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New York Deer Season 2012: Hunting Forecast

October 02, 2012
New York Deer Season 2012: Hunting Forecast - 1

The New York State deer herd appears to be stable, given that the harvest has remained at right around 230,000 deer the last several years.  Drought?  There was some moderate drought in western New York this summer, but its impacts were eased greatly by substantial rains in August.

See the report for your state's 2012 deer season.

The big news for New York deer hunters is an overhaul of the state’s deer hunting seasons to add more hunting opportunities. 

The state deer herd hit one million animals between 2000 and 2002, and even as the state has offered increased antlerless hunting opportunities, since the mid 1980’s New York’s been losing deer hunters at a rate of two percent per year.  Meantime, deer populations have pushed up well above management levels throughout much of central and western New York. 

So, with a lot of deer and fewer hunters, the Department of Environmental Conservation has unveiled a new deer hunting season structure for this fall through 2016.  The changes are many.  Some highlights:

1)  Two weeks added to the bowhunting season, by beginning the bowhunting season and the regular season for the Southern Zone in Westchester County (bowhunting only) on October 1.  Also, establishing a late bowhunting season concurrent with the late muzzleloader season in the Northern Zone.

2) Deer Management Permits (DMPs, "doe tags") can be used in all seasons in the Northern Zone. This change will simplify regulations and increase hunter opportunity and choice.

3) To grow some bigger bucks, and to further focus hunter efforts on antlerless deer, mandatory antler restrictions (3 points on one side minimum) are expanded into  Wildlife Management Units 3A, 4G, 4O, 4P, 4R, 4S, and 4W, in central and southern New York.

4) All of Suffolk County has been opened for the special January firearms season, subject to local discharge ordinances.

5) A three-day youth hunt will begin on the Saturday of the Columbus Day weekend, a firearms hunt for licensed youth ages 14 and 15.

The complete 2012 deer hunting regulations can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28605.html

The Northeastern Regional Report
A very mild winter (which followed a generally mild winter in 2010–2011) and average-or-better amounts of spring and summer rain this year have the Northeast region looking good this fall. States like Vermont and Maine are expecting improved harvests, as the easy winters have allowed deer herds to rebound. Except for a small pocket of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in Hampshire County, West Virginia, and a limited outbreak of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) in west-central New Jersey, deer here have no real health issues.

While there are still many good-size deer in the Northeast, trophy antler production has eased away from here and moved into the Midwest region. The Boone and Crockett Club’s “Trophy Whitetail Production, 2005 to 2010,” for example, doesn’t list a single Northeastern state in the top 10. Pennsylvania, at number 20 (with 26 entries), is the highest-ranked state from this region.

That said, Northern states still grow big-bodied deer. “During the 2011 season, we had 124 bucks registered that, on the hoof, would have tipped the scales at more than 250 pounds,” says Vermont deer biologist Adam Murkowski.

Top Trophy Zones
NY: Monroe, Wayne, and Suffolk counties. Comprising the eastern two-thirds of Long Island, Suffolk County produces approximately half the state’s Pope and Young records—including a 2006 buck that netted 196 2⁄8 non-typical.
NJ: Hunterdon, Monmouth, and Salem counties.
PA: Alleghany, Chester, Washington, and Beaver counties.
WV: McDowell and Wyoming counties.

Comments (1)

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from JW526 wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

The drought effected nothing here in western New York. Buck are bigger and healthier than ever. We have been watching herds in the area for 6 years and have seen doe to buck ratios explode. for ever 1 mature buck there are 6-7 tended doe. This study was done in Erie county. Also the reason our hunters are leaving is pressure from cidiot hunters and because of taxes other high costs. As far as the deer management system goes the bow idea I can agree with but I have proposed before a week long youth season between bow and archery. This would help relieve pressure and allow kids a longer time in the woods. Our DEC here in NY does not really have a good grasp on the situation yet with our deer herds. Would be nice if they would listen to hunters and not money.

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from JW526 wrote 1 year 29 weeks ago

The drought effected nothing here in western New York. Buck are bigger and healthier than ever. We have been watching herds in the area for 6 years and have seen doe to buck ratios explode. for ever 1 mature buck there are 6-7 tended doe. This study was done in Erie county. Also the reason our hunters are leaving is pressure from cidiot hunters and because of taxes other high costs. As far as the deer management system goes the bow idea I can agree with but I have proposed before a week long youth season between bow and archery. This would help relieve pressure and allow kids a longer time in the woods. Our DEC here in NY does not really have a good grasp on the situation yet with our deer herds. Would be nice if they would listen to hunters and not money.

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