Hunters have been more successful at killing deer around New York State, but less successful at hunting bear in the Northern Region through the first several weeks of big game seasons in 2017 than last year, according to Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
DEC says that early reports from New York hunters through Dec. 3, show approximately 18 percent more deer were killed in the Northern Zone and 14 percent more deer in the Southern Zone compared to the same period in 2016.
According to DEC, through the third weekend of the Northern Zone regular big game season, hunters have reported 11,349 deer in 2017, compared to 9,417 deer in 2016.
Similarly for deer in the Southern Zone, hunters reported 69,550 deer in 2017, compared to 61,184 through the same period in 2016. Hunters have been encouraged to take anterless deer and leave young bucks in the Southern Zone due to higher populations there.
For bear, hunters have reported taking 814 bears so far in the Southern Zone, compared to 775 taken at this point in 2016, but harvest is lagging in the Northern Zone with only 291 bears reported in 2017, compared to 450 bears at this point in 2016.
A final tally of the seasons’ deer and bear harvests is expected to be compiled and released early in 2018.
A DEC announcement said there had also been a slight increase in reporting via the web and wildlife app in 2017 compared to 2016.
The late bow and muzzleloading season for deer started in portions of the Adirondacks (DEC’s Northern Hunting Zone, Wildlife Management Units 5A, 5G, 5J, 6A, 6C, 6G, and 6H) on Dec. 4, and will continue through Dec. 10.
DEC’s Hunting Safety Rules
– Assume every gun is loaded.
– Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction.
– Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
– Be sure of your target and beyond.
– Do not hunt deer and bear in the dark; Big game hunting ends at sunset.
– DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.
– When hunting in tree stands use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle. Click here for more tips on avoiding accidents.
– Always be prepared for winter conditions when venturing in the woods, inform a friend or relative of your whereabouts, and pack emergency supplies.