Traditionally, it is between November 4th and 18th when the peak of the rutting or breeding season for the white-tailed deer occurs in the Adirondacks. Bucks are continuously on the move during these two weeks as they attempt to locate any doe that is nearing her initial heat period.
Also, as bucks expand their search for females outside their regular area of travel, males must continue to regularly return to their home range in order to ensure that rivals do not intrude into their domain. » Continue Reading.
The rapid loss of daylight at this time of year triggers many events in nature, including several changes in the white-tailed deer. It is in early September that a deer’s chestnut-tan summer coat begins to be replaced with much thicker and darker colored fur that is better adapted to retain body heat and conceal this big game creature in the dimmer light of winter.
Deer also experience an increase in their appetite as summer wanes in an attempt to build deposits of fat that also act as insulation and can serve as fuel when food becomes scarce during the dead of winter. Additionally, the first week of September is when bucks in the Adirondacks rub the velvety covering of skin off their set of antlers, their initial preparation for the rutting or mating season that will arrive in approximately two months. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Stacy McNulty, Associate Director of SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb. McNulty and her colleagues recently conducted a study of how the availability of forest mast affects small mammals.
Have you noticed a mouse explosion in your camp or garage this summer? Are black bears making mincemeat of your garbage cans?
This summer, reports of stories of Adirondack bears breaking into in candy stores and making off with campers’ food abound. The dry spring has contributed to the scarcity of food in the woods. Yet there is another reason why we’re sometimes overrun with these animals. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a guest essay by Shawn Ferdinand of the New York State Department of Conservation (DEC). Traditionally, hunters have actively contributed to the conservation of wildlife. With new advancements in ammunition technology, they can now use state-of-the-art bullets and slugs for big game hunting that reduce the potential of harmful lead contamination and pollution. » Continue Reading.
Locals and visitors alike should keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals in the Adirondacks are in the peak season for giving birth, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is cautioning.
It is not unusual to see a young bird crouched in the yard or a young rabbit in the flower garden, both apparently abandoned. Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is also fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are helpless and need assistance for their survival, however, in nearly all cases this is a mistake and typically human interaction does more damage than good. Those that see a fawn or other newborn wildlife should enjoy their encounter but keep it brief, maintain some distance and do not attempt to touch the animal. » Continue Reading.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced proposed rules affecting deer and bear hunting in New York to implement the state’s Five-Year Deer Management Plan.
“Regulation changes are needed to implement many of the strategies of the recently adopted Management Plan for White-tailed Deer,” Commissioner Martens said in a press release. “The changes to the deer hunting seasons, mandatory antler restrictions, use of Deer Management Permits (DMPs), and development of Deer Management Focus Areas will increase opportunities for New York hunters, consistent with input we’ve received from the public and deer management goals.” » Continue Reading.
Hunters in New York State harvested more than 228,350 deer and 1,250 bears during the 2011 hunting seasons the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. The deer take nearly matched the 2010 deer take while a new record was set for the bear harvest in southern New York.
The 2011 deer take varied less than one percent from the 2010 take statewide. In 2011, hunters took slightly more than 118,350 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and just over 110,000 adult male deer (bucks). In the northern zone, the buck take (about 15,900) was essentially unchanged from 2010, though the antlerless harvest (about 10,900) was down about 13 percent from last year. » Continue Reading.
Georgia Pellegrini isn’t the typical image of a hunter. She was once more accustomed to martini on Wall Street than a back woods duck hunt, but after a stint at Wellesley and Harvard she enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and discovered a love for local, sustainable, farm to table cuisine that led her down an unexpected path.
While cooking with top chefs at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, Pellegrini was sent outside to kill five turkeys for that night’s dinner. Suddenly face-to-face with the meat she was preparing, she says she was forced to reevaluate her relationship with food. The result is Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Press, 2011). The book chronicles Pellegrini’s evolution from buying plastic-wrapped meat at a supermarket to killing a wild boar with a .22-250 caliber rifle, a journey, she says, toward understanding not only where our food comes from, but what kind of life it lived before it reached the table. » Continue Reading.
