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For Release: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beaver Meadows State Forest Open for Antlerless Deer Hunting

Third Year of Program Aids in Ecosystem Management

Beaver Meadow State Forest, in the towns of Smyrna and Otselic, Chenango County, will again be open to antlerless deer hunting this season for those with a valid hunting license and a special tag, drawn via lottery, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The State Forest consists of 5816 acres all of which is open to the public and available for hunting. The DMAP application for the Beaver Meadow State Forest is available on line at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/66900.html.

DEC foresters have determined that browsing by deer is negatively impacting Beaver Meadow. Deer browse studies have been conducted at the forest since 2007 to gather statistics about deer damage and to estimate the number of deer per mile. According to the yearly studies, deer numbers range from 16 to 22 deer per square mile, a significantly high number.

Tree regeneration, wildflowers and other herbaceous plants have been repeatedly damaged and degraded by persistent over browsing by deer. Forest regeneration is extremely difficult under such circumstances. By focusing additional hunting in a targeted area for an extended amount of time, forests will have an opportunity for trees to grow beyond the browse height of deer. "This form of ecosystem management benefits foresters, wildlife managers, hunters and the general public," observed DEC Regional Director Ken Lynch. "The public has the opportunity to assist DEC in its habitat management efforts while enjoying the beauty of our state lands, and hopefully, they'll come home with a deer as well."

Beaver Meadow State Forest was first opened by the DEC for antlerless deer hunting in 2010. In that hunting season 58 antlerless deer were taken. The following year, 2011, 50 antlerless deer were taken. If trends continue, fewer deer should be taken each season as the population returns to a level that allows plants and trees to grow and thrive.

The Sherburne Lands and Forest office, at 2715 State Highway 80, Sherburne, will have Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) tags available for use on Beaver Meadow during both the regular and bow hunting seasons. Tags will only be for antlerless deer and will be loaned out on a weekly basis, determined by an on-going lottery which will be conducted weekly. The end result will be healthier forests and better habitat for deer and other flora and fauna that have been missing or greatly reduced in the forest due to over-browsing by deer. For further information, contact the Sherburne Lands and Forests office at 607-674-4017.

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