2017 Deer Harvest Stats
April 3, 2018 – Hunters in New York State enjoyed another successful year, harvesting an estimated 203,427 deer during the 2017-18 hunting seasons Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.
The 2017 estimated deer take included 95,623 antlerless deer and 107,804 antlered bucks, an estimated five percent fewer deer than the previous year. Statewide, this represents a 10-percent decline in antlerless harvest and a buck harvest nearly identical to 2016. Hunters in the Northern Zone took 25,351 deer, including 18,074 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, hunters took 178,076 deer, including 89,730 adult bucks.
The decline in antlerless harvest occurred despite DEC issuing more antlerless permits last season. DEC wildlife biologists have noted two important and encouraging items that emerged from the 2017 deer harvest. First, with 53.3 percent of the adult buck harvest averaging 2.5 years or older, hunters took an estimated 57,494 older bucks, setting a record in total number and greatest percentage of older bucks in the harvest.
Second, the portion of successful hunters who reported their harvest as required by state law increased from 44 percent in recent years to 50 percent in 2017. Along with our Take It · Tag It · Report It campaign, DEC has made the process of harvest reporting substantially easier for hunters, providing phone, internet, and mobile app options. Harvest reports are critically important for accurate monitoring of deer harvests, and DEC encourages hunters to continue to contribute to the management process by complying with the reporting requirements.
DEC’s 2017 Deer Harvest Summary report (PDF) provides a suite of tables, charts, and maps detailing the deer harvest around the state. Past harvest summaries are available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
|2017 Deer Harvest Summary & Comparison|
|2017 Total||2016 Total||Change
(2016 to 2017)
|Previous 5-Year Average (2012-2016)|
|Deer Management Permits Issued||617,839||588,430||5.0%||628,436|
|Deer Management Permit Take||74,421||81,507||-8.7%||90,426|
|Deer Management Assistance Program Take||8,962||9,134||-1.9%||11,078|
|Harvest Reporting Rate||50.3%||43.5%||43.7%|
|% Older Bucks (≥2.5 years) in Harvest||53.3%||50.6%||49.4%|
2017 Black Bear Harvest Stats
New York State bear hunters took 1,420 black bears during the 2017 hunting seasons, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.
Hunters took an estimated 1,037 black bears in New York’s Southern Zone, nearly the same number as in 2016, but slightly more than the recent five-year average. Bowhunters took 330 bears, on par with the recent average, but less than the 537 bears taken during the regular season. The early season, which DEC initiated in 2014 to reduce bear populations in a handful of management units in the Catskill region, resulted in 150 bears.
In the Northern Zone, hunters took an estimated 383 bears, about 25 percent fewer than 2016 and below the historical average. Bear take in the Northern Zone tends to alternate between strong harvests during the early season one year, followed by strong harvests during the regular season the next year, based primarily on cycles of food availability. This year, the early season accounted for 82 bears, similar to the early seasons of 2011 and 2013. However, hunters fared much better during the regular season, taking 242 bears.
For the second year, junior hunters were allowed to take black bears during the Youth Firearms Big Game Hunt over Columbus Day weekend. That hunt overlapped with the early bear season in most of the Northern Zone, but one junior hunter in the Northern Zone and eight in the Southern Zone took advantage of the opportunity to harvest a bear.
2017 Black Bear Harvest & Recent Trend Comparison
- 1 bear per 4.2 square miles – by DEC Wildlife Management Unit (WMU), the greatest bear harvest density occurred in WMU 3C, which is predominantly in Ulster County but includes slivers of Sullivan and Greene counties. However, the town of Olive in Ulster County (WMUs 3A and 3C) yielded one bear for every 2.4 square miles.
- 163 – the greatest number of bears reported taken on any one day, Nov. 18, the opening day of the regular firearms season in the Southern Zone.
