What's happening with the deer population in your area? August 1, 2017 New York,

New York Deer Population, Management News and Information Archive

Deer Hunting Season Forecasts

NYS Deer Forecast - 2017

image collage displaying buck take by age and desired deer population change in 2017

DEC News, August 1, 2017

With deer hunting opportunities that span four months, vastly different habitat types, and nearly 4 million acres of public land to be explored, New York State offers hunters unique opportunities to pursue white-tailed deer.

Excitingly, deer hunting has been changing in New York, with more hunters opting to voluntarily pass up shots at young, small-antlered bucks. As a result, hunters are now taking more older bucks than ever before. That's good news for New York hunters and their families, because the average 2-year old buck generally yields 25-30% more meat and carries antlers twice as large as the average yearling. Buck harvests are now comprised of roughly 50% yearling (1.5 year old) and 50% older bucks. Hunters can continue to push the harvest ratio solidly toward older bucks simply by choosing to Let Young Bucks Go and Watch Them Grow and cooperating with your neighbors and hunting partners to do the same.

For the 2017-18 deer hunting seasons, we expect the statewide buck harvest to be similar or slightly higher than 2016 and a minor increase in antlerless harvest. Statewide, we increased the allocation of Deer Management Permits (DMPs; antlerless tags) by roughly 11% from the 2016 issuance. This increase in DMP availability reflects a general expectation that deer populations are poised to grow following two mild winters in a row. In many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including a broad along I-90 across central and western New York, population growth is undesirable, and we are liberalizing opportunity to harvest antlerless deer. In these areas, we encourage hunters to prioritize doe harvest, sharing extra venison with friends, neighbors and the Venison Donation Program (leaves DEC website). We encourage hunters to take does early in the season and to opt for a doe, or two, instead of a young buck.

In other WMUs, particularly in southern portions of Region 8 and Region 9 and parts of Southeastern New York, in the western Adirondacks, and in the western Catskills, we are continuing with conservative antlerless harvest, even decreasing target harvests in some units to foster population growth toward desired levels. Still, some doe harvest is appropriate in these areas, just not to the same degree as elsewhere.

Help Make Deer Management Successful

First, focus on antlerless harvest where DMPs are available and population reduction is needed. For deer hunting to remain relevant and be valued by the broader public, hunters must demonstrate willingness and ability to reduce deer populations to levels that are socially and ecologically compatible.

Second, report your harvest. It's important for deer management and it's the law. Hunters are the sole source of two critical pieces of harvest information - when and where deer are taken. These data are used, together with reporting rates, to estimate the number of deer harvested in each town, county, and WMU throughout the State. Unfortunately, only about 45% of successful deer hunters report their harvest.

Third, make the most of your hunting by helping DEC track deer and other wildlife populations. If you are a bowhunter, we invite you to participate in the Bowhunter Sighting Log. Keep a diary of your bowhunting activity and number of animals you see for your records and ours.

You can also become an AVID (leaves DEC website) volunteer by collecting information about how deer are impacting the woodlands in which you hunt. These data will help our biologists ensure that deer populations are being managed at levels which encourage healthy and sustainable forests.

Help Protect NY Deer from Chronic Wasting Disease

Hunters should take the threat of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) very seriously! CWD is always fatal to deer. If introduced, CWD could spread rapidly and will be practically impossible to eliminate from the wild deer herd once established. Preventing CWD from entering New York is the most effective disease management strategy. Hunters can help protect New York's deer herd from CWD by following these tips:

  • Avoid natural deer urine products. Prions are shed in the bodily fluids (saliva, feces, urine) of infected deer before they appear sick. Prions bind to soil and plants where they remain infectious for years. There is no product safety testing for urine products. Choose synthetic alternatives.
  • If you hunt outside of New York, debone or quarter your deer before bringing it back, and follow the law about importing carcasses or carcass parts from outside of New York. See CWD Regulations for Hunters.
  • Dispose of carcass waste in a landfill, not just out on the landscape.
  • Report any deer that appears sick or acting abnormally.
  • Hunt only wild deer and support fair chase hunting principles.


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