Hunters in New York killed an estimated 227,787 deer during the 2018-19 hunting seasons, approximately 12 percent more than the previous season, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced.
The estimated deer take included 114,402 antlerless deer and 113,385 antlered bucks. Statewide, this represents a 20-percent increase in antlerless deer and a five-percent increase in bucks from the last season.
The increase in the number of antlerless deer killed comes on the heels of a lower-than-desired antlerless harvest in 2017 and is expected to by DEC to help limit growth in areas with an overpopulation. Regionally, hunters took 28,642 deer in the Northern Zone and 199,145 deer in the Southern Zone. With nearly 60 percent of the adult buck harvest 2.5 years or older, hunters took an estimated 66,697 older bucks, setting another record in the percentage and total number of older bucks in the harvest.
Although harvest reporting is required by law, the portion of successful hunters who report their harvest has averaged around 45 percent for the past decade. Hunters have increased their reporting rates to 50 percent in 2017, and 51 percent in 2018. Along with DEC’s Take It · Tag It · Report It campaign, the agency has made the process of harvest reporting easier for hunters by providing phone, internet, and mobile app options. Harvest reports are critically important for accurate monitoring of deer harvests, and DEC hopes hunters continue to contribute to the management process by complying with the reporting requirements.
- 16.1 and 0.7 – number of deer taken per square mile in the units with the highest (WMU 8R) and lowest (WMUs 5F, 6F and 6J) harvest density.
- 58.8 percent – portion of the adult buck harvest that was 2.5 years or older, the greatest in New York history and up from 40 percent a decade ago, and 30 percent in the 1990s. Excluding units with mandatory antler restrictions, 54.5 percent of the adult bucks harvested were older bucks, still the greatest percentage on record.
- 65 percent – portion of eligible junior hunters that participated in the 2016 Youth Deer Hunt.
- 15,499 – number of hunter-harvested deer checked by DEC staff in 2018.
- 2,483 – deer tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in 2018-19; none tested positive. DEC has tested more than 52,000 deer for CWD since 2002.
Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters and DEC’s examination of more than 15,000 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors across the state. 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 2018-19 deer harvest, as well as past deer and bear harvest summaries, is available at DEC’s Deer and Bear Harvests webpage.