- 550 pounds – the heaviest dressed weight bear reported to DEC in 2017, taken in the town of Lexington, Greene County. A 520-pound dressed weight bear was reported taken in Wayland in Steuben County, and seven bears were reported with dressed weights between 400-500 pounds. Scaled weights of dressed bears were submitted for 23 percent of bears taken in 2017.
- 15 – the number of tagged bears reported in the 2017 harvest. These included three bears originally tagged in Pennsylvania and one from New Jersey. The remainder were originally tagged in New York for a variety of reasons, including research, nuisance response, relocated urban bears, or released rehabilitated bears.
- 872 – the number of hunter-killed bears from which DEC collected teeth for age analysis in 2017. Hunters who reported their harvest and submitted a tooth for age analysis will receive a 2017 Black Bear Management Cooperator Patch (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45598.html). Results of the age analysis should be available by September 2018.
- 11 percent – the proportion of bears taken by non-resident hunters. Successful non-resident bear hunters hailed from 13 states, the farthest being Florida, Louisiana, and California.
2017 Bear Take Summary Report
A complete summary of the 2017 bear harvest with results and maps by county, town, and WMU is available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
2017 Hunting Safety Report
The 2017 hunting seasons in New York saw the second-lowest number of hunting-related shooting incidents (HRSIs) on record, 19, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. Also in 2017, at Commissioner Seggos’ direction, DEC started tracking tree stand injuries for the first time. DEC recorded 12 incidents statewide.
Of the 19 HRSIs that occurred last year, 14 were two-party firearm incidents, five were self-inflicted, and one resulted in a fatality that DEC believes could have been prevented if hunting laws and common sense were followed.
Of the two-party HRSIs, 11 of the victims (79 percent) were not wearing hunter orange. Incidents involving two or more individuals stress the importance of identifying the target and what lies beyond, a major tenet of DEC’s hunter safety courses.
In 11 of the 19 incidents (59 percent), a violation of hunting laws or regulations occurred.
“Although we’ve seen the lowest number of hunting-related incidents on record over the last five years, we continue to urge hunters to follow the laws and basic rules of hunting safety,” Commissioner Seggos said. “We encourage hunters to wear hunter orange and be sure, beyond a doubt, of their target.”
New York’s lowest HRSI rate was in 2016, with just 13 incidents; 2013 experienced 19. In 1991, there were 98 incidents. In 1979, 110. In 1966, there were 166, 13 of which were fatal.
The hunting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) continues to decline. Since the 1960s, the incident rate has plunged more than 70 percent. The current five-year average is 3.2 incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the 1960s.
Trained volunteer instructors certified by DEC teach safe, responsible, and ethical hunting and trapping practices and the important role of hunters and trappers in wildlife conservation. New York has an extremely safety-conscious generation of hunters and trappers, thanks largely to more than 60 years of dedicated efforts of volunteer Hunter Education Program instructors. All first-time hunters, bowhunters, and trappers must successfully complete a hunter or trapper safety course and pass the final exam before being eligible to purchase a hunting or trapping license. All courses are offered free of charge.
While hunting is safer than ever, DEC encourages hunters to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. Many, if not all of these incidents could have been prevented if the people involved had followed the primary rules of hunter safety:
- Treat every firearm as if it were loaded
- Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction
- Identify your target and what lies beyond
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire
- Wear hunter orange
In 2017, DEC Commissioner Seggos requested the agency’s Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) to track and investigate tree stand injuries for the first time. While figures are from preliminary reports, they may not capture all tree stand incidents that occurred statewide in New York.
Of the 12 incidents reported and investigated, six proved to be fatal, a number commensurate with other states that track these statistics.
“Tree stand incidents are becoming a major cause of hunting-related injuries across the country,” Commissioner Seggos said. “In New York, tree stand safety has become a regular part of the hunter education course required of first time hunters and we stress for hunters to follow specific tree stand rules to avoid life-threatening injuries.”
