Deer Harvest Up In 2018, Bear Harvest Down In Southern Zone

ALBANY – New York State deer hunters put more venison on the table this hunting season than during last year’s hunt, according to numbers from the Department of Environmental Conservation.

“New York’s hunters are having success this year, myself included, and all signs are pointing to sizable and healthy herd. I was fortunate enough to get my first buck this year,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

Through Dec. 16, hunters reported taking approximately 14 percent more deer in the Northern Zone and 11 percent more deer in the Southern Zone, compared to the same period in 2017.

Reports from the Southern Zone and Northern Zone are up more than 26 percent and 33 percent from 2016 numbers, respectively, indicating an increase in harvest over the past three hunting seasons.

A final tally of the seasons’ deer and bear harvests will be released early in 2019.

Through the final weekend of the Southern Zone late bow and muzzleloader season, hunters reported 94,515 deer in 2018, compared to 85,288 and 75,073 through the same period in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Change in bear harvest varies by region this year. Hunters have reported taking 670 bears in the Southern Zone, compared to 884 at this point last year and 863 in 2016.

Deer hunting indirectly contributes $1.5 billion to New York’s economy on an annual basis, according to a 2012 report by Southwick Associates prepared for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. In the 2016-17 license year, hunters spent $22 million on deer hunting licenses alone.