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Beaver Meadow State Forest Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) Application

Current Status of DMAP on Beaver Meadow State Forest

Since 2010, DEC has engaged in specific management practices on Beaver Meadow State Forest to understand the relationship between white-tailed deer and forest regeneration. These activities have included:

  • Distributing additional harvest tags to hunters for antlerless deer via the DMAP program;
  • Implementing increased timber harvesting with a focus on even-aged silviculture;
  • Conducting annual surveys for deer browse impacts;
  • Collecting data on forest regeneration to assess annual changes; and
  • Conducting annual deer pellet surveys on the forest to track trends in the deer population.

Periodically, DEC modified the number of DMAP tags distributed, the methodology of surveys, and the designs of timber harvests.

DEC has collected and analyzed a significant amount of data with consideration to the severity of winters, hunter success rates, and annual license sales. This data is valuable, and it provides insight into both environmental and cultural conditions at the local level. On September 11, 2020, DEC presented much of this data at a public meeting in Sherburne.

For 2021, DEC Division of Lands and Forests decided not to renew its DMAP permit for Beaver Meadow State Forest. Over the past decade, the DMAP program was popular with hunters, and until recently, the majority of unsolicited comments received were positive. The decision to discontinue DMAP is based on a recent decline in DMAP deer harvests and an assessment of the overall expected value of continuing the program.

Annual surveys and data collection will continue on the forest in the interest of monitoring changes in deer densities and the health of forest regeneration. The DMAP program remains an available option in the management of State Forests, as it does for private landowners who document negative impacts from deer on their property. The Division of Lands and Forests will not dismiss a possible future application of the DMAP program on State Forest lands in Region 7, but there are no plans to implement a similar program at this time.

Additional information is available about DEC's Deer Management Assistance Program.

Goals of 2010-2020 DMAP on Beaver Meadow State Forest

DEC foresters determined that browsing by deer was negatively impacting the forest beyond what traditional hunting and forest management could address. Trees, wildflowers, and other herbaceous plants were repeatedly damaged and degraded by persistent overbrowsing by deer.

By focusing additional hunting in a targeted area for an extended amount of time, foresters hoped to create a window of opportunity for tree regeneration to grow beyond the browse height of deer. Prior to and during this window, foresters strategically grouped timber sales and increased harvesting intensity in some areas to overwhelm the deer with abundant new forest growth.

DMAP tags were originally intended to be used on Beaver Meadow State Forest for a specific period of time (3 to 7 years on average), depending on the success of the program. The goal was a healthier forest and perhaps even better habitat for deer and other flora and fauna that may have been missing or greatly reduced in the forest due to the effect of prolonged overbrowsing by deer.

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