Investigations revealed that in 75 percent of the incidents, hunters were not wearing any kind of full-body harness to secure them in their stand. Used correctly, a harness keeps the hunter connected from the time they leave the ground to the moment they get back down.
Many, if not all incidents could be prevented if hunters follow a few basic tips:
- Use and properly adjust a full-body harness
- Use a safety belt or lifeline when climbing
- Check your stand every year and replace any worn parts
- Have a plan and let others know where you will be hunting
- Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment (unloaded firearm, bow, or crossbow)
For more information, including the 2017 Hunting Safety Statistics and the 2017 Tree Stand Safety Statistics, visit the DEC Hunter Education Program page (http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7860.html).
2017 Hunting Reports
From the ADKHunter.com Blog
(12/17): Another Season in the Books: As I write this there less than two days left in the Southern Zone muzzleloading season, which just about does it for deer hunting in most of New York. Since our last report, just before the final weekend of the late muzzleloading season, much has changed. First, it was a pretty good final weekend for those who had the opportunity to hunt that last weekend of muzzleloading season. It felt more like November than December, but that quickly changed with last week’s snowstorm, which surely had to change the whitetail behavior pattern.
(12/6) Last Call, Part 2: Deer season is over in a good portion of the Northern Zone as only those WMU’s on outside or within the perimeter of the Adirondacks are open for the late muzzleloading season. After some rain and warmer weather early this week, things are about to change. Although it’s supposed to cool off and perhaps be a little windy, another seasonal hunting weekend appears to lie ahead.
Late season hunters are reporting a bit of slow-down in deer activity, which is natural as the rut winds down and winter starts to ease in. There are still plenty of bucks out there and if you are going out with the muzzleloader, think about the shape your local deer herd is in before you pull the trigger on an antlerless deer. Some areas are in better shape than others. Hopefully you’ve got some venison in your freezer already. Good luck, and enjoy the rest of the deer season.
(11/29) Last Call, Part 1: Man, deer season goes by so fast. One day it’s mid-October with plenty of daylight and lots of promise ahead, the next it’s December and deer season is segueing into the holidays. Not to say “I told you so,” but the thought that the late season this year was going to heat up again has come to fruition. Several Adirondack bucks have fallen to hunters in just the past week (see our photos) and our group saw bucks each of the four days we hunted over the Thanksgiving weekend, along with plenty of fresh buck sign, especially rubs. A few of those bucks are now in the freezer (photos forthcoming). With fall-like weather, this weekend should be another good one and there’s a waxing moon to boot. Then, for some of us, there’s another week of muzzleloading hunting which this hunter is really looking forward to. So give it one more good, hard hunt this weekend and make the best of it. Soon enough, we’ll be sitting around waiting for next year.
(11/22) Thanksgiving Hunt: It’s that time of year when history and tradition meet in the deer woods all across America. Thanksgiving Day is one that brings family and friends together and for hunters it usually means some time in the morning spent in the woods. The timing might not be better. As one can see by looking at the harvest dates of the Adirondack bucks in the latest photos, some real fine bucks have been taken in past ten days; as is typical of mid-November. Our group spent a few days in the woods last week after missing the better part of two weekends while hunting in northern Maine (more on that, another time). We found plenty of older scrapes, a few fresh ones, and several very fresh rubs, which told us bucks were around. Unfortunately, we did not catch up to any of those bucks. Still, as we’ve said in previous reports, the remaining week-and-a-half of this Northern Zone rifle season could be fantastic. The bucks are out there, the weather is looking cooperative, it’s just up to us to find them. Good luck, and Happy Thanksgiving!
