The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that hunters in New York State killed an estimated 213,061 deer during the 2016-17 hunting seasons, an estimated five percent increase over 2015-16 levels.
The 2016 deer take included 106,055 antlerless deer and 107,006 antlered bucks. According to DEC, this represents a 7.5-percent increase in bucks killed from 2015 statewide, reflecting modest population growth following the losses experienced during the harsh winter of 2014-15. Antlerless harvest was similar to 2015 (a 2.6-percent increase), as managers sought increased antlerless harvests in certain parts of the state and reduced harvests in others.
Regionally, hunters in the Northern Zone took 24,674 deer, including 16,495 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, hunters took 188,387 deer, including 90,511 adult bucks.
DEC also reported that bucks of all ages across the state were in good condition, with larger antlers, more mass, and fewer spike-antlered bucks.
54,099 — estimated number of bucks taken in 2016 that were 2.5 years old or older. Only 49 percent of bucks taken statewide were yearlings (54 percent in units without mandatory antler restrictions).
16.2 and 0.5 — number of deer taken per square mile in the unit with the highest (WMU 8N) and lowest (WMUs 5C and 5F) harvest density.
65 percent — proportion of eligible junior hunters that participated in the 2016 Youth Deer Hunt.
14,085 — number of hunter-harvested deer checked by DEC in 2016.
186,110 — number of hunting hours recorded by 3,805 bowhunters that participated in the annual Bowhunter Sighting Log. Participating bowhunters reported 120,067 deer sightings, for an average of 64.5 deer seen per 100 hours hunted. The Bowhunter Sighting Log provides useful data on regional sighting trends for deer, moose, turkey, and a variety of furbearer species.
2,447 — deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in 2016-17; none tested positive. DEC has tested more than 40,000 deer for CWD since 2002.
56.5 percent — proportion of successful deer hunters that ignored their responsibility to report their harvest as required by law. DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) have increased enforcement of non-compliance with the mandatory reporting requirements.
Deer hunting data is gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of successful hunters and DEC’s examination of more than 14,000 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources and calculating the total harvest from the reporting rate for each zone and tag type. A full report of the 2016-17 deer harvest, as well as past deer and bear harvest summaries, is available on DEC’s website.
Chart: 2016 Deer Hunting Season Summary & Comparison courtesy DEC.