least a one week hunting opportunity at the forest.
Several years ago Region 7 foresters first began to observe over browsing on desirable forest regeneration by deer at Beaver Meadow State Forest. Successive years of deer density and browse impact studies at the forest were conducted using volunteer students from SUNY/Morrisville and DEC staff. The deer browse studies determined the deer negatively impacted forest resources significantly. DEC started to issue DMAP tags for antlerless deer in 2010. The intent is that additional hunting at the forest will reduce the local deer population to a level at which seedlings and young trees have a chance to survive.
A 2010 pre-season survey of hunters who participated in the DMAP program at Beaver Meadow revealed important information. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, a majority of hunters rated their hunting experience as 3 or better based on a number of factors including:
- acceptable number of deer
- ease of access to hunting spot
- availability of information and maps
- habitat quality
- hunter safety
- suitable camping opportunities
- good logging trails to follow
More than 70 percent of the hunters indicated they heard about the DMAP program through word of mouth. Twenty percent heard about it through DEC's Hunting and Fishing Guide while another 17 percent heard about it through DEC's website.
The survey also indicated that a majority of persons hunting at the forest were from central New York. Ten percent came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states, although these people did have camps near the forest.
DEC plans to continue the DMAP program at Beaver Meadow for at least three more years. In this manner, a total of five years worth of data can be gathered and reviewed. In 2010, 58 deer were harvested. The foresters hope that, although the deer harvest declined this year, that it may be an indication that the number of deer on the forest has been reduced, giving forest resources a chance to thrive.