(11/16) North or South: Many hunters, even those from the Adirondacks, will head “south” this weekend for New York’s opening day in the Southern Zone. Perhaps it’s for the opportunity to score some venison for the freezer or even to take a break from mountain hunting. Some of us, however, will remain in the Adirondacks. Finding a place to hunt in the Southern Zone can be difficult but that is not the case in the Adirondacks where there is nearly three million acres of public land in the form of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
So far, this has been a very strange fall and likewise, a strange whitetail rut. A month ago, at the dark of moon and during the early muzzleloading season, many hunters throughout the Adirondacks (including this one) observed a surprisingly high amount of rubbing and scraping activity. Around late October and early November a number bucks were killed or seen right on the tail of a doe. Then, it seems, things cooled off. Still, there’s been a good number of bucks killed in recent weeks, as is typical of mid-November, but many hunters are still scratching their heads and wondering where the rut is. Perhaps it’s a slow rut that is taking place right in front of our very eyes? This hunter is wondering if there’s going to be repeat later this month of what transpired earlier in the season. If so, get ready, because it could be the best part of the hunting season, especially if the weather cooperates.
For now, we’re on to Weekend No. 5 of the Northern Zone season with two to go, plus another week of muzzleloading season in some areas. After Thursday’s rain and snow event, a dry Friday is in store with some wet weather in the forecast for later Saturday and perhaps early Sunday. Then it’s looking pretty seasonal right through to the Thanksgiving holiday. Wherever you are hunting in the days ahead, have fun and hunt safely and remember; the buck you’re looking for could be just over the next ridge.
(11/13) Prime Time: It’s amazing what a little snow can do. Along with a coinciding change in the temperature the covering of snow brought on late last week was certainly beneficial to Adirondack deer hunters. Reports and photos from hunters certainly proves it, although things have really turned on since early November. Some may attribute this to the Nov. 4 Full Moon and the belief that it triggers the rut, others will just say it’s a more favorable weather pattern. To this hunter, it doesn’t matter. Whatever the case, this graphic and report from DEC shows a roughly 10-percent increase in the Northern Zone harvest through Nov. 8 of this year.
Actually, reports of buck sign to seem to be dwindling. We’d like to say we could report on it ourselves but last week we were in Northern Maine, trying to track down one of those 200-pound Maine bucks. It didn’t happen, although we did have some luck, and much more importantly, we had a great time with good friends and family while enjoying a different area and much different style of hunting than what we’re used to.
If you’ve got some time to hunt this week, then good for you. Mid-November is always a good time to be hunting the Adirondacks, so get out there if you can. The weather looks favorable, but it might not be all that quiet. Later this week, when the Southern Zone opens, some wet weather does appear to be coming in. Many hunters will be heading south this weekend, and with a filled tag, this one may spend some time down there himself. Good luck, and please keep the photos and reports coming. Go get them bucks!
(11/9) Peak Weekend: It’s hard to believe that we’ll cross the half-way point in the Northern Zone big game season this weekend. Peak weekend is typically one of the best of the year. With temperatures dropping, along with some beechnuts and acorns, and the rut really getting going, the word “Peak” has many meanings. Now is the time to hunt, if you can. Some dandy bucks are being taken and rubbing and scraping activity were still hot this past week. Good luck, and keep the photos and stories coming.
(11/2) On the Move: This weekend is shaping up to be a good one. In between warm weather on Friday and Monday will be a temperature drop that should prove interesting in the deer woods. Whether it’s just the early phase of the rut kicking in or deer movement before the impending storms earlier this week, things are happening in the deer woods in the North Country. A number of buck photos have flowed in as well as reports from hunters citing plenty of deer movement, including bucks following does. The good news about the storm is that it brought down a lot leaves and visibility is starting to come around, although there’s still quite a bit of green on the underbrush, especially in the southern and foothills of the Adirondacks. Of course, there’s also a lot of excitement about Saturday’s (Nov. 4) full moon and the impact they may or may not have on hunting. Either way, with the coming of November we all know that can only be good for deer hunting.