Like many others in the Adirondacks, I grew up with venison incorporated into many meals. In sausage form, we had it prepared with peppers, the ground version made meat sauce for spaghetti, steaks were cooked on the grill no matter the time of year, and various cubed cuts made kebobs, sauerbraten and various stews. As a child, I can remember trading half of my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich for half of a friend’s venison sandwich.
As I slipped into adulthood and urban living, I found that many of my friends weren’t sold on the idea of eating game of any sort – even found the idea foreign. While at that point, I realized that I didn’t know anyone in these circles who had grown up with family members that hunted, I also realized that part of the reason my family enjoyed so much venison throughout the year was because of the positive impact it had on the weekly grocery bill. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is asking the public to report any instances of deer appearing sick or acting abnormally. DEC is only investigating deer that appear to have died from unknown causes and not those that were killed by a vehicle, the agency announced today.
Anyone who sees a white-tailed deer acting abnormally or who finds a dead deer that was not struck by a vehicle is asked to report the animal to the nearest DEC regional office or to an Environmental Conservation Officer or Forest Ranger. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that it has adopted a five-year deer management plan. The final plan, which has been revised based on public comment on a previously released draft version, is now available online.
“White-tailed deer are an important and valued natural resource for New Yorkers,” Commissioner Joe Martens said. “DEC’s new deer management plan provides strategic direction for our staff over the next five years and will help us focus our efforts where they can best meet the biological and social demands associated with deer. This plan emphasizes the importance of hunting for deer management, and we are particularly excited to create new opportunities for young deer hunters,” Martens said. “We are also cognizant of the significant ecological impacts associated with deer, and we are eager to more fully bring our knowledge of these impacts into the population management process.” » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that a proposed five-year deer management plan is now available for public review and comment. The plan is available online and DEC will be accepting public comment on the draft through Thursday, July 28.
The draft plan describes six primary goals that encompass the current priorities for deer management and the values and issues expressed by the public: Manage deer populations at levels that are appropriate for human and ecological concerns; Promote and enhance deer hunting as an important recreational activity, tradition, and population management tool in New York; Reduce negative impacts caused by deer; Foster public understanding and communication about deer ecology, deer management, economic aspects and recreational opportunities; Manage deer to promote healthy and sustainable forests and enhance habitat conservation efforts to benefit deer and other species; and ensure that the necessary resources are available to support sound management of white-tailed deer in New York. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is reminding New Yorkers to keep their distance and not to disturb newborn fawns or other young wildlife as many animals are in the peak season for giving birth or hatching young.
Finding a fawn deer lying by itself is fairly common. Many people assume that young wildlife found alone are abandoned, helpless and need assistance for their survival. In nearly all cases this is a mistake, and typically human interaction does more damage than good. If you see a fawn or other newborn wildlife, enjoy your encounter, but for the sake of their well being, it is important to keep it brief and maintain some distance. » Continue Reading.
Hunters killed just over 230,000 deer and more than 1,060 bears in the 2010 hunting season, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. The deer take was up about 3% from 2009, bear numbers were similar to harvest levels of 2005-2007, down 25% from 2009. While overall population size plays a large role in harvest totals, annual variations in take are also strongly influenced by environmental factors that affect bear activity and hunting pressure such as natural food availability and snow fall according to DEC wildlife biologists. The 2010 deer take included approximately 123,100 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and just under 107,000 adult bucks. Deer harvests in the Northern Zone were very comparable to 2009, with adult buck take (approx. 16,100) essentially unchanged and antlerless take (approx. 12,500) only increasing about 3%. » Continue Reading.
Following two of the safest years in New York State hunting history, reports of hunting related shooting incidents received by DEC for 2010 were higher than average according to a draft report issued by the State’s Department of Conservation (DEC). There were 40 personal injury incidents, and four fatalities, three of which occurred during the deer season (one was self-inflicted). The fourth fatality was also self-inflicted and occurred during spring turkey season.
Although the total was higher than the average of 38 incidents over the previous decade, it was still well below the average of 66 incidents per year that occurred in the 1990s, and 137 incidents per year during the 1960s.
The number of hunters statewide is declining, but the hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) is falling faster than the number of hunters. During the 1960s, the incident rate was 19 incidents per 100,000 hunters. Since 2000, the incident rate is one-third of that, averaging 6.4 incidents per 100,000 hunters.
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