The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that New York State white-tailed deer hunters have been reporting more success in 2018 than last year through the end of the regular big game season.
Through December 16, hunters reported taking approximately 14 percent more deer in the Northern Zone and 11 percent more deer in the Southern Zone, compared to the same period in 2017. Reports from the Southern Zone and Northern Zone are up more than 26 percent and 33 percent from 2016 numbers, respectively, indicating an increase in harvest over the past three hunting seasons.
Through the final weekend of the Southern Zone late bow and muzzleloader season, hunters reported 94,515 deer in 2018, compared to 85,288 and 75,073 through the same period in 2017 and 2016, respectively. Similarly, in the Northern Zone, hunters have reported 14,458 deer in 2018, compared to 12,687 in 2017, and 10,894 in 2016.
Change in bear harvest varies by region this year. Hunters have reported taking 670 bears in the Southern Zone, compared to 884 at this point last year and 863 in 2016. In contrast, harvest reports increased in the Northern Zone, with 396 bears reported in 2018, compared to 302 bears at this point in 2017 and 464 bears in 2016.
Most of the state’s big game hunting seasons have ended (the bowhunting season continues in Westchester County until December 31, a special firearms season in Suffolk County runs January 6-31, 2019, and the Deer Management Focus Area in central Tompkins County runs January 12 to January 31, 2019.
Photo: A 14-year-old hunter with the first deer believed to have been taken with an air rifle in the United States in 2008.