(10/26) Week 2: We hope everyone had a fun opening weekend despite the warm temperatures across most of the region. A surprising amount of rubbing and scraping activity is going on to start the season. Our opening weekend group was small but we did manage to push some deer around and nearly put a few on the meat pole. I actually saw a smaller buck that dashed through a window of visibility. I may or may not have pulled the trigger but it would’ve been nice to have a little more time to decide. But, that’s hunting as they say and the tag remains in my wallet.
Meanwhile although projected to be cooler this weekend than in last, things are still looking quite warm for the “Second Week of Deer Camp” in the Northern Zone. Although, there is a possibility that Sunday could be a wet one. One thing about the rain we’re getting this weekend early next, the moving barometer should trigger some deer movement and make for some great hunting.
(10/20) Heat Wave: Everyone is cussing about the warm weather an the impact, thus far, on deer season. Deer, with their winter coats intact, simply don’t move much in warm weather and I don’t know about you, but for me, I just don’t enjoy the heat either. I’m a hunter who is usually on his feet. If I’m with the group, we are making deer drives and if I’m hunting alone I’m usually stalking or still-hunting. I’ve been out doing some that this week during the early muzzleloading season and it has been tough. There’s been ticks, briars, plenty of leaves and lots of sweat. But, I took the time off and wanted to get some scouting in as well. I did find plenty of acorns, some beechnuts and even a few rubs and one scrape. Visibility is tough out there right now an will be until we get some cold weather and some rain. Make the best of it, enjoy opening weekend and hunt safely.
(10/11) Let’s Go Deer Hunting: It’s hard to remember an autumn as warm as this one has been and for the most part, it is impacting hunters who simply don’t enjoy the warmer temperatures. Many question what they’d do with a deer if they got one. We feel real bad for the young hunters who endured the heat for last weekend’s youth hunt.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. As you’ll see from the photos, a few young hunters as well as some bow hunters have been putting the time in and connecting. Now, crossbow season is here and this weekend is opening of the early muzzleloading season in the Adirondacks. If you hunt WMU’s 6F and 6J in the Adirondacks, or 6N in the Tug Hill region, remember that these units are buck only. Good luck, hunt safe and be sure to send us your photo and reports.
(9/28) Hot Start: I’m sure I wasn’t alone in adventuring out for the Northern Zone archery opener on Wednesday morning. But, I didn’t last long. Once the sun broke over the horizon and hit the landscape the mosquitos quickly descended on me as I sat in a blind. In no time I was sweating although all I was wearing for camo was a gilly suite made of camp netting over shorts and a t-shirt. This hot weather we’ve been having makes hunting obviously difficult. And although it’s going to remain warm, at least there will be some drop in the temperature which could get deer moving over the weekend.
Meanwhile, we finally got reports of some successful bear hunters out there, which has also been tough hunting in the heat. Come Sunday, the several small game seasons open, including Wild Turkey in the Northern Zone and archery for deer in the Southern Zone. Hunt safely, and let us know how things look in the woods, especially with buck sign and beechnuts!
(9/19) More Seasons: This is a great time of year for hunting in Northern New York. The Early Bear season opens in the Adirondacks on Saturday, Sept. 16 and the real news here is that there is somewhat of a beechnut crop out there. The mast is not everywhere, but earlier this summer reports came in from the central Adirondacks and recently we’ve heard from hunters in the eastern ADKs too, of some beechnuts. Currently, there’s some acorns and apples too. Good luck out there this weekend and please send us a photo and/or report on your hunt. For small game hunters, grouse season opens on Sept. 20 and the early archery season for deer (Sept. 27) is now less than two weeks away.
(9/1) Happy New Year: It’s a new license year and the opening day of a pair of hunting seasons in New York as small game and waterfowl hunting begin. Both squirrel and Canada goose season get under way. The best part of it is that it’s going to really feel like fall in the Adirondacks for most of Labor Day weekend, if not a little wet from what was Hurricane Henry. Soon enough, the Adirondack Black Bear season will open on Sept. 16, grouse on Sept. 20 and the archery season for deer on Sept. 27. It’s that time of year!