Final New York State deer management plan released

New York News

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NEW YORK (WWTI) — A final Deer Management Plan is publically available after New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos released it last week. This after collecting public input and undergoing expert review using scientific data.

“This second-edition deer plan marks a major step forward in DEC’s effort to manage deer responsibly to protect the environment and public safety,” said Seggos. “The plan aligns public values for deer with ecological data to advance management decisions that benefit deer, deer habitats, and New Yorkers.” 

According to the DEC, the finalized plan outlines strategies to manage deer populations across a range of abundance levels and diverse deer-related impacts. The plan also enhances DEC programs that provide relief to landowners and the public experiencing deer damage and conflicts, aims to protect deer from chronic wasting disease, and enhances the state’s deer hunting traditions.

DEC released a draft of the deer management plan for public review in the late fall of 2020. The final plan includes revisions and clarifications based on the DEC’s review of more than 2,000 comments submitted by individuals, organizations, and elected officials.

Major elements of the new plan include:

  • Establish a desired deer population trajectory for 23 regions of the state
  • Monitor deer populations for disease and reduce disease risks
  • Provide additional hunting opportunities and increase antlerless harvest
  • Promote hunter choice for buck harvest
  • Encourage deer hunters to use non-lead ammunition
  • Assist communities to prevent and respond to local deer overabundance
  • Work with landowners and managers to monitor deer browse impacts on forests
  • Understand and address public values and interests regarding deer and deer management decisions.

On Wednesday, the DEC also proposed regulations that are available for public comment through August 8. These potential rule changes are meant to improve deer management, simplify big game hunting, expand hunting opportunities, and increase hunter safety. Check out some highlights from that proposal:

  • Strategically increase antlerless harvest where necessary by establishing a 9-day season for antlerless deer beginning the 2nd Saturday in September with firearms in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) 3M, 3R, 8A, 8F, 8G, 8J, 8N, 9A, and 9F, and with bows in WMUS 1C, 3S, 4J, and 8C;
  • Reinstate either-sex deer harvest opportunity during the early muzzleloader season in WMUs 6A, 6F, and 6J;
  • Extend the legal hunting hours for deer and bear to begin 30 minutes before meteorological sunrise and end 30 minutes after meteorological sunset, consistent with legal hunting hours in most other states; and 
  • Increase hunter safety by requiring all hunters pursuing deer or bear with a firearm, or anyone accompanying them, to wear a solid or patterned fluorescent orange or fluorescent pink hat or vest or jacket.

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